Located 546 kms off Cabo Blanco, the closest point to the continent, at a northern latitude of 5º30'34", and a western longitude of 87º18'6".
Cocos Island is an area that emerged from an underwater mountain range (the Cocos ridge). It rises to 634 meters above sea level at its highest point, Iglesias Peak. It is a terrain of volcanic origin with an infinite number of rivers and streams which plunge over the dramatic cliffs that line its 28 kms of coast.
A thick evergreen forest carpets the rugged island terrain of 2,400 hectares, where it is frequently overcast or raining in torrents. Average annual rainfall is betwwn 5,000-8,000 mm. Scientist have identified 235 species of plants (70 endemic), 362 of insects (64 endemic), 2 of endemic reptiles (the Norops townsendi lizard and the Spaerodactylus pacificus salamander) 3 of spiders, 85 of birds (3 endemic), 57 of crustaceans, 118 of seawater mollusks, over 200 of fish and 18 corals. The waters around the island abound with white-tipped sharks, giant hammerhead sharks, tuna, parrotfish, mantas and crevalle jacks.
The most typical tree species on the island are the cupey, huriki, and the endemic Rooseveltia frankliniana palm. The most beautiful birds are the endemic species: the Cocos Island flycatcher (Nesotriccus ridgwayi),Cocos Island cuckoo (Coccyzus ferrugineus) and Cocos Island finch (Pinaroloxias inornata). A common bird in forest growth is the Holy Ghost dove, a small white bird that visits the island to nest and has a curious habit of hovering over visitor's heads.
Cocos Island is a place of great scenic beauty and an ideal laboratory for nature studies. Everywhere there are ferns, bromeliads, rivers, streams, waterfalls, valleys, cliffs and islets with innumerable visiting seabirds, nesting gulls and brown boobies.
The island was discovered in 1526. During the 17th and 18th centuries, it was a heaven for pirates and corsairs, who thrived along the Pacific coast of Spanish America, and a hiding place for valuable treasures.