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“At the edge of the world”

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Drake Bay Wilderness Resort
Ranked #6 of 8 Hotels in Drake Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Tulsa
Level Contributor
21 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“At the edge of the world”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 18, 2008

Drake Bay Wilderness Resort is perched at the shoreline with a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean and distant Cano Island. It is isolated from behind by jungle and rivers. The primitive trail going west from the resort leads to one incredibly beautiful, empty beach after another.
Getting to and from this place is not simple, but is a wonderful part of the experience. The trip in from Sierpe was on a fast speed boat down a river through undeveloped mangrove forest, ending with an exhilarating entry into the ocean. The trip out was by Twin Otter with spectacular views of the coast. Our inbound and outbound trips were coordinated through Drake Bay management, and they also arranged 2 very enjoyable tours for us while there.
It is amazing to me that everything worked seamlessly during our stay, given the logistic challenges of provisioning and maintaining the resort. Though the property is beautiful and very comfortable, it could not be described as luxurious in the typical sense. But this is not a typical location.
My wife and I are private people and were anxious about the community dining setup. However, we ended up enjoying our dinners with many of the eclectic visitors who were also drawn to this edge of the world.

  • Liked — setting
  • Disliked — can't think of anything
  • Stayed February 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank 1340
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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313 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (69)
Date | Rating
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English first
London
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 10, 2008

We recently returned from a four week tour of Costa Rica and our stay at this place was the highlight. The location is stunning; the grounds are beautifully landscaped and well kept; the cabins are nicely furnished and spotlessly clean. Food is plentiful and tasty. Picnic lunches provided on the tours were nicely arranged and above average. We also enjoyed the open-air bar where a delicious snack was served every afternoon.
The staff were pleasant, patient, always helpful and thoughtful, while at the same time they managed to keep a nice laid back atmosphere to the place.
We usually never stay more than 3 days at the same place but at Drake Bay we stayed 5 days and enjoyed every minute. We participated in 3 of the lodge's tours with an extremely knowledgeable guide – a true expert on spotting wildlife.
We highly recommend this lodge and location to other travelers and hope to go back ourselves one day .

  • Liked — The atmosphere.
  • Disliked — Lack of beach.
  • Stayed February 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank JSKL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
belgium
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 20, 2007

I'm from belgium, travelled alot and stayed in many resort lake this one. I have mixed feelings about this one. The place is amazing, very nice view, one of te best in drake bay. The tours you can do are also very good (we had a very very good guide, his name was manuel, he was the best guide we had in our 1 month trip to costa rica) and the food is also very good. The downside however was (in my experience) the kindeness of herbert and his wife. We stayed there 6 nights 7 days, en booked 4 trips with them. We booked our whale watching with vida marina (superb by the way, saw 9 humpbacks in half a day), and when herbert knew about that, he became very unfriendly. He just "forgot" telling things to us so we were late for the whale watching. And one thing really set me off. We planned the night tour with tracie for our last evening. When we were ready and tracie didnt come I asked his wife if she could call them. Then she answered, and i quote, "OOOHH, I'm sorry, i forgot to arrange it. You see, i had to much to drink last night and took a sleeping pill because i was so tired this afternoon so I forgot to call them". God, never had such an answer of any lodge hotel campingsite - owner ever!! Me and my dad also went on a fishing trip, catched one fish that day (bad luck probably) but the resort at the other side (aquila de osa inn) catched 27, plus our guide (not manuel this time) couldnt speak one word of english, only spanish and herbert knew this. When i asked the fishingguide who could speak english about this, he said " I normally had to go fishing with you guys, but for some reason herbert asked the cook to go fishing with you guys". When i heard that I really had it, unfortunately it was at the day we left, otherwise I would have left and go to the aguila de osa inn. Another thing are the rooms, they are nice though but could need some work, the sheets on the bed were worn off and stuff like that. Normally it doesnt bother me that much, but it isnt very cheap so....

so my conclusion: very nice location but very unfriendly staff. (except for some guides).

and another thing, we were almost alone there, we saw only 3 couples there during our stay, of wich 2 couples left after 1 night and went to the aguilla at the other side of the river. The rooms are nicer and staff more friendly (i heard when we saw the couple on a tour again)

