One of the best ways to meet people and prepare yourself for San José nightlife is to take a few salsa lessons at one of the city’s many academias de baile. You don’t necessarily need a partner, and you can go with a friend or in a group. The tuition is serious, but the atmosphere is usually relaxed. The best classes in San José are at Bailes Latinos, in the Costa Rican Institute of Language and Latin Dance, Av 0, C 25/27 (t 2233-8938,); at Malecón, C 17/19, Av 2 (t 2222-3214); and at Merecumbé, which has various branches, the most central of which is in San Pedro (t 2224-3531).

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