Camino de Santiago FAQ
What are the hotels like?
The hotels are comfortable, local 3-star hotels. You will have a private room with a private bath. You can also upgrade to 4-5 star hotels on a self-guided Portuguese Way route.
What are dinners like?
Dinners at the hotels will be a 3-course meal. The starter will be a soup or salad. The main course will be a meat or vegetarian main dish with starch accompaniment. Typically, there are 3 options for the main dish — 2 meat options and 1 vegetarian. They will also serve a local dessert. Usually, there is a choice — for example, an almond tart or ice cream.
The food will not be gourmet, but it will be a plentiful, home-cooked meal with fresh, local produce. It will vary from place to place.
In this region of the world, dinner is typically served at or after 8:00pm.
What are breakfasts like?
Breakfasts will be a minimum of pastries, breads, coffee, tea, and juice. Some hotels will have an expanded selection of cold meats, cheeses, fruits, and yogurt. No hot food or eggs are served in this region.
Where should I fly into?
Ideally, you will want to fly into the Santiago Airport. If you are doing the Portuguese Route, the Vigo Airport is also an option.
How do I get to the start of the trek?
If you are doing a group trek, transportation to the start of the trek is included. The group transfer departs from the Santiago Airport at 5:00pm.
If you are doing a self-guided trek, we can arrange a private transfer for you, or there are buses.
What is the guide like?
The guide will be a local from Spain or Portugal, typically from the region of Galacia. They are certified and experienced for the Camino, and will speak English. They will also have first aid training and basic supplies.
Should I do a group tour or self-guided?
If you are 1-2 people traveling, the group tour is a nice way to meet other people. It is also a carefree way to travel, and you will have a guide to describe the area and the culture.
The self-guided tour is a good option if
- The group departure dates do not work with your schedule.
- You want to customize your itinerary.
- You have a group of people you are traveling with.
- You are a very independent traveler.
Which route should I do?
The French Way is the most popular.
The Portuguese Way is a great option if
- You want a trek that is not quite as crowded or
- Follow a trail along the coast or
- You want nicer 4-5 star accommodations
How hard is the hiking?
Generally, the terrain is mild with little elevation gain. The exception is the Pyrenees portion, which has quite a bit of mountainous terrain. Each day, you will cover a distance of 14-28km. On a self-guided trek, you can add days to shorten the distances. The trail is generally paved or smooth dirt.
What should I pack?
Your luggage is limited to one bag that is 20kg/44lb. Then you will have a daypack with the things you need for the day. See the full packing list >>
How much do I have to carry?
Your main bag will be transferred for you to the next hotel. You will not see it until you finish hiking, so you need to take everything with you that you will need for the day. This includes water, sunscreen, rain jacket, hiking notes, and money.
What else is there to do before/after the trek?
Many trekkers spend extra days in and around Santiago before and/or after the trek. The most popular things to do are
- Finisterre Day Tour
- Rias Baixas Day Tour
- Do a tour in Santiago or explore on your own
What if I have a special diet?
We can inform the hotels of your special diet. Vegetarian diets can be accommodated fairly easily. Vegan and gluten-free diets are more difficult.
How do I get Compostela pilgrim certificate?
We will mail out your pilgrim passport. Your pilgrim passport must be stamped every day along the trek. The pilgrim passport should be presented at the Pilgrims Office in Santiago to get your Compostela certificate. You must hike at least 100km to qualify for the certificate.
How do I know where to go?
We will email you a Holiday Pack which will provide details about the route, the lodges, and how to get to the lodges. Along the way, follow the Camino markings — a yellow scallop shell on a blue background. They can be stone signs or painted on walls and sidewalks.
Advice from past travelers:
- Wear trekking shoes or sneakers.
- Bring liquid bandaid along with blister bandaids. Bring a second pair of socks and change socks at lunch time daily.
- Keep track of all electronics. One of our party lost their earpods.
- Once you get to Santiago go to your hotel, check in and then go get your details and finishing documents. It was very organized but a bit overwhelming after hiking 25 kms.
- Be prepared for lots of walking. When you are tired and hungry, stop for coffee and a snack!
- Wander around the towns in the early evening and enjoy the vibe of each village, town or city.