Are you going to visit Drake Bay and want to go hiking to see its beaches? The trail follows the entire coast, and you can even see waterfalls and participate in the release of sea turtles.
I’ll tell you what to do and how to get there, as well as where to stay and some practical tips
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The Trail in Drake Bay (Costa RIca)
If you are planning a trip to Costa Rica (👉COSTA RICA GUIDE), you should know that it is a country characterized by the beauty of its beaches, mountains, volcanoes and the diversity of its wildlife.
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Drake Bay is an inaccessible destination located in the south of Costa Rica. Its main attraction is its wild and incredibly preserved beaches. It is a perfect destination if you are passionate about the sun, the sea, wildlife and hiking, and especially if you are looking for a little adventure!
In addition, Drake Bay is one of the best known accesses (along with Puerto Jiménez) to visit the CORCOVADO National Park.
In Drake Bay itself you can also go on a night hiking or watch birds in their natural environment. Without forgetting about SNORKELING in Isla del Caño and, for the most daring, you can go DIVING between columns of corals!
Bahía Drake Public Trail
The Drake Bay trail begins at Playa Colorada and reaches San Pedrillo following the entire coast.
If you decide to do a bit of hiking, the path will guide you through different very beautiful beaches: some are small and hidden, others long and with bits of coral or cozy and with wooden swings.
Most of the way is through the jungle area, the road is covered by trees and although the temperatures are high when walking through the shade it makes the excursion more pleasant.
The trail is completely public and can be visited without having to pay an entrance fee or hire a guide.
Warning!: If you travel with the dog, you have to know that sometimes the monkeys get a little aggressive and they may try to attack it.
Wildlife on the trail
Different animals can be seen, although not very often, since the path is a bit crowded (nothing exaggerated, there are no queues and you will find few people) and they tend to go deeper.
If you want to see the fauna explicitly, I recommend that you take a tour or visit Caño Island to appreciate the aquatic life.
The days I went along the trail, I could see a beautiful sloth at eye level, otters, monkeys, birds and snakes (some are totally lethal, so it’s better not to get close to take the photo).
Once the presentations are made, I’ll show you a photo and tell you a little more.
The Drake Bay Suspension Bridge
One of the coolest parts of the trail was the hanging bridge at the beginning of the trail, it’s so much fun and I loved it; also in that area there are otters bathing happily. You’re going to feel like Indiana Jones running across the bridge.
Even if it sways a bit, the suspension bridge is safe and not very far above the river; although you should take it easy if you are afraid of bridges or heights.
Si vas siguiendo el sendero, te encontrarás inevitablemente con Río Claro. Allí hay un refugio donde cuidan y protegen a las tortugas marinas de la zona, y hacia las 4 o 5 de la tarde las liberan.
También aceptan voluntarios que quieran trabajar y aprender sobre las tortugas, a cambio de alojamiento y/o comida.
Organizan tours en barca que suben por el río hasta algunas de las cascadas cercanas, y usan los ingresos para sustentar el refugio; así que será un dinero bien invertido.
Means of transport in the trail
It can be reached on foot by following the coast along the path, and the level of difficulty is low, since the terrain is flat and the path is well marked.
If what you want is to do the path calmly, and enjoy the beaches that you find along the way, I recommend that you take the boat that leaves from Playa Colorada and arrives at San Josecito, and from there you make the return journey little by little. little bit.
They have stipulated times to come and go (ask at the hotel or at Playa Colorada). The one way will cost you about 10$US and the whole journey is about 20$US.
How long does it take to walk the trail?
The tour can be done in one day, but personally I think it’s too much because it doesn’t let you really enjoy the landscape. I would personally cut it into 3 segments.
- The first segment would run from Playa Colorada to near the Río Claro National Park area.
- The second day I would take a little boat that takes you directly to San Josecito beach and from there I would visit the surroundings (there are wild horses!).
- Then, I would spend a couple of days in San Pedrillo to enjoy that calmer and less touristy area (there is a boat that goes directly there).
This, for me, would be the ideal plan and also super relaxed. You don’t have to do it on consecutive days, you can alternate with other activities such as going snorkeling on Caño Island.
How to get to Drake Bay
The road to Drake Bay is a bit long and you can do it by bus, plane (only from San José), transfer or car.
How to get to Dake Bay from SAN JOSÉ
You can get to Drake Bay from San José in three ways: TRANSFER (👉 PRICES), plane and bus. The journey by road takes about 6 hours and 30 minutes; and, if you decide to go by air, the flight lasts 50 minutes.
