Drake Bay, Costa Rica
The Drake Bay Vibe
Drake Bay (also known as Bahía Drake in Spanish) is not the easiest to get to, which means that it tends to be much more peaceful than other areas of the country.
There are only about 1,000 residents who live here.
Here you can expect relaxed nature vibes backed by thick jungle and tons of wildlife.
The big draw here is the proximity and easy entry to Corcovado National Park, one of the most biologically diverse places in the world.
Map Of Drake Bay
Drake is located on the Osa Peninsula. It is about as far south as you can get in Costa Rica on the Pacific Coast.
Drake Bay at a Glance
Nearest International Airport
Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose
Popular Things to Do
hiking in the national park, surfing, snorkeling
Best Way to Get Around
Rental car, walking in the downtown area
Best Time of Year to Visit
Dry season is from late December until mid-April
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Getting to Drake Bay
Your best option for getting to Drake Bay, Costa Rica is to fly into San Jose International Airport. The full name is Juan Sanatamaria International Airport. And the airport code is SJO.
If you haven’t booked your flight yet, we suggest using Skyscanner. We consistently find the best rates through their website.
From the San Jose airport, it will take you about six hours to drive to Drake. This is a really nice drive because it is a well-maintained road that winds down the coast past several other beach towns.
Just make sure that your GPS directs you along the coastal road by Jaco and Manuel Antonio and not through the mountains. The trip through the mountains is rough!
If you need a good place to pull off for a quick lunch along the way we suggest stopping in Dominical.
It is about halfway into the drive and really easy to pull off into Dominical from the main road. There is a cute fish and chips shop called Pescado Loco that makes some great fish tacos located right in the downtown area. If you would like something different, there are several other restaurant options as well.
We suggest dropping your car in Sierpe and taking the ferry to Drake Bay.
The ferry departs every day at 11:30am and 3:30pm. It departs from Hotel Oleaje Sereno. You can spot it by the big sign which says DONDE JORGE on the roof.
The ferry costs $15 per person in the morning and $20 per person in the afternoon.
The boat ride takes about one hour.
If you rent your car with Adobe, just put in “Uvita” as your drop-off location in your booking. In the comment section of the booking form, state that you need the car picked up in Sierpe. It will be about a $20 charge but an Adobe representative will meet you to take the car.
Alternatively, you can park your rental car in a secure lot for $10 per day. This is probably your best option if you plan to continue your travels after visiting Drake Bay.
We suggest using Adobe for your car rentals because they are the most trustworthy rental car company in this country (in our opinion) and we have a 10% discount for you. You can read more about renting a car here.
It is possible to drive all the way to Drake Bay, but the road is unpaved and there are several river crossings. We definitely do not suggest this during the rainy season. If you opt to do this, you will need a 4×4 vehicle with decent clearance.
Another option is to take a domestic flight from San Jose to the Drake Airport.
This usually isn’t the cheapest option, but it is the fastest and easiest way to get here.
Getting Around in Drake Bay
Drake Bay has a small downtown area with a grocery store and a few restaurants. This area is easily walkable.
However, you probably won’t be spending much time there.
For day tours, you can opt for tours that include transportation from your hotel.
Pro Tip: Rent a car with Adobe through our site and you will get a 10% discount plus other great perks! Score! You can find out more about it here.
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Drake Bay Weather
This area follows a similar weather pattern to the rest of the Osa Peninsula area.
You can expect hot and dry weather from the end of December until April or May. This is Costa Rica’s dry season.
After that, the rainy season begins.
During the rainy season, there are afternoon rainstorms that roll in every day around 2 pm for a few hours.
From September until December the weather becomes unpredictable. You may have days that are complete washouts and other days with perfect weather.
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Drake Bay Hotels
Aguila de Osa Rainforest Lodge – A beautiful eco-hotel with an ocean view. We like this place because it is possible to upgrade to have all your meals included. The food is delicious and the staff is the best.
Sunset Lodge – A nice rustic lodge with a waterfront view. We like this place for its cleanliness and great staff.
