Nestled in the northwest corner of the intensely biodiverse Osa Peninsula, Drake Bay is a fantastic destination for those who want to experience the wild jungles and beaches of the South Pacific. Getting to this remote paradise requires a journey of either air or land and sea, creating an exciting journey for those seeking an adventurous experience.
In this guide, we’ll explore the various routes and transportation options to get to Drake Bay so you can easily plan your stay. Whether you’re arriving from the capital city of San Jose or another part of Costa Rica, a trip to Drake Bay promises an immersive and rewarding travel experience.
How to Get to Drake Bay
There are three main ways to get to Drake Bay: by boat from Sierpe, on a local flight and driving to Drake Bay. Here is our guide to each way to get to Drake Bay.
Boat from Sierpe
Taking the boat from Sierpe to Drake Bay is the most popular transportation option. This is because the boat is a fun ride, providing wonderful views of the Sierpe Mangrove and Osa Peninsula coastlines along the way. Here is a quick overview of how it works. For more details, check our in-depth guide to taking the boat from Sierpe to Drake Bay.
How to Take the Sierpe Boat to Drake Bay
Sierpe is a small town in the Sierpe Mangroves and home to the boat launch to Drake Bay. There are two public boats to Drake Bay. One at 1130 AM and one at 430 PM. The boat ride is $20 USD per person per way. Purchase boat tickets at Donde Jorge Bar, Restuarante y Embarcadero.
The boat ride takes around 1.5 hours and they will drop you off at the main beach in Agujitas de Drake Bay or at your hotel if you’re staying outside Drake Bay. The public boat back from Drake Bay to Sierpe is at 7 AM and 230 PM.
How to Get to Sierpe
From San Jose, there is a bus to Sierpe (830 AM with Empresa Tracopa from Calle 5, Ave 18-20) everyday, takes around 5 hours. Then, there are public buses from Palmar Norte to Sierpe everyday at 4:30, 7, 9:30, 11, 13:30, 14:30 and 17:00 which takes about 40 minutes. The drive from San Jose International Airport (Juan Santamaria International Airport) to Sierpe is around 5 hours so we do not recommend to do this drive the day you land – you probably won’t make the boat anyways. Stay somewhere along the way like Manuel Antonio and then go to Sierpe the next day.
We recommend to get there at least 1-2 hours before the public boat to purchase tickets as they are on a first come, first serve basis.
If you’re taking the boat from Sierpe to Drake Bay, it’s best to leave Drake Bay as your final destination, especially if you’re renting a car. You can have your car rental agency pick up your car in Sierpe and then you can fly from Drake Bay to SJO International Airport the day of your flight or day before your flight home. Check out our 1 month Costa Rica itinerary with Drake Bay as the last destination.
If you want to visit Drake Bay first, then you can book a private shuttle to Sierpe, grab the boat to Drake Bay, take the boat back to Sierpe and have your car rental agency deliver your car to Sierpe. Or book a private shuttle to your next destination if you do not want to drive.
Get our Costa Rica car rental discount here and we will help you arrange your car pick up in Sierpe!
Flying to Drake Bay on a Local Flight
This is the easiest way to get to Drake Bay: on a local flight. However, this is not cheap. Since there aren’t many domestic airlines in Costa Rica, local flights are $$$. A 50 minute direct flight from San Jose to Drake Bay is approximately $170 USD per way per person with limited luggage restrictions.
It’s not cheap but it’s fast and the views are gorgeous! When we did this flight, we stopped in Quepos and Puerto Jimenez along the way. Although the two stops turned it into a 1.5 hour flight, we got to see all of the Osa Peninsula from the air.
During high season, there are usually around 5 flights a day from San Jose to Drake Bay. If you want to get to Drake Bay the day you land in Costa Rica, you can check to see if any of the schedules match up with your arrival time. Give yourself at least a 3 hour gap between landing time and the Drake Bay departure time since you need to go through immigration and customs and be there 1 hour before your domestic flight departure time. The domestic terminal is a 5 minute walk from the international airport.
Driving to Drake Bay
The last option, driving to Drake Bay is the best option for those who plan to visit other destinations in the Osa Peninsula.
For example, you rented a car from San Jose International Airport and are road tripping all the way down and around the Osa Peninsula. Before Drake Bay, you stayed some nights in the Costa Ballena like Dominical, Uvita, Ojochal or in Palmar Sur/Norte and then you drive to Drake Bay. After your time in Drake Bay, you continue driving down south to Golfito, Pavones, Puerto Jimenez or Matapalo.
If this is you, then you must rent a 4×4 due to the road conditions in the Osa Peninsula, including the road to Drake Bay. From Sierpe, the drive to Drake Bay going around the Osa Peninsula can take around 3 hours depending on how fast you drive.
This is the best route to take for Drake Bay: Route 2, Route 245, and then the inside road via Rincon through Rancho Quemado to Agujitas de Drake Bay.
Here is our detailed guide to driving to Drake Bay – best route to take to avoid river crossings, a map, photos, a video and much more! Don’t forget our Costa Rica car rental discount to help you save some money and get some freebies.
Why Visit Drake Bay?
Drake Bay is part of the Osa Peninsula, recognized as one of the most biodiverse places in the world. The Osa Peninsula is home to Corcovado National Park, one of Costa Rica’s richest natural treasures and a top tourist attraction to see wildlife.
In Drake Bay, visitors can go fishing, scuba diving or snorkeling at Caño Island Biological Reserve, go humpback whale and dolphin watching, hike Corcovado National Park, visit beautiful remote beaches like Playa San Josecito, kayak in bio-luminescent waters, see wildlife like Scarlet Macaws, toucans, monkeys, tapirs and sloths, explore the rainforest at night on a night walk and enjoy incredible jungle and ocean views.
Drake Bay is still a remote, somewhat off the beaten path destination that is ideal for nature and wildlife lovers. There aren’t a ton of accommodation options but it is growing, with many new vacation rentals popping up in and around town.
Drake Bay Hotels with Transportation Included
Some of the luxury hotels in Drake Bay offer packages with transportation included such as Aguila de Osa Rainforest and Marine Lodge. We stayed there for two nights, taking their own private boat from Sierpe directly to the hotel. If you’re interested in booking Aguila de Osa, contact us for availability and get our Mytanfeet rates!
Costa Rica Vacation Checklist
- First time to Costa Rica? Read our First Time in Costa Rica guide.
- Not sure how to move around Costa Rica? Read our How to Get Around Costa Rica guide to find the best transportation method for you.
- Click the link to get our detailed Costa Rica Packing List so you know what essential items to bring.
- Do not forget to purchase Travel Insurance for your trip to Costa Rica.
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- Save money with Mytanfeet Deals for tours and hotels. Save more money with our Costa Rica Car Rental Discount.