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Coco Island National Park

The island was first discovered by a Spanish sailor in 1526. Due to its isolation and abundance of natural resources, it used to be a popular refuge for whalers and pirates, including, supposedly, such renowned figures as James Cook and Henry Morgan. Legend has it that there is still buried treasure hidden somewhere on the island, and the persistence of illegal treasure hunting has actually become a threat to the island’s ecosystems.




Costa Rica first took control of Isla del Coco in 1869, and used it for nearly a decade as a penal colony. This, however, proved to be impractical given its distance from the mainland. Thus, in 1898, the government sent a team of scientists to Coco ascertain its potential scientific use, and the team concluded that in fact the island’s true usefulness lay in its vast biological richness. It was officially declared a national park in 1978, and a conservation area in 1995. Two years later, UNESCO also declared Isla del Coco a World Heritage Site.



Isla del Coco is covered in dense rainforest, palms, giant leafy ferns, towering cliffs and waterfalls cascading into glistening blue lagoons. But despite its paradisiacal beauty, the island itself is not the main attraction. Far more impressive, is the paradise hidden just below the surface of the ocean - the 972 km2 of protected marine ecosystems.



Three distinct ocean currents converge at Isla del Coco, and it is the first land mass the North Equatorial Counter Current strikes on its course out to sea. This means that all sorts of marine creatures wind up here, and a wide assortment of polyps and larvae build their homes around the island’s periphery. It also means that Isla de Coco is an amazing place to dive.



Other places nearby Coco Island National Park: Parque Nacional Corcovado, Carate, Bahia Drake (Drake Bay), Ciudad Neily, Cabo Matapalo, Golfito, Puerto Jimenez, Pavones, Sierpe and Zancudo.

By Laura Granfortuna
I've always had the travel bug - maybe it's because I've been traveling around with my family since I was an infant, but mainly I think it's because...
05 Mar 2009

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