15 Best Things to Do in Drake Bay Costa Rica & Ultimate Travel Guide

Post summary: Everything you need to know about visiting Drake Bay Costa Rica on the Osa Peninsula, including how to get there, how to visit Corcovado National Park, and essential tips to know before you go.

Last updated: February 28, 2023

As one of the least visited parts of Costa Rica, Drake Bay (Bahía Drake) truly feels less like you’re in the the most popular country in Central America, and more like you’ve stepped into a real life Jungle Book. As one of Costa Rica’s most overlooked hidden gems, Drake Bay is the perfect place to disconnect and get off the tourist trail.

Drake Bay might take some effort to get to, but it is absolutely adding to your Costa Rica itinerary.

Unlike many beach towns in Costa Rica, Drake Bay doesn’t have much of a town center, or strips of shops and restaurants to attract mainstream tourism. And to be honest, this tiny remote town might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But if you love small town vibes, exploring untouched beaches, and watching tiny geckos slither across your walls, then you will fall in love with this wild slice of tropical paradise.

Drake Bay, Costa Rica is also the gateway to Corcovado National Park and the Caño Island Biological Reserve. So if those places are on your Costa Rica bucket list, this guide has everything you need to know.

In this post, I’m sharing the best things to do in Drake Bay Costa Rica, including where to eat, where to stay, and how the heck to get there!

Skip ahead:

Prepare for your trip to Costa Rica

The Perfect 2-Week Costa Rica Itinerary

How To Plan Your Road Trip With Google Maps (Tutorial With Examples)

What to Pack for a Day Hike: Essential Gear and Complete Packing List

Where is Drake Bay, Costa Rica?

Costa Rica Drake Bay MapDrake Bay on a map of Costa Rica

Drake Bay Costa Rica (or Bahia Drake, in Spanish) is located on the remote northern coast of the Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula. This remote place in Costa Rica is a nature lover’s paradise, where dense jungle meets the Pacific Ocean.

Set in a thriving, biologically diverse lowland rainforest, Drake Bay offers a huge variety of pristine beaches, lush jungle, and exotic wildlife.

The main town of Drake Bay (Bahía Drake) is called Agujitas and has a population of about 1,200 people. There are just a handful of restaurants, lodges, and tourism businesses just behind the main beach, called Playa Colorada. A jungle trail connects a few local towns and other lodges peppered along the coast.

Considered to be ‘Costa Rica’s last frontier‘, Drake Bay is literally the last vestige of civilization on the western coast of the Osa Peninsula before the landscape turns to the wild, untouched jungle.

Natural attractions near Drake Bay are Corcovado National Park and Isla de Caño. Corcovado National Park is just south of Drake Bay and covers the rest of the Osa Peninsula (except for Puerto Jimenez on the eastern coast). Corcovado was named one of the most biologically intense place on earth by National Geographic, so it draws tons of attention from nature lovers and scientists from all over the world.

How to get to Drake Bay Costa Rica from San Jose

There are three ways to get to Drake Bay from San Jose Costa Rica.

  • Taking a boat from Sierpe 
  • Flying from San Jose
  • Driving from San Jose

TIP: Due to its remote location, getting to Drake Bay can be an adventure in itself! For this reason, I recommend dedicating 1 full day to arriving and 1 full day to leaving, regardless of how you get there. Travel time to/from Drake Bay can take longer than expected, so its good to have a buffer.

By boat from Sierpe

The best (and most fun!) way to get to Drake Bay is via a 40 minute water taxi ride from the town of Sierpe (pronounced sea-air-pay). The views along the way are spectacular and, depending on the tides, the ride can be quite a thrill.

The boat to Drake Bay leaves from Sierpe, a small riverside town about 1 hour south of Uvita Costa Rica.

The departure point for the boat from Drake Bay to Siepre is at the dock right next to La Perla del Sur restaurant, under the giant sign that says “Donde Jorge”. 

To get to Sierpe by bus, take the bus from Palmar Norte to Sierpe. If you’re driving, just plug in “Sierpe River Ferry” into Waze or Google Maps and it will take you to the right spot.

