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Costa Rica’s Cocos Island

Costa Rica Travel – If any of you are lucky enough to have the funds to do so, take a visit to Cocos Island one of the wonders of the world in my opinion.

Humans have known about Cocos island, one of Costa Rica’s treasures, since the 16th century, though there is no evidence that there has ever been a human settlement on the island. Scientists and sailors looking for fresh water and shelter have made temporary stops there.

Cocos Island is located 550 km of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. The territory includes marine ecosystems within 15 km from the island. One interesting fact about the island is that it’s the single one in the whole tropical Eastern Pacific with a rainforest! It’s close proximity to the northern equatorial counter-current makes this a marine scientist’s playground!

Occasionally the government restricts access to the island but normally it is open to divers and snorkelers. It’s an underwater magical world! You might spot  rays, reef, fish, dolphins, and sharks.  The most abundant are the hammerhead and white-tip shark, with whale sharks also making themselves known sometimes. Over 300 diverse fish species also call the waters around Cocos Island home!

The island itself was made from a volcano and features an irregular coastline of mostly vertical cliffs and two sandy bays. Turtles and marine mammals such as the California sea lion use the beaches sometimes. Many of the inland rivers run over the cliffs resulting in amazing waterfalls!  Due to the heavy rainfall there is lush vegetation on Cocos Island. There are also a high number of endemic species, including 87 bird species. The most notable of these are the Cocos Island Cuckoo, Cocos Island Flucatcher, and Cocos Island Finch. There are no indigenous land mammals, however, pigs, goats, and cats have been introduced by human visitors.

If you have the pleasure of visiting Cocos Island and the surrounding majestic waters make sure to bring your binoculars and camera.

By Kerry La

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