Drake Bay - Costa Rica

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Drone shot of the beach in Drake Bay.

Let's go to Drake Bay - here you can expect an experience already on arrival and original wilderness as far as the eye can see. The Drake Bay shines with deserted beaches, is the absolute paradise for nature lovers and is one of the most remote places in Costa Rica. Over wide rivers, through narrow mangrove forests and the open sea, a small nutshell will bring you to your destination. And if you still haven't had enough here, you can live out your desire to explore in the neighboring Corcovado National Park or on Caño Island.

Our starting point was the small village of Uvita on the Pacific coast. There we started the morning at the local bus stop. This is located opposite the vet, in the middle of the village on the main road. Buses run here regularly in all directions. By the way, we asked for the current schedule at the tourist information center right next door. In our experience, such establishments offer the best flow of information, especially when it comes to public transport timetables, as these sometimes deviate greatly from the advertised timetables. After a delay of about 30 minutes, our bus finally arrived and took us to Palmar Norte. However, a bus ride in Costa Rica cannot be compared to a bus ride in Germany. The narrowest streets are driven on and everywhere, where a person is at the roadside, the bus stops, stop or not. So the almost 42 kilometers became a real test of patience, because in the meantime we thought we would never reach our destination. So really plan enough time for the bus ride, because you can not count on the timetable. You should count on about 1.5 - 2 hours!

Finally arrived in Palmar Norte, there are two possibilities to get to the boat landing in Sierpe. Either you take another bus, which takes about 45 minutes for the distance or you take a cab like we did. We would have preferred to take the bus, but that way we would have missed our boat. The cab ride costs about $15 and leads through endless palm plantations to the town of Sierpe and the river of the same name.

At the pier the captains of the boats are already waiting for you and ask for your accommodation. Here you will be assigned to the right boat and in the meantime you can take a seat in the small snack bar. Important! Let your accommodation reserve you a place on the boats, so you can be sure that you will get on board. Otherwise it will be on a first come, first served basis. Some hotels also offer their own pick-up service, so it is worth asking your accommodation in advance. After a short refreshment, it went for us then already.

Off on the boat, put on the life jackets and off into the adventure. At first, the boat is sailed relatively leisurely along the wide river. But that's soon over, because then full throttle is given and every curve is taken at full speed. Without regard for losses or wet passengers. And this speed then became our undoing. Beppo said still briefly, whether before us, in some distance, a crocodile swims. As we got closer and closer to the object, we thought about saying something, but by then it was too late. A violent bang followed by bodies hurtling forward and a meter wide jump of the boat left us on the water with the engine silent and a 5 meter long log in the drive propeller. For the first milliseconds during the crash, I thought it was part of the captain's showmanship. But at the latest when he was cursing at the stern of the boat trying to get rid of the driftwood again, I realized that we had indeed broken down. Drifting on a river with supposed crocodiles. Oh great! After a few skillful maneuvers and another palette of expletives, the gasoline engine of our nutshell gurgled happily in the water again and we continued on our way. After some time, the boat decelerated again, this time intentionally, and we turned into the narrow mangrove forests. At walking speed, our barge chugged through the mystical forest. This is one of the largest mangrove areas in Costa Rica. The trees lined up close together, leaving only a narrow channel into which our boat seemed to fit almost perfectly. In search of crocodiles, we passed through the unique root network until the jungle released us on stilts into the open sea.  From here on it becomes critical for sensitive stomachs. The waves make the small boat sway violently, as most of the time we have to sail across the waves. We had to fight both, although we belong rather to the more hard-boiled. But after a total of 1.5 hours boat ride, we finally reached Drake Bay and were dropped off directly at our accommodation. It is best to wear shorts and flip-flops, because there is no landing stage and you have to jump directly into the knee-deep water.

Dense mangrove forests on the way to Drake Bay.

At Drake Bay itself there are two small towns. Agujitas, where our accommodation was also located. This consists of a church, several bars and two small supermarkets. The second village Drake is located further north and consists only of a few houses. Agujitas is the perfect starting point for a trip to the nearby Corcovado National Park or a snorkeling / diving trip to Isla del Caño. The beach itself is deserted most of the time, but it is populated by an army of sand fleas that leave little bites on your body. But if you follow the packing list and equip yourself with mosquito spray, you will be spared as much as possible. Nevertheless, the sandy beach invites you to chill out and sunbathe. But don't forget that you are in the rainiest region of Costa Rica. We were cooled down every afternoon by a short rain shower. If you stroll along the streets of the village of Agujitas, you may be lucky enough to see a sloth or leaf-cutting ants at work. So keep your eyes open with every step!

Besides our snorkeling trip to Isla del Caño, we went exploring on our own in the jungle near our accommodation. With the rubber boots from our hostel, we marched over hill and dale, leaving small rivulets and green thickets behind us, until we finally stood in an empty creek bed and slightly lost our orientation. As dusk began to set in, we quickly started looking for the way back. Over muddy ground we slid the last meters back to our hostel. And although we made it back unscathed, the hike still brought a serious casualty. Our SLR camera could no longer be activated. "Camera error." Annoying! Especially with the upcoming experiences we were to face in Panama, this was extremely bitter. And so for the rest of our Costa Rica and Panama trip, the cell phone camera and drone had to hold out.

Drake Bay is a wonderful place to unwind and come down, so don't let the journey deter you and explore this part of Costa Rica too! After a few relaxing days, which we needed in view of the coming days, it was time to say goodbye to Costa Rica. Because our journey took us across the border into the neighboring country of Panama!

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