How to get to Drake Bay from Sierpe, San José and Uvita by bus and boat

Are you traveling through Costa Rica and planning to go to Drake Bay from Sierpe, San José or Uvita/Dominical/Quepos by bus, boat/boat or plane?

👉 Bellow, you’ll find a description step by step the transportation to get to Drake Bay, the prices, some tips so you don’t get lost along the way and where to stay in Drake.

Guía para llegar a Bahía Drake

  1. How to get to Drake Bay
    • can you get there by car?
    • from Sierpe + schedule and price
    • from San Jose
    • from Uvita/Dominical/Quepos
  2. Tours and activities in Costa Rica
  3. Where to stay in Drake Bay
  4. What to do and see in Drake Bay y ver en Bahía Drake
  5. Is it a safe place to travel?
  6. Eating Vegan in Costa Rica

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.


If you’re not a citizen, here you can check the ✅REQUIREMENTS and get the VISA, and so you can travel peacefully without worrying about your health and safety, here you’ll find a 💥 TRAVEL INSURANCE. And don’t forget to get 🏠10€/10$ DISCOUNT on ACCOMODATION!


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!

How to get to Drake Bay

Although a little away from everything, Drake Bay is well connected to the main points of the Costa Rican geography. It has access by land and by sea, but depending on the weather and where you come from, one option or the other will be better for you.

Below I describe how to get to Drake Bay by car, plane, bus and transfer from the Pacific area, San José and Sierpe; and a little further down you will find information to decide where it is best for you to stay and what you can do in this beautiful place.

How to get to drake bay by car

Drake Bay has two entrances: one by sea and one by land. If you go by car, you will have to decide depending on the type of cars you drive and how loaded the rivers are.

  • By land: you can drive to the point I marked on the map, and there turn off and go along the road called Rincón. The road that leads to Drake Bay is not well paved and you will have to cross 4 different rivers to get there; Keep in mind that their depth will depend on whether you arrive in the dry or rainy season.
  • By sea: you must drive to the Sierpe pier and take the boat to Drake Bay. You can park at one of the restaurants for a reasonable price (approximately $5 per day).

Recommendation: contact the hotel a few days before, so that they can tell you what the conditions are and advise you (it is recommended to make the journey in a 4×4 off-road vehicle).

HOW TO GET to drake bay FROM Sierpe

In Sierpe is the pier to go to Drake Bay. Right there, you will find different bars and restaurants to have a drink or eat while you wait for the boat to leave. There are scheduled departures from Sierpe twice a day from Monday to Sunday, and the journey takes 1 hour.

When you are there, you will see that the price is more expensive for foreigners than for people from the country; It is always like this, they are not changing the price for you or for the tourists you are traveling with in particular.

boat schedule and prices

The boat has a general stop at Playa Colorada, but it also reaches other beaches that are a little further away (such as Caletas or San Josecito). Remember to comment before boarding the ship and contact your hotel to ask.

11:30h – 15$

15:30h – 20$

HOW TO GET to drake bay FROM San José

If you leave from San José you will have more options to choose from. You can make the journey by bus, transfer or plane. I tell you the different methods in detail:

by plane

Bahía Drake has its own airport, and there are regular flights from the Juan Santamaría airport. This method of transportation is especially useful to save time, or if you have a flight arriving in Costa Rica and want to go directly to Drake Bay without having to spend the night in San José.

The flight takes 50 minutes to arrive and you have to be at the airport 1 hour before the scheduled departure time. When you arrive at the Drake Bay airport, you will have to take a taxi to get to Playa Colorada, the journey costs about $10.

👉 Check the flight prices from San José to Bahía Drake

TRANSFER

The minibus takes you directly from your hotel in San José to your reserved accommodation in Drake Bay. The journey lasts 6 hours and is more comfortable than going by bus, since you save yourself having to change.

👉 Transfer prices from San José to Bahía Drake

by bus

– Direct bus: at 8:30 in the morning a direct bus leaves from San José to Sierpe. You must go to the Tracopa bus terminal, which is located in Plaza Viquez (between Calle 5 and Avenida 20).

The trip lasts approximately 6 hours and 30 minutes, this will allow you to arrive in Sierpe with time to eat something relaxed, and wait for the boat to leave at 3:30 p.m., which will cost you $20 to Playa Colorada. Remember that if you go to another beach you have to ask the hotel first; and, before boarding, indicate your destination to the people who take care of the boat.

