Below we have listed some of the frequently asked questions that we have received. Have a question not listed here? Ask your question here.
People from every nationality, every age and every religion walk the Camino. Some do it to enjoy the hike, others for the physical challenge, others to disconnect from the daily routine and some as a pilgrimage for religious reasons. Everybody cherishes the experience, no matter what their motivations. Ultimately it is a journey of self-discovery away from the daily routine, surrounded by a beautiful environment, in the company of other travelers each with their own story.
Walking the Camino is an experience suitable for most people. The level of difficulty for each tour is indicated on the tour page. In general, most of our tours don't have strenuous climbs so you do not need to be an athlete to come along. The most important aspect is to have an adventurous spirit and positive attitude and our guides will help you make it through.
Our guided tours offer a private vehicle to support you in case you need assistance, rest, water, or transfer to the hotel. 90 days before your trip we will send you helpful information about how to prepare for the Camino and to let you know what to expect.
No. People can cover the distance at their own pace. After all, not everyone walks at the same speed or has the same fitness level. This is your trip and you can complete it as fast or slow as you want; there is no pressure to keep up. You will eat lunch during each stage and at the end of the day you will meet the rest of your group for dinner. There is a lot of freedom for you to follow your own schedule.
There will be transportation available at specific points during the stage to support you during the walk. Whether you want to get some rest, need water or just want to stop for the day and be transferred to your next destination, we will be there to help you.
Every morning on el Camino you will leave your luggage at your hotel and start walking on your way to your next destination. We will pick up your luggage at your hotel and take it to your next accommodations. Your luggage will be waiting for you when you get there.
No. You will not have to share room/bathrooms with several people as in the public hostels, either. Your accommodations will be among the best that can be found on the Camino. The accommodations we provide are hotels and rural houses with your own private room and in-suite bathroom, so you can enjoy a well-deserved rest after each stage of your walk.
Your specific accommodations will be confirmed 14 days before your trip, because hotels become available at different times depending on the season.
They are quaint country houses that are rented to traveler groups in its entirety. Located close to the walking path, they are very well set-up for the pilgrims’ comfort and convenience. Staying at these houses makes the Camino experience more authentic.
The Way of St James goes through small villages while tracing the steps followed by travelers in the Middle Ages. Even though there are regular hotels and facilities, the Camino is not meant to be a luxury tourist destination but rather an authentic experience of pilgrimage that has been preserved over the years. For this reason, there aren’t luxury hotels nearby as frankly they would detract from the whole experience.
Our tours are land only and the price does not include airfare. However, if you would like us to make your air travel reservations for you, let us know and we'll be happy to do so. Based on our experience, most people prefer to arrange their own airfare as they may have other plans in Spain before or after the camino. Please do not make any flight reservations until you receive final confirmation from us about your trip, as we are unable to refund you for flight reservations you make on your own.
Yes, please let us know what dates you would like to travel and we can quote and make flight reservations for you. If you are arriving before your trip to spend some days visiting Spain or other European cities, you will have to make your own arrangements to meet us at the starting point of the tour on the first day.
Travel insurance is optional but strongly recommended. Plans change and there are unpredictable events that can cause you to cancel your trip. Whether it is for medical reasons or other personal circumstances, it helps to have the peace of mind that travel insurance provides. At the same time, while infrequent, things happen when you are traveling, such as losing your luggage or suffering an injury while abroad. Travel Insurance is for your own protection.
Let us know when you make our reservation and our partner Allianz will send you an insurance quote for your trip.
Please check with the State department for the latest requirements. You are responsible for meeting the entry requirements for all countries in your itinerary as they apply to you. At least you will need a valid passport that will remain valid for least 6 months beyond the end date of your trip. Also, make sure that the names on official documents match those on airline tickets exactly.
During the day when you are walking there is no Wifi. If you have an international phone plan or buy a Spanish Sim card with data, you might be able to use the data plan while walking, but coverage is limited. Most of our nightly hotels have internet access (WiFi).
That being said, this is an opportunity for you to disconnect and discover the beauty and history of the journey. Most travelers find that they use their phones for pictures and only use the internet in the evening when sending messages home.
The credential is the official document that identifies travelers walking the Camino de Santiago. It’s a long-folded booklet with empty squares for you to get stamps along your journey. This booklet provides a record of where a pilgrim has walked, and it allows the Pilgrim office in Santiago to verify you meet the criteria to earn the Compostela, or certificate of completion. During the last 100km, you MUST stamp your passport at least twice a day in order to qualify for the certificate. Stamps can be found in hotels, shops, cafes and other places along the way. Each place has a unique and interesting stamp and it’s fun collecting and remembering each stop. The last stamp you will receive is in Santiago at the Pilgrim’s office. At the end of your trip you keep this booklet as a reminder of your journey. When walking with Hike the Way, we mail your credential to you about 30 days before your scheduled trip.
