Often overshadowed by the very popular Corcovado National Park, Drake Bay remains an undiscovered gem for serious bird watchers and photographers.

Drake Bay is a simple, remote village surrounded by lush jungle and one of the most biologically diverse places on earth, Corcovado. 

While many places in Costa Rica have been developed, Drake Bay remains isolated and almost untouched by serious development.

Drake Bay is located on the north side of the Osa Peninsula. It sits amidst the Pacific Ocean, rivers, mangroves, secondary forest, primary forest, and open fields. 

There is such a wide variety of habitats, one could stay and explore this area for a  week and still not see everything.

There are 10 districts in the village of Drake and the village of Aguijitas is the area where visitors can find a few restaurants, local shops and bars. 

Guests really do not have to travel very far from town to find lots of birds and other wildlife. 

The beaches are lined with the wild almond trees that attract and nourish the iconic Scarlet Macaws, Drake Bay is a fantastic place to see them. 

A wide variety of shore birds come to the beaches, and the surrounding forest beckons many species to the edges, allowing for excellent birding. 

Drake Bay is also a great place for pelagic trips (if timed right, visitors are sure to see whales too). 

If you are visiting Costa Rica and feeling adventurous, Drake Bay should be part of your trip plan.

Birding Drake Bay

Getting to Drake Bay:

Guests can be picked up in the port town of Sierpe and travel by boat to Drake Bay. 

The journey is about 90 minutes and takes travelers through the Sierpe River and then through the river mouth and out into the Pacific. 

Most lodges provide transport to guests, but if you’re staying at a small hotel, there is a water taxi that leaves just before noon most days.  

A domestic flight is also possible from San Jose.  The flights run daily. They are about 50 minutes and the plane lands directly at the Drake Bay Airport. 

It is also possible to drive to Drake Bay. We only recommend driving to experienced guests who have a 4X4 and speak a little Spanish.

Drake Bay

When to visit Drake Bay:

Drake Bay is on the Pacific coast (southwest) so it is affected by the seasons commonly called dry season and rainy season. 

Many parks and lodges will close during the rainiest time (mid-September through mid-November).  Rains during the rainy months are torrential so a visit to Drake Bay is best during the dry or transitional months.

The months with the least rain are January – April.  May, June, and July are still good, but afternoon showers are expected.  August and December are usually very nice, but afternoon showers are normal.

Drake Bay Costa Rica

Birding in Drake Bay:

There are many areas to go birding in Drake Bay. Your professional birding guide will know where to take you.  We do recommend birding and photography with a professional guide while visiting the area.

Mangrove Birding:

There are many opportunities to explore the beautiful mangroves by boat, canoe or kayaks.   Birders and nature lovers will love an up close view of this fascinating habitat.  Along with a wide array of birds, the mangroves are excellent for reptiles, amphibians and mammals. 

Birding Drake Bay

Bird Watching Drake Bay

Los Planes Bird Watching Visit:

Los Planes is an area not widely visited by tourists.  Guests can really get “off the beaten path” at this out of the way locations. 

Los Planes borders Corcovado National Park.  The close proximity to the protected parkland allows for a huge array of birds and wildlife to be seen. 

Located just under 10 kms from Drake Bay, Los Planes has easy access if you’re traveling with a local or private guide.

Habitats include country roads, plowed fields, and private gardens. There are, of course, patches of forest surrounding the town.  

Guests should be in good physical condition as this is a very warm area and there is a lot of up and down hiking.  

Target species included: Manakins, Macaws, Tanagers, Trogons, Raptors, and more. 

Birdwatching Drake Bay

Pelagic Birding:

Pelagic birding tours are offered from the Drake Bay area. 

The islands off the coast are excellent for Boogies, Tropicbirds, Frigate Birds, Terns and Gulls. 

Boat captains can be arranged from Drake Bay and birders and wildlife lovers can explore the coast and small islands that dot Drake Bay.  

A pelagic trip is also fantastic for dolphins, whales and sea turtles.

San Pedrillo Station at Corcovado National Park:

San Pedrillo is the closest ranger station to Drake Bay.  Guests can reach this entrance point after a 30 minute boat ride. 

There is a beautiful network of trails through primary and secondary forest.  With huge trees, dense vegetation, and a chance to explore truly remote tropical rainforests, visitors should not miss Corcovado National Park. 

Please note that all visitors must have a guide to enter the park.

Birding Drake Bay

Sirena Station at Corcovado National Park:

The journey by boat to Sirena takes about one hour.  Sirena is more remote than San Pedrillo but the payoff is the chance for absolutely incredible wildlife opportunities. 

This location is arguably the best place for seeing the Tapir, large jungle cats, all four species of monkeys, two species of peccaries, huge crocodiles, and even bull sharks swim up the river beside the station. 

Birding is amazing with chances for the Pale-Billed Woodpecker, Red-throated Carara, Black-Bellied Wren, Ruddy-Tailed Flycatcher, Rufous Tailed Jacamar, King Vultures, and the White-Whiskered Puffbird, to name just a few.

Be aware this is a very remote jungle and all visitors are required to enter with a guide.

Birding Drake Bay Costa Rica

Birdwatching Drake Bay Costa Rica

Where to stay in Drake Bay:

If you are looking for a higher standard hotel we recommend Drake Bay Green Leaf,  Casa Corcovado and Aguila de Osa. These are jungle lodges, away from the town of Drake Bay.

Drake Bay Greenleaf:

The spacious and secluded villas will give you the ultimate Costa Rican guest experience. Nestled amongst the rain forest trees, each villa has a private bathroom, queen and king size beds, compact refrigerator, air conditioning, television, handcrafted furniture, comfortable chairs, and a balcony with views of the Pacific Ocean and jungle.

Drake Bay Greenleaf

Casa Corcovado:

With a prime location on the edge of Corcovado National Park, offering deluxe accommodations, exciting activities and some of the very best bird watching in the country, Casa Corcovado Lodge is a must for nature lovers and bird watchers.

Casa Corcovado

Aguila de Osa:

Nestled amidst the jungle-covered hillsides overlooking the tranquil waters of Drake Bay, Aguila de Osa is an exquisite rainforest and marine adventure hotel.  Here you will experience life right on the edge of the Osa.

Aguila de Osa

If you prefer to stay in town, to be able to walk to local restaurants and shops there are some small hotels available too.

Mohagine Hotel:

Small hostel with good service.

Mohagine Hotel

Hotel Jinetes de Osa:

Great value and option for included meals.

Hotel Jinetes de Osa

Pirate Cove:

Simple and a good value for the money.

Pirate Cove

If you are thinking about a trip to Costa Rica for birding or photography, consider including Drake Bay. It is a nature lover’s paradise. We’d love to help you plan your trip to Costa Rica, click here to contact us and get started on your perfect vacation.

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About Costa Rica Focus

Costa Rica Focus is a birding tour company that offers customized Costa Rica birdwatching tours for individuals or groups of people and guided by a knowledgeable birding expert who will help you spot and learn about the beauty of the birds of Costa Rica. Let’s talk about your Costa Rica birding vacation!

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