1 billion treasures have been buried on the island of Costa Rica and you will never find it
Jim DobsonSenior ContributorThe opinions expressed by Forbes collaborators are their own travels. The trip is looking for the most amazing people, places and things in the world. Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedIn
I felt as if I had been taken back in time to a lost world as my helicopter hovered dramatically over the lush island of Cocos. Located 340 miles southwest of Costa Rica, the UNESCO World Heritage Site has been part of Costa Rica since 1832 and is filled with dense tropical rainforest. This island had always fascinated me when I had heard so many pirate stories and thought I was making this journey to get a first look. The tropical island is as mysterious and delightful as it looks.
Author Michael Crichton was so enthusiastic about the island that he then modeled his famous "Jurassic Park" Isla Nublar, and Robert Louis Stevenson's classic novel "Treasure Island" called Cocos Island famous. I realize the enchantment as we hovered over thin 300-foot cliffs, black sand beaches, numerous rivers and streams and approached the stunning waterfall of Wafer Bay.
I assumed I could see dinosaurs roaming freely, but the only real creatures on the island are 400 species of insects and 90 species of birds. The real dangers lie below ground and have often proved fatal as the island is surrounded by Tiger and Hammerhead sharks. Large, extensive underground caves and volcanic tunnels offer a huge amount of marine life.
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The mystery that has confused explorers for centuries has an estimated $ 1 billion worth of treasures hidden throughout the island. It all started in 1820, when Peru started a war against the Spanish Empire, which was colonizing the American Empire. The Argentine general, Jose de San Martin, intended to invade Lima, and the Spanish deputy spokesman decided that it was best to remove all areas of wealth from the war zone in order to preserve and return them when safe.
The Spaniards commissioned the esteemed British Captain William Thompson and his ship Mary Dear to protect what is today called the Treasure of Lima. An animal filled with gold coins, silver, diamonds and solid gold in the shape of a life-size Virgin Mary. Captain Thompson and his greedy men eventually killed all the Spanish soldiers and priests on board and headed for Cocos Island, where they buried a huge capital.
They were detained by a Spanish warship and the crew was convicted, with the exception of Captain Thompson and his first mate, who both agreed to cooperate in the search for and treasure. However, both fled on landing on the island and were never caught again. Since then, hundreds of explorers have tried to find the treasure, but have failed. The early expeditions were organized in 1844 by a man named John Keating, who was supposed to be friends with Thompson. On one trip, it was said that Keating had received gold and jewels from the treasure after receiving Thompson's card. After his deathbed, there are rumors that he shared the following treasure of documented inventory.
* One chest containing 4,000 bifurcated Spanish-marked 8, 124 swords, 5,000 crowns of Mexican gold, 64 daggers, 120 shoulder straps and 28 round shields.
* One of the seven-legged solid golden figures of the Virgin Mary with baby Jesus. At 780 pounds, she was rolled on her gold adorned with 1,684 jewelry, including 4-inch emeralds, 6-inch topazes and 7 diamond crosses.
When the German adventurer August Gissler became the official governor of Cocos Island in 1897, he was not interested in a small group of tobacco growers living there, most of whom he had repatriated. He was obsessed with finding the solid golden treasure of the Madonna and also of the pirate Benito Bonito, and over the years he had excavated an extensive system of underground tunnels in his search. He finally left the island in 1908 after gathering clues about the location of the treasure, but walked away with only a few random coins.
The pirates hiding treasures on the Cocos Island began long before Lima's famous treasure happened. In 1818, Captain Bennett Grahame was commanded by a British naval officer to survey the Devonshire Coast in the South Pacific. After keeping more than 350 tons of gold from the Spanish galleons raided during his tenure, he decided to turn his career into a pirate. The captain and most of his crew were arrested and executed for their actions.
One of the ship's surviving crew members, Mary Welsh, who was sent to a penal colony but was later released, said he saw Captain Grahame and his men burying the treasure on Cocos Island. With location camps and a memory of the exact location, the Welsh expedition led Cocos Island, but after many storms, the sights he remembered had long since disappeared.
During his career, in which more than 350 tons of gold were pirated and Spanish galleons were burned in 1888, Benito Bonito is rumored to have buried his treasures in a deep tunnel on the island of Cocos in the Wafer Bay area.
His biggest mistake was allowing two Englishmen to join his pirate team. Several years later, the two men were arrested and sent to prison, and for freedom they promised to offer Benito Bonito a hidden place in the West Indies, which ended Bonito's pirate life.
The explorers have organized more than 500 expeditions on the island, but fail until the government finally bans them. British and Canadian media reported extensively in 2012 that adventurer / engineer Shaun Whitehead was conducting an extensive archaeological survey of the island using a ground-penetrating radar and snake camera. This expedition fell apart and never happened.
I spoke to Whitehead, who told me, "The team members visited the island and we had permission to conduct a more extensive archaeological and zoological survey. However, the permits lasted only six months and we waited for the TV company to finish things. requested, the Costa Rican government decided that there was too much publicity (not serious archaeological / zoological research) on the treasure aspects and therefore refused further assistance. "
It is reported that the alleged treasure of Lima has been found and restored, but all of them are considered scams aimed at diverting attention away from the island. There are also reports that the treasure is in another location, but these have been unfounded. And many skeptics are quite loud that there is no treasure at all and that it's all a fabulous pirate story. I decided to believe in the mystery of the island, and we will never really know the truth, because further investigation is completely forbidden.
I spoke with Genna Marie Davis of the Undersea Hunter Group, an adventure diving company, who told me, "It's hard to write about the treasures of Cocos Island because there is so much fame, tradition and conflicting information that is confusing distinguish the truth. The stories are a lot of fun, but you have to take them with the grain. There was even a lot of misinformation that the treasure hunters were trying to throw from other treasure hunters off the track. "
Guests staying overnight on the island are strictly forbidden and can only be reached by expensive diving directly on board. Only park rangers living in rangers are allowed by the Costa Rican government to stay on the island, fulfilling their responsibility to protect the nature reserve.
I have been a world researcher for over 30 years, having visited more than 90 countries. I'm very experienced in exotic travel and extreme luxury adventures, and I'm
I have been a world researcher for over 30 years, having visited more than 90 countries. I have extensive experience in exotic travel and extreme luxury adventures, and I have been fortunate to work and travel with some of the greatest celebrities and billionaires. I love exploring hidden, never-before-seen locations, revealing unique ultra-long destinations, and reporting on unique celebrity stories. I am a passionate supporter of the protection of the environment and animal rights, and I always help to promote these causes through stories around the world. Follow me on Instagram: official jimdobson, Twitter @theluxeworld or email me with questions or corrections at [email protected]