A guide to visiting Corcovado and Drake Bay

One of the most beautiful destinations in Costa Rica is without a doubt, Corcovado. It’s located on the pacific coast, all the way South I Costa Rica and people travel here to see the incredible wildlife living in the area. Corcovado is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. Because of its remote location and the limited number of visitors allowed in the reserve each day, it’s well preserved, pristine paradise! Drake Bay is the perfect town to base yourself in when you’d like to explore this area. In this little guide, you’ll find everything you need to know if you plan to visit Drake Bay and Corcovado.

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Drake Bay trail beach

How to get to Drake Bay

If you are coming from San Jose you can take a direct bus to Sierpe. It leaves at 08:30 from ‘Bus Terminal – Tracopa Ltda’. This bus takes 5 to 6 hours and you should make it in time for the 16:00 boat from Sierpe to Drake bay. I bought a bus ticket in advance on the passer app. You can ask your hostel or hotel in Drake bay to make a reservation on the boat for you. The boat takes around 1 hour. Prepare for a wet landing in Drake Bay, so you either have to take your shoes off or wear sandals that can get wet.

Wet landing boat arrival Drake Bay, Costa Rica

What to do in Drake Bay/Corcovado

Overnight tour in Corcovado

Book an overnight tour and not a day tour! Why? The day tours are busy and you miss out on the being in the park during the best times of the day. By staying in the reserve you get the late afternoon when the day tourist have already left and the early morning when they haven’t arrived yet.

The Sirena station is most likely the best option. You have the best chance of seeing a variety of animals at this station. We saw the Tapir, ant eater, three types of monkeys, Ocelot, a macaw among other things. The only thing missing was the elusive puma. There were people that spotted the puma at the San Pedrillo station, but they’re not too fond of too many humans around, so they also left the area quickly. If you have the time and money you can include both stations in your trip to Corcovado. I went with Nativo’s and paid €320 for the 2 day overnight tour to the Sirena station.

Book in advance! The spots to stay in the Sirena station tend to fill up quickly. 

Ant eater corcovadoTapir Corcovado Costa Ricawildlife Corcovado

Hike the drake bay trail

Starting from Drake bay (Playa Colorada), there’s a stunning trail through the jungle that runs along the coast.  It ends in Playa San Josecito and takes about 2 to 3 hours. You’ll see countless pretty beaches that are basically empty. I’d highly recommend starting early in the day and taking your beach stuff to enjoy some time on one of these secluded beaches. You’ll likely see Macaws and monkeys on the way as well. If you only want to walk 1 way, go early and try to get to San Josecito before 12:00. Most of the time you’ll be able to catch a ride back on one of the boats stopping there for lunch or dropping off other tourists. They charge different rates and you may have to negotiate a bit, but it should be around 5000 colones.

beach drake bay costa rica Drake bay trailDrake Bay Trail Beach, Corcovado

Hike through the river to the Naguala waterfall

After the expensive tour, I was happy to find an activity I could do for free. You can hike through the river to the Naguala waterfall. The hike takes about an hour and you’ll wade through the river. It was never had to go deeper then knee-deep, but I had to search for the parts of the river that where the shallowest. I did do the hike during dry season, so please keep that in mind!

To get to the trailhead you take the road uphill from Drake Bay towards Rio Agujitas Farm. You’ll reach a sandy trail going to the river with steps fortified with sandbags. You’ll reach the river and you have to cross it and walk into it. You have to follow the river bank and quickly you’ll reach a junction and that is where you turn left. You follow to river for quite a while. Near the end you’ll see a muddy jungle track on your left. It’s easy to miss, so you have to pay attention.  The river gets deeper from there so if you do miss it, turn back until you see it. I’ll include a picture of what it looks like below.

Naguala waterfall trail
The entrance to the jungle track

Naguala waterfall trail drake bayNaguala waterfall Costa Rica

Do a night tour

At night you get to experience the beautiful surroundings of drake bay in a completely different way. Frogs, snakes and other interesting critters that only show themselves at night are waiting to be found while you head out into the jungle with boots and a torch to light the way.

I did the night tour with Elbert from Nativos. He’s extremely passionate about his job and it was interesting learning from him.

glass frog drake bay night tour red eyed tree frog in banana plant night tour drake bay

Scuba diving at Caño island

Caño island is known to be one of Costa Rica’s best dive sites. On the boat trip there you may see dolphins and whales in the right season and during the dive you’ll have an opportunity to spot reef sharks and turtles. Personally I’ve had the extreme privilege to dive in so many wonderful spots, that I decided to skip this specific one at this time.

Where to stay

Budget option:

Hostel Yinary: A simple, but clean private room on a property with a nice garden. I watched the beautiful birds from the deck every day.

Mid range:

Jacamar Corcovado Drake Bay: This beautifully located hotel is perfect for a little more comfort and great views.


Drake bay Getaway Resort: This boutique hotel is for the adventurer that loves a little luxury. All the meals are included and they have beautiful private bungalows with a view and a beautiful big comfortable beds.

Best restaurants

Coco Cafe: Small, but cosy restaurant with the best food in town! I had the tuna which was perfectly prepared and I also had breakfast here a couple of times. I haven’t tried their pizza, but I’ve heard good things!

Lookout Cafe: Go here around sunset for drinks or for dinner. Dinner is simple, but pretty good and you get an amazing view!

Nature Cafe: Great breakfast place that opens early for the days you need to get going in the early morning.

Kalaluna Bistro: It’s a little on the pricy side, but they serve good pasta and it’s always packed! I advice making a reservation if you’d like to secure a spot.

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