Playa Hermosa named World Surfing Reserve

September 24, 2020 | Surfing
Playa Hermosa: the most famous surf spot in Costa Rica | Photo: Save the Waves

Save The Waves announced that Playa Hermosa has officially been approved as the next World Surfing Reserve (WSR).

Locate in Garabito, Costa Rica, this is the first WSR in Central America and promises an exciting conservation vision for the country's surf breaks.

The announcement will generate environmental, social, and economic benefits for the local Costa Rican community.

After a careful selection, which involved candidate waves from all five continents, the country's "national surf stadium" was added to the illustrious gallery of World Surfing Reserves.

The international recognition also aims to highlight the need to preserve and enhance the environmental, cultural, economic, and community characteristics of the Puntarenas province.

Playa Hermosa is the first World Surf Reserve in Central America and the eleventh globally.

Save The Waves underlined that Costa Rica is a model of sustainable development that has prioritized the conservation of natural resources, making it a favorite destination for traveling surfers who enjoy nature and warm cultures.

Playa Hermosa: Costa Rica's national surf stadium | Photo: Save the Waves

Surf, Economy and Environment

Playa Hermosa is one of the most visited surf spots in the whole country.

It seeks to achieve a harmonious balance between sport, development, and environmental conservation so that it can be replicated on other beaches across the nation.

"Playa Hermosa has been the training and competition ground for many generations of surfers and is an icon of the national and international surf scene," notes Randall Chaves, president of the Surf Federation of Costa Rica.

"This designation will not only increase its prestige but the definitive protection of the waves and the improvement of services for visitors. The protection of its ecosystem is in the action plan."

Playa Hermosa joins the prestigious list of World Reserves along with Malibu, Ericeira, Manly Beach, Santa Cruz, Huanchaco, Bahía Todos Santos, Baja California, Punta de Lobos, Gold Coast, Guarda do Embaú, and Noosa Heads.

"In Costa Rica, we have already seen that coastal protection works to give a break to the species that live there so that the communities have additional income and for the physical and mental health of each Costa Rican," adds Andrea Meza, the minister for energy and environment.

Every year, many communities with incredible waves and rich surf ecosystems submit an application to receive the prestigious title, but only one is selected.

Playa Hermosa was awarded the WSR title thanks to the unique biodiversity of the area, articulated conservation vision, strong community support, and world-class waves.

Today, the surf break is the center of Costa Rican surfing, attracting recreational and professional surfers from all over the world.

Playa Hermosa will now move forward with the development of its stewardship plan. The formal public dedication as a World Surfing Reserve takes place in 2021.

"Playa Hermosa is a surf ecosystem with a clear conservation vision for the future, so it was the perfect candidate for the WSR designation," concludes Nik Strong-Cvetich, executive director of Save The Waves.

Playa Hermosa: the region offers 15 surf spots and perfect barreling waves | Photo: Save the Waves

A Unique Surf Spot

According to a recent study, surf tourism provides around $5,000,000 of value to the Costa Rica community.

Playa Hermosa's beach breaks deliver all year round A-frame peaks, perfect waves, and several tube riding opportunities.

The area has 15 surf spots, including point breaks.

Although it shines in the spring during the south swell season, the region produces the most consistent waves in Costa Rica.

The first settlers arrived at Playa Hermosa in 1974 to harvest wood from the nearby forest.

The place was first surfed by locals in the 1970s, but the construction of the new highway from San Jose put the spot on the world map.

With a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, the area is an environmental sanctuary with mangrove habitat and estuaries.

Playa Hermosa is home to the Punta Mala Wildlife Refuge, a national protected area that is a refuge for endangered species of sea turtles and other marine life.

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