Destinations | CENTRAL America

13+ Best Things to do in Drake Bay: Activities & Travel Guide

16 Dec 2023 | Central America, Costa Rica, Destinations

Drake Bay, located on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica, is a hidden gem for travellers seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure. This small village offers a peaceful escape from the bustling tourist areas of Costa Rica and is surrounded by lush rainforests and stunning beaches. If you’re planning a trip, here are all the epic things to do in Drake Bay and nearby that will make your visit unforgettable.

There are lots of Drake Bay activities to choose from to satisfy every type of traveller, and budget!

Corcovado - Drake Bay - Costa Rica-6

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Things to do in Drake Bay Agujitas and Corcovado National Park: Drake Bay Activities & Travel Tips

Planning Your Trip to Drake Bay

Drake Bay is located in the southern area of the Puntarenas Province on the Osa Peninsula, hugging the Pacific coastline of Costa Rica. 

Getting there can be an adventure on its own. There are two main methods of reaching Drake Bay: by air or by land/river.

If you opt to fly, Sansa Regional and Skyway are local airlines that offer direct flights from San Jose to Drake Bay. This journey takes about an hour and provides an incredible bird’s eye view of the Costa Rican landscape.

Alternatively, if you’re up for a road trip, you can drive to Sierpe, and from there, take a boat ride along the Sierpe River leading you straight into Drake Bay. The boat trip is approximately 90 minutes and meanders through beautiful mangroves before opening up to the ocean.

The boat operates twice a day, with departures at 11.30 am and 3.30 pm. 


Note: While it is possible to reach Drake Bay by car nowadays, it’s important to note that the roads may not always be accessible, especially after recent rainfall. It is not advised to attempt the journey without a 4×4 vehicle. To determine the current road conditions, you can inquire at your hotel; however, a more convenient option would be to park your car in Sierpe and take a boat to Drake Bay from there.

Regardless of how you choose to get there, be sure to plan and book transportation in advance, especially during peak travel seasons. Once you arrive, immerse yourself in the untouched beauty that is Drake Bay, Costa Rica.

Corcovado - Drake Bay - Costa Rica

Where to stay in Drake Bay

Drake Bay offers a variety of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious eco-resort, a rustic cabin in the rainforest, or a budget-friendly hostel by the beach, Drake Bay has it all.

For those seeking an authentic jungle experience, consider staying at one of the eco-lodges that offer immersive experiences in the rainforest. These accommodations often use sustainable practices and offer activities such as nature hikes, wildlife spotting, and cultural experiences.

Hotel Finca Maresia

Located just a short walk from Colorada, Finca Maresia offers spacious rooms with free private parking and breakfast. You can arrange airport transfers at the accommodation, but most of all enjoy the lovely rainforest nearby.

Click to check availability and prices

Hotel Finca Maresia

Las Caletas Lodge

Las Caletas Lodge is another popular accommodation option in Drake Bay, offering a unique experience of staying in gorgeous rooms and bungalows overlooking the ocean. However, this option tends to book up quickly, so plan and reserve this beautiful accommodation in Drake Bay well in advance.

Book a stay here

Las Caletas Lodge

Kunken Boutique Hotel & Spa

Stay at the incredible Kunken Boutique Hotel, which is located on the other side of the bay, but it’s worth driving a bit further. Here, you’ll stay in luxury in one of the 12 bungalows. Enjoy a stunning view over the bay, and witness Tucans, Hummingbirds, and parrots on the property every morning.

The hotel provides kayaks for guests to use. They organize tours for fishing or observing dolphins and whales as well as snorkeling and diving. There is a restaurant where you can savor fresh meals made with ingredients from the garden.

And there’s a delightful swimming pool to fully enjoy your stay.

Check availability here

Corcovado - Costa Rica- Kunken Boutique Hotel & Spa

1. Explore the Rainforest

Drake Bay is nestled in a secluded area of Costa Rica, making it the perfect destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers. The Osa Peninsula is home to some of the most biodiverse rainforests on the planet, with over 2.5% of all plant and animal species residing here.

To truly experience the beauty of this rainforest, take a guided hike through one of the many trails in the area. You’ll have the chance to spot a variety of wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, and exotic birds. You can also opt for a night hike to see some of the nocturnal creatures that call this rainforest home.

If hiking isn’t your thing, you can still explore the rainforest by taking a zip-line tour, horseback riding, or even rappelling down waterfalls. With so many options, there’s an adventure waiting for everyone in Drake Bay.

2. Walk the Drake Bay Hiking Trail 

The San Josecito Trail, also known as the Drake Bay Hiking Trail, is a picturesque route that begins in Agujitas and takes you all the way to the stunning Playa San Josecito. 

Spanning 10 kilometres each way, this trail offers a delightful journey through captivating landscapes. The trail is completely free to access and is conveniently signposted in key sections, making it easily navigable for most travellers. 

Not only does the San Josecito Trail provide access to the beautiful beaches, but it also offers opportunities to immerse yourself in the rich biodiversity of the region, with a chance to spot unique flora and fauna along the way. 

So lace up your hiking boots and embark on an unforgettable adventure along the San Josecito Trail and get transported to a world of natural wonders.

3. Go on a dolphin and whale watching tour

Drake Bay is widely regarded as one of the most exceptional destinations to witness the awe-inspiring spectacle of humpback whales during their annual migration season, which spans from July to October. 

Embark on a remarkable boat tour in this picturesque bay and immerse yourself in the mesmerising sight of these majestic creatures breaching and gracefully playing in the vast expanse of the ocean. 

While delighting in this extraordinary experience, you will also have the chance to encounter delightful pods of dolphins, graceful sea turtles, and an array of fascinating marine wildlife, making your tour an unforgettable adventure in the realm of nature’s wonders.

Check out this day tour here

4. Kayak along Rio Agujitas or Puerto Jiménez and spot crocodiles

For a unique and thrilling experience, kayak along the Rio Agujitas and spot some of Costa Rica’s largest reptiles – crocodiles. This river is home to a large population of American crocodiles and taking a guided kayak tour allows you to observe these impressive creatures in their natural habitat while also exploring the beautiful scenery along the river.

When embarking on a kayaking trip, ensure that you are quiet so that the crocodiles don’t hide away. 

Puerto Jiménez is another spot where you can go kayaking and catch a view of the reptiles.

5. Snorkel or Dive at Cano Island Biological Reserve

Cano Island is a protected marine reserve just off the coast of Drake Bay. It offers some of the best snorkelling and diving opportunities in Costa Rica with crystal clear waters and a variety of colourful fish, sharks, rays, and even whales. 

You can take a day trip to the island or stay overnight at one of the rustic accommodations.

If you are considering Drake Bay for your base to visit Cano Island, then book this diving tour that leaves from the bay. The boat tour includes round trip transportation as well as entrance fees and lunch. There will be an experienced naturalist on board at all times – ask all of your questions about the reserves and more. 

They will skillfully navigate you through breathtaking coral reefs, revealing the hidden treasures of the pristine seabed in this untouched region. It is perfect for complete beginners and experienced divers alike as Isla del Caño provides an extraordinary and incomparable experience in Costa Rica!

Check out this tour here

6. Float down the river in Rio Claro all the way to the beach AKA the Floating Tour

The Floating Tour offers travellers a serene and leisurely experience as you explore the pristine waterways of Costa Rica. Embarking from Drake Bay in the morning (at 8 AM), the floating tour begins with a scenic 30-minute car ride to reach the breathtaking primary forest. 

A captivating 1 hour and 20-minute hike through the lush forest leads to a hidden gem – an enchanting waterfall nestled deep in the heart of the jungle.

