Drake Bay: Costa Rica Unplugged

Last Updated: November 17, 2020

Set among the largest, most biologically diverse section of lowland rainforest in Central America is the magical destination of Drake Bay, Costa Rica. Here, you’ll forget all the stresses of your everyday life. With jungle full of exotic wildlife and warm ocean waters that are a playground for marine life, it’s hard not to feel at peace and connected to nature. While this remote village is not a destination for everyone, if you’re the type of traveler who smiles instead of squeals when a gecko scurries across your wall, Drake Bay might be perfect for you. In this post, we share some of our favorite Drake Bay activities, restaurants, and lodges to help you plan your visit.

Drake Bay Beach | Two Weeks in Costa Rica


Drake Bay is situated in southwestern Costa Rica on a tract of land called the Osa Peninsula. The Osa is quite remote, and aside from one other hub (Puerto Jimenez on the eastern side), is comprised of only small towns and villages spread out among bountiful rainforest and mangroves. Corcovado National Park, one of Costa Rica’s most famous and biodiverse parks, covers a significant portion of the land and attracts scientists and nature enthusiasts from around the globe.

The village of Drake Bay sits on the Pacific side of the peninsula but is well protected from ocean swells due to its position in a wide cove.

Just off the town’s main beach, Playa Colorada, are a handful of tourism businesses, including small restaurants, lodges, and a few municipal buildings like a school and medical clinic. Other accommodations are spread out along the coast in either direction or nestled into the hills. Some of these are accessible by only a jungle trail or short boat ride.

Tip: There are no banks or ATM machines in Drake Bay and many businesses don’t accept credit cards, so be sure to stock up on cash before you arrive.

Drake Bay Town Picture | Two Weeks in Costa Rica
Drake Bay Town Center

Getting There

One reason Drake Bay is so special is that it is difficult to access and gives you that feeling of being away from it all.


Although during certain times of the year it is possible to drive to Drake Bay, we do not recommend it because of rough roads and river crossings that wouldn’t be covered by your rental car agreement.

Once you arrive, you’ll see that a car won’t be very useful anyway since almost everything is accessible by walking on the beach, through the jungle, or along the few dusty dirt roads.

Tip: Be sure to bring a flashlight for getting around after dark. The main road in town has some street lighting but side roads and trails are not well lit.

Boat Taxi

The best option for getting to Drake Bay is to take a boat taxi from the mainland town of Sierpe. This is a great experience that we have really enjoyed ourselves. These boats are about 20 feet long and covered for shade. They leave from the small riverside town of Sierpe and bring you down the beautiful Sierpe River, through mangroves, out to the ocean, and along the coastline to Drake Bay.

Boat Taxi to Sierpe | Two Weeks in Costa Rica

The trip takes about an hour and costs $15-25 per person. Boat taxis leave the docks in Sierpe twice daily, at 11:30 a.m. ($15) and 3:30 p.m. ($20).

Typically your lodge in Drake will help with the arrangements, but most people leave from either the Las Vegas or La Perla del Sur restaurants. Get there early to find your boat captain and enjoy the river view because it is beautiful.

For your return to Sierpe, boats leave Drake Bay at 7:30 a.m. ($15) and 2:30 p.m. ($20).

Parking: If you want to leave your rental car in Sierpe, there are a few secure parking lots near the docks for around $6/night.

For those not renting a car, you can get to Sierpe via a shared or private shuttle van. Pricing varies depending on where you are coming from. Contact us through our Shuttle Booking page to get a quote.

Tip: If you’re taking a boat taxi, be prepared for a beach landing in Drake Bay. There are a couple of docks in town, but for the most part, boats pull right up on the sand near your lodge. You will need to wade through ankle- or sometimes knee-deep water to get to shore. Make sure to wear sandals or shoes that can be easily taken off or get wet.

Traveling with young children? If you’re coming with younger kids, we recommend bringing a lifejacket. The boats typically have only adult-sized options, and at times, the ride out into the ocean from the rivermouth can be rough. We recommend this lifejacket for babies and this one for toddlers.

Activities in Drake Bay

Once you arrive in the village, nature surrounds you. Drake Bay is the kind of place where you could swing in a hammock all day and still see more amazing wildlife than almost anywhere else in the world. But to make the experience even better, there are lots of outdoor activities that will show you even more.

Here are a few of our favorites.

Corcovado National Park

For those looking to see wildlife, Corcovado is a must. This huge 417 sq. km. (161 sq. mile) area of protected primary and secondary rainforest will awe you with its grandeur. Corcovado is one of the only places in Costa Rica where you can see all four native monkey species and is also home to Central America’s largest land mammal, the Baird’s Tapir.

You can explore this remote park on a multi-day trekking trip, but most travelers visit just for the day. Tours leave by boat from the main beach early in the morning and arrive at either the San Pedrillo or Sirena Ranger Stations. A registered guide will lead you though the trails for a half-day hike, helping you spot rare birds and animals, all while teaching you about the forest.

Read about our experience spotting amazing wildlife at Sirena Ranger Station here.

Baird's Tapir | Two Weeks in Costa Rica
The Baird’s Tapir is one of the most difficult mammals to see in Costa Rica. We caught this one napping.

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving at Cano Island

From the shores of Drake Bay, you can just see the shape of Cano Island offshore. This 300 hectare (741 acre) uninhabited island is about 16 kilometers (10 miles) from Drake Bay and is known for great snorkeling and scuba diving.

Beautiful coral reefs and ledges showcase amazingly large schools of colorful fish. Some people even get lucky enough to spot dolphins or whales during their visit. On our last snorkel tour, we spotted a whitetip reef shark near the ocean floor!

Cano Island is also an important archeological site and was once a burial ground and trading post for Costa Rica’s pre-Columbian indigenous cultures. 

Jungle Night Tour

Drake Bay is one of the best places in the country to strap on a headlamp and go on a night tour. If you thought there was a lot of wildlife to see during the day, you’ll be amazed at what you can see when the sun goes down. Frogs, insects, snakes, and sleeping birds are just a few examples.

There are many options for night tours in Drake Bay, but we recommend Tracie the Bug Lady, a biologist and insect enthusiast. You can learn more about our tour with Tracie here.

Hiking to Playa San Josecito

Those looking to do some exploring on their own might enjoy the long (2.5 hrs. each way) hike to Playa San Josecito. San Josecito is also a great snorkeling beach so be sure to bring along a mask to explore the reefs.

This remote beach can be accessed by walking along the jungle trail at the south end of town (follow signs) that weaves onto several secluded beaches. In the jungle surrounds, you’re likely to see lots of birds and even animals like lizards, monkeys, or coati (a raccoon-like animal). You’ll have to wade through or take a small rowboat across the Rio Claro before finally ending up at this amazing beach, but it is totally worth the effort.

Playa San Josecito | Two Weeks in Costa Rica
Playa San Josecito

Tips: The hike to San Josecito is fairly flat but very hot so be sure to bring plenty of water and whatever food you will need for the day. Also bring a flashlight in case you’re still hiking back when the sun starts to set.

For more information, be sure to read our separate post Playa San Josecito, Hiking and Snorkeling near Drake Bay.

Hotels and Lodges in Drake Bay

Drake Bay may be a remote village but it does have a sizeable selection of accommodations. No-frills cabins, comfortable eco-lodges, boutique luxury resorts, and even tent camping on the beach are all available.

When picking a lodge, be sure to inquire about its location. Budget options tend to be concentrated in the main area of town, close to restaurants and the two small grocery stores. More moderate and high-end options are generally located outside town, some within walking distance, others much farther away and primarily accessible by boat.

If you stay at one of the more off-the-grid hotels far from town, keep in mind that you will be relying on the hotel for your meals and activities. These hotels offer packages, which while convenient, are often more expensive. If you’re on a budget, we recommend staying in town to be closer to the more moderately priced restaurants and cafes.

Tip: Be sure to book your accommodations in advance. While some destinations in Costa Rica are set up so that you can wander through town and eventually find someplace to stay, most of the lodges in Drake Bay are smaller and have only a handful of rooms, which tend to book up fast. 

High-End Lodging ($250+)

La Paloma Lodge

La Paloma is our choice for a high-end lodge in Drake Bay. It offers 11 well-equipped rooms and ranchos tucked into the rainforest with ocean views. The spaces have an upscale feel and are made with beautiful native wood. Two-story ranchos are available for families and groups. We have had several clients stay here in the past and they have all remarked on how excellent the service and food were. La Paloma is a 20-minute walk to the main area of town and the beach. All rooms have A/C. Packages start at $980 per person for a 3-night stay and include all meals and tours to Corcovado and Cano Island.

