WHAT TO DO IN DRAKE BAY
Drake Bay Backpackers tours and custom packages are the best ways to experience Corcovado and the surrounding environments. We can organize San Pedrillo and Sirena Day Trips, Multi-Day Adventures, Cano Island Snorkeling and Diving, Horseback Riding, Whale and Dolphin Watching and much more.
Once you arrive in the village, nature surrounds you. Drake Bay is the kind of place where you could swing in a hammock all day and still see more amazing wildlife than almost anywhere else in the world. But to make the experience even better, there are lots of outdoor activities that will show you even more. Here are a few of our favorites:
Corcovado National Park
For those looking to see wildlife, Corcovado is a must. This huge 417 sq. km. (161 sq. mile) area of protected primary and secondary rainforest will awe you with its grandeur. Corcovado is one of the only places in Costa Rica where you can see all four native monkey species and is also home to Central America’s largest land mammal, the Baird’s Tapir.
This 300 hectare (741 acre) uninhabited island is about 16 kilometers (10 miles) from Drake Bay and is known for great snorkeling and scuba diving. Beautiful coral reefs and ledges showcase amazingly large schools of colorful fish. Some people even get lucky enough to spot dolphins, whales, or white-tip reef sharks during their visit.
Drake Bay is one of the best places in the country to strap on a headlamp and go on a night tour. If you thought there was a lot of wildlife to see during the day, you’ll be amazed at what you can see when the sun goes down. Frogs, insects, snakes, and sleeping birds are just a few examples.
Sierpe River Mangroves
A spectacular half-day boat tour of the protected Terraba-Sierpe Mangroves. Primarily a bird watching tour, tourists are almost guaranteed to spot heron, egrets, cotingas and osprey in their pristine natural habitat. But there is also a good chance of spotting mammals too, such as agouti and rivers otters, sloths, and reptiles such as caimans, crocodiles and boas.
Sea turtle tour
Our popular 3,000-mile night sea turtle patrol on Drake Beach in El Progreso offers an unforgettable opportunity to see endangered parrot turtles nest or even release offspring at sea. Your expert guide from the local conservation association ACOTPRO will describe how the nesting process works and how the town protects sea turtles.
Hike to Jungla del Jaguar
The coastal trail from Drake Bay to the Corcovado National Park border is a stunning and FREE adventure. We recommend hiking the trail for 4 hours until you hit our sister hostel, The Jaguar's Jungle. There, you can stay the night and take the boat back to Drake the next morning, or you can stay for various days if you'd like. The Lodge/hostel boasts some of the best food in the area as well as the best views from the restaurant.
Corcovado National Park
Duration: 6:30 a.m. at 2:30 p.m.
Explore the mysteries of the rainforest in a land hailed by The National Geographic Society as "one of the most biologically intense places on earth"..
Corcovado National Park was established on October 24th, 1975 by presidential decree during the Daniel Oduber Quirós administration. At this time Corcovado was settled by gold miners and farmers who were eventually relocated by the government in order to protect the flora and fauna of the park.
Today Corcovado protects the largest tract of Pacific Lowland Rainforest in all of Central America and is home to the country’s most endangered animals. Hiking through Corcovado’s impressive forests and experiencing the park’s rich biodiversity is truly memorable and highly recommended.
Drake Bay Backpackers offers a range of exclusive Corcovado tours, exploring the primary jungles of San Pedrillo, the waterfalls at Llorona, and the tapir breeding grounds of Sirena. All tours include bilingual guide, park passes, meals and camping equipment for San Pedrillo overnights.
Corcovado Day Trips
-San Pedrillo $90 per person
-Sirena $90 per person
-Llorona Waterfall $120 per person
Corcovado Overnight Tours
-San Pedrillo Station, 1 Night. $280 per person
-San Pedrillo & Sirena Station, 1 Night $330 per person
-Sirena Station, 1 Night $330 per person
-2 night extreme San Pedrillo & Sirena $565 per person
Caño Island Marine Reserve
Duration: 6:30 a.m. at 2:30 p.m.
Caño Island Biological Reserve encompasses the 200 hectare island and nearly 2700 hectares of the waters surrounding the island. It is located about 45 minutes by boat from Drake Bay.
This ancient island is believed to have emerged from the Pacific about 50-60 million years ago due to the subduction of the Cocos tectonic plate under the Caribbean tectonic plate. This was nearly 40 million years before the Central American Isthmus was formed.
Caño Island was inhabited in Pre-Columbian times by the Diquí tribe and was used as an ancient cemetery for their ruling elite. Caño Island receives more direct lightning strikes than nearly any other site on earth, so it is believed the natives considered it a sacred place.
Artifacts such as pottery and perfectly round spheres were discovered on the island making it an important archaeological site as well as a biological hotspot. Most of the pottery found on Caño Island dates from 220 to 1550 A.D.
Although there are more than 150 tree species on the island, wildlife is scarce and the main attraction is definitely underwater. The waters around Caño Island constitute some of the best diving and snorkeling in Costa Rica, second only to Coco Island.
White-tipped Sharks, Red Snappers, Sea Turtles, Jacks, Parrotfish, Eels and several species of Ray are often spotted during diving and snorkeling trips to the Island.
The boat ride out to Caño Island can be just as exciting as Spotted, Bottle-nosed, Spinner and Common Dolphins are often encountered along the way. Humpback Whales, Pseudorcas and other whales may be encountered in season.
Swim with an astounding variety of marine life including sharks, rays, sea turtles and huge schools of fish. Tours include lunch, certified bilingual guide, marine park entrance fee, transportation and equipment.
