A Travel Guide To Drake Bay

PLANE – You can fly to and from Drake Bay or Palmar airstrip with either 2 of the local airlines.

Nature Airlines  is located at Pavas airport, 25 minutes from the international airport, a 25$taxi. They have newer, larger planes and a far superior airport. They are also a bit more expensive, and they have excellent customer service.

Sansa Airlines is located next door to the international terminal (3 minute walk), which is very convenient.  If you have a connecting flight this is the best airline. Their terminal is under construction semi-permanently and their flights can be delayed, but a great commuter airline.

drake bay
Source: Trip Advisor

I can also book your flights for you.

Both airlines have a 30lb weight restriction and charge $1 per each extra pound.

Nature Airlines     Tobias / Pavas Airport     Sansa Airlines     Walking to Sansa
DRIVING – You can drive to Sierpe where your hotel will pick you up at the Sierpe Dock at 11am. The drive is 6 hours long so you either have to leave early or split it up. You can park your car at the Sierpe Dock, Las Vegas Restaurant for 8$per day. If you want you can drive all the way to Drake Bay, but this takes 2 more hours and there is no secure lot in Drake, so it is not advised to leave your car there. You will wait at the Las Vegas Restaurant for your boat to your hotel. You can grab lunch or a frothy fruit drink while you wait.

I can assist you in car rental or hire you an English speaking driver to provide you with a shuttle service.

Sierpe Dock
Las Vegas Sign
Las Vegas Restaurant

PUBLIC BUS – There are 7 bus departures daily that leave from downtown San Jose (the Coca Cola District) to Palmar Norte.   Tracopa bus schedule
If you wish to get to your hotel this same day you MUST take the 5:00am first departure. You will arrive to Palmar around 10:45am and take a 20 minute taxi to the Sierpe dock to connect with your boat. All boats departs by 11:30am.

The cost is about $5.00 per person and can be purchased in person at the bus station, credit cards are not accepted.

601 PALMAR NORTE (express bus from San José) – DEP. ev. day from Terminal Alfaro at 5:00, 7:00, 8:30, 10:00, 13:00, 14:30, 18:00; RET. 5:25, 6:15, 8:15, 10:00, 13:00, 14:30, 16:45; 258 km; 5:00 hrs. $4.42 ** TRACOPA company. Tel. 222-2666


Is it easy to navigate the roads in Costa Rica?

No, road signs are either non-existent or incorrect. I recommend a GPS device or a good sense of direction.

Do I need a 4×4 vehicle?

Not really, a car is fine, BUT in the rainy Season (May – December) 4×4 is recommended.

Is it safe to park the car without a secure lot?

You should always park your car in a secure parking lot and never leave any valuables or luggage in the car.

What time do I have to arrive in Sierpe to catch the boat?

You must arrive by 11am, some hotels will arrange a special charter boat to depart at 3pm for 125$

I cant get to Sierpe before noon, is there a hotel to stay the night?

You can stay at the Oleaje Sereno one block form the Sierpe Dock. They are a bit overpriced but conveniently located.

We will arrive to Sierpe early, where can we wait for the boat?

You can wait at the Las Vegas Restaurant located right at the dock, they have great food and drinks.

Are the flights usually on time?

Nature Airlines is on time more often than Sansa but the airlines are generally a bit late. In the green season, flights can be delayed and possibly canceled if there is a big rain storm

Does it matter if I fly to Drake airstrip or Palmar airstrip?

Drake airstrip is closer, requires less travel time and is a 20 minute drive to the bay. Palmar airstrip is a 20 minute taxi to the Sierpe dock and then about 50 minute boat ride to your hotel, depending where you stay. The plus to Palmar is that you  travel down the exquisite Sierpe river mangrove systems, home to countless exotic birds and crocodiles. You will pay extra to come in through Palmar but it is worth it. NOTE – during August through mid November you want to fly through Palmar because Drake Bay flights are regularly canceled due to rivers being impassable.
Can I drive all the way to Drake Bay?

Yes you can drive to Drake Bay in the dry season, this is 2.5 hours longer than driving to Sierpe and you can have your hotel pick you up at the bay with their boat. However there is no secure lot in Drake bay so you have to park on the side of the road and please do not leave anything in the car.

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