We know the La Paloma property well. If you are interested in staying here, please contact us at bookings(at)twoweeksincostarica(dot)com with your travel dates and the number of people in your party. We can make all the arrangements for you and may be able to get you a small discount on your stay.

Recommended Hotels in Drake Bay - La Paloma Lodge
Room with an oceanview terrace at La Paloma Lodge

Copa de Arbol

Copa de Arbol is a newer property with 10 luxurious, air-conditioned cabins. If you’re looking to unplug, this is the place. It’s located far from town on the trail leading to Corcovado National Park and is accessible only by boat. The resort has a nice multi-tiered infinity pool, and there’s a gorgeous, nearly deserted beach just a short walk away. Rates start at $240 per person/night for double occupancy (includes all meals). Check Rates and Availability Here.

Copa de Arbol Hotel | Two Weeks in Costa Rica
Photo Credit: Copa de Arbol Hotel

​Aguila de Osa

Aguila de Osa is a small eco-resort set in the jungle near the Aguijitas River. It’s about a 10 minute walk to town and the beach. Rooms are built with native wood and are well-appointed with high ceilings and balconies. The hotel enjoys sweeping ocean views and has excellent food on-site, served family-style. Rooms are equipped with fans; the ones higher up the hill have the best breeze. Rates start at $245 per person/night for double occupancy (includes all meals). Check Rates and Availability Here.

Mid-Range Lodging ($100-200)

Hotel Jinetes de Osa

If you’re looking for a resort-type experience without the price tag, consider Hotel Jinetes de Osa. This budget-friendly hotel is a short 10-minute walk to town. The hotel has three types of rooms, some more modern with A/C, others with fans. Opt for a Suite for the best views and most space. Rates for double occupancy start at $70/night and include breakfast. An on-site restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner for an additional charge. Check Rates and Availability Here.

Recommended Hotels in Drake Bay - Jinetes de Osa
View from our Upper Level Suite at Hotel Jinetes de Osa

Pirate Cove

Pirate Cove has a mix of 10 funky bungalows, roomy cabins, and a few air-conditioned rooms. They’re located a bit outside town so most people eat at the restaurant on the premises. If you’re into scuba diving, their sister company is a dive shop. Packages with all meals start at $100 per person/night for double occupancy. Check Rates and Availability Here.

Recommended Hotels in Drake Bay - Pirate Cove
One of the cabins right on the beach at Pirate Cove Hotel

Las Cotingas

Las Cotingas is a locally owned affordable option right in the center of town. Although it is close to the beach and restaurants, it is set on a hill so more private. There are four simple but spacious cabins on the property, each with a deck. Some have ocean views so be sure to inquire. $80-150/night (no meals included). Check Rates and Availability Here.

Las Cotingas | Two Weeks in Costa Rica
Photo Credit: Las Cotingas

Budget Lodging ($20-60)

Martina’s Place

Martina’s Place is a friendly hostel right in the middle of everything. It’s on the main strip in town, just a few blocks to restaurants and the beach. A hand-painted sign outside gives the nightly rates, which you can’t beat: $20 for a shared dorm and $40 for a private room with shared bath. Martina also has a larger room suitable for families and a bungalow (each are around $50 for double occupancy). Fully-equipped common kitchen also available. Check Rates and Availability Here.

Casa Mariposa

If you’re looking for an authentic experience, stay with a Costa Rican family at Casa Mariposa. They’ve built several rooms off the main house and now rent them out at very affordable prices. We stayed with Karina and her family when they first opened and loved it. It was fun getting a glimpse into their everyday lives and we got to practice our Spanish every day. The rooms are rustic but clean and comfortable. Private rooms with a shared bath start at $24 (includes breakfast). Check Rates and Availability Here.

Drake Bay Restaurants

For those not dining at their hotel, Drake Bay has a handful of good, modestly priced restaurants. They’re all open air and very casual so don’t expect fine dining, but know that you’re going to get a solid, wholesome meal for less than $15 a plate. Here’s a list of our favorite spots.

Casa Tortuga

While much of the fare in Drake Bay is extremely casual, Casa Tortuga is a bit more refined. They have a wide-ranging menu with elaborate casados and pasta dishes, along with meat, seafood, and chicken specials, many of which are served with nicely balanced sauces. A popular item is the pescado entero, a whole fried snapper served traditionally on a banana leaf. Located on the road going to the airstrip near Cabinas Manolo.

Garlic Shrimp at Casa Tortuga

Bahia Azul

This soda in town serves up all the Costa Rican classics. Their arroz con camarones (rice with shrimp) is delicious and even impressed a local we were traveling with on a recent visit. Prices are very good for Drake Bay so this is a good option if you’re on a budget. Located in the center of town, just past the grocery stores if you’re coming up the hill.

Recommended Restaurants in Drake Bay - Bahia Azul
Arroz con Camarones at Bahia Azul

Mar y Bosque

This is another typical Costa Rican restaurant. It has a big menu and decent food. A big selling point is the new second floor, which looks out to the ocean. It opens at 5:00 a.m. if you need to grab breakfast before a tour and stays open through dinner. They have fresh fruit smoothies, homemade breads and pastries, and rich coffee made the old-fashioned way with a traditional chorreadorLocated near the grocery stores in the center of town.


The remote village of Drake Bay holds a special place in our hearts. As if it were just yesterday, we can still remember walking the long sandy beach in town, parrots flying noisily overhead, while talking about how simple and beautiful life was there. Fast forward to today and we have a completely new perspective, now living just a bit to the north. But even having lived and traveled all around Costa Rica, Drake Bay is still one of our favorite places and is as magical as when we first discovered it.

Last Updated: November 17, 2020

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you book a hotel using one of the links, we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read our Privacy Policy for more information.

Have a question about visiting Drake Bay? Ask us below?

Looking for more information to plan your trip to Costa Rica? Check out these posts:

Manuel Antonio Trip Planning: Manuel Antonio is a common spot to visit before Drake Bay since it is on the way. Read our detailed guide to learn about this popular destination, its abundant wildlife and plentiful amenities.

Off-the-Beaten Path Destinations in Costa Rica: If you love exploring the lesser known spots, you will want to check out our post with 8 more off-the-beaten-paths towns in Costa Rica.

Packing for Costa Rica: The Essentials – When visiting a remote destination like Drake Bay, it’s important to bring what you need. Read our packing guide for all the details.

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Heredia, Costa Rica: City Guide
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Cabo Matapalo: Wild Jungle on the Osa Peninsula


  1. Hi
    Thank for the very helpful review. I noticed that you did not mentioned lodge Guaria de osa- would be happy to learn more about it

    Best regards

    1. Hi Sharon, We aren’t too familiar with Guaria de Osa Ecolodge but it looks like it’s south of town near the beach so would be good for someone looking for a remote escape. There’s more info and reviews on Booking.com for those interested.

    1. Hi Cindy, We would recommend at least 3 nights in Drake Bay because it takes so much time to get there. It is also one of those places that people say they wish they had more time in because it’s a lovely spot. For an itinerary with Drake Bay, check out our Two Week Itinerary post.

    1. Hi Jan, There is a clinic there but we’re not sure the doctor is available all the time (they split their time between different communities). If anything serious happened, you would probably be flown to San Jose since otherwise you have to drive or take a boat to get back to the mainland.

  2. Hi! This info is all amazing. Question: We’ll be in Costa Rica from May 6-May 14. We were thinking of flying right down to Drake Bay for May 7-11, and then were looking for somewhere else to spend 2 nights before heading back to San Jose. Is Monteverde “worth” it? Do you think Arenal is a better bet? Or do you have other suggestions?

    Sorry that’s a lot of question marks!

    1. Hi Amy, If you plan on flying, which is your best option since you only have 2 days, it’s much easier to get from Drake Bay to Arenal. There’s an airstrip in Arenal but not one in Monteverde. Other places that are much closer to Drake are the Southern Zone and Manuel Antonio but these would be a similar experience to Drake Bay in terms of environment/wildlife. We’d say go for Arenal since it’ll show you a different part of the country.

  3. I’m planning to head to Drake Bay on August 19- leaving August 22. I purchased a domestic flight from Drake Bay to San José leaving at 9:55 am on the 22nd.

    I’m a bit worried about logistics now. I would need to leave Aguila de Osa Inn by 6 am by boat to head back to Sierpe in time to catch the 7:30 am boat leaving from Drake Bay Airport. Where is the airport located? How far? :s

    Do I need to make a change? Is it feasible?

