Costa Rica is one of the few countries that have such a rich and diversified array of coral reef communities and formations located along their shorelines. The southern region of Costa Rica’s Caribbean shores boast a wide variety of fringing and patch reefs, as well as carbonate banks. There is also an incipient algal ridge in the area.
The Pacific Coast, on the other hand, is considered by many to be much more diverse and interesting, due to its large and intricate coral communities and the isolated colonies that truly make Costa Rica’s underwater wonders worth taking an interest in.
Cocos Island is an island found close to Costa Rica’s Pacific shore that has been designated as a National Park. The island features a rich coral reef, along with underwater caves, tunnels and alternating deep and shallow waters that house no less than 30 different species of coral.
Cocos Island is also known for its 600 species of mollusks and more than 300 different types of fish that have found their home among the island’s beautiful coral formations.
Another protected area, also located in the Pacific region of Costa Rica’s shores is Isla del Cano. This small island rises sharply to a flat surface with beautiful beaches and intricate coral beds that researchers are currently studying to uncover the mysteries of coral death and re-colonization.
Like many coral reefs from around the world, Costa Rica’s coral population has been deeply affected by infrastructural development and global warming. However, with more sites being declared out of bounds for visitors and the local government taking a greater interest in coral preservation, researchers claim that the coral cover is now increasing in most areas.