Drake Bay Town is nestled amongst the largest and most biologically diverse section of lowland rainforest in Central Ameria. This magical place is named after Sir Francis Drake who is believed to have ventured in this area in the 16th century. With scattered hotels and lodges, and restaurants, Drake Bay is the ideal vacation spot for those wishing to relax and escape from the stresses of everyday life. It also has jungle full of exotic wildlife and warm ocean water that are a playground for marine life that attracts many nature lovers. This small town is nestled on the Pacific side of the peninsula but due to its position in a wide cove, it is well protected from ocean swells. Just off the town’s main beach, Playa Colorada, there are several tourism businesses, lodges, small restaurants and also a few municipal buildings like a school and medical clinic.
During certain times of the year, you can reach Drake Bay town by driving but because of rough roads and river crossings, it is not recommended to go by driving as it wouldn’t be covered by the rental car agreement. If you want to drive, head south on the Interamerican Highway at the Gas Station in Chacarita and there fill up your tank. From there turn right and follow the signs. Before crossing the first bridge at Rincon de Osa, turn again to the right. From there you will find a gravel road and you will have to pass several rivers. You will have to drive slowly and steady downriver through it. If it is raining, you will have to be more careful so that you don’t stuck.
Getting to Drake Bay town, the best options are to take a domestic flight or boat taxi from the mainland town of Sierpe.
If you travel by domestic flights from San Jose, it will take one hour to reach Drake Bay town. From other destinations in Costa Rica, several flights are available but usually connect through the capital. These are smaller, propeller-run planes that can hols 10 to 20 passengers. With Nature Air (Pavas Airport) or Sansa (Juan Santamaria Airport) from San Jose, you can fly in to the Drake Bay Airport. From there you can take a taxi or bus to Sierpe and then take a boat down the river to Drake Bay.
You can also go to Drake Bay by boat taxi. These boats are about 20 feet long with cover. From the small riverside town of Sierpe go down the beautiful Sierpe river and through mangroves, out to the ocean and along the coastline you will reach Drake Bay. If you are traveling by a boat taxi, it is recommended to be prepare for a beach landing in Drake Bay. Though there are a couple of docks in town, boats pull right up on the sand close to the lodge you will stay and you will have to wade through ankle-or sometimes knee-deep water to get shore.
Drake Bay is a remote place but has a variety of accommodations including comfortable eco-lodges, no-frills cabins, boutique hotel, luxury resorts and also camping on the beach. In the main area of the town, budget options tend to be concentrated and set close to restaurants and the two small grocery stores. In the outside of the town you will find more moderate and high-end options some of which are within walking distance and some others much further away and can be primarily accessed by boat. If you stay at one of the more off-the-grid hotels far from the town, you will get meals. It offers different activities, packages which while convenient and often more expensive. People who want to stay in a budget friendly hotel, they are recommended to stay in town near the more moderately priced restaurants and cafes.
High-End Lodging ($400-500):
Aguila de Osa:
Nestled in the jungle-covered hillsides close to the Aguijitas river, Aguila de Osa is just within 10 minute walking distance to the town and the beach. It features 2 Suites and 11 Deluxe Rooms with ocean views. All the rooms are built with native wood and are well-appointed with high ceilings and balconies. These rooms are also featured with traditional, hand-crafted interiors with high ceilings and equipped with coffee maker, ceiling fan, stylish bathroom including a hairdryer. This hotel also has open-air restaurant serves gourmet food including organic vegetables and fresh fish. Its bar serves cocktails and other drinks.
Copa de Arbol:
Perfectly situated between Drake Bay and the Corcovado National Park, Copa de Arbol is a luxury beachfront eco- resort featuring luxurious cabinas each of which blends seamlessly into the natural backdrop. Constructed using recycled materials and reforested wood such as teak, cypress and melina, these cabinas feature balconies with seating areas, pillow-top orthopedic mattresses, air-conditioning, ceiling fans, and tiled bathrooms with walk-in showers. It has an open air beachfront restaurant and full bar that offers a variety of unique culinary creations and specialty cocktails. It offers only the freshest native fruits and vegetables and ‘catch of the day’ seafood, poultry, meats, smoothies, delicious deserts and specialty coffees.
La Paloma Lodge:
Sits atop a cliff and backed by the lush tropical jungle, La Paloma Lodge overlooks the Pacific Ocean. It is nestled on 14-acres just within a short distance from the cool waters of Agujitas river and secluded black-sand beaches. It provides 7 bungalows and 4 rooms which are featured with air-conditioning, ceiling fans, orthopedic beds, hot water, hair dryer, luxurious comphy sheets, biodegradable shampoo and conditioner, in-room safe, smoke free rooms, daily room tidy, and also filtered water carafes.
If calling after 4PM call: +506-2775-1684
It is situated a bit outside town, just within 2 minute walking distance from the beach. It is featured with different types of accommodation including bungalows, deluxe cabin, and cabins. It also offers free WiFi access, a shower, private bathroom and free toiletries. Its food is not gourmet but quite frankly and meals are prepared with freshest ingredients it can arrange vegetarian dishes.
