There are various housing options for ESL teachers in Costa Rica. Many choose to stay with a family approved by their school, where one can rent a room for around 100,000 - 200,000 CRC per month. Apartment costs vary depending upon large versus small city centers and are generally higher in the Central Valley region. They start in price at a range between 200,000 - 300,000 CRC per month for a modest level of accommodation. Small houses are typically also available for rent in a similar price range, and sharing accomodations with fellow teachers is a popular option for many teachers.
Costa Rica has two types of banks: private and state-owned. State-owned banks include: Banco Nacional de Costa Rica, Banco de Costa Rica, and BanCredito. There are several private banks in Costa Rica, including: HSBC, BAC San José, and BanCrecer.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both the private and state-owned banks. State-owned banks are more secure, while private banks are generally more progressive, more customer service oriented, and offer more services in English.
Internet banking is available with most private and public banks, allowing one to pay bills and transfer funds. ATMs are available everywhere and are a very handy way to withdraw cash for shopping in markets. Some ATMs charge a service fee, which can be fairly hefty. Credit cards are accepted at most stores and are the standard for transactions. As credit card theft is commonplace, caution should be exercised.
Most banks in Costa Rica are open Monday through Friday, 09:00 - 16:00.
The following documentation is required in order to open a bank account in Costa Rica:
A few tips:
The cost of living in Costa Rica is quite low; however, as in most countries, the purchase of imported goods is generally higher than those found in North America. The following table provides ESL teachers with examples of approximate costs of food in Costa Rica. Prices listed are in Costa Rica Colones (CRC).
Chain Grocery Stores:
Other Miscellaneous Items: