Drake Bay

Photo © lebrunfo

Travel Guide Central America Costa Rica Drake Bay

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Introduction

A beautiful secluded area, the Drake Bay, also known as Bahía Drake, is located on Osa Peninsula in coastal Costa Rica. It is situated on an off beaten track and can only be accessed by road when the season is dry. Drake Bay is believed to be the most attractive places on the Osa Peninsula. The region is a paradise for explorers and adventurers but may not be most suitable for people looking for pampered or luxurious vacation. The name Drake Bay is given after Sir Francis Drake, who is believed to have stopped here during one of his many expeditions.

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Sights and Activities

Snuggled between the thick tropical Corcovado National Park forest and the shimmering waters of Bahía Drake, rest the two small towns of Agujitas and Drake. Agujitas is the main town of Drake Bay and has a small population of 1,000 people. Visitors can explore kilometres of endless stunning coastline with sandy inlets and rocky crags. There is very little development and infrastructure outside the town except for the tiny airstrip and well used dirt roads.

Although the Drake Bay area is isolated there are lots of things to see and do here. As most of the region is made up of tropical rainforest, there is abundance of wildlife. You can hear the Howler Monkeys’ bellowing and Scarlett Macaws squawking almost every morning. Corcovado National Park is one of the key features of Bahia Drake and the wildlife sanctuary fills almost one third of the peninsula. It is recognized as among the biggest and most immaculate parks in Costa Rica. The National Park is one of the few such areas still remaining on the coast of the Pacific. Eco-tourism is the key economy of the region.

If you love the ocean, there are many types of aquatic adventures waiting for you at Drakes Bay. Only about 20 kilometres off the Osa Peninsula coast, Isla del Cano offers amazing underwater visibility with a variety of marine life rarely seen in any other part of the world in one place. The biological reserve of Isla del Cano is perhaps the most thrilling spots on the globe for snorkelling and scuba diving. Divers claim to see sharks as well as pilot humpback whales, tuna, sea turtles, manta rays, moray eels, stingrays etc in the waters here. It is quite easy to arrange trips to Isla del Cano from Drakes Bay.

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Weather

The weather here is pleasant all through the year and visitors need to pack appropriate clothes and gear.

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By Plane

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Fly in to the Drake Bay Airport with Nature Air (Pavas Airport) or Sansa (Juan Santamaria Airport) from San José. Fly in to Palmar Sur with Nature Air or Sansa from San José, take a taxi or bus to Sierpe, take a boat down the river to Drake Bay. Your hotel can make arrangements for you. If you fly you will be limited to 15 kg of luggage.

In the dry season the very rough road from San José may be passable all the way to Drake Bay, or at least to Sierpe.

By Bus

Take the TRACOPA Bus from San José to Palmar Norte, from there you can take a collective taxi or bus to Sierpe where boats leave twice daily (except October) to Agujitas (them main town in Drake Bay).

From Puerto Jiménez: Take a bus to La Palma and from there there is a bus twice daily (depending on the rain) to Agujitas. The bus leaves around 11:00 and 16:00.

By Car

Only 4x4! Head south on the Inter-American Highway at the gas station in Chacarita (fill up your tank!) turn right and follow the signs. Before you cross the first bridge at Rincón de Osa turn right again. From there it's a gravel road and you will have to pass several rivers. If you are not sure about the depth wade through first and if it's ok, drive slowly and steady downriver through it. Not recommended in the rainy season: if it starts raining you can get stuck in Drake. Leave your car at Las Vegas Restaurant in Sierpe instead and take the boat.

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Getting Around

On foot.

For tours, transportation is usually by boat and can be arranged through your hotel.

You can ask people to give you a ride or pay a collective taxi to the location of your choice (almost anybody who has a car is also a taxi driver.)

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Eat

It is best to eat at your hotel. There are not many restaurants in the small town of Drake Bay. There is a bar on the hill (called "la gorra," or "the cap") that offers a limited menu.

There are several small sodas in Agujitas which offer mostly local food and fresh fish.

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Drink

This is a very small and quiet town.

