Get away from it all and experience the natural wonder of Drake Bay. Here you’ll find whale-watching, plenty of exotic wildlife and a number of eco-friendly tours and places to stay.

What to Expect in Drake Bay 

Drake Bay, located on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica, is a remote and enchanting destination known for its incredible biodiversity, pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and exceptional wildlife encounters. Here's an overview of what to expect in Drake Bay:

Natural Beauty: Drake Bay is situated along the Pacific coast and boasts some of the country's most beautiful and unspoiled beaches. The area is surrounded by dense rainforests, making it a haven for nature lovers and adventurers.

Wildlife and Birdwatching: The Osa Peninsula, where Drake Bay is located, is renowned for its remarkable biodiversity. Visitors can spot a wide range of wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, toucans, scarlet macaws, and more. Birdwatchers will be delighted by the abundance of bird species found in the area.

Corcovado National Park: Drake Bay serves as a gateway to Corcovado National Park, one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet. The park features a network of hiking trails that take you through diverse ecosystems, from lowland rainforests to coastal mangroves. The San Pedrillo Ranger Station is located just south of town but is usually accessed by boats leaving from Drake Bay.

Cano Island: Cano Island is located a few miles off the coast of Drake Bay and the Osa Peninsula. It's only inhabitants are the rangers that care for the island and park. Cano Island is considered by many to offer the best scuba diving and snorkeling in Costa Rica. The island also has a rich history as it is a sacred place and burial ground for some indigenous tribes. 

Marine Adventures: Drake Bay is also known for its marine activities. You can go snorkeling or scuba diving to explore vibrant coral reefs, swim with dolphins, and even spot humpback whales during their migration season. The whale migration seasons are December through March and again from the end of July through October.

Hiking and Exploration: There are numerous hiking opportunities in the surrounding rainforests and along the coastline. Guided tours are available for those who want to learn about the local flora and fauna. Just walking around the dirt roads of the town and the outskirts of the village can often lead to great wildlife discoveries.

Sustainability: Many accommodations and tour operators in Drake Bay are dedicated to sustainability and ecotourism. They work to preserve the natural environment and support local communities.

Rustic Ecolodges: Few Drake Bay lodges have air conditioning or televisions. Most are no-frills ecolodges with a focus on sustainability and nature. The lodges can be ideal for the right people or not so great for the wrong people. Do yourself a favor and research the area and lodges before you go. \

Secluded Retreat: Drake Bay is relatively remote and offers a more secluded and off-the-beaten-path experience compared to some of Costa Rica's more touristy destinations. This makes it an ideal location for those seeking tranquility and a deeper connection with nature.

Adventure Tours: Various adventure tours are available, including scuba diving, horseback riding, kayaking, and sportfishing. You can choose from a variety of activities to suit your interests and adrenaline levels.

Local Culture: Drake Bay has a small local community, and interacting with the locals can provide insight into their traditional ways of life and culture.

Stunning Sunsets: Don't miss the breathtaking sunsets over the Pacific Ocean, which are a daily highlight in Drake Bay.

Overall, Drake Bay is a paradise for nature enthusiasts, adventure seekers, and anyone looking to immerse themselves in the beauty and wonder of Costa Rica's pristine wilderness. Whether you're hiking in the rainforest, snorkeling in crystal-clear waters, or simply relaxing on the beach, Drake Bay offers a unique and unforgettable experience.

bairds tapir

Planning a Vacation to Drake Bay

A typical vacation to Drake Bay spans a well-balanced 4 - 5 days, a duration that most lodges in the region tailor their packages to. This timeframe strikes an ideal harmony, ensuring you have ample time to immerse yourself in Drake Bay's wonders without feeling rushed. Less time often proves insufficient to truly savor the beauty of this locale, while extending your stay can not only be costlier but might also divert your attention from the myriad other captivating attractions that beckon throughout Costa Rica.

The Best Things to Do in Drake Bay

Nestled in isolation, Drake Bay is a realm brimming with natural wonders and exciting adventures. The vast expanse is a lush tropical rainforest teeming with captivating wildlife, where the melodious echoes of Howler Monkeys and the vibrant squawks of Scarlett Macaws greet you each morning.

One of the crown jewels here is the accessibility to Corcovado National Park, an absolute must-visit during your stay. Most of the lodges in Drake Bay conveniently include guided tours to this renowned park in their package rates. These journeys typically commence with a boat ride to the San Pedrillo Park Ranger Station, followed by a guided hike coupled with a delectable lunch. For avid wildlife enthusiasts, it's worth noting that while the San Pedrillo tour is excellent, the Sirena Station offers an even more spectacular wildlife observation experience. If your heart is set on witnessing remarkable wildlife, inquire about an upgrade to Sirena, or even better, visit both!

Drake Bay is also a treasure trove for marine enthusiasts. Dolphin and whale watching expeditions are an absolute delight, as this region boasts the world's longest humpback whale season. Throughout the year, various dolphin species and other magnificent whales frequent these waters for breeding and nurturing their young. Many lodges include these exhilarating encounters in their package offerings, offering a thrilling opportunity to get up close and personal with these extraordinary creatures.

