I spent time in both Costa Rica and Panama ( and other countries) before I make my big move offshore.
I had heard so many good things about Costa Rica but was sorely disappointed. Here's why:
1. Their prices are about 50% higher than Panama and other Latin American Countries. Food, clothes and especially real estate are much higher.
2. Crime is a big problem. I visited with 40-50 expats while I was there and they all said they would not even go to the grocery store or out to eat unless they had a neighbor stay at their house while they were gone.
3. Electricity is outrageously expensive in Costa Rica. Many of the people who live in the Central Valley ( San Ramon, Grecia, Atenas, have $300+ per month electric bills even though they don't need air conditioners or heat. Costa Rica is way behind in building hydro electric plants and that's why they have a shortage of electricity. Outages are common.
4.. Inflation has been running about 10% a year for the last 10 years so the economy is in shambles. Unemployment is a problem.
5. The roads are TERRIBLE compared to Panama. Don't drive at night! There are huge holes 2 feet deep with no warnings or markers.
6. Water outages are also common. Expats reported going 2-3 days with no water service.