There are now two routes to get to Drake Bay by road. We recommend the route via Sierpe (6 hours) as it’s more direct with fewer rivers to ford. But, if you’re coming from the South or from Puerto Jiménez, the route via Rincón (7 hours) is best.
From San José, take highway 27 going West until Orotina, and then take the coastal road South (via Quepos, highway 34) to Palmar Norte. At Palmar Norte, continue South on highway 2, cross the big bridge and then turn right following signs for Sierpe. At Sierpe, take the ferry across the river (5,000 colones) and then continue on the unpaved road for 40km following signs for El Progreso and Drake Bay (there are two right turns along the way). When you get to El Progreso, turn left, and the hostel is located 200m down the road.
The journey takes you alongside the spectacular Sierpe River and mangroves and you’ll spot wildlife on the way as you pass through the mountains, jungle and estuaries. You’ll also pass through the cute villages of Potrero, Sábalo and Guerra.
Note: There are two rivers to ford on this route and some steep slopes, so it is highly recommended that you have 4WD or AWD. It is not recommended to travel at night. Apps such as Waze and Google Maps don’t recognize this route, so just have faith, follow the signs and enjoy the journey!
From San José, take highway 27 going West until Orotina, and then take the coastal road South (via Quepos, highway 34) to Palmar Norte, before continuing South on the Pan-American Highway (highway 2). At Chacarita, turn right into the Osa Peninsula toward Puerto Jiménez (highway 245). At Rincón de Osa, turn right on the unpaved road and follow signs to Drake Bay. Once you have passed through the village of Rancho Quemado, you will cross through the last mountain range and begin to see the sea. Continue straight on (don’t turn left) following signs for Drake Bay Backpackers and El Progreso. We’re located on the left just after fording the Turtle River and climbing the ramp.
Note: There are four rivers to ford on this route and some steep slopes, so it is highly recommended that you have 4WD or AWD. It is not recommended to travel at night.
Two boats leave every day from Sierpe (near Palmar Norte) to Agujitas (Drake Bay) at 11:30am and 4:00pm. From San José, you can take any bus that goes to Palmar Norte (5.5 hours) leaving the TRACOPA terminal (important: take a bus going to coastal route (X COSTA)). Upon arrival in Palmar Norte, take a taxi to Sierpe (15 mins). A ‘colectivo’ taxi is much cheaper ($5) than a private one (up to $20). The boat trip (1 hour) costs $15 or $20 and takes you along the spectacular Sierpe River mangrove park. The mouth of the river can be a bit bumpy!
When you land at Agujitas (wet landing) you’ll be met by someone from the Corcovado Foundation (normally Cata) who will transfer you to the hostel in a taxi free of charge.
Both Skyway and Sansa offer daily flights from Juan Santamaria International Airport in San José to the brand new Drake Bay airport (45 mins). Flights cost between $90 and $150 depending on the tariff. Once you land, you’ll be met by someone from the Corcovado Foundation who will transfer you to the hostel in a taxi free of charge.
Transfers by taxi to and from Agujitas or the airport are FREE for your arrival and departure. Transfers are also included for FREE for all tours. If you’d like to take a taxi at any other time to Agujitas (Drake Bay) these will be charged at $20 each way.