Chapter 5: The Educational System in Costa Rica posted by on July 4, 2012
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The educational system inCosta Ricais the best inCentral America, and maintains first world standards in many instances, especially in the private schools and universities.

There are public and private universities as well, many of them excellent.

And, of course, there are the language institutes, which generally teach both English and Spanish.

The reasonCosta Rica’s public education system is so well developed is because whenCosta Ricagot rid of its army, it invested much of the savings into education.  As a rule, Costa Ricans value education, and they send their kids to school and have a very low drop out rate and a high literacy rate.

Lately, due to budgetary problems, there have been strains developing in the public education system, and this has given rise to a vigorous private school infrastructure with true world class education.

The public schools are on the S. American education calendar, which means that school is on vacation in January and February.  There is also a break at Easter time, and another large one in July that loosely corresponds to the local veranillo, or “little summer,” which is a break in the wet season where the weather reverts to dry season behavior for between 2-4 weeks.  This season can come at any time from mid June to mid July, so the school calendar doesn’t always hit this season with a bull’s eye.

Below you will find a list of private elementary and secondary schools, as well as a list of universities and language institutes.  We have not verified the information on these lists, so it is possible some of this information might be outdated.

If you own or manage a private school, university, or language school, and would like to upgrade your listing from the free one below, please contact us at our customers service email address at the bottom of the column on the left side of this page for further information.


Click on the link below to go to the section that interests you most.  Or, if you want to see it all, simply scroll down the page.

Grades K-12               Universities                Language Schools
Private Nursery, Elementary and Secondary Schools

  • American International School – Offers preschool through twelfth grade using materials and methodologies from the U.S. Includes a calendar and news.
  • British School – Accredited academic programmes for early years, primary and secondary. Includes admissions policy and fees.
  • Colegio Metodista – PreK-12 private school. Includes information about the pre-school, primary and high school, admissions and contact info.
  • Colegio Monterrey – Preschool through high school, private Christian school. Includes academics, services and activities, admission and registration procedures.
  • Country Day School – Private, English-language, non-sectarian school, providing education in grades PK-12. Located in Escazu.
  • CRA-AIS Alumni – Unofficial alumni association website for students and teachers ofCosta RicaAcademy andAmericanInternationalSchool. Includes information about class reunions, an alumni directory, photo gallery and forums.
  • European School – Accredited bilingual elementary and high school emphasizing the liberal Arts and the humanities. Includes school philosophy, curriculum info and after-school activities.
  • Fundacion Omar Dengo – A private, non-profit organization. Provides computer technologies, innovative educational programs and new learning environments to the country’s public elementary schools system.
  • Hermann Gmeiner SOS International High School – An international bacclaureate program from students from an orphanage program with sites throughoutLatin America. Describes academic program, admission, and student activities.Santa Ana. [English/Spanish]
  • Lincoln School – PreK-12. Provides information on curriculum, admissions, school activities, and staff. Located inMoravia.
  • Marian Baker School – Fully accredited elementary through high school academic program. Info on faculty and admissions.
  • Outward Bound High School – Tres Rios. Accredited English-language school offering academics and adventure activities. Information on curriculum and admissions.
  • Pan American School – Accredited, bilingual, privatePreSchool, Elementary, and High School. Curriculum and admissions information.
  • Rincon Educational – Providing educators, parents and children with learning products, school supplies and the services necessary to use them. Online ordering or visit one of three locations in theSan Jose area.
  • Saint Gregory School – PreK-12. Offers instruction in English and French. Provides general information on the school and the curriculum, with photos of student activities.
  • Pine Woods
    Ample space, modern and spacious classes, large green zones where children can live together in harmony with nature.   Its infrastructure is very good, with first class teachers willing to teach in a  sweet and charismatic way.  A bilingual school (Spanish – English) that uses excellent work material.   A good education doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, either, as it only costs around 50,000 colons per month per child..
    Founded on 1999, this year they offer from pre-school to Fifth grade, and will keep growing each year.   PINE WOODS is located inSanta Ana, 150 meters West and 350 meters South of the Red Cross. Telephone 203-1217
    1-HOME TWO  *****  :228 8674.  NEXT TO  SAN RAFAEL CHURCH .MRS  ANA
    2-LULEID:*****    289-9150. E MAIL   THEY HAVE
    3-KINDER PAPILLON   *****   289-5337  IN THE CENTER OF ESCAZU.
    4-COUNTRY DAY SCHOOL: ***** 2898406 .   CENTER
    5-SAINT MARY’S SCHOOL *****  2152133. E MAIL
  • New Summit Academy -Atenas,Costa Rica. Independent, year-round, therapeutic boarding school for boys age 15-18, withUS academic curriculum. Includes student profile, admissions information, program details, and photos.