  • Liked — location, tours
  • Disliked — not friendly at all
  • Stayed September 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
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    • Cleanliness
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank yoegibear
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
scorpion442, relations manager at Drake Bay Wilderness Resort, responded to this review, December 28, 2007
We Feel we need to respond the gentleman from Belgium.
If you wish to compare us to Aguila de Osa it is only fare that you compare the pricing as well which is almost double our rate. Concerning our rooms most hotels use endangered species of wood to beautify theirs, we don't.
In regards to fishing, most fishermen know it means going fishing for them not catching them.
We don't send cooking staff fishing, I don't know where he got that information or what he understood. However if he would have liked to pay $800 dollars for a fishing trip with Aguila we would have gladly booked it for him with them. Regarding the "27" fish Aguila caught and the one he did sometimes it is vice versa.
We spoke with the lady who does the bug tour, and she said being the low season she remember the gentleman and his family they did the bug tour and enjoyed themselves very much. Marleny did forget to book it but she did it and they did the tour. We feel deeply insulted that he would say she was drunk or had too much to drink, she does not drink or take drugs. We don't know what he understood when she was talking to him but she certainly did not say "she had too much to drink", or "took sleeping pills". Being from Belgium, and her from Costa Rica we feel both their englishs must not have been at their best as must have been in the fishing case where he understood that the cooking staff went on his fishing trip.
We were upset about losing the dolphin tour, because we employ 30 people and almost half are dedicated to doing the many tours we offer, and we must keep them employed. Shawn our dolphin guide who is a marine biologist, has gotten wonderfull reviews on the tour he does. He was the first doing the tour in the area, and his experience is unmatched in doing it. So we are happy when people go on tour with him, because they are happy.
The comments we hear often, are this is the most friendly place they have been to. We have been doing this business for over 20 years, and the great majority of our guests would like to return, many do and send their friends.
Please support the small Costa Rican hotels they are an endangered species, just like the different animals we support.

Thank You
Management
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 7, 2007

We have traveled extensively worldwide, and have visited about a half dozen Latin American countries. We rate this resort at the top of our vacation spots because of the beauty of its location, the care and concern of the hosts (Marleny and Herbert), and the ability to kick back and enjoy the beautiful grounds or tour the surrounding area with informed and entertaining guides.
The cabins are lovely, and rustic only to the extent of having no TV or phone. Refrigerators were in the room, the ceiling fan was more than adequate to the weather, and the birds, animals, sea, dolphins, river kayaking, saltwater swimming pool, and friendly atmosphere made our stay a delight. Our special dietary requests were honored impeccably and the food was varied and plentiful. If we wanted something, all we needed to do was ask. This is a very special place, run by two very interesting and caring people. It has our highest recommendation.

  • Liked — location
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank sheffield514
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tampa, Florida
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 23, 2007

I have traveled for many years on several different continents and locations and found that the Drake Bay Wilderness Lodge in Costa Rica to be outstanding in terms of service, comfort, eco-tours and location beauty. Drake Bay Wilderness Lodge is located on the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica in a remote yet beautiful location and is very relaxing. I found all the eco-tours that we took ( we took a tour through the rain forest, river areas, horseback riding along the beach/mountains and scuba dived) to be excellent and were with extremely knowledgeable guides. We took over 600 pictures of beautiful locations/waterfalls as well as multiple animals/birds that you only typically see on TV via National Geographic or The Discovery Channel. The rain forest (Serena) is rated among the top 3 in the world and was recently featured on Discovery Channel. The food and accomodations at the Drake Bay Wilderness Lodge were exceptional and at affordable/reasonable prices. I greatly recommend this lodge and location to the eco-tour lover!

  • Liked — Accomodations, food, staff, tour guides, tour offerings, location, beauty
  • Disliked — We never had a complaint
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank Rkava1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago
Level Contributor
27 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 22, 2007

It is a little hard to separate what I liked about this resort from the increadable area that is Drake Bay. First, the area is beyond compare as a tropical wilderness. The Corcovado park, waters teeming with whales and dolphins, and the coral reefs would make a stay at any hotel a great experience. There are about 10 places in Drake Bay which all seem equally good for outdoor activities. What sets them apart is the experience back at the resort grounds.

We spend 6 nights at Drake Bay Wilderness resort for our honeymoon. We enjoyed every minute of it and would go back in a hearbeat. The grounds are beautiful and well groomed. The rooms are neat and clean, but without TV, telephones, or clocks. Not to worry, the tropical birds and the sound of the surf woke us up every morning. One highlight is the open air bar, where the guest and staff tend to congregate after dinner. Watch your tab, as any drinks other than water are added to your bill. The specific feature that made our decision was the free use of the kayaks in the river behind the grounds. It was great to come back from the jungle and paddle upstream to lay in the water and watch the howler monkeys.

The food was great, and served with an elegant presentation. Even the picknick lunches were above average.

