30 years protecting Costa Rica’s last natural border

• The Friends of Cocos Island Foundation (FAICO) was created on May 13, 1994. Its work has been fundamental in the management of Cocos Island National Park, the largest one in Costa Rica and Central America.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024. Within the framework of its 30th anniversary, FAICO celebrates its countless contributions in favor of the conservation and management of Cocos Island National Park and its surrounding ecosystems, thus being consolidated once again as one of the strategic partners with the longest history and cooperation activities for the “most beautiful island in the world”,which is proudly Costa Rican and essential to the planet.

To date, FAICO’s cooperation is estimated at approximately $500,000 annually, thanks to projects, initiatives, and the proactive work of its dedicated staff.

65% of the infrastructure used by park rangers, volunteers, and researchers in the national park is the result of projects promoted by FAICO with different partners.The positioning, recognition, and obtaining of the declaration of Cocos Island National Park (CINP) as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 and a Global Ocean Refuge – Blue Park in 2018are among the great achievements of FAICO along its trajectory.


FAICO was a fundamental stakeholder for Costa Rica to go from 2.7% to 31% of conservation and protection of its marine ecosystems, thanks to the expansion achieved in December 2021of Cocos Island National Park to 54,844 km² and to the creation of the Bicentennial Marine Management Area (BMMA), which measures 106,283 km².

Alejandra Villalobos FAICO Executive Director “The success of FAICO is the result of a proactive and coordinated work with authorities such as the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), the Cocos Marine Conservation Area (ACMC), and other government institutions, together with a large number of local, regional, and international organizations, which under a common purpose, channel human, technical, and financial resources, consolidating a model of cooperation that has inspired marine conservation at a global level,”explained Alejandra Villalobos, Executive Director of FAICO.


In its 30 years, FAICO has always highlighted the great work carried out by the true guardians of this natural treasure, which is why it created the “Park Rangers Quality of Life Program”, which has provided essential equipment and supplies for the work that for many years these employees have carried out in the Pacific Ocean, 532 km away from the mainland of Costa Rica, aside from their participation in national and international forums. These spaces have allowed them to participate and position their work and the importance of Cocos Island in our country and abroad..

TheCocos Island National Park has more than 2,600 species of flora and fauna. It is home to almost 50% of the country’s endemic biodiversity.In addition, it is one of the ten best places for recreational diving and a site of countless milestones and historical moments.

“With its vast experience and leadership, FAICO continues focusing on the development and execution of projects in an articulated manner, where management, sustainable use, and protection of its habitats and natural resources complements the vision that the country adopted in favor of the conservation and protection by creating this national park in 1978, as well as on the current vision of conserving and effectively protecting 30% of marine ecosystems, promoting a favorable impact in a unique place on the planet, in the Costa Rican seascape, and in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Marine Corridor”.

In the month of its anniversary, FAICO will develop a series of virtual and in-person activities, including four webinars with local stakeholders and regional organizations of Galapagos National Park, cleaning of floating marine waste with the participation of different groups from the community of Puntarenas, and other special events, all this as part of the celebration of the High-Level Eventto be held in June 2024, hosted by the Government of Costa Rica.