Pilgrimage to the Playas

Surf Tourism in Costa Rica

in Anthropology in Action

Surf tourism is a largely ignored mode of touristic behaviour in the academy. This investigation adds to a very limited body of work by providing explorations of the significance of surf tourism for surfers and by bringing forward data and observations of the impacts surf tourism has had on Playas Jacó and Hermosa, Costa Rica. Interview, statistical and observation data are used here to argue that: a surfer habitus creates dispositions for many surfers to travel to exotic coastal destinations on the periphery; surf trips to Costa Rica in many ways are experientially similar to pilgrimages; and that surf tourism can be seen to be directly and indirectly associated with many economic, environmental and socio-cultural costs and benefits to the local communities under study. Considering the applied dimension of surf tourism it is argued that surfers may indirectly set in motion a process of development and foreign investment into areas that are ill prepared for large numbers of visitors.

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Anthropology in Action

Journal for Applied Anthropology in Policy and Practice

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