Discover Cocos Island – Costa Rica

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Discover Cocos Island - Costa Rica
Cocos Island Costa Rica

There are many islands in the world called the Cocos Islands, but say “Isla del Coco” with an experienced diver – and this island will be recognized unambiguously. Belonging to Costa Rica Cocos Islands, the largest uninhabited island officially Earth included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Discover Cocos Island - Costa Rica
Cocos Island Costa Rica

Cocos Island, with its 15-kilometer shelf zone, has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1997 as “an example of ongoing ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems and plant communities.

This island is famous not only for its protected nature and first-class diving.

Discover Cocos Island - Costa Rica
Cocos Island Costa Rica

Cocos Island is considered one of the main candidates for the prototype of the Robinson Crusoe Island (however, Defoe placed an uninhabited island in the Atlantic ). Another literary parallel is Stevenson’s Treasure Island. And the reasons for considering Coconut an island with pirate treasures are very serious: pirates have certainly been here, and treasure hunters are still trying to find legendary treasures…

Discover Cocos Island - Costa Rica
Cocos Island Costa Rica

Geographical position of the Cocos Island

Cocos Island “is located Geographic coordinates: 5.518889, -87.071667;  Click to view on Google Mapsin the Pacific Ocean about 550 km from the Costa Rican coast. The closest inhabited land to Cocos is the Galapagos Islands , which belong to Ecuador , a few hundred miles to the southwest.

The island of volcanic-tectonic origin is composed of basalts and has an elongated shape. Measures approximately 8 × 3 km and an area of ​​23.9 km 2.

Discover Cocos Island - Costa Rica
Cocos Island Costa Rica

The coastline is moderately indented, there are three bays: Wafer (aka Wafer ), Chatham (or Chatham, Chatham ) and Weston ( Weston ). Due to the steep banks, it is not convenient to land ashore everywhere.

The highest point of the island is Mount Iglesias, which rises to an elevation of 771 m. The central part of the island is occupied by a flat terrain with an altitude of 200-250 m above sea level.

There are several small rivers on Cocos Island that can dry up if there is a long absence of rain in the dry season. There are many waterfalls in different parts of the island, the number of which increases during the rainy season.

Discover Cocos Island - Costa Rica
Cocos Island Costa Rica

Cocos Island Flora and Fauna

The flora of Cocos Island is extremely rich and at the same time unique: of the 235 known species of flowering plants on the island, 70 are endemic, that is, they are not found anywhere else in the world. In addition, 74 species of horsetails and ferns, 128 lichens and mosses, 90 species of mushrooms, etc. are described on the island. Coconut is the only island in the eastern Pacific Ocean covered with tropical rainforest.

90 bird species nest on Coconut (3 of them are endemic). All 4 species of land mammals: Virginia deer, feral pigs, cats and rats – were brought from outside by people. Cocos Island is home to two species of lizards found only here. The island is home to over 400 species of insects, of which about 16% are endemic.

Discover Cocos Island - Costa Rica
Cocos Island Costa Rica

Marine fauna Coco draws its water divers from around the world. Warm tropical waters, coral colonies, seamounts, volcanic caves provide shelter and food for 600 species of molluscs and more than 300 species of fish, among which are yellowfin tuna, manta rays, sailfish, bronze hammerhead sharks and, finally, whale sharks – the largest fish on Earth. Whitetip and graytip reef sharks can be found here. The reefs are inhabited by octopuses, moray eels, bisse turtles, green and olive sea turtles, and parrot fish.

Discover Cocos Island - Costa Rica
Cocos Island Costa Rica

Humpback whales, grinds (from the dolphin family), bottlenose dolphins, and sea lions are also found in coastal waters.

Cocos Island, with a 15-kilometer offshore zone, has been declared a conservation area of ​​international importance.

Cocos Island treasures

With Cocos are many legends about countless treasures still hidden and waiting for his treasure hunt. Here they are looking for the missing Inca gold from the city of Cuzco , pirate treasures of the 17th-18th centuries, but the most popular legend is about the “gold of Lima”

Discover Cocos Island - Costa Rica
Cocos Island Costa Rica

Allegedly, during the War of Independence of Peru, they tried to send the treasury and noble Spaniards to the metropolis by hiring a pirate brig for transportation, but not informing the captain about the contents of the cargo. But the captain, having learned about the true contents of the holds, managed to secretly take his brig away.

A warship was sent in pursuit, which overtook the pirates off the coast of Cocos Island, but the holds were already empty, the treasure was safely hidden on the island. They tried to get the treasure several times, and even, it seems, a small part of it was taken out, but according to legend, most of it remains on the Island.

Discover Cocos Island - Costa Rica
Cocos Island Costa Rica

Since the XIX century. almost continuously, expedition after expedition are searching for treasures on the Cocos Island, but there have been no official reports of treasure finds so far. By the way, according to the laws of Costa Rica, if you find a treasure, you will have to give half to the state.

Diving on Cocos Island

Cocos Island is often ranked in the top ten diving spots in the world at various levels.
Diving is only possible during a dive safari. Safari yachts depart from the Costa Rican port of Puntarenas and take about 36 hours to reach the Cocos Island. There are few possible anchorages at Cocos Island, with the most popular in Chatham and Waiffer bays. In most cases, direct diving is done from the zodiacs or small boats.
Discover Cocos Island - Costa Rica
Cocos Island Costa Rica

Weather, seasonality and diving conditions

The weather here is most often cloudy, heavy rains are possible throughout the year, slightly less from January to March and from September to the end of October. The climate on the island is humid, tropical, with an average annual temperature of 23.6 ° C and an average annual rainfall of over 7000 mm. The coconut lies outside the typhoon belt.

Discover Cocos Island - Costa Rica
Cocos Island Costa Rica

The diving season at Cocos Island is almost all year round, but the best time to dive is from May to October. July to October is the peak season for hammerhead sharks. The water temperature at diving sites is 23-27 ° С. Visibility – 20-30 m. Strong unpredictable currents are possible. Recommendation wetsuit 5 mm.


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Discover Cocos Island - Costa Rica

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