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Best Tour Companies for the Last Stage of El Camino

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kag1982

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Going - May 2017
#1
I would like to do the last part of El Camino next year but for my own peace of mind and safety, I would like to be on some sort of organized tour. I am most after some peace of mind and help in case an emergency strikes - luggage being stolen, twisted ankle, perhaps a scary criminal incident. I'd like directions, not carting my bags, etc. I do not want to be coddled however. I am intrigued by the fact that there are self-guided Caminos through various tour companies but I have no idea which is a good tour company. I was hoping that I could get some suggestions. Thanks!
 

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Anemone del Camino

Guest
#2
Peace of mind and help,in case of an emergency, such as a twisted ankle or things stolen? But no luggage carrying and no coddling?

Forgive me, but I don't see what a company charging you 5 times to cost of the Camino would provide that wasn't coddling and luggage transport or would give you the assurance you are looking for.

Last February there was a poster travelling on the Portuguese who was very clear about the services, or lack there of, offered by the company she had booked. She was livid.

When you say the last stages I assume you mean the last 100km from Saria. There will be someone 5 meters in front of you, and 7 behind you. If you twist your ankle they will be able to assist 10X more tham any office staffers on another continent. Same if some one steals your wallet.

There is a lot of info on this forum on how to avoid theft, and frankly, even if you were to lose the 100€ you may be carrying that day, you would be losing a lot less € than of you gave it is such a company for theor so called services.

This is no adirondak or PCT, it's a day after day stroll from village to village on path that is tranvelled by bus loads of people, and taxi loads as well. You will never be alone, you should be so lucky.

Regariding companies, I honestly have to say I have yet to see anyone on the forum vouch for one or another.

The companies you will find out there will book you a room in a place you can also book a room, and organise luggage transfer, that's it, that's all.

Sorry to disapoint.
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
#3
As you should have realized, this is mainly a forum where people share tips and recommendations for "self organized" Caminos. And actually, there are tons of data about everything imaginable (documentation, stages, lodgings, equipment, restaurants, safety, things to visit, places to see).
There was a discussion about the pros and cons of organized tour walks, with some comments about specific companies, here.
Reading some past threads, it seems that people who resorted to companies did so basically because they were apprehensive about the idea of walking in a foreign country with an unknown language. And after their first time, they discovered that doing the Camino is quite easy (and, certainly, much, much less expensive).
You don't mention when you are planning to do your walk. But, as it has been said, apart from winter, there are lots of people, sometimes almost as a long queue, in these stages. And you can't walk a long time without finding a village, a farm or a restaurant. You will see taxis crisscrossing the path all the time. It is not a lonely walk in the wilderness.
Buen camino!
 

Doogman

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Many more in the future (hopefully)
#5
I was going to suggest the same companies. Look at caminoways.com and macsadventure.com for details on self guided trips. I have used them both in the past and have not had any issues.

Is it more expensive to do it that way? Yes
Is it necessary to do it that way? No
Does it make things simpler to do it that way? Yes

We each need to decide how we choose to do our own travels, and which of those questions above take priority. I hope you enjoy your journey!
 

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Anemone del Camino

Guest
#6
Is it more expensive to do it that way? Yes
Is it necessary to do it that way? No
Does it make things simpler to do it that way? Yes

We each need to decide how we choose to do our own travels, and which of those questions above take priority. I hope you enjoy your journey!
It's my understandind that self guided tours basically give you a list of place to sleep each night where a bed is waiting for you and arrange for luggage transportation. what else do they do that I am not aware of and that could help in case of a twisted ankle or having something stolen? They don't have reps crisscrossing the Camino checking up on people, ready to step up in case you need help, so ....
 

Doogman

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Many more in the future (hopefully)
#7
It's my understandind that self guided tours basically give you a list of place to sleep each night where a bed is waiting for you and arrange for luggage transportation. what else do they do that I am not aware of and that could help in case of a twisted ankle or having something stolen? They don't have reps crisscrossing the Camino checking up on people, ready to step up in case you need help, so ....
We have an OP that is a new member and is posting for the first time. In the spirit of what I believe this forum is about, I was simply trying to be helpful and answer the question posed: Best Tour Companies For The Last Stage. I am not going to enter into a debate here about whether tour companies need or need not be used. We can all make our own decisions in that regard. You are certainly entitled to your view, which I respect. IMHO the main thing here is that someone is planning to do a Camino, and should be commended for it.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#8
We have an OP that is a new member and is posting for the first time. In the spirit of what I believe this forum is about, I was simply trying to be helpful and answer the question posed: Best Tour Companies For The Last Stage. I am not going to enter into a debate here about whether tour companies need or need not be used. We can all make our own decisions in that regard. You are certainly entitled to your view, which I respect. IMHO the main thing here is that someone is planning to do a Camino, and should be commended for it.
Well, the OP is asking about tour companies because she hopes they can help if she gets an injury or is the victim of theft. If the companies you suggested cannot help in this regard I think it's something the OP may want to know. My question was a genuine one, based on what little I know about these companies and the OP's reason for asking about these companies.

