The Blue Flag Program in Costa Rica is meant to make sure that Costa Rica’s beautiful beaches stay protected and beautiful exactly the way they are. The program was copied from one used in Europe in 1985.
How It Works
The full name of the program is the Blue Flag Ecological Program. This certification is annual, which means it’s granted once per year to communities that manage to get to at least 90% of all of the requirements for the program. Each beach or community is rated from 1 to 5 stars based on the quality of the ocean water, the quality of the drinkable water, how good the sanitation areas are, how much trash is on the beach, security procedures, and other considerations. These are given out once a year and reviewed once a year.
In order to receive the certification, local communities including tourism boards, businesses in the area, and other community groups have to all work together to keep the beach that is in their community clean. The incentive here is that if they keep the beach clean and obtain the award, then it will very likely bring additional tourism into the area which means more money for everyone. That way the economic burden of dealing with security risks, trash on the beach and in the containers nearby, the suitability of drinking water and bathroom facilities can be shared by the entire community instead of falling only on one particular individual or group. In this way the Blue Flag program serves to bring many people together to maximize the protection of beaches to the mutual benefit of everyone involved.
An example of beaches that frequently win the award include our very own Playa Manuel Antonio, as well as the beaches in the Manuel Antonio area. Given the rigor used by our community in Manuel Antonio, it’s likely that we will continue to win such awards for many years. We want our beaches to remain beautiful pristine areas for all to enjoy!