International Schools in Costa Rica

Diploma and graduate hat - Fotolia

You will find below a list of the most popular international and bilingual schools for expats in Costa Rica with fee information. It includes nursery schools, primary and secondary (high) schools and you will find the right school to prepare for International Baccalaureate, and other diploma in Costa Rica. Some schools will follow the American or British curriculums with English speaking programs while others are regulated under the French or German education system.

Education in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is proud to have one of the most advanced and highest quality education systems in the region. The first president of Costa Rica, Jose Maria Castro, was a former teacher who made education in Costa Rica a priority. In 1869, Costa Rica became one of the first countries in the world to make education both free and obligatory. The country has a literacy rate of about 96%, one of the highest of all Latin American countries.

Education is generally free with every citizen obligated to receive education between the ages of 6 and 13 by law. Secondary education allows pupils to choose between academic (5 years) and technical (6 years) schools. The Ministry of Education is pushing for expanded programs of computer sciences and English as a second language (ESL). Costa Rican schools are in session from February to December, to coincide with the traditional coffee picking season, the year end festivals and the arrival of summer.

International Schools

International schools can be the perfect solution for an expat student (multinational corporation executives, children of diplomats, NGO staff) in Costa Rica. Schools are often located in the Central Valley and cater to an international student body. Schools usually follow a curriculum model from the US, UK, France, Canada or Australia/New Zealand. Primary instruction may be any language (and multiple languages are usually taught), but it is usually in English, French, German, or Japanese. Many schools provide similar standards of schooling around the globe, providing for an easy transition between schools whether they are in France or Vietnam. Schools also provide internationally accepted accreditation such as the international baccalaureate.

Admission and enrollment procedures vary from school to school. Space is often limited and preference may be given to students based on nationality. Tuition tends to be expensive based on local standards, but offer high standards of learning, boast smaller class sizes, first-rate facilities, and extracurricular. Schools can cost as little as $150 per month and as much as $6,000 per year, plus books, uniforms, and extracurricular. Boarding facilities are available at some schools, but most only provide day classes.


The CoIS (Council of International Schools) is a non-profit association of international schools and post-secondary institutions which provides educational accreditation, teacher and leadership recruitment services, links to higher education, governance assistance and help with founding new schools. Quality Schools International (QSI) is a group of non-profit international schools offering education in the English language, in a number of countries in Europe, Asia, and South America. Southern Association of Colleges and School (SACS) is an American schools abroad membership organization. The Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) accredits Christian schools worldwide.

San Jose

American International School of Costa Rica (AIS)
Address: Bosques de Dona Rosa, Ciudad Cariari
La Asuncion de Belen, Heredia, Costa Rica
Tel: (506) 2293-2567
Tuition Rates: $4,080 - 8,420 per year

Dual language (English-Spanish) language school with many extracurricular programs. Caters to children from pre-school to 12th grade. Beginning in ninth grade, students prepare for the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT), SAT Reasoning Test and Advanced Placement (AP) Tests. Provides the U.S. High School Diploma, Advanced Placement courses, and the Costa Rican Baccalaureate (MEP).

Country Day School (CDS)
Address: San Rafael de Alajuela, Route 27, Km. 17.5
Alajuela, Costa Rica, Central America
Tel: (506) 2289 - 0919
Tuition Rates: $7.000-$16,500

This Nord Anglia Education School, is a private, coeducational, non-sectarian college preparatory school and Costa Rica's original American School serving the international community and local families for more than 55 years. With 800 students from Pre-Kinder to High School from over 35 nations, our mission is to inspire a passion for learning and provide children with the skills, values, and courage to become responsible leaders in our community and the world. The language of instruction is English, and Spanish is taught as a second language to all students. The school year extends from mid-August to early-June.