Travelers that walk the last 100 km of the Camino are eligible to receive the official Compostela from the pilgrimage office in Santiago. This is a beautiful certificate in Latin that verifies you have have either walked the last 100km or biked or ridden a horse the last 200km. No tour company can guarantee this certificate, because each person must complete this journey themselves. To verify that pilgrims are eligible to receive the Compostela, the pilgrim office in Santiago looks at the pilgrim passport to verify they made the walk. Travelers are required to receive 2 stamps per day for the last 100 km. All of our guided tours walk the last 100km of the Camino and travelers are eligible for the official Compostela certificate.
The Camino de Santiago is located in the Northern part of Spain, so when looking at a map of the US, it’s a little higher north than New York City. Weather on the Camino can be unpredictable. The summers tend to be hot, especially in July and August, and in winters most hotels and amenities close because of the snow and cold weather. We run tours during the best times of the year- mid-March until late June and then September until the very beginning of November. We always suggest to wear layers and be prepared for rain or heat.
This is a very debatable question and the Camino offers travelers different experiences depending on what time of year you go. March and April are quieter months and offer pilgrims a more spiritual journey, although weather can be unpredictable during that time. May and June are busier and livelier and you’re sure to meet people and have a wonderful experience walking with others from all over. In September the Camino begins to quiet down again and October begins cooler fall days and less travelers. If you decide to walk in during the off-season, November-February you will find a very quiet Camino, possibly only passing 1 or 2 people a day. Weather can be harsh during this time, but if you’re lucky enough to have sunny, albeit cold days, you’ll have a quiet tranquil Camino.
Although our company is called, Hike the Way, the Camino is more of a walk than anything else. Depending on where you start, the Camino covers a wide range of landscapes- from hills to forests to open fields. We always recommend a comfortable and supportive pair of tennis shoes, not hiking boots, and most travelers find that using a set of hiking sticks help their knees on the downhill. Also recommended are moisture wicking socks or shoe inserts, but other than that it’s just walking.
We suggest carrying a small day pack when traveling with our guided tour group. It’s nice to be able to carry water and a snack and many people carry a change of socks or a poncho. Before your trip we give you a list of suggested items to carry, but the pack should be light and packed minimally. With the support vehicle meeting you frequently, you always have the option to drop off your pack or pick up something from the van.
While it’s always helpful to know a few common phrases in the country you’re visiting, knowing Spanish is not a must to visit. Galicia, where the Camino is located, welcomes tourists from all over the world and the local people are extraordinarily friendly and open. Our tour guides are also fluent in both English and Spanish and can easily translate when needed.
Most cafes or bars will let paying customers use their facilities. If you don’t feel like sitting down or stopping, ask for a drink to go, pay and then use the bathroom. When you’re walking a stretch of the Camino and there aren’t any small towns, you can always go in nature. Of course, this is easier for men, but for everyone walking it’s important that you go somewhere off the road and don’t leave any evidence behind. Normally there isn’t a stretch longer than 3 miles without at least one place to stop.
Spain is a country that likes traditional cuisine and they follow a Mediterranean diet. Fresh vegetables, fish, fruit, cheese and legumes make up the majority of the meals. They always have local dishes and depending on the time of year and region, this can vary from hearty stews, to gazpacho to hot chocolate with churros.
A typical breakfast is toast or pastry, thin cheese slices, orange juice and coffee. Breakfast is light and usually eaten at the hotel before setting off on the walk. A second breakfast is usually had around 10am when travelers stop for a coffee or juice and a small tapa such as a pincho de tortilla or croissant.
Lunch on the Camino is varied, but it’s usually not a big meal. Some travelers like to stop for a sandwich (bocadillo) or have a sit-down meal before finishing their walk for the day. Hike the Way provides a picnic lunch for the group. This is a fun way to come together as a group, try typical Spanish products and food and take a rest before finishing up. As our group doesn’t walk together, travelers stop in and leave when they want, but it normally works out that we all come together within 45 minutes of each other.
Dinner on the Camino is eaten earlier (7pm) than normally late Spainish dinner time (9-10pm). This is our large meal consisting of a 3-course dinner with wine and dessert. Starters on the Camino can range from fresh salads, to a soup or rice dish and each night they vary. The main course is a typical Galician specialty such as swordfish, steak and fries, or a vegetarian dish. Travelers always have a choice of main dish and starter and orders can be customized. Dessert is always light, and could include fruit, flan, or yogurt.
Here at Hike the Way we are Camino experts and love to help travelers discover and plan their pilgrimages from wherever they’d like. Whether it’s the Madrid Camino, Portuguese coast or something else, we can guide you and book all your accommodations. Please contact us with your route and days and we can come up with a plan and quote for your accommodations. Guided tours are limited to what we currently have listed on our sites, but we offer self-guided tours on every route.
Guided tours give you the support of a local guide, familiar with the Spanish culture, language and history of the Camino. This can be helpful for travelers unfamiliar with Spain or would like a more in-depth understanding of the trip. Guided tours also provide a support vehicle that meets you at check points along the way and allows travelers to leave belongings, get a ride if needed, and offers a safer option for those unsure if they can make the journey. Knowing the guide is behind you and a support vehicle is waiting for you along the way, takes the stress off the journey and allows pilgrims to just walk and enjoy the trip.