Las Caletas - Drake Bay
Travel Blogs from Drake Bay
It's finally the day we are going to the heart of the "most biologically intense place on earth," according to National Geographic.
We departed for our tour at 6 a.m., and landed about 1.5 hours later by boat at the park's Sirena station. We were in the park with our guide, Jose, and within minutes we saw squirrel monkeys, followed by …
Our first full day in Drake Bay, outside Corcovado National Park. We were suppose to tour the park today but it's been pushed back until tomorrow. Instead, Jeff and I hiked along the Osa Peninsula which hugs the Pacific Ocean to Playa San Josecito. We were barely on the trail when we saw a scarlett macaw -- a bird with rainbow colors often found …
We left Allajuela yesterday morning after seeing a flock of five parrots fly overhead! We flew a dosmetic airline, Nature Air from San Jose. It was a small plane and we flew low so all of the land was visible--coffee plants everywhere. Eventually we were flying near the ocean and landed in Palmar Sur. We picked up some other travelers to Drake Bay …
... the Squirrel Monkeys are both endangered and saw them both at Corcovado National Park. Finally got round to going. Had to go there to work on a tree. We walked half way there and then rode a quad bike the other half the way which was amazing fun. It was me, Juan, Weneger and Weneger’s brother driving, all on the one quad bike along a really pot holed, muddy, steep dirt track. Then Mark’s parents came to visit and so ...
... around Sirena, however, the rain persisted and it seemed that very few animals wanted to be out and about in it. So we spent the afternoon back at the station watching the rain and looking for animals from the relative dry comfort, the highlight being the macaws and a red brocket deer.
We were up at 4.30 am the following morning, as we had to leave early due to the timing of the tides – some of the rivers and beaches are impassable ...
How has this lodge rated in the past?
Historical Traveler Reviews Las Caletas - Drake Bay
My two children, ages 8 and 15, and a friend of mine, stayed at Las Caletas for six days. David, Jolanda, and their 8 year old son, Luka, were gracious, friendly, accomodating, and fun hosts. We had some wonderful experiences while at Las Caletas - including snorkeling, horseback riding, hiking, going to Corcovado, and just relaxing. My two children had a wonderful time and have said their favorite time was playing in the ocean. The three meals a day were healthy and delicious - always something different. We met some very interesting guests from other countries and had some great discussions at dinner time. I have so many fond memories of Las Caletas and would highly recommend staying there. We are hoping to go back next year - I guess that's the best recommendation possible - a return visit.
On June 30, 2006, my friend and I arrived at Drake Bay airstrip via Nature Air. We were on our way to Las Caletas, a family eco-lodge in the Drake Bay area. Las Caletas, for an extra fee, had arranged car transportation from Drake Bay airstrip to Agujitas. We had a wet boat landing from the small town of Agujitas to Las Caletas. It was up on a hill surrounded by lush forest. Jolanda, one of the owners, greeted us at the beach. Our room was attached to the main building; a small two single-bed room with a small bathroom/shower. It had a view of the ocean. The beds had mosquito netting which proved to very useful. All was simple which was what we expected. Las Caletas is located on a beautiful sight basically surrounded by rain forest so be prepared to encounter nature where you are not used to finding it (ie. in your room). As you take tours and learn about the animals and plants in the area, I think you will appreciate what a special place the Osa Peninsula is. Be prepared for the humidity. You will be moist and wet the whole time you are there. There is no air conditioning but there are fans. Sometimes it was hard to sleep because of the humidity but that is to be expected in a rain forest. In the dining/common area, we were able to enjoy nice breezes off the Pacific. In short, don't come expecting the Ritz. I believe the water for showers were solar heated but it was so warm that I didn't even use hot water. A nice cool shower was better. There is a place to wash your clothes by hand and clothes line to hung them up on. Althought Las Caletas had kayaks and snorkeling equipment, I chose not to use them as I am a weak swimmer. The waters on the beach however, were rather calm, I think.
Our eight night stay was awesome! Jolanda and David, the wife and husband owners, made sure their guests were well fed and well looked after. Their seven year old son, Luka, is a very precocious and active kid. We actually had a conversation about the existence of ghosts (he doesn't believe, I do). I envy him growing up in such beautiful surroundings with wonderful people. A special mention about Tico Cat, their long legged domestic tabby. He completed the homey atmosphere of Las Caletas.