There are two departure times for the boat from Sierpe to Drake Bay: 

  • 11:30 AM – $15 USD (9,000 colones) per person
  • 3:30 PM – $20 USD. (13,000 colones) per person

The cost of the boat is for a one-way ticket, which you will pay in cash (either dollars or colones) before you get off the boat.

Boats at the dock in Sierpe, going to Drake Bay, Costa RicaThe boats that take you from Sierpe to Drake Bay

La Perla del Sur restaurant next to the boat dock in Sierpe.

Parking in Sierpe

If you have a rental car, you can leave it in Sierpe while you visit Drake Bay.

To park your car, drive to La Perla del Sur restaurant. There will be people outside asking you where you’re going. Tell them you’re going to Drake Bay and that you need a parking pass. They will direct you to the guy handing out parking passes and he’ll tell you where to park.

The price to park is roughly 3,000 colones per day. Don’t lose your parking pass! You will use it to pay for parking when you come back to pick up the car.

The parking lot in Sierpe is relatively secure but it is best not to leave any valuables in your car. Take everything with you and make sure the car is locked.

The boat ride

Taking the boat was honestly one of the highlights of our trip because it makes your time in Drake Bay that much more adventurous. I highly recommend adding it into your Costa Rica road trip itinerary!

The boat ride to Drake Bay is very fun and super beautiful. The boats leave from Sierpe, travel down the winding Sierpe River, jet out into the swell of the Pacific Ocean, and then cruise along the coastline to Drake Bay.

The ride takes about 1 – 1.5 hours, depending on how many stops the boats take to drop people off at various lodges along the way.

I recommend wearing shorts and sandals for the ride because you’ll be dropped off in the water once you reach Drake Bay! Don’t worry – the water only came up to my shins, so it’s very shallow. But you will still get wet and sandy!

Getting from Drake Bay back to Sierpe

There are two public boats that leave Drake Bay to go back to Sierpe:

  • 7:15 AM – $15 USD per person
  • 2:30 PM – $20 USD per person

Similar to the ride there, you will pay in cash on the boat once you get back to Sierpe.

Fly from San Jose (SJO)

The easiest way to get to Drake Bay is by flying from San Jose to Drake Bay Costa Rica with SANSA airlines. SANSA offers several domestic flights a day to Drake Bay from Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in San Jose to Drake Bay Domestic Airport. Flights take roughly 45 minutes and cost about $150 USD each way.

From the airport, you’ll need to arrange public transportation to your lodge.

Note: Travel to Drake Bay is done mostly by boat. If you plan to fly, touch base with your lodge to confirm they offer pick up from the airport prior to booking your flight.

Driving from San Jose to Drake Bay

While it is possible to drive to Drake Bay, it is not recommended due to difficult roads and river crossings.

You can only drive to Drake Bay in the dry season and a proper 4×4 is required. Driving to Drake Bay requires high clearance and all wheel drive because you will cross a total of 4 rivers, with the largest being the Drake River.

I don’t recommend driving there yourself. We considered it for a moment, but after reading about the sketchy bridges, rough roads, and dangerous river crossings, we decided it was way easier (and more fun) to take the boat.

Plus, rental car insurance will not cover water damage to the car from river crossings. So if you do attempt to make the drive, make sure you have enough cash on hand to replace or fix the rental if it gets damaged!

For a detailed account of the drive, check out this post on The Tico Times.

How do you get around Drake Bay?

You will get around Drake Bay mostly by walking and taking boat taxis. Downtown Drake Bay is very small and only a 30 minute walk from most lodges.

You do not need a car in Drake Bay since most local travel is done via boat. Your lodge or Airbnb host can help you arrange taxis and boat transportation for transfers and tours.

Aside from that, most of the fancy and more remote lodges have everything you need on site, so you probably won’t have to leave much. If you’re staying in town, then restaurants, tours, and markets are all within walking distance.

Boat taxis run to and from Drake Bay, Sierpe, Corcovado National Park, Caño Island, and can be arranged upon request.

People getting onto the boat on Playa Colorada in Drake Bay, Costa RicaBoats leaving from Playa Colorada in Drake Bay

15 Best things to do in Drake Bay Costa Rica

1. Visit Corcovado National Park

Visiting Corcovado National Park is THE best thing to do in Drake Bay Costa Rica. In fact, Corcovado is the main reason why most people visit Drake Bay in the first place.

