Without a doubt, Drake Bay should be on everybody’s Costa Rican itinerary.
The wildlife in Corcovado National Park is the main reason why most visitors come to Drake Bay, but you can’t help but fall in love with the town at the same time. Most visitors will arrive by boat, meaning you’ll get to see it in its full glory.
Your first glimpse of Drake Bay will be kilometres of dark golden sand stretching along the coastline, backed by palm trees and quaint lodges on the hillside.
If you’re visiting Drake Bay soon, you’ve come to the right place. After reading this guide, you’ll know which area to stay in, where to find the best restaurants and how to get around this secluded jungle town in Costa Rica.
Also, check out our list of the best activities in Drake Bay/Corcovado!
Is Drake Bay/Corcovado worth visiting?
It’s hard to describe why, but as soon as you step off the boat, you feel like you’ve arrived somewhere special.
Maybe it’s the vibrant orange sunsets that grace the sky every evening? Or that you can just be sitting on the beach and see whales and dolphins swim past?
Corcovado National Park
Drake Bay is the gateway to one of the most biologically diverse places in the world: Corcovado National Park.
In Corcovado, you’ll get the chance to see an array of Costa Rica’s incredible and rare wildlife like tapirs, scarlet macaws, toucans, monkeys and if you’re really, really lucky – jaguars.
Another thing you should know is that you can only enter Corcovado through a guided tour. These tours can be booked from any of its basecamps in the Osa Peninsula. The most popular basecamps to visit Corcovado National Park are Puerto Jimenez and Drake Bay.
3 options to enter Corcovado National Park
The first decision you have to make when visiting Corcovado National Park is where you want to stay the night before.
See here the 3 different ways you can reach Corcovado National Park from San Jose.
- Daytrip from San Jose. Easy and effortless, but it comes at a price.
- Via Puerto Jimenez. This is the most popular destination to stay the night before you go to Corcovado.
- Via Drake Bay. This is a destination in itself. It’s next to Corcovado National Park and offers many great activities in the area. It’s the place to choose when you have time to spend a few more days in the area.
Option 1: Direct from San Jose to Corcovado
Are you looking for a way to travel straight from San Jose to Corcovado National Park? It’s possible, but only through an organised day trip from San Jose ($375).
We would recommend this option only if you are short of time. If you have more time to spare, there is a lot more to see in the surroundings of Corcovado!
Instead of spending a whopping $325 (169,000 CRC) per person for a one-day tour, we recommend travelling independently to either Puerto Jimenez or Drake Bay and make your trips to Corcovado from there.
Option 2: From San Jose to Corcovado via Puerto Jimenez
Puerto Jimenez is the most common gateway point to visit Corcovado National Park. The town is located 30 km east of Corcovado and from here, you can access Corcovado through 4 (of the 5) different ranger stations. La Leona, Los Patos, Sirena and El Tigre.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean Puerto Jimenez is the best place to visit Corcovado.
Option 3: From San Jose to Corcovado via Drake Bay
If you have a bit more time, we recommend spending a couple of days in Drake Bay. What we love about is that Drake Bay is a destination in itself. It is a laidback town that will already allow you to see a lot of nature and wildlife before even entering the park.
Drake Bay is about 15 km away from the nearest entrance to Corcovado National Park, which is in San Pedrillo Ranger Station. Alternatively, you can also enter the park Via the Sirena entrance.
How many days should you spend in Drake Bay?
Some people head to Drake Bay just to visit Corcovado National Park. This means you could stay for just one night and leave in the afternoon after the visit.
If it were up to us, we’d recommend staying longer, though. There’s a whole host of other things you can do, including snorkelling or diving at Caño Island Biological Reserve.
To make the most of Drake Bay, we think that 3 days is a good amount of time.
Where to stay in Drake Bay
Drake Bay is a pretty small town, with only a few roads running through it. When it comes to choosing where to stay, you’ve got 2 options: within the town or the coastal resorts.
Location #1: Town Centre — close to the main beach, restaurants and shops
The majority of the homestays and hostels are situated within the main town. This is where a lot of the tours around Drake Bay start and where you’ll get to integrate with the locals more.
Everything in the town is within walking distance, so no matter where your accommodation is, you won’t be far from restaurants and a supermarket.
Still, a lot of the accommodations are set up on the hill, so be prepared to get your legs working.
Our favourite place to stay is Casita Happy Feet, owned by the amazing Corcovado tour guide, Javier. Rooms cost just $30 a night and include a superb breakfast.
Location #2: Coastal Resorts — tranquillity and seclusion surrounded by nature
Whilst the majority of accommodations are centred around the main town, there are a number of resorts scattered along the coastline.
You’re able to walk to the town from most of these places via the coastal path, but this can be a long walk.
Most of the time, these resorts will provide all of your meals, so you won’t need to leave the resort apart from when you’re doing a tour. Most of the tours will also come to pick you up from your resort.
Private rooms start from around $20, whilst some resorts can cost over $200 a night.
Check out our favourite places to stay in Drake Bay for all budgets.
Best places to eat in Drake Bay
Drake Bay doesn’t have the biggest selection of places to eat, and all of the food is pretty similar. The majority of places serve traditional dishes, but don’t get us wrong – it’s still delicious.