Snorkeling $90 per person
Scuba Diving $135 per person
*Scuba Divers need to be certified unless requesting a discover scuba trip; please contact us for details
WHALE & DOLPHIN WATCHING
Drake Bay is home to 11 species of resident whales and dolphins! Not only that, but we are visited by two huge families of humpback whales each year between July and March. Our inshore tour involves whale and dolphin watching between the hostel and Cano Island and takes approximately 5 hours. Our deep sea trip involves going 30 miles offshore to find the megapods of spinner and bottlenose dolphins, recently featured on Blue Planet 2!
GUIDED NIGHT HIKE
Duration: 7:30 p.m. at 10:30 p.m.
Experience the jungle in a completely different light. Take a guided hike on our private trails to search for all manner of night creatures including frogs, kinkajous, tapirs, snakes, opossums, bats, owls, skunks and innumerable insects. Our spotlights are perfect for viewing and photographing, and rubber boots are also provided.
-$35 per person
An adventure through primary and secondary mountainous forests containing giant trees, exotic fruits and poisonous frogs. The tour ends with a visit to a picturesque waterfall. Our knowledgeable local guide brings horses to the hostel to depart directly from our front yard.
-$60 per person
Sierpe River Mangroves
Duration: 6:30 a.m. at 2:30 p.m.
A spectacular half-day boat tour (wet landings) of the protected Terraba-Sierpe Mangroves. Primarily a bird watching tour, tourists are almost guaranteed to spot heron, egrets, cotingas and osprey in their pristine natural habitat. But there is also a good chance of spotting mammals too, such as agouti and rivers otters and reptiles such as caimans, crocodiles and boas.
-$120 per person
Chocuaco Lagoon & Trail
Chocuaco lagoon & Trail
A unique and spectacular canoe trip through Chocuaco Lagoon, one of Osa’s largest wetland systems and best kept secrets. The lake is surrounded by a panorama of virgin mountain forest and is a refuge for water birds and wild flowers. The trip includes an opportunity to try some traditional artisanal fishing while on the lake. From here, guests can explore the jungle surrounding the lagoon, discover the secrets and historical context of important trees and medicinal plants that are along the trail, and have the opportunity to try some seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Price: $ 70 per person
Sea Turtle Tour
Duration: 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. (August-November only)
Our popular 3,000-mile night sea turtle patrol on Drake Beach in El Progreso offers an unforgettable opportunity to see endangered parrot turtles nest or even release offspring at sea. Your expert guide from the local conservation association ACOTPRO will describe how the nesting process works and how the town protects sea turtles
Witness, admire and delight in a good song and dance performed by the tropics most stunning birds.
Boasting more than 860 recorded bird species, Costa Rican forests are alive with color and song.
Both the novice and professional alike will find it is a fine stage for observing prized species such as the Resplendent Quetzal, the Scarlet Macaw, or the Keel-billed Toucan.
Some of the rainforest’s greatest spectacles involve birds and will fascinate even the most casual observer.
Drake Bay and Corcovado National Park offers Costa Rica’s best representation of Pacific Lowland Rainforest species. Here primeval forests spill onto pristine beaches giving it the feel of a land forgotten by time.
Nearly 400 species of birds have been recorded here, making any bird watching trip a truly exciting venture. Ornate Hawk-Eagles, Black-and-white Hawk-Eagles and other large raptors make their home in Drake Bay and in Corcovado National Park.
Other species include: White-throated Shrike-Tanagers, Little Tinamous, Bare-throated Tiger-Herons, Great Curassows, Crested Guans, White Hawks, Double-toothed Kites, Marbled Wood-Quails, Scarlet Macaws, Mealy Parrots, Baird’s Trogons, Chestnut-mandibled Toucans, Fiery-billed Aracaris, White-necked Puffbirds, Rufous-tailed Jacamars, Red-capped Manakins, and all three species of Honeycreepers. This is also a great place to see the endemic Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager, which occurs only on the Osa Peninsula.
-$35 per person
Flexible departure times
Visit Corcovado Canopy Tour for a fantastic two hour experience packed with excitement and adventure through the treetops of the Osa Peninsula.
Corcovado Canopy Tour is locally owned and operated and has been offering tourists this unique experience since 2007. Corcovado Canopy Tour provides visitors with a birds eye view of the forest and offers guests a glimpse into regions of the forest seldom seen by most: the canopy. Come face to face with monkeys, toucans, macaws and other arboreal creatures and observe them in their own habitat while immersed in the layer of the forest which holds the most abundance of life.
The tour consists of 13 platforms and 11 cables which take visitors through secondary and primary forest. The highest platform is 30 meters high and the cables range between 190 to 400 meters in length.
Corcovado Canopy Tour is certified by the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism and insured by the National Institute of Insurance. Safety is the first priority on this adventure tour.
Price $ 65
Rio Claro Floating tour
Price: $ 65
Duration: 6:30 a.m. at 2 p.m.
This tour is a truly unique and fun way to explore the stunning rainforest of Rio Claro, San Josecito Beach and Drake Bay. Beginning in the village of Los Planes, the tour includes a walk to a swimming waterfall followed by a float down the river to reach the coast. Lunch at San Josecito Beach and all transportation included.
Environmental Education Lessons
Price: Small donation
Availability depending on schedule
Come to one of our environmental education classes after school and participate in learning with local children! A great activity for families, you will have the opportunity to practice your Spanish, make environmental and cooperative games and learn about the unique natural wonders of the Osa Peninsula, through the eyes of a child. Helena, our environmental educator, asks that you consider bringing something for the children when they participate in the class – any kind of basic implements or art supplies, a snack to share or a small donation.