At the waterfall, you spend about 30 minutes indulging in the refreshing waters and immersing yourself in nature’s embrace. 

After this rejuvenating stop, embark on a tranquil float down the river, soaking in the picturesque surroundings for approximately one and a half hours until arriving at the Rio Claro beach.

Upon reaching the Rio Claro beach, you will enjoy another leisurely 30-minute walk to a nearby beach, which concludes the trip one way. 

On the return trip, you will be served a delicious lunch providing the perfect opportunity to savour the flavours of the region. 

This tour is perfect to enjoy the waters, rainforest hike, culinary delights and beach vibes in just one excursion.

The floating tour with Pacheco Tours lasts for approximately 6 to 7 hours and costs $70 per person.

7. Hang out at one of the Drake Bay Beaches

Drake Bay, nestled in the heart of nature’s paradise, is not only renowned for its awe-inspiring landscapes but also boasts some of the most captivating and pristine beaches imaginable. These idyllic coastal retreats offer the perfect haven for relaxation and sun-drenched bliss. 

Imagine sinking your toes into the soft golden sands, listening to the rhythmic lullaby of gentle waves, and basking in the warm embrace of the tropical sun. Whether you seek tranquil solitude or vibrant beach activities, Drake Bay’s stunning beaches cater to every preference, promising unforgettable moments of pure tranquillity and serenity.

Pro tip: Walk all or part of the Drake Bay coastal trail (as mentioned above) to explore many of these beaches!

Here a few of my favourites:


Cocalito Beach

Those craving a livelier beach atmosphere super close to Drake Bay will love Cocalito Beach. 

As you make your way to the shoreline from the heart of Drake Bay, you’ll find an array of charming restaurants and lively bars, serving up delicious local cuisine and refreshing tropical drinks before you reach the tranquil waters. 

Immerse yourself in the warm ambiance, mingle with fellow beachgoers, and dance the night away under the starlit sky. Playa Cocalito offers a perfect blend of relaxation and excitement.

Playa Las Caletas 

Playa Las Caletas is one of the secluded beaches on Bahia Drake. This beach offers a more laid-back and rustic experience, with a charming lodge located at the shore. 

You can spend the day lounging on the golden sands or take a dip in the waters while marvelling at the stunning views of the bay.

Playa Ricolito

Playa Ricolito is a little unknown beach in Drake Bay. This beach is perfect for swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding, offering a chance to get up close with the abundant marine life that lives within its waters. 

Surrounded by breathtaking landscapes and unbeatable views, Playa Ricolito provides an ideal spot to relax and recharge amidst nature’s tranquil embrace.

Playa San Josecito

Playa San Josecito, mentioned earlier in the San Josecito Trail section, is a hidden gem nestled along the coastline. With its pristine white sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters, this secluded beach offers a serene and tranquil escape from the bustling world. 

Accessible only by foot or boat, the journey to Playa San Josecito adds an element of adventure and exclusivity. You can get to the beach by hiking about 2.50 hours (each way) into the remote village of Rincon de San Josecito. Trust me, the views and the wonderful beach makes it all worth it. 

You can also hike one way, and then take a boat ride for your return to Drake Bay. 

Pro tip:  Hop on a boat taxi from Agujitas to drop you off on Playa San Josecito or join a Caño Island snorkelling tour which includes lunch on Playa San Josecito.

Playa Rincon de San Josecito 

If you’re seeking a more adventurous experience, head over to Playa Rincon. Tucked away in a picturesque location away from the popular Playa San Josecito, this beach boasts mesmerising views of the surrounding cliffs and lush greenery. 

The beach is accessible by road and is perfect to visit for an amazing sunset. Playa Rincon is a haven for nature lovers and thrill-seekers alike.

No matter which beach you choose, whether it’s the secluded Playa San Josecito, the captivating Playa Rincon, or the Cocalito, you will be enchanted by the untouched natural beauty and the tranquillity that surrounds you.

