Los Cóbanos Conservation Area

FIAES contributed to the protection of this natural area through marine fauna research, the sinking of structures for artificial reef formation, solid waste management in surrounding communities, and sustainable tourism.

Conservation area municipalities

  1. Acajutla
  2. Caluco
  3. Cuisnahuat
  4. San Julian
  5. Santa Isabel Ishuatán
  6. Sonsonate
  7. Tepecoyo

Located in the municipality of Acajutla, just 11 kilometers from the departmental capital of Sonsonate, the largest coastal marine area in the country is found, known as Los Cóbanos. Los Cóbanos is surrounded by rocky beaches, rivers, swamps, estuaries, farmlands, and aquiculture tanks.

In the 21,000 square kilometers encompassed by the natural area, innumerable natural resources are concentrated. This is mainly a coral reef made up of 15 distinct species, which are home to a diversity of marine algae, invertebrates, and fish.

The sand in this paradise is made up of the remnants of multicolored shells, which accumulate and give a special effect to this beach, which is a major tourist attraction.

It is common to see small boats along the beach’s shore, ready to head out with the last of the sun’s rays; many local residents live off of small-scale fishing. In this ecosystem, red snappers and carp are abundant are of great import to the economy.


Four species of sea turtles come to this beach to lay their eggs, especially the hawksbill turtle, an endangered species.

Multicolored fish live among the mollusks, coral, sponges and algae, finding ideal conditions for feeding and breeding.

Ecosystem services

The conservation area provides ecological tourism, water production, fishing, agriculture and the production of non-timber forest resources. In addition, the marine ecosystem contributes to the capture of carbon and the coral reefs serve as a barrier of protection. Native and migratory species eat and reproduce in this area, contributing to biodiversity contribution.


The marine coastal area is heavily threatened by overfishing and uncontrolled tourism as well as erosion and contamination from inadequate farming practices along the watersheds surrounding Los Cóbanos.

The over-extraction of marine resources, especially commercial fish without respecting reproduction periods or minimum catch requirements along with inappropriate capture methods is the most critical environmental issue affecting the area.


environmental projects funded


project implementing organizations


years of fundraising and resourcing for conservation

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