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“Beautiful location, greats hosts for exploring Corcovado”

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Drake Bay Wilderness Resort
Ranked #6 of 8 Hotels in Drake Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 4 January 2010

We had a wonderful stay with Marleny and her team in mid-August. We were concerned about going during the “rainy” season but learned that the rain tends to be very cooperative. We had none during the morning or early afternoon. Once we were back from our activities, it started drizzling in late afternoon and poured with thunderstorms at night.

This lodge has the best location on Drake Bay: right on the point of the bay on both the river and the ocean with great views of both the bay and the ocean and nicely landscaped grounds with grassy expanses. We were slightly disappointed to learn that Drake Bay is actually a ways from the park edge and you have to take a tour with a boat ride to get to the park (two tours were included with our package; otherwise they are $95). But the park border is fairly artificial and there is wilderness right up to the edge of the resort. We took advantage of the free kayaks that came with our lodge and paddled on our own up the river (you can’t get too far up before you reach small but impassable rapids) and saw a crocodile, basilisks, toucans, capuchin monkeys one day and howlers another. Lodges in Carate on the south side of the park are closer to the park border – you can walk there in 45 minutes – but I think that they are not as well set up to get you deep into the park without more hiking than our kids would have had patience for or a multi-day hiking trip.

We took two terrific tours with Manual, the Tico guide who has an amazing eye, ear and even nose for spotting wildlife that we never would have seen. He knows the name of every bird in English and could whip out his land telescope and get it focused on the animal long before we could find its location with the naked eye. We paid the extra $30 per person to go to the Sirena ranger station entrance to Corcovado National Park (75 minutes each way by boat) instead of the closer San Pedrillo station (30 minutes), but were told by other visitors that the animals were better. We saw 3 kinds of monkeys, both sloths, an anteater, mackaws, toucans, and many other birds. We did not see tapirs (which you can see at Sirena but not at San Pedrillo) but saw footprints and other evidence; visitors the day before saw them.

We did a second tour the next day through the mangroves by boat and kayak, which was also quite nice and we saw several of the same animals. The mangrove forest is different and very interesting and worth doing. We did not do the Coco Island tour, figuring the snorkeling was not as unique, though others who did it liked it.

You can swim in the river next to the lodge (but watch the crocodiles!) or the rocky beach off the resort, or walk through the forest 15 minutes to a beautiful little beach with waves just big enough for a little body surfing. Our kids (11 and 14) loved it.

We also did the night “Bug Tour” with Tracy (an insect expert) and her husband?/partner John (expert in other types of animals) ($35), which was a lot of fun discovering sleeping birds and baby iguanas, hidden trap door spiders, and other things you would normally walk right by.

Marleny’s husband passed away last year but her son Brian is helping her run the lodge and both speak English well and were very helpful. The rest of the staff, especially Manual the fantastic guide, were also very nice.

The food ranged from just ok (lots of pasta) to very good (great fruit at breakfast and a nice chicken cordon bleu and tico lunch). But you’re not there for the food.

The rooms were basic but pleasant with great porches with wonderful views.

Overall, this is a beautiful, relaxing place far away from everything where you can just enjoy nature.

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled with family
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1  Thank BethesdaBoys
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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236 - 242 of 352 reviews

Reviewed 4 January 2010

Our first visit to Drake Bay was an exciting and relaxing adventure. The packages include room, meals and tours. The tourguides are professional and really work to show you what you want to see (in terms of wildlife). The guides are knowledgable about both animals and plants in the area. We went on 5 tours and enjoyed them all! The service was friendly and prompt. Free laundry service. Delicious food at each meal. Snacks are provided at the bar around 4pm - but they go quickly! Dinner is around 6:30 and includes salad, entree, and dessert. The weather during our visit was perfect (Dec.), lots of sunshine but humid. A few rainshowers, but they did not last long. Take fast drying clothes- things that don't have much cotton in them- because of the humidity. I did not need bug repellent- I did put some on when going to Corcovado National Park- but even there I did not notice a problem with bugs. We meet lots of interesting people on the tours and during mealtimes. This is a great place for couples and families with children. This hotel may have the only pool in Drake Bay- I am not sure, but it was great for the kids. I also liked the openess of the resort. Other places in the area looked "closed in" among jungle/trees. This was by far the best experience - the food, weather, surroundings, good tourguides, hotel staff, and other guests made it interesting.

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled with family
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1  Thank WarmWeatherVa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 December 2009

What a marvelous time we had at Drake Bay Wilderness Resort! We greatly enjoyed the lodging, the food, the weather, and especially the tours, guides and people! When people ask, I reply that it was a "Spectacular Adventure"! It was especially enjoyable to return from our daily tour to Drake Bay Wilderness Resort and a clean room, a warm shower, fresh, clean laundry, delicious hors d'oeuvres before a scrumptuous dinner, and enjoyable and interesting people and the wide-eyed relating of the stories of their day!