Marian Baker School (MBS)
Address: San Ramon de Tres Rios
4269-1000 San Jose, Costa Rica
Tel: (506)2273-0024
Tuition Rates: Inquire at school

Marian Baker School was founded in 1984 as a privately owned K-12 school. It is a co-educational school with curriculum adhering to the United States system. MBS is accredited by the Costa Rican Ministry of Education and the SACS.

United World College Costa Rica (UWC)
Address: P.O. Box 678-6150
San José, Costa Rica
Tel: (506) 2282-5609
Tuition Rates: Inquire at school

Part of the UWC network, this non-profit organization works with students between 16 and 19 years of age. Students must be chosen, and are selected from around the world. Scholarships are available.

Lincoln School
Address: Barrio Socorro
San Miguel, Santo Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica
Tel: (506) 2247-6600
Tuition Rates: Inquire at school

Opened in 1945, this non-profit school was started by Costa Rican parents and US immigrants. It provides a bi-cultural and bilingual (Spanish-English) education for students from pre-school to 12th grade. It is governed by an elected Board of Directors, where parents are encouraged to participate actively. The school is recognized and supported by the Office of Overseas Schools, and the U.S. Department of State. The school is fully accredited by the IB program, SACS, and the Ministry of Public Education of Costa Rica (MEP). It offers three full diploma programs: USA High School Diploma, International Baccalaureate Diploma, and the Costa Rican Diploma.

Lighthouse International School
Address: 1 km North of the Guachipelín tunnel
127-1255 Escazú, San José, Costa Rica
Tel: (506) 2215-2393
Tuition Rates: $389 - 674 per month; $4,590 - 7,953 per year

Independent, college preparatory school with a Christ-centered curriculum. Classes are primarily taught in English, with some subjects taught in Spanish. The school runs from pre-kindergarten to 9th grade. A uniform is required.

Tree of Life International School Costa Rica
Address: 150 metros north of Mas X Menos, 75 meters east on Calle Margarita, or 75 meters west of Condominio Montesol
Santa Ana, Costa Rica
Tel: (506) 8333-0063
Tuition Rates: Inquire at school

School for students from 6 months to Grade 6. Instruction is in English, Spanish and Mandarin with curriculum is based on the Christain religion.

International Christian School (ICS)
Address: San Miguel de Santo Domingo, Costa Rica
Tel: (506) 22411445
Tuition Rates: Inquire at school

Private, college-preparatory school with Christian-based curriculum. Instruction is in English with some classes in Spanish. The school follows a stateside schedule: classes are in session from mid-August until mid-December and from mid - January until the end of May. The school is recognized by the (ACSI) and the Costa Rican Ministry of Education. Students may choose whether they want to be listed with the Ministry of Education and/or to receive credits as for any school in the United State.

Lakeside International School
Address: 2 km West of the Total Gas Station in Comunidad
Tablazo De Sardinal, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Tel: (506) 2667-0066
Tuition Rates: $1,800 - 4,560 per year

A bilingual (English/Spanish) international school for local and overseas students aged 3 through 18.

Blue Valley School
Address: San Rafael, Costa Rica
Tel: 506-2215-2203
Tuition Rates: Inquire at school

Provides classes from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade. Classes are taught in English, and Spanish is offered at an additional fee with private tutors. The school runs on both the Costa Rican and the United States calendar and offers the IB and the MEP (National Baccalaureate), but does not offer the United States Diploma.

Anglo American School
Address: Concepcion 3
Costa Rica
Tel: (506) 2279-2626
Tuition Rates: $300 per month

Established in 1949, there is a preschool, elementary and secondary school with bilingual curriculum.

European School
Address: P.O. Box 177
Heredia, Costa Rica
Tel: (506)2261-0717
Tuition Rates: Inquire at school

Founded in 1989, the school is bilingual in English and Spanish. The school is accredited by Costa Rica's Ministry of Public Education as well as by the IB Organization. The school runs from July to late June, breaking every nine to ten weeks for short vacations.

