Situated along the western shores of the Osa Peninsula and accessible by boat or small airstrip, Drake Bay is the jumping off point to two main attractions on the peninsula: Corcovado National Park & Caño Island Biological Reserve. Both will offer the adventurous traveler a truly authentic nature experience, but that is not all that Drake Bay has to offer. From Drake Bay, visitors have access to incredible free hikes such as the 5 hour long coastal trek from Drake Bay beach to Jungla del Jaguar Lodge near the border of Corcovado. Drake Bay offers many opportunities to sea kayak, paddle board, get a private horseback riding tour, or even get surf lessons at the untouched beach near Drake Bay Backpackers.
One reason Drake Bay is so special is that it is difficult to access and gives you that feeling of being away from it all. If you are on a budget, you should be aware that transportation to Drake Bay will cost more than any other location in Costa Rica as it is not accessible by public bus.
Although during certain times of the year it is possible to drive to Drake Bay, it is not recommended because of rough roads and river crossings that wouldn’t be covered by your rental car agreement. Once you arrive, you’ll see that a car won’t be very useful anyway since almost everything is accessible by walking on the beach, through the jungle, or by boat.
The best options for getting to Drake Bay are to take a domestic flight or a boat taxi from Sierpe. Both are great experiences that we have really enjoyed ourselves.
Domestic flights take about 45 minutes from San Jose. Flights from other destinations in Costa Rica are available but usually connect through the capital. These are smaller, propeller-run planes that hold between 10-20 passengers. They’re really fun as long as you aren’t afraid of heights, and you’ll have outstanding views of the mountains and jungle because they fly at a lower altitude. Prices vary by season, how much luggage you bring, and when you book tickets, but can be as low as $69 or as high as $200 one-way. Check prices with Skyway or Sansa.
Arriving via boat taxi is also a great experience. These boats are about 20 feet long and are covered for shade. They leave from the small riverside town of Sierpe and bring you down the beautiful Sierpe River, through mangroves, out to the ocean, and along the coastline to Drake Bay.
The trip takes about an hour and costs $15-20 per person. Boat taxis leave the docks in Sierpe twice daily, at 11:30 a.m. ($15) and 3:30 p.m. ($20). Typically your lodge in Drake will help with the arrangements, but most people leave from either the Las Vegas or La Perla del Sur restaurants. Get there early to find your boat captain and enjoy the river view because it is beautiful. For your return to Sierpe, boats leave Drake Bay at 7:30 a.m. ($15) and 2:30 p.m. ($20).
Tip: If you’re taking a boat taxi, be prepared for a beach landing in Drake Bay. There are a couple of docks in town, but for the most part, boats pull right up on the sand near your lodge and you will need to wade through ankle- or sometimes knee-deep water to get to shore. Make sure to wear sandals or other footwear that can be easily taken off or get wet.