This Week in Costa Rica

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This Week in Costa Rica is a weekly, online radio program and podcast by US expat, Dan Stevens

What is the Costa Rica Blue Flag Program?

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 Costa Rica News - Costa Rica is a country striving to be good to Mother Nature. It has been blessed with 750 miles of colorful sand and bountiful coastline. Costa Rica has many programs and initiatives in place to protect the environment, one integral incentive is the Ecological Blue Flag, a symbol awarded to praise ecological practices and protections and community efforts.

costa rica blue flag programThis program started in ‘96 with a goal of protecting the nation’s diverse ecosystems, preventing pollution, and improving the health of Costa Rica’s people and environment. They rely on a combination of organizations that deal with tourism, pollution, health, environment, and education, including ICT, CANATUR, AyA, MINAE, MINSA, and ME.

Being awarded a Blue Flag is a high honor for a community. The certification is monitored with daily and monthly checkups on tasks the beach communities are responsible for. They must score a 90% on all requirements to get and keep a Blue Flag. The categories judged are ocean water quality, potable water quality, quality of coastal sanitation areas, garbage, and garbage containers, treated waste and run-off water, environmental education, and security and administration.

In the first year, only 10 beach communities made the cut. In 2013, 90 beaches were added! Some of these include Manuel Antonio, Conchal, Tortuguero, Manzanillo, Santa Teresa, Guiones, and Samara. Punta del Madero Beach and Punta Blanca received all 5 stars associated with the Blue Flag! They received special acknowledgements for additional benefits of their communities including disabled access, recycling initiatives, rescue teams, security, and car restrictions. Consider looking for a Blue Flag beach community for your next Costa Rican vacation.  

Originally published at the Costa Rican Times by Kerry La

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