    1. The Drake airstrip is quite close to Aguila de Osa and you won’t have to get back to Sierpe first. The hotels in Drake almost always help with transport because it can be confusing so you should ask them. They will either take you by boat right to the airstrip or take you by boat to town and then have you take a car from there for the 15 or so min. drive. The airstrip is a little north of town so not too far and totally doable for a 9:55am flight. The process there are far as checking in for the flight is really fast too (it’s a really tiny airport).

  4. Nice information. Looking forward to revisiting Drake Bay after twenty-five years. I notice the rooms at the Wilderness Lodge are quite a bit fancier now.

  5. The the boat ride from Sierpe to the Lodges a calm boat ride? I have read in a tour book that the waters can get treacherous ?

    Is there any way you could describe the ride (so I can -hopefully- calm my mother..)


    We leave in 8 days for CR!!!!!


    1. Hi Enrico, It is usually a nice scenic ride. The river is really calm and you can usually see birds along the banks of the mangroves. Where it can get dicey is where the river meets the ocean. The boats have to fight the incoming waves, but they are pretty sturdy so it’s usually not a big deal. We like to be honest in our blog, so in full disclosure, we have heard of boats getting stuck trying to navigate around the rocks at the mouth of the river because of the waves. This is a rare occurrence though and when it does happen, the boat drivers know how to handle it. They make the trip every day so are very experienced. Maybe paraphrase that a bit for your mother, but in all honesty, your trip should be fine!

      1. We visited Drake Bay in 2007 and I have to say, the part where you leave the river and head in to the Pacific can be pretty scary in a small boat. Afterwards my wife said “I’m never asking the travel agent for adventure again!”
        We stayed at Drake Bay Wilderness resort and had an amazing time. The wild life was astounding, and the lifestyle so laid back.
        We had booked to fly back to San Jose from Drake Bay, but then the rain started and in the end we had to make that boat ride back to Sierpe!
        I’m looking forward to a time when we can visit costa Rica again.

  6. Is the boat ride from Sierpe to the lodges (we’re going to Aguila de Osa a calm boat ride? I have read in a tour book that the waters can get treacherous ?

    Is there any way you could describe the ride (so I can -hopefully- calm my mother..)


    We leave in 8 days for CR!!!!!


  7. We just checked out from Finca Maresia, about 10 min taxi (~$4 USD) or ~30min walk. Juan and his staff are great folks happy to make it a memoriable trip.
    Thanks for recommending Gringo Curts; great time!
    BTW, La Concha Loca won our family’s “Best Soda” during our two weeks in CR. Great casado and service! Perfect location for lunch between Jaco and Sierpe, east side of highway, just south of turn for Quepos and north of Rio Naranjo.
    Pura Vida!

    1. Hi Zane, We’ve had some of our itinerary clients stay at Finca Maresia and they loved it too. Thanks for the tip on La Concha Loca. We’re always looking for another good soda. And thanks too for your trip report – glad you had a good time in CR!

  8. Hola,

    Want to travel to Costa Rica. I am concerned with safety issues in general. Can you coment on that?.


  9. Hi,

    We are going to Costa Rica in October/November for our honeymoon and would really like to go to Drake Bay. Is the drive down to Sierpe recommended at that time of year? Will we be able to go hiking or will it be too wet?
    Thank you, your website has been great for planning our trip.

    1. Hi Emma, Driving to Sierpe is not an issue that time of year because the roads are all paved and in good condition. It will be rather wet in Drake then, though, as the Osa Peninsula tends to get the most rain and it will be the height of rainy season. You could do local hikes like to Playa San Josecito but some of Corcovado National Park will be closed because of the rain/mud, like Sirena Ranger Station, which is a popular day trip (other ranger stations stay open though). It is doable though if you really want to go and you would have the place all to yourself. There will likely be quite a bit of rain but some sun too. We have more info about the weather this time of year in our posts Why You Should Visit Costa Rica in the Rainy Season and Weather in Costa Rica. Hope that helps you decide. Congrats on your upcoming wedding! We should mention, if you want help figuring out where to go/good alternatives to Drake Bay for that time of year, we could help you design a custom itinerary. We do honeymoons all the time 🙂 Here’s a link to more information.

  10. I’m traveling to Drake Bay in January with my wife and 84-year-old mother, who is fit and OK with climbing out of a boat and adventure travel. But still. I’m trying to figure out if accommodation should be in Drake Bay, with AC for her comfort for an afternoon rest or good evening sleep and ease of arrival (i.e., at Pirate Cove), or take boat around the corner to Josecito, apparently a prettier beach and even more remote (i.e., Poor Man’s Paradise), but no AC and more complicated to arrive to. We’ll be there 5 days. We’d arrive by airplane from La Fortuna.

    1. Hi David, If she’s okay with a boat and beach landing, I think the main factor is whether you think she’ll need A/C. Drake Bay is very hot and humid in Jan., especially during the day, which would make a nap tough without AC. It does cool down at night, but is still humid. Even just traveling with our baby, we always get AC now even though we don’t have it at home. Since we’re out and about more when we travel and he’s in the heat so much, we like to give him a little break.

      You might already know this, but Drake Bay doesn’t have much for medical care. We’d recommend looking into travel insurance that covers emergency evacuations just in case so that you can get to a hospital quickly if anything happens. Of course everything will probably be fine, but it’s good to be cautious.

      Hope that helps you decide. Poor Man’s Paradise is definitely more of an adventure since it’s so remote, but Pirate Cove will give you a very similar experience, maybe with less worrying about your mother 🙂

    1. Hi Anne, It is not necessary anytime of year as long as you can handle some heat and have a good fan and good airflow in your room. We have stayed in Drake Bay multiple times without AC. That said, temperatures will be in the upper 80s that time of year with a ton of humidity so AC would be more comfortable. If you plan on spending any time in your room during the day to nap, relax etc., I’d get it. If not, the jungle cools off a lot at night so you will probably be fine. Hope that helps you decide.

      1. Thank you so much. I am reading your ebook now. I have another question. We are going to be in Manuel Antonio for 1 or 2 weeks, depending on how much we love it. Not sure whether to rent a car or use busses. Our activities will include Spanish classes, beach and hiking. Thanks.

        1. Hi Anne, Thanks for checking out our book! You don’t absolutely need a car in Manuel Antonio as there is a bus that runs quite often and taxis are fairly cheap, but many people get one for the convenience. It isn’t easy to walk around because it’s more spread out, hilly, and there aren’t a ton of sidewalks. For your Spanish classes, beach, and hiking in the national park right in town, you will be fine without a car. Since you’ll be there for a while though, you might want to do some things farther away, which would make it nice to have one. Here’s a link to our post with Off the Beaten Path Things to Do near Manuel Antonio (one place on that list is Rainmaker – an excellent spot for hiking). You might also be interested in exploring the area just south of MA (the Costa Ballena, which has a more rural feel, beautiful secluded beaches, and waterfalls).

          You could also just rent a car in Quepos for only a few days so you have it part of the time. The rental car company we work with, Adobe, has an office there. Here’s a link to our page with more info on the discount we get through them in case you decide to go with a rental.

  11. We got your guide on Kindle and are loving it! We are going to be in Drake Bay from the 18-22nd of November. For the way home we were considering the river boat back and driving to San Jose. Do you know if there is a car rental company in Sierpe? Thanks for the great site and guides!

    1. Hi J, Thanks for getting our book! None of the companies have locations in Sierpe but a few will meet you there with a car for a small fee. The company we work with and get a discount through recently started doing it too. They come from their Uvita office and the charge is $20 to deliver the car. Here’s the link to our page with more info. I think you select Uvita as the pick up location and then put in the notes that you would like delivery to Sierpe. Adobe will confirm everything with you once you start the reservation process.

      The end of November is a transition time from rainy to dry season so it can go either way. It shouldn’t rain the whole time though so try not to worry about it. Come prepared with rain gear just in case so that you can still get out there. We have suggestions on what to pack for rainy season here. Have fun, you’re going to love Drake Bay!

  12. Hello! Your website is so helpful!
    I am putting together a reunion type trip with 7 people in the mid 30s. We definitely have an interest in drake bay, and are looking to stay there about 4 of our 7 nights. Can you recommend another spot to visit for the other 3? We are interested in seeing the Monteverde Cloud forest, perhaps. We are all able bodied, adventurous types, but on a bit of budget. After leaving Drake Bay, we plan on renting a car for the rest of the trip if need be.
    Any suggestions to a general location would be great.

