Getting to this remote village, located in a protected hamlet in the Osa Peninsula is part of the vacation adventure.
While most the journey is on modern highway, the last part is on unpaved and potholed roads. Once there, however, you can truly disconnect from the hectic life and immerse yourself in its diverse natural experiences and adventure activities. Marvel at the marine life and mangroves of the lowland rainforest protected here, relax at the beach or partake in one of the numerous adventure activities offered here. The town’s amenities can be accessed on foot as most restaurants, lodges, and tour companies are all located near the main beach Playa Colorada. Bring plenty of cash though because there are no banks or ATM’s located in Drake Bay.
By Car: We recommend a premium 4x4 SUV to explore this remote region. Be aware that during green season, roads may not always be accessible so do check before leaving. Signage in this part of the country is rare and so a GPS system is very useful to easily find your way around.
Getting there from San Jose Take Route 27 (Autopista del Sol) to Orotina, then take Route 3 to Herradura/Jaco. Here is where the picturesque part of the journey starts with views across the Pacific Ocean along Route 34 until reaching Uvita. Turn inland towards Palmar Norte and once reaching this town, follow signs south for Paso Canoas until reaching Puerto Jimenez. The last part of the journey to Drake Bay is through six rivers.
Journey time: 7 hours, 40 minutes; 385 kilometers
Alternatively, once in Sierpe you can park your car in a secure lot near the dock and take one of the taxi boats into Drake Bay.
Taxi Boats leave from the dock in Sierpe. The hour-long trip ($15-$20 per person) travels down the Sierpe River through mangroves and out to sea before it arrives to the coastline of Drake Bay. Most boats pull up directly to the beach and you will have to walk in ankle or knee deep water to arrive at shore. Once you have arrived in Drake Bay it is time to relax and enjoy the amazing diversity of animals. It is not hard to spot wildlife, but Drake Bay affords some spectacular opportunities to really commune with nature and see wildlife you might not see anywhere else.
Corcovado National Park:
You cannot visit this area without exploring this national park of protected rainforest and beaches that is a nature lover’s dream! It is one of the most secluded parks in Costa Rica with no road access around the perimeter of the park.
Corcovado is also noteworthy for its place in the history of conservation efforts. It sits on large reserves of both gold and timber and was utilized by both industries until October 24, 1975 when it was decreed a reserve by then president, Daniel Oduber. Not until 1980 were all types of mining banned, and the park remains a testament to the efforts of conservationists proving that eco-tourism is a viable long-term economic alternative as well as better for our planet.
The number of animal and plant species living here is staggering. There are over 140 mammal species, 400 species of birds, 40 species of freshwater fish, 71 species of reptiles, 46 species of amphibians, and 6,000 species of insects. This is the only park in Costa Rica where you can still see all four native species of monkeys. The Baird’s Tapir, the largest land mammal in Central America, as well as five species of cats; jaguars, pumas, ocelots, jaguarundis, and margays, call this home. In addition to the large lagoon in the center the park, five rivers — The Llorona, Corcovado , Sirena Claro and Madrigal Rivers — flow within its borders.
Access to the park from Drake Bay is on foot, horseback or by boats running to/from both the San Pedrillo and Sirena Ranger Station. Most visitors choose to take the half-day hiking tour led by a Park Ranger, but hardcore naturalists can choose the multi–day hiking option.
Playa San Josecito
Arriving at this beach, which is excellent for snorkeling, is for hiking enthusiasts. To reach its reefs and clear waters a hike of about 2 ½ hours each way is required. The jungle trail can be accessed by following the signs at the south end of town. The trail weaves through other remote beaches and once you reach Rio Claro you will either have to take a rowboat across or wade through.
Caño Island Biological Reserve
This uninhabited 300-acre island was a sacred burial ground and trading post by the pre-Columbian Diquis peoples and is now enjoyed by day-trippers who like the coral colored beaches. The island is known for its crystal-clear waters which are excellent for snorkeling and diving. Dolphins, whales, nurse sharks and manta rays can also be spotted. There are some trails on the island but no proper restroom facilities.
The clear warm waters around Caño Island are home to dolphins, Humpback whales, and Orcas among other wildlife, and this tour is a relaxing way to enjoy their immense beauty.
Small boats of up to four people can head north of Caño Island to troll for tuna, bill fish and dorado.
Tours include a ride along the beach then up through the hills and through a Costa Rican farm to relax and refresh in a clear swimming hole secluded in the jungle.
Whatever you decide to do once you get to Drake Bay; you will leave with unforgettable memories of your immersion in this incredible natural setting.