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Confused.com - drake bay, carate or cabo matapalo, help!

Bristol, United...
Level Contributor
52 posts
10 reviews
Confused.com - drake bay, carate or cabo matapalo, help!

Hi there,

Have read and read and read online but cannot decide where to stay on the osa peninsula this December so would appreciate advice as am running out of time. Bdc is fully booked for when we are going and was above our budget anyway but also do not want to stay in a hostel. I am looking at la leona lodge/lookout lodge and similar and also a few places around drake bay . Would like an immersive jungle experience , not too basic and doesn't have to be luxurious as well but we do not want to do the overnight at sirena station . We would like to do a day trip or probably two into Corcovado however and we would like to stay somewhere which is within the jungle so we feel it is all around us. My main question is, if we stay at carate or cabo matapalo, I have read that it is impossible to get to sirena on a day trip so will we be massively missing out by staying here and not getting to sirena? I know that at leona there is entrance to the park at the leona station there but have read that this is a coastal trail with limited wildlife spotting opportuninities. So read we may see more at sirena on a boat trip from drake bay? On another post however I read that people have seen Pumas at leona and more wildlife at carate than at sirena and I also read that sirena is very busy with tourists which means wildlife disappears from the area? I also understand that wildlife may be all around us at carate and cabo matapalo but not at drake bay itself? Is this correct? I can also see that we can go with several tour companies at drake bay but am not sure if there are tour companies which will operate from carate or cabo matapalo or if we stay there are we going to have to use the hotel services only? There is also an option to hire a rental house at cabo matapalo. Can anyone advise me on the best area to stay for wildlife making the most of our 3 days / 4 nights there? Final question is can you do kayaking and also the phosphorescence thing in all of these areas? Thank you for any advice!

Brooklyn, New York
Destination Expert
for Sarapiqui
Level Contributor
7,692 posts
149 reviews
1. Re: Confused.com - drake bay, carate or cabo matapalo, help!

Sirena is still the top of the top for wildlife--tapirs, bull sharks, pumas, peccaries etc.

We stayed at a lovely little place called Finca Maresia near Drake Bay and then did two nights at Sirena.

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
Level Contributor
11,085 posts
23 reviews
2. Re: Confused.com - drake bay, carate or cabo matapalo, help!

Agree with racandee's advice. You can't visit Sirena on a dayhike from Carate or Cabo Matapalo, and the portion of the trail to Sirena which you could visit is right along the beach and not conducive to wildlife spotting which tends to require substantial shade cover. The wildlife doesn't know where park boundaries are, but I have seen far more wildlife around Sirena ranger station than other corners of the park. That means staying in Drake Bay and taking daytrips by boat.

We stayed at Las Caletas, a simple place on a hill overlooking a swimmable beach. Simple accommodations and family style meals, but like most of your choices, availability may be very limited in mid-late December.

Bristol, United...
Level Contributor
52 posts
10 reviews
3. Re: Confused.com - drake bay, carate or cabo matapalo, help!

Thanks guys, much appreciated. Can you do the phosphorescence tour in all places? Is the accommodation around drake like staying in the jungle like it is at carate? There is still availability for December but realise I have to move fast. Thank you again.

Dartmouth, Canada
Level Contributor
8,111 posts
5 reviews
4. Re: Confused.com - drake bay, carate or cabo matapalo, help!

We had five nights at Finca Maresia in Drake Bay in February. We went to Corcovado for a day trip, Cano Island for snorkeling, to Sierpe for mangrove excursion, and had a quad driver take us to Rio Claro on two days for a hike/swim. It's a lovely spot to stay, and their site shows how they are situated. The owner, Juan, arranged all the excursions, and we flew from/to San Juan. https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Hotel_Review-g313…

Paris, Canada
Level Contributor
7,947 posts
20 reviews
5. Re: Confused.com - drake bay, carate or cabo matapalo, help!

Sirena is special because you have a better chance of seeing animals like peccaries and tapirs and maybe even a puma. We saw all three but we hiked to Sirena and spent two nights at the ranger station. To see wildlife you need luck, patience and persistence. If you don't want to overnight at Sirena but you do want to go there you have to take the boat from Drake Bay and then you need some luck.

I liked the Puerto Jimenez-Dos Brazos de Rio Tigre-Cabo Matapalo-Carate area better for jungle and wildlife spotting. We did stay in the village in Drake Bay and if you choose Drake Bay I would suggest looking at lodging outside of the village.

I have heard good things about Casa Bambu in Cabo Matapalo (look at the activities and tours on their website) and our friends liked Finca Exoctica and LagunaVista Villas in Carate. Although day hikes into Corcovado Park are possible you can see lots of wildlife outside of the park as well. Even on the road.

Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
Level Contributor
20,007 posts
62 reviews
6. Re: Confused.com - drake bay, carate or cabo matapalo, help!

Is there anything else to add? Maybe this: if you will stay anywhere between Puerto Jiemnez and Carate, having a car will increase your chances of moving from one spotting location to another. In Cabo Matapalo check out El Remanso Lodge, it is bordering with BdC.

I have stayed once at Cabinas Jimenez, and once at Bosque del Cabo. The later was much more rain forest experience (one day even too much :-)) ) but also when staying in Cabinas Jimenez we have seen pretty much all the important stuff less the cats and the tapirs. Which anyway are not guaranteed, nor at BdC nor at La Sirena. Going to La Sirena for a day trip is not the best way to look for the wildlife, IMO. Early morning and late afternoon is when the wildlife is moving around, and boat arrival and departure timings will miss those.

7. Re: Confused.com - drake bay, carate or cabo matapalo, help!

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