San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Four up, four down in Costa Rica Blue Flag league of clean beaches

The beaches of Sámara Sur, Hermosa de Jacó, Curú and Quesera were awarded the coveted Ecological Blue Flag for the first time on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, four others – Hermosa de Carrillo, Coco Norte, Punta Uvita and Piñuela – failed to meet the standards of the Water and Sewage Institute (AyA), which cost them the honor of recognition at the awards ceremony. The awards were based on evaluations conducted by AyA in 2008.

The beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park regained a place on the list after the popular park´s reputation was soiled by polluted water last month.

Also re-capturing the flag were Arenilla, Manzanillo, Ocotal and Pelada beaches, which were defrocked last year along with three others when AyA discovered that their waters were too contaminated for swimming.

Tamarindo, a popular hotspot in the northwestern Guanacaste province, remained off the list despite its residents´ efforts – including public recycling campaigns and anti-dengue sweeps – to clean up.

The Costa Rica Blue Flag program was initiated in 1996, and is not directly related to the internationally recognized Blue Flag eco-label.

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