How to choose the right machete

How to choose the right machete

imacasa machete
An imacasa machete with scabbard
A machete is the ultimate tool for everything. You can use it to work in your garden, you can chop off some small trees, prepare fruits for your food and many things more.

Did you know where the name machete is from? 

A machete is a large cleaver-like knife. The blade is typically 32.5 to 45 centimetres (12.8 to 17.7 in) long and usually under 3 millimetres (0.12 in) thick. In the Spanish language, the word is a diminutive form of the word macho, which means male or strong and was used to refer to sledgehammers. In the English language, an equivalent term is matchet, though it is less commonly known. In the English-speaking Caribbean, such as Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana, Grenada and in Trinidad and Tobago, the term "cutlass" is used for these agricultural tools. (read more on wikipedia)

machete costa rica
A machete from Costa Rica
There are some different kinds of machetes available. Some of them are big and heavy, some of them are rather small, light but much sharper. If you want to use this machete as a garden-tool, you should get one of the bigger and heavy ones and one of the smaller sharp ones. People usally have more then one machete. Check out this video of a guy chopping down some coconuts. For working on top of the coconut tree, he has a big, not so sharp machete. After the is finished with his work and climbed down, he choosed another smaller, but much sharper machete to open the coconuts. This video was created at Casa Valeria in Samara, Costa Rica.

Buy an imacasa Machete

Probably the best manufactor of machetes is imacasa. They are building all kinds of machetes and garden tools. If you want to buy a machete, buy an imacasa machete.

imacasa quality machete
Quality machete

An Imacasa Machete offers you:

  • Industrial grade tempered steel
  • Insuperable Edge
  • Indestructible
  • Life Time Warranty

Hotel Casa Valeria in Samara Costa Rica

casa valeria in samara
Me chilling in front of my beach cabin at Casa Valeria in Samara


Casa Valeria in Samara is located directly at the famous Samara beach. It offers different cabins for backpackers or "normal" tourists. The cabins are clean and equiped with a fan (some of them even air condition) and a warm shower. There are multiple hammocks tied to the palms where you can hang, chill and watch the surfers on the beach. You can also get free coffee through the whole day. Valeria is a very relaxed person who will try everything to make you a pleasant visit. We drove to samara right after visiting hacienda guachipelin.

casa valeria samara view
My view from my hammock at samara beach
Casa Valeria is a place where you can chill after a few days travelling through costa rica and visiting all the national parks and volcanos. Here you can just relax, enjoy the sun and the beach. This is not a normal hotel in costa rica, cause it is mainly cabins build on the beach. From time to time you can go to the nearby shop and get some cold beer. Check the map on the bottom for the locations.

cowboy playing with a dog at samara
A guy plays with his horse and a dog
The rooms are equiped with basic furniture and everything you need. The "rooom-service" will clean your cabins daily. This is good, because there will always get some sand inside your cabin. That is the "bad" side living on the bach. On the picture you can see our cabin from the inside.
casa valeria cabin samara
Simple & Clean: Casa Valeria
The whole day at Casa Valeria you will see a guy walking around, cleaning, sweeping and tidying up the stuff that occurs on the beach. He cannot speak english but he is a very friendly guy. Check out the huge crab he has found at the back of our cabin.
huge crab at samara beach
A huge crab at samara beach
Sadly there is no included breakfast at Casa Valeria, only free coffee. But you can get to the supermarket neaby (1-2 minutes), buy your stuff and cook it in the kitchen at Casa Valeria.
I don't like cooking in the morning, so we went to the "Sheriff" a soda nearby to get some real costa rica breakfast Gallo Pinto. On the map of the bottom I tried to mark the sport where sheriff is located.

the best breakfast of the world gallo pinto
Gallo Pinto at the soda sheriff in Samara
The last picture is dedicated to these interesting costa rica showers you will often see around in costa rica. There is normally no hot water available in costa rica, so people are using this kind of boiler or flow-type heater shower. It looks a little bit dangerous with the wires hanging around, but after three weeks in costa rica and showering unter several of these showers I can say they are safe.

costa rica shower
A typical shower in costa rica

Fresh Coconuts on the beach

If you want to get some fresh coconut juice, you can buy some fresh harvested coconuts directly at the beach. Check out this video of us watching how a guy climbed up the coconut trees and chopped off some coconuts. If you want to buy an machete, follow my guide about machetes.

How to get to Casa Valeria in Samara

The exact address is:  200 m Este Centro de Samara, de la Guardia Rural, S├ímara, Costa Rica

Traffic violations and fines in costa rica

costa rica arenal
Parked right in front of arenal
Driving your own vor rented car in costa rica can be great fun. You will see more of the country then while travelling by bus or even airplane.But you have to keep in mind that costa rica very strict traffic laws and quite high traffic fines for breaking these laws.

