Is Coco’s a Paradise Lost? Costa Rica exports endangered Hammerhead Sharks


Contributions by Courtney Mattison
of Mission Blue

Three hundred forty two miles west of mainland Costa Rica lies an oceanic island so spectacular Jacques Cousteau called it the “most beautiful island in the world.” Cascading waterfalls cut through lush foliage, the symphony of a thousand seabirds fill the sky, and the surrounding deep waters host a diversity of wildlife found almost nowhere else on the planet. Isla del Coco’s extreme wild beauty appears Jurassic – and was in fact used in the movie of the same name. It seems as though you’ve gone back in time, to a time before humans.

After two days on the open ocean, the green towering mass of land before us was a most welcome sight. © Shari Sant Plummer

Our ship, the Argo, was greeted by spinner dolphins who leapt and twirled at her bow as we entered the boundaries of Cocos Island Marine Park. After two days on the open ocean, the green towering mass of land before us was a most welcome sight, but the real anticipated pleasure was beneath the surface – the chance to dive with many species of sharks. Cocos is known for its shark populations; many species migrate throughout the Eastern Tropical Pacific from Galápagos to Colombia, Panama and finally to Costa Rica. Schooling hammerhead, Galápagos, and silky sharks are frequent visitors, as are tiger and whale sharks. There is also a large resident population of white tip reef sharks. Together, these top predators shape the food web and maintain a healthy ecosystem.

Spinner dolphins leapt and twirled at the ship's bow  © Kip Evans / Mission Blue
Spinner dolphins at the ship’s bow © Kip Evans / Mission Blue

The expedition is led by Mission Blue founder <a target="_blank" href="" —> Read More