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90% of Costa Rica Beach Waters are Clean Enough to Swim In

Costa Rica Travel News – With Semana Santa upon us, most of the country is heading to one beach or another. The good news is that most of the beaches that you will be swimming at this coming couple of weeks will have waters that have been determined non-detrimental to your health….read that again….MOST…..

Bandera Azul Ecologica (Ecological Blue Flag)More than 90% of the beach water in the country has minimal pollution levels, with no risk to human health. This statistic comes from studies conducted by the Blue Flag Program, the Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers, and other public and private organizations, last year.

A beach is suitable for swimming if the water studies find less than 240 fecal coliforms per 100 milliliters. There were 122 beaches tested, and 114 passed this test. Nearly half of the Blue Flag beaches have only 10 fecal coliforms per 100 milliliters. The clean beaches are thanks to waste collection, recycling, and environmental education efforts.

Some local communities have failed to reduce the garbage in their waters, such as Tarcoles, in Puntarenas, and Los Banos, in Limon. Often the coastal towns catch the garbage produced in medium and highlands. For example, the 2 million plus people living in the Greater Metropolitan Area of San Jose can be blamed for polluting the Tarcoles.

Sinusitis and skin lesions are among the negative effects caused by swimming in these few polluted areas. To make sure your vacation spot has safe water, just look for the Blue Flag.

Beaches when getting their Blue Flag grading are evaluated on 7 different aspects: quality of seawater (35%), quality of water for human consumption (15%), sanitary quality of the coast, which included garbage (10%), domestic sewage (15%), industrial sewage (5%), environmental education (10%), and safety and administration (10%).

One star (A): If it gets a score between 90 – 100%

Two stars (AA): If it gets a score of 100% and also has: warning signals for national and international tourists, surveillance and first aid services during weekends and high seasons.

Three stars (AAA): If meets the requirements for two stars, and also has: public showers and bathrooms, touristic information center, comfortable and safe access for people with disabilities.

Four stars (AAAA): If it meets the requirements for three stars, and also has: recycling and solid waste separation programs, cleaning actions to prevent vector-borne diseases, permanent surveillance and first aid services, and Local Emergency Committee, participation in AyA’s Sanitary Quality Stamp.

Five stars (AAAAA): If it meets the requirement for three starts, and also has: designated parking for people with disabilities, ramps or synthetic rugs to access the beach, Tourist Police services, and participation AyA’s Sanitary Quality Stamp program.

The closest I could find for a list of all Blue Flag beaches was from 2012…….click here.

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