Costa Rica is a country that prioritizes education. Compulsory primary education for both sexes, free and paid for by the state, was incorporated into Costa Rica’s charter in 1869. And in 2019, during the 150 year celebration, Costa Rica’s president reaffirmed the need for a bilingual Costa Rica to supplement the talent and training of this country’s people. “ It must be a great success because the country needs it, this is an objective that unites us, that calls us to work together.”

Schools in Costa Rica reflect this attitude towards education and bilingualism, which is why families feel confident in raising their children here. Not only is this country a haven for peace and tranquility thanks to its protection of nature, it is also a place where children can get a great education, both in school and outside. Expat families appreciate the cultural education from Costa Ricans, who value family extremely highly, and who take pride in their nation’s offerings.

Families primarily come to Costa Rica to live a different lifestyle that embraces the outdoors and time together. But education will always be a priority for parents and Costa Rica is a country that delivers. Below are some of the educational facilities that the Southern Zone of Costa Rica has to offer to expat families who either want a bilingual education for their children, or full-on immersion into life as Costa Rican.

Bilingual Schools in Uvita

Uvita is home to most of the families in the Southern Zone and the two bilingual international K-12 schools available in the region. There are also other bilingual schools that cater to younger students.

Casa del Nino Uvita Montessori – This school offers high-quality, bilingual (Spanish and English environment), comprehensive education from preschool through the end of elementary grades. Their goal is to foster a love of learning and address the whole child academically, emotionally, and socially. 

Uvita Christian Academy – An international school with a bilingual curriculum that is less structured (individual pace) to accommodate students whose families travel internationally during the school year. The school year begins at the end of January. The faculty are highly qualified. They use a U.S. accreditation program that has a proven track record with thousands of students successfully entering top colleges in the U.S. 

Centro Educativo Costa Ballena – A bilingual pre-k through secondary school education center that provides a great environment for students to learn and the interaction between children of different cultures is invaluable. After one year, many students who have come from other countries become completely fluent in Spanish. The curriculum follows U.S. standards so that kids can transfer back easily at any time. The class sizes are small, the teachers clearly care about the kids. The school was established in 2007 and earned accreditation from the Ministry of Education of Costa Rica in 2012. Approximately 140 students and staff from many different countries. We are the most diverse, multi-cultural spot in Southern Costa Rica offering preschool to 12th grade.

Liceo de Uvita – This Spanish-language middle school has great staff, good facilities, and a good environment for students to learn, including a great English-language education focus. 

Ojochal Schools

Life Project Education – This elementary grade school is a grassroots holistic education center nestled in Ojochal. Their unique program offers opportunities for children, families, and teachers to explore the emotional, social, artistic, moral, psychological, physical, aesthetic, creative, and intuitive layers of development. The bilingual team and curriculum nurture “simultaneous bilingualism” with daily exposure and opportunities to use and learn both English and Spanish equally. Life Project Education partners with WASC accredited Global Village School, a holistic education program in California. Families may elect to dually enroll in both Life Project Education’s program as well as the GVS program in order to receive a fully accredited verification of grade completion. Topics may be customized to children’s level, interests, and strengths but in general incorporates an authentic age-appropriate challenge or problem to be solved, partner or small group collaboration, student-centered inquiry and problem-solving, and presentation of learning. 

Schools in Puerto Cortes

Cortes is home to the two main public high-schools that service the Costa Ballena region. Spanish speaking/bilingual high school students travel by bus from Dominical, Uvita, Ojochal, and Palmar to attend these two schools.

Liceo Pacifico Sur -The facilities at this high school are new and is seeking international accredation for post-secondary

Escuela Nieborowski – Named after one of the Polish founders of Puerto Cortes, this large high school is one of the well-known schools for soccer.

Spanish Language Schools in Costa Ballena

Below is a list of Spanish language public elementary schools available in the Costa Ballena area:

Escuela Dominical Palabra de Dios – A public Christian elementary school in Spanish language only.

Escuela Dominical Valle Dupar Central – A secular public elementary school in Spanish language only.

Escuela Dominicalito de Osa – A secular public elementary school in Spanish and some English language.

Escuela la Uvita de Osa – A secular public elementary school in Spanish and some English language.

Escuela Tortuga Ojochal – A secular public elementary school in Spanish and some English language.

Dominical Schools

This active surf town has a number of public elementary schools that are in Spanish only. Families that live in this region may choose to enroll their younger children in these schools for a cultural immersion experience. However, most expat families, especially those with 10+ year olds, will typically choose to live in Uvita or Ojochal to be nearer to the international bilingual schools. 

Virtual Education in Costa Rica Southern Zone

Although there are many virtual education opportunities around the world, Costa Rica has an excellent virtual school that caters to all ages — from kindergarten to college.

BMS Bilingual and Multidisciplinary School Virtual School – This is the fastest growing private school in Perez Zeledon thanks to their ability to offer a great online curriculum to students of all ages. Opening its doors in 2011, the goal of the school is to offer tools for the intellectual, physical and personality development of children in a friendly way both with people and with nature. They claim to have the best team of professionals trained to develop each faculty. The school offers classes from pre-school into college. Curriculums are offered in the English language for all subjects, except for Spanish and social studies in relation to Costa Rica. The school curriculum has a strong focus on sports, music, computers, and environmental awareness. 

Music Schools in South Pacific Costa Rica

Symphonic Music School – training students with a high level of musical performance. The offer concerts and recitals, with several groups playing in symphonies, big bands, orchestras, and chamber groups. They offer summer camps and programs available for students of all levels.

Escuela de Musica Acordes – Music school based on the teaching of music theory and performance of musical instruments

Escuela de Musica GM Uvita – We have qualified teachers and vast experience in various musical genres that will adapt to what you want to learn. We teach music classes electric guitar acoustic guitar, bass, singing, commercial production, recording studio

Other Learning Centers for Kids

Bodhi Surf School Family Surf Camp – A place for active families looking for a unique experience where families can learn and practice surf and yoga in a friendly environment.

Ojochal Language School – A place for kids to learn cooking, language, and adventure skills

Akka Institute – yoga and jiu jitsu classes for kids in a beautiful, open air facility. Akka is a safe space for the local and international community to participate in daily activities centered on the health of mind and body, educational workshops and transformational events.

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