8. Immerse in the culture 

While Drake Bay may be known for its natural beauty, it also has a rich cultural heritage that is worth exploring. You can visit local communities and learn about their traditional way of life, including agriculture, handicrafts, and cooking. You can also attend cultural events such as fiestas or traditional dances.

Drake Bay is home to various indigenous communities, such as the Boruca people and the annual Drake Bay festival brings in a lot of locals together every year (in April). 

By immersing yourself in the local culture, you not only gain a deeper understanding of the region but also support and empower these communities.

9. A Nature Night Walk to remember

Take the opportunity to embark on a nature night tour from Drake Bayyou will forever remember it! This 2 hour private tour takes you through a variety of landscapes, from mountains to wetlands to winding streams. 

You will be embarking on nature trails where you can soak in the night stars, and witness famous red-eyed tree frogs, the transparent mirror frogs and the majestic goliath frogs, which is one of the largest in the world. 

The night walk is also an exceptional opportunity to observe insects such as grasshoppers, crickets, beetles and many others up close under the guidance of a naturalist. 

This is an amazing nocturnal night tour where you will enjoy encounters with snakes (such as the cat-eyed snake), the powerful boa constrictor and the liana snake. Then there are lizards (like the basilisk) and more!

Click to check out this tour and make a booking. Note that you can request for headlamps and boots, if you desire. 

10. Go bird watching – Drake Bay activities

Drake Bay is a bird watcher’s paradise with over 350 species of birds found in the surrounding rainforest and coastal areas. 

Take a guided bird watching tour and spot some of the most colourful and exotic birds in their natural habitat. 

On a 2.5 hour birdwatching tour, you will be guided by an expert naturalist. With their extensive knowledge of the area and the numerous bird species that call it home, they are well-equipped to provide an unforgettable experience. 

The birdwatching tour can be enjoyed in either the early morning or late afternoon, ensuring optimal bird activity and sightings. 

During the tour, you can expect to encounter a variety of bird species, including vibrant tanagers, delicate hummingbirds, majestic macaws, colourful toucans, playful manikins, graceful hawks, melodious robins, agile flycatchers, enchanting honeycreepers, magnificent trogons, and industrious woodpeckers. 

Your experienced birding guide will be equipped with a high-powered Swarovski scope, enabling you to spot these beautiful creatures up close and capture spectacular photos. Click to view more details on the bird watching tour here

Even if you’re not an avid bird watcher, the vibrant colours and unique sounds of these feathered friends are sure to captivate you. 

11. Enjoy horseback riding tours

Explore the breathtaking landscapes of Drake Bay on horseback and experience a truly unique adventure. Immerse yourself in nature as you ride along hidden paths, through lush rainforests, across vast beaches, and up scenic hills. 

Take a horseback riding tour in which experienced guides will take you on an unforgettable journey through the diverse terrain while providing interesting insights into the local flora and fauna.

Most horseback riding tour includes deserted beaches or rides through primary rainforest en route to lush, green hilltops with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean or thundering waterfalls hidden deep in the verdant forest. You will also see amazing bird and animal species along the way!

12. Enjoy Local Cuisine at Beachside

After a day of exploring and adventure, why not treat yourself to some delicious local cuisine at one of Drake Bay’s beachside restaurants? 

With fresh seafood caught daily, you can indulge in mouth-watering dishes while gazing out at the breathtaking ocean views. 

From traditional Costa Rican dishes to international favourites, there is something for every palate. And don’t forget to try the casado, a traditional dish that typically includes rice, beans, meat, and plantains – a true taste of Costa Rican culture. 

Whether you’re looking for a romantic dinner with your loved one or a family-friendly meal after a day at the beach, there’s no better way to end your day in Drake Bay than with some delicious food and stunning views. So sit back, relax, and treat yourself – you deserve it!

