Most lodges deal in multiday packages; one-night stays are rare because the bay is so difficult to reach.
You can camp at Vista Bahía Drake (tel. 506/8845-1588, fax 506/2732-2696, $18 pp with bed, $10 pp with own tent) atop a hill on the east side of the village. It has toilets and a cold-water shower, plus five roomy tents with beds or mattresses on decks. You can also bring your own tent.
Further inland is Campamento Puravista (tel. 506/8715-6227, $55 pp with meals), on the road to Los Planos. It has safari-style tents with cot beds, running water in en-suite showers, toilets, plus decks with rockers. The huge open-air restaurant has ocean views.
You can camp on lawns by the beach at Playa Caletas ($10 with own tent, $15 rented tent), with bathrooms. Meals are made by request and there are trails to a swimming hole.
If you can’t get through to Drake Bay by land, the nearest lodging is at Rancho Quemado, where Laguna del Valle, beside the soccer field, has cabins.
On the north side of Agujitas, budget hounds have Cabinas Manolo (tel. 506/8885-9114, www.cabinasmanolo.com , $15 s/d shared bathroom, $20 s/d private bathroom), with four small and basic yet clean rooms with ceiling fans and porches with hammocks. Modern bathrooms have cold water only.
Next door, seven bare-bones cabins at Bambu Sol (tel. 506/8387-9138, $10 pp) are the cheapest around; it has a small soda attached. Cabinas Murillo (tel. 506/8892-7702, $15 pp) also offers seven simple roadside rooms in Agujitas.
The Río Drake Lodge (tel. 506/8830-9911, www.facebook.com/RioDrakeLodge , $20 pp) is close to the airport north of Drake Bay and has decks for pitching tents ($6 pp), plus simply furnished wooden cabins.
The hilltop Cabinas Jade Mar (tel. 506/8384-6681, www.jademarcr.com , $45 s/d room, $55 s/d cabin) can be recommended for the views. The seven clean wooden cabins are simple and vary in size. No frills here, but it does have Internet.
I like the simple charm of the Hotel Ojalá (tel. 506/8868-7385, www.hotelojala.com , $67 s/d standard, $79 s/d deluxe, including meals), one kilometer north of Agujitas. This two-story wooden structure has three rooms downstairs, with lofty ceilings, tile floors, air-conditioning and fans, and private bathrooms with hot water. A deluxe hilltop cabin offers views and has a four-poster king-size bed. It specializes in sportfishing and has a restaurant and a whirlpool. Rates include all meals.
The charmingly rustic Mirador Lodge (tel. 506/8356-4758, www.miradordrakebay.com , $45 pp including meals and tax), atop a hill about two miles north of Agujitas, offers great views. It has 13 simple but pleasing rooms in wooden stilt units with bamboo walls; baths have cold water (both shared and private baths are available). There’s a deck, and meals are prepared using veggies from the organic garden; hot meals are cooked in the wood-burning oven. Rates include meals.
Ranchito Las Cotingas (tel. 506/2775-0744, www.lascotingas.com , $60–80 s/d low season, $85–115 s/d high season), in the village, is run by locals Felix (a former park ranger) and Monica, a delightful hostess. It has seven simply furnished rooms in two-story hardwood units plus bungalows atop a hill with bay views. All have fans, a mini-fridge, hot water, and porch hammocks. Two more ample cabins have ocean views.
Two kilometers inland along the road to Los Patos, Finca Maresia (tel. 506/2775-0279, www.fincamaresia.com , $28 s or $40 d room, $60–85 s/d cabin, including breakfast and tax) sets the standard for mid-priced properties with its contemporary minimalist vogue. Run by a Spanish couple, it has seven wooden cabins (three types) set on three hectares, all with cement floors, glass walls, tin roofs, mosquito nets, Guatemalan spreads, and hip open bathrooms with stylish accoutrements. Larger Japanese-style cabins have wraparound balconies. There’s also a dorm.
Nearby, Simone and Vladimir run Jumanji Bungalows (tel. 506/2775-1556, www.jumanjibungalows.com , $45 s, $70 d), two simply furnished wooden cabins surrounded by rainforest. Each has a stocked minibar, plus a small TV at neck-craning height (why?) and modern bathrooms. Gourmet meals (caprese salad, tenderloin with onion and white wine sauce, and Mango Madness cheesecake) are served on an open-air terrace, plus there’s a small swimming pool. Wow! It even has an espresso machine.
