The magical Bahia Drake (Drake Bay) is one of the most biologically diverse land of rainforest in Central America (and most probably in the world) and also the perfect remote jungle getaway during your visit in Costa Rica. I can’t think of a better place to connect with nature. It’s amazing jungle full of exotic wildlife, warm ocean waters with stunning marine life, will make you forget your everyday stresses.
This remote village is a perfect destination if you are not the type of tourist who just wants to stay in a fancy hotel by the pool. This is a great getaway for the real explorer, the one who loves to explore new places and to loose herself in nature.
Because this is not a very visited place, I will try to give you plenty of information about how to come here, what to see and do, or where to eat. Of course I will share my own personal thoughts and feelings and if there is anything else you would like to know, beside what I will share in this blog post, just be free to contact me.
To access the Bahia Drake it might seem a little bit difficult or intimidating for many, being also one of the reasons many people don´t visit the place that much. But with a good organisation you´ll see that actually it is not that hard to get there.
Getting to Drake Bay requires some effort and involves a little bit more than hopping in your car, that’s true. To get there, it requires a car, a boat ride and a walk in the village to get to your hotel, which I recommend you to book the hotel as close to the beach as possible, because the boats leave you at the beach.
Depending on the time of the year, it is possible to drive to Drake Bay, but it is not too recommended because of the rough roads and river crossings that wouldn’t be covered by your rental car agreement.
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If you decide to come here by car, you’ll see that in the village it is not very useful the car, because you´ll get anywhere by foot and into the jungle you can’t use the car at all, so you´ll have to walk… again.
Pro Tip : Bring a flash to get around after the dark because the main road in town has some street lighting but side roads and trails are not well lit.
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This is the option I highly recommend you to go for. We came from Quepos by car to a town called Sierpe, from where we took a taxi boat. In the port they have a little restaurant where you can have lunch or a coffee while you´re waiting for the boat. A few meters from the port there is a parking lot where you can safely leave the car for 6$ a day, until you come back from Bahia Drake.
The boat ride is a great experience itself, because of the amazing nature that you´ll see all along the river. They will take you all along 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, which is the most amazing ride ever.
It will take about one hour to get to Bahia Drake (the time will pass fast because you´ll be to busy admiring the beautiful scenery that surrounds you) and costs 15$-20$ per person. There are not too many boats going the Bahia Drake during the day, so be careful to make it on time to catch the boat. They leave the docks in Sierpe twice time a day, everyday at 11:30 AM at the price of 15$ and 3:30 PM at the price of 20$.
About the luggage: If you can, try to bring with you a light luggage and make sure any luggage you bring with you is hardy, as they get thrown around in the boat and may get wet or damp. My luggage got wet and when we complained with them, they’ve been pretty rude. I am always very careful with my things, but it is not my thing to know the boat is damaged.
best things to do in Bahia Drake
Ok and now that you made it to the amazing Bahia Drake, it´s time to enjoy the lush jungle, have long walks at the beach and get close to the wildlife. There’s so many things to do in this paradise! We stayed here only 3 days but we did many fun things and here are some of our favourites:
- hiking in the the jungle
- diner at sunset
- finding remote beaches
- photographing wildlife
- play with dogs
CORCOVADO NATIONAL PARK
We had in plan to visit Corcovado National Park, but the only full day we had to visit the park, it rained a lot and we canceled the tour. The park is about 22 kilometers south of Bahia Drake and it’s extraordinarily beautiful, with a dazzling biodiversity. One of the planet’s last remaining swathes of primary rainforest, a jungle full of jaguars, jaguarundis and pumas, with many families of howler monkeys, or capuchin monkey play in the trees and Central America’s largest mammal, the Baird’s tapir who still roams free.
This beach is 2 minutes walk from the village and it’s full of wildlife. While you walk around, there’s a huge chance to see family of monkeys jumping from a tree to another, playfull squirrels and toucans flying above the trees. We liked our afternoon walks in this gorgeous tropical scenery, specially the sunset, which was just heavenly. While the sun was setting the sky was going from yellow to orange to red making the beach look like a real life paining. But be fast at sunset, cause here in Costa Rica the sun sets really fast.
take a hike in the jungle to reach a remote beach
To hike in the jungle to reach one of the dreamiest beach was absolutely amazing. I generally think of this hike as consisting of three parts. First, the hike begins in dens forest full of monkeys, flowers and many species of trees, then you have to cross a big river on a hanging bridge, then you have to keep walking into the lush jungle and after about 1 hour you reached the first beach. Because yes.. there is more to see after the first beach, but because of little time, we stayed at the first one.