13. Explore the Corcovado National Park

Now I left the BEST for the LAST, and that’s the Corcovado National Park.

The Osa Peninsula is home to one of the most biodiverse places on Earth, and that is the Corcovado National Park. Spanning over 424 square kilometres (164 sq mi), this park is a haven for wildlife and nature enthusiasts.This pristine rainforest is home to many endangered species such as jaguars, tapirs, and scarlet macaws. 

Note: In order to visit Corcovado National Park, keep in mind that a licensed guide/ tour is required. No independent visits are allowed, and permits are needed to enter and explore. Presence of a guide is essential to preserve the integrity of the place, learn about the biodiversity of the park and also stay safe!

Corcovado National Park offers a plethora of entry points for both day and multi-day tours. Each of these entry points, known as ranger stations, not only facilitate the monitoring of park visitors but also serve as essential facilities within the park. 

3 weeks in Costa Rica itinerary

Taking multi day or day tours:

  • Embarking on a multi-day tour allows you the privilege of visiting multiple ranger stations, granting you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the diverse landscapes and ecosystems that Corcovado National Park has to offer. From dense rainforests to pristine beaches, each ranger station unveils a new chapter of exploration and adventure. Here is a 2 day tour to check out – Sirena – San Pedrillo 2 nights
  • In contrast, if you opt for a day tour, you’ll need to carefully select a specific ranger station as your entry point, determining the particular area you wish to delve into. Whether you choose to venture into the heart of the rainforest or bask in the coastal beauty, your choice of ranger station will shape the nature of your experience within the park. Take a look at this day tour of San Pedrillo Station – Corcovado national park

Note: Because of the stringent visitor restrictions, additional activities, and the guide’s efforts, the expense of a multi-day excursion is considerably higher compared to a one-day outing.

Spread throughout the vast expanse of the park, you will find a total of five ranger stations, each with its own unique charm and natural wonders to discover. They offer a getaway to the parks’ interiors.

Ranger Station Sirena 

Located at the heart of the park, Sirena serves as the primary ranger station, offering an array of captivating hiking trails and unparalleled opportunities to observe wildlife, including the elusive tapir. This region is nestled between two rivers, effectively confining the animals within its boundaries. The absence of significant predators, coupled with the animals’ familiarity with human presence, makes them readily visible in this area. 

You can book a full day guided tour such as this one to explore. 

The price of the day tour includes entry fees, round trip boat trip transportation and lunch! The boat ride takes you from Puerto Jimenez to Sirena Station and back. Given its immense popularity, it is advisable to book a tour well in advance. 

This tour is perfect for nature and adventure lovers – exploring virgin beaches, waterfalls and old forest with huge trees, as well as wildlife!

Ranger Station San Pedrillo


Located on the northern edge of Corcovado National Park, this ranger station is often included in multi-day tours along with Sirena. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to encounter a variety of animals, including predators like pumas, snakes, and hawks. 

Due to the presence of these predators, other animals tend to be less visible in this area. Similar to Sirena, the trail mostly follows the coastline, making it a perfect spot for birdwatching.

A cool way to discover the San Pedrillo Ranger Station is by embarking on an overnight tour such as this one – Corcovado National Park: San Pedrillo Overnight Tour

This is an amazing 2 day tour where you will enjoy guided hikes with an expert naturalist, and stay at a lovely Corcovado Backyard lodge. The tour also includes park entry fees, transportation by boat, as well as food and drinks (lunch day 1, dinner day 1, and breakfast day 2)!

You will enjoy time at the Sirena Ranger Station and also get to hike to a beautiful waterfall, go for a swim and relax! 

The tour brings you back from the town of Los Planes! Don’t wait – book Corcovado National Park: San Pedrillo Overnight Tour here!

Los Planes Ranger Station 

When you choose Los Planes, you embark on the ultimate jungle adventure. Here, amidst the lush greenery and vibrant biodiversity, you will discover the pristine beauty of Corcovado National Park’s most untouched rainforest. 

