Hermosa Beach selected as South World Reserve

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Hermosa Beach selected as South World Reserve
Wed September 23, 2020

Located in Garabito, Costa Rican beach is the first in Central America and the eleventh in the world awarded by the "Save the Waves Coalition"

 


Playa Hermosa de Garabito, in the province of Puntarenas, was designated as the next World Surf Reserve, the first in Central America and the eleventh globally, announced the US non-profit organization “Save the Waves Coalition”.

The objective of this award is to preserve and enhance the environmental, cultural, economic and community attributes characteristic of the area which, through the organization's “World Surfing Reserves” program, identifies and selects areas that have a combination of exceptional waves, history and natural ecosystems that must be conserved.

“Playa Hermosa was a perfect candidate for the World Surfing Reserves designation,” said Save The Waves Coalition Executive Director NikStrong-Cvetich. "Its incredible biodiversity and environmental attributes, as well as a clear conservation vision for the future, this surf ecosystem is very deserving of the title," he stressed.

He added that this election is very exciting for the program as it is the first World Surf Reserve in Central America. "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 come to enjoy nature, the rich and warm Costa Rican culture."

The “National Stadium of Surfing,” as surfers know it, joins the prestigious list of reserves awarded this distinction: Malibu, California; Ericeira, Portugal; Manly Beach, Australia; Santa Cruz, California; Huanchaco, Peru; Bahía Todos Santos, Baja California, Mexico, Punta de Lobos, Chile, Gold Coast Australia, Guarda do Embaú, Brazil and Noosa Heads, Australia.

Environmental, social and economic benefits. One of the most visited places to observe and surf in the whole country, Playa Hermosa is located in the canton of Garabito, which has the coastal forest recovery pilot project led by the Costas Verdes Association, which has planted more 30 thousand trees with the participation of students and staff from local schools, neighbors, tourists and companies.

The balance between sport, development and conservation of the environment is correlated and must be harmonious to benefit each other, a concept with high potential for replicability.

Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, former Minister of the Environment of Costa Rica and new Executive Director of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) commented that, “Costa Rica is delighted to have received this designation. This ecosystem and surf community is a fantastic model for coastal conservation and this recognition will help drive other efforts across the country to protect our waves and shoreline, ”he said.

The Minister of Tourism, Gustavo Segura, indicated that Costa Rica stands out in the world as a tourist destination that allows unique and unrepeatable experiences that reconnect tourists with its essence. “It is a pride as a country that Playa Hermosa is awarded as one of the few world surf reserves. Undoubtedly, this recognition will increase the country's positive positioning as an optimal destination for surfing mixed with unforgettable natural settings ”, he explained.

Data from the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) indicate that 17% of tourists who visited the country by air in the period 2017-2019 practiced surfing and 72% carried out activities related to sun and beach, which reveals the positioning of Costa Rica as a destination suitable for surfing and with internationally recognized beaches.

The Minister of Environment and Energy, Andrea Meza, explained that the health of coastal ecosystems are essential for the well-being of people and nature. "In Costa Rica we have seen that coastal protection works to give a break to the species that live there, so that communities have additional income and for the physical and mental health of each Costa Rican."

“La designación de Playa Hermosa de Garabito como la próxima Reserva Mundial de Surf nos honra y nos permitirá potenciar los beneficios ambientales y económicos de este deporte en la zona”, subrayó la jerarca.

No es nada más un premio, es un plan de acción. Ser una Reserva Mundial de Surf conlleva compromiso y trabajo. Es una iniciativa para conservar y potenciar lo que ya existe y solucionar lo que debe mejorarse. Para lograr esto, un comité local está encargado de identificar las amenazas y oportunidades, diseñar y ejecutar un plan de acción.
El comité tiene una conformación acorde con las necesidades, representado por miembros de la Municipalidad de Garabito, el SINAC, MINAE, la Asociación de Vecinos, organizaciones conservacionistas, empresarios y surfistas locales.

Entre los temas a tratar está la seguridad, la instalación de servicios que beneficien al usuario, el embellecimiento de las zonas públicas, garantizar el acceso a la playa, planificación urbana sostenible, reforzar la capacidad de control y vigilancia del refugio, mitigación de la erosión y otros efectos del cambio climático y la reactivación de la economía local.

Laura Zumbado, líder del comité local, destacó que el equipo con alianzas locales, nacionales e internacionales trabajará para que las futuras generaciones disfruten de la calidad de esta ola. “Esta es una gran oportunidad para que la comunidad pueda potenciar los beneficios que se obtienen de nuestras olas y ser modelo en urbanismo sostenible costero”, dijo.

Más áreas protegidas de surf para Costa Rica. La nueva Reserva Mundial de Surf también servirá como punto de partida para las Áreas Protegidas de Surf en Costa Rica bajo la “Surf Conservation Partnership,” una alianza entre Conservación Internacional y Save The Waves.
Las dos organizaciones trabajarán junto con el gobierno de Costa Rica y las comunidades locales para proteger los ecosistemas de surf críticos en todo el país en los próximos años. El Surf Conservation Partnership apoyará los esfuerzos nacionales para promover la gestión integrada de los ecosistemas marinos.

Ana Gloria Guzmán, directora ejecutiva de Conservation International Costa Rica, destacó que los actuales esfuerzos nacionales apuntan a asegurar que los medios de vida mejoren a través de la conservación de la naturaleza. “Iniciativas como esta son importantes, ya que brindan una oportunidad para que las comunidades locales se unan y se involucren de manera activa en la gestión de los recursos marinos, los cuales son esenciales para su bienestar”, dijo.

Puede encontrar más información acerca de Save the Waves y las Reservas Mundiales de Surf en la página web en https://www.savethewaves.org/programs/world-surfing-reserves/

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