TRAVEL DUEL #3 - COSTA RICA VS. RUEGEN

Ringing in round three of our travel-duel: Costa Rica against Germany. And now, we're getting to the fundamental stuff, the getting there and the roads.

Empty dirt roads versus empty autobahn

Well, this time, we're starting with our favorite German island Ruegen.

I'm living in Berlin and the distance to Ruegen, more precisely, Goehren, is 191 miles / 307 kilometers. If you're not in possession of a small private airplane, you can't fly to Ruegen. There is a small landing site for said private planes in Guettin, but the next airport for regular flights would be Rostock, about 84 miles / 135 kilometers from Ruegen.


Not an option for me, it would take way longer for me to fly than to drive. Especially, since the autobahn going to Ruegen is always very empty. Never been in a real traffic jam in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, well, I'm trying to avoid the holiday period. It takes about three hours to get to Ruegen respectively across the island to Goehren. You'll be entering via Stralsund, the last city on the mainland, across the so called Rügenbrücke. A long hanging bridge, crossing the inlet, that separates Ruegen from the mainland. It's quite a beautiful view over the glistering sea. Once you're on Ruegen, there is a new B-Way. I know, lots of people are thinking, Germany has no speed limits but the whole island of Ruegen has. You can almost never go faster than 50 mph/ 80 km/h. Why? 'Cause the roads are very narrow, lots of turns and low hanging trees and lots of deers and other animals crossing the roads but it's quite beautiful and not to complicated to get to your destination.

If you're leaving, be prepared, don't leave right in the morning because everyone is leaving at ten am, since it's mostly check out time. We're always staying until late midday, so we won't get stuck on the only way off the island – via the bridge.

Now we're focusing on Costa Rica. How long it takes to get there, depends from where you're from. There are four international airports in Costa Rica. I'm usually heading for two of them: the big one, Juan Santamaría in San José or the smaller one, Daniel Obdur Quiros in Liberia. During off season, it's usually way too expensive to fly to Liberia, so I'm going to San José. During High season, flights to Liberia are sometimes even cheaper than to San José.


Usually, you have two stops on your flight. One within Europe and one in the United States, Dominican Republic or Panama. If you're flexible, you should check in with Condor. Sometimes, they offer very cheap flights.

When I'm flying to Costa Rica, it's because I'm visiting my aunt. She has a hotel at Playa Buena Vista, close to Sámara on the Guanacaste Peninsula, the Flying Crocodile. If I'm taking a flight to San José, I arrive approximately after 20 hours, taking the bus from San José to Sámara the next day, with another four hours of travel time. It's not too expensive to take the bus and very comfortable. Liberia is only 68 miles / 110 kilometers from Sámara and my aunt's hotel but it takes two and a half hours to get there. You can't drive faster then 50 miles / 80 kilometers anywhere in Costa Rica and also the roads are not the best, even when they're paved. Let's just say, sometimes you're lucky that they're paved. A good example is the road from Sámara to my aunts Hotel. There a three ways to get there. Three dirt roads. A short route that you an take only during dry season, since you'd get stuck in the huge mud holes during green season. The middle route, you can only take that one when the river, you have to cross, is not too deep and the last one, the long one. No rivers crossing but also lots of dust and holes. So, wherever you're going somewhere in Costa Rica, check your routes. A river doesn't mean that there's a bridge to cross it. And an A-road doesn't have to be paved. It's kind of adventurous if you're there for the first time, but if you're there more often, it's sometimes annoying because you always have to include into your plans that it always takes longer to get somewhere and you're depending on the rain sometimes, if the roads are even drivable. Everyone, who loves off-road or wants some real off-road training, Costa Rica is your country but I have to give this point to Germany this time. It's just more relaxed to get to Ruegen than to get to Flying Crocodile in the Costa Rican jungle but hey, the nature is always beautiful to watch there ;) For your personal opinion, check the two videos.

Until then, happy traveling.

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