– Bus for Palmar Norte: first you have to go to the Tracopa terminal and get on the bus that goes to Palmar Norte (it takes about 5 hours to get there). From Palmar Norte you should go to Sierpe and take the boat there. In this link, you have all the information related to these last two steps.

how to get to drake bay from UVITA, Dominical & Quepos (boat + bus)

Going from Uvita, Dominical or Quepos to Drake Bay is quite simple, but you have to make some transfers by bus and then take a boat at the Sierpe pier. Here are the steps for you to arrive safe and sound:

1. from Uvita/Dominical/Quepos to Palmar Norte

In all 3 cases you will have to start by taking the bus that goes along the coastal road to Palmar Norte. The bus has stops at different points in Palmar Norte, and it is better to look at the map or ask before getting off to be sure. The ticket will cost you 1600 CRC.

If you go to Drake Bay, you can choose to get off at one of these 2 stops:

  • the stop where all the taxi drivers are waiting for tourists to take them to Sierpe to catch the boat (it’s super easy to recognize, when the bus doors open you’ll hear: “taxiiii, taxiii”)
  • you can also get off where the bus stop that goes to Sierpe is.

2. from Palmar Norte to Sierpe

Bus: the cheapest option is to go by bus, but there are timetables (ask at the hotel), few buses run and you will surely have to wait.

The bus from Palmar Norte to Sierpe costs 375 CRC and takes 40 minutes to get there.

Taxi: personally I recommend you go by taxi, since it is immediate and, although you arrive early in Sierpe and have to wait for the boat to leave, the landscape is more beautiful: you can have a drink while you see the river, the parrots and maybe some crocodile

The taxi will cost you about $5 and, if you want to save, you can try to share expenses with other tourists. As you can see, for the difference in price it is not worth going by bus.

Personal experience: I decided to take the bus because I thought they would pass more often, and because I got angry with the only taxi driver in the area because he kept chasing me around town like a stalker. If I went back, I wouldn’t risk having to wait at the stop and go by taxi.

3. from Sierpe to drake bay

Here comes the fun part, the one-hour boat ride. The views are beautiful: a lot of mangroves, the mouth of the river and the views of the beaches from the sea.

The boat stops at Playa Colorada, which is where more people usually get off, but it also reaches other more remote beaches (ask the hotel and talk to the people who take the boat beforehand to make sure).

The trip is a bit expensive for foreigners: the price of the boat at 11:30 am is $15 and the one at 3:30 pm is $20, but visiting Drake Bay is worth it! You can do the return by bus to La Palma to see Puerto Jiménez and it will be cheaper.

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.

Waterproof windbreaker

vegan+ environment commitment

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.

👉 Price for MAN and for WOMAN

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

vegan + environment commitment

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.

👉 Price for MAN and for WOMAN

Where to stay in Drake Bay

The tourist center of Drake Bay is located in Playa Colorada. There are different hotels and hostels, two supermarkets and a restaurant to eat. Although there is everything you need for day to day, the offer in restaurants is not very extensive either.

The only place where you are not allowed to stay is Isla del Caño; since it is a biological reserve and there are no hotels on the island itself.

Staying at Colorada Beach

  • In the case of Drake Bay, I think the only reason it’s worth staying near the tourist area is if you need a supermarket nearby.
  • In addition, it has the disadvantage that most of the accommodations are not located on the beach itself but on a road that goes uphill (it is ugly).

Staying at another beach

If you want to spend just a few days in the area, I think it is a much better option to stay on any other beach, where you will be calmer and have the sea right in front of you.

A location in the center of the path will be very practical for shorter trekkings and to be able to visit the beaches of the path unhurriedly

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.

Tours in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a country with a wide variety of fauna and nature. You can visit volcanoes, natural parks, towering waterfalls, sunbathe on the beach, kayak,…

I’ll list some of the activities and tours you can enjoy during your trip:

WHAT to do in Drake Bay

The main attraction of Drake Bay and its surroundings are the paradisiacal beaches, the fauna, and scuba diving and snorkeling. I will tell you about some of the places and activities that you cannot miss during your stay.

Cocolito beach

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.

Caletas beach

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.

Caño island

Isla del Caño is a protected park that is located just off the coast of Drake Bay.

Tours are organized for snorkeling (70 $US) and diving (2 dives for 135 $US) and a short stop is made on the island. The seascape is very beautiful, it is full of towering columns of coral.

Warning: it is not a type of snorkel that I would recommend for people who are afraid of deep water, since you will be swimming in the open sea and the depth is about 10m.

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 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.

  1. 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.
  2. Before going on a tour that includes a meal, always mention that you are vegan or vegetarian, so that they can adapt the food.
  3. 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.

I hope you have a great time in Drake Bay and Costa Rica, and have a great trip!