These are the best Tipps for driving your car in Costa Rica:

Always obey the speed limit:
Using a GPS navigation can give you a small advantage. The included maps mostly contain the allowed speed limit for your current road limit so your GPS can warn you in case you are to fast.

Drive friendly:
Most ticos are relaxed and chilled drivers. They will give you yield even if they could drive. Try to drive as friendly like them.

costa rica bad  road
On a road like this you should
keep your distance and drive slowly
Do not try to cross big rivers
Crossing Rivers with a 4wd can be great fun. But you should always double check the depth before crossing it. If you are unsure about it ask some locals nearby. When these locals tell you not to cross that river, dont do it. Most car insurances in Costa Rica do not cover costs for a failed river crossing.
costa rica safety belt
This driver is safe, cause he wears a safety belt
Always keep your eyes on the road
The main roads in costs rica are good to drive but the side roads are full of pot holes. Always watch the road cause these pot holes appear out of nowhere.
Take some double care of the dogs. Dogs in costa rica will sleep or play on the road no matter if a car is approaching or not. Always slow down when you see a dog on the road. Even if you are approaching a dog with your car they won't run away as you might think.

Current traffic laws and fines for costa rica
Here are the the current traffic laws and fines for costa rica. They might be outdated and even higher the time you read this. Please contact me if you have information that these information are outdated.
Traffic OffenseFine in ColonesLegal Basis
Making a "U" Turn280,000143 (f)
Driving Using Cell Phone94,000145 (n)
Speeding in Excess of 120 km / hr280,000143 (b)
Speeding 20 km / hr above the speed limit47,000146 (v)
Speeding 30 km / hr above the speed limit94,000145 (u)
Speeding 40 km / hr above the speed limit189,000144 (g)
Speeding in a school zone above 25 km / hr94,000145 (p)
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol 0.20 to .050280,000143 (a) (ii)
Running a Red Traffic Light189,000144 (e)
Failure to Buckle the seat belt94,000145 (q)
Not having the vehicle inspection up to date17,000147 (n)
Foreigners driving without a local license after 3 months47,000146 (q)
Driving with an expired vehicle registration47,000146 (x)
Illegal Parking
47,000146 (n)

Hotel El Encanto Cahuita

Hotel El Encanto in Cahuita

el encanto costa rica
El Encanto in Cahuita


El encanto is a small hotel located in cahuita at the beautiful caribean coast of Costa Rica.. It is a two minute walk from cahuita city center to el encanto and another two minutes to the beach.
You can use free parking, wifi and even a little pool. The hotel is inside a very nice garden and contains of a few bungalows.
el encanto cahuita
Entrance to El Encanto

The owner of el encanto (Alex) is a very friendly guy who can bake great pizza. I recommend the hawaii pizza with fresh pineapples.

el encanto pizza
Super tasty pizza at el encanto

Next to el encanto is an area with are huge trees. During my visit there was a group oft howler monkeys. Every morning and throughout the whole day you can hear these monkeys howl.
If you want to see more monkeys like capuchin monkeys, spider monkeys and a lot of other animals you should visit cahuita national park. You can reach the free Park entrance by foot in 10-15 minutes.

El encanto bungalow
Chilling in front of by bungalow at El Encanto

  • Near the Beach
  • Free wifi + pool
  • Great pizza
  • Security at night

How to geht to el encanto

You should check the homepage of El Encanto for details how to reach cahuita by car or bus. It is quite easy, cause there are only very little roads in cahuita area.
The exact adress is:
300 mts. oeste de la Guardia Rural de Cahuita, Cahuita Limon

To drive from San Jose to Cahuita, you can use this map to plan your journey. You can also customize your route.

Map of Cahuita and places to see:

I marked the relevant spots and el Encanto Hotel in this map.

Hacker Paradise in Costa Rica

hacker paradise costa rica
Hacker Paradise 2014
Hacker Paradise is a a coworking / programming retreat in Costa Rica. It will happen this September to November. As a professional Nerd I would love to visit this 12 week experience in costa rica, but I won't have the time to arrange this.
Hacker Paradise is a programming retreat in the beautiful country of Costa Rica, inspired by Hacker School. Our HQ is El Sueno Tropical, a boutique hotel located on the edge of the jungle in the coastal town of Playa Carrillo. Students come from all over to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and spend 12 weeks writing code and building things with other passionate individuals.
Make sure to check out their website

Chikungunya in Costa Rica


(Picture: Verdy license: Public Domain via wikimedia commons)

What is Chikungunya

Chikungunya is a virus transmitted by virus-carrying mosquitoes. The virus is very similar to dengue fever. Thats why a chikungunya infection is often mistaken for dengue fever. The bad thing about chikungunya  is, that it is much worse then dengue. You will have much more pain when infected with chikungunya. Dengue fever is called the breakbone fever, because the intense pain feels like your bones are breaking. Chikungunya is translated something like "that bends up", people cannot even walk anymore because of the extreme pain suffered from this disease.
Chikungunya costa rica
Mosquito bites

Chikungunya even has another thing with dengue fever in common. There is no immunisation or even medicine for it. All you can do is take some painkillers and wait for it to finish. This might take 2-5 days. After this you will still suffer a long period of joint pains in the extremities. This pain might persist for years. Some people are still suffering from the infection. If you have been infected you will probably never have chikungunya again. Most people are immune after a first infection.

