Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Costa Rica’s cleanest beaches of 2016 get blue flags

March 18, 2016

A total of 110 beaches along the Caribbean and Pacific coasts began displaying blue flags this week to let visitors know that they are among the cleanest in the country.

Costa Rica’s Blue Flag Ecological Program awards beaches for trash-free sands, clean ocean and drinking water, access to showers and restrooms and waste disposal programs.

The certification program also takes into account safety aspects such as the existence of appropriate information about strong waves or riptides and the availability of lifesaving and emergency staff throughout the year.

The program, managed by officials from various public agencies and non-government groups, awards beaches with blue flags displaying one to five stars, depending on the number of points obtained at three separate evaluations conducted during the year by inspectors from the Water and Sewer Institute (AyA).

Alberto López Chaves, general manager of the Costa Rican Tourism Board said Wednesday that the Blue Flag Program has very high standards. “Getting a star means obtaining a minimum compliance of 90 percent during the evaluations,” he said.

Blue Ecological Flag awards 2015. March 2016.
Awarded beaches will display their Blue Flags that also portrait a maximum of five starts according to results of three separate evaluations conducted in the past year. (Courtesy of ICT)

2016 Winners

As in the past three years, only three beaches — all on the Pacific coast — earned five stars on their blue flags: Playa Blanca in Puntarenas, and Matapalo and El Madero in Guanacaste.

A total of 88 beaches got blue flags with one star, while 11 beaches got two stars, seven got three stars and one got four stars.

The Blue Flag Program started 20 years ago. Besides beaches, it awards flags for environmental awareness to communities, schools, protected natural areas and hydrological watersheds. It also offers awards for climate change mitigation, community health promotion and sustainable homes. Awards in all categories will be announced in coming days.

The awards are judged by a commission formed by public agencies and non-profit organizations, including the Tourism Board, AyA, Costa Rican Electricity Institute, Costa Rican Network of Private Nature Reserves, the National Chamber of Tourism, Agriculture and Education ministries, among others.

The upcoming Holy Week is set to be a busy one at Costa Rica’s beaches.

Hotels in the northwestern province of Guanacaste are expecting an average occupancy of 98 percent for the holiday, despite confirmation of the first cases of local transmission of Zika virus in that area.

López, from the Tourism Board, called on all awarded communities to join the fight against mosquito breeding sites in order to curb the proliferation of Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases.

“We hope that these are the 110 beaches where Zika will never arrive,” he said.

See the full list of Blue Flag beaches:

Ecological Blue Flag winners 2016

You may be interested

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for July 12, 2020
Costa Rica
21320 views
Costa Rica
21320 views

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for July 12, 2020

Alejandro Zúñiga - July 12, 2020

Costa Rica confirmed 365 new cases of the coronavirus over the past day, totaling 7,596 cumulative known cases, the Health…

Slothy Sunday: Osa, a true ‘Oso Perezoso’
Sloth Sundays
1158 views
Sloth Sundays
1158 views

Slothy Sunday: Osa, a true ‘Oso Perezoso’

Denise Gillen - July 12, 2020

Looks can be deceiving, as those of us who work with sloths can tell you. This is especially true with…

Hotel reservation won’t work as exception to driving restrictions this week [Updated]
Costa Rica
4794 views
Costa Rica
4794 views

Hotel reservation won’t work as exception to driving restrictions this week [Updated]

Alejandro Zúñiga - July 11, 2020

Update: After the Saturday afternoon press conference, the Costa Rican government has apparently changed its mind on this subject. According to…