Costa Rica Pt 4 – Breakfast on a Farm, Country Drive, & Return to San Jose Airport

Part 4 of our Costa Rica Travel Series. 

For the final day of our Costa Rican adventure, we check out of our rainforest resort (Lapaz Waterfall Gardens), have an amazing breakfast at a local farm (Corso Lecheria), take a drive through the beautiful countryside, and return to the San Jose Airport for our flight home.

Where we stayed: Peace Lodge and La Paz Waterfall Gardens

Top Rated Costa Rica Travel Guide on Amazon

Top Rated Waterproof Travel Map of Costa Rica

An Eco Friendly Camping Stove? – Enki Wild+ Stove Review

A Review and Demonstration of the Enki Wild Portable Pyrolytic Stove System.

Specs and Features, as per the Manufacturer

Enki Wild Stove:

  • Battery Life 50 Hours ( With One Charge )
  • Weight 1.3 Kg (2.8 lbs)
  • Power 2.5 KW
  • Chamber Max capacity ~ 0.2 Kg (.44 lbs)
  • Power Supply 5V USB
  • Fuel Any Biomass

Enki Wild+ Stove

  • Weight 2.7 Kg (5.95 lbs)
  • Power 8.5 KW
  • Power Supply 5V USB
  • Fuel Any Biomass
  • Chamber Max capacity ~ 0.9 Kg (2 lbs)

Overview (Quoted from the Manufacturer)

  • “Enki Stove Wild is a outdoor camp stove, designed to run with every kind of biomass, avoiding the transportation of gas tanks or charcoal, everywhere and without smoke.”
  • “Enki Stove Wild is a portable pyrolytic stove. Our stove transforms the fuel into gas instead of burning it directly. Through this particular process, you can have a clean, stable and smokeless flame.”

Enki’s Official Website for the Wild stove line

Other gear seen in the video: Aukey 30,000mAh USB Power Bank, AllPowers 21W Solar ChargerSOG FastHawk Tactical Tomahawk

 

Costa Rica Pt 3 – Pacific Coast Beach Day & Casados at a Soda

Part 3 of our Costa Rica Travel Series. 

For our third day in Costa Rica we decided to leave rainforest the interior of the country and head west on a road trip towards the Pacific Coast.  This not only rewarded us with a fun beach day, but it also gave us a great excuse to get out of the resort area and explore the rest what the country had to offer.  After an early rise, we grabbed some sunscreen, a few towels, and hopped in our rental car for a cruise through Central America.

Itinerary for Day 3

  • Wake up around five thirty and admire the bright, tropical skies.
  • Skip breakfast, in the sake of time, and hope to find something along the way.
  • Hop in the rental car and head southwest from our hotel at the La Paz Waterfall Resort (about an hour north of San Jose)
  • Attempt to find a ATM / cash machine at a couple gas station and stores.
  • Fail at finding an ATM while slowly realizing that they aren’t very widespread in Costa Rica compared to Europe or the U.S.  Oops.
  • Grab some oatmeal cookies and yogurt for breakfast at a small grocery store. They weren’t aware of any ATM’s nearby, but they did take Visa.
  • After some bumpy surface roads (quite barron of ATM’s I might add) we suddenly found ourselves at the entrance to the toll highway. To our relief and surprise, they happily took credit cards. Pretty cool, considering most tolls in the U.S. won’t even do that.  They’ll also take American, although I would recommend avoiding that. We did that once at another toll, and realized later that the conversion the clerk gave us was waaay off.  Probably an accident, but we learned our lesson a paid more attention on subsequent tolls.
  • Continue to drive through the mountains and towards the Pacific coast.  In terms of general direction, the largest town near where we were head was the popular beach town of Jaco, although our actual goal was a white sand beach called Playa Blanca, 30 minutes north of Jaco.

  • Find some glorious ATM’s at a strip mall not too far from our destination and withdrawal some Costa Rican Colones.  Finally, success for the unprepared travelers!
  • Grab some snacks and sandwiches lunch from the Supermarket at the strip mall for our upcoming beach picnic.
  • Arrive at the small parking lot at Playa Mantas This was a beautiful grey sand beach with calm waters, due to it’s cove shape.  It wasn’t, however, our ultimate destination.  By parking here, we were able to do a short walk and a slight climb over an embankment. This lead us to Playa Blanca, which is otherwise inaccessible, due to a resort blocking it from road access.  Fret not though, all Costa Rican beaches are public land, so once you’ve made it over the embankment you’re all set to relax and enjoy the Costa Rican breeze.  For detailed instructions on visiting yourself, check out this blog post that we found and used to get there ourselves.
  • Say hello to the friendly “security guard”.  We knew in advance that we would need to pay to park here, although unofficially (around $3-$5 USD from what we read). I’ve read reports that people had to pay upon arrival, but we were told that there was no payment required, but we may “tip when we left” if we desired.  Wink, wink.
  • Have an amazing Costa Rican Pacific coast beach picnic and afternoon of relaxation.
  • Tip our friendly security specialist $2,000 colones (which was around $4 USD at the time) on the way out. Seriously, though – he was quite friendly.  I don’t want to know what happens if you don’t tip him though…

