Cocos Island is the habitat of about 27 exotic endemic fish species including the rare rosy-lipped batfish. Filled with seemingly endless ocean scapes and plenty of marine wildlife, Cocos Island National Park is considered one of the world’s best destinations for scuba diving and snorkeling. The rich diversity of indigenous marine life here makes Cocos a diver’s paradise. The tranquil waters and coarse pinnacles surrounding the islands shores attract tons of hammerheads, white tip reef sharks, jacks, and rays as well as about 32 types of reefs, 57 crustaceans, 120 mollusks and 250 fish species.
Cocos Island’s strength is its marine life, which attracts divers from all around the globe. Though there are several varieties of coral, there is not a large quantity at Cocos Island, so divers will not see as many colorful reef fish, the island is famous for a range of other aquatic wildlife wonders such as the white tip reef shark, black tip shark, silky shark, hammerhead shark, Galapagos shark, whale shark, bullshark dolphin, bigeye jack, spotted eagle ray, manta ray, marble ray, green sea turtle, giant moray eel, Commerson’s frogfish, rosy-lipped batfish, yellowfin tuna, wahoo, marlin, and sailfish.
Local private tour companies generally offer ten day diving packages for seasoned divers. Divers are put up on cruise ships that are moored offshore. The actual diving excursions are done using smaller speedboats that can accommodate ten divers at a time. These diving trips generally include three dives a day, but night dives are offered to experienced divers bitten by the irresistible adventure bug. The best time to spot large groups of hammerhead sharks at one of the largest cleaning stations here is during the monsoon, from May to late November. The visibility is much better and the water less ferocious during the dry climate months of January-April.
The Cocos Island harbors the Coco Island National Park and is part of a belt of the Galápagos Islands which comprises primarily of submerged volcanoes. This stretch was created by a sole spot that elevated the volcanic material from below the crust of the earth. The credit for the discovery of Cocos Island, the belt’s northernmost island, goes Juan Cabezas in 1526. It was later appointed at the prison for hardened criminals by the Costa Rican government in the late 19th century.
The island features two large bays with safe anchorages (where the diving boats anchorage) and balmy beaches. Chatham is nestled on the northeast side and Wafer Bay is on the northwest. Just below the waterfall and in the rivers are plenty of freshwater fish that have intrigued marine researchers and biologists for years. Owing to its isolated location and generous amounts of fresh water, Cocos possesses an exotic cast away aura and is a popular haunt for pirates, wildlife watchers and sailors. The legendary myth going about the place of erstwhile treasures being buried in its waters have also lent it a fabled and mysterious adventure appeal that has enticed explorers, divers and adventure smitten travelers for decades.