When you travel to Costa Rica, exploring the country and immersing yourself in the culture is paramount. One important aspect of the culture is dance. Children are taught from a young age the dance steps for many of the common and traditional dances. Modern options are available in the discos, but traditional dances play a big part in Costa Rican life.
There are four major kinds of dance in Costa Rica:
- Salsa. Salsa dance was popularized in Cuba. It consists of quick steps and sensual movements all to a fast beat. The rhythm is a three-step that is danced over a four beat measure. The man leads in this dance, completing spins and complicated steps.
- Merengue. Merengue is one of the most popular types of music to which to dance. Fast footwork and swaying hips make this dance with a two-step beat look amazing. It is a tight dance, with couples sticking in a tight circle, while the man leads.
- Cumbia. Cumbia dance takes on a more tropical beat. Originating from Columbia, this dance has a 4/4 rhythm made up of mostly drums and percussion. However, Costa Ricans have made this dance their own with fancy footwork and hopping moves borrowed from jive and swing style dance.
- Folk Dance. Traditional folkloric dances are popular at festivals and parades. Each dance tells a different story with complex dance steps and colorful costumes. The Punto Guanacasteco is one of the most popular dances of this type in Costa Rica.