Cost of Living in Venezuela

Arepa with beef and avocado, a classic Venezuelan meal

Arepa with beef and avocado, a classic Venezuelan meal


I came across a discussion on about the cost of living in Venezuela. One of the members, a native Venezuelan named Jeolla from Caracas, put together some interesting observations and numbers:

“Hi, I am Venezuelan and live in the capital Caracas.  Let me start off by saying the 2008 ranking of most expensive countries to live as number 15.  So out of 200 countries, Venezuela made the top 15.

If you wish to live in a big Venezuelan city you will need to make at least $40,000USD to live at the bottom end of the middle class scale in the US.  A 3-bedroom 2-bathroom Condo in a medium class neighbourhood with a moderate level of safety (no area is that safe) will run you about BS.F380,000 or about $150,000.  This is alot of money considering the average salary is Bs.F1000.00 monthly.

A car – if bought new – with power steering / windows / doors / ac / automatic will cost at the low end Bs.F75,000 or about $30,000 US.  The car mentioned is a GM Cobalt – and I just bought one.

Televison / Internet / Telephone.  The TV will run you Bs.F110 or $55.00, good internet will run you Bs.F150 or $70.00 and the telphone can run Bs.F200 or about $100.00.  The television package gives you a good variety of channels, most spanish however a great selection of English.  The internet will the you 2mb download speed and is unlimited.  The Telephone is a landline and not a cellphone and will give you unlimited incomming calls.  Every call outbound you make locally costs about BsF 0.05 per minute, long distance within Venezuela is BsF0.80 per minute and calling to the us is about BsF1 per minute.

Eating out is expensive if you want to eat at a CLEAN location.  An Arepa with reina pepillada (a chicken avocado filling) will run you Bs.F18 or $9.00us and this does not include a drink!  The government has announced they are going to start regulating costs… they will do this and this means the quality will drop.

Recently went to Subway and ordered 2 footlong subs 4 drinks and 4 cookies to share amongs 4 people and the bill came to Bs.F125.00 or $60.00 US.  So I would say this is more expensive than in Canada or USA.

Here are some prices in Caracas:

So I am trying to paint the picture… Caracas is expensive and so are most places in Venezuela.  Even smaller villages are raising in prices.  On account of the currency control many products if not expired are hard to come by.

I am not a supporter of Chavez nor am I against him.  I don’t like any of the politicians opposition or mainline.  The truth is it is hard to live here, crime is rampant, and life can be hard.  Make sure you live in a good area or you will get more than you bargained for.  I love Venezuela but the truth exists that this is a highly charged polarized political climate and there is no telling what can happen.

Inflation last year was 32% and exonomists are predicting between 30 and 40% this year.

Just so you are informed!”

Ulrich, who lives on Isla Margarita, says:

“Hi, here an attempt to give an answer from the sunny Isla Margarita.

How expensive it is, depends on various parameters: 1. where you get your money from and 2. how you get it into Venezuela. Officially the local currency Bolivar (Bs.F.)has a fixed exchange rate at 2,15 Bs.F. for 1 US$. But there is a parallel market, which is illegal and ‘on the street’ even dangerous – like in many other countries. So it’s up to you.

Just some numbers: 

the most stunning is the gasoline, it is for free! You just pay for the refinery and transportation – about 1 US$ for a full tank of 40 liters!!! Yes, 1 liter costs about 1 Bs.F.!

1 beer is +- 0,5 to 1 Bs.F., renting an apartment is almost impossible here due to tourism, but 50.000 US$ easily buy you a house. A bus across the whole city is 1 Bs.F., taxi 15 Bs.F., on food I spend for 3 persons – who love to cook- about 1.500 Bs.F a month (incl. more expensive imported goods). If you have a health problem a doctor with all treatment in public health service is for free and medicine may cost you up to 500 Bs.F. depending on the case. If you have little money, they give it for free as well. Private doctors, which normally work in public service as well, i.e. no difference in quality, may ask whatever they want, but this is soon to be limited by law. There are all kinds of insurances but I don’t know how much they ask, I don’t have any. Public education is free on all levels. Private, which is not necessarily better, may cost up to 300+ Bs.F. a month.  Energy costs close to nothing. I pay electricity about 120 Bs.F. a month – for light, fridge, air con, radio, 3 TVs and 2 computers! Internet 93, cable TV 120, phone basic 16, cellphone +- 250 (2500 min. free) a month. A fried fish on the top beach 35 , french goodies up to 80, a hamburger in the street about 10 to 15 ( these prices may not be so accurate, I am vegetarian and do not eat out). The beer I mentioned above, a coffee is about 2 to 3, a big one. Cinema is about 12 Bs.F., but you get new movies  as illegal copies in the street for 10 – even before the movie comes to the cinema! Well, this is a first idea. If anybody wants to know more, just send me a mail! The bottom line is: when you get your money from abroad, even a ‘poor’ pensioner is rich. If you have to earn it here it depends on your abilities. Everybody is welcome here, spanish is not difficult and it is easy to earn money. With 1.500 US$ you are a king here.”

3 thoughts on “Cost of Living in Venezuela

  1. Wael

    I’m surprised at how much more expensive it is than Panama. How does the ordinary middle-class Venezuelan get by? Or is there such a thing as a middle class?

  2. JV

    I just had a friend move to Venezuela. I had considered a change of scenery, however i do not speak Spanish, and it sounds to me like it would be more ideal to go there with enough money to not have to work there as it seems the country sounds unstable. Mostly unsafe, yet very beautiful to visit. It’s to bad my friend was a woman whom i was in love with and never had the chance to say so. I lost contact with her after she moved there. Her name is Nayeli Perez.

  3. rene

    Truth is Venezuela is a very inexpensive country to live in if a person is able to get paid in US dollars. As far as how people live into middle class, most of them have very good jobs or medium size business. The country would be a perfect destination for traveling if crime wouldn’t be so high. Taxes are pretty low. Inflation makes life harder than it seems. What can I say visit us with some well known venezuelans friends and family and it will be allright, otherwise be careful.

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