Rios Tropicales, led by its founder – renowned conservation and sustainable adventure tourism advocate – Rafael Gallo, has achieved the highest level of recognition to date from the Costa Rican government with the Blue Flag For Rivers and Blue Flag for Natural Spaces awards. Rios Tropicales has received the Blue Flag for Rivers With Two Stars award for its protection and enhancement of 16 kilometers of river corridor along the world-class Pacuare River and neighboring tributary Terciopelo Creek, including contributing to the reduction of pesticides used along the creek. Rios Tropicales is the only company in Costa Rica to achieve (3 flags) the Blue Flag for Rivers with Two Stars in every year since the award was founded, beginning in 2009.
Rios Tropicales received the Blue Flag For Natural Spaces With Three Stars award for its private rainforest reserve protecting 800 hectares adjacent to the world-class Pacuare River. In only the second year of the Blue Flag for Natural Spaces awards, Rios Tropicales is the only adventure outfitter in Costa Rica to be awarded a Blue Flag with all Three Stars in every year since the award since 2009. Rios Tropicales was the first company to purchase land for protection in a private reserve, especially along the threatened Pacuare river corridor.
Rios Tropicales has been the leader in Pacuare River and rainforest protection since 1985, and was the leader in stopping a hydroelectric dam on the Pacuare in the 1990s. Rios Tropicales now protects over 2000 acres of rainforest, more than twice the size of the next largest reserve in the region.
“We are very honored to receive this award and proud to be a part of the Blue Flag Program that prioritizes protecting and enhancing our Rivers and Natural Spaces as the only way to successfully sustain both our natural resources and communities for future generations.”
Rios Tropicales President and Cofounder – Rafael Gallo
About The Blue Flag Ecological Program
The Program awards the Blue Flag with either One, Two, or Three Stars to indicate levels of environmental protection, conservation, and community involvement. Communities are awarded the One Star for meeting 90% of the environmental protection criteria, Two Stars for meeting 100% of the criteria and implementing additional environmental practices, and Three Stars for meeting the Two Star criteria and promoting social responsibility in the community and schools. The Blue Flag with Three Stars is the highest possible level of recognition for achieving ecological protection and sustainability in Costa Rica.
The Costa Rican government established the Blue Flag Ecological Program in 1996 to protect one of its most important assets, its beaches. The Blue Flag Program has since expanded to include new categories for Communities (2002), Education Centers (2004), Natural Spaces (2007), Rivers (2008), and Actions to Confront Climate Change (2008). The Blue Flag program recognizes Coastal and Non-Coastal Communities or Educational Institutes that achieve environmental excellence by adopting practices to meet environmental standards set by the Costa Rican Institute of Aqueducts and Sewage Systems (AyA). Winners of the Blue Flag undergo on-site assessments before the various Government Ministries, in conjunction with the National Tourism Chamber, (CANATUR), make the final decision to award a flag.