When it comes to remote, not overly touristic destinations in Costa Rica, Drake Bay climbs to the top of the list. As a beautiful lush bay in the Osa Peninsula, Drake Bay offers a magical experience to all visitors.
If you’re seeking some peace and quiet for your Costa Rica trip, somewhere where birds are your best friends and the ocean waves tell you good night, Drake Bay is where you should go. It’s surrounded by untouched forests that attracts nature lovers from every corner of the planet and is an excellent place to experience the Osa Peninsula and Corcovado National Park.
Here’s all you need to know about visiting the enchanting Drake Bay.
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Drake Bay Map
Drake Bay is 370 kilometers (230 miles) from San Jose Airport.
How to get to Drake Bay
Drake Bay is located in the northwest side of the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica. You can get to Drake Bay by plane, car, bus or boat.
This is the easiest and fastest but also the most expensive way to get to Drake Bay. You can take a local flight on Skyway (get our 10% discount) to the local airport. This flight has amazing views of the Osa Peninsula and the coast. The 1 hour flight from San Jose airport costs around $110 one way depending on the time of year.
This is a convenient and fun way to travel. There is a taxi boat leaving from La Perla Restaurant in Sierpe that leaves twice a day: 11:30 AM and 4 PM. It costs $15 for 11:30 AM boat and $20 for the 4 PM boat per person. It takes around 1 hour and you get gorgeous views of the Sierpe mangrove and the coast. Read our complete guide to taking the boat from Sierpe to Drake Bay.
You can drive to the Sierpe dock, park your car or return it to the rental office and take the boat. Our partner Adobe Rent a Car picks up cars at Sierpe dock (Las Vegas restaurant).
Though the cheapest, this isn’t the most efficient method of transportation. From San Jose, you can take a bus to Palmar Norte, then to Sierpe and then take the boat. If you want to take the bus all the way to Drake Bay, you can take a bus from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez, get off at La Palma (Osa) and grab the local collective bus to Drake Bay at 4:45 PM (if it comes).
You absolutely have to have a 4X4 for this route. It is not advised to drive during rainy because you have to cross 3 rivers which can flood when it rains. They’re supposed to fix the road (and was supposed to be done in 2019) but like how things are done in Costa Rica, it was not finished.
Driving directions: Drive on Ruta 34 past Dominical and Uvita and continue on the road to Puerto Jimenez. You’ll see a turn for Drake Bay on the right (Rincon de Osa). Continue on this road past the Rancho Quemado village and you’ll come upon Drake Bay.
If you’re renting a car, get our Costa Rica car rental discount and extra benefits!
Facts About the Bay
Sir Francis Drake is believed to have used this bay as a port (hence the name) on one of his voyages. Rumor has it that he even hid one of his treasures in the area in the late 16th century! The main town in the Bay is Agujitas with about 1,000 residents.
What to Know About Visiting Drake Bay
This small town has a handful of restaurants and hotels. Drake Bay is growing slowly with a couple of new hotels and businesses every year.
However, there are no ATMs or banks in the bay so make sure you bring plenty of cash, as some businesses may not take credit cards.
Drake Bay’s remoteness and lush surroundings make this the perfect escape for those who aren’t interested in lots of crowds. It’s also ideal for a short getaway for a refresher and to clear your mind.
Keep that in mind as not all travelers are seeking that for their Costa Rica vacation. But if you come with an open mind, you will have an amazing time as what makes Drake Bay special is the pristine nature and freedom of wildlife. Embrace that and your time in the Bay will leave ever lasting memories for the rest of your life.
Drake Bay Hotels
Most of the lodging options are small boutique hotels.
This hotel up in the hills offers some of the best views of the bay from the infinity pool. They have modern cabins, AC and Internet. It’s an all-inclusive hotel and prices include 3 meals a day and transportation. Read our review of Tranquilo Lodge here. Prices start at $120 per person per night
We also made a video of Tranquilo Lodge so you can see what the hotel and Drake Bay is like.