Before to get to the hanging bridge, there is a restaurant, but at the moment we visited it was not opened to the public. This means there’s no easily accessible water source, so I recommend you to bring plenty of water, because it is very hot and the humidity is high.
distance: approximately 3 kilometers hike
how much time : it took us about 1-2 hours to hike into the beautiful jungle until we reached the first beach, but we also stopped to watch the wildlife and take photos
For those who like to enjoy a remote and tranquil beach, well.. this is the one for you. Not only is very peaceful, but is incredibly beautiful. You can get here only after you cross the jungle, or by boat, but I highly recommend you to take the jungle route.
This beach is surrounded by pure jungle, where you’re likely to see lots of birds and many amazing animals like lizards, monkeys, or coati (an animal similar to a raccoon). If you want to spend the day here, bring plenty of food and water with you, because there’s only one restaurant where you are able to buy something and is not very close to the beach.
If you love wildlife (and usually who comes here, does), you can transform the visit at this beach in a more intense experience, if you go in search of wildlife. And you don’t need to get too far from the beach, because the jungle is abundant in wildlife. There are families of monkeys playing in the trees, lizards, toucans and many species of plants. It’s a beautiful scenery for any nature lover, or photographer. We still need to pinch ourselves to believe that we had the opportunity to enjoy such a wonderful place.
Pro Tip: Bring food, water and a flashlight, just in case you find yourself leaving a bit too late. If you visit the beach in the dry season, you can even snorkel, because the water is calmer and the visibility is good.
activities to do at Playa Cocalito
There are plenty of activities to enjoy here, from water sports, photography and exploring the jungle. Some of the best ones are:
- mangrove Tour
- to hike in the jungle
- whale and dolphin watching
supermarkets & cash machines (ATM)
In the Bahia Drake are 3 big supermarkets and a few smaller ones. At any of the supermarkets you can find a variety of products that are essential. In the village you can also find a little drugstore and a few fruit shops where they sell fresh vegetables and fruits.
You need to know that there are no cash machines in Bahia Drake so you should bring cash with and you must know that that some places would charge around 5% to 13% more on debit or credit cards.
things to know if you visit Drake Bay
- Bahia Drake is one of the most natural and remote place on Earth, so this is making it a top destination for the ones with a more adventurous heart. The place is so remote that here the roads are bumpy, the village has only a few bars and very little infrastructure.
- The few restaurants and cafes they have here are open air and yes, they serve super delicious food and fresh smoothies and nothing is too expensive.
- Bring plenty of repellent because the mosquitos are crazy
We loved a place called Casa El Tortugo Drakes Kitchen beach bar. Here they have some of the tastiest dishes in the area. Of course there are a few more restaurants in Bahia Drake, but this was very close to our hotel and due to the little time we had here, it was the best option for us.
restaurants in Bahia Drake
Here I share with you some cute restaurants you can find in Bahia Drake, with modest prices and very casual at the same time and this means that there is nothing luxurious. But who needs luxury when the real luxury is watching a dreamy sunset and the tropical surroundings from the upper floor.
- Nature Cafe : the owner is super nice and here you can have a very delicious breakfast
- Dinercraft Bar & Restaurant : here you can enjoy fresh and delicious food in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere
- Reina del Mar : a place to have tasty food with an excellent service, also great place to have dinner. You should try pastas here, it has the fame to serve some of the most delicious
The vibrant village of Bahia Drake has a very special place in our hearts and here we made many beautiful memories, that we´ll remember forever and ever. We still remember the long walks at huge sandy beach in town, the exotic bids coming to our hotel terrace, the monkeys jumping from a tree to another, the cute squirrel we found when we where hiking in the jungle, I mean life here is simple and beautiful.
I hope that this post helped you to plan the trip to Bahia Drake so you can experience the magic of this place in the best way! There are so many things to explore in here and our only regret is to not have spent more time. Do you have a favourite remote place in the world? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Happy travels! Maddie