Bahía Drake, Costa Rica

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After a grueling 10 hour 25K hike through the Costa Rican rainforest from Los Patos to La Sirena, and two nights of camping at the ranger station of La Sirena, Sara and I exited Corcovado Parque Nacional made it to Bahia Drake via speedboat this afternoon. Bahía Drake (on the upper right corner of the map, just outside of Corcovado´s boundaries) is an incredibly small island town, with two restaurants, a bar, a pulperia, an Internet cafe, and various tourist offerings, but not much else (and no ATM or bank, meaning we are tight on cash). Fortunately, we do have rooms in a beautiful B&B that is clean and has hot water, electricity, FANS in the room, and nice people. We will plan to be here for the next couple of days (or until our cash runs out) before moving on. I am currently covered in mosquito bites (I counted over 40 on one leg alone), and dripping with sweat like a fat person, but I am so glad to be a little bit closer to the real world as I know it.

I have quite an entry to recap the last couple of days we spent in the rainforest. Last night, for New Year´s Eve, for example, I watched teh sun set at around 5:30PM, ate a simple dinner of couscous and lentils shortly after, and was hibernating in my tent by 8PM (I think…I didn´t keep track of time out there). My tent was the best place where I could minimize the amount of hungry mosquitoes I fed, but unforunately, the tent was also poorly ventilated. So….I rang in the new year drenched in sweat and still covered with mosquito bites…but I was in the middle of the Costa Rican rainforest, listening to macaws and howler monkeys not far away. It was a unique experience, one of many that were had in Corcovado.

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Path to La Sirena ranger station.
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The airfield’s right in front of the campsite.

Corcovado was hot, humid, full of mosquitoes, but also very tranquil, beautiful, and full of wildlife that you can´t easily see elsewhere. Bats, spider monkeys, macaws, toucans, crocodiles, various birds and lizards, were all within yards of where we were sleeping. The rainforest portion of Costa Rica in general isn´t much unlike Hawaii or even parts of Washington state, apart from the unique plants and animals that are found here. When I was hiking, sometimes it felt like I was in the mountains of WA or the Manoa trails of HI. The beach even reminded me of scenes from the TV show Lost. It was an adventure that was both very difficult both physically and mentally, but it was a great experience. I will probably never do it again 😛 More on that later (with some pics too, hopefully!).

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Beach – doesn’t it look like a scene out of Lost?

——— UPDATE ——– 2 days later

We are coming up on finishing day two in Bahia Drake, and this is definitely the vacation getaway spot that you all should be jealous of. Perhaps. If you like small beach towns. Casa Horizantes, the B&B that we are staying in, is a real steal. The 5-bedroom wooden house sits high above Drake Bay, meaning that it is a bit of a hike to get up there (the path isn´t meant for vehicles), but the view and the quality of the house is worth it. Yami, the owner, has been cooking our two meals of the day (breakfast and dinner), and they have been well worth it. Yami and her family inhabit the entire B&B during the winter, but during the summer, they open it up to guests, while the family resides in the smaller side attachment. It is interesting to listen to how the residents of Bahia Drake deal with having the nearest bank/ATM located several hours away by car/bus. They all seem to operate on a debit/credit system, which seems to work fine for them, but for the sake of tourism if nothing else, it would be so much more helpful to have a bank or ATM in town. All in all though, I recommend staying at Casa Horizantes if you ever find yourself on this side of Costa Rica. Check out their website HERE.

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One of the many yummy homemade dinners served at Casa Horizantes
Anyway, we have been sleeping in until about 8:30 every day, arising to eat Yami´s homemade breakfast (usually fruit, eggs, pintos–rice and beans, coffee, and juice), and then lazing about for the day. Yesterday, we walked two hours to Rio Claro, retracing the path that the speedboat took to bring us from La Sirena to Drake Bay. The River was nice and cool, in contrast to the warm sea that it empties into. Swimming in the portion where the river meets the sea is an interesting experience, with the water around you constantly changing from being chilly cool from the river to sunny warm from the sea. We met a European couple with a chatty, imaginative 6-year old boy on our walk to the river, and with them, we went on a $10 touristy canoe ride down the river. It was an hour and a half, and most of the ride seemed like a rip off, except for a short hike to several mini waterfalls that we got to swim under and do some cliff jumping from. All in all though, it was worth a maximum of half the price we paid.
We finished the canoe ride at 4:30PM, an hour before the sunset, and thus had to book it back to town to beat the incoming tides and use as much daylight as possible. Our 2 hour hike in turned into an hour and a half speedwalk back, and we made it with just enough daylight to find our way, but soaking wet hiking boots, unfortunately. The worst part about being here is the fact that things like socks and clothes don´t dry very quickly–my socks are going on 5 days of being damp, which probably means they are getting gross and moldy. Boo.
Today we spent nearly the entire day laying on a nearby beach, soaking up the sun and our books. I made it 100 pages into Maya Angelou´s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. For the first time since college, it looks like I´m starting the new year off right by finishing not one but two whole books. Hopefully keep the momentum up for the rest of the year.
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The “dock” for boats leaving La Sirena

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The Dutch family that dropped their drawers for the ride

Suzi Pratt is a Seattle event, food, and travel photographer available for hire. She is also a contributing writer at Digital Photography School and runs a blog teaching others how to start a photography business.

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