Drake Bay, Costa Rica
Resting on the northern side of the Osa Peninsula, Drake Bay (Bahía Drake) is an adventure-seeker's paradise. It is named after Sir Francis Drake, who is believed to have ventured here in the late 16th century. Travelers here take on some of his adventurous spirit on treks through the primary rainforest.
With scattered hotels and lodges, Drake Bay is the ideal vacation spot for those wishing to relax and escape from it all. If, after you have arrived, you decide that the isolation is too much, the rustic area around the bay provides a plethora of activities at your disposal. These include scuba diving, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, horseback riding, hiking (Corcovado National Park), sport fishing, bird-watching or exploring the miles of deserted picturesque coastline.
The quest to get to Drake Bay is an adventure all by itself. From Palmar Norte, head south 9.3 mi (15 km) towards the town of Sierpe. Taxis and buses, which leave multiple times per day, are both convenient methods for making the connection. Once in Sierpe, you can catch a ride down the Sierpe River (Río Sierpe) with a water taxi or a boat. The two hour trip down the river may give the impression of how the area was when Sir Francis Drake himself careened his vessel. Closer to the town of Drake Bay, is a small airport with direct 45-minute flights to and from San Jose, which leave daily.
Access to the bay is possible with the help of a dirt road during the dry season, however, some of the most memorable and scenic spots can only be reached by boat. Flooding can cause the road leading to Drake to be impossible to pass, so depending on the season, your rental car may not be able to venture past Sierpe. River taxis are the most common form of transportation and give vacationers a lift to the bay for a fairly modest price.
Drake Bay is located 20 mi (32 km) southwest of Palmar. The closest entrance to Corcovado National Park is San Pedrillo, positioned to the south 10 mi (16 km) along the palm lined, shimmering coastline. After paying an entrance fee, hikers can wander in wonder among the various trails that wind throughout the protected park, discovering for themselves why this area, rich in rain forest and wildlife, is so amazing. The most common day tour into Corcovado National Park from Drake Bay is to the Sirena Biological Station and is about a 1 hour boat ride.
Two protected zones abut Corcovado National Park to the southwest of Drake. Protecting an assortment of beach and tropical forest, the 1,235 acre (500 ha) Punta Río Claro National Wildlife Refuge (Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Punta Río Claro) occupies the hills south of the small town of Agujitas. Further south along the coast is the Campanario Biological Reserve (Reserva Biológica Campanario), which offers courses in Neotropical Ecology and very rustic accommodations.
Drake Bay provides a wonderful base to explore the uninhabited Caño Island (Isla del Caño) and the Caño Island Biological Reserve (Reserva Biológica Isla del Caño). One of the most popular and pristine snorkeling locations in the area, the island has remnants from an ancient civilization that carved stone spheres dating back to pre-Columbian eras. The reserve makes up 740 acres (300 ha) of beautiful protected land with trails allowing you to explore this sacred anomaly. Its beaches are frequently visited by Olive Ridley Sea Turtles, who venture ashore to lay their eggs on the sandy beaches. Just offshore, whales and dolphins like to congregate in the temperate waters. Many tours to the island are available from Drake, as the island sits about 10 miles (16 km) offshore.
Currently no ATM or bank exisits in Drake Bay.