When you fly into San Jose, Costa Rica, it feels like you’ve landed in a third world ghetto, but when you fly into Panama City it feels like you’ve arrived to a modern, cosmopolitan metropolis. It’s really about that simple – the difference between the two cities is staggering. San Jose is a dirty in comparison to land in Panama, dangerous place with about four street signs in the entire city. Panama City has dozens of gleaming new skyscrapers and is in an obvious phase of progressive expansion. The reason that Panama City is light years ahead of San Jose is because the U.S. was actively involved in the Canal until 1999, so the infrastructure is surprisingly modern. It’s not a coincidence that a Trump Tower is going up in Panama City, but not in San Jose.
On a side note, I have found the people in Panama City to be much friendlier and more helpful than in San Jose.