Cotingas is a very good deal, if you don't need a high end place. if you don't mind the evening town noise of the occassional motorcycle and music, the view here makes this an amazing location. The owners are good people and the food is tasty. Breakfast is included, and you can buy dinner for a very reasonable price, so you get flexibility to eat elsewhere, and also to not pay for lunches you might not be around to enjoy.
I looked into staying at Aguila de Osa but just couldn't justify spending 5x the money to do so. My sense is that our room would have been a bit nicer (although still without AC, not that we needed it), and the facilities a bit nicer, but I don't know that the food would be *that* much better. Also we wouldn't have had nearly as good a view, although it would have been quieter at night.
We decided to fly from San Jose directly to Drake. I dithered between Nature Air and Sansa, until reading on the Nature Air website that Sansa's business strategy includes publishing a lot of flights and then cancelling the ones that aren't full enough for their liking. The Nature Air flight was great. That airport sense to mostly be used by them, with maybe one charter company.
The other option is to take the boat from Sierpe, but I was concerned about rain, waves, etc. In terms of the river mouth being dangerous, the folks here said that the boats these days are very powerful, and so they are able to manuever effectively through the waves. They also said the accident that happened a while ago was in a heavy wooden boat with a weaker motor. So the sense was that it's fine now.
* The view here is unparalleled. Looking around, we're at the top of the hill, and I don't see any properties around that are this high up.
* It's just 3 minutes to the beach.
* It's about 5 minutes to the "town" which means 2 general stores and a smattering of restaurants. Other than Curt's, the food at the restaurants tends to be fairly similar. A typical dinner cost us about $10 per person with juice.
There are many steps to get up to the property, but once you're up it's relatively flat. There is one room which is a second floor room.
Being close to town is nice in the sense that you can go other places to eat, and you can readily go to one of the two stores if you need something. The downside is that it's louder at night in terms of music and motorcycles. It wasn't oppressive but it was there. If you want a "middle of the forest" experience then it's not going to be close to town.
On the property here we saw a few birds, including a hummingbird, but not a ton of birds. Once in a while a squacking Macaw flew by, but it was so quick that it was easy to miss.
We took a hike on the trail to Cocalito beach (30 minute walk?) and saw Capuchin monkeys sparring with a wayward spider monkey, as well as a Tucan. There were probably a lot of other birds to see but you've got to know how to notice them--sounds as well as tree movements are a good start.
Felix and Monica are really good people. Monica made great food for us, and was always very kind. Felix knows the tours and town inside out, and is well organized. He can make things happen for you. I felt zero pressure regarding tours; it was all about what we wanted to do. He also got us good pricing.
* Wifi: password protected wifi, which worked fine in our rooms, even for my phone which tends to only work with strong signals. sometimes they turn off the router, so if it's off you just need to ask them to turn it on. The speed was decent for general browsing.
* Covered eating area: great view of the bay. Also has a hammock.
* Beautiful native plants in the landscaping.
* In terms of payment, you can pay credit card, cash (American dollars) and it looks like Paypal for the deposit.
The two front cabins, Aracari and Jacobin, are spectacular. You can't go wrong with either one. Guacamaya is on the second level, above ??, has a safe, a hammock, and a great view--also a good choice. The other rooms are lacking one thing or another but would be fine as well. Remember as well that you can hang out in the common area in the middle, where there's a hammock, along with tables and chairs, and the amazing view.
Here is commentary on a few of the rooms:
Aracaci: unbroken view of the bay. further from the neighbors. Hammock on balcony.
Jacobin : wide view of bay, albeit with a tree partly in front. The tree adds interest; I personally like it. Next to the neighbors who have kids so you'll hear them sometimes.
Guacayama: second floor, has hammock.
A safe with a detachable key lock. Not the sturdiest in the world but probably good enough.
Hot water, provided through the showerhead. So rather than being controlled by the hot and cold faucets, it's at the top. It has 3 settings, ambient temperature, half-warmed, and fully warmed. It can get decently hot if you want.
Fully screened windows
Mosquitos weren't a big problem for us, although we got a few bites here
FOOD IN DRAKE
We found Monica's cooking to be the best we had. We went to a number of restaurants and had fish, and in general they were decent. Monica's was tastier than anywhere we went. We just needed to give her some advance notice that we wanted dinner there.
Gringo Curts was fantastic.
The restaurant next to the older general store, which also bakes bread, had better than average food. They also had a wider range of fruit juices.
The best mango juice we had was at Cabinas Manolo.
GENERAL STORES IN DRAKE
The 2 stores really don't have a lot in them, so bring whatever equipment you'll need. Good sunscreen is pricing ($15 to $20) so bring more than you think you'll need.
I would recommend bringing a plastic rain poncho; they sold kids ones here but I didn't see adult ones. I saw about 5 pairs of rubber boots; may not have your size!
They do sell water in various sizes, including a 6 liter.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Las Cotingas provides a beautiful location, great cabins, and excellent service. We treat our clients as if they were at home. We have the best view of Drake Bay. Come and visit us! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ranchitos Las Cotingas Hotel Drake Bay
- Ranchitos Las Cotingas Costa Rica/Drake Bay