Drake Bay, Costa Rica: A Remote Beach and Nature Paradise

Drake Bay is a relaxed remote oceanfront destination filled with wildlife and dense jungles.

drake bay beach

The Drake Bay Costa Rica Vibes

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.

Background Info About Drake Bay Costa Rica

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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Thomas (the German) and Sarah (the US-er).

We met in Virginia, moved to Germany, and have called sunny Costa Rica home since 2016.

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drake bay beach sunset
birds drake bay
drake bay beach

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. Hence the name “Drake Bay.”

It is also believed that there is a hidden treasure left behind here from Drake. So, keep an eye out. 😉 

osa peninsula map of costa rica

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. 

Flights to Costa Rica

Montezuma is great because it is easily accessible from the Liberia airport and the San Jose airport. 

More and more airlines are starting service to Liberia so check out the rates. It may be worth it for you.

If you haven’t booked your flight yet, we suggest using Skyscanner. We consistently find the best rates through their website.

Driving to Drake Bay

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. 

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Drake Bay, Costa Rica: A Remote Beach and Nature Paradise

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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.

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Domestic Flights to Drake Bay

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.

 

Transportation In Drake Bay

Drake Bay has a small downtown area with a grocery store and a few restaurants. This area is easily walkable. 

For day tours, you can opt for tours that include transportation from your hotel. 

Drake Bay Costa Rica 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.

Things to Do in Drake Bay Costa Rica

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.

⤷ Arrange Your Corcovado Day Tour

Spend a Night (or Two) 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.

⤷ Arrange Your One-Night Corcovado Experience

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!

⤷ Arrange Your Cano Island Snorkel Tour 

Take an Inner Tubing Trip

Enjoy a half-day trip down the Agujitas River in an inner tube with a guide.

⤷  Arrange Your Tubing Adventure

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.

⤷  Book Your Bird-Watching Experience

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.

⤷ Arrange Your Wildlife Night Tour

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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 & RestaurantThis is the restaurant at Hotel Margarita. Everything here is delicious. It is a good spot for fresh fish and seafood. 

drake bay coastal view
drake bay palm trees
drake bay road

Drake Bay Costa Rica Hotels

High-End Hotels

Aguila de Osa Rainforest LodgeA 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. 

Mid-Range Hotels

Sunset Lodge – A nice rustic lodge with a waterfront view. We like this place for its cleanliness and great staff. 

Hotel Finca MaresiaThe 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. 

Budget Hotels

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 bay wildlife
Drake Bay, Costa Rica: A Remote Beach and Nature Paradise

Airbnb and VRBO in Drake Bay

We always love renting a home or villa for our vacation in Costa Rica. 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. 

drake bay coastal view
drake bay
drake bay coastal view

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. 

Packing for Drake Bay Costa Rica

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. 

Articles About Drake Bay Costa Rica

You Might Also Like Visiting

Puerto Jimenez: A beach front town on Golfo Dulce that serves as a gateway to Corcovado National Park

Ojochal: A relaxed beachfront village that is home to many expats and eco-boutique hotels

Uvita: Home to Marino Ballena National Park and a popular place for whale watching tours

….if none of those appeal to you, check out our Guide to the Osa Peninsula for more ideas of places to visit in this area.