Keeping the beach this unspoiled is a full-time job of Nicuesa Lodge staff – whose efforts were recognized last month when Playa Nicuesa received the important Ecological Blue Flag Award for having one of Costa Rica’s cleanest beaches.
The undertaking is definitely worth it, given that this region of southern Costa Rica is a giant conservation area that includes the world-famous Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula, the Piedras Blancas National Park and three other private reserves. The unique Golfo Dulce – “Sweet Gulf” – is a critical habitat for migrating Pacific Humpback Whales, and dolphins and sea turtles.
“We are proud to say that Playa Nicuesa is a very clean beach, where our guests can enjoy it without any danger. We constantly hold beach cleanups to keep our beach clean,” said Natalia Solis, Sustainability Coordinator at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge. This is the fifth time Nicuesa Lodge has been awarded the Blue Flag.
Costa Rica’s Blue Flag Ecological Program (Bandera Azul Ecológica) was launched nearly 20 years ago in 1996. Its goal is to protect the country’s diverse and fragile coastal ecosystems; to clean up beach pollution and prevent future pollution; to improve the health of Costa Rica’s people and environment; and to keep Costa Rica as a leading world ecotourism destination. The prestigious certification is granted every year and is coordinated by the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT), the National Chamber of Tourism (CANATUR), the Costa Rican Water and Sewage Department (AyA), the Ministry of Environment (MINAE), the Ministry of Public Health (MINSA), and the Ministry of Education (ME).
A record 108 Costa Rica beaches received Blue Flag Awards for 2014, presented at a ceremony in March 2015.
“The Blue Flag Program involves increasingly more people who want to protect the natural resources that beautify our country,” said Solis. “These efforts to help nature are of the utmost importance to Playa Nicuesa since it is part of the philosophy and principles that we have as a sustainable hotel.”
Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, one of only three dozen hotels in Costa Rica that have received the highest rating in the Certification for Sustainable Tourism Program (CST), is involved in many sustainable environmental projects:
- Beach cleanups every four to six weeks by staff and guests.
- Maintain five trash receptacles near the beach at Playa Nicuesa.
- Work with the Costa Rica Health Ministry campaign against dengue fever in the region.
- Hold workshops on environmental issues.
- Test the hotel’s potable water at least every three months to ensure its safe drinkability.
- Test the ocean water at Playa Nicuesa twice a year.
- Reforestation with native Costa Rican tree species to create a biological corridor.
“We know that we only have one planet and it is our home; this is why we try to improve our sustainable practices,” commented Solis. “We hope that many more people join this program and that there are more beaches like Playa Nicuesa to set an example and motivate others to work together to protect our country’s precious natural resources.”
The extraordinary Costa Rica eco-lodge was designed in harmony with the environment constructed from naturally fallen trees and recycled materials. A true Costa Rica rainforest lodge, Nicuesa Lodge is located on a 165-acre private rainforest preserve. Being a unique adventure travel destination, the only way to get there is by boat across the pristine waters of the Golfo Dulce from either Golfito or Puerto Jimenez.
Article by Shannon Farley