Costa Rican Beach Safety

Costa Rica Life Guard Program
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Beach Safety From the Guardavidas Costa Ballena Lifeguards

The Costa Ballena region has dozens of beautiful beaches that are ideal for surfing, swimming, kayaking, boogie boarding and more! Knowing what to look for, and what to do if you get into a dangerous situation can mean the difference between a great day playing in the waves, and tragedy.

The Guardavidas Costa Ballena Lifeguards operate on both Playa Dominical and Playa Hermosa. ‘Safe swimming zones’ are indicated between the two red flags near the lifeguard towers. Please pay attention to other signage at the beach identifying more dangerous areas.

Almost invisible, the most dangerous thing you may encounter at the beach is a rip current. The ‘Rip’ is a strong, narrow current of water that cuts through the line of breaking waves, moving directly away from the shore. Because the rip currents are strongest near the surface of the water, even experienced swimmers and surfers can get caught, and in a matter of moments, find themselves hundreds of yards from the shore. According to the National Ocean Service (NOAA), rip currents can travel up to 8 feet per second, which is faster than an Olympic swimmer.

What to do if you are in trouble:
1. Don’t panic! Stay calm and orient yourself to the locations of the beach and the lifeguard stand if available.
2. Swimmers who are caught in a rip current should swim parallel to the shore, NOT towards it.
3. In all likelihood, a lifeguard is probably already on the way. You can signal the lifeguard that you need assistance by waving one arm in the air.
4. When the lifeguard arrives, allow them to take charge. They have been trained for this exact situation, and know how to get you both back safely to shore.

The Guardavidas Costa Ballena Lifeguards have rescued 60 people in the last two years, and operate solely through donations individuals and local businesses. To learn more and to make a donation, please visit


Life Guards in Costa rica
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