Corcovado National Park is considered one of the most intense and most biologically diverse places on earth. It is entirely wild and unspoiled, filled with virgin beaches, thick jungle, and exotic wildlife around every corner.

You can get to the park with a guided tour from Drake Bay. Most tours leave from Playa Colorada and visit the San Pedrillo Station or Sirena Ranger Station. These are the best single day hikes in Corcovado, where you will see wildlife such as monkeys, tapirs, crocodiles, anteaters, agouti, loads of exotic birds.

The only way to visit Corcovado National Park is with a certified guide and a park permit. Almost all of the lodges in Drake Bay can help you arrange a guided day trip or overnight tour to Corcovado. The tours take care of the permitting process for you.

Only 150 people are allowed to visit Corcovado National Park per day, so it’s best to book in advance if you know this is something you definitely want to do.

Visiting Corcovado was the best experience we had during our time in Costa Rica. It is like walking into a real life Jungle Book. There truly is no place like it and we are already planning to go back for a multi-day trek!

Corcovado National Park beach

Read more: The Complete Guide to Visiting Corcovado National Park [Coming Soon]

2. Snorkel Caño Island

Caño Island Biological Reserve is the best place for snorkeling in Costa Rica and one of the best things to do in Drake Bay Costa Rica. Caño Island is home to a spectacular array of marine life and the bluest waters in the entire country.

You can actually hike on the island, but the marine reserve around the island is the best place to explore the coral reefs in Costa Rica. On any given day, you have the chance to see fauna such as turtles, dolphins, manta rays, eels, grouper, sharks, and whales.

Tours to Caño Island start with a 45 minute boat ride from Drake Bay to the marine reserve and include multiple different snorkel sites. Most guided tours include lunch and a stop at Playa San Josecito, which is the farthest beach along the Drake Bay Public Trail.

3. Go Scuba Diving

Scuba certified? Then you’re going to want to dive Cano Island instead! Excellent underwater visibility and  thriving marine life makes Caño Island one of the best dive sites in the world.

Check out Costa Rica Adventure Divers or Cano Divers to book your dives from Drake Bay.

4. Hike the Drake Bay (Bahia Drake) Public Trail

Hiking the Drake Bay (Bahia Drake) trial is a must-do if you want to immerse yourself in nature. It was one of our favorite hikes we did in Costa Rica because we got to see so much wildlife.

The Drake Bay (Bahia Drake) Public Trail is a 12 mile trail that runs along the coast of the Osa Peninsula, starting from the town of Drake Bay. The trail connects small local towns, beaches, and isolated jungle lodges that are peppered along the coast.

You don’t need a guide for this hike, but we did find it helpful to have the offline AllTrails map to make sure we kept going in the right direction.

Along the way, you’ll pass secluded beaches nestled among outcroppings of volcanic rock. Portions of the trail cut through the Punta Rio Claro National Wildlife Refuge, which protects many of the same flora and fauna as Corcovado National Park, so you’re likely to run into howler monkeys, coatis, agoutis, scarlet macaws, toucans, and more.

I’d rate it the Drake Bay trail as easy-moderate due to the length, especially in the heat of midday. The entire hike takes about 2.5 – 3 hours one way, but you can follow the trail for as long or short as you’d like!

There are plenty of pristine, sandy beaches to choose from, so just pick your favorite and hang out for the day!

Hiking the Drake Bay (Bahia Drake) Public Trail in Costa Rica

5. Dolphin and Whale Watching

Drake Bay is one of the best places in the world to see humpback whales and several dolphin species. While dolphins are present year-round, you can spot humpback whales in Costa Rica almost all year round. The best chance to spot south humpback whales is June – September, while northern humpbacks visit from December – April.

Check out tours offered by Osa Great Adventure, The Divine Dolphin, or Pelagic Boat Tours.

6. Sierpe Mangrove Tour

The Sierpe Mangroves National Wetland is the largest, most biodiverse mangrove reserve in all of Central America. A boat or kayak tour is a wonderful opportunity to see all of the wildlife that call Sierpe River’s delicate ecosystem home.

