Cocos Island was famously featured in the first Jurassic Park movie, and it was the inspiration for Michael Crichton’s best-selling book of the same name, as well.
Isla del Coco is one of the many national parks of Costa Rica for good reason. The island covers 5,893 acres of land, and it is 550 kilometers from the main land in the Pacific Ocean. It was declared a national park of Costa Rica in 1978, and has been visited by many prominent figures including Jacques Cousteau who declared that it was the most beautiful island in the world in 1994. Cocos Island was also declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1997.
The island is believed to have been a stomping ground for pirates. Treasures such as the Benito Bonito and the Treasure of Lima are believed to have been hidden on the island. There have been some items discovered near Isla del Coco that seem to substantiate those claims, and treasure seekers are still carrying out expeditions there periodically.
The island is a fantastic and often visited site for scuba divers who come to see the population of hammerhead sharks that frequent the waters around Isla del Coco. The only people who are allowed to stay at the national park are rangers, and the fact that it is rather inaccessible makes visitors pay steep prices just to get a chance to see the park for the day. Many scuba divers make their way offshore from the island, and then swim in to the hammerhead feeding ground to observe the impressive creatures.
Isla del Coco is home to 235 different species of plants, 97 species of birds and 27 species of sharks among many others. Most of the birds found on Isla del Coco are marine species. Some birds that can be found at Isla del Coco consist of the Cocos Finch, the Cocos Cuckoo, Blue-crowned Mot Mots, the Cocos Fly-catcher and the White Tern. The bird species that are endemic to Cocos Island have undergone a degree of speciation that makes them very dissimilar from their mainland relatives.
Cocos Island has received many accolades and much recognition over the years, but the waters around the island are still somewhat threatened by poachers, illegal fishermen and drug traffickers. The island remains under watch by both the government of Costa Rica and the United States coast guard.