Early morning at the beach

Once a month a group of staff from Arenas del Mar heads to the beach early in the morning. But they’re not there to surf, swim or simply take in take the amazing scenery. Instead, their task is to collect as much litter as possible, starting at the south end of Espadilla beach (which the hotel property backs on to) and working their way back towards the hotel. I decided to join one of the groups to help out and get to know people a little better.

At just after 7:30am we were collected from the staff area and taken down into Manuel Antonio village. I’d never been there by car (it’s only a 2km walk down the beach) and thought I was still dreaming when I saw this sticking out into the road. It’s amazing what lengths some people will go to in order to attract customers!

When we arrived in the village we were met by more staff who had made their own way there. It was clear that this ongoing project is really important to everyone at the hotel. Staff from almost every department, including the General Manager Fabian, took part. Everyone was given a plastic bag and a rubber glove and we set to work just before 8am.


As we arrived at the beach I noticed the signs warning litterbugs  that they would be fined 100,000 Colones (about 200 US Dollars) for dropping rubbish. Unfortunately, judging by how quickly our bags were filling up, the signs weren’t doing enough to deter people.

It was good to see that efforts are being made to recycle litter. But the below photo shows that more funding is clearly needed to provide better bins that won’t be damaged by animals roaming the beach.

Beach Recycling

Many restaurants, bars and shops line Espadilla beach and they all generate waste. It was surprising and sad to see how much of it ends up on the beach. The main items we found included cigarette ends, drinking straws and plastic bags.

Litter on Espadilla beach

When we arrived back at the hotel (it was barely 9am and I was already covered in sweat – the heat here is crazy) everyone was given some nice pastries and fresh juice. It wasn’t a bad way to start the day!

Pastries and juice

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