Private Schools in Costa Rica: Part 2, List of Options

In a recent post, we gave some background on private schools in Costa Rica. We explained about the different types of accreditations, options for types of schools, costs, and the school calendar. You can find that post here. In this article, we’re giving a list of specific private schools by region in Costa Rica to help narrow your search.

Private School Options Costa Rica

Overview

Most private schools in Costa Rica are located in the Central Valley. This is a mountainous region located in the center of the country near the capital, San Jose. It’s a huge area with a lot of variety. In and around San Jose is urban and busy, while smaller communities farther from the city are quiet and peaceful. You can learn more about the Central Valley and its different towns here.

There are private schools in other areas of Costa Rica as well.

Guanacaste on the northern Pacific coast has several options for international schools near the beach. The central Pacific coast also has a few options for private schools as does the southern Pacific. More private schools are scattered around the Nicoya Peninsula and inland in places like the Monteverde cloud forest.

Playa Ventanas Uvita
One of the many beautiful beaches along the southern Pacific coast

Helpful Information

Accreditation: Most schools are accredited by the Costa Rica Ministry of Public Education (MEP) and/or are international.

12th Grade: High school in Costa Rica only goes up to 11th grade. International schools go up to 12th grade. Some MEP schools have an International Baccalaureate (IB) program for 10th and 11th grade that allows students to graduate with an IB diploma.

School Calendar: Most private schools follow either the Costa Rica calendar (approx. early February to late November/early December) or the US calendar (late August to June).

Wait Lists: Some popular schools have wait lists so it’s best to enroll as early as possible.

Prices: Prices for schools vary greatly. We have done our best to include general pricing, when available.

Private Schools in Costa Rica by Region

We have gathered this list based on what we have learned living in Costa Rica and having kids in private schools here. We have probably missed some options. If you have a school to recommend, leave us a comment below.

Central Valley

Atenas

Atenas Green Valley School – Preschool through high school (up to 11th grade). Bilingual. Offers after-school care. Follows Costa Rica curriculum (Ministry of Public Education/MEP accredited). Uses the Costa Rica calendar. Mix of English and Spanish for classes.

Atenas Preschool and Escuela Colina Azul – Preschool through 6th grade. MEP accredited. Founded by a Montessori teacher. Mostly in Spanish.

Escazu

Arandu School – Bilingual, Christian school that offers preschool through secondary. MEP accredited. Most of curriculum is taught in English. 3 pillars: academics, art, and relationship with God. Preschool is Montessori-based. Follows Costa Rica calendar.

Bellelli Educacion – Accepts students from 10 months to 4th grade. Purpose is to facilitate humanized learning to create a well-being society. 3 pillars: community, nature, and play. MEP accredited. Has locations in Escazu and Santa Ana. Follows US calendar.

Blue Valley School – International school that offers an American curriculum with an emphasis on Costa Rican culture and Spanish. Preschool (Montessori) through secondary. Also offers an IB program. Accredited by MEP and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Around $800-1,200/month.

Country Day School – Well-known international school teaching US curriculum (in English – Spanish is taught as a subject). Also MEP accredited. Pre-K through 12th grade. Founded in 1963. Average class size: 16-18. Has a performing arts program with the Julliard School. Has a STEAM program (teachers attend MIT for training). Offers 20 Advanced Placement (AP) classes. One-time entrance fee: $2,500. One-time family fee: $1,000. Annual matriculation fee: $1,250. Annual tuition: Preschool (full day) – around $11,000-13,000; Grades 1-12 – around $17,000-18,000.

Country Day School Logo

International Royal School Bilingual. Class sizes limited to 12 students. Emphasis on language learning. MEP accredited. Follows Costa Rica calendar. Around $400/month.

Mount View School – Preschool through high school. MEP accredited. Has an IB program. Bilingual. Educational program is based on Christian, moral, and ethical values. Mandarin is taught in primary school and French in secondary. Swimming classes offered in preschool through second grade.

St. Mary School Catholic, bilingual school offering preschool through 11th grade with IB program. MEP accredited. Three pillars are heart, mind, and spirit. $200-600 annual matriculation fee, $350-750/month.

Washington School – Preschool through secondary school. Has adopted US high school standards but is MEP accredited. Uses the Thought-Based Learning (TBL) methodology.

