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A number of major cruise lines include a port of call at one of their “privately-owned islands," but while there’s no doubt that this concept has mass appeal, these islands are left with a manufactured feel, because nearly every aspect – from the tropical drinks to the straw markets – is cruise line owned-and-operated.
latest announcement is in a league of it’s own by entitling passengers to a true private-island experience at a Costa Rican National Park. Beginning next January, the cruise line will sail to Cocos Island, an uninhabited area that was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 2007, and was short-listed as a candidate to be one of the New7Wonders of Nature. The island is so remote that before cruise lines can anchor their ships, they must first receive permission from the island’s only inhabitants – a handful of Costa Rican Park Rangers.
Located between mainland Costa Roca and the Galapagos Islands, Cocos Island is said to be the largest uninhabited island in the world, and is home to over 60 species of animals that are endemic to the island, several of which are on the endangered species list. This new itinerary includes three full days to explore, as well as a chance to tour the caverns, over 200 waterfalls, or go bird watching, kayaking, and snorkeling.
According to legend, the ancient Incan Treasure of Lima is buried on the island, but don’t get any crazy ideas about bringing a shovel along and turning an island tour into a treasure hunt - the flora and fauna is carefully protected, and should not be disturbed. Scuba diving is permitted but divers will be sharing the waters with the largest concentration of hammerhead sharks on the planet- so you better know what you’re getting yourself into.
The 100-passenger Pacific Explorer sets sail from San Jose on January 12, and April 12, 2010 from San Jose, Costa Rica on a 7-day voyage to the island. For more information about this new itinerary, please visit www.cruisewest.com.
To learn about the special booking rates available see our Editor Review.