Tours are typically half a day and leave both early in the morning and later in the afternoon.

7. Take a Float Trip down the Rio Claro

Looking for a laid back adventure in Drake Bay? Add floating down the Rio Claro to your itinerary. Book a guide to take you deep into the jungle, where you get the chance to hike, cliff jump, and swim below a waterfall. Then, you can relax in your float as it takes you down the Rio Claro to Rio Claro Beach.

Scarlet macaws in Costa Rica, Drake Bay

8. Book a Night Tour

The rain forest comes alive at night, which is why booking a night tour is one of the best things to do in Drake Bay Costa Rica. In fact, Drake Bay is one of the best places in all of Costa Rica to take a night tour, because there are so many nocturnal animals to see, including many different snakes, frogs, and insects.

One of the best night tours is with Tracie the Bug Lady. She’s a local biologist with a passion for all things creepy and crawly. Night tours cost $50 per person and depart every night from Drake Bay at 7:30PM. You will hike along different paths in the jungle in search wildlife that thrive in the dark. All you have to do is follow your expert guide while she leads the way and points out the wildlife hiding in jungle.

While we didn’t get a chance to go in Drake Bay, we did get to take a night hike in La Fortuna and we were amazed at how many critters we saw!

If nighttime jungle hikes aren’t your thing,  Pacheco Tours offers bioluminescence tours to see the blue lights of bioluminescent plankton in the bay. You can only see it on a new moon and tours cost $20 USD per person.

Read next: 11 Awesome Things to do in La Fortuna, Costa Rica: The Ultimate Travel Guide

9. Go Deep Sea Fishing

Drake Bay’s thriving marine ecosystems makes it one of the best  fishing spots in Costa Rica. A huge variety of eating and game fish can be caught in the waters just offshore; including wahoo, rooster fish, red snapper, marlin, and yellow-fin tuna.

If you are interested in fishing, Aguila de Osa offers specialized deep sea fishing packages as part of your stay at the lodge.

10. Support Local Environmental Initiatives

Looking to volunteer your time or immerse yourself in local conservation efforts? Here are several programs you can contact to get involved:

11. Go Birdwatching

Birdwatching is one of the most amazing activities you can do in the Drake Bay area because the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica is home to over 400 species of tropical birds.

You can easily spot species such as woodpeckers, hummingbirds, toucans, tanagers, and macaws by just walking around on your own. We spotted a ton of toucans and scarlet macaws right outside of our lodge and on our hike along The Drake Bay Trail. However, if you’re a serious enthusiast who wants a good chance to spot rare species or learn more about them, then taking a bird watching tour is definitely worth your while.

The best time to spot birds is first thing in the morning when they are most active.

12. Horseback riding on the beach

Horses have always been an important part of the culture in Costa Rica and the Osa Peninsula. And in more recent years, they have become a popular way or visitors to explore the rainforest and beaches along the coast.

Horseback riding is one of the best things to do in Drake Bay if you are looking to explore even further off the beaten path. This horseback riding tour leads you along the beach and through the small town of Drake Bay. You will follow your guide through the jungle and along a river to reach a crystal clear 100 foot water fall deep in the rainforest. No prior experience required!

13. Swim in the waterfalls

One of the main draws of Drake Bay is its unspoiled nature. For a unique adventure, you can explore three pristine waterfalls that are accessible from Drake Bay.

San Pedrillo Waterfalls consists of three falls that can be reached via a steep, hour-long hike from the San Pedrillo Ranger Station in Corcovado. At the base of the waterfall there’s a swimming hole that is great for cooling off.

For something longer and more adventurous, try heading to Rio Agujitas Waterfall via a 2.5 hour trip by canoe or kayak. There are plenty of swimming holes and opportunities for spotting wildlife along the way.

Don Petrona Waterfalls is the easiest to visit from town, but you need to go with a guide because the waterfall is on private property and difficult to find.

You won’t find a lot of information about these Drake Bay waterfalls online, but we had friends who visited some and reported that they were spectacular. To visit any of these waterfalls, I recommend asking the hotel to help you arrange transportation and a guide.

14. Rent an ATV

The roads around Drake Bay are more like dirt paths, which are perfect for exploring with an ATV! You can get off road with an ATV and easily explore some of the best beaches further from town.