  • Head back in the direction of San Jose.
  • Stop for dinner at Soda el Guacimo, outside the town of Tarcoles, on the way home. Soda’s are small, family owned restaurants with delicious traditional Costa Rican food at great prices (because this is what the locals actually eat). This particular soda was had an open air layout (as many sodas do), friendly staff, delicious food and an amazing view. Here’s their Faceook page.
  • Dine on some tasty food.  I had casado de bistek (beef) and Sara had casado con pollo (chicken). Casados are a traditional Costa Rican dish consisting of rice, black beans, plantains, salad, a tortilla, and often a protein as well.
  • Drive back home to our hotel for a nightcap of Cafe Rica (Costa Rican coffee liquor)

Where we stayed: Peace Lodge and La Paz Waterfall Gardens

Top Rated Costa Rica Travel Guide on Amazon

Top Rated Waterproof Travel Map of Costa Rica

Stay tuned for Part 4 where we visit a local farm for a hearty Costa Rican breakfast and return to San Jose for a reluctant flight home.

 

Olight H2R Nova Review – 2300 Lumen Palm Size Flashlight / Headlamp System

A detailed review of the Olight H2R Nova versatile illumination tool.

In this gear video I go over my personal experiences with using the H2R Nova flashlight / headlamp system, specs, features, and operational procedures to access the Olight H2R Nova’s light modes and lockout function. I also talk about my thoughts on the systems application for backpacking, camping, personal defense, and daily chores, based on my use of this light as my EDC (every day carry) light over the course of several weeks of testing.

H2R Nova Specs, as per the Manufacturer

Beam Distance Max: 501 feet / 153 meters
Performance (lumens) 2300
Charge type Magnetic USB charge base
Compatible Batteries customized 18650
Light Intensity (candela) 5850
Light Form Wide/broad hotspot. Perfect for up close illumination.
Lens / Reflector Type TIR bead lens (wide/broad beam)
Mode Operation Front SwitchForm/
Size Factor Medium size (Permanent Marker)
Series Series H (Headlamps, Multitasking)
Unique Characteristics Huge beam spill (TIR with diffuser lens)
Optimal for packstrap, pocket, headlamp, pocket light and headlamp in one with magnetic charging.
Magnetic tail fix, 90 degrees light illumination direction

LIGHTING LEVELS

  • Turbo 2300 lumens(~750lm) 1h10m- Cool White / 2000 lumens (~750lm) – Neutral White1h50m (1m)
  • High 600 lumens Cool White / 550 lumens – Neutral White 2h30m
  • Medium 150 lumens Cool White / 140 lumens – Neutral White 10h
  • Low 30 lumens Cool White / 27 lumens – Neutral White 50h
  • Moon 1 lumens Cool White / 1 lumens – Neutral White – 45 days
  • Strobe: No
  • SOS / BEACON: Yes

TECHNICAL CHARACTERISTICS

  • Waterproof IPX8
  • Weight 2.26 oz , 64 grams
  • Length 110mm / 4.33 in
  • Head Diameter (mm / in) 25 / 0.95
  • Body Diameter (mm / in) 23.2 / 0.91
  • Led Cree XHP50
  • Use: everyday carry , car, camping, fishing, household, EDC, general use, fishing, climbing, cave exploration, outdoor activities, house activities.
  • Package Contents: Flashlight Olight H2R, 1 pocket clip, 1 head strap, 1 silicone mount, 1 customized Olight 18650 3000mAh battery, 1 Magnetic Charging Cable,  1 EVA Pad (replacement of the magnet), Single-sided Adhesive Replacement EVA Pad, instruction manual

Other items seen in the video: Aukey 30,000mAh USB Battery BankThorFire BD04 FlashlightThruNite Universal Charger

Costa Rica Pt 2 – Rainforest Hike, Waterfalls, and Poisonous Frogs

Part 2 of our Costa Rica Travel Series. 

Today we decided to spend the entire day soaking up what the immediate area surrounding our rainforest resort had to offer, and save our driving adventures for the following day.

