Costa Rica International Academy was founded as a private, English-language, co-educational, non-sectarian school. The purposes and standards of the school are comparable to selective U.S. independent and college-preparatory schools.
The School was founded in 2000 in a small facility near Flamingo Beach. In 2002, the School moved to a property with a near-finished building on the road between Huacas and Brasilito, near Reserva Conchal and the current Westin Resort. The building was remodeled, and a covered gym, pool, athletic field, staff housing and a cafeteria were built.
In 2004, a new high school building with classrooms, science lab, library, computer lab and administrative offices were built. By August of 2007, the school completed a new elementary and early childhood building of 16 classrooms, administrative offices, and a new multifunctional cafeteria/auditorium. Since its founding, CRIA has grown from 40 students to 330 in 2021.