Enjoying a splendid waterfront setting, Jinetes de Osa (tel. 506/2231-5806, www.costaricadiving.com , $70–110 s or $120–160 d low season, $80–140 s or $119–184 d high season), at the southern edge of Agujitas, is a dedicated dive resort with nine rooms, each sleeping three people, with fans, cool tile floors, screened glassless windows, Guatemalan spreads, and spacious bathrooms with hot water. There were plans to rebuild further uphill; call to confirm before booking.
Also specializing in diving, Pirate Cove (tel. 506/2234-6154 or 506/8393-9449, www.piratecovecostarica.com , $80 s or $110 d bungalow, $80 s/d cabin low season; $95 s or $125 d bungalow, $95 s/d cabin high season), overlooking the mouth of the Río Drake, north of Agujitas, has a delightful ambience. The lodge has eight elegant wooden cabins set amid landscaped grounds and connected by wooden walkways. It also has simpler yet cozy “bungalows.” Each has two beds with orthopedic mattresses, mosquito netting, and deck with hammock. Dining is family-style on a shaded deck. Contact the lodge for rates.
Rancho Corcovado (tel. 506/8889-3221, www.ranchocorcovado.com , $68 s/d standard, $85 s/d superior low season; $74 s/d standard, $96 s/d superior high season), on the beach about one mile north of Agujitas, is of a similar style and standard to Pirate Cove and specializes in multiday nature packages.
Enjoying a marvelous shorefront location on the south side of the mouth of the Río Agujitas, Drake Bay Wilderness Lodge (tel./fax 506/2775-1715, www.drakebay.com , from $560 pp three-night package, $130 pp extra night, including meals) is good for multiday package deals. It has 20 two- and four-person cabinas with ceiling fans, tile floors, oceanview patios, modern bathrooms with solar-heated showers, and terraces facing the bay. It also has two tent-cabins, perfect for budget travelers. There’s a charmingly rustic dining room, open-air bar, saltwater pool, and free laundry. It offers fishing and kayaking. However, its future is uncertain, due to possible legal action by MINAE (Ministry of Natural Resources).
The class act in Agujitas is the American-run Águila de Osa Inn (tel. 506/2296-2190 or 8840-2929, www.aguiladeosainn.com , two-night package from $533 s, $980 d low season, from $556 s, $934 d high season, including all meals and two tours), at the mouth of the Río Agujitas. The 11 stone-faced deluxe rooms and two suites are spacious and have cathedral ceilings with fans, screened glassless windows, bamboo beds with Guatemalan spreads, and exquisite bathrooms with huge walk-in showers with piping-hot water. Junior suites, farther up the hill, have magnificent views and wraparound verandas with hammocks. The focal point is the circular open-air restaurant and bar-lounge. It specializes in diving and sportfishing.
Cross the creaky suspension footbridge over the Río Agujitas to reach the serenely landscaped Villas La Paloma Lodge (tel. 506/2293-7502, www.lapalomalodge.com , from $1,040 pp three-night package, including transfers, all meals, plus tours), which perches atop a cliff overlooking Playa Cocalito and offers a superb view of Caño Island . Seven spacious bungalows—furnished with hammocks on the balcony—and five comfy cabins perched on stilts have ceiling fans, orthopedic mattresses, private baths with solar-heated water, and balconies. A 2009 upgrade added stylish Balinese furnishings, faux-wicker chairs, and blood-red loungers. The clubhouse is a perfect spot for family-style dining. There’s a small pool with bar. Hikes and horseback rides are offered, as are boat trips to Caño Island and sportfishing, and there’s a fully stocked dive shop. Rates include meals.
For a private house rental, check out Drake’s Bay Beach House (tel. 954/493-8426, www.drakesbaybeachhouse.com , $199 daily, $1,194 weekly low season; $295 daily, $1,595 weekly high season), which sleeps six people. Opposite Café PuraVida and sitting atop a hill, it offers sublime views, refreshing breezes, and an eco-sustainability design. It has a covered deck and comes with a maid and handyman.
