San Jose to Drake Bay

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How to get from San Jose to Drake Bay

Drake Bay on the northern coast of Osa Peninsula is an unspoiled paradise looking out to the South Pacific Ocean.

It is fast becoming a tourist destination, mainly as a basecamp for Corcovado National Park. But don’t worry! The many eco-lodges that popped up in recent years are far apart and were made to be perfectly in tune with nature.

You will be surrounded by the grandness of nature everywhere you look, and there’s so much to do to enjoy all of it!

The beaches are often empty and the waves are calm. Swimming, kayaking, snorkelling, diving, and even dolphin-watching are all popular activities. Inland is just as exciting. You can go hiking, birdwatching, or mountain biking.

Drake Bay has something to offer for every nature-lover.

New to Drake Bay/Corcovado? Our compact Drake Bay/Corcovado guide shows you the best areas to stay, restaurants you don’t want to miss and many more tips for your visit to Drake Bay/Corcovado!

3 ways to get from San Jose to Drake Bay

There are 3 ways to travel the distance of 370 km from San Jose to Drake Bay: by minivan + boat for 5.5-7 hours, by bus + boat for 7-9 hours, and by flight for 1 hour 50 minutes (including airport transfers). Rates range between $32 (19,000 CRC) and $125 (76,000 CRC).

Transport ModeDurationCostsAvailability
Minivan + Boat5.5-7 hours$90 (54,000 CRC)Read article for more info
Bus + Boat7 – 9 hours$32 (19,000 CRC)Read article for more info
Flight + Shuttle1 hour 50 minutes$125 (76,000 CRC)Check Flights

It is not possible to travel directly from San Jose to Drake Bay by land. You can only take a minivan or bus down to Sierpe and then take a boat from Sierpe to Drake Bay. On the upside, the boat ride is scenic and already an adventure on its own!

A faster way to get from San Jose to Drake Bay is to take a flight. Travel time is only about 2 hours, including the airport transfers. But aside from being expensive with combined rates from $130 (79,000 CRC), the flight will take away the opportunity of taking an exciting boat ride from Sierpe to Drake Bay.

TIP: If you decide to travel by plane, please consider including a carbon compensation fee to help reduce your impact on the environment.

Getting from Drake Bay to Corcovado National Park

Drake Bay is one of two common jump-off points when visiting Corcovado National Park. From here, you’ll have access to two of Corcovado’s entry points: San Pedrillo and Sirena. Both ranger stations can be reached by boat.

  • 30-minute boat to San Pedrillo
  • 1.5-hour boat to Sirena

The boat ride from Drake Bay to any of the ranger stations is often part of the tour that you will get to enter Corcovado. This tour already includes roundtrip boat transfers, a registered guide, as well a permit to visit the national park.

Where to stay in Drake Bay?

Still looking for accommodation? Don’t forget to check out our favourite places to stay in Drake Bay at the bottom of this page.

Itinerary from San Jose to Drake Bay

San Jose to Drake Bay by Minivan + Boat

Duration: 5.5-7 hours
Cost: $90 (54,000 CRC)
Duration: 5.5-7 hours
Cost: $90 (54,000 CRC)

A popular way to get from San Jose to Drake Bay is via a combined minivan shuttle and boat. Total travel time is around 7 hours, excluding the waiting time for the boat.

Step 1: San Jose to Sierpe by Minivan

Duration: 4.5-6 hours
Cost: $75 (45,000 CRC)
Duration: 4.5-6 hours
Cost: $75 (45,000 CRC)

Super Shuttle and Easy Ride both offer minivans from San Jose to Sierpe. Both of them have 04:00 departures, with Easy Ride offering an afternoon trip at 14:00.

If you want to reach Drake Bay within the day, make sure to take any of the early morning trips! Otherwise, you’ll have to stay a night in Sierpe if you depart in the afternoon.

The minivan will pick you up at your hotel in San Jose and bring you to Restaurante Oleaje Sereno in Sierpe. This restaurant is often a meet-up place for tourists taking the ferry since it has a parking lot where you can leave your vehicle. Sierpe River Ferry Terminal is just a 5-minute walk from this restaurant.

A minivan ticket costs $75 (45,000 CRC) for the 4.5 to 6-hour journey.

Minivan schedule from San Jose to Sierpe

Minivan OperatorScheduleCosts
Easy Ride04:00-08:30
14:00-18:30
$75 (45,000 CRC)
Check Minivan Tickets
Super Shuttle04:00-10:00$80 (48,000 CRC)
Check Minivan Tickets

You can book with Easy Ride via BookAway, while you can book your Super Shuttle tickets via their website.

Step 2: Sierpe to Drake Bay by Boat

Duration: 1 hour
Cost: from $15 (9,000 CRC)
Duration: 1 hour
Cost: from $15 (9,000 CRC)

The boat is a scenic way to get from Sierpe to Drake Bay. This is why we recommend travelling by land (and sea) from San Jose to Drake Bay instead of taking a flight.

Travel time by boat takes around an hour from Sierpe to Drake Bay. A ticket costs $15 (9,000 CRC) for the morning trip and $20 (12,000 CRC) for the afternoon trip.