It is predominantly home to ancient primary old-growth forests, boasting towering trees that have stood tall for thousands of years, their gnarled branches reaching towards the sun.

Venturing off-the-beaten-path, you’ll find yourself immersed in the heart of the jungle, far from the presence of other travellers. As you trek deep into the wilderness, tropical birds grace the sky, and magnificent waterfalls reveal themselves along the way. Unlike coastal walks, this trail takes you right through the heart of the jungle, adding an exhilarating element of challenge to the hike.

Los Planes beckons the adventurous souls, inviting them to embrace the wonders of nature and forge an unforgettable connection with the captivating jungle that thrives within its borders.

This station is included in many multi day tours and borders the San Pedrillo region. 

La Leona Ranger Station

For those seeking an off-the-beaten-path experience, La Leona Ranger Station in Corcovado National Park is a must-visit. This station is located on the southern side of the park, and is known for its secluded location and vibrant wildlife. 

From beaches to hiking along coastal trails you will love it here. And as you trek through the dense rainforest, keep an eye out for monkeys, tapirs, and possibly even jaguars. 

Be sure to bring a camera to capture the stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the sweeping rainforest canopy. By visiting La Leona Ranger Station, you’re not just exploring the wild side of Drake Bay; you’re stepping into a world where nature is the ultimate masterpiece.

Things to do in Monteverde Costa Rica

Los Patos Ranger Station 

This station serves as the gateway to Sirena by land, offering a unique and adventurous experience. As you venture through this region, you will find no established hiking trails, allowing you to explore the vast grasslands and immerse yourself in the untouched beauty of nature. 

It is worth noting that during the rainy season, the road to Sirena is often closed due to excessive mud, making it impassable. As a result, the number of tours conducted in this area is limited, preserving its pristine charm and providing an exclusive encounter with the wilderness.


El Tigre Ranger Station 

Last but not least, the El Tigre Ranger Station. This station is not included in many tours at the moment due to irregularity of hours and maintenance.

3 weeks in Costa Rica itinerary

Where to stay in Corcovado National Park

Corcovado National Park offers a range of accommodation options to suit every traveller’s needs and preferences. 


Ocean Forest Ecolodge

Ocean Forest Ecolodge, located in San Pedrillo, offers exquisite 3-star beachfront accommodation. With a serene garden, shared lounge, and terrace, you can truly unwind and connect with nature. The hotel is just steps away from the stunning Rincon Beach and San Josecito Beach. 

Many rooms are designed with a balcony offering picturesque garden views, and some even have mesmerising sea views.

Find availability and current prices here

SCP Corcovado Wilderness Lodge

If you prefer more luxurious accommodation, then SCP Corcovado Wilderness Lodge is another great option in San Pedrillo. 

The lodge offers upscale amenities with stunning views of the rainforest and the Pacific Ocean. These lodges are committed to sustainability and offer a variety of guided tours and activities plus room service!

Click to view availability and current prices here

Jungla del Jaguar Lodge & Hostal

For budget-conscious travelers, Jaguars Jungle Rainforest Lodge and Hostel is a great option. It is located near the San Pedrillo Ranger Station, and also has lodges, and private rooms for booking.

Click to check prices and view availability here

No matter which accommodation option you choose, Corcovado National Park promises awe-inspiring beauty and unforgettable encounters with its rich biodiversity. Prepare to be captivated by its enchanting landscapes, mesmerising wildlife, and the sheer tranquillity that can only be found within this natural sanctuary which is named as one of the finest by National Geographic!

So that’s a wrap! With so many activities and attractions waiting to be discovered, Drake Bay is truly a paradise for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts alike. 

Tip: Read my Costa Rica itinerary to explore Drake Bay and beyond in 3 weeks!

Pin: Drake Bay Activities 

Things to do in Drake Bay CR



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