Drake Bay in Osa peninsula is one of my favourite places in the world, imagine: limited tourism given its remote location, being surrounded by nature, seeing the jungle meet the sea and everyone is friendly!
I woke up to the sound of scarlet macaws flying over my head everyday and fell asleep to the sound of the surrounding jungle coming alive at night.
If you’re thinking of visiting Costa Rica and not sure which parts to visit, or going back & want to pick a different spot, I have you covered. Drake Bay is a must.
What to do in Drake Bay!?
1. Swim with dolphins and go whale watching
I booked this tour directly with Divinedolphin because of their long term experience and it was incredible! I did this on New Year’s Day and it will be one we remember for life. The peak of activity for both mammals is Sept & Oct, though sitings outside of this will definitely still happen, especially with dolphins. Whales begin to arrive late July and leave in late December, so I didn’t see any whales on the trip, though the dolphins more than made up for it. At one point I was surrounded, I jumped in the bluest ocean I’ve ever seen, swimming with them was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done. Cost: $115USD pp
2. Explore the nature rich Corcovado National Park
Described by National Geographic as the most biologically intense place on earth, Corcovado National Park holds 500 species of trees, 367 species of birds, 140 species of mammals, 117 species of amphibians, 40 species of fresh water fish – all of those and counting! Quite simply it’s an incredible place. I did a day trek there through Pachecotours, there’s also options for an overnight or multi day trek. You’ll spot wildlife here in abundance, monkeys, birds, taypiers, sloths and maybe even pumas & alligators! The trail is also accesible for many people, it’s not a hard trek. Cost: $90USD pp (day trek) / $335USD pp (overnight)
3. Find alien creatures on a night time bug tour
One of my absolute favourite trips during the stay in Drake Bay. I did this tour directly with Tracie the bug lady & I highly recommend you do the same. The jungle in Costa Rica comes alive at night and you’d never realise how much amazing wildlife is there until going on a tour like this. Expect spiders, snakes, bats, frogs, insects, possums and incredible stories of how each creature has adapted to their environment. Cost: $40USD pp
4. Swim with bioluminescent plankton
This has been on my life goals list for a long time and Costa Rica is one of the places you can do it. Imagine getting in the sea at night and seeing plankton light up fluorescent blue with every stroke you take. Whilst it wasn’t exactly as I expected (I had visions of being surrounded by milky blue light) it was still a worthwhile experience. Make sure you do this around a new moon. I booked this trip through Pachecotours. Cost: $15USD pp
5. Day hike the beach trek along Drake Bay
If you have a spare day in Drake Bay (which we recommend you plan for), this is a must do. Walking along this 10km trail (20km in total) is such an adventure, beach after beach all to yourself, each one is more beautiful than the last. Getting up early will secure your chance to see wildlife waking up and going to hunt for food before the sun heats things up. Follow the trail along to San Josito beach & back (or catch a boat back). Remember suncream & plenty of water & snacks. Cost: Free
6. Make sure you visit the beach outside of tour times
Your likely to spend a lot of time doing organised tours at Drake Bay, which generally all leave & return at the same time. This means you only see the beach when it’s busy with boats and people, though don’t be left with that impression. Make sure you head to the beach outside of these tour times, when everyone’s out and you will see it for the beauty that it is. Cost: Free
7. Snorkel or dive at the amazing Caño island
Caño island in known for its incredible variety of marine life, it’s also protected in order to preserve its beauty, making snorkelling & diving here one of the best places in Costa Rica and I agree! I booked the tour with Pachecotours and visited 2 snorkel sites during the trip, spotting so many types of fish, coral and turtles. Depending on the time of year it’s also possible to see rays and reef sharks. Cost:$80USD pp (snorkelling) / $135USD pp (diving)
8. Eat at Claudio’s grill
As you can imagine, there weren’t many vegan options in Drake Bay, though Claudio’s grill was a god send for us & meat eaters a like. They light a new grill everyday, so whether it be freshly caught fish by local fisherman (not huge ships) or vegan curry, the food here is great! Cost: ££-£££
9. Watch scarlet macaws flying above you
These beautiful birds aren’t hard to miss by sight or by sound. You’re likely to hear them scwarking in the morning as they set off to work for the day. When you hear the sound, look up & you will see their stunning red feathers. Always travelling in pairs and with sightings of around 20-30 per day, I absolutely loved watching these creatures and found it so relaxing. Cost: Free
10. Factor in relaxation time
Many people who come to Drake Bay end up arriving, cramming in tours and then heading off. Whilst this is ok if you’re short for time, I recommend giving yourself at least 2 days outside of tours & travel days to just relax and take in all that Osa Peninsula has to offer. Cost: Free
That’s Drake Bay… has it made you want to visit? It’s one of my absolute favourite travel places, you can just unwind and be fully surrounded by nature. It’s the complete opposite to city life, with all emphasis on the beauty of what’s around you. A phrase I saw on the side of a local wooden boat summed it up nicely… ‘Live Simple, Live Good’.
If you have any questions on Drake Bay, including how to get there or booking tours just message or WhatsApp me and I’ll help you out.