Grecia

ABC Educational Center – Preschool (including nursery), elementary, and secondary school. Focuses on neuroeducation (teaching based on brain function to optimize learning process). MEP accredited. Teaches some classes in English and others in Spanish. Offers after-school care. Annual matriculation fee: $250-300. Monthly tuition: $240-280.

Heredia

American International School of Costa Rica – Preschool through 12th grade. US and MEP accredited. Offers Advanced Placement (AP) classes. Small school environment (average class size: 13). Aims to offer a high-quality education along with multicultural soft skills. Has soccer, basketball, and volleyball teams (high school only), as well as many after-school clubs. Follows US calendar. Located in Cariari.

Caspari Montessori School – Montessori-philosophy school that integrates the standards of MEP. Bilingual. Takes kids from 3 months to 6th grade.

European School – K-12 international and MEP school. Offers the IB program. Emphasizes liberal arts and the humanities. Offers many after-school clubs. Calendar: Late July to late June. $7,500-13,000 per year, plus $550 annual fee that covers books, lunch, field trips, etc.

International Christian School Preschool through 11th grade. MEP accredited.

Lincoln School – Pre-K through 12th grade. US and MEP accredited. Follow US calendar. Offers an entrepreneurship program through the Lewis Institute at Babson College (US). Offers 15+ IB courses. Has 6 varsity teams. One-time new student fee of $2,000. Annual enrollment fee of $50. Monthly tuition: Around $600-1,100 (less expensive for preschool).

Lincoln School Costa Rica

Pan American School – Primary through secondary school. MEP and US accredited. Offers the IB program. Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Bilingual. Emphasizes learning, community, and sustainability. Around 30% international students. Average class size: 16.

Moravia

Saint Anthony SchoolNursery through secondary school. Pillars are trilingual (Spanish, English, French), technology, ranking, and safe environment. MEP accredited. Follows Costa Rica calendar.

Saint Joseph School – Preschool through secondary school. MEP accredited. Spanish, English, French, and German offered. Teaches, among other things, programming and robotics; uses technology in learning. Has a cheerleading program (they were world champs in 2020).

Pavas (San Jose)

British SchoolPreschool through grade 12. Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, MEP, and the University of Cambridge for various programs. Offers the Cambridge IGCSE program and IB program for secondary school. For primary school, it uses the International Primary Curriculum (IPC), developed by Fieldwork Education UK. Follows Costa Rica calendar. One-time enrollment fee: $1,000. Monthly tuition: $500-1,000. Annual matriculation fee: $500-1,000. Does not accept students for short-term stays. Maximum of 22 students per class.

Colegio Humboldt Schule (German School) – Preschool through Abitur (German diploma). Many courses are taught in German. $1,000 one-time enrollment fee. Annual matriculation fee of around $700. Monthly fee of around $700.

San Pedro (San Jose)

Monterrey Christian SchoolPreschool through 11th grade. MEP accredited. Curriculum is guided by biblical values.

Santa Ana

Franz Liszt SchulePreschool through secondary. German program and IB accreditation. Trilingual education (Spanish, English, German) and emphasizes music. School calendar starts in February.

Tree of Life International School – Montessori-based school offering preschool through high school. MEP and Cambridge accredited. The school started as a way to offer an alternative to traditional schools. Mixed age classrooms. Project-based. Students learn English, Spanish, and Mandarin.  

Tres Rios (Cartago)

Le Lycée Franco-CostaricienFrench school that offers preschool through secondary. Accredited by the MEP and Agency for French Education Abroad.

Marian Baker School – Preschool (starting at age 2) through high school. US, MEP, and IB accredited. Follows US calendar. A smaller school. Classes taught predominately in English. Has a STEAM program and visual and performing arts classes. Around $1,200/month.

Marian Baker School Logo

St. Gregory – Preschool through 11th grade. Super babies program for ages 0-2. MEP accredited. Follows Costa Rica calendar. Has an IB diploma program and exchange programs with the US, France, and England. Emphasizes academics, sports, and art.

