TRAVEL DUEL # 2 COSTA RICA VS. RUEGEN

Hold on tight, we're starting into round two of the travel duel Costa Rica against Germany. Central America versus Europe. Coastline against coastline, 'cause this time I'm taking you on two walking tours.

Hiking Playa Buena Vista to Playa Barrigona in Costa Rica versus hiking from southern beach to northern beach on Ruegen

n Costa Rica, we're literally climbing over the rocks from Playa Buena Vista, located about three miles / six kilometers from the colorful fishing village Sámara in Guanacaste, to Playa Barrigona, also known as the beautiful white beach. On Ruegen, we're starting at the southern beach of the village Goehren, wandering through the natural reserve above the cliff coast, ending up on the northern beach, close to the center of Goehren. Both hikes takes roughly a hour. Let's start with Costa Rica.

The journey begins at Playa Buena Vista, a wide and very, very empty beach. At the side of the beach, when the high tide has passed, since the rocks are vanishing in the ocean when high tide slowly starts to drop in, the hike begins. There are dozens of natural pools and you can find some life between the rocks and in the warm water. During green season, there are some small waterfalls along the cliffs but you can hardly cool down there since the water has a temperature of approximately 90° Fahrenheit/ 32° Celsius. Anyway, it's very advisable to take lots of water and sunscreen with you. There isn't much shade and the average temperature on the Guanacaste peninsula of Costa Rica is roughly 99° Fahrenheit / 37° Celsius. But despite the hot temperatures, the hike is really worth trying out. The closer you're getting to your destination, the more clear and blue the ocean becomes. Playa Barrigona is the reward after a sweat-inducing way. The sand is so white that you'll get dazzled by it, the waves are big and more enjoyable then any TV show could ever be and the water is absolutely clear. You just have to be careful with the strong currents there. You can sit in the shade of the trees and enjoy a light and salty breeze to cool down and if you don't want to walk back via the rocks, you can just take the dirt road that is shadowy most of the time, by the way.

Starting at Playa Buena Vista
Starting at Playa Buena Vista
Hike during low tide
Hike during low tide
Finish at Playa Barrigona
Finish at Playa Barrigona

For the second hike, you have to cross almost the whole island of Ruegen. Goehren is a small and kind of sleepy town with a beautiful white southern beach and and also very beautiful and white northern beach. You're starting at the southern beach, walking along the calm and stunningly clear Baltic sea next to the impressive cliff coast, where you can see birds nesting in the walls of the sand cliffs. You're passing by the so-called Schwedenbrücke, a relict from bygone times, that once was a landing for ships but now is only some rocks extending into the sea. About half a mile / one kilometer after the Schwedenbrücke, you're leaving the beach, hiking up and to the natural reserve leading through the woods along the cliff coast. If you're brave enough, you can get closer to the cliff and have stunning view across the clean and almost tropical turquoise sea. Walking over hedge and ditch, you'll ending up at the northern beach, where the pier of Goehren and something to eat and drink awaits you in one of the restaurants at the beach.

Starting point southern beach
Starting point southern beach
The cliffs
The cliffs
Finish at northern beach
Finish at northern beach

This times results: tie.

Both countries get one point. The hike in Costa Rica is more adventurous and sporting and Playa Barrigona as your destination is just stunning but the hike on Ruegen doesn't rank behind with it's beautiful, almost untouched natural reserve and the unexpected gorgeous beaches. Costa Rica scores with smashing simpleness while Ruegen will leave you completely relaxed.

Until then, happy traveling.

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