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How NOT to Save Money Living in Costa Rica

Costa Rica News – Most people come to Costa Rica in order to retire or live on a reduced fixed income. Over the years I have written many articles with tips for retirees about how to live cheaply in Costa Rica. For this article I have taken a different approach in that I will tell you how you can end up wasting your money and living a lot more expensively than you thought.
  1. Buying a new car in Costa Rica. New vehicles cost usually 20 to 50 percent more than the do in the States. In costa rica malladdition, the newer the automobile the higher the annual license tag called a marchamo. Furthermore, the cost of your insurance policy will also be based on the age of  the car. If you have a new car like an SUV you will pay through the nose for insurance.
  2. Eating out in expensive restaurants. A couple can easily spend $50-$60 or more to dine out in an expensive restaurant, especially if  bottle of wine is included.
  3. Living in a high-end area like Escazú, Santa Ana, Rohrmoser or in a condo right on the beach. Regarding the latter air-conditioning bills can easily be a couple of hundred dollars per month.
  4. Shopping at the AM Automercado or Saretto. Prices are exorbitant for imported products.
  5. Driving a vehicle all over. Gasoline prices are very high here. It is better to take public transportation if you can.
  6. Shopping at the malls. Prices at the mall are out of sight. Many products sold there are imported which equates to higher prices. For example, a pair of crocs sandals that cost $50 in the U.S. Will run you easily $100 here. Almost everything  is a ripoff.
  7. Buying vitamins at GNC. Outrageously expensive. Look elsewhere or buy them when you go to the States.
  8. Spending money at pizza chains like Papa Johns, Pizza Hut or Dominos. These places charge twice what their counterparts do in the U.S. The local mom and pop pizzerias are much more reasonable.
  9. Going to casinos. The house always comes out ahead.
  10. Lending money to Costa Ricans. No matter how sad and convincing their story may be, don’t do it. Among the ticos there is a joke that says , “I’ll pay you tomorrow” which is considered one of the three biggest lies in Costa Rica.
  11. Hiring a lawyer without getting good recommendations or shopping around.
  12. Buying property sight unseen. Don’t laugh! Many have done it, even over the Internet.
  13. Investing in high interest schemes that seem too good to be true. No need to go into details here. “The greedy become the needy.”
  14. Supporting you woman’s whole family and buying them property. Many a man has lost his life savings by doing this. Most women here are not with older men because of the guy’s good looks.
  15. Being too generous with the locals. They will think you’re a fool.
  16. Trusting someone just because he or she speaks  English or is from the US or Canada. Many people have been duped by other Americans.
  17. Taking a taxi without the driver turning on the meter.
  18. Paying gringo prices for everything.
  19. Bribing to get things done. Most often this practice will come back to haunt you.
  20. Leaving your brain on the plane. Don’t laugh! Many go brain dead and do things they would never do back home when they set foot in Costa Rica. I have hundreds of stories.

If you are interested in a Retirement Tour Click Here to See His Tours.

Christopher Howard conducts monthly relocation/retirement tours fill in the form below to receive Chrisopher’s free book when you register for a tour and have him contact you personally. For details please see: He also has authored and published 17 editions of “The New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica” and other guides about living in Costa Rica. See

Parts of this article was originally published in Christopher Howard’s blog at

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