I like the rustic yet Swiss-clean (and Swiss-Tico-run) Las Caletas Lodge (tel. 506/8826-1460, www.caletas.co.cr , from $75 pp including meals and taxes), at Playa Las Caletas. The lodge opens to three sides, with open-air family dining and lovely views beyond the manicured lawns. The five simply appointed one- or two-story cabins are cross-ventilated with screened windows and have tiled hot-water bathrooms and hammocks on balconies. The lodge is closed in September and October. There are also two tent-cabins ($65 pp).
At Playa San Josecito, a Tico named Pincho Amaya and his gringa wife, Jenny, run Poor Man’s Paradise (tel. 506/2788-1442 c/o Selva Mar, selvamar [at] ice [dot] co [dot] cr, www.mypoormansparadise.com , from $315 pp three-day packages, including meals, boat transfers, and tours). They have two rooms, plus 12 tent-cabins, all with shared baths. You can also camp ($10 pp, meals extra). Meals are served in an airy rancho. Electricity shuts off at 9 P.M. Pincho offers sportfishing and tours.
At Playa Caletas, Corcovado Adventures Tent Camp (tel. 506/8384-1679 or 8705-4556, www.corcovado.com , $80 pp with meals) has two-person tents pitched on wooden platforms, protected by thatched tarps, and with electricity. Each has a closet, wooden beds with cotton sheets, and two armchairs. It has communal washrooms, and hearty meals are served. Guided hikes and horseback rides are offered, and it includes sea kayak use.
Perfect for honeymooners and others seeking solitude is the Drake Bay Rainforest Chalet (tel. 506/8701-7462, www.drakebayholiday.com , from $1,150 pp three-night package, including round-trip airfare from San José), up the Río Agujitas, a 20-minute walk from Playa Cocalito. This open-plan mahogany chalet with full kitchen and full entertainment system (including satellite TV) has vast picture windows and a gracious aesthetic, including rattan furniture and romantic mosquito netting over the king-size bed.
By far the most luxurious place in the region is Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge (tel. 506/2256-3181, U.S. tel. 888/896-6097, www.casacorcovado.com , package rates vary), run by Chicago expat Steven Lill, who has conjured a wonderful hilltop resort from a defunct cacao plantation. There are 14 thatched, conical cabinas (including two “honeymoon” units) with hardwood four-poster beds and mosquito nets, ceiling fans, twin-level ceilings, and huge showers with hot water and designer fixtures. There’s a lounge and library, plus a mirador bar. Trails lace the 120-hectare property. A small spring-fed pool provides cooling dips. It has guided hikes, sea kayaking, and scuba diving. The restaurant serves gourmet cuisine, family-style. This calming counterpoint to the tangle of Corcovado  on its doorstep is one of only 11 hotels in the country to earn five leaves in the Certification for Sustainable Tourism program.
Atop a hill that’s a sweat-inducing climb, Punta Marenco Lodge (tel. 506/2292-2775 or 8877-3535, www.puntamarenco.com , from $339 pp two-night package including meals), at Marenco, has 20 rustic hilltop cabinas with cold-water private bathrooms, plus terraces with fabulous views. Family-style meals are served.
Californian entrepreneur Jay Tress runs Copa de Arbol Beach & Rainforest Resort (tel. 506/8935-1212, www.copadearbol.com , $200–300), a lovely two-story lodge made entirely of fallen timber and bamboo. Its 10 rooms have ceiling fans, huge screened glassless walls, and stylish contemporary bathrooms. Air-conditioned cabins lack the airy feel of the rooms. Jay rents boogie boards, kayaks, and mountain bikes. Trails lead into the hotel’s own forest reserve.
Another lovely, airy option, Guaria de Osa (tel. 908/998-1920, www.guariadeosa.com , from $395 pp for three-day/two-night package), built from reclaimed hardwoods at Playa Rincón de San Josecito, is also within walking distance of the national park. It’s centered on a three-tier Balinese-style lodge, called Lapa Lapa; the top tier serves as an observation perch and meditative space. It has five rooms, two cabins, and five “tentaloos”—upscale safari tents with wooden floors and a shared bathhouse with exquisite tile. Delicious meals are served in a handsome restaurant. It specializes in yoga, and has a garden and nursery growing native trees and fruits.