How much have we spent on groceries in Costa Rica thus far, as compared to other countries?

Rest Ding Wong restaurant next to a souvenir shop and next, a salon in Atenas.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

A parasitic plant growing from a tree in the yard.

As soon as we upload today’s post, we’re heading to town to shop for a few items from the pharmacy and a huge grocery list for the market.  We haven’t grocery shopped in 10 days making “Mother Hubbard’s cupboard” quite bare.

With only 37 more days until we leave Costa Rica, we’ve begun to consider the items we’ll need to last until we then.  Also, we’ll be gone for two nights at the end of the month for our visa stamps, leaving us with only 35 days of food and supplies required to last.

A chicken crossing the road.

After all these years we’ve become adept at these calculations, leaving behind basic staples such as spices, a few canned goods, paper products and laundry soap for the staff or the next occupants.

Groceries haven’t been as low cost as one would expect based on the “press” about Costa Rica as being a “cheap” place to live.  In some ways, it may be more costly for us than others when we buy organic/grass-fed when possible. 

But then, we don’t eat breakfast, lunch or snacks and don’t buy sodas, alcohol or cleaning supplies other than laundry and dish/dishwasher soap.  Tom’s been eating fruit but has decided to stop after today in order to lose the five (2.27 kg) pounds he’s gained since we arrived. 

It was roads like this that cause landslides on the highway during Cyclone Nate a few weeks ago.

He’d like to lose about 10 pounds (4.5 kg) before the upcoming cruise in 38 days.  After all, we’ll be aboard ship for 30-nights when the food options are tempting and readily available.  He never overeats on a cruise but adding ice cream, sugary desserts, and alcoholic drinks certainly contribute to a weight gain. 

Neither of us can afford to gain weight or our clothing won’t fit.  That would be a costly and frustrating dilemma especially since we just purchased all the clothing for the Antarctica cruise in our regular sizes. That, too, would be a fiasco.  Nothing is more uncomfortable than wearing clothes that don’t fit.

Corn growing wild along the guardrail.

Our grocery bill, since we arrived in Costa Rica 76 days ago is a total of US $2,364.05 (CRC 1,349,700).  We’ve only dined out once (for lunch) since we arrived and I never ordered when nothing on the menu worked for me. 

This averages US $31 (CRC 17,699) per day, higher than we’ve spent in most countries since the onset of our travels, except for Hawaii where we averaged US $47 (CRC 26,834) per day.  Even in Australia, known to be expensive, we averaged US $32 (CRC 18,270) per day.

In South Africa, we spent an average of US $21  (CRC 11,990) per day.  Do you see why we’re looking forward to spending less in Africa, upcoming in four months?  Yes, it was almost four years ago and prices surely will have increased but most likely not more than 10% or 20%.

We continue in the rainy season keeping vegetation lush and green.

We’re glad we’ve saved all of these stats on our master spreadsheet.  It’s interesting and informative to review expenses in other countries as the years fly by.

Of course, this doesn’t factor in the cost of dining out which we did frequently in South Africa. Surprisingly those meals rarely exceeded US $25 (CRC 14,273) including drinks and tips.  We rarely dined out in Kauai Hawaii when the cost for a good meal, with taxes and tips, was usually exceeded US $80 (CRC 45,675).

A small business along the highway.

At some point in the future, we’ll share a detailed analysis of the cost of groceries and dining out, including all the countries in which we lived.  However, this may not be relevant to most travelers when my dietary restrictions play a huge role in the costs for both groceries and dining out.

Again, as we’ve experienced many times in the past, we won’t be cooking a single meal from November 22, 2017, to around February 10, 2018 (when we expect to arrive in Africa), for a period of 80 days.  We’ll be dining out during the 31-nights in Buenos Aires, during travel days and on the two cruises, 30-nights, and 17-nights.

With daily heavy cloud cover and rains its seldom it’s clear in the distance.

I surprise myself with literally no anxiety or concern over “what I’ll eat” dining out each day.  Somehow, it manages to work out well which is especially easy on cruises.  In Buenos Aires, I’ll happily dine on those famous Argentinian steaks with a side veg and salad every night if necessary.  Most likely, Tom will do the same.

Soon, we’re out the door to shop.  We’ll have the taxi driver drop us off in the center of town so we can walk on this gorgeous sunny morning enjoying the surroundings, taking photos and saying “Hola” or “Buenos Dias” to those we pass along the way.

When visiting local businesses, parking is at a premium.

Happy day to YOU!


Photo from one year ago today, October 16, 2016:

Crab prints on the sand on the beach in Sumbersari Bali.  For more photos, please click here.

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