Call: +(506) 2234-6154
Hotel Jinetes de Osa:
This hotel is set just within 1 minute walking distance from the beach. It offers WiFi service, luggage storage, laundry service, massage therapies, horseback riding and many more. Its rooms feature ocean views and wardrobes. It also features private bathrooms including free toiletries. This hotel has an on-site restaurant that serves local and seafood dishes.
Hotel Rancho Corcovado:
It is a nice family-run lodge featuring simple, clean and comfortable rooms. It also has an on-site restaurant that serves excellent typical Costa Rican food. In some rooms you will find air conditioners and in some other only fan. Each room has private balcony overlooking great views over the forest and ocean beyond.
Call: +506 8869-5701
Nestled on the hills at Drake Bay and 800 m from the town center, this hotel property offers an extensive green area, furnished terrace with hammocks and wooden decor. Its bungalows are featured with private bathroom, fan, wooden furniture and mini fridge. These bungalows also overlooks amazing garden views. It also has an on-site restaurant that serves International food.
Call: +506 2775 0744
Cabinas Manolo is situated on Drake Bay, 200 m from the beach. Its rooms are featured with a fan, mosquito net, WiFi service, a porch with hammock. Rooms are decorated simply and include private bathrooms. It has a modern restaurant that serves a range of International cuisine and typical local dishes.
Call: (506) 2775-0929
It is a friendly hostel featured with accommodation which will give you homely like experience. It has a fully equipped kitchen that is open for self cooking. It also has a small restaurant that serves national and International dishes.
Call: (506) 8720-0801
Located in the heart of the Drake Bay, Casa Mariposa features rooms with patio or balcony and furnished with a wardrobe. Some of the rooms overlook garden view, while others a mountain view. It also offers a daily continental breakfast. Other facilities include a games room and laundry facilities.
Call: +506 8478 9303 or +506 6140 5360
While staying at Drake Bay town, if you don’t want to dine at the hotel, you can find a handful of good, modestly priced restaurants. You can enjoy a solid and wholesome meal.
La Cocina del Pirate:
Right on the beach, it is a super chill place located on the best location in town. It serves a small menu but offers all the staples like nicely done casados and arroz con camarones(rice with shrimp). You can also enjoy burritos and nachos and beer.
Call: +506 8808 0947
It serves two of their dishes which feature the catch of the day and for vegetarian pasta for those who are non-fish eaters. This place is also known for its plate of the day, which features fish cooked to perfection in a banana leaf, flavorful roasted vegetables, and a pile of mashed potatoes.
Call: +506 6198 5899
This cafe serves a huge menu including chicken, beef and fish dishes. It also offers salads, pasta, soups and traditional dishes. It also serves good pizza and sells homemade bread.
Drakes Kitchen, Casa El Tortugo:
This restaurant is featured with outdoor seating arrangement, wheelchair accessibility. It serves different cuisines including Costa Rican, American, Latin, Seafood, South American, Central American.
Call: +506 6161 3193
Situated on the main road just coming up the hill from the beach, this restaurant is perfect for families with kids. It serves up whatever the local fishermen just brought in. Its mains come with veggies and fries or mashed potatoes. It is also good place to grab some ceviche.
Attractions and Activities:
Corcovado National Park:
This huge 417 sq.km. (161 sq. mile) area of protected primary and secondary rainforest is one of the only places in Costa Rica where you can watch all four native monkey species. It is also home to Central America’s largest land mammal, the Baird’s Tapir. If you go for a multi-day trekking trip, you can enjoy exploring this remote park. With the help of a registered guide, you can enjoy half-day hike and spot rare birds and wild animals as well as explore the amazing natural beauty of the area.
You can watch the shape of Cano Island offshore from the shores of Drake Bay. This uninhabited island is 10 miles from Drake Bay. This area is known for great snorkeling and scuba diving. You can explore beautiful coral reefs and ledges showcase and amazing large schools of colorful fish. If you are lucky enough, you can also get the opportunity to spot dolphins, whales, or whitetip reef sharks. This island is also an important archaeological site and was once a burial ground and trading post for Costa Rica’s pre-Columbian indigenous cultures.
Hiking to Playa San Josecito:
If you want to enjoy exploring your own, you can go for hking to Playa San Josecito that is also a great snorkeling beach. You can reach this remote beach by walking along the jungle trail at the south end of the town that weaves onto several secluded beaches. Before finally ending up at this amazing beach, you will have to wade through or take a small rowboat across the Rio Claro. It is recommended to take plenty of water and whatever food you will need for the day. It is also better to take a flashlight in case you return at the time of sun set.
Jungle Night Tour:
If you want to enjoy more adventure, you can go for a jungle night tour. During the tour, you will find plenty of wild animals which come out after sunset.