Here in Costa Rica wages are not high with two bucks an hour being somewhat the norm. It seemed odd that people didn't make much but everyone was spending it.
I spoke to an expat who has been coming here for some ten years who told me about how things had changed during that time and particularly in the last four or five. It's simple - credit cards. Even granny the 90 year old matriarch of the Tican family he's been staying with most of the time was solicited no questions asked with a card and a 3,000,000 line of credit ($6000).
A day or two after that conversation this piece came out in the ticotimes.net.
Are Ticos getting hooked on credit cards?
After asking some more questions the answer is most certainly yes. The banks are flooding this country with credit. Credit Costa Rican's have never had before.
It's unfortunate and when the bill comes due for many it will not be a good day.