Colegio Saint Benedict
Address: La Colina de Curridabat
Costa Rica
Tel: (506)2276-76-39
Tuition Rates: Inquire at school

Instruction is in Spanish with English classes. The school has a preschool, primary and secondary.

The British School of Costa Rica
Address: From the end of the Rohrmoser Boulevard, 125 m North (P.O. Box 8184)
Santa Catalina, San Jose 010109, Costa Rica
Tel: (506) 2220 0131
Tuition Rates: Inquire at school

The British School of Costa Rica is an independent International school from years 1 (4.5 years) up to Year 13 (12th Grade). It operates on the Costa Rican calendar with classes are taught in English. ESL and SSL are offered only at the primary level. Eighty-five percent of the student body is native Costa Ricans while the remainder is made up of Latin Americans from other countries. Provides International Primary Curriculum, the International Certificate of Education, and the (IB) International Baccalaureate.

Pan American School
Address: 300 mts south El Rodeo Restaurant (P.O. Box 632-4005 )
Radial Santa Ana, Behind The Tribu Building, San Antonio de Belén, Heredia, Costa Rica
Tel: (506) 2293-7393
Tuition Rates: Inquire at school

The school was founded in 1991 by a group of parents. The curriculum adheres to the requirements of the Costa Rican Ministry of Education. The high school comprises grades 8-11, and runs from February to December.

French schools in San Jose

Lycée Franco Costaricien
Address: De la casa de Don José Figueres, 4.5 Km. Noreste,
carretera a Concepción de Tres Ríos
Tel: 506 2273 -6373
Tuition Rates: 1,358 - 1,474 euros per year

The school was founded in 1967 by the governments of France and Costa Rica. A bilingual school (French-Spanish) with curriculum is approved by the French Ministry of Education.

German School in San Jose

Franz Liszt Schule
Address: 800 meters south of the service station Hnos Montes
Santa Ana, Costa Rica
Tel: (506) 2282 6512
Tuition Rates: Inquire at school

There is a preescolar level at the Kiwi Learning Centre, and Primaria and Secundaria levels at the schule. The school offers bilingual curriculum in Spanish and German. It is partnered with the official curriculum to Germany.

Golden Valley School
Address: San Francisco de San Isidro de Heredia
del lubricentro 800 metros sur oeste, Costa Rica
Tel: (506) 2268-9114
Tuition Rates: Inquire at school

This bilingual (German/Spanish) school offers montessori, primaria, and secundaria. It is a member of Schulen: Partner der Zukunft (Schools: Partners of the Future), a program from the German government that is designed to effectively spread the teaching of the German language around the world. Students begin receiving German language lessons in early elementary school. In middle school, German is considered a core subject area and all students take year-long courses in German during sixth through eighth grades. In high school, all students are required to take at least four core courses in German, and many additional elective courses are available. By the completion of middle school, all of the students take the A1 exam to certify their fluency in the German language. High school students have the opportunity to take additional exams for certification, including the US College Board's Advanced Placement Exam, which earns them international college credit, that is recognized by hundreds of universities around the world.

Colegio Humboldt
Address: San José, Costa Rica
Tel: (506) 22321455
Tuition Rates: Inquire at school

Instruction is in German, Spanish, and English. There is a kindergarten, Primaria and Secundaria. Curriculum is supported by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.


Falcon International School (FIS)
Address: diagonal to the entrance of Los Sueños Resort and Marina
Herradura Beach, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Tel: 506-2637-7400
Tuition Rates: $3,950 - $6,250 per year

Multi-language school caters to early childhood through twelfth grade. Falcon is fully accredited by the Costa Rican Ministry of Education and follows US curriculum.

Peace Academy Cost Rica
Address: Eljardin Commercial Centre #8, Jaco, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Tel: 506-8682-4475
Tuition Rates: $2000-$6000 depending on chosen program and grade level.

Peace Academy Costa Rica (PACR)'s goal is to help students meet the learning benchmarks for their grade, through self directed learning supported by highly qualified teachers and instructors.