Within five hours of leaving pretty but vicious Bahia Dominicalito we enter large, peaceful and deserted Bahia Drake.
This bay gets its name from Sir Francis Drake, who discovered this slice of Paradise during his circumnavigation.
The only other boat around is a Costa Rican Coast Guard Cutter, which gets Tom all excited. “Look”, he says “those old cutters belonged to our US Coast Guard in the seventies!”
Well well, now we know where US Coast Guard Cutters go when they “retire”… They get handed down to Central America, just like the old school buses, and continue their honorable service for as long as they can stand it.
Apart from that, there’s no sign of life, we have this enchanted place all to ourselves.
Looking at the shore, I can barely see a roof here and there, hidden by the thick vegetation. I know there’s a resort there, after all this is one of Costa Rica’s premier eco-tourism destinations. We’re just off the shores of the famous Osa Peninsula and a few nautical miles from Isla Cano.
Isla de Cano was once used as a pre-Colombian cemetery and it’s an amazing marine biological reserve and scuba-divers’ paradise that holds the record of the most-hit-by- lightning-strikes in Costa Rica.
Because of this last piece of information, we skipped the island and anchored at a safe distance from it…
The Osa Peninsula is the southernmost peninsula in Costa Rica. Pumas and Jaguars are regular residents here, along with the Scarlet Macaw and a large number of other rare and endangered animal species. It has been declared by National Geographic ‘one of the most biologically intense places on earth’. It is certainly clear to me, and I have only seen a fraction of what’s out there!
A very large portion of the Osa Peninsula forms the Corcovado National Park, boasting the single largest expanse of a lowland tropical rainforest in Central America and is one of the tallest rainforests in the world.
Corcovado is also home to Costa Rica’s most deadly snake, the extremely aggressive Fer-de-Lance. Visitors are strongly recommended to hire a guide when touring the Park.
Without getting too adventurous we take a few trips ashore. The resort barely visible from the sea turns out to be the Aguila de Osa Inn.
We park our dinghy at their docks and take a walk around to see the neighborhood.
This is not your typical mass-tourism hotel, but rather an unobtrusive bunch of luxury lodges with all the amenities one could wish for situated on a sprawling tropical garden perfectly blending in the surrounding jungle.
I finally get to see Scarlet Macaws flying in pairs overhead. I hear them long before I see them, as they are noisily bickering with each other, even mid-flight!
A pair of these gorgeous, colorful birds lands on a branch of a tall tree nearby, so I decide to start a conversation. “Hello”, I repeat over and over. It’s a one-sided conversation, there’s no reply. But they are intrigued, looking at me with great curiosity.
It finally dawns on me that I should probably try Spanish! “Hola”, I start, and am soon rewarded by some Macaw version of the greeting. Ha! Mission accomplished, I can carry on now. Tom is looking at me, shaking his head.
I spend a few long minutes taking pictures of native plants and flowers… I would be still there if Tom hadn’t dragged me away…
There’s an intricate web of hiking trails starting from the resort grounds, taking you all over Corcovado Park. We follow one for just a few minutes, as we were not expecting -and are not equipped- to hike in the jungle. Besides, the rain of the previous night rendered the terrain a mixture of slippery leaves and mud. We just make it to a suspended bridge before regretfully turning back…
We take the path of least resistance for once, following a little trail marked “The Village” and ending up on the beach of Bahia Drake’s Village.
I’m surprised to see an elementary school just a few feet from the water! But I’m soon distracted by the natural beauty surrounding me…
On the way back we wander around the never-ending wonder of a tropical garden and more resort grounds.
Three days of absolute peace go by before we feel the need to move again. Actually, we could have stayed even a little longer, but the sea is giving us a little warning in the form of rolling waves…
Tomorrow we leave Drake’s Bay, destination Puerto Jimenez, Golfo Dulce.