    1. Hi Megan, The big thing to keep in mind is that Drake Bay is remote so it will take a while to get anywhere from there by car. I would probably do an inland destination for the second stop since you will get to enjoy the beach in Drake Bay. Monteverde is a good option – it’s about a 5 hour drive from Sierpe, where the boat taxi will drop you off, so doable in one day. The rental car company we work with, Adobe, can also meet you in Sierpe to drop off the cars (none of the rental companies have offices there). Here’s the link to our rental car page for when you’re at that point in your planning. In Monteverde, you can experience the cloud forest, which is a totally unique climate. It has a lot of adventure activities and can be done on a big or small budget. It also isn’t too far away from San Jose, assuming that is where you fly out of.

  13. hi folks–three of us are interested in fishing for snook, snapper, and other inshore fish around drake bay–are there guide services available for these activities ? any sites that you know of to inquire with further questions ?

    1. Hi Joe, We know a captain based in Quepos/Manuel Antonio who has told us that the inshore fishing out of Drake Bay is great. He does tours out of Quepos that include a stop in Drake, but he doesn’t go out of Drake directly. For a guide in Drake, your hotel should have some ideas since they are local so I would contact them first. Good luck!

      1. Hi! I would love the info to the Captain out of Quepos/MA that does fishing trips/whale watching out to Drake Bay. I would love to make it to Drake Bay but with the time crunch it won’t be in the cards this time. Do you happen to have information on his rates as well. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

        1. Hi Lo, We sent and email over to you to get some additional info about your trip. Glad to connect you with the boat captain if it sounds like it will work with your schedule.

  14. Hi,
    I’m planing a trip to CR next year in May and have always wanted to go to the Osa Peninsula. I lived in the Nicoya peninsula for a year studying sea turtles and my husband and I consider Costa Rica our home away from home. Drake Bay is the one area I never managed to get to. However, this will also be my first trip with my children who will be 1 and 3 yo at the time of the trip. I was planning on including Manuel Antonio too. Do you think this is doable with the kids? We are already a very outdoorsy group and my kids do well with travelling, but I’d like your opinion since you also have a little one.

    1. Hi Kourtney, Manuel Antonio is definitely doable with young children – it is probably one of the best destinations in CR for kids. Drake Bay is a little tougher because you have to go by boat or small plane. Personally, I’m not sure I would feel comfortable taking my son on the boat taxi because it is a small boat, and where the ocean meets the river, it is often rough and sometimes the boats have a hard time navigating through. Flying would probably be better if you think they would do okay with that. Once you get to Drake, I think it would be totally fine. Just be choosy picking a hotel that has a good set up for the kids. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should also read our post Traveling with a Baby in Costa Rica for general info. Good luck with the planning!

    2. We were in Drake Bay last January and took the boat from Sierpi. It was an adventure!!!! My husband and I loved it, beach landing and all. I would not recommend it for travelers with young children. The transition from river to sea can be rough, although our captains were experts. No one wore life vests and I did not see any on the boat.
      We also visited Manuel Antonio which I think is more suitable for the kids. Nice beach there and monkeys 🙂

      1. Hi Lucerna, Thanks for sharing your experience. We agree that Manuel Antonio is a better destination for little ones, but FYI to everyone, all the boats to Drake should have life jackets on board. They don’t make you wear them but they have been there every time we have taken the taxi (sometimes they are hidden, but they are there). They are legally required to carry them. If anyone does go with very young children, they most likely won’t have kid-size life jackets, though, so it’s best to bring your own. We have this one for our toddler, which we have used on different boat ferries, etc. in CR.

  15. Hello!, i have been reading your blog now as our family, me my husband and two kids, 2 & 5, are planning on traveling from San Jose south through Cartago and San isidro General and into Sierpe final destination being Drake Bay. We will be going last week of July first week of August. Is this route easy to drive at this time of year and if we take the boat into Sierpe would we be able to take a stroller. We were looking at an air Bnb but it is out of the actual town and up some, i believe they said about a 10-15min drive to Drake Bay, which is why we thought if we are walking a stroller might be handy. This is our fist visit to Costa Rica and are unsure how easy it will be with the two young kids. I would love to read what your thoughts are about this. Thank you so much for your time!

    1. Hi Shaina, Drake Bay is doable with young children but you have to be up for some adventure. The drive from San Jose to Dominical is along a curvy mountain road. Do it during the day only and be really careful if it’s foggy (common especially in rainy season). Our Road Conditions post has more specifics about Highway 2.

      As for how practical Drake is with young children, someone recently asked this. Scroll up to our response to Kourtney on April 3, 2017. I think they’d let you take a stroller on the boat, maybe just not a big one since the luggage goes on the same boat. Strollers aren’t very practical in Drake, though, since most of the roads are dirt and uneven. I’d try to find a place to stay closer to town if you can to make it easier to go out to eat, go to the store, etc. Drake Bay is really remote so there isn’t much for amenities outside the main area of town. Hope that helps you decide! Just an idea, but if you’re looking for something like Drake but a little easier with kids, the Costa Ballena is a good choice.

  16. Hello!

    We just extended our stay from 2 nights to 3 nights, and need to switch hotels since ours is booked for the third night. Are there taxis in Drake Bay that can help us get from one hotel to the other (the ones we are looking at are a 45 minute walk)

  17. What company would you recommend for an overnight tour in Corcovado, Sirena station? Also how far in advance do we need to book?

    1. Hi Alyssa, We have a recommendation for a tour guide we have used in our Sirena post so check there. A lot of people make the arrangements through their lodge also; most work with a specific guide. For timing, it’s best to book as far out as you can (at least a month is good for overnight visits) because permits are limited.

  18. Hallo. We are three adults and we will be in Costa Rica from the evening of 6th November to the early morning of 8th November. I know now it is a “crime” not to give more days but it can’t be undone. What we want to know is if it is possible to have private boat transfer between Sierpe and Drake bay so that we can be there earlien than 11.30am.
    The truth is that I am completely confused. I have been focused from the beginning to Arenal area, then I “passed” to Sarapiqui, after that to Tortuguero. I have been changing plans all the time since I am looking for the “most” of the experience of “guaranted” wildlife, although I understand how unpredictable this is, but I always read some very disappointing reviews that make me search sth. else. Sirena seems great but it also seems impossible for our limited time. Manuel Antonio has also many guests that have been disapoointed. Nevertheless I would be more than greatful if you could advice us the best choise upon your experience, apart from any personal profit that you may have by cooperating with some companies there.

    1. Hi Agathi, First off, we give our recommendations based on what we think is best for people regardless of how it affects us financially. So know that what we say on our website is our unbiased opinion. For your questions, with the limited amount of time you have, it would be very difficult to do Drake Bay/Sirena, though this is a great place to see wildlife. A flight would be the best option, but you wouldn’t be able to catch one until the 7th and then you probably wouldn’t be able to find one early enough on the 8th to make your international flight. A private boat taxi is an option but you would still have very little time to spend in Drake Bay. If wildlife is what is important to you, Manuel Antonio is a very good alternative and much more practical. Most people who do not like Manuel Antonio don’t like how it is touristy, but in early November (low season), this will not be an issue. Tortuguero is another great place for wildlife if you can find a flight on Nature Air or Sansa that would work. Sarapiqui is good for wildlife too and close to San Jose airport.

    2. Hi Aghati,

      I agree with you… it is so hard to decide where to go and rhe more reviews and stuff ai read the less I know. I thi k I will focuse more around Osa Peninsual plus NP Piedras Blancas ( is it similar to Corcovado? Easy to get around?) for wildlife as this is what I mostly want to experience and it seems that there will be more than anywhere else. Yes? So also a day trip to Concovado.. And the next area will be around Monteverde and Volcanos . Still not sure re Tortuguero… :/ might not have enought time though.. I would really appreciate if you could share yr experience as you just been there?? Thank you. Magda

  19. I am so loving your blog! We have tickets to fly to Bahia Drake in November, 2017, but are seriously considering backing out considering the weather and heading to the Nicoya. What are your thoughts? Would you keep the trip to Drake, go to Nicoya, or go somewhere else. We are looking for an off-the-beaten path destination with a 10 year-old.

    1. Hi Joan, It depends on what time of the month in November. Early November, we would probably go somewhere else, but mid or later, you will probably be okay. The rain usually starts tapering off in November and Drake is a really wonderful place to visit. It’s one of our all time favorites.

  20. Hello! I have loved reading your blog, it’s really helped us plan our trip to Costa Rica. We will be in Drake Bay for 4 or 5 days in mid december and will be diving at least two days of the trip. We wanted to hike through Corcovado but the price for the guided hikes is outside of our budget. Can you recommend any hikes near the park that may be worth spending a day doing? We are planning on taking the Playa san Joseito hike mentioned above.

    Thanks for any advice!

