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.
- 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