In the first 40 minutes of the boat ride, you will be travelling along Sierpe River, which is home to the largest mangrove forest in Latin America.

The ride may get a bit bumpy as your boat crosses the boundary from the river to the sea, but know that you are in the hands of veteran boat captains. After that, it should be a smooth ride again until you reach the picturesque shores of Drake Bay.

Boat schedule from Sierpe to Drake Bay

Transport ModeScheduleCosts
Boat11:30-12:30
15:30-16:30
from $15 (9,000 CRC)

You can only buy your boat ticket by the dock.

San Jose to Drake Bay by Bus + Boat

Duration: 7-9 hours
Cost: $32 (19,000 CRC)
Duration: 7-9 hours
Cost: $32 (19,000 CRC)

There is also a way to travel from San Jose to Drake Bay by bus. This is much cheaper than taking the minivan. However, it can also be a bit risky as the travel time can be erratic, depending on the number of bus stops and the traffic from San Jose to Sierpe.

If you happen to travel on a really busy day, you may not make it in time for the afternoon boat from Sierpe to Drake Bay.

Step 1: San Jose to Sierpe by Bus

Duration: 6-8 hours
Cost: $12 (7,000 CRC)
Duration: 6-8 hours
Cost: $12 (7,000 CRC)

Tracopa operates one daily bus trip from San Jose to Sierpe. This departs at 08:30 in the morning.

The advertised travel time with the bus is around 6 hours. But note that this can easily take 7 to 8 hours depending on traffic and bus stops. That means that when taking the bus, there is a chance of you missing the last boat from Sierpe to Drake Bay.

A bus ticket costs around $12 (7,000 CRC). You can buy your tickets at the bus station.

Bus schedule from San Jose to Sierpe

Minivan OperatorScheduleCosts
Tracopa08:30-14:30$12 (7,000 CRC)

Buses depart from Tracopa Bus Station in San Jose city centre and arrive at Sierpe Park, located just 350m east of the River Ferry Terminal.

Step 2: Sierpe to Drake Bay by Boat

Duration: 1 hour
Cost: from $20 (12,000 CRC)
Duration: 1 hour
Cost: from $20 (12,000 CRC)

Boats from Sierpe to Drake Bay depart twice daily, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Considering the bus schedule though, you can only take the afternoon boat if you want to arrive in Drake Bay within the same day.

Tickets for the afternoon boat cost $20 (12,000 CRC) per person.

Boat schedule from Sierpe to Drake Bay

Transport ModeScheduleCosts
Boat11:30-12:30
15:30-16:30
from $15 (9,000 CRC)

San Jose to Drake Bay by Flight

Duration: 1 hr 50m
Cost: $125 (76,000 CRC)
Duration: 1 hr 50m
Cost: $125 (76,000 CRC)

The fastest way from San Jose to Drake Bay is by flight. Travel time, including airport transfers, is only around 1.5 hours.

It’s quite expensive, though, with combined rates from $125 (76,000 CRC). Also, you’ll miss the chance to hop on an exciting boat ride from Sierpe to Drake Bay!

Step 1: San Jose City Centre to San Jose Airport by Bus

Duration: 40 minutes
Cost: $1.10 (1,000 CRC)
Duration: 40 minutes
Cost: $1.10 (1,000 CRC)

You can get from San Jose city centre to San Jose Airport in two ways: via a 40-minute bus that costs $1.10 (1,000 CRC) or a 30-minute taxi with rates from $25 (15,000 CRC).

You will find the buses at TUASA Terminal every 10 minutes from 04:00 to 23:00. As for the taxis, you can hail them from the street or through the ride-hailing app Uber. Rates with Uber start from $50 (30,000 CRC) but keep in mind that Uber is not yet fully accepted by everyone in Costa Rica.

Step 2: San Jose to Drake Bay by Flight

Duration: 50 minutes
Cost: $115 (70,000 CRC)
Duration: 50 minutes
Cost: $115 (70,000 CRC)

Sansa Regional offers two flights from San Jose to Drake Bay daily. Flights depart at 11:40 and 14:00 every day and the journey takes around 50 minutes.

Airfares start from $115 (70,000 CRC) when you book months ahead. We recommend booking through Skyscanner for the cheapest fares.

Check Flights with Skyscanner

Step 3: Drake Bay Airport to Town Centre by Shuttle

Duration: 20 minutes
Cost: $10 (6,000 CRC)
Duration: 20 minutes
Cost: $10 (6,000 CRC)

From Drake Bay Airport, you can take a shuttle to your hotel. This is normally pre-arranged through your hotel in Drake Bay. Let them know the carrier you’re flying with as well as your expected time of arrival on Drake Bay.

A shuttle ticket costs $10 (6,000 CRC) per person.

 

Our favourite places to stay in Drake Bay

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. It’s also just a few steps from 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 $80 per night

Read More

 

Hotel Finca Maresia - 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.

  • Onsite restaurant and bar
  • Situated within the jungle
  • Breakfast included
  • Balconies with hammocks

Double rooms start from $80 per night

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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 Drake Bay. 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-$80 per night

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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, authentic 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

Read More

 

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