Guanacaste

Tamarindo Area

Costa Rica International Academy (CRIA) – Popular school that offers nursery through 12th grade (ages 2-18). Internationally accredited and MEP. Emphasis on college prep. Offers a US high school diploma and Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Bilingual (Spanish is taught as a subject). Affiliated with the Country Day School in San Jose. Follows US calendar. Student-to-teacher ratio: 10:1. Average class size: 18. Has a STEM lab, science lab, art and music suites, swimming pool, and library. Offers 45+ after-school activities. Has 360 students (2022). $1,000 annual tuition fee deposit. $1,000-1,800 one-time new student matriculation fee. Tuition is $7,400-10,175/year. Located in Brasilito.

CRIA Logo

EducartePreschool through 11th grade. Trilingual (Spanish, English, and French). Follows US calendar. Offers after-school care. Annual matriculation fee: $400-550. Annual tuition: $4,136-5,452.

Flourish Children’s School – Christian, dual-language preschool and primary school (ages 2-10). Classes capped at 10 students. Offers flexible schedules (preschool classrooms have 2, 3, or 5 day options) as well as half and full days. Has five classrooms (ages 2-3, 4-5, 5-6, 7-8, and 9-10). Preschool monthly cost: 5 days/week is $520 for full days or $480 for half days. Primary school monthly cost: 5 days/week is $600. $100 registration fee.

IREN Instituto Renacimiento – Project-based bilingual school intended to be an alternative to traditional schools. Ages 3-17. MEP accredited. High school students can get a US GED. Located on Black Stallion’s ecopark near Tamarindo.

Journey School of Costa Rica – Preschool through high school. Accepts kids ages 0-18. Accredited by MEP and offers US diploma through Cognia and IB diploma. Has 200+ students. Project-based. Uses Conscious Discipline model, which emphasizes developing social and emotional skills. Follows US calendar. One-time enrollment fee of $560. Around $8,000/year.

La Paz Community School – Popular school offering Pre-K through 12th grade. IB accredited. Dual language – 50% of time spent in both English and Spanish. Follows US calendar. Founded to bridge socioeconomic gaps in the region. Community-based. Has two locations – one in Brasilito near Tamarindo and another in Tempisque (near Playas del Coco/Playa Hermosa). Grades using portfolio-based assessment and Bloom’s Taxonomy (0-4 scale). Has 330 students (2022). $6,075-10,160/year. $750 annual matriculation fee. $1,500-2,500 one-time new student fee. Offers a need-based scholarship program for local families.

La Paz School Logo

Launch Pad – $3,000/year. MEP accredited.

Outside the Box – K-5 program (ages 5-10). Alternative to traditional schooling. Montessori, project-based, unschooling, dual language. Follows US calendar. Offers extracurricular activities (art, music, creative writing, STEAM, sustainability club, math, and English tutoring). Located in Brasilito.

Pacific Waldorf School – Pre-K through 6th grade (ages 3-12). Bilingual. Classrooms set in nature. Structured main lesson alternating between English and Spanish. Offers lessons in French and German as well as swimming, gardening, painting, drawing, knitting, physical education, music, etc.

Tide Academy – Preschool through high school. An alternative schooling system for families with non-traditional lives. Has accreditation through two schools in the US (one in Maine and one in California). Follows US calendar. Flexible academic schedule. Allows kids to come and go. Small classroom sizes. Offers daycare. Has a surf academy. $4,600-5,500/year. $600 registration fee. $300 materials fee. Located in Tamarindo.

Playas del Coco/Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste) Area

Dolphins Academy School – Preschool (age 1.5) through high school (11th grade). MEP accredited. Follows national curriculum with international influence. Follows Costa Rica calendar. Bilingual.

Lakeside International School – Preschool (age 3) through high school (12th grade). MEP accredited (unclear if has an international accreditation). Follows Costa Rica calendar. Bilingual. Small class sizes. Holistic approach to teaching. $225-460 enrollment fee. $2,700-5,520 annual tuition.

La Paz Community School – Has a location in Tempisque. See full description in Tamarindo section, above.

Samara

Mareas Academy – Preschool through high school (ages 2-18). MEP and international school (accredited by a school in Florida, US). Follow Costa Rica standards for Spanish language & literature, and Spanish social studies, and US standards for everything else. Bilingual. Interactive teaching style. Uses a non-traditional learning approach. Small class size (limited to 15 students). Must attend for a full year to receive official transcript/credit. Calendar: Early November to end of August. $2,200-6,920/year.

