Cocos Island

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Cocos Island, Costa Rica, is located over 300 miles off the Costa Rican shore and is a part of the Puntarenas Canton.

The island itself is uninhabited; you can also get to the area by boat. If you want to stay for more than a day, you will have to live in the many boats that offer board and lodging and are anchored around the island. Cocos Island's warm waters provide a home to hammerhead sharks, rare frogfish, turtles, moray eels, trumpet fish, blue-striped snappers, lobsters and a treasure trove of colored fish. There are actually close to 20 coral species, over 100 kinds of shellfish and a treasure trove of fish and crustaceans. All that marine life certainly makes for an unforgettable dive – some even call it a "super-charged" dive.

Cocos Island is really a marine park, which provides an excellent combination of lush evergreen forest, caves and dark seas. It was also declared a World Heritage Site because of its unique beauty. It offers exquisite loveliness that prompted Jacques Cousteau to call it "the most beautiful island in the world". It is also unique in that it is the only island in the eastern Pacific that has tropical rain forests.

On the island, you can find waterfalls (there are over 200!), rivers and forests. Take a dip at the cool waters of the rivers and breathe in the beauty of the cascading waters in the waterfalls. It features a summit named Cerro Iglesias, which has a height of 671 meters. It also has some streams and rivers, the most notable of which are the Pittier and the Genio.

Cocos Island is surrounded by several dive locations which are mostly made up of rocky pinnacles. The dive sites are, namely, Submerged Rock (which is home to a wealth of prolific fish life hovering over a rock filled with sharp ledges), Dos Amigos Grande (which is spectacular, as the unique cathedral-like rock allows the sun's rays to play with the limestone) and the Small Dos Amigos (which is a smaller version of the Dos Amigos Grande). There is also Dirty Rock, Alcyone (a barren piece of rock and boasts of a large school of hammerhead sharks), Manuelita (both East and West sides have a lot of White Tip sharks and creoles), Manta Ray Corner, Chatham Bay, Marble Ray Point and Wafer Bay (which is a rock that plunges into the bottom and is home to some schools of hammerheads).

It has an interesting history, as the island is volcanic in origin. The island is usually made of basalt, which resulted from cooling lava. It also used to be the hideout of pirates, so if you are looking to do some treasure hunting, this is a good place to begin.

The best time to go is from January to April, which is the dry season. A word of warning, though. Since it is quite remote, the extensive ride is quite expensive. But, Cocos Island makes all the expense and effort worth it.

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