Cocos Island is one of the treasures of the planet. The renowned Jacques Cousteau called this Costa Rica island the most beautiful island he had ever explored, Costa Ricans have selected this little national park one of its Seven Wonders, and it is being considered as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
Cocos lies some 340 miles off the Pacific shore on the way to the Galapagos. Though it is very small, its fame today comes from its underwater treasure. Some call this gem Shark Island because of the incredible number of sharks inhabiting its waters, along with a huge number and variety of other fish, sea turtles, whales, and porpoises. Considered by many to have the best big marine animal viewing on earth , experienced scuba divers brave 30 hour boat rides for a Costa Rica diving adventure of a lifetime.
The island has been famous for pirates, real and imagined, for centuries. It is believed by many that it was the inspiration for Robert Lewis Stevenson’s famous pirate novel Treasure Island but sometimes real pirates sailed to it to escape the English fleet and to bury their treasure. Two great treasures, the Devonshire Treasure and the Lima Treasure, worth hundreds of millions of dollars today, may still be buried there.
Cocos Island is also the setting for Michael Crichton’s world famous novel—and Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster movies—Jurassic Park.
The island is uninhabited except for a few Costa Rica park rangers who are stationed there to protect its waters from poaching. For centuries its isolation safeguarded the island’s rainforest and undersea creatures from destruction .
Only a few lucky people get to visit Cocos and if you want to go ashore, you will need previous permission from the rangers. Overnight camping is forbidden. But, no matter. As you walk the shores, looking out over the great Pacific, your imagination can soar. You’ll be walking the very shores that famous pirates hid buried treasure and you will not be alone. It is almost as if some of the stones themselves can talk for you are going to find rocks and boulders bearing the inscriptions of past sailors who left their moment of history behind, writing their names, the names of their ships and ports of call, even the dates. Sailors, long gone but not forgotten by the rocks. Like Kilroy, they were here.