Here you will find detailed information on how to get to Drake Bay from San José, Sierpe and Manuel Antonio.
How to get to Drake Bay from PUERTO JIMÉNEZ
You have two ways to make the journey from Puerto Jiménez to Drake Bay and vice versa: by TRANSFER (👉PRICES) or by bus.
In the case of the transfer, you can do the tour in two hours. If you choose to go by bus, the journey will be longer, since you will have to change at La Palma.
Here you will find detailed information to get to Drake Bay from Puerto Jiménez.
Tours and activities in Drake Bay
In Bahia Drake, there is a wide variety of tours and activities available for all tastes and ages, from hiking in the rainforest to diving in the crystal-clear waters of the Pacific. Explore the unique fauna and flora of the region and learn about the culture and history of Bahia Drake.
Where to stay in Drake Bay
The Bahía Drake tourist hub is situated in Colorada Beach and has a variety of hotels and hostels, as well as two supermarkets and a few restaurants to choose from. Although there’s enough to cover daily essentials, the dining options aren’t exactly extensive.
Staying on Isla del Caño is prohibited, as it is a nature reserve and doesn’t offer any accommodation on the island.
Staying at Colorada Beach
Regarding Bahía Drake, I believe the only compelling reason to stay near the tourist zone is if you need to have access to a nearby supermarket.
Furthermore, one disadvantage is that the majority of accommodations are not located on the beach, but rather on an uphill road that’s not visually appealing.
JINETES DE OSA HOTEL (👉price) boasts a prime location with direct beach access and rooms offering sea views. It comes with a complimentary buffet breakfast and massage services, ensuring a relaxing stay.
JACAMAR (👉price) is a hotel close to the restaurants area and has the added convenience of free private parking. It provides massage services and rooms with private balconies, ensuring a comfortable stay.
SUKIA (👉price) is a hostel that only offers shared dorms and is surrounded by nature. It has a hammock area for socializing and relaxation, as well as a small restaurant for mealtime enjoyment.
Staying at another beach
If you’re only planning on staying in the area for a few days, I believe it’s a better option to choose another beach where you can experience a more relaxed atmosphere, immerse yourself in nature, and have the ocean right in front of you.
Staying in the center of the trail will be extremely convenient for shorter hikes, allowing you to explore the beaches along the trail at a more leisurely pace.
At OCEAN FOREST ECOLODGE (👉price), you’ll be staying in charming wooden cabins located right on Rincón de San Josecito beach. The property boasts a garden and a restaurant that serves up local cuisine, as well as a variety of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options.
SUNSET TUCANO LODGE (👉price) features cabins with breathtaking views of the sea and comfortable hammocks for you to relax in. The room rate includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and parking is provided for free.
BELLA VISTA CORCOVADO (👉price)) is situated on the gorgeous Rincón beach and offers accommodation that includes a garden, free private parking, and a bar with amazing views of the bay.
GITANA HOTEL (👉price) is the perfect place to rest and relax and it also features a restaurant serving delicious meals. The rooms come with a terrace or sea views, allowing you to enjoy a surroundings close to nature.
LIFE FOR LIFE (👉price) is also the home of a sea turtle conservation project on San Josecito Beach. It offers options for private rooms and shared dorms and has a restaurant serving local food.
CORCOVADO JUNGLE HOSTEL (👉price) is a unique place in the middle of nature, located right next to Caletas Beach and has its own restaurant. It offers options for 2-person camping tents and shared dorms.
Useful stuff for your trip to Costa Rica
Below, you will find some products that will be very useful during your trip to Costa Rica.
In addition, the options that I recommend are committed to the environment/social causes and are vegan.
Carrying a waterproof windbreaker in your suitcase is essential in case temperatures drop, it rains unexpectedly, or to go hiking.
When traveling, it’s important to choose a jacket that is lightweight, takes up little space and that you can use in different situations; that is to say, that transpires, is waterproof and has a hood to protect you properly from bad weather.
Gopro 11 Black
The GOPRO 11 (👉 PRICE) is a great choice if you are visiting natural areas, practicing adventure sports or want to make videos underwater, e.g. while scuba diving or snorkeling.
In addition, with its stabilization and Horizon Lock function, it will allow you to make incredibly stable videos even in adverse situations (such as walking, running or riding a motorcycle). In addition, it comes with an amazing 5.3k image quality.