OP also said she does not want to be coddled, I assume this means she is able to find a bed and leave her backpack at the front desk in the morning for transport. So again I ask you: how do the companies you recommended address the OP's concerns and go beyond booking a bed and arranging luggage transport? It's a genuine question.
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
#9
I did not take note of company names, but I saw (some stages before SdeC) young and smiling guides explanining to groups of walkers this and that about Galician landscapes and villages (as in "this strange thing with four legs is a cow":rolleyes:), and minivans waiting for them at strategical road intersections. If support and safety is the main concern, I'd go to Spanish companies, which will have personal on the spot. There are many; use Google Search. Just check that they offer "coche de apoyo" (support vehicles).
 

SabineP

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
#10
I would like to do the last part of El Camino next year but for my own peace of mind and safety, I would like to be on some sort of organized tour. I am most after some peace of mind and help in case an emergency strikes - luggage being stolen, twisted ankle, perhaps a scary criminal incident. I'd like directions, not carting my bags, etc. I do not want to be coddled however. I am intrigued by the fact that there are self-guided Caminos through various tour companies but I have no idea which is a good tour company. I was hoping that I could get some suggestions. Thanks!

Hello and welcome here. I think it is wonderful that you are going to walk a part of the Frances I presume?

I heard some good recommendations about Marlytours. http://marlycamino.com/camino/customized-tour/

Good luck!
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
#11
Hi Kag1982...good suggestions for with and without a tour group. I can empathize, there's no way I'd have designed my own tour of Africa, but after 16 days with two different groups, I felt like I'd like to go back someday, just me, a tent, and a jeep. But the first time--how will I ever figure it out on my own???

Like Anemone says, it's do-able and cheaper on your own, and not as scary as it might seem--and believe me, we would all love to give you tons of conflicting advice here, some of it even good advice--but if you can afford a group and would feel safer--then obviously lots of people use them or they wouldn't exist. Aside from the recommendations above, you could contact any of the other tour groups you might have found online and ask for references. I also *think* there might have at one time been a thread devoted to group travel...I'll try searching, but I may have just imagined it...
whatever you choose, Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
camino frances (2013) Primitivo 2014; Frances 2015
#12
It is easy to do the camino without a tour company but I understand any concerns. Macs adventures and comino ways have also been mentioned. Also check out newex (new experience holidays). They can also book the flights if required so there is that added security that they will cover for delayed/ changed flights - and no, I have no affiliation to any company but have had difficulties with flights being changed which caused problems with pre booked accomodation. Any tour company is however more expensive and there are companies who will transport your bags if you need it.
Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
camino frances (2013) Primitivo 2014; Frances 2015
#13
I have just re read your post and can add that the companies often quote for inclusive baggage transfer, but will reduce the rate when carrying your own kit,
 

susanawee

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances-(2013/14/18
Camino Salvado Perth -(2015)
West Highland Way (2016)
Lyon France 2017
#14
We have an OP that is a new member and is posting for the first time. In the spirit of what I believe this forum is about, I was simply trying to be helpful and answer the question posed: Best Tour Companies For The Last Stage. I am not going to enter into a debate here about whether tour companies need or need not be used. We can all make our own decisions in that regard. You are certainly entitled to your view, which I respect. IMHO the main thing here is that someone is planning to do a Camino, and should be commended for it.
I fully agree with every word above Doogman. I have to say that I was quite surprised and somewhat disappointed with a couple of the rather critical and, INMHO unthinking responses above. Would also like to say, that, for some of us, this may well not be the PCT or any other trail quoted, but, it most definitely cannot be classed as and I quote: "it's a day after day stroll from village to village on path that is tranvelled by bus loads of people, and taxi loads as well. You will never be alone, you should be so lucky." Also, Buses and taxis were not in evidence, criss crossing the Camino when I walked it in 2013 and 2014. Susanawee
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#15
Susawnee, how would you then describe the last 100km? Because I can assure you that in the spring if 2015 you even had to queue to get a table a cafes along the paths, and taxis were dropping peole off along the road and cafes all the time. Also, what is the greatest you have to walk on that stretch where you are in the countryside, alone, in peace and quiet? In fact, you could not find a place along the path to rest without having dozens of people pass by in a few minutes. After all. These are the suburbs of Santiago.