Hotel Finca Maresia – The big draw here is the owners. Johnny and his wife will go above and beyond to make sure your stay is perfect. They will pick you up from the ferry and are happy to organize any tours you may be interested in. The hotel is also very nice.
Hotel Jacamar – This place is super cute. The staff is excellent and the rooms are clean and well maintained.
Hotel Casa Gitana Corcovado – This place has simple rooms, but the staff is excellent. We also like this place because it is possible to upgrade your stay to have all meals included.
Hotel Margarita – A nice hotel with a pool. Rooms are simple but clean and have everything you could need.
Drake Homes & Villa Rentals
We always love renting a home or villa for our vacation. This gives you more privacy and allows you the flexibility to cook your own meals.
Note: We try to only ever suggest places with good cancellation policies, but always double check before booking.
Villa de Osa – A rustic two bedroom home that can sleep up to six guests. The property is very nice and has amazing views of the Pacific coast.
Casa Nirvanita – A four bedroom home that can sleep eight guests. We love this place because it is located just steps from the beach. Plus, the design is just so unique with an open air feel and a mix of stone and wood.
Casa Claro del Bosque – A remote and rustic 3 bedroom home. This is a great place to be surrounded by nature.
Things to Do in Drake Bay
Hike in Corcovado for the Day
From Drake Bay it is possible to go with a guide and small group (or take a private tour) of Corcovado National Park from the Sirena park entrance. This must be done with a guide, but it is worth it because they know all the best places to see tons of wildlife.
Spend a Night in Corcovado National Park
If you would like to really soak in the Corcovado experience it is possible to spend one or two nights hiking and exploring the park with a guide.
For more info on Corcovado, check out our full Corcovado Visitors Guide.
Go Scuba Diving or Snorkeling at Caño Island
Cano Island is a biological reserve located off the coast of Drake Bay. It is an amazing protected place to see coral reefs, dolphins, manta rays, and more!
Take an Inner Tubing Trip
Enjoy a half-day trip down Agujitas River in an inner tube with a guide.
Take a Dolphin & Whale Watching Tour
The best time to see whales here is in August or September.
However, it is possible to take a tour throughout the year and you might get lucky and spot whales.
You can usually see dolphins throughout the year.
Go Bird Watching with a Guide
Take an early morning bird-watching tour with an experienced guide. Usually, you will see tanagers, kingfishers, flycatchers, and many other species.
Go on a Night Wildlife Tour
We love night tours to spot wildlife! Some animals in the area are more active in the evening. Grab a headlamp provided by your tour guide and follow them as they point out tons of wildlife.
Drake Bay Restaurants
Kalaluna Bistro – This place is amazing! This is our go-to spot for a nice dinner with a sunset view. All of the food is excellent and beautifully presented.
Drake’s Kitchen – A great place for simple, typical Costa Rican food. The menu is small, but in my mind, that is better. They know what they do well and stick with that.
DinerCraft Bar & Restaurant – This is the restaurant at Hotel Margarita. Everything here is delicious. It is a good spot for fresh fish and seafood.
Drake Bay History
It is believed that Sir Francis Drake used this area as his port in the 16th century. He used this port during raids against the Spanish who were attempting to dominate much of the land nearby.
It is also believed that there is hidden treasure left behind here from Drake. So, keep an eye out. 😉
Packing for Drake
There is no need to bring any nice clothes here. It is a very relaxed town. Your focus should be on beach gear, hiking gear, sun protection, and mosquito protection.
It is very hot here typically so breathable lightweight fabrics which dry quickly will be your best friend.
Check out our Drake Bay Packing List on Amazon for all the essentials.
Drake Bay Travel Tips
Don’t forget that you are deep in the jungle here. The wildlife can sometimes be a bit much here.
In other words, bring tons of bug spray, watch out for creepy crawlers, and always stay on marked paths.
We once ended up with a scorpion in our backpack while staying near here. I luckily saw it before I stuck my hand in my bag, but it really freaked me out.
I don’t know about you, but I can handle all the spiders. However, snakes or scorpions are creatures of my nightmares.