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Opening a coronavirus thread for forum discussion

2020 Camino Guides
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2020)
I just waited on hold for 40 minutes to Covermore to be told they do not cover for any epidemic/pandemic illness or flight cancellations even though I booked my flights last November.
Just curious, did they say they don’t cover medical care if you were traveling and become sick with coronavirus? Or did they just say they don’t cover trip cancellation? Those are very different things.
 
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David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
I was planning to start from SJPP on 31 March but read my travel insurance carefully last night and discovered that pandemics are specifically excluded from any cover. Which is fair enough I guess as at this point I can just decide not to go. Bummer my flights from NZ won't be reimbursed though!

If I go anyway and don't get sick it still won't be the normal CF experience - places will be unexpectedly closed and there will be a lot fewer walkers.

If I go and do get slightly sick where will I self-quarantine? If I get really sick that could get very expensive with travel insurance not covering it.

Maybe I could visit some friends instead with my flights but how bad would I feel if I unwittingly infected them! At least I still have a few weeks to decide. Sigh.
On one of the links higher up says that pilgrims with symptoms should not go to a hospital but dial 112, when officials will be sent.
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020? Hopefully Via de Bayona/Burgos to Ponferrada/Camino de Invierno
Bad news -- two people have contracted the disease in France, including one who died, who had not travelled to one of the infection countries or areas.
38 cases now confirmed in France as I write 🙁
 

RegRegular

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018 I hope.
I am planning an April Camino Frances walk. I am wondering what thoughts people may have about embarking on a trip of this sort as the Coronavirus continues to travel about the globe. Will it stop anyone from their plans? Air travel, will you put it off? Health services in Spain? Did anyone walk in 2003 during the SARS outbreak?
Thanks for any thoughts about this increasingly troubling global health issue.
Reg
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
I am planning an April Camino Frances walk. I am wondering what thoughts people may have about embarking on a trip of this sort as the Coronavirus continues to travel about the globe. Will it stop anyone from their plans? Air travel, will you put it off? Health services in Spain? Did anyone walk in 2003 during the SARS outbreak?
Thanks for any thoughts about this increasingly troubling global health issue.
Reg
I am booked to travel to Malaga in three weeks time. Originally I booked flights intending to start the CdMozarabe but a lingering medical condition (plantar fasciitis exacerbated by ill-advised over indulgence in Orujo Blanco, see posts passim) leaves me unable to walk.

I have booked into intensive Spanish classes as an alternative.

I will take my decision to travel based only on the advice of the official government health bodies in the UK and Spain.



If I were to have to rely on any nation’s healthcare system, I would have no issue whatsoever with that in Spain.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Another case in my city today. And several more in Norway. A cruise ship that was supposed to come into the harbour today for 1 1/2 day (my town has thousands and thousands of tourists each winter due to Northern Lights and other Arctic adventures), sailed by from fear of the virus. Which is maybe not neccessary due to the fact that both persons are confined to their houses (quarantined). But who knows: One of them came here by an ordinary flight: Maybe we will have some more cases in the next days to come?

I am due to fly to Spain on April 16th for the CF, but as I normally stay in albergue dorms, with people from all over the world, sharing the same breathing air, I am becoming a little concerned now...
 

GaryAus

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF December 2017
In Australia at least insurers have made coronavirus a “known event” from 22 January 2020. That means if you book and travel anywhere after this date, no coronavirus matter claim will be covered. That includes extra hotel and ancillary costs etc for the 14 day quarantine period (if you are quarantined offshore), any costs with missing flights because of coronavirus delays (eg because you were in quarantine or stuck on a boat which was quarantined) and worse still no coverage should you need hospitalisation if diagnosed with coronavirus. Hospital stays can be horrendously expensive overseas (unless a treatment agreement exists with Australia - I think Italy and Australia for example has one but don’t hold me to that). This insurance decision alone will kill the international travel industry ex Australia for the next period of time. I think the cruise industry will be particularly hard hit after the Japan incident. It’s getting pretty serious and I can see it affecting Camino travel as well. There will be plenty of people who stay home.
 

