Las Cuevas & the Blue Flag
by: Adana Mahase-Gibson.
What’s the best beach in T&T? Most Trinbagonians will have an opinion. Some will say it’s Maracas, for the food and the waves. Others might say Mayaro, for the long stretch of gorgeous sand. Those of us who like solitude and the beauty of nature might choose Grand Tacaribe, or the picturesque Englishman’s Bay in Tobago. Maybe the best beach is the one that’s easiest to get to.
The truth is that T&T has a set of fantastic beaches and each offers something different, something special.
Although there may not be a single, best beach in T&T, some beaches are cleaner, safer, and more environmentally sustainable than others.
Around the world, clean, safe, and environmentally sustainable beaches often fly a Blue Flag.
The Blue Flag is an eco-label that proves that a beach or marina meets international standards of water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety and other services. Blue Flag is promoted and owned by the NGO, the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) with headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark. Started in France over 30 years ago, Blue Flags are now flying at over 4,000 locations in more than 48 countries worldwide. The Blue Flag is a globally recognised symbol of sound environmental management and a safe place for people to enjoy the world’s beaches and oceans. The Blue Flag programme is an international success story of sustainable development through education, tenacious work, and best practises.
So far, there is only one Blue Flag certified beach in the Southern English-speaking Caribbean, and that is Las Cuevas Beach, on the North coast of Trinidad. Las Cuevas flies a Blue Flag thanks to the hard work of the Tourism Development Company, (TDC) as the Beach Operator, with guidance from Asclepius Green, the local NGO that is the National Coordinator for Blue Flag in T&T and the local representative of FEE.
Blue Flag beaches are special not just because they are a clean and safe place for people to enjoy the sun and sand. Blue Flag’s rigorous environmental criteria mean that these beaches are also a clean and safe place for the many animal and plant species that need beaches to survive.
Las Cuevas Beach is a great example. Over the years, the beach has gained popularity locally and internationally as a prolific sea turtle nesting site. The Trinidad population of nesting female Leatherback sea turtles is one of the three largest in the world. With a Blue Flag flying over this important sea turtle nesting site, sea turtle groups have an added tool to help monitor and protect our precious sea turtles.
Trinidad and Tobago can take pride in leading the way regionally with the Blue Flag programme. With so many excellent beaches and marinas in T&T, more Blue Flags should be flying around both islands in the near future. In the meantime, visitors to Las Cuevas can now enjoy the best of both worlds. There is a clean and safe Blue Flag beach with a Blue Flag bathing season from January 16 to November 16 and a sea turtle nesting season from March to August.
For more information check out the website (blueflagtrinidadandtobago.com) and like the Facebook page (Blue Flag Trinidad and Tobago).
Photo Caption: "The Blue Flag"
About the Writer: Dr. Adana Mahase-Gibson is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) and a Project Management Professional (PMP). She works on Ecohealth/One Health issues to improve the health of people, animals and the environment. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org