• On June 22, 1978, it was declared a National Park by the then President Rodrigo Carazo Odio.
  • Declared as a Natural Heritage of Humanity site, the island makes the Costa Rican territory 10 times larger.
  • As part of the celebrations, “Cocos Island: Costa Rica’s last natural frontier” will be exhibited in San José.

With the presence of the President of the Republic, Carlos Alvarado Quesada; the Minister of Environment and Energy, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez Echandi; international guests; officials of the Cocos Marine Conservation Area (ACMC) of the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC-MINAE); park rangers, and allied organizations, this Thursday the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the declaration of Cocos Island as a National Park was held.

Mr. Alvarado reaffirmed the commitment of his government to “continue safeguarding the cultural legacy of Cocos Island”, convinced that “we have to generate actions that strengthen the contribution of this natural gem, which has great wealth in terms of biodiversity.” He stressed that in these 40 years, important efforts have been made in public-private partnerships to protect this natural treasure, such as the modern radar that effectively protects this place, declared a Natural Heritage of Humanity site and RAMSAR Wetland of International Importance.

With an area of 24 km2 of land surface and 12 nautical miles of absolute protection around the Island, it is the largest National Park in Costa Rica. In addition, it is characterized by being the home of more than 2,600 species, of which 100 are unique in the world.

“With the creation of this Park, the Carazo Odio administration guaranteed Costa Ricans and the world the conservation of a natural sanctuary for marine and terrestrial species; it represents a living laboratory of interest to the academia and for the development of science,” said Marco Vinicio Araya Barrantes, Director of the ACMC.

He highlighted the passion and devotion with which park rangers carry out their protection and conservation tasks at this site located 532 km away from Puntarenas, with the support of officials from the Regional Directorate, who from the continent coordinate administrative, logistical, and institutional processes.

Celebration activities

As part of the activities organized for the celebration, the Cocos Marine Conservation Area of the National System of Conservation Areas, with the support of the Principality of Monaco and Friends of Cocos Island (Faico), held the meeting of the working group of the Network of Marine Protected Areas of the Marine Corridor of the Eastern Tropical Pacific (CMAR) and the Research Forum “Participation of officials in research and monitoring of Marine Protected Areas” of CMAR.

The managers of the Core Areas of the Marine Corridor participated as exhibitors: Galapagos National Park and Marine Reserve (Ecuador), Cocos Island National Park (Costa Rica), Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary and Gorgona National Park (Colombia), and Coiba National Park (Panama).

An initiative of the Jade and Pre-Columbian Art Museum, the Cocos Marine Conservation Area, and Faico will bring a part of the Park to the continent with the exhibition “Cocos Island: Costa Rica’s last natural frontier” in the temporary exhibition hall, which will be accompanied by talks and activities. It will be open to the public from June 22, 2018, to January 22, 2019.

“The exhibition is an opportunity for the public to get to know the natural heritage of Cocos Island through specific information on the great and unique marine and island biodiversity, as well as of the work carried out by park rangers on the site,” said Geiner Golfín, park ranger in charge of the Natural Resources Management Program of Cocos Island National Park.

Additionally, in August there will be an educational and awareness-raising activity in the Puntarenas Marine Park with children from schools in the area.

Everyone’s effort

The level of conservation of what French Biologist Jacques Cousteau called the most beautiful island in the world has been possible thanks to the support of partner organizations such as Friends of Cocos Island (Faico), Asociación Costa Rica por Siempre, Misión Tiburón, MarViva, CREMA, and Conservation International, government institutions such as ICE and CNFL, and private businesses and civil society.

“Faico is a pioneering natural partner in the accompaniment and development of unprecedented initiatives, which have strengthened the National Park for more than 24 years. This has been possible thanks to the formalization of successful partnerships with stakeholders. Joint projects aimed at research, control and surveillance, equipment and infrastructure, awareness-raising, and others, serve a common agenda and objectives, which through learning and achievements, increasingly commit us to face new challenges and to continue generating a positive impact that is globally replicable,” said Alejandra Villalobos, Executive Director of Faico.

This celebration represents an opportunity to join efforts and strengthen the commitment of Costa Ricans to continue conserving the unique and exceptional biodiversity of this National Park, for the enjoyment of present and future generations.