Surfers may be putting Playa Hermosa in Costa Rica on the bucket list as it has become the first beach in Central America to be awarded the title of "World Surfing Reserve." This has been attributed to its world-class waves, the rich biodiversity of the area, its strong community support and a clear conservation vision.

World Surfing Reserves (WSR) is a program created by Save The Waves, an international non-profit organization dedicated to protecting surf ecosystems across the world. It serves as a model for preserving wave breaks and their surrounding areas by recognizing and protecting the key environmental, cultural and economic attributes of surfing areas. Surf communities across the globe submit applications to receive the WSR title, but it is awarded to just one destination annually.

Playa Hermosa in Costa Rica
Playa Hermosa is one of the country’s most popular surfing beaches © Visit Costa Rica

Located on the central Pacific coast of Costa Rica, this year's chosen destination, Playa Hermosa, has some of the most consistent waves in the world. At five miles long, it is one of the country’s most popular surfing beaches, welcoming enthusiasts from around the world. The ISA World Surf Championship was held there in 2009, and it is now the 13th destination in the the world to be designated a WSR, joining the likes of the Gold Coast in Australia and Malibu in California.

Four zones comprise surfing in Costa Rica: the Caribbean coast and the Northern, Southern, and Central Pacific coasts. The Pacific coast contains the most surfing locations, the majority of which are found in the north western province of Guanacaste, where Playa Hermosa is located. “We are thrilled that our beautiful Playa Hermosa has been added to the prestigious WSR list," says Gustavo Segura Sancho, Costa Rica’s tourism minister.

A woman surfing a wave at Playa Hermosa
Playa Hermosa is known for its world-class waves © Visit Costa Rica

"With more than 900 miles of coastline and ideal surfing conditions year-round, Costa Rica offers a wealth of surfing opportunities for both novices and experienced surfers.” Further information about Costa Rica can be found here.

Want more surf secrets from the US and beyond? Check out Lonely Planet's new book Epic Surf Breaks of the World, available to order now.

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