Cocos Island National Park – The Only Rain Forest In The Eastern Pacific

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Located in the eastern tropical Pacific, 300 miles from Cabo Blanco in Costa Rica, Cocos Island is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most beautiful national parks the country has to offer. After several visits here, Jacques Cousteau pronounced Cocos, “The most beautiful island in the world.” The book “Desert Island” was based off of Costa Rica’s Cocos Island and also the “Jurassic Park” movie.

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A rugged and incredibly verdant piece of rock with a wide variety of habitats and animal species, Cocos Island is home to the largest number of sharks in the world. Hammerheads gather here in banks of over 100 while the more aggressive Whitetip reef shark males swarm and prowl for females in order to mate. It is said that the island has the largest density of sharks in the world.

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Deep ocean currents rise up to the surface in swirls, bringing with them nourishment for a large number of marine species. From the huge gray curtains of bait fish, to the infamous sea devils to even the largest of fish, the shark whale.

The island is volcanic in nature, rising some 634 (2080 ft.) meters from the sea level and is the only one in the eastern tropical Pacific to be covered by rain forests. We can find over 70 unique species of plant as well as three species of birds like the Chaffinch, the Cocos flycatcher and the Cocos cuckoo.

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The island however doesn’t have any camping sites and is accessible only to diving boats which come from the mainland or other islands. Thanks to the breathtaking marine life in its waters, Cocos Island was named one of the ten best scuba diving spots in the world by PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) and a “must do” according to diving experts.

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The island itself, even if uninhabited, offers some extraordinary views. With many streams and rivers crossing it, they often times fall over cliffs straight into the ocean in amazing waterfalls. It is among the last places on earth with a mild climate to be so pristine and called a natural paradise.

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