    1. Hi Heather, The hike to Playa San Josecito is your best option for something similar to what you would experience in Corcovado. Closer to town, there’s also a nice path that we have enjoyed walking on. It doesn’t feel as remote but you can see many types of birds and it’s very peaceful. The road is on the southern end of town before you get to Hotel Jinetes de Osa, to the left, past the Drake Bay Getaway Resort.

  21. Hello. Just a quick question about cash in Drake Bay: we’re trying to figure out how much USD and how many colones to bring. All of our accommodations have been quoted in USD cash, but do the local restaurants in town charge USD or colones (or both)? Thanks!

  22. Hi! I hope you can give me some advise as Im trying to organise my holiday and it seems your websi5de is much more informative than others. 🙂 I’m visiting Costa Rica in March with my partner for 2 weeks. Im trying to squeeze all in this time. Can you advise me how i can get by bus from San Jose to Sierpe? Do I need to buy tickets in advance? We are thinking of renting a car but all depends on the cost too. Could you please advise which option is better? I think first we wanted to visit Tortuguero then go towards Arenal and Monteverde and then to Antonio ( but I may skip it due to lack of time) and towards the south to Corcocado and Drake. Is it worth to go to Tortuguero while we are visiting Peninsula Osa? Or maybe first to go to Drake and Corcovado from San Jose? And then on the way back after few days rent a car from Sierpe?
    Another question. Is thst trip from Drake to Sirena or/ and san Pedrillo is thru primary forest? Id love to see a lot of wildlife and go more into the rainforest if possible in one day.
    I hope it is not too much i asking but i really need reliable advise as i dont want to miss all this great stuff in Costa Rica. Many thanks! Much appreciated.

    1. Hi Magda, With 2 weeks, you should try to limit yourselves to 4-5 destinations max because of travel time. We would pick either Tortuguero or Drake Bay and not both because they are harder to get to and will take up a lot of your time. Both are great for wildlife but Drake has nicer beaches and has more of a wild feel. It is a long ride from San Jose to Sierpe, especially by bus, and no, you cannot buy bus tickets in advance unless you go through a service (there are a couple but we don’t know much about them). Renting a car will give you a lot more flexibility and if you get a regular sedan, they are fairly affordable (see our Rental Car Discount). If you have a car, you will be able to see more places as well because it’s a lot faster to get around. You do need a 4×4 for Monteverde, though, if you are set on that destination.

      Yes, the forest around Sirena and San Pedrillo is primary rainforest and it is beautiful!

    1. Hi Andrai, Yes, we think 7 is old enough for most activities there. Things that you could do are a night tour, snorkeling at Cano Island (assuming he or she is a good swimmer), hiking along the beach path south of town, horseback riding, turtle tours, zip lining, kayaking, etc. For guided hiking tours like to Corcovado, you would just want to be sure that you guys would be able to keep up with the group, but the guides are usually good about stopping when people need a break (not just for kids but adults too).

  23. Hi! My husband and I are traveling in mid-February for two weeks for our (delayed) honeymoon. We LOVE your website and your book with itinerary information so thank you for all of the work you’ve put into these. We have already booked Monteverde for 4 nights, and were also planning to spend time in the Southern Zone (Uvita or Dominical) and then Drake Bay for 4 nights. I am wondering based on what you said above whether the Southern Zone and Drake Bay are similar enough that we should just choose one (likely Drake Bay). We are active and will be looking to snorkel, hike a lot, see as much wildlife as we can, hopefully take in a waterfall, and spend time on the beach. We would love to see the mountains too a little bit. Should we stick with spending the majority of our two weeks in Drake Bay or should we split time between the Southern Zone and Drake Bay?

    1. Hi Sarah, That would be a lot of time to spend in Drake Bay. And the two destinations aren’t so similar that it would be redundant to do both so we would split the time. They are similar in terms of climate and environment but have different activities and a totally different feel. Drake is a lot more remote and wild feeling. Uvita/Dominical is also close to the mountains so opens that up. If you stay near Dominical, you’d be a reasonable drive from places like Cloudbridge Nature Reserve and San Isidro de El General in the mountains. Hope that helps you decide and that we’re not too late getting back to you!

  24. Great info, enjoying the blog. I’m going to Drake in Dec 2018 for 5 nights (diver) and Puerto Jimenez for 4 nights. If there are no flights between the two would there be another way to get from Drake to P Jimenez? I was going to rent a 4WD jeep in San Jose but that sounds like a bad idea….?

    1. Hi Wendy, There is a way to drive across the peninsula from Drake to Puerto Jimenez. We have never done it but have heard it’s rough. You could ask your hotels if it would be advisable. Otherwise, the best way is to take the boat taxi from Drake to Sierpe, then pick up the rental car and just drive around the peninsula to Puerto Jimenez.

  25. Hi Jenn and Matt! Thank you for your reply and advice. Yes, I will definitely focus more around Osa Peninsual. Definitely wilder and more animals there to see! Now, I am looking for any connection from San Jose by bus to Sierpe or Palam, if the is no direct. Could you please give me any bus schedule and the place where it is in San Jose? Also I want to leave very early like 5 am. I found few info but they vary and I do not know which is the most reliable. Do you maybe know any cheap place where I could stay in Sierpe before I head off to Drake? It is only because I may not manage to get the last boat to Drake. Cheked thru Booking com but it shows me only some places which good few miles from Sierpe? Thank you

    1. Hi Magna, Here’s a link to a website that is fairly accurate for the public bus schedule. You could also use a guidebook- we always found the Lonely Planet to be helpful when we traveled by bus.

      The main area of Sierpe has a few very simple motels within walking distance to the boat docks. For something that could be booked in advance, there’s Veragua River House. They have rooms for around $60/night. It’s not right in the middle of town but they could probably give you a ride to the docks.

  26. Hi Guys: Such great info thanks! Thinking of doing the hike to Playa San Josecito with the whole family, including kids aged 10, 7, and 4. Just wondering about arranging a water taxi pickup for the return trip… Is it easily arranged once we are in Drake Bay? Any idea on approximate cost? Thanks!

    1. Hi Sean, Yes, it is fairly easy to arrange. You can ask your hotel but I think boats often show up there later in the afternoon to bring people back. The cost is around $10 per person.

  27. Hola. I love your blog. My wife and I are making plans for a week of travel from Dec 28 to Jan 5 and we are thinking about Drake Bay.

    We are actually going to be in Esterillos Este from Dec 22-28 staying at beach houses my mother in law is renting for my wife’s entire extended family. Kudos to mother in law. The resort holds 36 people and she rented the whole thing.

    I have some questions about the wisdom of our plan.

    After the family shindig in Esterillos is done, my wife and I want to wander solo for a week. We fly home in the afternoon January 5th from San José. One plan is to take the bus from Esterillos to Sierpe on December 28th, spend the night in Sierpe that night, take the boat to Drake Bay December 29th, stay there until January 5th, fly in the morning from DB to San José, and fly to Alaska PM January 5th. Our last trip we spent five days in a thirty dollar a night cabina in Cahuita and loved it.

    1. is the bus ride from Esterillos to Sierpe crazy? It’s seven hours or so.
    2. We would be spending New Years in Drake Bay. Is it a party place? We prefer extremely low key parties or no party at all. Beach fires are awesome.
    3. Is Drake Bay so small that we would run out of stuff to do in a seven day stay?
    4. Are we cutting it close flying to San José in the morning and flying to the States on a 4PM flight?
    5. Should we just go back to Cahuita. It is pretty cool.

    Muchas gracias de antemano. Carlos.

    1. Hola Carlos, That sounds like a good plan. To answer your questions:
      (1) We have not done that exact bus ride but have done parts of it. It is a long trip and you will need to change buses a few times, but it’s not horrible. A private shuttle is another option. This would be around $250-275 but would be direct and more comfortable, plus it could get you there in time for the afternoon boat taxi to Drake so you wouldn’t have to stay overnight in Sierpe. If you’d like help booking this, let us know.
      (2) Drake Bay is not a party place at all. There may be a little bit happening in town that night but I wouldn’t expect too much. It’s usually very quiet.
      (3) 7 days in Drake is fine. There are lots of tours to do but keep in mind, many are more expensive because they involve a boat ride (e.g. Corcovado and Cano Island). You can also spend lots of time just exploring all the beaches and hiking for free.
      (4) If you can find a flight that gets you to SJO by 1:00 pm or so, you should be fine. I wouldn’t expect weather delays because you’ll be here in dry season.
      (5) Cahuita is cool, agreed. But Drake is great too and has so much wildlife and a completely different feel. It’s worth checking out.

      Hope you have a great return trip!

