How much does a one year sabbatical in Costa Rica cost? (Part 2)

Part 2- One-time expenses

A very common question that we get is how much did our one year sabbatical in Costa Rica cost? In this post you will have information on the one-time costs. These are usually expenses that occur at the beginning of the sabbatical.

This is how it looked for us.

Car purchase
2350$ – 1950€
Visa application for 2 persons
900$ – 750€
Vaccinations for 2 persons
240$ – 200€
Pet travel documents
320$ – 260 €
Return flights from Europe for 2 persons
& pet in cabin
2250$ – 1850€
Volunteering fees for 2 persons
700$ – 575 €
TOTAL6760$ – 5585 €

Car purchase

We bought a 8 year old Suzuki Grand Vitara with very few kilometers. Cars are expensive in Costa Rica but the advantage is that they do not lose a lot of value, so one can recover almost all the money at the end of the year when it is sold again. We paid for the car the equivalent to 13000 US$. We put new tires (300 $) and paid a local lawyer to arrange the paperwork (550 $). So, in total we paid 13850 US$. We sold the car for 11500 US$. So, what the car really cost us was 2350 US$ (plus the insurance, vehicle taxes and inspection, which is included in the running expenses). Total expenses: 2350 US$ – 1950 €.

Visa application

We applied for a temporary visa as researchers/volunteers. For the application, we needed different documents from our home countries that had to be translated and legalized. Getting the documents ready cost us around 300 US$. Applying for the visa in Costa Rica cost us another 600 US$, including the application and the fees to pay when the visa is granted. Total expenses: 900 US$ – 750 €.


Prior to the trip we got vaccinated for Cholera, Rabies, and Tetanus and tested for Tuberculosis (the last two because we were going to be working with wild animals). We both had been vaccinated with Yellow Fever so it was not necessary this time. Total expenses: 240 US$ – 200 €.

Pet travel documents

To enter Costa Rica with our cat we were required to have an official veterinary travel health certificate which costed us roughly 120$-100 €. This was because our cat had already been testes for rabies some time ago and the test is valid for life IF the animal does not miss any rabies vaccinations. To return to Europe, we needed an official vet certificate and an authorization from SENASA that the cat was fit for travel and healthy. This cost us 200$. Total expenses: 320 US$-260€.

Return flight from Europe

Roughly, our return tickets from Europe cost 800 € per person (1950US$ – 1600€ for the two of us). The pet in the cabin cost 125€ per journey (300 US$-250€ in total). Total expenses: 2250 US$ – 1850€.

Volunteering fees

Finally, we paid 350 US$ per person for volunteering at the Jaguar Rescue Center. The money goes for the funding of the center and the rescue of the animals and includes a visit/stay at the release station. Total expenses: 700 US$ – 575 €.

4 thoughts on “How much does a one year sabbatical in Costa Rica cost? (Part 2)

      1. Thank you! We often watch house hunters international and check out the average rental rates for different locations. It is not a very scientific way to do things, but it is fun.


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