Tours Mono is one of the only companies that rents ATVs in Drake Bay. The rentals are very affordable and the rental process is super easy and straightforward. You will have to put down a $100 security deposit for the rental, but you get it back once you return the ATV.

15. Enjoy the sunset at Kalaluna Bistro

Kalaluna Bistro is the highest rated restaurant in Drake Bay! And for good reason. Kalaluna Bistro is located owned and serves the best Italian food you’ll find in all of Costa Rica, as well as local seafood and vegan options. The restaurant faces the ocean, making it a prime spot to enjoy dinner and drinks while you watch the sunset.

Kalaluna Bistro is popular with locals and tourists, so booking ahead for dinner is essential. Whether or not they accept dinner reservations seems to depend on the day. So if you get a chance, it’s best to swing by and make your dinner reservation in person.

We were lucky to get a last minute table here just before the dinner rush one night, but we had friends who waited 2 days for their spot. If you want to go for dinner, then definitely show up before 5PM or try to make a reservation in advance because the restaurant books out solid!

To find Kalaluna Bistro, walk all the way down to the end of Playa Colorada and follow the signs for Kalaluna Bistro.

Walking along the beach to Kalaluna Bistro (left); Ceviche and margaritas at Kalaluna (right)

Where to stay: Best Hotels and Eco-Lodges in Drake Bay

Whether you’re looking for an all-inclusive eco-luxury stay or a modest, adventurous escape in nature, there’s a lodge in Drake Bay to fit your preferred experience and budget.

Most of the cheaper lodges in Drake Bay are close to town and are in the form of small boutique hotels and rustic cabins. They typically offer a modest meal service or breakfast packages, but have the advantage of being closer to town for people who want to explore.

The more luxurious hotels and eco-lodges offer all-inclusive packages and are found further outside of town, nestled in the hills among secluded slices of jungle.

Drake Bay Luxury Eco-Lodges

La Paloma Lodge

La Paloma is one of the top eco-lodges in Costa Rica that you’ll see popping up again and again. The lodge sits atop a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and set among lush tropical jungle. It’s located on 14 private acres and just a short walk from the Agujitas River and secluded black sand beaches. Check rates here

Casa Corcovado

Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge is the closest lodge to Corcovado National Park, which makes it a prime location for anyone who wants to mix luxury, relaxation, and adventure.

Copa de Arbol

This all inclusive eco-luxury beachfront resort is located on 70 acres of private jungle. It features attractive cabins constructed from recycled teak, cypress, and Melina wood; as well as an onsite restaurant that serves local seafood and cocktails.

Tranquilo Lodge

Tranquilo Lodge is an all-inclusive adult-only eco-lodge with panoramic views of Drake Bay and Caño Island. The lodge features newly remodeled villas, two infinity pools, and a full medical/cosmetic spa on site. At around $395 per night, this lodge is on the more affordable end, compared to the others on this list.

Moderate Priced Hotels in Drake Bay

Hotel Finca Maresia

Set back into the surrounding jungle, Hotel Finca Maresia features comfortable cabins, open air showers, and patios complete with hammocks. Note that this hotel doesn’t have an ocean view and the nearest restaurant is a 30 minute walk away, so the secluded location can be a pro or con, depending on what you’re looking for.

Las Caletas Lodge

Accessible only by boat, Las Caletas Lodge is a small scale hotel, set between the jungle and a private beach. They offer bungalow style rooms, a honeymoon suite atop a hill, and modest tent cabins. This moderately priced Drake Bay lodge stands out because there is a full service restaurant on site, with meals included in the price of your stay.

Drake Bay Wilderness Resort

This rustic family owned and operated lodge was one of the first hotels in Drake Bay. Drake Bay Wilderness Resort features a restaurant that serves American/Costa Rica style dishes, a saltwater pool, and kayaks to explore the nearby rivers. Unlike most hotels in Drake Bay, the grounds here are relatively flat, making it easily accessible for everyone.

Casa Horizontes Corcovado

Casa Horizontes Corcovado is another small, family-run guest house located in Drake Bay, Costa Rica. Rooms offered range from small bungalows in the jungle to private cabins with ocean views. All rooms have AC, mosquito nets, and hot water.