  28. Hi, my husband and I are coming to CR mid May. We want to go to Drake Bay from Manuel Antonio. We will not have a car, what is the best way to get to Sierpe for the water taxi? Thank you!

    1. Hi Becky, We know it has been a couple of weeks since you asked this question but let us know if you still need help with this. The best way is to take a private shuttle. We work with a driver in Manuel Antonio who makes this trip for our clients. We’d be happy to help you with the arrangements for this. Just reply to this thread and we will email you with more information.

      1. Hi Jenn and Matt,

        I’ll be heading to Costa Rica in August. Would love more information on the private shuttle from Manuel Antonio to Drake Bay. Thanks!

  29. Hi! I am traveling to C.R. with mys sons ages 17 and 19. We are spending 3 nights at Arenal then traveling South ultimately to Drake Bay. We leave our hotel near Arenal Monday morning. I figured there was no way to make it all the way to Sierpe on Monday so we are stopping in M.A. for Monday night, then waking and on to Sierpe Tuesday morning, taking the boat taxi to Pirate Cove and spending 3 nights there. Then up Friday morning and back to Sierpe and staying agin in M.A. Saturday we leave out of San Jose at around 5. What do you think about this plan? If I could have driven straight to Sierpe to make the boat for Drake Bay Monday I would have but it appears to be too far and we would miss the boat. ANY input whatsoever would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

    1. Hi Allison, That plan makes a lot of sense. It’s better to take the 11:30 am boat taxi from Sierpe to Drake so definitely best to stay in Manuel Antonio for one night on the way. For the way back, you could probably make it to San Jose for a 5 pm flight if you left on Saturday on the 7:30 am boat, but this would make for a very long travel day so better to stay again somewhere on the way. If you wanted to check out another town, you could stay in Playa Matapalo or Esterillos. Pirate Cove
      is a great hotel with a wonderful location. We think you’ll really enjoy it. Hope your family has a great trip!

  30. How early in the morning can we catch a boat from Drake to Sierpe? We will most likely be driving to Alajuela that day. Tips/hints?

    1. Hi Mary Jane, Scroll up to the boat taxi section, above. The earliest boat from Drake to Sierpe leaves at 7:30 am. That should be plenty of time for you to get to Alajuela by early to mid afternoon.

  31. Hello — We are going to the Osa peninsula in January, but on the other side, staying at a lodge near Puerto Jiminez. But I do so want to see Drake’s Bay (the bay, not the town). I was thinking that on our way off the peninsula we have some time and I was thinking we could just take a taxi ride out and back to see the bay. We will be coming from Rincon that morning (we have a bird tour that ends there about 9:30) and then we are headed toward Boruca for the night, so I think we have plenty of time to do this. But it’s hard to know from this distance. Is that a crazy idea?

    1. Hi Therese, We’re not sure it would be worth the effort. There is a road that cuts across the peninsula that goes towards Drake Bay, but we’re not sure of the condition or how long it would take…it would likely take a while. It would probably be easier to take main roads by going back to the highway and then accessing it from Sierpe near the river, but then you would have to take a boat taxi there. You could probably find someone to take you by boat, but it is a lot to do in one day to only spend a small amount of time.

  32. HI Jen & Matt, I’ve read your safety article, among others you’ve written, thank you. I’m booked to spend 8 nights in Drake during the Christmas holiday as I’m a hiker, diver, wildlife enthusiast. I am a little concerned that I am a woman traveling alone. I go somewhere every year alone during this period. I want to be able to feel safe and I think Drake, being off the beaten path should be, but would love your thoughts on that area for a single “older” woman? I’m also leaving Drake for a 1 night stay in Sierpe.
    Thank you,

    1. Hi Wendy, Drake Bay is a quiet, peaceful village and Sierpe is similar so you shouldn’t have any problems as long as you follow the usual precautions. Drake is very dark at night so be sure to bring a flashlight. If you’re staying in town close to restaurants, that would be best so that you’re closer to restaurants for dinner. We’ve never heard of any problems walking from some of the more distant hotels in any case, but it does get really dark so we could see how that could give some people the jitters.

  33. Love the great blog posts. You were our inspiration to travel to Drake Bay this January. We have booked to. Stay at Drake Bay wilderness Lodge. We have 2 kids aged 4. We only have 10 days in Costa Rica and had planned to spend them in Drake Bay. Our thoughts were that it had everything we wanted: beach, hiking, wildlife, snorkelling etc. But now we are wondering if this is too much time? Should we be splitting our 10 days between 2 locations? If so what other location? We plan to fly in/out of Drake Bay.

    1. Hi Cassandra, 10 days is a long time to spend in Drake Bay, but if you want a slower pace and some relaxing, it could be fine. If you’re flying in and out of San Jose, Manuel Antonio or Uvita would be good options on the way to Drake Bay if you wanted to split the time between two places. Both have great wildlife. The major difference is that Uvita is less developed and more spread out than Manuel Antonio, where everything is located along one main road.

  34. Hi we went to Drake Bay via Sierpe on a boat taxi and had a horrible boat accident on the beach landing. We went with a boat captain Dago, also called Picolina Tours. At the river mouth crossing there were such bigs waves that 3 waves crashed into our boat. Elderly passengers fell on the floor of the boat.
    I had my 4 year old daughter on my lap and had to hold on to her as best I could. When we reached the shore, the boat started to move sideways and crashed into nearby rocks. The boat captains abandoned a woman on the boat who couldn’t get out in time. One tourist had a small lapdog that drowned in the accident. I was able to jump out of the boat and get my toddle off of the boat in time, and run away from the boat before it could fall on us. I was really bad. The boats are owned by a guy named Dago, they do boat tours to the island, national parks, and taxi service to Sierpe. If you go on any boats make sure your hotel does not book them with Dago. We could have died or been really badly injured.

    1. Hi Sarah, Sorry for the delay in getting back to you about this. Thank you very much for letting us all know about your experience. The river mouth can be challenging depending on the tide and it’s essential to have a captain who knows the river and ocean well. We have done this trip several times, including with our son, and it can sometimes be an adventure. We always advise people with young children to bring a child-size life jacket just in case. That is strange about the problems with the beach landing. We’re very sorry that this happened to you and the other passengers. Thanks again for the advise.

  35. Lucrecia and Henry Smith
    We are from New Jersey USA
    We have a house in Perez Zeledon
    We took a trip to Drakes Bay
    We stayed at Bella Vista Hotel
    Disappointed it was a half hour ride off the beach with nothing to do
    My wife who is Costa Rican was speaking with two taxi drivers that have mentioned that all of the septic’s in the homes and some hotels are being flushed into the ocean

  36. Hello,
    I’ve appreciated reading all your insights on Drake Bay, and I’m wondering about your suggestions for me and my two adult daughters getting from La Fortuna to Drake Bay next Feb. 17. I don’t see any airlines that fly direct, though I realize I’m looking quite a bit ahead of time so some flights may not yet be posted. But perhaps you know if any airlines do fly La Fortuna-Drake Bay? Or will we have to organize a shuttle to San Jose to catch a flight?
    Thanks, Laura

    1. Hi Laura, We’re not currently recommending small plane flights in Costa Rica. The major carrier has closed and so far, the remaining companies haven’t proven to be reliable enough for us to recommend them. So we usually recommend shuttle van transfers. If you decide on a shuttle, we’d be happy to help with the arrangements. Just contact us through our Shuttle Booking page.

      1. Hi Jenn and Matt,
        Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us!
        We are going to CR in january. One of the destinations we are going to is Bahia Drake. We have booked a plane from Bahia Drake to San Jose an further on from San Jose to Tamarindo. In the text just above you write that the major flight carrier has closed and that’s make me nervous… Hopefully it is’nt Sansa you tell us has closed? Best regards, Sascha

        1. Hi Sascha, The major carrier that closed was Nature Air. Sansa is one of the ones that has been regularly cancelling flights last minute, at least in our area. They could be better about flights to and from Drake but we’d ask your hotel for their opinion.

  37. Hi Jenn and Matt,

    Thank you for all the fantastic info on your blog (especially all the articles about moving because that’s a future goal of ours)! We are making our second trip to CR for 9 days at the end of August/beginning of September next year, and I’m hoping you can give some guidance about the best spots to check out on the Osa peninsula. We are flying into San Jose, spending a few days in Quepos/MA, a few days in Uvita, and then want to check out Osa. We are renting a car and just not sure which city to stay in: Drake Bay, Puerto Jimenez or Golfito? We are adventurous, love hiking and wildlife and want to check out Corcovado. After whichever city we stay in the Osa area, we’re heading up to Jaco for one night to be closer to San Jose to fly home. Thanks in advance for any advice you may have.

