Exploring Costa Rica’s Cocos Island: A Megafauna Mecca
Dive Service Providers
Okeanos Aggressor I
Okeanos Aggressor II
Ultimate Dive Travel
Facts and Figures
- Location: Costa Rica is in Central America, north of Panama and south of Nicaragua with coastlines on both the Pacific Ocean and in the Caribbean Sea. Cocos Island is roughly 300 miles (480 km) southwest of Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast.
- Language: Spanish with English spoken in tourist areas
- Government: Democratic republic with a strong system of governmental checks and balances. Country consists of seven provinces divided into 81 mayor-led cantons. No permanent standing army.
- Time zone: Greenwich Mean Time minus six hours. Daylight-saving time is not observed.
- Population: 4,636,000 of which just over 25 percent live in San Jose. Cocos Island is uninhabited with the exception of a small cadre of government rangers that stay at a ranger station. No stores of any kind except aboard ship.
- Climate: The rainy season is from May to November and the dry season is from December to April. Cocos Island is in the intertropical convergence zone where weather patterns of the two hemispheres meet, which can make for quickly changing and interesting weather.
- Currency: Monetary unit is the colon (c). About 500 c to $1 U.S.
- Tipping: Optional. Tipping is not standard but some restaurants and services add a 10 percent fee.
- Water temperature: 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit (26-30 degrees Celsius), with thermo clines between 60 and 100 feet (4.5 and 30 m), which drop into the low to mid-70s.
- Getting there: Many major air carriers fly in and out of San Jose. Expeditions to Cocos Island may require an overnight hotel stay at the beginning and end of the trip. Charter boat operators can recommend hotels. Buses, which are arranged by trip operators from San Jose to Puntarenas to board boats to Cocos, pick up at several hotels.
- Entry requirements: Valid passport and proof of onward travel out of country. For trips longer than 90 days you need to submit an application to the Costa Rican Office of Temporary Permits in the Department of Immigration.
- Departure Tax: $28 U.S. must be paid in cash.
- Departure Note: Tourists who drive a vehicle and are involved in an accident may be prevented from departing the country until all injury claims have been settled. Public transportation is easily accessible.
- Cocos Island Park Fees: $245 U.S. plus a required $30 Emergency Evacuation Plan fee. Both must be paid in cash. All divers are required to have some type of diving accident insurance.
- Hyperbaric Chamber: Chamber in San Jose. If needed, boat crews will coordinate.
- Electricity: 110 volts
- General information: Tourism Board of Costa Rica, (800) 343-6332 or www.tourism-costarica.com