Copa de Arbol
This eco-luxury resort is on 70 acres of rainforest. Their cabinas have AC and are just steps away from the beach. It’s an all-inclusive hotel with a spa. Prices start at $240. Click here for the latest rates at Copa de Arbol Beach & Rainforest Resort
They offer mid-range lodging right on the beach. Pirate Cove has 10 cabins, deluxe cabins, bungalows and 3 rooms with AC and an ocean view pool. You can also take their PADI diving courses. Prices start at $90. Click here for the latest rates at Pirate Cove
Drake Bay Backpackers
This non profit hostel is in El Progreso, great for those on a budget. The hostel has a lounge with hammocks, a communal kitchen, nature trails, a volleyball court and a library. They have dorms and private rooms. A bed in a dorm starts at $13 per person. Click here for the latest rates at Drake Bay Backpackers.
The more expensive hotels are generally located outside of town in the hills and offer meals. There are taxis they can call to get you to town when you want to. The cheaper places are closer to town and usually include breakfast.
Drake Bay Restaurants
If you’re not staying a hotel that includes meals, there are a few good restaurants in and around town.
- Los Coquitos: It’s a bit past the high school on the main road so it may be easy to miss. They serve traditional Costa Rican plus seafood.
- Restaurante Delicias: Best spot for vegetarians. They offer a variety of vegetarian food, beyond the typical veggie casado. It’s in the center of town so it’s in a convenient location.
- Claudio’s Grill: Claudio’s Grill has probably the best meat in town. The chef makes his own sauce and they serve prime cuts of meat. Definitely try the coconut mushroom one.
- Drake’s Kitchen: Enjoy the catch of the day with a side of patacones and a blended fruit smoothie at Drake’s Kitchen. They have local food and seafood.
Things to do in Drake Bay
Once you’ve had enough lounging on the beach or by the pool, there are plenty of activities and adventures in and around Drake Bay to add some excitement to your trip.
Cano Island Snorkeling
If you have your diving certification, go scuba diving at Cano Island, about a 45 minute boat ride from the Bay. If not, you can go snorkeling. This is considered the 2nd best place in Costa Rica to see abundant marine life with turtles, rays, dolphins and a huge variety of colorful tropical fish to be seen. Read about our experience snorkeling at Cano Island.
Whale and dolphin watching
Drake Bay is one of the best spots to see humpback whales in not just Costa Rica, but the world. Both Northern and Southern humpback whales pass by the bay so you have an excellent chance of seeing these magnificent mammals out at sea. Divine Dolphin is a great company to go with to see dolphins and whales in Drake Bay.
Corcovado National Park
Don’t miss your chance to visit Corcovado National Park, one of the most biologically diverse places on earth when in Drake Bay. Take a day trip to San Pedrillo Station or Sirena Station to see wildlife such as tapirs, four different monkeys, birds and more.
Sirena station in Corcovado National Park is close to Drake Bay and offers the best opportunities to see mammals. I finally got to see my first tapir on this day hike!
Go deep sea fishing from Drake Bay to catch fish like marlin, sailfish, and wahoo.
You can hike to Rio Claro on your own or you can take a tour to visit this beautiful clear river. Tours vary from horseback riding, swimming in the river, waterfalls and snorkeling.
The world is a different place when night falls and you can see wildlife that thrives at night on a tour. See spiders and insects with Tracie the bug lady or other animals on different night tours.
Venture into one of the biggest mangroves in Central America by boat or kayak. You’ll see wildlife such as caimans, monkeys, snakes and a variety of birds.
Feel free to contact us for recommendations if you are interested in doing any of these tours!
Read more about activities in the South Pacific here!
Things to do in Uvita and Dominical: Our favorite things to do in the Costa Ballena
Matapalo wildlife watching and hike: Wildlife watching hike in the Osa Peninsula, down by Matapalo. Also visited King Louis waterfall.
Dominical: Small hippie surfing beach town 40 minutes south of Manuel Antonio
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