Traveling with Stephy

Drake Bay travel guide: all you need to know!

Drake Bay is located in the most Southern part of the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Situated on the border with Panama, the Osa Peninsula is the most remote part of the country! Moreover, it is also home to Corcovado National Park, the wildest part of the country with only 1% of trails. A visit to Costa Rica is, in my opinion, not complete without discovering the Osa peninsula. That is why I have created this Drake Bay travel guide that gathers all you need to know to enjoy your trip to the fullest!

The two main towns of Osa Peninsula consist of Drake Bay, located on the West side, and Puerto Jimenez, located on the East side.
Honestly, Drake Bay can be a little bit tricky to reach due to its location close to Corcovado National Park but still accessible by a 4×4 car (mandatory), by plane (there is a small airport with daily flights from SJO), or by a collective boat from Sierpe. We did the journey from Ojochal (Costa Ballena) to Drake Bay by public transportation and it took us around 8 hours in total. 
If you are coming from Costa Ballena (namely Dominical, Uvita, or Ojochal) or directly from San Jose, you need to take a bus to Palmar Norte. From Ojochal is 2600 colones per person for about 45 minutes. Then, take a second bus from Palmar Norte to Sierpe. It costs 350 calories per person for about 40 minutes. 

From Sierpe, Drake Bay is only accessible by boat. There are two collective boats per day (which are cheaper than a private taxi boat): 

  • the first one at 11:30 am / 15$ per person
  • the second one at 3:30 pm / 20$ per person

It is a pleasant 50-minute boat drive through the mangroves and the last part into the ocean. They will leave you at Drake Beach Bay which is located right down the center of the town. From there, most of the accommodation is accessible by foot (can be steep) or by taxi. 

To get to the collective boat on time, you need to take the local bus from Palmar Norte to Sierpe at either 8:00 am or 9:30 am to catch the 11:30 am boat at Sierpe or the 2:30 pm local bus from Palmar Norte to Sierpe to catch the 3:30 pm boat at Sierpe. 

Be aware that the collective boat needs to be booked ahead. So, if you are staying in an Airbnb for example, ask the host to book it for you. Same for the hotel. The captain of your dedicated boat will be looking for you. You cannot jump on a collective boat if you don’t have an accommodation reservation.

For your information, Puerto Jimenez, on the contrary, is easily accessible by car or public transportation (with no boat ride).

“I advice you to put on shorts and sandals before jumping in the boat to Drake Bay since this is a wet landing right on the beach.”

how long to stay in Drake Bay?

As this is a long way to get to Drake Bay, I would suggest you make the most of it! If you want to do all the most common activities in the region you need to stay at least for 3 days! Otherwise, if you have more time, you can still stay longer and enjoy the vibes of this cute little town and go to the beach every day. 

We stayed in Drake Bay for 10 days, but honestly, it was a bit too much. If I needed to do it again, I would have stayed for one week, to have some days without tours. 

Where to stay in Drake Bay?

Osa Peninsula offers many accommodation options, from the big 5-star resorts to hostels and Airbnb. During our time there, we decided to stay at Drake Bay for its wilderness and its location close to Corcovado National Park. We stayed at “Osa house” which offers small minimalist rooms but for a very good price (less than 20 dollars per night). However, if you choose to go for this option, be aware the room is rustic with a lot of humidity (no A/C) with no view except from a chicken house. 

How to get around in Drake Bay?

Since Drake Bay is a small town, you won’t need a car to move around. If your hotel is located a little bit out of town, you can still take a taxi. There are a few closes to the main beach where the boat will drop you off. So don’t worry, you won’t be alone!

Otherwise, most of the guided tours start on Drake Bay beach which is easily reachable by foot from wherever you will stay. 

“Having said that, I highly suggest that you leave your car at Sierpe if you have a rental car during your trip. The road to coming to Drake Bay is very difficult and you might not make it even with a 4×4 (especially during the rainy season).”

What to do in Drake Bay?

Osa peninsula is the perfect place for adventure and nature seekers. Home to the most intense national park in the country called Corcovado, the hikers and wildlife lovers will be in paradise on Earth!

Corcovado National Park

Corcovado National Park is part of the most remote and wildest part of Costa Rica, located on the Pacific coast. The park recovered most of the peninsula. 
With about 3% of biodiversity, Corcovado National Park is the best place in Costa Rica to spot wildlife and experience a jungle adventure through primary and secondary forests. To be honest, a visit to Costa Rica is, in my opinion, not complete without experiencing the intense wildlife and fauna of the beautiful part of the country. 
We spent 2 days in the jungle with Sukia Travel (a tour operator located in Drake Bay) and it was an experience we will never forget! Highly recommended!
Read my complete guide to Corcovado National Park here to enjoy La Sirena Station’s overnight tour to the fullest! 

Sukia Travel

US$ 355 for La Sirena Station overnight
US$ 150 for one day tour

From 6:00 am to 1:00 pm the next day,
4 meals included

Snorkeling at Cano island

Cano island is known to be the best snorkeling spot on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Indeed, Cano island is a private reserve located 20 kilometers away from Drake Bay. Only the North part of the island is available to the public for snorkeling or diving.


We also experience our Cano island snorkeling tour with Sukia Travel and were super happy about it. We had the chance to encounter Sea turtles and lots of colorful fish. Sometimes, if you are lucky, you can even see reefs sharks, and rays. Nature is full of surprises and wonders!