Symptoms for Chikungunya 

  • Incubation Period:  1-12 days
  • Fever up to 40 °C / 104°F
  • Rash of trunk & limbs
  • Joint pain
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of Taste
  • Photophobia

How to prevent Chikungunya

There is no immunisation or medicine agains an chikungunya infection. The only thing you can do is to use mosquito protection. Every mosquito bite is a possible infection for dengue fever, chikungunya or other viruses in costa rica. Mosquitos will hunt for your blood the whole day. The first thing you should do in the morning is to put on your mosquito repellent. There are a lot of different mosquito repellents available on the market. I would recommend Anti Brumm Forte.
Anti Brumm is a quite strange name. It contains a lot of DEET and when properly used, this stuff will keep all mosquitos away from you. You should put on anti brumm every 8 hours. When sweating or swimming you should re-new it more often.
Always ask the locals or the staff at the hotels, if they have heard any cases of dengue fever or chikungunya in the area.
anti brumm forte
The best mosquito repellent available

Latest news about Chikungunya in Costa Rica

There are not many known infections from chikungunya in costa rica until now. But lately six cases of chikungunya have been confirmed. Most of these cases have been to dominican republic or the Quepos area. So you should double check your mosquito repellent when travelling there.

Update 08.13.2014:
US assesses virus of the Caribbean
Researchers warn that a change of mosquito host could accelerate spread of chikungunya across the Americas.

More information about chikungunya infections can be found on the official who webpage.

Map of Chikungunya spreading

Chikungunya map
Source: PAHO/WHO

Good to know
Chikungunya (Makonde for "that which bends up") virus is anarthropod-borne virus, of the genus Alphavirus, that is transmitted to humans by virus-carrying Aedes mosquitoes.
CHIKV is transmitted similarly to dengue fever and causes an illness with an acute febrile phase lasting two to five days, followed by a longer period of joint pains in the extremities; this pain may persist for years in some cases.
The best means of prevention is overall mosquito control and in addition, the avoidance of bites by any infected mosquitoes.There is no specific treatment but medications can be used to reduce symptoms. Rest and fluids may also be useful (read more on wikipedia)

Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin Rincon de la Vieja

Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin Rincon de la Vieja

hacienda guachipelin
Entrance to Hacienda Guachipelin side buildung


This is not only a hotel, it is a hacienda. Let me help you with a definition of a hacienda from wikipedia:
Hacienda ... is a Spanish word for an estate. Some haciendas were plantations, mines or factories. Many haciendas combined these productive activities.
The area of hacienda guachipelin is really huge. As you can see on the lower map you can do a lot of different activities like a canopy tour, zip-lining, canoying tour, visit a waterfall or hot springs and of course visit the Rincon de la Vieja national park. You can stay at this hotel for a few days and never get bored.
The hotel rooms are really big and equiped with air condition, a private bath and a fan. The hotel is split into several small buildings gathered in the center of the huge hacienda area. Even if there are many tourists at the area it does not feal like filled up with people.
They even have a great bar with good cocktails and drinks. Try the "guaro sour".

map hacienda guachipelin
Map of hacienda guachipelin
  • very friendly staff
  • access to rincon de la vieja
  • huge area to explore
  • very beautiful nature

Rincon de la Vieja national park

While still on the hacienda you can use your car to drive the the ranger station of the national park. From the main building this will take like 10 minutes. On the sides of the road you can see some geothermal energy systems they are doing experiments with. 
rincon de la vieja warning
A warning near the mud volcanoes

Entrance to the park is 10 dollars. You can walk on some trails through the forrest untill you find some of the hot springs, steam fountains and mud volcanos. A very bizarre area! Keep distance from the small volcanos and steam fountains. This is very hot and should not be underestimated.

mud volcano
A mud volcano at rincon de la vieja

How to get to Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin

You can reach Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin easily by car. You have to pass through a private road where you have to pay 700 colones per person to enter the area. You cannot use any other road, because this is the only way to reach the hacienda guachipelin and rincon de la vieja national park.
From Curubande it is a 10 minute drive.
The exact adress is:
Rincon de la Vieja National Park, Las Pailas, Liberia, Guanacaste
Click on the lower map to view the location or plan your route:

bedroom hacienda guachipelin
A very big bed at hacienda guachipelin