    1. Hi Megan, We’d go with either Puerto Jimenez or Drake Bay. Personally we prefer Drake since it feels more remote and immersed in the jungle. It has really good options for hiking. Puerto Jimenez is nice too but the immediate area is more of a town, though access to Corcovado for hiking isn’t far.

  38. Hi there,

    We’ll be in Drake Bay in the next couple of weeks. Can you comment on the safety/clarity of the tap water there? We were thinking of bringing a water filtration system and purification tabs, just to be safe. However, we’re not sure if the filter would be overkill, if we’re using the tablets, or if either is really necessary. Any insights would be appreciated.


  39. Hi Jenn and Matt. Thx for providing this amazing resource! We are in the process of planning a trip to CR for next march (planning helps me escape our rainy winter:) and we would love to visit Drake Bay as part of our itinerary. We are a family of 4, with two kids who are 7 and 9. Obviously places like the Drake Bay Getaway resort and La Paloma look amazing but the cost is very high (I’ve been quoted about 5k for 4 nights). What would be your recommendation for a family who want to do things more on a budget. We don’t need fancy, but clean and comfortable with good food are priorities:) Thank you! We will for sure be in contact closer with respect to renting a car through you guys and potential tours.

  40. I am loving your site. Thank you for all of the information! We are headed to CR next week. We’ll be spending a few days in the OSA peninsula. We plan on hiking the Drake Bay trail one way. We’ll stay at the jungle lodge than take the boat back to Sierpe. What I need hep with is getting from Puerto Jimenez to Sierpe and our luggage. We’ll have a rental car which we see we can leave in a lot in Sierpe. I know it’s not a good idea to leave anything in a car but that’s the only option we have to leave our luggage. If it’s not visible, should we be ok? How long is the drive from Puerto Jimenez to Sierpe? Thank you for any tips you can offer!

  41. hello, we are heading to Ojochal in January for a few weeks. Would love to see Drake Bay. Is it a place we could visit for a day or do you recommend spending a night?

    Thank you

    Great site you have

    1. Hi Karen, You need at least two nights to go to Drake Bay since it is remote and harder to access. If you wanted to visit Corcovado National Park, though, day trips are available from Uvita. These get you there fast by boat. They’re a full day but a nice way to fit in a visit to the park.

  42. Hi! I am looking to stay 1 month+ and will need to work (no video calls though) and would need somewhat reliable wifi or cell service to connect a hotspot to. How is the area for wifi/mobile service? Thanks!

    1. Hi Sophia, Since it’s so remote, Wifi reliability can be very hit or miss. You may be able to find somewhere in town with a decent connection, though. You may be better off staying in another destination if you need good internet.

  43. Hi Jenn and Matt, this post is written in such a loving and appreciating way, thank you so much. It made my decision as to whether or not skipping Corcovado with two kids (of 5 and 11) easier – we will give it go, it sounds so beautiful and for sure will be a unique experience.

  44. Hi Jenn and Matt,
    My husband and I live in the Southern Zone (Ojochal). We want to do a 3-4 day trip to Drake Bay. We have a dog that we’d like to take with us, he’s older and goes almost everywhere with us when possible.

    My husband wants to do a multi-day trek through Corcovado while I want to stay at my luxury hotel with the dog and hang out by the pool or on the beach while he treks. Do you know which of the luxury options would allow a dog? Also, can you recommend a provider for the Corcovado trek?

    Dates are flexible but we’re rarin’ to go as soon as we can!

    Thank you!


    1. Hi Cherie, There are lodges in Drake Bay that allow dogs, but not any high end ones that we know of, unfortunately. Maybe you could find an Airbnb?

      For a guide for Corcovado, Javier Mora is an excellent one. I don’t think he has a website but you can find him on Facebook if you search. Or we’ve done other types of tours in Drake with a guide named Vincent. He and his wife own a souvenir shop in town called Etnias (https://www.facebook.com/etniasbahiadrake/). Your husband could arrange a tour there. Hope that helps some!

  45. Dear Matt and Jenn,

    We are planning a trip to Costa Rica late July or Mid August 2021 and your website is amazingly helpful! We have a few questions about transportation once in Drake Bay. We’ll be driving to Sierpe and taking the boat to Drake Bay. Is that easy to do? Since we won’t have a car, how do we get around Drake Bay while there? Although tour guides are necessary in Drake Bay and especially Corcovado, we tend to prefer a more off the beaten path travel style so we’re trying to understand how easy/difficult it is to hire a car/taxi and navigate.

    We plan to scuba dive at Cano Island, but also explore Corcovado, hiking, kayaking etc. How do we do that without transportation? Are there guides that will take us to those destinations? If so, what are the estimated costs for transportation and how do we go about arranging that in advance (if possible)?

    Thanks so much for your help!!! ~Tom

    1. Hi Tom, Your hotel in Drake Bay should be able to help you arrange the boat taxi. Usually they work with one boat in particular so that you are dropped off in the right spot to be closest once you arrive.

      Most hotels are located either right in town or not far from town so it’s easy to not have a car. You will just take the boat taxi to the main drop off point near the center of town then walk or take a taxi to your hotel. Some hotels are farther out and the public boat will drop you off closer to their location. Some of the high end resorts are quite far from town but have their own boat that will bring you right to the property.

      If you’re staying at an Airbnb, it can be tough because these are often outside town and they may not provide much logistical help during your visit.

      Since most people stay near town, getting to tours is easy. The starting location is usually right in town so you would just walk.

      If you’re not staying in town, taxis are available. We would recommend finding a good one and then getting their card so that you can use them throughout your visit.

      Hope that helps!

  46. Hi Matt and Jen,

    Traveling with my husband and our 11 year old son to CR from 12-27 March 2022 for spring break … we are renting a car in San Jose on 13th and spending 1st 6 nights in Monteverde and then driving to Manual Antonio for 2nights … plan to drive down coast to Sierpe and would like to return car there? would that be possible and then take the boat taxi to Drake Bay and then fly out of Puerto Jimierez to San Jose … Does the car rental agency, Adobe, you recommend have an office in Sierpe? we found an airbnb in Drake Bay but remote from town, they offered to pick up at boat taxi place and hopefully take us to airport … if not, the Hotel Jinetes is within our budget and maybe less complicated? your site has been extremely helpful … THANK YOU !! Monique

    1. Hi Monique, Yes, Adobe could come from their Uvita office to Sierpe to pickup the car. Just select Uvita as the drop off location and specify in the notes which dock for them to meet you at in Sierpe.

      The small planes should be flying right out of Drake Bay. The airstrip is not too far from town. You would not want to fly out of Puerto Jimenez, unless you’re planning on going there after Drake Bay.

  47. Hello Jenn and Matt,
    Thank you for all your amazing information! I was planning on travelling to Drake Bay in mid-October, I’m very concerned about the amount of rain. Does it typically rain all day? Would you advise not to travel there at that time?
    Also, how long is the drive from San Jose airport to Sierpe? Whenever I search it, I get different times.
    Thank you so much, I appreciate your time.

    1. Hi Shelley, We have never been to Drake Bay in October but lived in the southern Pacific coast for several years. Mid October isn’t a great time come, unfortunately. That’s the time of year that we have big storms and the Osa Peninsula is one of the rainiest regions. It probably won’t rain all day day but is likely to rain a lot. Here’s a link to our post on the rainy season with more information.

      The drive from San José to Sierpe is about 5 hours.

  48. Hi! Thanks so much for this information – it is really helpful!

    Do you know any hotels in Drake Bay that offer strong, reliable wifi for digital nomads working remotely? I would like to visit Friday – Sunday but will have to work on Friday. Thank you!

  49. Hi Jenn and Matt,
    We want to book a tour that leaves Drakes Bay at 7am. We are staying in Uvita. We can drive to Sierpe. I see that the earliest boat taxis from Sierpe to the bay leaves at 7:30am. Is there a way to hire someone or ask for a boat ride at an earlier time?

    1. Hi Stacy, The earliest boat that we know of from Sierpe to Drake Bay leaves at 11:30 am (7:30 am is for the return trip from Drake Bay). You could probably arrange an earlier ride privately but we aren’t sure of how best to do that.

      If you’re looking to see wildlife, you could just do a boat tour along the Sierpe River and Terraba mangroves. We’ve done this and saw so much wildlife (white faced monkeys, squirrel monkeys, sloths, snakes, Scarlet Macaw parrots, etc.). A good company that offers this tour is Kokopelli Sierpe. Hope that helps some!

