Guanacaste Communities Host Picnics to Clean and Save Rivers

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On Sunday, March 10, a group of students, an organization and a municipal government in Guanacaste will host picnics and activities along several rivers in the province. Their goal is to give the rivers the care they deserve as part of International River Day on March 14.

These are just three of the 45 “Picnic on the River” events that will be held in the country on that day. The events have been announced by Rio Urbano and the Alliance for NAtional Rivers in Costa Rica since 2015. This is the sixth edition.

The initiative encourages communities, organizations and institutions to plan activities along their rivers to help recover them. See a map of events here.

We want citizens to have a look at rivers and value them, enjoy them and protect them,” explained Rio Urbano founder Alonso Briceño. “The idea is that through a picnic, people organize and propose actions to rescue rivers and streams.”

Students from the National University’s (UNA) hydraulic engineering program will have an event on the banks of the Liberia River. All events are open to the public and, in general, the only requirement is to bring food to share.

Hydraulic engineering professor Hector Paniagua said that they will do a river cleaning.

“The rapid growth of the city of Liberia has changed the scenery at the river basin, reducing greenery,” the professor said.

The lack of care for rivers and the human impact has provoked a narrowing of river beds. A report by l State of the Nation in 2017 about the state of water indicated that Guanacaste uses more water than sources can supply.

These types of problems are why organizers encourage communities to do cleanings, plant trees, have art, cultural, educational and recreational activities around rivers, above all in urban areas.

They also want people to act periodically to save rivers and not just on this date. For example, according to Briceño, these activities helped create a bigger group that gets together to take care of a specific river. “In Heredia at the Pirro River, UNA joined the activities and developed the Friends of the Pirro River network,” Briceño said.

The City of La Cruz will also organize a picnic for the second year in a row. Last year, they did one at Rio ´Sapoá, which divides the communities of Son Zapote and Guapinol, where they installed signs and reforested the area.

This year, the local government will host one at Salinas River.

We want the population to take ownership of these spaces to keep them clean and in good condition,” explained institutional planner Karla Valverde.

Valverde added that, in order to chose the rivers, they consider those that are easily accessible and with spaces to sit down and have recreational activities.

One of the members of Amigos del Diriá, that organized the picnic in the Diriá River, told that this is the third occasion they organize the activity. “To see a real change in the river (Diriá) we need institutions to get involved,” said Marco Hernández. According to hum, the river becomes dirtier as it approaches to the city.

The picnics in Guanacaste:

Cantón River Organizer Hours Contact
Santa Cruz Río Diriá Amigos del Diriá Undefined [email protected]
Liberia Río Liberia Hydraulic engineering students 9am-12pm 8993-8337
La Cruz Río Salinas City of La Cruz 8:30am-12:30pm 2690-5711


How to Organize yours

Anyone can organize a picnic on a river or stream in their community. You and your group decide the details like the place, time, duration and the activities that will he held to benefit the waterway.

The only thing you have to do is register using this form, which requests information about the group organizer and location. Organizers of the Picnic on the River will take charge of designing graphics for making the announcement through social media.

The information for all the activities is also on the Facebook page for Picnic on the River, on the social media pages of the organizers and on the “Map of Picnics”.

On the day of the event, organizers request taking pictures and videos and sharing them on social media with the hashtags #PicnicEnElRíoCR, #UnidosPorNuestrosRíos and another hashtag with the name of the river or organization.

To spread the word, send materials to [email protected] and the organization will create a scrapbook of the event. If you have doubts about how it all works, you can send a message to that same email.

The team also has a Facebook group to share experiences.