The day we arrived we planned some of the tours we were interested in taking. Tours were done through local guides. We did the Night Tour with Tracie the Bug Lady, a hiking tour starting from the San Pedrillo Ranger Station of secondary and primary rain forest with guide Wilbur, snorkeling nd hiking on Cano Island with Gustavo (if you are a weak swimmer like me, let Gustavo know and he'll pay extra attention to you when snorkeling) and mountain biking with Gustavo. All the guides were very knowledgeable and professional. I highly recommend them. I had a hard time understanding Wilbur at times. His accent was pretty thick but after awhile I got use to it. I liked the flexibility to change our minds in regards to the tours. We had been interested in other tours but changed our minds. Jolanda was very accommodating especially since the tours were not pre-paid. The Night Tour was not flexible as reservations had been made before we arrived. We also took walks on our own into town, and hung around the lodge and the beach just taking it easy (bring lots of sunscreen!).
I would recommend Las Caletas to families (most definitely!); small groups, couples and single travelers (especially single women who want a flirt-less free environment). It's away from the hustle and bustle of Agujitas (joke!) and it is like staying in someone's home as a guest, and should be approached as such. Also, other than taking tours of the area, try to plan a day of rest because you'll certainly need it. My friend and I have decided to come back same time next year with her children. They'll love it! We certainly did!
I'd like to thank everyone who made our trip a memorable and enjoyable one: Jolanda, David, Luka, Tico Cat (for the homey atmosphere and full attention); Angela, Marilyn and Tuvia (for the awesome food! We never went hungry); Zach and Yoanni (for their quiet strength with the boat and excellent upkeep of the grounds); Tracie, Wilbur and Gustavo (our knowledgeable guides). We will be back next year and look forward to seeing you all again!
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!
Las Caletas was the highlight of our stay in Costa Rica. Before I continue this review, let me emphasize, that as travelers, we abhor those establishments that cater to the heavy drinking, smoking, thrill-seeking, tanning, night clubbing crowd. If this sounds like you, for our sake please stay away from Las Caletas. But if you love the sounds of nature, if you love learning about nature, you love good conversation and hearty meals, you love hiking, horse-back riding, kayaking, then Las Caletas is an awesome place. We stayed in the two story honeymoon suite. The first floor has an open sitting area, and we saw tons of wildlife in just one afternoon of lazing in our porch. The second floor contains the bedroom, which was very clean, and despite the open windows, relatively bug free! Don't come with the expectation of a hyatt, it's much better, more like upscale camping... you don't feel separated from nature here. Jolanda and David, the owners, welcome you like family when you stay, you take your meals with them, and hang out with them during the day, if you're not off on a guided hike or something. The beach is lovely, lots of intriguing tide pools to peer into. The bay is good for swimming. The food is generous and very tasty. We loved Las Caletas, and plan already on going back as soon as possible!
Heaven in Costa Rica
We just got back from a short three day stay at Las Caletas in Drake Bay. The step back in time takes you to the wild side of Costa Rica. The enviromentally sensitive cabinas are clean and adequate. The beds were very comfortable. The food is fantastic. The owners, Yolanda and David , are very nice people who go out of their way to make your stay enjoyable.
We took the night tour and the short trip to Corcovado with Eric as our guide. He was fantastic and a pleasure to meet. His degree in Biodiversity makes his knowledge of flora and fauna come alive . Our teenage sons had a great time on the hikes and playing in the waterfalls.
We saw many birds ( scarlet macaws and toucans) from the great room of the lodge. A short hike along the beach takes you to a great body surfing beach. If you need action 24/7 this might not be the place for you, however, if you want to see nature , relax, meet other enviromentally concerned people from around the world (Canada,England, Germany and a Brit who lived in Grand Cayman) and enjoy a family atmosphere, you will really like Las Caletas in Drake Bay.
We arrrived via Palmar Sur and departed via Drake Bay on Sansa airlines. This was a fun way to see both ways to arrive at Drake Bay. One note, the boat does a beach landing , so if you want to keep your hiking shoes dry make sure you can get to your water shoes upon arrival or departure.
