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FAQ | What is the construction cost in Costa Rica?In this blog, I’d like to attend to a question we receive almost daily: what is the construction cost in Costa Rica?

I wish the answer was simple but there are many details involved that will change the building cost of a home.

Now, in 2019, construction cost in Costa Rica runs anywhere between $70 – $115/ft2 or $750 – $1,200/m2 approximately.

I recently read a blog on construction cost in Costa Rica on that is totally off on their statement “US$25 per square foot for simple construction to up to US$70 per square foot for a luxurious house”.

If you want to be updated by an expert on construction in Costa Rica, check on what architect Diego Mendez has to say. Don’t start asking around on Facebook, you’ll get all the wrong answers. I always recommend using the service of the pros, before you start building in your new home country.

The factors

There are many factors that can influence the construction cost in Costa Rica. Not always does it depend on the quality of the finishing materials used. I’m sure you understand the difference in building cost between a concrete floor, a bamboo floor, and a marble floor, regular glass, and double-glazed glass. So I won’t even get into that now.

There are many other issues that will vary the construction cost of a home, including some pitfalls:


Every day, I see people trying to take a shortcut and not hire professionals for the design and construction of their future home. Hiring a bunch of low-quality laborers will make the building cost much lower than hiring a professional crew.

They say that labor is cheap in Costa Rica. But what if they have to re-do everything three times to get it right? Looking for savings on labor during construction will mean a much higher cost in the long term.


Building on flat land has a much lower cost than on land with irregular topography. On a steep lot, you might have to build a retainer wall to stop erosion. Learn the latest technology trends like micropile to avoid any construction mishaps, that might save you a lot of money on the construction of retainer walls.

Soil structure

The structure of the soil of a building lot can vary incredibly. Before you start building, you’d want to get an expert to do a soil test. There are many geotechnical companies like Castro de la Torre or GeoCostaRica that can do a soil test. They can also do a test on the concrete used by your builder. Why a soil test?

The construction specifics and characteristics of a foundation change when built on clay, sand, or rock.

Seismic structure

You probably know that we have earthquakes in Costa Rica. Is the land where you build on or close to a fault line? The construction cost will go up tremendously when this is the case.

Unstable soil

There is a lot of unstable soil in Costa Rica. The property is close to a river or a canyon? Maybe the proof of groundwater underneath the property makes hydrological studies necessary. Or it might be necessary to have a slope analysis done. Hiring those experts will be an additional cost to the usual construction cost.


Trucks with construction materials have to enter the site constantly. If access to the construction site is difficult, this will make the cost of construction higher.

Construction materials

The choice of construction materials will vary the building cost. Concrete block construction with poured concrete, steel frame, and Durock, Densglass, or other construction materials will make a difference. In some cases, what you save on materials can cost extra on labor.

How many stories

A single-story house is much cheaper to build than a 2-story or 3-story home. This changes the foundation and most of the basic building materials used in the construction of the home.


Often everyone forgets about the security of the home. Fences, security walls, razor wire, and an electronic security system can add tremendously to the construction cost of a home in Costa Rica.

My recommendation

Don’t listen to what many articles that you find online will tell you. Most are outdated and will give you the wrong idea of the construction cost in Costa Rica.

Before you buy land, talk to an architect and a civil engineer and get professional advice.

We do appreciate your real estate referrals. If/when you purchase property in Costa Rica to build your custom home, we’d like to assist. We are the real estate experts, from coast to coast. Contact us now.

Feel free to leave your comments on this blog. If you like this article, please feel free to share it on your social media.

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Ivo Henfling

Your West-side of San Jose real estate agent, covering Escazu and Santa Ana, Rohrmoser and Ciudad Colon. If you are looking to buy a home in Costa Rica or invest in a condo anywhere in the Central Valley or looking for any property for sale in Escazu or Santa Ana, you need to contact Costa Rica real estate agent Ivo Henfling. Ivo has been selling Costa Rica real estate on the westside of San Jose, in the locations of Rohrmoser, Sabana, Escazu, Santa Ana and Ciudad Colon for over 20 years and can show you hundreds of happy buyers of real estate in Escazu and those other areas. For Ivo, a deal is not a good one unless both buyer and seller are happy.

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