Las Cotingas

Las Cotingas sits on a hill with unobstructed views of Drake Bay. We stayed here for 3 nights and loved the convenient location, the friendly staff, and relaxing in the hammock on the private balcony. The rooms are very basic, but they have AC and hot water, which are luxuries in many parts of Costa Rica. Overall, I recommend this place!

The balcony and view of scarlet macaws at sunset from Las Cotingas Lodge

Budget Friendly Hotels

Casa Paqueña

Casa Pequeña is a rural hotel, about 20 minutes from the nearest town. It’s a great hotel for adventure seekers looking for a more authentic and remote experience, without breaking the bank. It offers on-site chocolate making, and a common-use kitchen. All rooms have a balcony and patio overlooking the mountains.

Sunset Lodge

Sunset Lodge offers modest, rustic cabins set on a high point overlooking Drake Bay. Cabins have wifi, AC, and private balconies with ocean views.

Cabinas El Mirador Lodge

Accessible only by boat, El Mirador Lodge is another excellent option for budget-conscious travelers looking to explore the Osa Peninsula. The lodge offers very basic, rustic cabins that overlook Drake Bay and are a short walk to the beach. Some rooms also do not have electricity at night, so if you book this lodge, then don’t forget your headlamp!

Cabinas Pura Vida Bed & Breakfast

Cabinas Pura Vida are located only a short distance from Agujitas Beach. They offer breakfast service (included), AC, a community kitchen, and Wifi.

Drake Bay Hostels

Life for Life Hostel

Support local conservation efforts with a stay at Life for Life Hostel. This rustic jungle-beach hostel is located close to the beautiful San Josecito Beach, making this the perfect place to disconnect from the world – on a budget!

Life for Life Hostel also supports the Costa Rica Sea Turtle Conservation Project and gives visitors a chance to volunteer for the cause. Read more about their conservation efforts here!

Corcovado Foundation BioHostel & Environmental Center (Drake Bay Backpackers)

With rooms starting at $15 per night, this non-profit hostel is perfect for eco-conscious travelers on a shoe string budget and offers an excellent chance to support local environmental initiatives.

Corcovado Foundation BioHostel (formerly Drake Bay Backpackers) is run by The Corcovado Foundation, and all income is invested back into environmental programs. Shared and private rooms are available. Click here to read about local volunteer opportunities.

Best Restaurants in Drake Bay

There are several great restaurants and places to eat in Drake Bay Costa Rica. More secluded lodges will likely have meals included in your stay. But if you book a lodge in town or just want to venture out for something different, there are a few local restaurants to choose from.

Kalaluna Bistro

Kalaluna Bistro is the highest rated restaurant in Drake Bay! And for good reason. Kalaluna Bistro serves the best Italian food you’ll find in all of Costa Rica, as well as local seafood and vegan options. The restaurant faces the ocean, making it a prime spot for dinner at sunset.

We were lucky to get a last minute table here just before the dinner rush one night, but we had friends who waited 2 days for their spot. If you want to go for dinner, then definitely show up early or try to make a reservation in advance because the restaurant books out solid!

El Tipico

The best place in Drake Bay for local food is El Tipico Restaurant. The restaurant is family owned and operated, offering large portions of fresh and locally priced dishes. Try the fish Casado, mango chicken, or seafood rice!

Delicias Bahia Drake

Conveniently located family run restaurant with a roof top terrace. They specialize in reasonably priced local dishes, catch of the day, and quite possibly the best Casado you’ll have during your time in Costa Rica!

Best time to visit Drake Bay

Like all of Costa Rica, the best time to go to Drake Bay is in the dry season.

The dry season in Costa Rica is from mid-December to April. At this time, the weather is the warmest and driest. However, the dry season is more expensive and more touristy. Luckily Drake Bay is pretty remote, so it has very few tourists compared to most other parts of Costa Rica, so things don’t get overly crowded. But it definitely is busier and prices for lodging are a lot higher.

The rainy season is May-August. This is also known as the green season because heavy rain showers are common and everything is extra lush and green. This is the best time to visit if you’re on a shoestring budget, as lodging is much cheaper and you can book some tours at a discounted rate.