If you decide to trek to Drake Bay, be sure you take Luca, the owners' son, age 7, a book or two in English or Spanish or German. He is quite a smart kid and you can make a friend quickly!
I would stay at Las Caletas again without hesitation.
We recently stayed in Drake Bay at Cabinas De Las Caletas, in the Honeymoon Bungelow. If you are looking for privacy, you should book this room, as it sits on the top of the hill, and overlooks the main house where meals are served. One other room offers privacy, the others are more or less attached to the main house where guests eat and congregate. Our bungelow had a fan, but I heard that not all the rooms had a fan. With the exception of two days, the food served was quite tasty and with a great variety.
If you take the San Pedrillo hike in Corcovado (most tourists do), please note that it is not a hike, but more of a nature walk. It was also very, very crowded with tourists, which made it very difficult to spot and or see much wildlife. You walk to a beautiful waterfall, which is much needed to cool off from a very hot day.
We also took the Sirena hike in Corcovado with Erik as our guide (for both trips). He is extremely knowledgable, and able to spot animals just about anywhere. The Sirena hike was much more of a hike, but costs more - but it was worth it. There was only four of us on the hike (plus Erik), and we barely saw another soul (other than animals). We saw three varieties of monkeys, sloths, wild turkeys, wild pigs and many, many birds. Beware of the packed lunch - we were given two sandwiches to carry in our hot, sweaty backpacks - egg salad with mayonaise, and tuna salad with mayonaise. We carried the sandwiches prior to lunch for at least two hours in the hot sun. I was very worried about eating the food, but was so hungry after all the hiking! Erik was kind enough to trade his sandwich with mine, so I didn't have to find out what hot mayonaise does to your stomach. I recommend requesting peanut butter for a long hike.
If you are looking for remote, Drake Bay is the place for you. We flew in to Drake Bay and were picked up and then arrived by boat to the Cabinas. Unless you are up for lots of walking, be prepared to take a boat for all tours you schedule. The sunset fishing tour is well worth the money - we caught many yellow fin tunas, and were able to have fresh sashimi two nights during our stay. I was unprepared for a resident bat that hung outside our room (he eats the bugs), as well as finding a scorpian at the foot of the bed one morning. However, there were no mosquitos, which was surprising to me. Also, the howler monkeys love to make some noise very early in the morning.
The staff were all very friendly and as helpful as can be. Our favorite tours were the dolphin tour, the Sirena hike, and also the sunset fishing. The canopy tour (or zip line) was fun, but not extensive. You would be better off taking a canopy tour in Monteverde.
Everyone and everywhere in Drake Bay accepts American dollars - and or colones.
We flew out of Palmer Sur, which is an hour boat ride from Drake, on a very hot day, in a very crowded boat with everyone's luggage. We went out via Palmer Sur because we heard the boat ride was an adventure where the river meets the ocean. We had a very experienced captain, and while things looked hairy, was actually a non-event. Our flight from Palmer Sur was very rocky, and I was pretty scared until we reached San Jose.
I recommend Cabinas de Las Caletas. We walked though Jinetes de Osa and Anguila de Osa, and spoke to guests who were staying there. Everyone preferred Cabinas Las Caletas. We heard that someone got really sick while staying at Drake Bay Wilderness lodge. Las Palomas looks like a high tech surveillance area, with infared cameras watching your every move when you walk through their location. We didn't see the inside, but heard it was nice. The heavy security is rumored to be resulting from recent thefts. We had no issues at Cabinas, and the owners will hold your valuable upon request.
We also heard mixed reviews regarding the Bug Lady tour.
We are very pleased that we selected Cabinas de las Caletas for our stay. It was certainly a vacation to remember!
Like home - only better!
We stayed for (a too short) 3 nights - two days at Cabinas las Caletas. Apart from the excellent food, the beautiful surroundings and the real good tours with local guides we liked especially the family atmosphere - the hosts succeeded in creating a "home" feeling, which all guests felt. When we left, saying goodbye to the hosts, staff and other guests it was like leaving very good friends, not a hotel after only 2 days. Highly recommendable!
