Whale watching in Drake Bay - Humpback whales
Humpback whales - female with a calf

Drake Bay whale watching, Costa Rica

From Manuel Antonio, we headed further south towards Drake Bay and the Osa Peninsula. In the dry season, Drake Bay can be reached by a dirt road that crosses the mountains and several rivers. But since the rains were just about to start we decided not to risk getting rained in, parked the car at Sierpe and took the boat up the Río Sierpe instead.

whale-watching in Drake bay, Costa Rica
Deserted beach

The boat ride was practically a mangrove tour in itself, which was great for those who haven’t seen the mangroves before. Though once we cruised out into the ocean, it became more of a wild adventure ride. The boat rocked on the large swells as the waves crashed onto the rocks jutting out of the water between our navigational path and the shoreline.   

Thankfully the boat driver was an expert seaman and navigated the waves with such skill that he got a wild round of applause from everyone on board. It must’ve been the adrenaline from the near-death death experience.

Arriving at Drake Bay
Arriving at Drake Bay

Whale watching in Drake Bay

Drake Bay is a very laid back small town with idyllic beaches well off the beaten path. Its main claim to fame is as the departure point for Corcovado National Park that takes up almost a third of the Osa Peninsula. The bay is also a good place for whale watching and none of us needed much convincing to spend a day on the ocean.

Whale watching in Drake Bay - Spotted dolphins
Pantropical spotted dolphins
Whale watching in Drake Bay - Spotted dolphins
Pantropical spotted dolphins

We took off bright and early and within half an hour our boat was surrounded by a pod of Pantropical spotted dolphins. Slightly further out we came across a female Humpback whale with a young calf. We followed them for a while but the whales decided to keep a low profile and stayed mainly below the surface.

Whale watching in Drake Bay - Humpback whale
Humpback whale
Whale watching Costa Rica - Humpback whales
Humpback whales (female and calf)
Whale watching in Drake Bay - deserted beach
Beach

Back on terra firma, we spotted some Scarlet macaws and a very excited Cherrie’s tanager that was flirting with a side view mirror of a parked truck. Apparently, the frog night walk is quite good at Drake Bay as well, but we had a meeting with our Corcovado guide in the evening and a 5.30am departure the following morning, so we turned in quite early.

Cherrie's tanager
Cherrie’s tanager
Variable seedeater
Variable seedeater

Previous stop: Manuel Antonio NP                                

Next stop: Corcovado NP

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1 Comment

  • WOW! Your photo’s of Drake Bay are really spectacular. Clear, bright and alive.

    I have friends who have a small piece of land way down on the beach, about a 30 minute walk from the dock..they put up a tent and built a cooking pit out of bricks. They have these lemon trees just loaded with fruit, the lemons are green on the outside and orange on the inside. I have to tell you I had NO idea what fruit really tasted like until I lived in CR. You can’t compare the fruit we get in Canadian supermarkets to the fruit I tasted down there. That was a real surprise to me because I thought what I was getting locally was the real thing. It’s not.

    I spent a good 4 months on that beach, between Puerto Cortes (now called Ciudad Cortes), Sierpe and Drake.

    In closing I want to tell/ask you something. Did you know the correct way to pronounce Drake is not like the explorer? The name Drake rhymes with
    Tacky! Not a lot of people know that…

    Thanks for the great images, I really enjoyed them!

    Cyrus

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