Bahia Drake or Drake Bay is considered by many to be the nicest destination on the Osa Peninsula. This area is a tropical paradise for adventurers and explorers, though not exactly suited for those seeking pampering or luxurious accommodations. The town and surroundings have little infrastructure outside of the small airstrip and well-worn dirt roads. Prices for just about everything here are generally higher than the rest of the country as it all has to be shipped in.
Free Vacation Planning
Although this area remains isolated, there is no shortage of things to do and see. Most of the area is tropical rainforest and there is plenty of wildlife. Nearly every morning you will hear the bellows of Howler Monkeys and the squawking of Scarlett Macaws.
Corcovado National Park is easily accessible from Drake Bay. During your stay, a visit to the famous park is a must. Most Drake Bay lodges offer tours to the park in their package rates. These tours generally require a boat ride to the San Pedrillo Park Ranger Station entrance and include a guided hike with lunch. Keep in mind that most people visiting Bahia Drake go on this tour, so wildlife observation is not as good as the Sirena Station, where it is spectacular. You may want to ask if an upgrade is available to Sirena if wildlife observation is at the top of your list.
Dolphin and whale watching is fantastic off the coasts of Drake Bay. This area has the longest humpback whale season in the world! Various species of dolphins and other whale species also utilize this area as breeding and rearing grounds nearly year round. Many of the lodges also offer this as an option with package rates. This is a great opportunity to experience the excitement of getting up close to these extraordinary animals.
Isla del Cano (Cano Island) is a great place for diving and snorkeling. Again, this is a popular tour option included in many of the rates for Drake Bay lodges. This is usually a combo tour which also includes a guided hike on the island, which is home to a Pre-Columbian Indigenous archaeological site.
Amazing wildlife aside, Drake Bay is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. Playa San Josecito is a white sand, crescent shaped beach that could be described as postcard perfect. Visitors can snorkel the crystal clear waters during dry season months. There are plenty of other great beaches in the area as well, including directly in front of the town of Drake Bay.
Planning a vacation to Drake Bay
The most common duration of a vacation to Drake Bay is 4 days, 3 nights. Most of the lodges in the area recognize this and sell packages that way. Less time is simply not enough and more time can not only be expensive, but will take away from the rest of your vacation and other attractions in Costa Rica.
There are quite a few Drake Bay lodges to choose from, all of which are ecolodges. Some of our favorite mid-range lodges include Aguila de Osa Lodge, Pirate Cove Lodge, and Drake Bay Wilderness Resort. Our favorite higher end options include Copa de Arbol Beach and Rainforest Resort and La Paloma Lodge. If you are on a budget, Pirate Cove is still a good option as is Jinetes de Osa Lodge and Corcovado Adventures Tent Camp.
When planning your Drake Bay tours, you simply cannot miss a trip to Corcovado National Park. While the San Pedrillo Station is a great option, upgrade to the Sirena Station if you have the money to splurge. Most people also visit Cano Island for snorkeling or diving. It is well worth the trip and you often have the added value of seeing dolphins, whales or sea turtles.
You cannot drive to Drake Bay. 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. Expect a “wet landing” when you reach your lodge as there are no docks.
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
Daily flights are available to Drake Bay or Palmar by Sansa and Nature Air. You will have to arrange ground transfer, which when added to the flights can be expensive.
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.