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank marymaryDenver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 December 2009

We just returned from our third stay at Drake Bay Wilderness Resort. We obviously like it because we have gone back three times but this time it was even better. Not that the meals and services were ever bad but the place showed improvement in many areas. This place is clean, friendly, helpful, excellent (free) meals, free laundry service, 24 hour electricity and the absolute best location in Drake Bay. The guides and staff are very knowledgeable about the flora and fauna in the area. It's also a very eco friendly place. Oh, and there is WiFi by the office and I was even able to get it in the room I was in. Ideal if you have a lap top but they also have a computer room if you don't. They offer many tour options, pretty much anything you want to do can be arranged, from a easy hike around the grounds and local area, to a night walk with The Bug Lady, to Deep Sea fishing and diving. If you have special dietary needs they happily accomodate you. They often serve fresh fish, but my boyfriend is allergic to fish. We mentioned that upon our arrival and they never forgot to make him a special meal with chicken, pork, or beef. I just can't say enough good about this place! I love it and am looking forward to going back as soon as possible!

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank q1964
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 August 2009

Drake Bay Wilderness Resort is an amazing resort, from start to finish this place is just perfect. Arriving is a unique adventure, as you land in the middle of the rainforest and are quickly picked up by a van and then taken to a boat. D.B.W.R. is set in a remote area, that is wonderful for honeymooners, and even families with small children. This is our second trip here and we descided to return with our two young children. They had a blast. They enjoyed all the daily excursions to the forest or the beach, swimming in the pool, and exploring the property. They saw more animals than we can count, both in the forest, and some on the property. There are beaches easily accessible from the property, with small tide pools for young ones to explore. There is another nice beach just a short walk away. The trail also makes for a beautiful morning run.

The rooms are kept very clean and are cozy with comfortable beds. There are screens on all the windows to allow the fresh ocean air in, and a fan to keep you cool. You wake up to the sound of the ocean, birds, and howler monkey. The owner and her family, and other staff are extremely friendly and helpful and provided everything we needed to enjoy our stay (snorkle gear, towels for the beach, picnic lunches, ice cream, and even delicious freshly baked cookies made by the owner herself). Edwardo is a wonderful, friendly bartender, and tour guide. He catered to both the adults with wonderful drinks and conversation, and the children with juice presented with fancy straws that they loved. Bryan is also extremely kind and was very helpful. He helped with everything we needed both on the property and on our tours. He even watched my four year old daughter while we explored the waterfalls.

The food was deliciously and there was always plenty of it. There are many choices to chose from and they cater to your diet. My son has nut allergies, and there was also a vegetarian tourist that I saw that they made special meals for. The staff was very caring and always made sure we were all satisfied with our food choices (remember we had little children with us that could be picky). I can go on and on about how wonderful Drake Bay Wilderness Resort is. I was disappointed that my stay was only three days this time. I will definetly be back again for a longer stay.

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled with family
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2  Thank shellsenorita
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 May 2009

From the moment we go off the boat & on to the dock, our stay here was amazing! The personal service, the amenities, the room, the food everything about this place is fabulous. The owner, Marleny was the most gracious, friendly woman we have met in a long time. She was a wealth of info for planning/setting up tours and general info. We are wildlife photographers, and the guides she set us up with spotted more than we dreamed of to take pics of. The rooms are immaculate, food is fresh from their farm & the sea (they ask about dietary needs as well) the views rivaled any 5 star place around. We look forward to spending many more vacations building memories at this gem!

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled on business
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1  Thank GlobeHopper5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 May 2009

