Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico - Last month, Mexico became the first country in Latin America to obtain Blue Flag certification for 53 beaches and two national marinas, thus consolidating its leadership in education and social and environmental responsibility, said the Ministry of Tourism.
In a statement, the federal agency said that in addition to the 35 beaches whose Blue Flag distinctions were renewed, 18 new beaches in the states of Baja California Sur, Guerrero, Oaxaca and Quintana Roo were certified for the 2018-2019 season.
This international recognition is awarded by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) to more than 4500 beaches and marinas in 45 countries that meet the established criteria for Water Quality, Environmental Education and Information, Environmental Management, and Safety & Other Services. Beaches are awarded the Blue Flag based on compliance with 33 attributes within these four primary categories.
Certification lasts for a year, after which judges must re-evaluate each location to ensure that the criteria is met.
In a major environmental achievement for the destination, 10 Vallarta-Nayarit beaches, along with the Marina Riviera Nayarit, met all of the requirements needed to retain their Blue Flag credentials for another year. That puts the Banderas Bay area second only to Los Cabos which, following this year’s round of judging, reached 12 certifications.
During the upcoming XIII Clean Beach National Assembly, set to be held in Bahías de Huatulco from July 4-7, 2018, the certifications for Puerto Vallarta's Amapas, Camarones, Conchas Chinas I, Conchas Chinas II, Garza Blanca, Palmares, Playa de Oro and Sheraton beaches will be officially renewed for the 2018-2019 season.
The beach at Nuevo Vallarta Norte and the Marina Riviera Nayarit will also retain their international certifications for the sixth and fourth consecutive year, respectively. The Laguna de Santa María del Oro will accept its Blue Flag for the third time this year; the lagoon is located in the Santa María del Oro municipality of Nayarit.
Of note is the fact that the Marina Riviera Nayarit, located in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, became the first of its kind to receive Blue Flag recognition in 2015, setting the standard that other marinas must follow in order to become part of the program.Vallarta-Nayarit is notably among Mexico's most eco-friendly destinations, boasting both Green Key and Blue Flag certifications, a pair of international awards denoting the Banderas Bay region's adherence to leading standards of excellence for sustainable operations and environmental responsibility.