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  • Writer's pictureJuan Antonio Chavarria

Camino de Santiago y EL Camino de Costa Rica

In August 2022, the opportunity arose to embark on the Camino de Santiago, tracing my route from the Northern Way to the Primitive Way, covering a total distance of 1000 km and incorporating the Lebaniego Way and Finisterre into my journey. All of this was accomplished in a month of walking. With the primary purpose of comparing both experiences, this solo adventure marked my first foray into Europe, guided solely by the Gronze application.

From the beginning in the Basque Country, I understood that a very different adventure awaited me compared to what we are used to in Costa Rica. The similarity in the topography and the need to walk considerable distances, usually around 20 km, carrying my luggage of about 10 kilos, reminded me of my experience on the Costa Rican Camino.

As I progressed through hundreds of kilometers, hostels, and reservation systems, I realized that even though the goal was the walk, there were notable differences. In Costa Rica, we consider ourselves nature pilgrims, exploring new species and ecosystems along the way, whereas in Spain, although wildlife is scarce, there was a different sense of spirituality in the air.

Another significant difference was the challenge. On the Costa Rican Camino, each day is different and challenging. Despite our love for hills, walking 200 km on flat terrain in Cantabria posed a considerable mental challenge for me. However, as I approached Santiago, I found more accommodation options and better infrastructure.

Overall, I believe the challenge of the Costa Rican Camino remains wilder and more rustic, adapting to the basics of camping and places where food must be carried for hours. Additionally, the direct contact with locals is more intimate in Costa Rica, sharing experiences with families or accommodation owners.

I cherished my experience on the Camino de Santiago and learned a great deal about the European perspective on ruggedness and the camaraderie forged along the way. However, those coming from the Camino de Santiago must prepare for a physical and mental challenge, filled with new friends but also moments of reflection and meditation amidst nature.

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