Cocos Island

Cocos Island

Cocos Island National Park covers primarily a marine ecosystem, globally significant for sharks.

The park consists of Cocos Island and its surrounding marine zone. It is located in the Pacific Ocean 550km off the coast of Costa Rica. It is the point of land nearest to the Galapagos Islands, which lie 630km to the south-west.

The marine area is considered a safe haven because commercial fishing is not allowed. 300 species of fish are found, including large species such as sharks, rays, tuna and dolphins. This also makes it one of the best scuba diving spots in the world.

Cocos Island is uninhabited except for park rangers. It differs from neighbouring islands because it is not dry and barren, but covered with a humid tropical forest. It is also mountainous and there are many waterfalls. Although its ecosystem has been severely damaged by introduced species like pigs and rats, it still contains many endemic species (for example three species of endemic land birds).

Map of Cocos Island

Load map

Community Reviews

Write a review

Timothy C Easton

USA - 05-May-19 -

Cocos is a difficult place to reach. It took us over 36 hours of cruising on a live aboard dive boat to reach. The island itself is I believe the “real life” inspiration for Jurassic park. Other than a couple of rangers who live on the shore the island is totally humans. It is very mountainous and is covered in thick rain forest jungle with beautiful streams flowing into the ocean. Supposedly buried pirate treasure is to be found....forget about it as the jungle is for all practical purposes impenetrable. The real reason to come here is if you are an experienced diver. The waters around the island are filled with sea life including sharks, mantas, pilot whales, dolphins, tuna, etc.  because of the lack of a human population. But if you want to see this life go soon because the Japanese, Chinese and other  fishing fleets have been illegally raping the seas around the island. For example, for the sake of shark fin soup the shark population has been greatly diminished...the sharks are caught, the fin is cut off and the animal is thrown back to suffer and die. UNESCO designation means nothing to these modern day pirates.

Community Rating


2 Votes 4.51 Score

Your Rating

Site Info

Full Name
Cocos Island National Park
Unesco ID
Costa Rica
9 10
Natural landscape - Marine and Coastal

Site History

2002 Extended

Extension of marine zone

1997 Inscribed

1986 Rejected

Does not meet criteria


The site has 1 locations

Cocos Island


The site has

Human Activity
Individual People
Visiting conditions
WHS on Other Lists
World Heritage Process


Community Members have visited.