The decade-long crisis forced many coastal towns out of the Bandera-Azul league, simply because they couldn’t afford the costs involved.
Now, slowly, the Bandera Azules are returning to the Costa Tropical as this year Playa de Calahonda has achieved the distinction, joining Playa Granada and Playa de Torrenueva.
The last time that Calahonda flew this quality-indicative flag was in 2016 but since then the First Councillor of this semi-independent town said that she preferred renouncing the distinction rather than having it taken away from them.
To earn the flag a beach must have a number of requistes concerning amenities (toilets, showers, walkways etc) as well as fully comprehensive lifeguard service.
For instance, you can’t have parking that blocks access to the beach, which is why Motril’s Playa Granada has a Bandera Azul but Playa Poniente doesn’t.
But things are getting better and small townships can scrape together the funds to run top-notch beaches.
Torrenueva, newly independent from Motril, has the best track record for quality awards for its beaches amongst its neighbours.
(News: Calahonda, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)