Avoid visiting Drake Bay Costa Rica in September and October, as these are the rainiest months of the year and most lodges are closed.

Essential tips for Drake Bay Costa Rica

  • BOOK EARLY. Especially during peak season for lodging and tours to Corcovado National Park.
  • Bring cash! There are no ATMs, banks, or places to exchange/withdraw money in Drake Bay. You will need to pay cash in Drake Bay for things like tours, boat rides, and even some lodging. You can use a credit card at some places in Drake Bay, but they charge you a 13% fee. To be prepared, withdraw more cash than you think you will need (in USD or colones) before you go. The last ATM is in the town of Palmar Norte, about 15 minutes north of Sierpe.
  • Plan to stay a minimum of 4 days/3 nights. And don’t forget to leave a buffer day before your flight home if Drake Bay is your last stop.
  • Pack light. Unless you’re staying at a full service lodge, you might have to carry your luggage along the beach or up a lot of stairs.
  • Bring light, comfortable clothing. It is hot and so incredibly humid in Drake Bay. Leave denim jeans at home and opt for airy, breathable clothing instead.
  • Don’t forget your reef safe sunscreen! Click here for a list of my favorites.
  • Bring a dry bag to protect your camera and other valuables.
  • Water shoes are are best for boat travel. Flip flops will float away when you land in the water. I wore Tevas and they worked great

Playa Colorada at sunrise


Costa Rica Drake Bay FAQs

How many days do you need in Drake Bay?

The ideal number of days in Drake Bay is a minimum of 3 nights/4 days. You can get a pretty good taste for the area in that time. Anything less than that and it’s not really worth the effort to get there. Most hotels and resorts in the area know this and require a 3 night minimum stays or have pre-built 3-4 day itinerary packages.

Can you drink the water in Drake Bay?

No. The water is not safe to drink in Drake Bay. While it is safe to drink the water in many parts of Costa Rica, the tap water in Drake Bay is not regulated or safe to drink.

Is Drake Bay touristy?

Drake Bay is not very touristy. Drake Bay is considered an off the beaten path destination in Costa Rica because it is remote and mostly undeveloped. While Drake Bay depends on eco-tourism, you will not get the feeling of it being crowded – even in the high season.

Can you swim in Drake Bay? 

The main beach in the town of Drake Bay, Playa Colorada, is not a good area for swimming. The water is pretty dark and murky, and full of silt. However, there are many gorgeous beaches along that the Drake Bay Public Trail, such as Playa Cocolito, Playa Caletas, and Playa San Josecito that are perfect for swimming and snorkeling! However, always be careful of rip tides and rough waters.

What is Drake Bay known for?

Historically, Drake Bay used to be a port used by a pirate named Sir Francis Drake to hide his treasures back in the 16th century. Today, Drake Bay is known as the gateway to Corcovado National Park, one of the most biologically intense places on Earth.

Drake bay vs. Puerto Jimenez?

This was a dilemma we had ourselves! In the end, we chose Drake Bay for its close proximity/easy access to Corcovado National Park and Caño Island.

On the flip side, Puerto Jimenez is a little bit easier to access since you can drive yourself there. If being able to drive yourself is important to you, Puerto Jimenez might be the better choice for you. However, it is not easy to access Corcovado, so most people who visit Puerto Jimenez just stay at a lodge and enjoy the wildlife there.


And there you have it! Everything you need to know for your visit to Drake Bay, Costa Rica! And, of course, always remember to leave these wild places better than you found them by following the Principles of Leave No Trace, so that we can keep them healthy and beautiful for generations to come.

Happy Adventuring!

Did you find this guide helpful in planning your trip to Drake Bay in Costa Rica? Let me know in the comments! I love to hear from you!

More Costa Rica Travel Inspiration

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The Ultimate Guide to Drake Bay, Costa Rica


  1. […] In search of one thing much more distinctive and adventurous? Go to Corcovado Nationwide Park and snorkel Caño Island, two of essentially the most magnificent, biodiverse, and rugged locations in all of Costa Rica. You may go to each locations from Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula. […]

  2. Timothy McIntyre January 28, 2023 at 4:14 pm - Reply

    More on fishing !.??

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