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Our Mission

“CIRENAS exists to build transformative connections between people and the environment through education, research, integration and innovation.”


How it all Began

In the early 1970’s, Nathaniel Grew, an adventurous American entrepreneur, descended upon the southern portion of the Nicoya Peninsula and was captivated by the beauty of its land and seascapes. A few years prior, the area had been witness to the humble beginnings of Costa Rica’s world-renown protected areas system through the creation of the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve. “Don Nat”, as he is kindly referred to by locals, eventually settled in the region and, alongside his family, became a successful working farm, creating a nature reserve and working arduously to improve the livelihoods of local farmers and fishermen.


CIRENAS was established in 2008 to continue to build upon the legacy of the Grew family, and carry forward their vision for a sustainable future beyond Nicoya’s Peninsula, while staying true and committed to the well being of nature and people in the region.


Our Legacy Thus Far

Since its founding, CIRENAS has hosted more than 1,000 local and international students, faculty, scientists, and leaders from various sectors of society in a variety of programs emphasizing sustainable living, cross-cultural experiences, and explorations in tropical ecology. These programs have taken the form of short courses, research trips, and semester programs for high school students, all of which were hosted from the original Grew Family home. With the construction of the new campus, CIRENAS is positioning itself for a major increase in its operations, reach and impact.