Local Area School Information

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In this area, which spans the North Pacific Coast from Hacienda Pinilla to Flamingo/Portrero, and includes Tamarindo, Brasilito, and Playa Grande; there are more than five schools catering primarily to the more than 1000 expatriate kids who live in the area.   Your children will have friends all over the world.

As far as activities go, there are many options to choose from.  There is a professional dance studio in Huacas catering to all ages and abilities, offering 3-4 hours of various classes every night.  In that same building, there is a jiu-jitsu studio for ages 4-99 and a music studio offering lessons for toddlers up to professionals in piano, guitar, saxophone, drums, and voice.   Most local schools offer soccer, basketball, volleyball, swimming, and gymnastics.  You will find a strong community children's theater program that puts on 2 performances a year.  It is as good as any that exists elsewhere.  Other activities available are lacrosse, football, surfing, boogie boarding, kayaking, paddle boarding, kite surfing, jet skiing, dance (salsa to hip hop), karate, K9 dog training, cross-fit, yoga, fishing, snorkeling, diving and horseback riding, to name a few.  There are chess clubs, homework clubs, learn Spanish through games, Spanish movie clubs, circus clubs, entrepreneurship clubs, and so much more. The 3 bigger schools offer more than 20 choices per semester of after school activities.

There are many good choices for schools. There are all types, from home-based schools teaching an internet-based curriculum, to large campuses with all the amenities.   Some are primarily English, some are completely bi-lingual.  Some are expensive, some are quite reasonable. Some are US accredited and some are accredited with the Costa Rican Ministry of Education (MEP). There are IB programs, and Honors and AP classes, as well as remedial and special education instruction. There are programs that are very traditional, some are more experiential.  Students from the local schools are being accepted to the colleges like Stanford and MIT, as well as many other universities around the world. Whatever your requirements for schools are, they exist. At the end of the day, it is important to find the best fit for your child. 


Costa Rica International Academy (CRIA) 


Costa Rica International Academy (CRIA) is the only US-accredited Pre K - Grade 12 international private school in all of Guanacaste.  CRIA is known for its excellence, high standards, and a college preparatory program.  They offer levelled English Language Arts, Math and Spanish classes so your child learns and progresses at their level. Music, gym, swimming, art, and social studies are offered in Spanish so your child can become quickly fluent in Spanish.  CRIA provides a wonderful learning experience to students from around the world. Located near Reserva Conchal, it makes the school a short drive from any other beach town. A North American calendar year allows families to coordinate their holidays with loved ones back home. The U.S. based accreditation allows for a smooth transition from Costa Rica living to higher education.



La Paz Community School  


La Paz is a bilingual, private, Pre K- Grade12  school located in Marvista (between Playa Flamingo and Playa Conchal) It is a beautiful ecological school which is also accredited by the Costa Rican Ministry of Education as well as the international baccalaureate candidate program. La Paz has approximately 300 students, La Paz is a great option for your kids to learn Spanish as well and interact with people from all over the world.





Educarte provides bilingual education, academic excellence, diversity, and global citizenship. Located in between Huacas and popular Tamarindo Educarte provides a great location Educarte’s goal is to make students comprehend and understand the importance of their future contribution to the world they live in, using a combination of traditional and innovative teaching methods.



Tide Academy


Having under 70 students from Kindergarten to 12th grade, Tide creates an environment that allows staff members to get to know everyone in the school on a personal level. Located in Playa Tamarindo, this flexible scheduled school is targeted for families who like to travel or are athletes.  It attracts many surfers. Tide teaches their students 4 days a week which provides their students with extra free time to focus on their other passions.



Waldorf School Guanacaste 


Guanacaste Waldorf School is a bilingual, international K-8 school near Hacienda Pinilla, Costa Rica. The school has a natural, nurturing setting inspired by Rudolf Steiner and the principles of Waldorf Education.   

In grade school, academics are introduced in an artistic, experiential and thoughtful way that meets the development of each child.



  Journey School Guanacaste

Currently located in Tamarindo and Playa Grande, Journey is a school of community learners that offers personalized and group lesson plans to children from grade K to grade 12.  They believe that learning comes by doing and they offer a Project-Based Learning education. They are accredited through a US partner. They believe that joy and adventure are the keys to education.




  Milestones Academy

Our passion is working with young people, helping them realize what incredibly gifted individuals they are, and guiding them on their educational journeys to become self-directed, self-believing lifelong learners. We believe a child should get as excited about traditional learning as they do about playing, providing valuable opportunities to experiment, grow and thrive.