 


Itinerary for Day 2

  • Wake up around six and admire the bright, tropical skies.
  • Order a traditional Costa Rican breakfast consisting of Gallo Pinto (rice mixed with black beans), natilla (sour cream), eggs, fried plantain, tortilla and Mantequilla cheese (we saw this cheese paired with a lot of dishes and it’s pretty amazing).
  • Do a rainforest waterfall hike.
  • Dodge a mid-afternoon storm by grabbing some lunch we had a slighlty fancier than usual version of casados – a traditional Costa Rican dish consisting of rice, black beans, plantains, salad, a tortilla, often a protein as well (in our case, beef).  It was very good, but we still had a visit to a local soda (small, family owned restaurants serving traditional dishes for super reasonable prices) where we could get the authentic experience of a Costa Rican meal with the locals.
  • Make friends with some monkeys, hummingbirds, butterflies, and cattle.
  • Get an amazing massage at our hotel.
  • Do a nighttime visit with some Costa Rican frogs and toads, including some poisonous frogs. Do a nighttime visit with some Costa Rican frogs and toads, including some poisonous frogs.  Frogs shown: Tiger Frog, Red Eyed Tree Frog, Green and Black Poison Dart Frog, Poisonous Blue Jeans Frog.

Where we stayed: Peace Lodge and La Paz Waterfall Gardens

Top Rated Costa Rica Travel Guide on Amazon

Top Rated Waterproof Travel Map of Costa Rica

Stay tuned for Part 3 where we drive across the country towards the Pacific coast, exploring some towns and mountains along the way.

 

Ultralight Backpacking Gear List 2017

A detailed look at my 2017 Ultralight Backpacking Gear List (warm weather & 3-season)

For a detailed list of my backpacking gear, with itemized weights and descriptions, you can download PDF and CSV format copies of this list as well as lists for previous trips / videos my Gear Lists page.

List in PDF Format for viewing and printing.

List in CSV Spreadsheet Format for use in your favorite spreadsheet or backpacking software.

Below is a simplified list of the backpacking items shown in the video (without weights or descriptions) along with links for details and current pricing.

Backpack
Backpack – ULA Ohm 2.0
Pack Cover – Dutchware Argon

Shelter
Hammock Body – Dutchware Half-Wit
Hammock Suspension – Dutchware Dyneema Beetle Buckle
Tarp – Hammock Gear Cuben Hex Tarp
Tent spike – Titanium
Ground Cloth – Tyvek, long 3′ 6′ – I forgot to show this in the video. I like to place this under my hammock for organizing gear, keeping my feet dry when changing / getting out of the hammock and for wrapping around my pack to keep it dry during windy rain storms. 4 oz.  A 3’x3′ square can get the job done as well for half the weight.

Sleep System
Under Quilt – Hammock Gear Phoenix 30
Top Quilt – Hammock Gear Burrow 40

Storage
Bear Bag Line – Zing-it rope and Carabiner
Zip-lock Bag – Gallon
Zip-lock Bag – Sandwich

Cooking & Eating Utensils
Cook Pot – Toaks 750ml Titanium
Stove – Esbit DIY (made out of pellet tin)
Cookset Stuff sack (came with Toaks pot)
Matches – Waterproof
Fire Steel – Light My Fire, Mini
Pot Cozy , DIY Reflectix
Spoon – backup, disposable
Spork – Sea to Summit Alloy
Windscreen – Vargo Folding Aluminum
Paper towels squares and Sea to Summit Pocket Soap slivers

Water Treatment & Storage
Water Filter – Katadyn BeFree
Water Bottle – 1.5 Ltr, Disposable (2)
Spare water bottle caps

Tools

Compass – Brunton Classic
Lighter – Eddie Bauer
Multi Tool – Tool Logic Card

First Aid
First Aid Kit
Bug Spray – 100% Deet in a 3ml bottle
Sunscreen – 30 SPF in a 10ml bottle

Clothing (not worn)
Dri Ducks Rain Jacket
Underwear – Synthetic (1 Pair)
Shorts, Synthetic workout style
Shirt, Long Sleeve – light weight synthetic
Shirt, short sleeve synthetic Champion
Hat, Beanie – Lt Wgt Fleece
Socks, Wool – light weight 1/4 Darn Tough

Lighting
Headlamp – Fenix HL21 w/ battery

Toiletries
Toilet Paper
Toiletry Kit
Wet Wipes
Hand Sanitizer

Clothing Worn
Pants, Hiking – Lt Wgt
Shirt, short sleeve synthetic Champion
Underwear – Synthetic
Socks, Wool – light weight 1/4 Darn Tough 
Shoes, Trail Runners – Merrell Moab Ventilator

Optional Items Seen at End of Video
My every day carry flashlight – Preon 2
Long Underwear, Synthetic
Down Jacket – Montbell UL Down Parka
Dri Ducks Rain Pants
Dri Ducks Poncho
Spot Messenger Gen3 GPS Locator