If you would like to book a tour or activity in Drake Bay, here is our booking checklist. Follow these tips and you will be able to relax in the knowledge that you have done everything you can to make your vacation in paradise spectacular.
Make Sure Your Tour Operator is Local to Drake Bay
Look on google maps and find the tour office. Make sure it is located in the main village of Agujitas in Drake Bay. Booking tours with operators in Puerto Jimenez or Uvita can create logistical complications. It is also much better to have a guide who lives in the area.
Ask Your Hotel
All of the hotels in Drake Bay have connections with local tour operators and guides. Ask them if they are able to help you as this can save you a lot of time.
Ask About Specific Guides and Operators
Almost all operators can organise Corcovado or Cano Island. For other tours, you can ask for specific people.
Offshore Fishing: Willy or Penino
The Horseback Jungle Tour: Wilber from Los Planes
The Floating Tour and Plankton Tour: Pacheco.
The Tapir Trail: Gustavo
Sierpe Mangrove Tour: Perla Del Sur
Rio Claro Kayaking: Ricardo
Paraiso Verde: Alfredo
Tracie The Bug Lady is, well, Tracie the Bug Lady.
Book in Advance
There are a limited number of place in Corcovado and Cano Island per day. This is set by the government and cannot be changed by local operators. During busy times, permits can be booked months in advance, especially in the case of Corcovado Overnights.
Understand the Itinerary
Make sure that your are clear on the departure time, the location of the pick up point, and return time of your tour. Also make sure that you know what is and is not included on the tour such as food and/or equipment. Make sure that you are ready to go 20 minutes early, because the jungle can be a very unpredictable place.
Understand Cancellation Policies
Corcovado and Cano Island tours have very strict cancellation policies which are set by the government. The tour operator must pre-pay and cannot get the money back unless under extreme circumstances such as a tropical storm. They can not be cancelled due to rain or change-of-mind. Other tour types may be more flexible, but make sure that you ask before booking, so that there is no chance of frustration. You can read more about Corcovado Regulations on our blog.
Don't Ask for Discounts
Costa Rica does not have a custom of haggling. Even during slow season, setting up a tour in Drake Bay still costs the same for the operator. Basic items that will need to be paid for include entrance permits, gasoline or transportation, and food. Most tour operators only make $10-25 per person on each tour. If a tour operator does offer you a discount, it will most likely be because something has been subtracted from the tour such as lunch.
Advise in Advance About Special Requirements
Make sure that you tell your tour operator, guide, and/or hotel about any special requirements that you might have in advance. This includes:
-dietary requirements and/or allergies
-young children or eldery people in your group
-injured or disabled members of your group
-departure times if leaving Drake Bay directly after the tour
The more they know about you, the better they will be able to help you with your adventure.
Who We Are
Gringo Curt has been living on the Osa Peninsula since 2008. After spending 9 years working at the bank, he fell in love with the Osa. He was a volunteer in Corcovado National Park for one year and then opened one of the first restaurants in Drake Bay. The restaurant has been rated number one on TripAdvisor in the Osa Peninsula; offering fresh fish, free birdwatching, and helpful advice about the area.
Charlotte is originally from Australia and has been living in Drake Bay since 2014. She was a volunteer at the Corcovado Foundation, a local organization that focuses on sea turtle conservation and environmental education for 2 years. She has worked for several other non-profits around the world, doing web design and freelance writing.