La Jungla Bar, locally called "Tureca" is a friendly bar which serves good drinks and plays nice music. They have outside balcony with a view right into the rainforest. Across the street you will find Jade Mar, which serves drinks and food.

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Sleep

  • Jinetes de Osa +800 317-0333. In Agujitas, the village of Drake Bay; nine-room lodge; faces black beach; tours; meals; dive and adventure packages.
  • Cabinas Mirador Lodge +506 8836-94-15, +506 8334-44-38. Drake Bay views, amazing sunsets; three meals a day; mid-range; tours; hiking;rustic cabins.
  • Cabinas Las Caletas: On top of steep ridge; views of Drake Bay; cabins; tours; meals; owned by Tico/Swiss couple.
  • Aquila de Osa Inn. Situated in Drake Bay, Aquila de Osa Inn is a picturesque hotel offering guests a chance to enjoy the wonderful experiences of the rain forest including seeing many of Costa Rica's natural wildlife. Rates start from US$165 a night.
  • La Paloma Lodge is a pricy but charming eco-lodge.
  • Amaya Family Cabins (near northern border of Corcovado National Park). Local Tico-owned and -operated eco-resort on the beachfront portion of the Amaya family farm (37 hectares).
  • Rio Drake Lodge, El Progreso. At the airport in front of the beach, best sunsets!
  • Tesoro Verde Hostel, Los Planes. You can cook your own, have all included or camp. Free use of private rainforest reserve.

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Keep Connected

Internet

It's easy to find internet access, and although you can still can find a lot of internet cafes, wifi is growing fast in the country. The further away you get from San Jose, the slower and more expensive it becomes when you are using an internet cafe. Wifi is generally free of charge at most places though and apart from off the beaten track parks, jungles and mountains, the connection generally is ok. Some internet cafés also offer international calls via either phone or IP using services like Skype.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

  • The country calling code to Costa Rica is 506.
  • To make an international call from Costa Rica, the code is 00.

There are plenty of phone booths around and you will get the best rate using a pre-paid international card (can often be purchased in internet cafés and other small stores). There is usually a connection fee making short calls extra expensive. International calls are fairly expensive. The cheapest way to make them is over the internet using a service such as Skype at an Internet café. But making short calls using the domestic calling cards (you can make international calls using these but the denominations of the calling cards are quite small so your call will be short!) or the international calling cards available within Costa Rica (all from the government phone monopoly ICE) is the next best deal.

Those travelling with a mobile phone and willing to pay the roaming costs should ensure it supports 1,800 MHz GSM network. Note that the GSM phone systems in the United States and Canada use different frequencies and that travelers from there will need a "world" handset, such as a tri-band or quad-band phone, if you want to use your existing cell phone. If you want to use a local Costa Rica number, you can rent cell phone service, and of course anyone can buy a cell phone. If you have an unlocked cell phone (either one from home or bought in Costa Rica - all cell phones sold in Costa Rica must be unlocked), prepaid (prepago) SIM cards can provide a local number and service can be purchased throughout the country by anyone with a passport from any country. Try using companies like Grupo ICE under the Kölbi brand, TuYo Movil, Movistar and Claro.

Post

Correos de Costa Rica (website in Spanish only) is the national postal services of Costa Rica. You can find post offices (correos) in almost any city and town and they are generally open from 7:30am to 5:30pm or 6:00pm Monday to Friday and 7:30am to noon on Saturdays. There are not that many mailboxes, so it's best to ask your hotel or go directly to the post offices. Services tend to be slow but generally reliable and on the whole cheap regarding letters and postcards. It costs about US$0.20 to the USA and Canada (taking about 1 week to 10 days), US$0.25 to Europe (about 2 weeks) and US$0.30 to Asia and Australia (3 weeks or even more). All in all, if you can try and arrange your mail from the capital San José as it's generally quicker from there. Small packages are also no problem, though take them to the post offices unpacked for inspection first! Otherwise, arrange things through private international courier services like UPS, FedEx, DHL or TNT.

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This is version 9. Last edited at 10:39 on Mar 8, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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