For underwater aficionados, Isla del Cano (Cano Island) beckons with its fantastic diving and snorkeling sites. Often bundled with guided island hikes, these combo tours are a popular choice among Drake Bay lodges. Cano Island also harbors a Pre-Columbian Indigenous archaeological site, adding a fascinating historical dimension to your exploration.

Amidst the awe-inspiring wildlife and aquatic wonders, Drake Bay reveals its serene side with some of Costa Rica's most stunning beaches. The pristine Playa San Josecito, with its crescent-shaped, white sandy shores, is like a postcard come to life. During the dry season, the crystal-clear waters invite snorkelers to delve into their depths. Numerous other enchanting beaches grace the area, including those right in front of Drake Bay's charming town, promising a beachcomber's paradise in this remote coastal haven.

SCP Corcovado Wilderness Lodge

The Best Lodges in Drake Bay

Drake Bay, nestled in the heart of Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula, offers an array of lodges that cater to different tastes and budgets. Here are some of the best lodges in Drake Bay, including higher-end and midrange options:

Higher-End Lodges:

Copa de Arbol Beach and Rainforest Resort: Tucked away in the pristine rainforest but still beachfront, Copa de Arbol offers luxurious beachfront bungalows and treehouses. Immerse yourself in nature while enjoying modern comforts.

La Paloma Lodge: Perched on a clifftop with breathtaking ocean views, La Paloma Lodge combines comfort and eco-friendliness. Explore nearby Corcovado National Park and return to excellent amenities.

Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge: Located near Corcovado National Park, Casa Corcovado offers spacious bungalows immersed in the jungle. Enjoy guided tours, gourmet dining, and a secluded beach.

Corcovado Wilderness Lodge: This lodge is an ideal base for nature enthusiasts. Nestled between the rainforest and the sea, it offers wildlife encounters and easy access to hiking trails.

Aguila de Osa Inn: Overlooking Drake Bay, Aguila de Osa provides eco-conscious accommodations. Enjoy guided tours, rainforest adventures, and stunning sunsets from your terrace.

Midrange Lodges:

Drake Bay Wilderness Resort: Offering affordable comfort in a serene setting, this lodge is perfect for eco-travelers. Explore nearby attractions and return to a welcoming atmosphere.

Pirate Cove Hotel: Located on the northern side of Drake Bay, Pirate Cove offers oceanfront rooms with spectacular views. Enjoy activities like snorkeling and hiking.

Each of these lodges provides a unique experience, allowing you to tailor your stay to your preferences and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Drake Bay.

A aerial view of Drake Bay coastline.

Reasons to Visit

  • The Osa Peninsula is one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet
  • The best access to Corcovado National Park
  • The best access to Cano Island
  • Some of the best ecolodges in Costa Rica
  • It is a rocky coastline, but there are some beautiful beaches nearby such as Playa San Josecito
  • Experience the real Costa Rica and local culture
  • Fantastic wildlife experience
  • To get away from it all

Reasons NOT to Visit

  • It is very remote, only accessible by plane or boat
  • Most ecolodges are very rustic.  Even the best places will be uncomfortable to many people
  • Only a couple lodges offer air conditioning
  • Everything is expensive in Drake Bay due to transportation logistics
  • Where there is a lot of wildlife, there is a lot of insects
  • It rains A LOT, even in the dry season.
  • If you are not into serious ecotourism
  • It is very hot

How to Get There


You cannot drive to Drake Bay during the rainy season - at least it is not recommended due to river crossings that are often unpassable during the rainy season. In the dry season, you can take a very rustic ferry across the Sierpe River and drive onwards to Drake Bay, though again, there are river crossings, and heavy rain can make the unpassable. The only options are to fly in or take a boat from Sierpe. The boat ride is through the Sierpe Mangroves and then out to the Pacific Ocean. It can be quite an adventure at the Boca Sierpe river mouth, especially during the rainy season when the waves are larger. Expect a “wet landing” when you reach your lodge as there are no docks. Keep in mind that many Drake Bay Lodges are still inaccessible by car once you reach the village.

By plane:

Daily flights are available to Drake Bay or Palmar by Sansa or charter carriers. You will have to arrange ground transfer, which when added to the flights can be expensive.

By boat:

Daily boat departures are available from Sierpe.  We have transportation options to reach Sierpe and also for the boat.  Please contact us for details.

Weather and Packing List

The South Pacific is a region of vast contrasts in weather. Temperatures remain the same nearly year round with average day time highs in the upper 80s to low 90s and night time lows in the upper 70s. Precipitation varies by month with the months of December through April being the driest.

Visitors should pack a bathing suit, towel, shorts, tee shirts, appropriate shoes, rain gear, sun block, and insect repellent.

Fun Fact: Drake Bay is named after Sir Francis Drake, whom is rumored to have stopped here as well as Cano Island during one of his exploration expeditions.

Attractions In The Area

Corcovado26 km
Cano Island20 km
Marino Ballena144 km
Piedras Blancas75 km
Golfito Wildlife Refuge98 km


Latitude: N 8° 41' 19.41"
Longitude: W 83° 40' 5.11"

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