Tamarindo: LET’S GET THE BLUE FLAG!
We must get the Blue Flag back in Tamarindo ASAP! Punta Madero, the beach where Barcelo Langosta Beach is located, is one of the two Five-Star Blue Flags in the country. This is encouraging for the Blue Flag Committee in Tamarindo, constituted by Capitán Suizo Hotel, Vacation Rentals of Tamarindo, Hotel Tamarindo Diriá and Surfrider Foundation. This article is about those efforts.
Sonia Fuentes Calderón, Chief Operating Officer and Manager of Sustainable Tourism at Capitán Suizo Hotel, said, "We already have the first positive results. Two months ago, we funded water lab tests for seven different locations from Capitán Suizo to Tamarindo estuary. The water seems to be in excellent condition. We are promoting environmental education. We have already proposed a talk with CEPIA at Villareal and Los Ranchos schools. We managed to organize and finance a visit by officials of EARTH University in July. They will talk about recycling and the Blue Flag program to people working in hotels and schools around Tamarindo. We need to place more signs at the beach, buy more containers to deposit solid waste, and continue to afford regular laboratory tests for ocean water samples. It is urgent that the list of companies and individuals be extended, because there is much to be done and it is more difficult to achieve if there are just a few. We invite ASADAS, AyA, entrepreneurs, and anyone else who wants to be part of this great effort to join us."
The Tamarindo News spoke with Jorge Jimenez, CEO of Barcelo Langosta Beach, who said, "We got three green leaves of the Certification for Sustainable Tourism and we are working towards obtaining the fourth and fifth stars. The CST program is very demanding. It is not easy, but our goal is to improve. This has an ecological, social, and public relations connotation, because it not only involves working in our facilities, but also implies awareness from our guests, visitors to our beach, local schools, and other environmental organizations such as CEPIA. We have invested $40,000 in remodeling and equipping our wastewater treatment plant. This allows us to reuse water for irrigation, because according to the Ministry of Health, it is bacteriologically clean. We are making provisions to reuse this wastewater in the toilets of our rooms in the near future. We would buy water only for personal use. Although we have limited space, we have planted some native trees, like yellow cortez and almond trees. With the help of crafts vendors, we have also tried to replant mangrove trees where the tide ends, but this has not been successful. Our green spaces are a tropical garden. We fund a lifeguard at the beach 7 days a week serving not only our customers, but also our beach visitors. We have often provided our visitors with health care services whenever they have requested it. This year, we also obtained two 5-star flags (100%) on the Healthcare Quality stamp program. These awards are linked to the promotion of good health and operating practices in our facilities and at the beach. We maintain a recycling program and schedule talks on various topics, including dengue and H1N1 flu, not only for our staff, but also for the community. Furthermore, in December 2009, we received the five-star certification by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) for enlarging our hotel. We went from 126 to 198 rooms, including a master suite and 10 suites. We made the casino larger, we built a business lounge, and we modernized the gym. We also have an a la carte restaurant, a spa, and an amphitheater." Jiménez is a staunch supporter of environmental policies and reinvested benefits, not only in the environment but also in the economy of the region.
“Recovering the Blue Flag in Tamarindo falls directly on all activities developed here. An efficient way to be convinced of this is to assess the damage caused by its loss. Being responsible for the use of natural resources is not only a duty; it is what makes it possible for tourism to continue. If the aquifers are polluted, or the smell of raw sewage on the beach continues to scare away tourists, we will no longer be considered a tourist destination. All lose, without exception. "We need companies to cooperate with a fixed, continuous fee that may allow us to pay for the lifeguards and the daily cleaning of the beach on an ongoing basis, to make more frequent cleaning campaigns, and to pay for environmental education activities as well as everything else required to recover the Blue Flag that we have lost," said Sonia Fuentes. If you want to be part of this effort, visit: www.banderaazultamarindo.org, or please contact Sonia Fuentes or Melissa Rojas at Hotel Capitan Suizo by calling them at 2653.0075 or emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.