Costa Rican Traditions: Cooking Lessons & Folkloric Dance Classes

Programs for this blog post

Climate Change Mitigation

Authored By:

Anna Lewis

Some of our favorite activities throughout our time on campus are the cultural experiences we get to partake in with our Center Staff and local friends. Two of these activities include cooking classes from our beloved kitchen staff and folkloric dance lessons. 

In cooking class, Climate Change Mitigation students learned how to make homemade bean and cheese empanadas. Our kitchen staff worked with the students to teach the step-by-step process and answer any of their questions. Half of the students were tasked with the very important job of making the guacamole for topping the empanadas, while the other half worked diligently on forming the dough, adding the filling ingredients, and sealing the empanadas closed for cooking. Straight into a pot of boiling oil they went, where they cooked for just a few minutes on both sides before being taken out and laid in a tray to cool. Students were able to participate in each step of the process. Empanadas are a traditional staple in many Latin American countries, and here at CIEE Monteverde campus, they are a common part of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, or as just a simple afternoon snack. While practicing the artistic skill of creating our empanadas was fun, the reward of eating them warm out of the pot was even better! 

The folkloric dance classes were another exciting afternoon activity that we were able to participate in this week. The dance teachers began by performing to several traditional songs, where each of the lyrics had a specific story to tell and corresponding movement of the traditional dress. These dances have been part of Costa Rican culture for centuries, developing and changing over time due to various outside influence. Some of these folkloric dances are influenced from European, namely Spanish, and African traditions, as well as some aspects of indigenous culture pre-dating Aztec and Incan times. These traditions live on today to tell the story of Costa Rica’s history and its people. We were so grateful to share this beautiful experience as a chance to learn more about the host country we are staying in.