These routes are all based on a San Jose departure. If you are coming from a different part of Costa Rica, let us know and we will do our very best to help get you here!
l) The quickest and most hassle-free way is by air. Both Sansa (located beside the Juan Santamaria airport www.cr.flysansa.com and Nature Air located in ‘Pavas’ at the Tobias Bolaños Airport www.natureair.com during the green season and the Juan Santamaria Airport during high season, fly daily to Drake Bay and Palmar Sur from their San Jose locations. You can see their flight times and book your tickets online.
The biggest disadvantage when flying is the limit on weight. Depending on which airline you select, you are only allowed 25-40 lbs of charge-free baggage. Anything beyond that is subject to an additional charge, and occasionally, they will send your excess baggage on a later flight. The weight allowance seems to change yearly so be sure to check online with the appropriate airline to confirm the allowable no charge weight at the time of your trip.
1a) Should you decide to travel by air directly to Drake Bay, the flight will take 45 min to 1 hour and sometimes includes a stop in Puerto Jimenez. If you let us know when you will be arriving, we will arrange for a local 4×4 taxi to pick you up at the Drake Bay airport. It takes about 15 minutes by land taxi to get to La Joyita, and it is quite the ride! You will pass through at least one river, pass by a very interesting two log bridge which was in use until late 2012 and experience some wonderful sights, finally arriving at La Joyita’s door.
1b) If you choose the Palmar Sur flight path, you will need to take the earliest flight available from San Jose. Upon arriving in Palmar, take a short taxi ride (or local bus) to Sierpe, and ask to be dropped off at the Oleaje Sereno Hotel/ Restaurant. Morning boats heading to Drake Bay from the Hotel Oleaje Sereno restaurant leave daily around 11 am.
We can reserve you a spot on the boat ahead of time, but should you find yourself in Sierpe with no boat reservation, talk to Don Jorge (owner of the Oleaje Sereno) and he will help you find a ride. If you miss the morning boat, there is an afternoon boat as well, departing from Sierpe around 3:30 pm. The wonderful boat ride from Sierpe to La Joyita takes just over an hour and is an adventure in itself. This brackish tidal estuary winds through the largest protected area of mangroves in Central America. You can often spot crocodiles snoozing on the banks, monkeys hanging out in the treetops, and sometimes even a boa constrictor secreted in a mangrove canopy. An exciting river mouth crossing takes you into the Pacific Ocean, and from there its’s a quick zip down the coast to La Joyita’s beach. This is a ‘wet’ landing, meaning that you jump out of the boat directly into ankle-knee deep water, so please keep that in mind when selecting your footwear. The beach in front of our place is the beach which Pirate’s Cove uses for their guests as well.
2a) It is also possible to drive all the way to Drake Bay if you have a 4×4 vehicle (many people are making it with two wheel drive vehicles), and a sense of both adventure and humour!! The trip will take 7-10 hours from San Jose to La Joyita. The last 1-2 hours is an incredible drive through both primary and secondary rainforest and includes a few small (and one wide) river crossings. Be warned – the road would be considered treacherous by many North Americans/Europeans, but if you drive carefully and are comfortable with winding dirt roads, it is a great experience. During the rainy season (May through October and particularly in Sept/Oct) the road can become impassable so it’s always advisable to check in with us before you decide to choose this route. La Joyita is next door to Pirates Cove and the little road at the entrance to Pirates Cove is the road to the cabina which is located on the left approximately 25 ft. further in.
2b) If you have an ordinary (not 4×4 or all wheel drive) rental car you can drive to Sierpe from San Jose (about 3-5 hours depending on which route you take) and catch the same boat from Sierpe as if you had flown to and taxied from Palmar Sur. There are a couple different parking lots available in Sierpe where you can leave your vehicle for a few dollars per day.
3) The TRACOPA busline offers a trip from San Jose to Palmar Norte. The trip is usually around 5 hours to Palmar. From there, follow the same route with land taxi to Sierpe and boat ride to Drake Bay. If you decide on this route, it is highly recommended that you take the earliest bus (5 a.m.) from San Jose to ensure you can get all the way to Drake that same day. Alternatively, you can make the route a two-day trip and spend a night in either Palmar or Sierpe. You can contact Tracopa at (506) 2248-3839 . Information is also available in most guide books.
5. If you are in San Jose, Perez Zeledon, Manuel Antonio, or Dominical you can often find ‘shuttles’ heading to the Palmar/Sierpe area. Check with the hotel you are staying at, or at local tour offices and they can give you the current contact information. If you would like a private taxi from anywhere in the country to Drake Bay, contact us and we will put you in contact with someone who can meet your needs.
6. Depending upon the local Drake Bay entrepreneurs, there has been (albeit on and off) a local bus which shuttles between Rincon/ La Palma and Drake Bay. The bus when running has made two return runs per day. Leaving Drake at 4:00 a.m. reaching Rincon at approximately 6:00 a.m. (with transfers to a (if on time) connecting bus to Chacarita. From Chacarita one can get a bus (no station, just ask the locals) to either north to San Isidro/San Jose or south to Cuidad Neily and the Frontera/Panama border. The bus makes a return to Drake at 11:00 a.m.. In the afternoon the bus leaves Drake Bay at approximately 1:00 p.m. leaving La Palma at 5:00 p.m. and reaching Drake Bay around 7:00 p.m.
All of these times are approximate and one can flag down the bus anywhere upon the route. You should check with us to see if it is running as the “entrepreneurs” as of May 2015 were running the bus but the service was very irregular and not a sure thing.