The Cruce Golfo Dulce, which took place on 12 September, has been praised for its efforts to support the local community and promote sustainability and ecotourism.
Event organizer Joe Bernini this year added a 14-km race to the programme for the third edition of the annual Cruce Golfo Dulce to help the event grow and give back to the area. Proceeds from the race went towards a programme that teaches English to local school children so they can boost their chances of getting jobs in tourism. The event also features 1.5km and 5km swims and attracted more than 200 participants.
Bernini, who runs Aventuras Golfo Dulce, an open-water swimming and adventure sport company with events across Costa Rica, says that sports that work in harmony with the environment also help to boost a location’s economy.
“We endeavour to demonstrate there is a feasible way to put in practice sustainable development models, and we lead by example. There is no conservation without support to the local community,” he says.
During the weekend of the event a blue flag was raised to credit the Cruce Golfo Dulce as an environmentally beneficial event. The Costa Rica government’s Ecological Blue Flag programme runs through a strict series of guidelines that seeks to honour certain places and events that conserve and protect natural resources.
The 14km swim proved to be a welcome but challenging addition to the programme and attracted some of Costa Rica’s most talented swimmers to Puerto Jiménez, including Christopher Lanuza Segura (19), who is the country’s top ranked long distance swimmer. After taking an early lead he relaxed, swam some backstroke to take in the sights, and still finished in under two and half hours.
Second swimmer home was Angélica Astorga (18) of Cartago who reached the sand 15 minutes later. She also won the 5km race the day before. She was unfortunate to receive a number of jellyfish stings on her legs, chest and face during the first few kilometres.
Throughout the weekend, event organizers worked with a local organization that helped sort out recycling bins and kept the beach clean.
“In addition to the positive impact on an important ecosystem that represents the best place on earth to observe cetaceans (humpback whales, spotted dolphins and bottled nosed dolphins), the ultimate goal was to increase social and environmental awareness in a coastal community that needs every drop of revenue it can get,” says Bernini.
Find out more: www.aventuras-golfo-dulce.co