Samara Pacific School – Mission: To offer a comprehensive multilingual education and stimulate the potential of each student to become responsible, entrepreneurial, positive, open-minded citizens with excellent academic backgrounds and strong ethical values, committed to having a positive impact on the world around them.

Southern Nicoya Peninsula

Montezuma Area

Futuro Verde – Preschool (starting at age 3) through 12th grade. Bilingual international school. MEP accredited and offers an IB program. Inquiry-based learning. Has around 230 students. Average class size: 18. Student population is around 70% Costa Rican, 30% foreigners. Follows US calendar. One-time New Family Fee: $500-920. Enrollment Fee: Around $620. Monthly Tuition: $400-600.

Futuro Verde Logo

Santa Teresa

Hermosa Valley School – Preschool through high school. MEP accredited. Maximum of 20 students per class. Clubs include soccer, ballet, swimming, surfing, basketball, French, choir, art, yoga, and circus. Annual matriculation: $400-515. Monthly tuition: $400-525.

Central Pacific Coast

Jaco Area

Centro Educativo Bilingüe Inmaculada Jacó – Preschool through secondary. MEP accredited. Traditional school. Bilingual. Has a computer lab, audiovisual rooms, a gym, and swimming pool. Located in the center of Jaco.

Ficus Tree School – Preschool through 6th grade (plans to offer a high school program for 2023). MEP accredited. Costa Rica calendar. Bilingual. Located in Playa Hermosa.

Jaco Learning Center – Pre-K to 8th grade. No longer offers school accreditation. Vision: Collective education for peace, justice, and social harmony. Strives for a creative and responsive learning community. School Calendar: Late July to early July with several weeks off intermittently. No uniform. $275 annual matriculation fee. Tuition is $300-460/month.

Las Nubes School – Preschool to high school (11th grade) (ages 2-17). Traditional school, MEP accredited with emphasis on developing students for national or international university. Bilingual. Offers after-school clubs (soccer, art, dance, karate). Has robotics, farm, life skills, and swim class at on-site pool. Around 200 students. 80% Costa Rican, 20% international. Class size limited to 18 students. Follows Costa Rica calendar. Annual matriculation fee: Around $550-600. Monthly tuition: Around $400-450/month. Located in Herradura.

Las Nubes Logo

Manuel Antonio/Quepos Area

Colegio Ecoturístico del Pacífico Preschool through 11th grade. MEP accredited. Strong ecological values.

Sistema Educativo Los Delfines – Preschool (starting at age 3) through secondary (11th grade). MEP accredited. Traditional school. Follows Costa Rica calendar. Has two swimming pools and a computer lab. Annual matriculation fee: Around $260-420. Monthly tuition: Around $250-320. Located in Paquita.

Southern Pacific Coast (Uvita/Dominical/Ojochal)

Casa del Nino (Uvita Montessori School) – Offers three programs: toddler (ages 18 months to 3 years old), primary (3-6 years old), and elementary (6-12 years old). Bilingual. Montessori-based – aims to address the whole child academically, emotionally, and socially. Located in Uvita.

Centro Educativo Costa Ballena (Escuela Verde) – Offers preschool through 12th grade. MEP accredited. Bilingual. Follows Costa Rica calendar. Has around 140 students. Visiting students welcome to come for a minimum of one trimester. Goal is to have half of students be Costa Rican. Offers after-school activities (e.g., basketball, English (English as a Foreign Language), French, art, Pilates, swim, surfing, and gymnastics). Located in Uvita.

Escuela Verde Logo

Life Project Education – Non-traditional school offering Pre-K to 7th grade. Bilingual, family-centered holistic education center for local and traveling families. Project-based learning. No uniforms. Not MEP accredited but offers US WASC-accreditation through their partnership with Global Village School in California. Located in Ojochal.

Uvita Christian Academy – Pre-K (age 3) through 12th grade. MEP and US accredited. Bilingual Christian school. Emphasis on sustainability. Follows Costa Rica calendar. Allows students to attend for only part of the year. Grades 1-8 take a placement test.

