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|Cocos Island (Isla del Coco) National Park, Costa Rica|
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Also on Traveling Latin America:
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
hundred miles off Costa Rica's central Pacific coast lies Cocos Island,
a protected National Park and a place of wildlife and brilliant green
forests. Aside from a few National Park guards, the island is
unhabited and has retained its natural beauty through the ages.
In 1997 the park
deemed a UNESCO World Heritage
Cocos Island and Pirates
It's not simply the beauty of Cocos Island that makes it a popular vacation spot, but its shady and romantic history. The island was once a popular hideout for pirates, and it is said that such dubious characters as Sir Francis Drake, William Dampier and Edward Davis once strolled the sandy shores of Cocos Island. The story goes that many of those buccaneers hid their ill-gotten booty on the island, and some say that Robert Louis Stevenson used Cocos Island as his model for Treasure Island. Needless to say treasure seekers have been combing the island for hundreds of years, but little of real value has been unearthed. Were the tales of riches beyond measure hidden on the island just stories, or does the treasure lie there still?
Hiking on Cocos Island
Visitors can hike along trails into the interior of the island where colorful birds flit amongst the trees of the rainforest and the Cocos Island wild pig roots in the earth. The trails wind past grandiose waterfalls plunging hundreds of feet.
Scuba Diving on Cocos Island
The balmy waters around Cocos Island are teeming with colorful tropical fish and schools of hammerhead sharks. It is not unusual for divers to spot an octopus, manta rays, lobsters, moray eels, angelfish, hawksbill turtles and more. The island has been named a premier diving destination by the Professional Assoication of Diving Instructors (PADI).
If you go:
There are no lodging facilities on Cocos Island, so most guests arrive by boat. Those who do not have their own boat can charter one in a coastal town, like Puntarenas. Those who wish to scuba dive while on the island can seek out a diving charter. It can take more than a day of sailing to arrive on the Cocos Island, so most charters have sleeping and dining facilities on board and anchor at the island for several days.
Here are a couple:
Undersea Hunter Group
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