And the rest of the Frances is also a walk from village to village. There are very few places where you have to walk 15 km in between villages. This is not a hike through the mountains, no Salvador, even no Primitivo. 50% of the people who arrive to Santiago do so from Sarria, that is a whole lot of people on those 100km.

Let's not scare people into thinking this path can be dangerous in anyway that is more dangerous than a walk in our own hometown environments.

I am curious, how would you describe that stretch?
 

Lmsundaze

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2016), CP (2017)
#16
I haven't used a tour company, so I can't recommend one, but have a few comments. I have posted about negatives of using a tour before, and won't repeat them, but I can understand someone going from Sarria wanting to use a tour company. I walked earlier this year, from Pamplona. I am 70 years old, and went alone. I had no problems. BUT -- I spent a lot of time preparing, I read the forum every day, read dozens of camino books and personal accounts. I had three guide books, Brierly, the Village to Village Guide, and the German Yellow book (didn't carry them, read them first.) I researched all my equipment, and I was very prepared. BUT, I am old, retired, and spent a lot of time preparing. All that preparation paid off for me. However, a busy person who just wants to do the last 100K and doesn't want to do a lot of preparing may find it comforting to have all arrangements made.
 

Rick of Rick and Peg

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#17
I'm going to put in my two cents here even though I have no knowledge of tour companies.

The middle part of the OP's post was:
... I am most after some peace of mind and help in case an emergency strikes - luggage being stolen, twisted ankle, perhaps a scary criminal incident. I'd like directions, not carting my bags, etc. I do not want to be coddled however. ...
@Anemone del Camino replied with good information about this.

The start and end of the OP's post was:
I would like to do the last part of El Camino next year but for my own peace of mind and safety, I would like to be on some sort of organized tour. ... I am intrigued by the fact that there are self-guided Caminos through various tour companies but I have no idea which is a good tour company. I was hoping that I could get some suggestions. Thanks!
And @Doogman responded to this part of the post.

Both parts of the request have been addressed. The OP has months to a year to process the information and decide whether to go with a tour company, alone or maybe even with friends. Perhaps we'll hear about the final decision in 2017.
 

Kate fowles

Meerkat kate
Camino(s) past & future
None yet
#18
I am also trying to deciding to book my accomodation ahead or not. I am an experienced hiker but I have only been to Europe once. I am 43 and working full time - have kids too which means i dont have the luxry of time. I do not have pots of money either and i dont want to make an expensive mistake. I am not afraid of ruffing it but I do want to come home preferably with all my belongings and fingers and toes intackt - I have read in this forum of nasty attacks - one unexplained death - person found in a garbage dumpster? ?? I am from South Africa so can deal with that and my husband and his school friend will be with me but it's not the type of experience we are interested in. Having said that I need to know - how did you go about accomodation? Just simply walk and pitch up or was it preplanned - prebooking - prepaid? The camino companies sound like sharks to me and I have been chatting to them and realise that it's opening the door to massive exploitation but I have to convince my walking partners we can walk without prebooking accomodation. Please no nasty comments - I am genuinly seeking advice.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
#19
I walked on less popular routes and times, and for the most part just chose an albergue when I was done walking for the day. On popular routes and busy times, it might be safer to book ahead. Sometimes, if I wanted a break or wanted to see the town over two days, or was changing routes I booked ahead. I found lists of albergues and pensions in guide books, on sites like gronze.com and http://caminodesantiago.consumer.es/, and in tourist books like foders and cadoganguides, and last but not least, booking.com. I hope that helps!
edit: by book ahead, I usually did it 1-2 days ahead while on the road...except my first night on the Camino, in SJPdP...that I booked quite early. And by safer, I mean you know in advance you have a bed waiting for you...should you not book ahead on a really busy route (like some recent posts about the last 100km in aug/sep)--as I've said on other threads it's not the end of the world, you may have to walk further, or take a cab or bus to an empty albergue or pension
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
#20
....SNIP.... I am from South Africa so can deal with that and my husband and his school friend will be with me but it's not the type of experience we are interested in. Having said that I need to know - how did you go about accomodation? Just simply walk and pitch up or was it preplanned - prebooking - prepaid? The camino companies sound like sharks to me and I have been chatting to them and realise that it's opening the door to massive exploitation but I have to convince my walking partners we can walk without prebooking accomodation. Please no nasty comments - I am genuinly seeking advice.
Welcome Kate.

