The Cocos Island National Park site in Costa Rica was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1997. Cocos Island's position as the first point of contact with the northern equatorial counter-current and the myriad interactions between the island and the surrounding marine ecosystem make the area an ideal laboratory for the study of biological processes. The site hosts critical habitats for marine wildlife, including large pelagic species, especially sharks (like the hammerhead Sphyrna lewini), but also rays, tuna, and dolphins.
Today, over 40 World Heritage sites are listed for their marine values. Together, they can be considered the "Crown Jewels of our Ocean" and are recognized for their outstanding beauty, exceptional biodiversity, or unique ecological, biological, or geological processes. Learn more about this and other marine World Heritage sites.