Universities, Public and Private


CATIE – A research and education center with a focus on postgraduate studies in forestry and agroforestry. Information on the courses, library and research projects.

Earth University  – A private, international, non-profit university offering an education in agricultural sciences and natural resources. Map of the campus, student pages and admissions info.

INCAE – A private, non-profit, higher-education organization devoted to teaching and research endeavors in the fields of business and economics. Info about the campus, library and research center.

  • Organization for Tropical Studies  – A non-profit consortium of 63 universities and research institutions. Conducts graduate and undergraduate education, facilitates research, participates in tropical forest conservation, maintains three biological stations inCosta Rica and conducts environmental education programs.
  • Environmental Science and Policy Program – Offers professional training to individuals from public, private, and non-governmental sectors from a range of countries whose choices affect tropical nature and natural resources. Includes course details, tuition and brochure.
  • Graduate Program – Includes course details and costs, info about group field studies and independent research, post-course grant opportunities, application and orientation materials.
  • Journal of Tropical Biology – Includes archived articles and issues, author submissions, and subscription information.
  • La Selva Biological Station – Describes the location and history of the station. Includes info about ongoing research projects, species list, laboratory and meteorological data.
  • Las Cruces Biological Station – Description of the location and theWilsonBotanical Garden. Includes info about ongoing research projects, species list, laboratory and meteorological data.
  • Library and Information Resources – Includes catalogs and databases, newsletters, library hours and services.
  • Palo Verde Biological Station – Describes the location and principal habitats of the station. Includes info about ongoing research projects, species list and meteorological data.
  • Undergraduate Program – Semester and summer study-abroad programs, field studies in tropical biology and ethnobiology. Includes course details, tuition and fess, application and orientation materials.
  • Where the Exotic Meets the Academic – An article published in Duke Magazine about the biological stations and research efforts at the Organization for Tropical Studies.

Universidad de Costa Rica – UCRTranslate this page

UNIVERSIDAD DE COSTA RICA. Vida Estudiantil | Registro e Información | Portafolio … visita en la Universidad de Costa Rica.


Universidad del Dise̱o РDegrees in architecture and interior architecture. Information about the curriculum, faculty and students. In English and Spanish.


Universidad Latina de Costa Rica – A private university with 7 campuses. Undergraduate and graduate programs in various fields of study. Includes admission requirements and online course registration.


Universidad NacionalTranslate this page

Página principal de esta universidad pública situada en Heredia. … Fundación para el Desarrollo Académico de la Universidad Nacional



Universidad Veritas – University of art, design and architecture. Includes descriptions of the academic programs and info about the library, art galleries, computer and photography labs.


The University for Peace  – Graduate level studies and master’s degree programs in international law and peace. Includes information about the faculty, worldwide study programs, international news, and an online library resource.



Language Schools



  • AEC – Adventure Education Centers – Spanish lessons with afternoon and weekend activities. Campuses in Arenal, Dominical and Turrialba.
  • Amistad Institute -San Isidro. Spanish programs with options for activities, volunteers and internships. Also a camp for middle and high school student groups. Includes prices and contact information.
  • Centro Panamericano de Idiomas – CPI – Information on group programs, academic credit, teaching methods, and costs. Campuses in Heredia, Monteverde, andFlamingoBeach.
  • Combination Services – Professor Estela Gomez specializes in teaching Spanish as a second language. Offers customized classes at your place of business, focusing on vocabulary and conversation for professionals in the workplace, health and social services, and environmentalists.
  • COSI – Costa Rica Spanish Institute – Offers classes in San José and atManuelAntonioNational Park (beach and rain forest) on thePacificCoast. Airport pickup, optional homestays, email access, cultural activities.
  • Intercultura Costa Rica – Heredia and Samara campuses. Teaches in a warm yet intellectually challenging environment, using the Communicative Approach. Cultural activities allow opportunity to come to knowCosta Rica, its traditions and its rich cultural heritage.
  • IPAI Instituto Pacifico de Idiomas – Spanish courses in Heredia and Jaco with homestay option, surfing lessons and area tours. Also includes references and reservations.




For a complete report on homeschooling, visit our special site dedicated to this subject by clicking here.

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