👉 GOPRO 11 PRICE + specs
3-in-1 hiking shoes
These La Sportiva shoes are designed to run in the mountains, thanks to this you can use them for hiking, go out to run and do tourism ; saving space in your suitcase.
They are made with goretex, which means they protect you from the inclement weather weather (such as rain, ice or cold) and are adherent to the ground. This makes them ideal for traveling due to their versatility.
Best time to visit Drake Bay and Caño Island
Drake Bay is located on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. In this area the seasons are divided into the dry season (from December to April) and the rainy season. With heat peaks between November and March.
If you are interested in snorkeling or diving in Caño Island, the conditions are better during the warm season. Since the rainy season takes place from May to November and the visibility to enjoy the underwater life gets worse.
In order to better decide when to visit Drake Bay, you have to know that the whales arrive in Costa Rica twice a year: from July to November, and from December to March. It is an ideal time to plan your trip and observe these incredible animals in their natural habitat.
Drake Bay Trail Beaches
These are some of the beaches that you will find along the path. Apart from these, there are many more. Both small and a little hidden and long and full of palm trees.
Playa Cocolito is one of the beaches on the trail, and it’s pretty quiet. It is divided in two by a small stone wall and provides a little more privacy.
There is a grassy area to lie down where people usually gather, and it has a hotel where you can spend the night.
Playa Caletas seemed to me to be one of the best beaches in Drake Bay, and although it has a hotel on the beach itself, it is not at all noisy, but you can easily find yourself alone.
It is super neat and tidy, and you can peacefully swing on a wooden swing while admiring the views. When I went, I could see two eagles trying to catch a pelican with no luck.
Playa San josecito
San Josecito beach is located at one of the ends that runs along the coast. It is a good place to have a picnic and rest while hiking. Also, you will find fresh coconuts! (In this link I tell you how to open coconuts with your own hands).
In the area of San Josecito + Rincón de San Josecito there are several accommodations and restaurants where you can eat. Compared to Playa Colorada (the main beach), it is a nicer and quieter option to spend the night.
Is Costa Rica SAFE to Travel?
Costa Rica is a moderately dangerous country, where nothing should happen to you if you go carefully and take precautions. Remember to follow these recommendations:
- In case of robbery, do not resist physically.
- Do not show a high purchasing power, that is, do not go with jewels, bags, etc … that are expensive.
- Be careful if you go out at night, and stay in crowded places where you are surrounded by other people.
- Thefts are usual, so don’t go with the camera or mobile in your hand or hang out of your neck.
- Try to avoid carrying the backpack on the back. Put it in front of you, or use a belt pouch or a cross bag.
Personally, I spent 3 months traveling alone in Costa Rica (I visited San José, Puerto Viejo, Tortuguero, Dominical, Uvita, Bay Drake and Puerto Jiménez) and I did not find myself in any really serious situation.
Going down the street with the camera, several Costa Rican people approached and warned me that they were carefully with robberies, since they told me that they are very frequent.
In my case, during the trip they tried to steal 2 times and, luckily, I realized on time and I could avoid it. In any case, it is always a good idea to have travel insurance (👉5% discount) that can compensate you financially and help you if a medical emergency occurs.
If you are interested in traveling alone, I recommend this article about the reasons and benefits of traveling alone and this other article with tips for traveling alone being a woman. I encourage you to try it since it is a great and very profitable experience for oneself.
Eating VEGAN in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is not a country faced with vegan food. Anyway, they have some traditional dishes that are vegan or that you can ask without egg or sauces such as the pico of rooster (rice with beans for breakfast), black bean soup or rice with vegetables.
You should always ask if the purés or soups are made with some type of dairy product or meat broth, since at first glance they might seem vegan dishes but not be.
In San José you can find some vegan restaurants, but when you leave the capital the offer is very limited or non -existent. Next, I make three recommendations and in this link you can read tips to travel vegan.
- Try to stay in hotels that are characterized by cooking vegan and vegetarian dishes. This is the best option and the most practical for not having to be looking for places where to eat comfortable without always repeating the same dishes.
- Before going on a tour that includes a meal, always mention that you are vegan or vegetarian, so that they can adapt the food.
- Costa Rica is a country where you can find a variety of fresh products (fruits and vegetables) to prepare salads and breakfast with fruits. In any city or town, you will easily find some supermarket or stalls on the street where you can buy groceries.
Have a great time in Drake Bay and enjoy your stay in Costa Rica to the fullest!