Costa Rica at its best
My fifteen-year-old daughter and I spent our two week Christmas vacation travelling Costa Rica. The most exciting part of our trip was spent at Las Caletas in Drake Bay. We stayed there for four nights, including New Year's Eve. We arrived by boat after an hour long ride from Sierpe. This location is very remote and unspoiled. There are a number of hiking trails. We encounted more wildlife (see anteater photo) in Drake Bay than in any of the other places we stayed in Costa Rica. We were surrounded by the natural, unspoiled Costa Rican landscape. We spent a day at Isla Del Cano Biological Reserve snorkling and discovering the underwater world.
Three meals a day and snacks ... the only words I have to describe the food is incredible and again healthy, natural and Costa Rican.
But it was our hosts, Yolanda, David, Luca and their staff that made this part of our vacation unforgetable. For four days, we were part of their family. They were attentive to all our needs. I admire Yolanda, David and Luca for their respectful relationships with their staff/extended family. I honestly was very sad to leave.
Dianne and Alex
Secluded, Quiet and Natural
We are a couple from Maryland, USA, and we spent 4 nights at Cabinas Las Caletas in Drake Bay over Christmas 2005. Jolanda and David, a Swiss and Costa Rican couple and owners of the lodge went out of their way to make us feel included, cared for and comfortable at their lovely lodge. They treat all of their employees as family and everyone we came in contact with was genuinely helpful and friendly. We stayed in the very private "honeymoon bungalow" at the top of the hill, which had lovely breezes in the evening, and various wildlife to watch at all times of the day. The lodge has several bungalows and at the time of our stay, they were all occupied. Yet we did not feel as though the grounds were noisy or crowded at all. There is a lovely open-air larger building where all meals are served, there are games and books, and where you can simply sit in a comfortable chair or hammock to read or watch the toucans flying overhead. The lodge is relaxed and family friendly, and the owners have a very nice 7 year old boy who also was a wonderful host. The food was outstanding, and that is very important to me since I am a chef. They will even pack you a nice lunch if you are going on a day trip. You can be as active as you want to be here. You can find great hiking, bird watching, swimming, surfing, etc. Or just sitting on the private beach is wonderful too. When we go back to Costa Rica, we will definitely stay here. I cannot say enough good things about Las Caletas and Drake Bay.
Loved everything about this place
In November 2005 we stayed 5 nights at Cabinas Las Caletas in the "room" which has a wonderful ocean view. The resort is like a eco-lodge, tucked in the jungle above the beach. We felt like we were part of the rainforest. Loved waking up to the howler monkeys and watching all the birds in the trees. We enjoyed the private beach and the use of the kayaks. Everything was simply done, and spotlessly clean. We felt it was an excellent value! The food was wonderful, and the hosts were very gracious and made us feel a part of the family. We went on a guided tour to Corcovado Park, with the guide from the resort and even though we had lots of rain, it was still very interesting. We plan on returning in May 2006 for a longer stay. It is a great place to relax and savor the rainforest and its creatures.
Las Caletas - Family run gem at Drake Bay
We are a family of five with 3 boys, 5, 10, 12 and we just spent (Nov 20 2005) 5 nights at Drake Bay, at Cabinas Las Caletas. We also went to 5 other places in Costa Rica, and this was our best experience. The place is small, and environmentally run, with great gourmet food cooked for us, while taking our kids north american taste buds into consideration for them.
The family that runs the place are a Siwss/Costa Rican couple with a 7 year old son. Our kids had a blast playing on the beach, which is safe to swim at. ( not all places in Drake Bay are safe for swimming due to surf/currents). The grounds are kept very neat.
We went on three or four tours. The rain-forest there is really amazing. Our guide was a wonderful young woman who took her job very seriously. Since basically all travel in the area is by boat, it felt good to have a real 'Dad' - David drive us around in his well maintained boat. There is a nice walk down the shore on or near the beach.
Every morning the toucans would sit in the tree as we were served breakfast. We saw white face and howler monkeys right from the verandah, along with many other birds and creatures. There is only capacity for about 14 guests - this size makes everyone feel special. The rooms are very clean and there are hot showers. Some of the other guests staying there were veterans of central america travel, and they were all beaming about it. We flew into Palmar Sur and got a great boat ride down the river to Drake Bay. The local Drake Bay airport is often fogged out, so it is not as reliable as Palmar Sur.
You can find the website by typing 'las caletas costa rica' into google.