A lot of the hotels scattered along the coastal path also have their own restaurants, so if you are looking for something slightly fancier, you can also head there.
To help you out, we’ve put together our top 3 places to eat in Drake Bay:
Casa El Tortugo Drakes Kitchen — a beautiful restaurant with delicious food
If you want to go for a more local option, Casa El Tortugo is a great choice. It’s a family-run restaurant set just meters behind the beach. The charm and decor of the restaurant instantly make you feel relaxed as you sit down on the turtle-carved oak chairs.
The menu only has a handful of items on it. This ranges from filet steak which tastes like it’s been cooked in a high-class restaurant to fried rice, fresh fish and of course the Costa Rican dish, Casado.
Don’t forget to try one of their smoothies. They are incredible!
Kalaluna Bistro — beautifully cooked and presented food with a view
Looking for something more fancy? Set just above the beach on the hillside, Kalaluna Bistro offers spectacular views across the bay. It’s the perfect dinner entertainment, just sitting and watching the sun go down.
The beautiful presentation of the food will make you not want to ruin it, but trust us, you’ll be dying to taste it. The Italian chef cooks everything from an array of meat dishes to rice and of course pasta.
Osa de Aguila — fresh, locally sourced delicious dishes
You can’t get much fresher food than at Aguila de Osa. The majority of ingredients are sourced from their own farm, whilst the fish comes from their own boats and local fishermen.
Chef Dixon creates innovative combinations of local ingredients and regional recipes that take you on a culinary adventure. The portions are plentiful and the views are also incredible.
Also read: Top 13 Things to Do in Drake Bay
How to get around Drake Bay
Getting around Drake Bay is super simple due to its small size. You can walk everywhere you want to go, and most of the tours include transportation.
There are only really 2 ways to get around Drake Bay and that’s either by foot or by car.
Walking will get you everywhere you need to go.
Staying at the beachside? In that case, we would recommend contacting your accommodation in advance. This way you can ask them to pick you up from the beach so that you don’t have to carry your luggage up the hill!
If you don’t have a car, you can still reach Drake Bay by taxi or a combination of a boat ride and a couple of buses, but having your own car definitely makes it easier.
Whilst you’re actually in Drake Bay, you probably won’t need to use the car, though. It can get a much-needed rest during your stay instead.
Now that you’ve finished reading this guide, you’re almost ready for your adventure in Drake Bay/Corcovado. The next step is to create your personalised itinerary with our top picks of things to do in Drake Bay/Corcovado. Simply choose your favourite activities and places to visit, and you’re all set to make lasting memories in Drake Bay/Corcovado.
Las Caletas Lodge - Treating Yourself
If you’re looking for a secluded escape from the world, then Las Caletas Lodge is your place. The only ways to get to this hotel is by boat from Drake Bay, or a walk along the jungle path.
Not to worry, both your breakfast and dinner are included in the price of the room. It’s practically impossible to leave without having released some of your stress, as the lodge oozes peacefulness. Adding to that, only steps away you’ll find the perfectly blue ocean.
- Secluded location in the jungle
- Breakfast and dinner included
- Steps from the sea
- Helpful and friendly staff
Double rooms start from $90 per night
Hotel Finca Marensia - Treating Yourself
Hotel Finca Maresia is set slightly further back from the beach of Drake Bay. It’s surrounded by lush forest and greenery, where all you’ll be able to hear is the thriving wildlife.
There’s also an onsite bar and restaurant, so you won’t have to venture far for some delicious food or a refreshing drink. The cabin-style rooms with balconies, offer the perfect place to relax and admire the magnificent view. This place gets booked up in advance, so if you want to stay here, you better get booking!
- Onsite restaurant and bar
- Situated within the jungle
- Breakfast included
- Balconies with hammocks
Double rooms start from $90 per night
Hotel Jacamar - Mid Range
Visiting Drake Bay and Corcovado is all about surrounding yourself in Costa Rica’s nature. Hotel Jacamar boasts the perfect balance between nature and luxury. Their flourishing gardens make you feel like you’re in the jungle, but their large and clean rooms create a space of comfort.
The staff are extremely hospitable, helping to organise your trip to Corcovado National Park. It’s location also makes it great for exploring the town.
- Large and luxurious rooms
- Beautiful gardens
- Great location
- Beach pick-up from arrival by boat available
Double rooms between $50-$90 per night
Casita Happy Feet and Tours - Budget Friendly
Entering Casita Happy Feet, you’ll feel as if you’re being welcomed into Javier and his wife’s home. Javier has been a guide in Corcovado National Park for over 25 years now. Having him as your guide, with his enthusiasm, knowledge and experience, you’re guaranteed an incredible visit!
Every morning, even the early ones, you’ll awake to a delicious and freshly cooked breakfast, perfect for your day of adventures. The rooms are clean and homely.
- The best guide for Corcovado National Park
- Delicious breakfast included
- Great location
- Beach pick-up from arrival by boat available
Double rooms between $15-$50 per night
We are sorry that this post didn't meet your expectations.
Your feedback is very valueable to us
What was missing in this post? (TIP: If you want us to reply to your feedback, you can leave your email in this text box.)