Getting to Drake Bay Wilderness Resort was...unique haha but part of the fun of the experience. A small plane took us to the "airport" where we were greeted by staff members of the resort who took our luggage and loaded us into a van that drove on the winding path through the jungle to a beach. A boat from the resort was waiting for us in the shallows to carry us and our luggage to the resort. Be prepared to get wet because there is no dock and the boat cannot come fully onto the shore. It was not an issue though and it was an exciting way to start the trip. At the resort (where there is a dock) Herbert and Marleney, the owners, seemed very excited that we had arrived and had a special lunch ready for us.
We stayed in the honey moon sweet and our 17 year old daughter stayed in one of the three unit cabins. Herbert had not specified that our daughter would be staying in a separate room when he told his wife Marleney, who makes the room arrangements, but this was a small snag that was quickly rectified. The honeymoon sweet had an amazing view and was nice because of its seclusion. I do not recommend this suite for anyone who cannot clime 80 steps(not as bad as it sounds). The rooms are not delux by any means but the beds are comfortable and clean. The bathroom was nice, not anything to write home about, but suited the setting. The rooms have overhead and portable fans in them which are perfect to regulate the temperature. I never found myself feeling over heated while in my room.
The grounds are beautiful, Marleney has cultivated lush gardens and very walkable paths. The saltwater pool was extremely refreshing after a day of hiking or tours. The opening air bar and gathering area by the pool offers cool breezes and an excellent place to discuss the days' adventures with fellow guests. The family style eating allowed for camaraderie among the guests and served up freshly made juices and food grown on the premises at Herbert and Marleneys hydroponic farm.
One of the reason the Drake Bay Wilderness Resort stands out is the knowledgeable, interesting, and accommodating staff. This includes the maid and kitchen staff that barely speak English. A smile goes a long way and the staff knows this and can easily understand any request you might have. Anytime I needed some ice cream during the day someone was in the back happy to serve me. The real gems are the staff members who double as guides. These employees work for D.B.W.R. but are frequently hired by the surrounding resorts because they are the best in the area. Manuel and Jesus are very familiar with the Osa peninsula and are very proud of their culture. Tico and the other staff members that may take you out on a venture also know the answer to any question you might have. It was great to go exploring with the person who would later serve you dinner or drinks at the bar. My family became very friendly with all of the staff and was sad to have to leave.
I was very surprised to see other hotels listed above D.B.W.R. because I walked along the paths that the other resorts are located on and was not impressed. Those resorts are not as good a deal as D.B.W.R and have no where near as good a location. DBWR is along the water with beautiful views unlike the other resorts which are in the heart of the vegetation with no ocean access. While staying at DBWR a couple skipped out on their room at a competing resort up the road because they saw the beautiful grounds and were told about the better prices at DBWR. Herbert gladly gave this couple a room and they said they were impressed by the difference in service. The atmosphere at the resort is so relaxed and friendly we never wanted to leave. The negative reviews concerning Herbert and Marleney are so odd to me because I experienced nothing but hospitality from the couple.

Highly recommended ventures
-Sirena-many more animals than the typical hike in Corcovado
-Horseback Riding- very relaxing and a great way to see all of the countryside
-Kayaking in the bay
-Snorkeling- All equipment provided and Jesus is a pro at spotting fish and other sea life

Also, you will see dolphins anytime you are on a boat there is no shortage in the bay and it is a waste to spend the extra money and time on a separate dolphin tour. The guides at DBWR are very good at spotting dolphins and will even take pictures for you. This also goes for the other ventures. The guides will take pictures of animals for you in the scope and also of your family if you choose.The "tico" picnic lunch is especially delicious, like all of the lunches, the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were top notch as well.

In summary, I can not imagine staying anywhere else in the area. My experience at DBWR was unparalleled by any of my other international stays. The staff goes out of their way to make your experience wonderful. Manuel even cut a fresh wild pineapple for my daughter and I on the horseback riding tour. I can not wait to take another vacation at the resort and bring the rest of my family.

-James, Christine and Abby Place
Thank you so much Drake Bay Wilderness Resort for an unforgettable vacation!

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled with family
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1  Thank abnormal456
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Drake Bay Wilderness Resort

Address: Desembocadura del Rio Agujas | Bahia Drake, Drake Bay, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Osa Peninsula > Drake Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Family Hotel in Drake Bay
#4 Romantic Hotel in Drake Bay
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Drake Bay
Price Range: £237 - £243 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Since it was founded in 1985, Drake Bay Wilderness Resort has continued to be a family run business. Our focus has been to take good care of our guests so that they'll feel right at home. We try to be as flexible as possible, taking into consideration people´s needs and we do our very best to fulfill special requests. For instance, we will prepare meals for special diets. Furthermore, the hotel is situated in one of the most beautiful locations in the area. It has large open areas with a bounty of beautiful flowers, tropical plants, big mango trees, and beach almond trees that attract the raucous macaws. The property gives you the feel of being in a private island since the river flows along the backside of the property and the whole front side meets the ocean. In addition to this, most visitors come to us by boat and the access by land to the hotel is a small path, unreachable by car, that is submerged in a jungle. Best of all, there is a paradise like view of the bay and ocean, reflecting the deep blue sky and, beyond that, hills bound in lush forests.We offer all sorts of extras that help make our guests' stay more comfortable and enjoyable. For example, we include a full laundry service. Kayaks close to the water are always at our guests' disposal. We have a restaurant, bar, swimming pool, dock, and hammocks to relax under the shade of a tree with the cool ocean breeze blowing on you. From our hotel we take guests on adventures in snorkeling, hiking, diving, canoeing and whale watching. Visitors often see four species of monkeys, sloths, tapir, caiman and a myriad of birds, including the scarlet macaw, mangrove hawk, toucan... ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Drake Bay Wilderness Hotel Drake Bay
Drake Bay Wilderness Resort Costa Rica

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