  50. Hello,

    My husband and I are planning a 2 week trip to CR in January 2023 with our 3 children (will be 4.5, 2.5 and 8 months). We have traveled alot with our two children and I’m not overly worried about the 8 month old as we will just put him in a carrier and carry him around with us (assuming that’s safe). My parents are also coming and they have already been to CR. We would love to visit the Osa Peninsula and ideally Drake Bay as we also scuba dive and would like to take a trip out to Cano to dive. I’m wondering if with this age of children it is reasonable to think we will be able to take them on short hikes, boat tours, etc… in Corcovado and the area. We could always get a second pack to carry the 2.5 year old if need be but I just want to make sure its actually safe and reasonable since it is a bit of a trek to get down to the area. If Puerto Jimenez is a better option with kids we are ok with that as we don’t want to be switching off who has to stay and watch the kids the entire time. Otherwise we can always save this area for another trip but we tend to like less touristy areas and it seems from reading that we would see the best area of the county just by being in the area. We will maybe plan to go up to La Fortuna/Arenal for part of the time and then get to a beach for a few days of relaxation as well. Thanks so much for any advice.

    1. Hi Sheila, Drake Bay isn’t a great destination with young kids. Everything is more complicated because many things like Corcovado and Cano are only accessible by boat. I’m not sure they would even allow an infant to do a Corcovado day trip from Drake. We’d recommend saving the OSA for another trip. You could go to the Uvita/Dominical area, just north of the OSA, and stay a little bit south of there. That area is less touristy and feels wild because of all the rainforest, similar to Drake Bay. I hope that helps!

  51. Hi Jenn and Matt – what a great website this is! We’re coming to Costa Rica (family of 4 with 2 boys aged 9 and 12) at the end of August/early September for 15 days and would love some tips on where to go. We are planning on the Arenal area for 2/3 days, then Samara but I also have my heart set on the Osa peninsula and have looked at one of the more remote lodges near either Drake Bay or Puerto Jimenez. Do you think this is just too far to go and would it be very very wet at that time of year?! If it is do-able which of the 2 (Drake Bay or PJ) would you recommend? We are looking at La Leona lodge and also at the Life to Life hostel as these seem to give more of a jungle experience. Thanks!

    1. Hi Cam, The Osa Peninsula is pretty rainy in early September so it’s probably not the best spot for you, unfortunately. It is hard to find another location that has a similar feel to the Osa to suggest instead. You could check out the southern Nicoya Peninsula, like Tambor (good off-the-beaten path hiking, bioluminescent kayak tours) or Montezuma (small, eclectic beach town). Santa Teresa is nice too but has gotten fairly developed in recent years.

  52. We are planning at trip to CR at the end of this month (29 July-22 August). My husband lived in CR for a while many years ago, so has some ideas as to where he’d like us to go, but he never visited the Oso Peninsula and would love to include it in our trip. Would you recommend it at this time of year? We are travelling with 12 and 9 year old boys. We’ll have a hire car for the duration of the trip.

    1. Hi Lydia, It has been rainy this year so far, and the Osa is one of the rainiest regions. It may be better to leave it out given the time of year you’re coming. Unless you’re okay with rain. It’s still beautiful in the rain, but it can be harder to do activities if the weather is really bad. Hope that helps you decide!

  53. Our family of 3 is visiting Drake Bay for a 3 night, 4 day tour which includes accommodations, most meals, guides, transportation, etc. The tour company prefers to be paid in USD cash which is more convenient for them but they will accept payment by credit card too. I appreciate that there are no ATMs in Drake Bay and we will need some cash for incidentals, but I’m apprehensive about carrying the amount of cash that would be required to pay for the tour. Also, banks often have a limit on the size of daily withdrawals. I’m curious what most people do in this situation.

    1. Hi Scot, We would just pay the fee to use a credit card instead of carrying all that cash. It’s not a good idea to carry around a lot of money. Somewhat strange that they are charging a CC fee in this case.

  54. I’m looking for a quiet, safe area on the Pacific coast to stay for a month with my 9 year old. Haven’t ever been to Costa Rica, but I’m well travelled and very experienced in the the back country as far as hiking, etc.

  55. We have been to CR several times and love it. We plan to spend about a week on the Osa peninsula mid May. Currently we are planning on staying in Puerto Jimenez the entire time. We like to explore on our own and get a 4WD to accommodate the road conditions.

    Do you think we will miss out if we DO NOT go to Drake Bay for a portion of the week?
    Would a simple day trip be sufficient?

    Thank you!!!

    1. Hi Bobbie, Puerto Jimenez is beautiful too. We would just stay there for the whole week and not try to do a day trip to Drake Bay, as the roads are not good. They are completely separate areas so it’s better to do at least an overnight if you want to see Drake Bay. We’d save it for another trip.

  56. Hi Jenn and Matt, did you do Corcovado with kids? Is it doable with a baby (would be in carrier) and a 4 year old? Any tips on being able to explore the osa or Corcovado with young kids greatly appreciated!

    1. Hi Alanna, We have only hiked Corcovado before having kids, with the exception of a short 3 hour hike/gold tour on the El Tigre side near Puerto Jimenez. I wouldn’t recommend San Pedrillo, Sirena, or La Leona with kids. It’s very hot and there are no amenities around. For Sirena and San Pedrillo, you have to take a boat too. It’s just too long of a day. We would recommend saving Drake Bay and Corcovado until the kids are older…and we did some very adventurous hiking when our kids were little. It’ll be a lot more enjoyable when they’re older.

  57. Hi Jenn and Matt, i’m loving your website!
    We are planning a CR tour for a family of 5 (three young adults) end of july. We planned for two nights in tortuguero (sea turtle season), to be followed, initially, by 5 nights between arenal, tenorio and monteverde and four night manuel antonio. But then some friends told us how corcovado was THE place to visit, and we are considering two nights in san gerardo de dota, one in ojivhal on our way to drake and the last three in manuel antonio. Do you think this is tooo crazy??

    1. Hi Kelly, The second itinerary where you go to Drake Bay isn’t too crazy as long as you have at least 3 nights planned there. Since it takes a while to get to, it’s best to have 3 nights. That lets you do both Corcovado and Cano Island too. Hope that helps!

  58. Hi, thanks for all the advice on your website!
    We will go to CR for two week s next year starting mid-May and would love to go to Osa peninsula.
    But how „rainy“ is this usually – is it likely that path will be closed, for example or even that flights get cancelled because of it?
    I know it is impossible to predict weather, but are the odds that it is worth taking the risk?
    Thanks and save travels,

    1. Hi Helge, The Osa is rainier in general but May is still very early in the rainy season so I wouldn’t worry about road washouts, closed trails, etc. Small plane flights get cancelled even when the weather is fine. They are not that reliable anymore, unfortunately. We usually recommend driving or taking a shuttle.

  59. Hello – thank you for such a great site!
    I’m a first time traveler to Costa Rica and traveling without a car. I’ll be in La Fortuna and would like to go to Drake Bay. What would be the easiest way to travel there? And once there, how to get around – are there taxis, or is everything walkable (I may be at an Airbnb, so no front desk). Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Tracy, It’s very far from La Fortuna to Drake Bay so we would recommend a stopover destination on the way. Maybe Manuel Antonio or the Dominical/Uvita area. Then you can take the boat taxi from Sierpe to Drake.

      Just make sure to choose accommodations in Drake near the main area of town and you won’t need a car. Most people don’t have a car for Drake but there are some hotels and Airbnbs that are farther out and less convenient. If you do need a taxi, yes, they are available.

  60. Hello, so thankful for all your advice. We’re headed to Costa Rica for the first time next week — Drakes Bay will be towards the end of our trip, late January. I have read about the boat from Sierpe which we plan to take, I’m just hoping to confirm that we will be able to manage the boat ride. My husband has ALS, relatively early stage where he can still walk but it is slow and it is challenging. Do you think the embarking/disembarking from the boat, or any other aspect of the boat ride would be a reason for us to avoid Drake’s Bay?

    1. Hi Denise, Sorry for the delay. Hope your husband was able to get off the boat taxi okay. I bet that the locals were helpful. When we have traveled to Drake Bay with our young boys, the boat staff just picked them up and carried them off the boat for us.

  61. Hello! Do you have recommendations or tips on booking a tour operator for a Corcovado hike and snorkelling trip? Our AirBnB host offered to set it up, but given that this is a once in a lifetime experience I want to ensure that we are getting a really great experience! Thank you!

    1. Hi Anni, From Drake Bay, it’s usually best to schedule Corcovado trips through your hotel/host. There aren’t many tour companies in towns. We don’t work with any specific guides for Corcovado right now.

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