Fourth in a series on traveling with a mission in Costa Rica by Doris Gallan.
One of the fastest ways for Baby Boomers to immerse themselves in the culture of Costa Rica is to come here to learn a new skill or improve on an existing one. People often find, as they grow older, that laying on a beach for a couple of weeks isn’t enough to make a vacation with your family or friends memorable. That’s why so many register for classes when they go away in order to make the time rewarding as well as relaxing. Come to this Central American country and enjoy beautiful beaches, forests and jungles where you can do some wildlife spotting!
Language schools are often located in picturesque towns that attract North Americans and Europeans of all ages as they understand the irresistibly of speaking the local lingo to people lucky enough to live there. Some people come here to learn Tico cooking, dancing, a new sport, meditation, yoga, how to build houses and many other fun and interesting skills.
Language schools in the capital and outlying cities offer more than the opportunity to learn a long list of words and far too many verbs to conjugate: they provide an opportunity to gain insight in the music, food, dance, sports and politics of the place. Discussions in the classrooms, visits to museums, social evenings with students of English and practicing your new Spanish skills open up the world in ways that are forever closed to those who don’t attempt to learn the language. A quick on line search of Spanish-language schools in Costa Rica will produce a list of private institutions in pretty well all locations where travelers are present.
Many language schools offer cooking classes, usually at little extra cost. You get to learn from locals how to make the national dish of Gallo Pinto (rice and beans) as well as other delicacies that reflect locally available ingredients such as fresh produce and fish. Your schools might also offer dancing classes – usually salsa – which can be useful when going out to the clubs and bars with Ticos.
The opportunities to learn new sports or improve on your existing technique abound in Costa Rica. You can go rock climbing, hiking and white-water rafting or improve your survival skills in mountains covered in cloud forests. Surf camps or individual by-the-hour lessons are available at Tamarindo and other coastal locations as are snorkeling and diving.
More tranquil pursuits such as meditation and yoga are offered at many spas and retreats in both the mountains and by the ocean shore. There are wellness centers, yoga farms and institutes, classes in the cities and towns as well as schools which combine learning about holistic medicine with improving your frame of mind.
International organizations such as Habitat for Humanity offer the chance to learn to build homes in under served communities while dozens of organizations will teach you to grow organic produce, preserve habitat, save animals and teach English for a donation that helps them do more good work.
There is no shortage of learning opportunities in Costa Rica that can make your holiday more rewarding. You’ll go home rested from being in a different environment and on a different schedule, plus you’ll have some new skills, new friends and new experiences to look back on.
- Baby Boomer: Traveling With a Mission I
- Baby Boomer: Traveling With a Mission II
- Baby Boomer Traveling: With a Mission III
- Baby Boomer: Traveling With a Mission IV
Doris is a Baby Boomer living in Costa Rica. She and her husband traveled around the world for 26 months visiting 40 countries on six continents (including Antarctica). You can read more about their travels and get travel tips at www.dorisgallan.com. Follow Doris on twitter @dorisgallan.