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Nov 15 2012

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Paul’s Monthly Tip to Live for Less in Costa Rica – Take Advantage of Free and Inexpensive Classes and Events

People always ask us, “What do you do all day” — hence, our monthly “What’s Up with the Yeatmans?”  There is so much available to do – there are yoga and exercise classes, dancing, entertainment, art classes and exhibits, music classes, everything at low prices, like $10 for a whole 10-week session. In San Ramon, we have the University of Costa Rica’s Forever Young Program, the Jose Figueres Cultural Center, and the San Ramon Regional Museum, all of which are loaded with activities, some for seniors, some for kids, and some for everyone – it’s your pick.

We took a dance class a couple of years ago at the Jose Figueres Cultural Center, every Friday night from 5pm-7pm for three months. The first half of each class was a cultural hour where we learned something about San Ramon or Tico culture in general — there was poetry, marimbas, dancing, and history. The second hour was devoted to dancing, with everyone teaching each other new steps. When we first walked in, there were 28 in the class, and we were the only “gringos.” Luckily for us, the instructor had lived in West Virginia and spoke some English. By the end of the 10 week session, there were 16 of us left. At the end of the class, just before Christmas, we had a party at our cabina for the whole group and we were all presented with our certificates of achievement. Events like this are held constantly, whether it’s art, photography, painting, no matter what it is, there’s something for everyone, at a very minimal cost. Our 10 week dance class cost us a total of 2,000 colones each – that’s about $4 per person.

I am also taking a “seniors” aerobics class at the University gym which meets twice a week for 8 weeks, at a cost of 8,000 colones (about $16). Seniors in Costa Rica are treated with care and love, and in general, so much better than in the States. There are about 50 people in the class, mostly Ticos, but a handful of expats as well. This class is followed by a dance aerobics class for another hour which costs 3,000 colones (about $6) for the multi-week sessions, also held in the gym.

There’s a lot to do here for free or next to nothing, but participating is up to you. We always say that you can be as busy as you want to be here. Granted, to take advantage of a lot of these opportunities, you need some Spanish. But it’s a great chance to learn and practice your Spanish and to make some Tico friends. They will embrace you when you are in a class with them. We are still friends with many of the people in our dance class over 2 years ago. This is why we strongly recommend going to a language school like CPI or using a product like Visual Link Spanish while you are preparing for your move here. Speaking some Spanish will enhance your experience here so much by opening you up to new opportunities to learn, laugh, and grow.

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