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SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA, March 07, 2009 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Costa Rica's Blue Flag Ecological Program (Programa Bandera Azul Ecologica) has awarded Rios Tropicales the Blue Flag for Natural Spaces with Three Stars for its Private Rainforest Reserve in El Tigre, above the Pacuare River.
Rios Tropicales, led by its founder - renowned conservation and sustainable adventure tourism advocate - Rafael Gallo, has achieved the highest possible level of recognition from the Costa Rican government with 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.
The Rios Tropicales Lodge, located along the Pacuare River, offers a haven for relaxation and immersion in tropical sights and sounds. The clean energy, sustainable lodge offers travelers a variety of accommodation and activity options such as ecotours, rafting, horseback riding and hiking.
In only the second year of the Bandera Azul awards, Rios Tropicales is the only adventure rafting outfitter in Costa Rica to be awarded a Blue Flag with all Three Stars. Rios Tropicales was the first company to purchase land for protection in a private reserve in 1985, and now protects over 2000 acres, more than twice the size of the next largest reserve in the region.
Says Rafael Gallo, co-founder of Rios Tropicales: "We are very honored to receive this award and proud to be a part of a program that prioritizes protecting and enhancing our Natural Spaces is the only way to successfully sustain both our natural resources and communities for future generations."
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.
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.
About Rios Tropicales
In 2007, and again in 2009, National Geographic ADVENTURE ranked Rios Tropicales the #1 Rafting Company in Costa Rica, and one of the top 5 Rafting Companies in the world. Rios Tropicales was an award winner in the 2008 National Geographic Ashoka Changemakers Geotourism Challenge and a finalist in the 2008 Conde Naste World Savers Award.
Established in 1985, Rios Tropicales is the most experienced and largest rafting adventure company in Costa Rica. Led by its local founders, Rios Tropicales has expanded into a complete ecotour company offering Costa Rica vacation packages whitewater rafting, eco-lodge, sea kayaking, ecotours, jungle kayaking, hiking, rainforest tours, canopy tours, wildlife safari, mountain biking, and tree-planting and sustainable development tours. Rainforest ecotour locations include the most treasured natural areas of Costa Rica: Central Costa Rica, La Fortuna, Canas, and Quepos. http://www.riostropicales.com
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