The activities seem to be typical of the area (although I have not done any of the other lodge's activities I did observe the other groups). Their equipment seemed to be in average to above average compared to the other properties. The staff are first rate. Very patient with the guests, and very good at adjusting activities to the group. Both guides are true experts on spotting wildlife, and everyone on the grounds truely seems to care about the guest experience.

We are younger people (early 30s), but this laid back and relaxed atmosphere was what we wanted. If you expect to come back from the jungle and party at the bar, this might not be the right property for you. None of the places in Drake Bay are set up for the all-enclusive party holiday crowd, and I hope it stays that way.

  • Liked — beautiful grounds
  • Disliked — few options after dark
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank winnydpu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Florida
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 15, 2007

First things first,
You have to like to go outside, second you have to like tropical paradises and all that comes with them. Great food, Great vistas, great adventures, great relaxation, etc.

My wife and I had just recently married, this trip to Drake Bay was part of our honeymoon. We stayed all over Costa Rica but no where, and I mean no where, did it look like paradise except when we got to Drake Bay. There are lots of beautiful places in Costa Rica but this place made fantasy island look like a banana plant on your back porch. Herbert is quiet but doesn't take crap from whiners, Marlenne is sweet like your mother away from home but running the hotel takes a lot of her attention so trying to catch her for a chat can be tough. The staff are at your every beck and call, fulfilling almost any reasonable request, all with a smile. The food is wonderful despite the complaints I read on here. I think that most people are used to strictly Americanized food and when they don't have all that processed, overly fat saturated, over seasoned, garbage they think they're being fed poison. You will only eat fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats from this rain soaked tropical paradise. All the food is prepared fresh daily before each meal Herbert and Marlenne have a farm close by that provides adequate amounts of dairy and meat and the ocean and plant life provide the rest. Tropical fresh fruit juices are squeezed right in front of you. We had fresh mangoritas one evening while sitting at the bar. Wildlife abounds and if you think you need a telescope to see it you'll be shocked when it's hanging off the tree in front of your cabin. That's right you have your own cabin. With hot water and always an impressive view. The cabins feel very private tucked back amongst the tropical flowers and trees. An immaculate tropical garden is the resting place for the entire resort and every inch of it could be shot as a postcard. We had no problems with money or unimpressive tours. Our expectations were very realistic though (we knew there wasn't a tank of dolphins for us to swim around with) we would hardly blame any resort for not producing a particular animal for us to view. Now that you understand the resort isn't a marine zoo, it is surrounded by some of the most plentiful aquatic life on the planet. You'll see something if you're not blind. There is only one thing that anyone need to do in order to make up their minds about booking a trip to Drake Bay Wilderness resort, check out the website and you'll see exactly what it's like to visit one of the few tourist friendly, pristine paradises left in Costa Rica. We booked our next visit before we even left. ---

  • Liked — Clean and natural surroundings, sensory overload with paradise all around you.
  • Disliked — Nothing!
  • Stayed March 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank JMSL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Drake Bay Wilderness Resort

Property: Drake Bay Wilderness Resort
Address: Desembocadura del Rio Agujas | Bahia Drake, Drake Bay, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Osa Peninsula > Drake Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#4 Family Hotel in Drake Bay
#4 Romantic Hotel in Drake Bay
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Drake Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Since it was founded in 1985, Drake Bay Wilderness Resort has continued to be a family run business. Our focus has been to take good care of our guests so that they'll feel right at home. We try to be as flexible as possible, taking into consideration people´s needs and we do our very best to fulfill special requests. For instance, we will prepare meals for special diets. Furthermore, the hotel is situated in one of the most beautiful locations in the area. It has large open areas with a bounty of beautiful flowers, tropical plants, big mango trees, and beach almond trees that attract the raucous macaws. The property gives you the feel of being in a private island since the river flows along the backside of the property and the whole front side meets the ocean. In addition to this, most visitors come to us by boat and the access by land to the hotel is a small path, unreachable by car, that is submerged in a jungle. Best of all, there is a paradise like view of the bay and ocean, reflecting the deep blue sky and, beyond that, hills bound in lush forests.We offer all sorts of extras that help make our guests' stay more comfortable and enjoyable. For example, we include a full laundry service. Kayaks close to the water are always at our guests' disposal. We have a restaurant, bar, swimming pool, dock, and hammocks to relax under the shade of a tree with the cool ocean breeze blowing on you. From our hotel we take guests on adventures in snorkeling, hiking, diving, canoeing and whale watching. Visitors often see four species of monkeys, sloths, tapir, caiman and a myriad of birds, including the scarlet macaw, mangrove hawk, toucan... ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Drake Bay Wilderness Hotel Drake Bay
Drake Bay Wilderness Resort Costa Rica

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