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Written by Matthew Ymbras, TVPuraVida.com
Cocos Island - Sitting alone in the middle of the Equatorial Pacific Ocean there is an Island named Cocos, it is an incredible utopia of naturalism, adventure and mystery. As this Costa Rican National Park gains popularity it is vital to know the Island's offerings, rules and importance before taking the trip.
The fact is many people have seen Cocos Island and don't even know it. This slice of eden was used by Steven Spielberg for a few scenes on the island.
Where is Cocos Island? Cocos Island is located 550 kilometers off Costa Rica's Pacific coast. It was granted National Park status as Cocos Island National Park in the year 1978, recognized for its rich ocean life and unique climatic conditions. It was designated by the UNESCO as World Heritage site in 1997. Even though Cocos Island is small (24 sq km area) it has several unique features that make it the center of attraction, especially when it comes to diving.
The famous Jacques Cousteau headed here several times in the year 1994 and called this one of the most beautiful islands he had ever seen. Scuba divers fall in love with the island for its rich fauna. The island's shallows and surrounding waters boast rare ocean species that are pleasure for the divers. These treats for the eyes are why Cocos is regarded among the top scuba destinations around the world. Divers feast their eyes on species both large and small with every dive. Large schools of Hammerhead Shark are known to patrol the waters and sleepy White Tip Reef Sharks are commonly found resting on the sea floor. Yellow Fin Tuna, Giant Mantas Rays, Sail Fish, Whale Sharks, Humpback and Pilot Whales, Bottle-nose Dolphins, different types of turtles are found here in abundance. Once in a while you may even be lucky enough to view Sea Lions!
Cocos Island boasts notorious swashbuckling tales as well. It’s believed that in the past it was a haven for pirates and that these pirates have left hidden treasures here. As of now no official map for the treasure has been discovered. There were as many as three hundred expeditions done in search of treasure, though not many were fruitful. Only items of very lesser value were unearthed, though it has fueled further interest in those believing the folklore.
The Island's climate is typically influenced by Inter-tropical Convergence Zone, as a result of which, it's cloudy and precipitated throughout the year. Very high rainfall levels are registered between January and March and then again in September and October. The ocean currents from the surrounding water bodies greatly impact the climate here. Cocos Island is rainy throughout much of the year so visiting in the driest parts of the year is obviously a good idea.
Those interested in Scuba Diving, must take certifications before diving these waters. Though not always needed, it is ideal to get a beginners, intermediate or advanced certification. Unfortunately illegal poaching has been a threat to the rich marine life here so many rules and regulations have been put in place to protect this paradise. It is best to make sure you know all of the facts and do a little research before going ahead and booking your trip.
Visitors are not allowed to camp overnight as only Park Rangers semi-permanently reside here. Getting around is also pretty difficult, mountain biking and hiking are the most popular forms of transportation. Traveling the land one can come across a plethora of wildlife, waterfalls and incredible beaches and maybe even pirate treasure.
Cocos Island is a natural wonderland of adventure and discovery. If you make a trip make sure you respect the rules that have been put in place and if possible leave the island cleaner then you found it. Cocos Island is something extremely rare and needs to be treated as such. It’s an island that’s has no human residents nor accommodations, maybe that contributes to its status as one of the most beautiful places on the planet earth.
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