Sukia Travel

US$ 85 for snorkeling
US$ 135 for diving

From 7:30 am to 2:30 pm
Lunch included

Drake Bay beach trail

Drake Bay Beach trail starts from the center of the town to the very beginning of the entrance of Corcovado National Park. It is free and it can take up to 6 hours depending on where you go. This trail is perfect to enjoy unspoiled beaches along the way such as Cocolito Beach (30 minutes from Drake Bay) and San Josecito Beach (2 hours from Drake Bay) and be immersed in the jungle. To find the path, just walk to the left once you arrive at Drake Beach Bay in the direction of Kalaluna Bistrot. The path is a very nice hike combining ocean views and rainforest.

The trail is not a loop so you can turn back whenever you want! If you have the energy to go to San Josecito Beach, be aware that depending on the tide, you must cross a river at some point. Therefore, you should take water shoes with you. 

After a swim at Cocolito Beach, we spotted different wildlife such as a green snake and a group of capuchins playing together! This hike is one of the only free things to do at Drake Bay, so I highly recommend taking advantage of it since it offers splendid views, beautiful beaches, and a lush path into the jungle with wildlife. As the path is mostly into the jungle with rocks and leaves, I advise you to put on hiking shoes for sure!

“Start the hike in the morning when it is not too hot and take a lot of water with you as the only restaurant you will cross is Kalaluna at the beginning of the trail.”

Cocolito Beach

Cocolito beach is one of the best beaches in Drake Bay and above all, it is accessible by a 30-minute walk from the center through the rainforest. Every time we went to Cocolito Beach, there was almost nobody. Someday, the waves are huge and powerful so if you like to play in the waves, this is the right place for you! Moreover, the sand is super soft surrounded by a lot of coconut trees, this place is definitely like a postcard!
“As there are no restaurants or shops around, you should take water and food with you to spend the day at the beach. Also, keep in mind that Cocolito Beach is not a supervised beach (as almost all the other beaches in Costa Rica).”

BIrd watching at Nature Café

Nature café is, in my opinion, the best place to have breakfast in Drake Bay. Open from 6 am to 10 am only, this little wood Café offers great views into the jungle from the bar sits. On top of that, you can watch different colorful tropical birds eating fruits on the plates in front of the bar. We had a great time enjoying a vegan burrito (3000 colons) and avocado toast (3500 colons) with nature showing off in front of us! Highly recommended place to be immersed in nature and eat a delicious (vegan) meal. 

Jungle night tour

The night tour is an easy walk through the bed of a river in Drake Bay starting when the sun is down. It is designed for anybody interested in discovering the nocturnal world of the forest and is not afraid of insects and reptiles! No fitness level is required for this tour, so older children can take part in it as well.

Sukia Travel provided us with rubber boots and flashlights. These boots are mainly needed to walk through the river without getting wet (and can protect you from any bites of snakes).

We were guided on a 2-hour-long tour by two guides, patinated by wildlife and nature, who were happy to give information about the different species encountered along the way. During this journey through the night, we were able to see many species of frogs, including the famous red dart poison frog, different types of spiders (like a lot!), and plenty of interesting insects. In addition, we even came across a cute snake and a few lizards. How cool is that?

Damien, who is not at all a fan of spiders, truly enjoyed this tour and was more preoccupied with finding incredible animals than with their fear of spiders. So, I think it is feasible for a person who is afraid of spiders to attend it. Indeed, the thrill of looking under the giant leafs our behind a tree, and finding a small frog or another funny animal, makes all the worries and fears go away.

“I would recommend dressing in long pants and sleeves to avoid any more mosquito bites.”

Sukia Travel

US$ 45

From 6:00 pm tp 8:30 pm

Tamandua Canyoning tour

The canyoning tour is an experience created for people that are looking to explore remote paths through the primary forest of Drake Bay and is designed to bring the extra adventure that is often missing from a normal hike.

The tour is composed of two parts. First, an a-1h30 hike brings you through the Tamandua Biological Reserve to discover and learn about the primary forest flora and fauna. It was impressive to learn about The second part will bring you back to the starting point by canyoning in the river to bring you the adventure part! During the canyoning, you will find yourself floating down with the current, swimming in natural pools, jumping down rocks, and even rappelling down a waterfall.

Our small group was guided by two nature experts from Sukia Travel, that were happy to give information about the different fauna and flora encountered along the way. A third guide, previously working for the red cross as a rescuer, was also accompanying to keep everyone safe. 

Although we did not do the canyoning part, the people of our group were unanimous about the pleasure it was to follow down the river. They said they felt very safe all along and a harness and helmet were provided.

We finished our adventure day all together with a vegan lunch in the middle of the forest, close to the river.

“It is important to wear shoes that are both comfortable to walk 1h30 with, and water friendly for the second part of the tour.”

Sukia Travel

US$ 85

From 7:30 am to 2:00 pm
Lunch included

In conclusion

To summarize, Drake Bay is the perfect place for wildlife and nature lovers! You will get your eyes full of wonders and if you love adventures too, there is also a place for you! Sukia Travel will make your stay unforgettable, so make sure to check their website to see all their tour options! They also offer packages that include transportation, accommodation, and activities. This is a great deal and you don’t need to worry about anything! 

Click here to book your next adventures with Sukia Travel!

I sincerely hope that my Drake Bay travel guide inspires you to add Drake Bay to your list for your next visit to Costa Rica. Most importantly, I wish you will enjoy it as much as we did! In the meantime, check out all my posts related to Costa Rica here to get some more inspo! 

Sending you lots of love,

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