Bahía Drake, Costa Rica

Updated: Dec 4, 2019

When we plan our travel we often search for quiet, isolated areas where we can just disconnect; really escape the busy work-a-day world for a while. Research into our upcoming trip to Costa Rica led us to Bahía Drake (Drake Bay).

Bahía Drake is a lush and wild escape, attracting devoted ecotourists. The small bay is situated along the remote Osa Peninsula on Costa Rica’s southwestern coast. It is named after the infamous pirate Sir Francis Drake, who purportedly used the bay as a port in the 16th century. It's even believed - perhaps not surprisingly - that he left hidden treasure there. Whether those stories are true of just apocryphal, Bahia Drake continues to attract adventurous hearts. If you choose to travel by car, the bay is accessible only at certain times of the year, and the trip requires three river crossings passable only by 4x4; and hours of traveling rough, unpaved roads. While we're adventurous, we're not the Land Rover types, so we've opted to fly into Drake Bay’s airstrip. Booking flights on our own proved a challenge, so we turned to for help. They were incredible to work with! Most get to Drake Bay by water taxi from Sierpe, which takes about an hour and a half.

One of the "Bridges" along the road to Drake Bay: shares a photo of one of the river crossings.

The sparsely populated area has towns and villages spread out among thriving rain forests and mangroves. Some describe the area as a veritable Lost World, where the cries of macaws and the wails of howler monkeys fill the air. From all accounts, if you’re not a nature enthusiast this might not be the right place for you. Infrastructure is limited, there are lots of bugs, and everything we read suggested nature will find you even if you don’t go looking for it. It can also rain heavily during the dry season.

All that said, if you are passionate about the natural world, staying in Drake Bay provides easy access to Corcovado National Park, apparently the most bio-diverse ecosystem in the country, and a wide range of nature activities. Of particular note are the large numbers of dolphins and whales off the coasts of Drake Bay. The area boasts the longest humpback whale season in the world, and several different species of dolphin and whale use the area as breeding grounds.

As for amenities, many of the rustic eco-lodges are accessible only by boat or jungle trail. The main town does have some restaurants and bars, a few grocery markets, and some cheaper accommodation options. There are no banks or ATM machines, and some places don’t accept credit cards, so it’s essential to come with plenty of cash. While the vibe here doesn’t cater to those seeking pampering or luxury, it can be expensive. Being so remote, and surrounded by wild rain forests, everything has to be brought into town by boat or plane. Of note, the town has a well-stocked and staffed public medical clinic and a 24/7 private clinic (something we like to note since Anyes broke her arm while navigating a waterfall in Thailand a few years ago).

For our part, and for what we suspect is likely only a first visit, we decided to pamper ourselves with a 6-night all-inclusive package (including tours every day) at the Drake Bay Wilderness Resort. We'll be spending our week in the area hiking, kayaking, walking the beaches, eating (did we mention that we love food), and exploring the town when we can. We are most excited to share our experience and discoveries with fellow adventurers! Join our mailing list to be informed when our detailed Drake Bay blog goes up!


While in the area make sure to stop into the Drake Bay Café to enjoy an amazing view with your dinner.

Two of the most popular places to stay

Aguila de Osa Inn

Lapa Rios Costa Rica

La Paloma Lodge - all inclusive

If you're looking for budget accommodations consider staying with a local family. They provide a rustic, clean private room and shared baths for $24/night:

There's also the Drake Bay Backpacker's Hostel which has bunk room sand 3 private rooms for $43/night. They're located in a small village and give a real taste of Costa Rican rural life.

The Bolita Rainforest Hostel is right on the doorstep of the Corcovado National Park. Near here is the Playa Matapalo, also called Playa Linda, considered on of the area's hidden gems.

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Quepos & Dominical Costa Rica

How saved our trip to Costa Rica

#CostaRica #CentralAmerica #EcoTourism #Nature #DrakeBay

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About Culinary Slut

We are not professional chefs; nor are we professional food reviewers or travel writers. We are, however, food and travel obsessed. Food is more than fuel, and we experience it (whether at home or abroad) through a lens polished by our travel experiences. Food is tradition, history, family, celebration. It brings us together, it reflects the world we live in and where we came from. In many ways, food defines communities and our cultures. It can be creative, joyful and comforting. Food is life.   

We come from humble backgrounds and that allows us to appreciate humble noshing; at the same time
, we have achieved some small measure of success that allows us to travel and gives us access to culinary artistry. We both come from cultures where food is central to community and family and is symbolic of friendship.

A quick word about reviews: you will not find negative reviews on Culinary Slut. While we may poke fun at times, it is as much at ourselves for risking food and travel experiences that are a bit "off the wall" (or the beaten path).  That sometimes leads us to experiences that are a bit less-than-perfect (and that's putting it mildly). But, if we don't like something, we just don't post about it. Instead, we’re here to have fun and share our experiences with you in the hopes that you'll find them as fun and wondrous as we do.

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