There is a very good and active South African Camino group.
www.csjofsa.za.org

They have group activities, a news letter and help with credentials, EU visas, etc.
It may be a good place to get some face to face answers to your questions from experienced pilgrims.
Many of them are active members here on the forum.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#21
I am also trying to deciding to book my accomodation ahead or not.
From what you say, I would strongly recommend that you simply avoid May through September, and do not make any reservations except perhaps your first night. Once you get on the road, you can reserve a day ahead, if you want that certainty. October-November and March-April are great times to walk and you will have plenty of selection of all types of accommodation. The camino is generally a very safe place. Unless you are a very uncertain traveler, I think the tour groups add very little value.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Camino Portugues 2018

Now: http://egeria.house/
#22
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#23
What ever. Anyone can access the data from the PO site. What was the point being made?

Edit: there was a post a few minutes ago from Syates contradicting my stats, but now it is gone. I wondered what the impact of 25% vs 50% of people starting in Sarria arriving in Santiago was for the OP but Kathr1na explaimed it all well.
 
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SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Camino Portugues 2018

Now: http://egeria.house/
#24
The point I wanted to make is to illustrated, with numbers, how full it really is. There is a difference between "50% of the people who arrive to Santiago do so from Sarria," and the numbers "67419 (25,68%)" I provided. And no, not everybody, especially not all of the newer forum members, knows about the website of the pilgrims office and the statistics you can get from it.

Buen Camino, SY
 
Camino(s) past & future
'
#25
What ever. Anyone can access the data from the PO site. What was the point being made?
One can work out all sorts of percentages. You were probably thinking of this relationship (for 2015): according to the PO, about 67,000 in total started from Sarria and about 170,000 in total walked the Frances (the timeframe is not mentioned, however).

So, for the Frances and over the whole year 2015, roughly 70,000 started in Sarria and roughly 100,000 started in other locations on the Frances. You were not that much off the mark. ;)

For August 2016, it's nearly 50:50 for the Frances - roughly 15,000 from Sarria and roughly 17,000 from elsewhere on the Frances.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
'
#26
@kag1982 : You may want to have a look at the websites of Exodus and Explore. These are major UK operators for hiking and trekking tours and I see that they also offer self-guided camino tours. I've been with them on several trekking trips (not in Spain) and would travel with them again without hesitation. If you haven't done so, you may also want to contact a national association if it exists in your country of residence, such as APOC in the USA or CSJ in the UK for information.

https://www.exploreworldwide.com
http://www.exodustravels.eu
 

Rick of Rick and Peg

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#27
National Geographic has a Camino Frances tour. Part walking, part motoring. It is 10 days covering Pamplona to Santiago. $6,000 each with double occupancy, $1,400 more getting you a single room.

Our independently walking the Camino Frances for 58 days starting from SJPdP cost us about $4,600 total for the 2 of us.

Their tour then is $600 per person per day and ours was $40 per person per day.

The tour's webpage says: We will hike 3 to 6 hours per day (5 to 13 miles) mostly on moderate to steep grades at low elevations. During hikes, vehicle support is provided at various points along the way. ... We will stay 6 nights in ideally located paradors and 3 nights in comfortable hotels that reflect Spanish charm.

http://www.nationalgeographicexpeditions.com/expeditions/spain-walking-el-camino/detail
 

Dancing Rain

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Salvado (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
#28
I would like to do the last part of El Camino next year but for my own peace of mind and safety, I would like to be on some sort of organized tour. I am most after some peace of mind and help in case an emergency strikes - luggage being stolen, twisted ankle, perhaps a scary criminal incident. I'd like directions, not carting my bags, etc. I do not want to be coddled however. I am intrigued by the fact that there are self-guided Caminos through various tour companies but I have no idea which is a good tour company. I was hoping that I could get some suggestions. Thanks!
Hi Kag1982. I have met a number of people who have found the Australian company - Raw Travel - has been really helpful in creating their unique Camino experience. All the best with finding the right way for you. However you do it will be perfect!
 
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