Drake Bay Getting There
Flying is undoubtedly the fastest, most hassle-free method of visiting Drake Bay. Nature Air and Sansa offer daily flights from San Jose to Drake Bay and nearby Palmar Sur.
Drake Bay Airport: Just ten minutes from Drake Bay, this airport is the choice place to land. Flights from San Jose are about 45 minutes long.
Palmar Sur Airport: The Palmar Sur Airport is located fifteen minutes from Sierpe. Taxis to Sierpe run $10-15, and from there visitors take an hour-long boat ride through the mangrove forests of the Sierpe River which empties into the Pacific Ocean. After exiting the river mouth, travelers make a wet landing on the shores of Drake Bay. This boat taxi leaves daily at 11:30 a.m. and costs $15 per person.
There are currently no direct buses from San Jose to Drake Bay. The best option is to take the bus from the TRACOPA station in San Jose to Palmar Norte. From here, it is a short taxi ride to Sierpe, which costs about $15. A boat departs Sierpe for Drake Bay daily at 11:30 a.m., and costs $15 per person.
The bus leaves San Jose for Palmar Norte at 5:00 a.m.; 7:00 a.m.; 8:30 a.m.; 10:00 a.m.; 1:00 p.m.; 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. The trip takes 5-6 hours and costs $8.
Buses depart Palmar Norte for San Jose at 4:45 a.m.; 6:15 a.m.; 7:45 a.m.; 10:00 a.m.; 1:00 p.m.; 3:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Another option is to take the bus from San Jose to Rincon de Osa. This is not recommended during the rainy season (May through November) because the road is often impassable due to bad weather conditions. The bus leaves from Blanco Lobo station in San Jose for Rincon de Osa at 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. The trip takes 7 hours and costs $12. From Rincon de Osa, it is necessary to catch the Drake bay shuttle, which departs at 4:00 a.m. and takes about four hours. The cost is $5. Since the shuttle leaves so early, it is necessary to spend the night in Rincon de Osa. This shuttle departs Drake Bay for Rincon de Osa at 1:00 p.m. daily.
From San Jose, take the Interamerican Highway south through San Isidro del General, past Dominical, and down to Palmar Sur. Once you reach Chacarita, follow the signs for another three hours through Rincon de Osa and on to Drake Bay. The journey will take eight hours or more. Most of the trip is on Route 2 and other well-maintained roads, but the last few hours are on dirt roads that are not generally well marked. Also, after passing Rincon, there are several rivers without bridges to cross – and these can be impassable even during the dry season. A four-wheel drive vehicle is mandatory for this route.
Instead of motoring all the way to Drake Bay, we suggest driving to Sierpe and parking your car in an enclosed lot for about $5 per night. From there, the boat taxi to Drake Bay is only an hour long – and a gorgeous journey in and of itself.