Cocos Island National Park

Chatham Beach

For the Australian territory in the Indian Ocean, see Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

Cocos Island is a nationally protected jungle-covered island and national park, 300 mi. off the coast of Costa Rica. It's also a UNESCO World Heritage site.


Cocos Island is located in the Eastern Tropical Pacific approximately 300 miles southwest of Cabo Blanco, Costa Rica. A rugged and incredibly beautiful island, today Cocos Island is the most sacred National park in Costa Rica's extensive park system.

Among Cocos Island's many attributes is a startling degree of biodiversity. This island's world-renowned waters explode with life, including innumerable white tip reef sharks, schooling hammerhead sharks, dolphins, mantas and marbled rays, giant moray eels, sailfish, and of course the occasional whale shark. Other common encounters are large schools of jacks and tuna, silky sharks, silver tip sharks, marlin, Creole fish, green turtles and octopus. On the Island you will encounter a lot of pigs and not much else besides the usual vegetation.


The island is supposed to hold three of the largest treasure troves of all time. From pirates to the entire horde of Lima which was hidden there from Simon Bolivar and his troops in 1821.


View of a cove, Cocos Island

Cocos Island is a very hilly, dense tropical jungle with over 200 waterfalls and averages over 400 inches of rain a year. It has three bays and is 24 square kilometers of land.


Is hot and very humid. It rains just about everyday between March and December for a couple of hours.

Get in

As tourists are allowed ashore only with permission of island rangers, there are very limited ways to be able to step foot on the island but one of the best ways to experience this natural beauty is through a dive trip. There are two fully equipped dive boats that do week and a half trips out to the Island and back, they are the Okeanos Aggressor and Undersea Hunter.


In order to set foot on the island with the intent of treasure hunting requires a permit from the Costa Rican Government. This is because of the large numbers of treasure expeditions that have been seen come through the island over the last 50 years. Over 400 large scale expeditions have been assembled along with tens of thousands of smaller and independent searches.

Get around

An old dusty map of the island

Getting around the island is a little tricky. The main types of transportation are by foot or bike usually used for hikes and sight-seeing tours. The few locals who live here mainly use foot, or bike, or small motor bikes and dirt bikes.


Since this is an island you will see a lot of ocean, but if you ever get the chance to step foot on the island and are somewhat physically fit, hike to the top of the island with a guide. It is a magnificent view.


The main attraction for Coco island is its unbelievable scuba-diving with its schooling hammerhead sharks. On the island hiking and biking to the top of the island for the spectacular view is an almost must. Other main activities include snorkeling, island hopping, and fishing the waters surrounding the island. Many people go to Cocos just to relax on the beach and enjoy the scenery.


Tourists and are not permitted to stay on the island.

Stay safe

Cocos island is a completely safe place with the only threats really being the attractions in the water. That is, the sharks, eels, and other creatures that might be seen while diving, snorkeling, boating, or fishing.

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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, January 24, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.