¿Por Qué Peligra El Turismo? Surfistas y La Privatización del Acceso a Las Playas

EL SALVADOR — Las excelentes olas para el surf son un recurso natural de El Salvador y un atractivo, desde hace décadas, para el turismo. Pero una investigación etnográfica sobre la explotación de la costa muestra que la privatización del acceso a la playa puede matar la gallina de los huevos de oro. Cuando los funcionarios del gobierno salvadoreño firmaron los Acuerdos de Paz en 1992, la comunidad mundial de surfistas prestó atención. Durante 12 años, mientras la guerra civil asolaba El Salvador, el turismo de surf se estancó. Las grandes extensiones de playas de olas vacantes, que atraían a pequeños grupos de surfistas extranjeros en la década de 1960, generalmente estaban ubicadas en zonas que durante la guerra eran consideradas volátiles.
Read: Por Qué Peligra El Turismo – Surfistas y la Privatización del Acceso a Las Playas

Surf Tourism: Social Spatiality in El Tunco and El Sunzal, El Salvador

When Salvadoran government officials signed the Peace Accords in 1992, the global surf community took note. For twelve years, civil war had ravaged the Central American country, leaving nearly 80,000 civilians dead or missing. Once the republic re-emerged as a popular surfing destination, miles of pristine beaches and near-vacant waves were no longer accessible only to the fearless. By the turn of the century, a beach town nicknamed El Tunco became a refuge where waves beckoned the war-weary. Between 1993 and 2009, El Salvador attracted an estimated 12.5 million tourists, many of them in search of surf El Tunco’s evolution into a wavetopia raises several issues that warrant attention. This paper examines how the global surf industry affects EI Tunco’s economic and cultural landscape. Grounds for the study concern tourism, property rights, capital investment, and the aftermath of neoliberal reforms. Ethnographic and field research conducted in August 2010 indicates property values in El Tunco have nearly tripled since 2005. Matters pertaining to land ownership and beach access also have aggravated social tensions. One central argument emerges: Surf tourism serves as a key sector in a depressed Salvadoran economy wherever waves are in demand. Published scholarly analyses dissecting the influence of the global surf industry on specific Central American countries are either undeveloped or nonexistent. The qualitative data presented should fuel discussions and promote more awareness among individuals who recognize surfing as a globalized lifestyle, sport and business.
Keywords: EI Salvador, EI Tunco, El Sunzal, Surf, Tourism, Neoliberalism, Property Rights, Civil War, Travel, Waves, Spatiality
Please see: Surf Tourism – Social Spatiality in El Tunco and El Sunzal, El Salvador.

Soul Surfing in Costa Rica: A Tenderfoot’s Ride

Sometimes when I close my eyes, I remember how it feels to soul surf. In fact, I even remember the first time my spirit found freedom in the balmy waters of Costa Rica. It happened July 17, 2002, about 45 miles north of Tamarindo, a coastal town in the province of Guanacaste that has exploded into a mecca of yachts, tourists, and pricey condos.
Read: Soul Surfing in Costa Rica – A Tenderfoot’s Ride from Arizona State University’s Cronkite-Zine, Fall 2003