cicerone imposter wrote:
OCCOM, Before you make any long term committment to living in Costa Rica (or anywhere else), spend a month or so for a test drive. Don't jump into buying property until you're damn sure it's what you want for the rest of your life. It's a big decision; don't do it on the fly.
c.i. has some good advice! Going somewhere for a holiday is far different from living in the same place. (I know from personal experience.
Outside of what you've mentioned in your post, I'm not sure what all you have included in your investigations, but here are some things I would suggest. I imagine several would be redundant, but ya never know.
Housing - how much is housing to get a living space comparable to what you have now? What sort of plumbing is typical of affordable housing? Are there any limits on utilities use?
Food - What are the overall grocery costs? Are creature comforts you enjoy available?
Weather/natural phenomena - is the area prone to any weather extremes such as hurricanes? If you are on the coast, would tsunamis be a concern? Volcanoes? Earthquakes? If there are these types of natural disasters, what sort of warning system is in place?
Are you familiar with local customs/behaviours? (e.g. Certain behaviour acceptable in North America, isn't always welcomed and can be illegal in other countries. I don't imagine Costa Rica would have anything extreme, but it's never good to offend the sensibilities of the local cultures.) Are outsiders who move there viewed contemptuously? Or welcomed with open arms? Tourists may be welcome, but those who stay longer may be viewed differently.
Health care - how expensive, how accessible, what type of reputation does it have.
Transportation - availablity, costs
Income - I assume you have this taken care of.
Local flora and fauna - Any dangerous animals/insects you need to be wary of? Are you, like me, bug phobic?
Generally speaking, have you investigated all of the differences in lifestyle from what you have now and are the concessions you would have to make acceptable to you. That's the bottom line.
I found this bit interesting from the CIA website on Costa Rica.
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 3 (of which only one is legal) (2000)
One other thing I would suggest. Do whatever you have to do to keep your citizinship! There are people all over the world (likely including those from Costa Rica) who want to become American citizens. Shouldn't that tell you something of the value of your citizenship? Relinquishing it shouldn't be something you do unless you have no other options available to you. I would look into a dual citizenship before I ever gave up my Canadian citizenship.