Trebol – Small, bilingual Montessori school for ages 3-6. Located in Uvita.

La Fortuna/Arenal Area

Cataplinkis Center Preschool through 1st grade. Bilingual. Offers after-school activities. Located in downtown La Fortuna.

Green Forest School – Preschool through secondary school. Bilingual. MEP accredited. Follows Costa Rica calendar. Maximum class size: 14 students. Located near Ciudad Quesada.

Monteverde

Cloud Forest School / Centro de Educación Creativa – Pre-K through 6th grade (minimum age: 4). Bilingual. MEP accredited. 85% of students are Costa Rican, 15% international. Emphasizes sustainability. Accepts part-time students but for a commitment of at least one full semester. School calendar: August to May. Fees for students from outside Monteverde: $200 registration fee. Annual tuition: $6,250 for Pre-K and Kinder, $7,000 for Preparatory, $10,000 for 1st through 6th grade.

Monteverde Friends School – Well-known Quaker school. Promotes the universal values of peace, love, and respect. Preschool (starting at age 3) through secondary (12th grade). MEP accredited. Bilingual. Uses mixed grade classrooms. Kindergarten is Montessori-based. Around $220-400/month.

Friends School Logo

Perez Zeledon/San Isidro de El General (Mountains of Southern Zone)

Escuela La Asuncion – Catholic school offering preschool through secondary. MEP accredited. Follows Costa Rica calendar.

Escuela y Colegio El Valle – Preschool (starting at age 3) through 11th grade. MEP accredited. Follows Costa Rican calendar. Traditional school; academically driven. Has a library, technology lab, and science lab. Offers many extracurricular activities, including badminton, basketball, soccer, art, gym, robotics, photography, and anatomy.

Fray Felipe – Preschool (starting at age 2) and primary (through 6th grade). Classes are taught in half Spanish, half English. MEP accredited. Follows Costa Rica calendar.

RISEWaldorf school that accepts children ages 4-12. Focuses on experiential learning. Community-based. School building designed to fit into the natural environment. Part of a new alternative-lifestyle residential community outside San Isidro de El General.

Victory Christian Academy – Offers a biblical and Christian education. Bilingual. Affiliated with Uvita Christian Academy. Follows Costa Rica calendar.

Southern Caribbean Coast (Puerto Viejo de Talamanca and Cahuita)

Centro Educativo Complementaria Cahuita – Preschool through 11th grade. MEP accredited. Emphasis on independent thought in learning. Maximum class size: 15 students. Has a biology/chemistry laboratory and a computer lab.

Centro Educativo Playa Chiquita – Preparatory through 6th grade (ages 5-11). MEP accredited. Follows Costa Rica calendar. Holistic learning. Annual matriculation: Around $150. Monthly tuition: Around $275.

Jardín Infantil Las Semillas Preschool for ages 2-6. Located in Playa Chiquita.

Other Miscellaneous Towns

San Mateo (near Orotina)

Casa Sula – Offers an unconventional learning style based on Montessori method. Located in La Ecovilla development in San Mateo. Accepts children ages 3-9. Children older than 9 are considered on an individual basis, depending on educational history. Enrollment fee: $600-650. Monthly tuition: $520-620/month (includes snacks and lunch).

Casa Sula Logo

Journey School of Costa Rica – New branch of the Journey School (other locations are in Tamarindo and Arizona, US). Pre-K through 12th grade. Outdoor learning classroom. Emphasizes sustainability and agriculture. Community-based. Located between the Ecovilla and Alegria developments. Annual matriculation: $550. Materials: $550. Annual Tuition: $5,940.

Conclusion

As you can see, Costa Rica has a lot of choices for private schools. From French and German schools to Christian and international schools, there’s something for everyone. We hope that this list has helped narrow your search.

For more general information about private schools, check out our first post in this series.

Have a question about private schools in Costa Rica or have experience with a specific school? Leave a comment below.

Looking for more information to plan your move to Costa Rica? Here are some posts:

Moving to Costa Rica with Kids: Best places to live, visas, information on medical care, cultural differences, and more.

Costa Rica’s Digital Nomad Visa: All about the new digital nomad visa, which lets you stay in Costa Rica up to two years.

Buying a House in Costa Rica: Details about the process of buying real estate.

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