The Expat Scorecard


Had we known THEN what we know NOW about Ecuador, our decision to move to Costa Rica may have been quite different.

There is no substitute to good, first-hand information.

We are fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience expat life first hand.  Whenever we travel, we always go with one eye focused on whether or not THAT place maybe another potential expat location for us to explore.

Within this past year we have visited both Panama and Ecuador, two countries which have been highly touted in the "international travel press," and have been identified as places where the expats are moving. 

We gave serious thought to our itinerary for our upcoming Ecuador Due Diligence Trip.  Our mission was to explore the country for 10 days and gather sufficient information so as to determine if it was a place we might consider as a new home.  This laid the foundation for our new Expat Scorecard.


Download The Expat Scorecard


A scorecard is a type of report that applies a numerical value (score) against a defined set of criteria.  Taken together, this report provides a snapshot of particular set of criteria at a single point in time.  Our scorecard is broken down into nine categories: General Appearance, Infrastructure, Health & Safety, Culture & Entertainment, Shopping, Real Estate, Transportation, Environment and Miscellaneous.

Within those 9 categories, I have compiled 68 different criteria.  Each criteria has been worded as a "very positive" comment.  If I totally agreed with the statement, I gave it a score of 5.  If I totally disagreed, I gave it a score of 1.  A score of 3 basically said that I agree with the comment but have no strong feelings either way. 

The scores of 2 and 4 simply reflect a little more or less in my level of agreement with the statement.  This way, the higher the total score, the more pleases I am with that location.  If you have been to these places, your assessment may be totally different.

A score of NA simply means that I did not have sufficient data to offer an opinion.

Having spent my last 11 years of life in Charlotte, NC, I used that town as my benchmark.  All my subjective ratings of these foreign cities were based on that single point of reference.  In trying to compare Costa Rica with Ecuador and Panama, the diversity of the three countries required me to create three separate points of measurement; URBAN, SUBURBAN and BEACH. 

  • URBAN: We compared San Jose Costa Rica, Panama City Panama and Quito Ecuador.  Each city in its own right has plusses and negatives.  While we never lived in San Jose, we visit and do business there on a frequent basis.

  • SUBURBAN: Since we lived on the outskirts of San Ramon de Alajuela, we used that as our point of reference for scoring the Central Valley.  However, to be fair, there are many other places within the Central Valley which may rate higher and/or lower.  But for the sake of expediency, we used only a single area.  Panama's Boquete and David were comparable locations as was Ecuador's Cuenca.

  • BEACH: Since we now live at the beach, our current lifestyle can not be compared to our Central Valley life, hence the creation of this category.  But in fairness to Panama, we only had time for a very cursory visit to just one of their beach areas and did not spend adequate time in researching. 

The scorecard is in PDF format.  You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader.  DOWNLOAD


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