BY LISSETTE VALENTIN
The Blue Flag is an international award given by the European Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) to beaches, marinas and tourist boats that meet established criteria of quality, safety, education, and environmental information. In Mexico, since 2012, the operator of this organization is Pronatura, an environmental agency whose mission is to conserve ecosystems, flora and fauna, and promote the development of a society in harmony with nature. In addition, one of the goals of the Blue Flag badge is to connect the public with their environment and encourage them to learn more about it.
Worldwide, 5,000 places have received it in 51 countries. Mexico is in first place on the American continent and 10th worldwide for the 2023-2024 season with 108 sites in total: 73 beaches, 2 marinas and 33 sustainable tourism boats. However, obtaining it is not an easy task. All interested parties must comply with criteria encompassing 4 fundamental categories: Environmental Information and Education, Environmental Management, Security, and Services. To apply, they must register with the National Coordination to review their case and subsequently have a review visit. Next, an evaluation is made by the jury, headed by the Secretariats of Tourism; Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat); Communications and Transportation (SCT); Navy (SEMAR) and Health (SSA) as well as the National Water Commission (CONAGUA). Once the jury approves the participant’s candidacy, the information is sent to the coordination and international jury for a decision.
Although it was said that in the period 2023-2024, there will be 108 sites with the Blue Flag distinctive in Mexico, on their official website, so far, only a total of 90 have been identified of which 25 are for Los Cabos. Last September the official ceremony took place on Palmilla Beach where representatives from each hotel on the award-winning beach gathered to receive the flag from the municipal mayor Prof. Leggs and several bureaucrats from the different government agencies involved.
These are the cleanest beaches in Los Cabos: Grand Fiesta Americana Los Cabos, Paradisus Los Cabos, Médano Casa Dorada, Médano Pueblo Bonito Los Cabos, Médano Riu Palace, Médano Villa del Palmar, Médano Villa El Arco, Médano Villa La Estancia, Médano Riu Palace Baja California, Palmilla, La Ribera, Grand Velas Los Cabos, Médano ME Cabo, Hacienda, Médano Pueblo Bonito Rose, Médano Club Cascadas de Baja, Médano Riu Santa Fe, El Surgidero, El Chileno, Santa María, El Corsari, La Gaviot, Acapulquito, Las Viudas and Médano Breathless.
For the moment, none of the very expensive and exclusive local marinas have applied for this award nor have any of our plentiful tourist boats, booze cruises, or dinner boats. The Blue Flag certification could be a requirement to be able to operate under correct environmental, safety and quality standards and thus guarantee the tourist services provided there and aboard. But for now, we hope our beaches continue to keep this award and may the blue flags continue to fly for years to come.