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Coco Island National Marine Park

Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997, Cocos Island Marine Park is situated 330 miles (535 km) from Cabo Blanco, the southernmost tip of the Nicoya Peninsula.

Covered by an evergreen forest, of the type typically found in South America, the island’s rugged landscape is littered with waterfalls, the result of torrential rains that often leave the island’s highest peaks covered in clouds. Underwater, the landscape is no less dramatic. Steep drop-offs and caves, in conjunction with dark, cobalt blue water, provide for a magnificent underwater experience. It’s no wonder scuba divers pay so handsomely to visit Cocos Island.

On Cocos Island, 235 species of plants have been identified of which 70 are endemic. The marine life is exceptionally abundant, with 57 crustacean, 118 shellfish, 200 fish, 351 insect and 18 coral species having been identified. Of particular interest are the white-tip and hammerhead sharks. the latter of which can be found in schools of 50 or more. Parrotfish, several species of rays, moray eels, tuna and mantas are also common sightings. The three endemic bird species are the Cocos Island finch, Cocos Island flycatcher and Cocos Island cuckoo. Sea birds are particularly abundant, especially on the nearby islets that serve as ideal resting grounds.

The main island does have a few trails.. Hiking shoes are highly recommended here, as the rugged landscape can be very slippery when wet.

Getting to Cocos Island

In spite of being one of the world's largest uninhabited islands, no form of overnight accommodation is available, nor is camping permitted. All visitors must arrive by boat, complete with all necessary items. There are several live-aboard dive boats that visit Cocos Island, with most departing from the port of Puntarenas. Aside from independently owned cruise ships and sailboats, dive boats are the only vessels to visit this island park regularly.

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