Drake Bay is a city in the Osa Peninsula region of South Pacific Costa Rica.
Plane: Fly to the Drake Bay Airport with Sansa or a private charter flight from San José, take a taxi or bus to Sierpe, take a boat down the river to Drake Bay. Your hotel can make arrangements for you. If you fly you will be limited to 15 kg (33 lb) of luggage.
In the dry season or wet season the road from San José is typically passable all the way to Drake Bay or to Sierpe where the boat ride can be taken to finish the journey to Drake Bay.
Public transport: Take the TRACOPA Bus from San José to Palmar Norte, from there you can take a collective taxi or bus to Sierpe where boats leave twice daily (except October) to Agujitas (them main town in Drake Bay). There is also a direct TRACOPA Bus going from San Jose to Sierpe (stopping in Queopos, so it's easy to catch from Manuel Antonio as well), leaving SJO at 8:30. Check schedules here.
From Puerto Jiménez: Take a bus to La Palma and from there there is a bus twice daily (depending on the rain) to Agujitas. The bus leaves around 11:00 and 16:00.
In either case, you'd need to take a boat from Sierpe to Drake, they leave from near the Donde Jorge restaurant where the bus will drop you off. Public boats depart at around 11:30 and 16:00 and cost $20.
Driving: Only 4x4! Head south on the Inter-American Highway at the gas station in Chacarita (fill up your tank!) turn right and follow the signs. Before you cross the first bridge at Rincón de Osa turn right again. From there it's a gravel road until Drake Bay. Since 2021, all rivers have bridges constructed over them so river crossings are no longer required.
For tours, transportation is usually by boat and can be arranged through your hotel.
You can ask people to give you a ride or pay a collective taxi to the location of your choice (almost anybody who has a car is also a taxi driver.)
Corcovado National Park is the main attraction. There are 3 primary ranger stations which serves as the entry point into this park. Tour guides are highly recommended. "Dry Season" is a subjective term. Be prepared to get your shoes soaked and hike through ankle deep mud.
You can only access San Pedrillo Ranger Station on foot from Drake Bay. There is a trail to Sirena but it's almost 30 km on the beach, with two big river crossings and no shade. Your lodge will take with a boat to Sirena.
San Pedrillo: Closest entry from Drake Bay. It is accessible by either a 4-hour hike or 1-hour boat ride from Drake Bay. Boats can be arranged with your hotel. The hike comprises of beach and mountain hikes. You will also walk past various eco-resorts. There is a beautiful waterfall with a great swimming hole near this station. Ask the ranger for directions or guide to take you there.
Sirena: 2½-hour boat ride or 13-16 km (8-10 mile) hike. The hike from Drake Bay to Sirena ranger station is considered extremely strenuous and difficult. The stretch between San Pedrillo and Sirena is mostly beaches with almost no shade. You can camp at the Sirena Station which has showers and wide decks to sleep to keep you out of the rain. Ask Sirena Station for food when you apply for a permit. They can arrange a light meal for you for a nominal fee. Very beautiful hikes around the area and highly recommended.
La Leona: Most southern ranger station.
Los Patos: Only accessible by 2-hour car ride from Drake Bay. If you are hiking this to the beach, it is almost all decline and will take up to 7-8 hours to the beach. Better approached from Puerto Jiménez or Carate, not Drake Bay unless by plane.
There is also the Caño Island Biological Reserve. The scuba diving can be cloudy but the snorkeling is excellent. It is a minimum 1 hour boat ride from Drake Bay.
The little town is off the grid and very quiet, but walking around can make for an interesting afternoon.
Agujitas (Main Town Drake Bay): You can do the poisonous Dart Frog tour with Martin.
Los Planes: The little town of Los Planes is around 5 km from Agujitas. It's a rainforest town with a lot of jungle hikes and a perfect spot to horseback. Check out Naguala Waterfall, refresh yourself in the natural pools and fish some tilapia. They also offer restaurant service. Oro Verde is home to Alfredo, a rainforest hermit who lives in the middle of the jungle and has the biggest collection of 1970s rock music in the area! Tesoro Verde has a private 12-hectare reserve.
Along the coast: If you keep walking along the coast to the direction of San Pedrillo Ranger Station you will pass many secluded beaches where the rainforest meets the ocean. Coatis, Anteaters and Monkeys are often seen. At Rio Claro River mouth, lives "Clavito" who rents out kayaks to paddle up river. The next beach is called San Josecito and is a perfect place to Snorkel as there is a rock formation which forms a calm bay. There is a coral reef, so bring your mask.
- Snorkel at Cano Island.
- Hike at Cano Island to see pre-Columbian stone spheres.
- Take a dolphin and whale watching tour.
- Scuba DIVE in the Caño Island Biological Reserve.
- Swim and boogie board.
- Hike in Corcovado.
- Sea kayak in Drake Bay and on the Rio Agujitas.
- Horseback riding.
- Zip-lining through the jungle (tour shut down as of 2022)
There is not much to buy, other than souvenirs from your hotel. Stores and entertainment are extremely limited. No ATM or bank or post office in the area.
It is best to eat at your hotel. There are not many restaurants in the small town of Drake Bay. There is a bar on the hill (called "la gorra," or "the cap") that offers a limited menu.
There are several small sodas in Agujitas which offer mostly local food and fresh fish.
This is a very small and quiet town.
La Jungla Bar, locally called "Tureca", is a friendly bar which serves good drinks and plays nice music. They have outside balcony with a view right into the rainforest. Across the street you will find Jade Mar, which serves drinks and food. There are other a couple other bars in town, but expect that many of them will only be open during high season.
- Jinetes de Osa +800 317-0333. In Agujitas, the village of Drake Bay; nine-room lodge; faces black beach; tours; meals; dive and adventure packages.
- Cabinas Mirador Lodge +506 8836-94-15, +506 8334-44-38. Drake Bay views, amazing sunsets; three meals a day; mid-range; tours; hiking;rustic cabins.
- Cabinas Las Caletas: On top of steep ridge; views of Drake Bay; cabins; tours; meals; owned by Tico/Swiss couple.
- Aquila de Osa Inn. Situated in Drake Bay, Aquila de Osa Inn is a picturesque hotel offering guests a chance to enjoy the wonderful experiences of the rain forest including seeing many of Costa Rica's natural wildlife.
- La Paloma Lodge is a great eco-lodge located in the wild jungle with great views overlooking the pacific.
- Drake Bay Getaway is charming eco-lodge located a few minutes west of town, high on a hill overlooking Drake Bay.
- Tranquilo Lodge is a beautiful lodge located halfway between the airport and the Drake Bay village with a great sunset views.
- Amaya Family Cabins (near northern border of Corcovado National Park). Local Tico-owned and -operated eco-resort on the beachfront portion of the Amaya family farm (37 hectares).
- Rio Drake Lodge, El Progreso. At the airport in front of the beach, best sunsets!
- Tesoro Verde Hostel, Los Planes. You can cook your own, have all included or camp. Free use of private rainforest reserve.
- Casa Gitana, located across the Bay from the town. Located five minutes from the airport during dry season.
- Many other options in town
The main excursion from Drake Bay is to backpack through Corcovado. Adventurous backpackers can plan a one way trip from the first ranger station to one of the more remote ranger stations, and arrange for a boat to drop off and pick up.
Scuba divers can arrange for a trip to Cano island.
Drake Bay offers a lot of things for adventurous souls, if you like to hike and camp you can stay quiet a while and explore everyday something new.