136 Blue Flag beaches in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a destination known for its beaches, which are one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions. With the constant objective of positioning itself as an exemplary country and a driving force in the protection of nature, each year the “blue flags” are awarded to the country’s sustainable destinations.
This year, 136 beaches were awarded the Bandera Azul Ecológica (Ecological Blue Flag) distinction, distributed as follows 45 awarded in North and South Guanacaste, 32 in Puntarenas and the islands of the Gulf of Nicoya, 32 in the Middle Pacific, 13 in the South Pacific and 14 in the Caribbean.
The awards are given with star levels ranging from one to five stars, so this year 4 beaches in Guanacaste and 2 beaches in Puntarenas have been awarded the highest distinction in order to highlight the expertise of the efforts made to create hygienic, sanitary and sustainable conditions correlated with optimal services for tourists.
The Bandera Azul Ecológica programme for the period 2022
The Costa Rican Tourist Board has been responsible for the beach category of the Ecological Blue Flag programme for 27 years. It is one of five programmes that promote sustainability in the tourism industry through the organisation of local committees and organised communities for the benefit of present and future generations.
“Costa Rica is a destination that allows you to live the essential values of life. It has an outstanding positioning thanks to its sustainable tourism model, which is committed to environmental conservation and social progress of communities, and today’s Blue Flag Ecological Awards ceremony is a clear example of the country’s efforts to remain one of the preferred sun and beach destinations for tourists,” said Tourism Minister William Rodriguez.
He added that the Costa Rican tourism model is inclusive, sustainable and innovative, which is why actions such as these seek to promote the country as a sustainable tourism destination, with values that differentiate it from other destinations and developing programs such as the Ecological Blue Flag to offer visitors an innovative travel experience and promote revisitation; in this way, Costa Rica promotes the activation of productive chains in each area to which the awarded beaches belong.
It is important to mention the inclusion of 10 new beaches for the first time, which highlights the expansion and growing interest of the sector around the values of sustainable development.
What aspects are taken into account in the evaluation of beaches?
The evaluation takes into account aspects such as the hygienic and sanitary conditions guaranteed by the constant analysis of the sea water and the potability. Also, the safety elements of the beaches, as well as the preventive signalling of currents, lifeguards or lifeguards during weekends and during the high tourist season.
Other aspects that score points are the presence of showers, toilets, sorting and recycling of solid waste, environmental education, among others.
During the year, the ICT makes periodic visits to assess the progress of the annual plan proposed by each committee, a situation that has gradually become normalized due to the current post-pandemic context. The purpose of the visit is to inspect the work on the beaches, advise the committees on technical and administrative aspects and provide recommendations for improvement for the next visit.
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