Teachers with Flair & Understanding

Special Programs

Special-Programs-Pic-2CRIA offers semester and year abroad programs for boarding students as well as “Reef to Rainforest” educational expeditions open to high school students ages 13-18.

Since its inception in 2003, CRIA has hosted groups of students, including Proctor Academy in New Hampshire, to attend a 10-week Reef to rainforest session during the regular school year. Students attend regular classes as well as participate in off-campus experiential learning trips and community outreach programs. Our Reef to Rainforest Program has also hosted students from the Chesterfield Schools in Virginia for multiple years and with great success. If you would like to find out more about these programs, or if you are a school representative looking for ways to enhance your current offerings, please contact our Director.

While you will encounter a challenging college preparatory education, you will also find yourself continually stunned by the raw natural beauty of the environment and wildlife around you.



Academic Challenge, Natural Wonders, and Cultural Richness

Costa Rica International Academy (formerly Country Day School Guanacaste) is a unique place with a richness in nature the never ceases to amaze.

While you will encounter a challenging college preparatory education, you will also find yourself continually stunned by the raw natural beauty of the environment and wildlife around you.

Our school’s academic program and extracurricular offerings are similar to quality college preparatory boarding schools in the United States and around the world. You must only imagine a typical US school that has been transplanted into the middle of a dry tropical forest, just ½ a mile from the nearest Pacific beach, and a world away from “civilization”.

While you are here, whether for a semester, a year or until you graduate, you will have an experience like none other.

Our teachers are native English speakers, fully credentialed and well experienced to teach in the U.S. and around the world. They have developed a passion for teaching and living overseas, and are excited to be able to live here and practice what they love. Our curriculum and graduation requirements are transferable to any U.S. school or college through our accreditation with Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. We are also fully recognized by the Costa Rican Ministry of Education. While you are here, whether for a semester, a year or until you graduate, you will have an experience like none other.

Costa Rica has been likened to Hawaii for its incredible diversity & beauty of natural environments, habitats, and climates.

Our boarding program balances a thorough weekday college preparatory education with eye opening ecological, nature-discovery, and cultural and language immersion opportunities on weekends.

While only 19,730 square miles, or about the size of West Virginia, Costa Rica has been likened to Hawaii for its incredible diversity and beauty of natural environments, habitats, and climates. Despite being so small, Costa Rica teems with a diversity and abundance of wildlife. It has more species of birds than all North America, 12 distinct micro-climates, 40 volcanoes including 7 active ones, and miles upon miles of beautiful beaches.

Best of all, to protect their natural treasures, the Costa Rican people have protected over 25% of their national territory through the formation of national parks, biological reserves, forest reserves, wildlife refuges, protected wetlands and mangroves, and other protected zones.

Best of all, to protect their natural treasures, the Costa Rican people have protected over 25% of their national territory .

Within a short distance from campus, you will find beautiful Pacific coast beaches (with hardly a soul on them), lush tropical rainforests, active volcanoes, raging rapids, dry tropical forests, and an abundance of wildlife seen in few places on Earth.

You will find (and sometimes be awakened by) Howler monkeys on campus, or walk by 2-ft long iguanas on your way to class.

You will also witness the entire landscape change between our two distinct seasons: a warm rainy season with lush green forests, cloudy skies and the most spectacular sunsets and a very dry and warm season with African savannah like landscapes drenched by blue, sunny skies.

You will participate in a diverse set of weekend adventures, activities, exploration, and language and cultural immersion on weekends throughout the year.

You will participate in a diverse set of weekend adventures, activities, exploration, and language and cultural immersion on weekends throughout the year. These trips and activities are part of full-time boarding tuition and do not entail additional expenses. Although it is impossible to list everything possible, typical trips range from volcano trekking, scuba diving (certification is included in tuition) or snorkeling, overnight sailing trips to nearby islands, camping at various national parks, witnessing Olive Ridley turtles nesting at Playa Grande, to spending a weekend at a far-away beach enjoying the surf, sand, and weather.

We also take advantage of Guanacaste’s rich cultural heritage. Ever been to a bull ring?

We also take advantage of Guanacaste’s rich cultural heritage. Ever been to a bull ring? Well, you might if you come to CRIA! Towards the end of the harvest season, starting in January and going through March, each Guanacaste town has its own “fiesta”, the main feature of which is the make-shift bull-ring, where participants take turns daring and evading the best of Guanacaste’s breeds. Unlike other countries, in Costa Rica the bull is not killed at the end of the fight – they simply live to fight at another fiesta!

We also participate in many local traditions such as the 15 de Setiembre Independence Day “lighting of the lanterns” and local “torch run”. When the various Spanish colonies finally achieved their independence from Spain, word came from Guatemala and made its way south, through each country, on horseback. Each 15 de Setiembre, a torch is taken from Guatemala through each central American country, symbolizing the spread of independence that occurred back in 1821. Students join local Costa Ricans in the nearby town of Huacas to “run the torch” to the next nearby town of Brasilito.

If you have a desire for a truly unique college preparatory boarding program experience, love nature, and have an adventuresome spirit, we hope you will join our exciting community!

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