Tourism, by its very nature, takes its toll on the environment. Bring enough people to the beach, the mountains and the forests, and they’re bound to leave a human footprint. How deep, harmful, and lasting that footprint is tends to be an ongoing battle between promotion and preservation.
Conservation is an ongoing effort, and it’s one that Puerto Rico takes seriously. In fact, in 2013, Puerto Rico was announced the winner of the Destination Stewardship Award, introduced by theCaribbean Tourism Organization year to honor the destination that has made significant strides toward sustainable tourism management.
For anyone who values these efforts (even if it comes at the expense of certain luxuries like AC in your guest room), you’ll appreciate the many ways in which the government and local businesses around the island have taken steps to care for the land and its most precious natural resources. Take a closer look.
1. Blue Flag Beaches
To most travelers, this is an invisible designation. But it’s an important (and most importantly, objective) mark of the quality and purity of the water in which you and your family are swimming. Puerto Rico boasts no less than eight blue flag beaches and two marinas. The full list of beaches is:
- Boquerón Beach in Cabo Rojo Carolina Beach in Carolina El Escambrón in San Juan Luquillo Beach, or La Monserrate, in Luquillo Pelicano Beach in Ponce Toa Baja Beach in Punta Salinas Seven Seas Beach in FajardoSunbay Beach in Vieques
In addition, Puerto Chico Marina and Puerto del Rey Marina in Fajardo have also been awarded Blue Flag status.
Together with Puerto Rico’s forests, these lush green spaces form some of Puerto Rico’s most important and beautiful areas.
More a boon for residents rather than tourists, the island’s mass transit includes the Tren Urbano, or Urban Train, an electric train that connects the outlying boroughs of San Juan with the business district. In addition, the Department of Transportation has made many of their buses more environmentally friendly. In a city that is often congested with traffic, every attempt at conservation helps!