Longo Mai is a self-sustaining, self-governing community run for the benefit of the residents by the residents. Legally, Costa Rica considers Longo Mai to be an association and a board of directors does paperwork with the Costa Rican government. In the view of the Longo Mai European Association, Longo Mai Costa Rica is considered an “unintentional community,” since it was originally founded for refugees instead of being designed for a group of people with common ideological or political beliefs, like European Longo Mai communities were. Citizens can join different committees, which operate independently, but frequently communicate with each other to achieve their goals.
Some committees have existed for decades while others come and go. Some of the major committees in Longo Mai include a tourism committee, which has been around the longest, a sports committee, a committee meant to protect the water quality, an education committee, and a committee called UNAPROA that is dedicated to environmental protection. The committees in Longo Mai provide a shield around the community, and almost everyone who lives here is involved in one. Many are open to all regardless of age, and tourists that stay here for extended periods frequently join committees as well.