RegRegular

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018 I hope.
In Australia at least insurers have made coronavirus a “known event” from 22 January 2020. That means if you book and travel anywhere after this date, no coronavirus matter claim will be covered. That includes extra hotel and ancillary costs etc for the 14 day quarantine period (if you are quarantined offshore), any costs with missing flights because of coronavirus delays (eg because you were in quarantine or stuck on a boat which was quarantined) and worse still no coverage should you need hospitalisation if diagnosed with coronavirus. Hospital stays can be horrendously expensive overseas (unless a treatment agreement exists with Australia - I think Italy and Australia for example has one but don’t hold me to that). This insurance decision alone will kill the international travel industry ex Australia for the next period of time. I think the cruise industry will be particularly hard hit after the Japan incident. It’s getting pretty serious and I can see it affecting Camino travel as well. There will be plenty of people who stay home.
This is a very interesting response, thank you. I had not considered the implications of insurance restrictions. This development, above getting a type of influenza, would completely stop my travel plans. This is good information and I will follow up on it here in Canada. Thanks.
 

Duncan Idaho

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2014, Portuguese 2015, Finisterre 2015, Norte 2017, Aragones 2018, V d Plata 2019
I am due to start another CF in SJ on March 28th. My back up plan is the VdP from Caceres. Like many here all we can do is wait and watch as the situation develops. If it was tomorrow I would go. In 4 weeks ? Who knows. We will have to see the official guidance and make our own judgement.
Best of luck to all.
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Ourense to Santiago (2019), CF: (2014, 2004, 2002, 2001). On to Fisterra, (2002, 4, 14).
Within the last day or two CNN reported a Northern California patient has Coronavirus with no known origin: no contact with travelers, no travel, et cetera.
 

Paul33

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés April 2018
In Australia at least insurers have made coronavirus a “known event” from 22 January 2020. That means if you book and travel anywhere after this date, no coronavirus matter claim will be covered. That includes extra hotel and ancillary costs etc for the 14 day quarantine period (if you are quarantined offshore), any costs with missing flights because of coronavirus delays (eg because you were in quarantine or stuck on a boat which was quarantined) and worse still no coverage should you need hospitalisation if diagnosed with coronavirus. Hospital stays can be horrendously expensive overseas (unless a treatment agreement exists with Australia - I think Italy and Australia for example has one but don’t hold me to that). This insurance decision alone will kill the international travel industry ex Australia for the next period of time. I think the cruise industry will be particularly hard hit after the Japan incident. It’s getting pretty serious and I can see it affecting Camino travel as well. There will be plenty of people who stay home.
I'm in Australia too and the Covermore web site
states:-

Customers (excluding Credit and Debit Card Travel Insurance)
  • MEDICAL CLAIMS IN CONJUNCTION WITH ASSOCIATED ADDITIONAL EXPENSES IN RELATION TO CORONAVIRUS: It is a condition of our policies that you are not aware of any circumstance which is likely to give rise to a claim. If you incur medical expenses with associated additional expenses as a result of contracting coronavirus, there may be cover up to the benefit limit. Our Claims Team will consider DFAT travel advices in place at the time you purchased your policy and where you chose to travel.
  • CANCELLATION AND OTHER RELEVANT SECTIONS OF THE POLICY: Cover for this event is excluded under other policy sections such as cancellation.
“We will not pay for claims caused by or arising from an Epidemic, Pandemic or outbreak of an infectious disease or any derivative or mutation of such viruses, or the threat or perceived threat of any of these.”
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
This is not the place for medical advice or opinion. For that, please refer to the offical WHO website or your own government health departments. A number of posts have been deleted.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Several cases in France now between Creil, Compiègne and Senlis in the Oise département, north west of Paris -- the Belgian Way via Paris goes straight through there, and it's not that far from the section of the Francigena leading into Laon. (part of the Francigena in Italy is in the no-go area there BTW)
 
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SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
First case in the Netherlands. In Tilburg.
 

Delphinoula

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino PdC 2018 Finisterre Muxía 2018
C Franconia 2019
Camino desde Algeciras Sevillia (2019)
more info here you probably have heard this before
there is a YouTube video about coughing Etikett and effective hand washing.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
This catapults us all into the "Who knows? Zone." So we can speculate all we like, but it's hot air.

That said, it's helpful to know the limitations of travel insurance policies - and that we can't assume we'll be covered should something arise. I will be buying airtickets soon and will (for once) make sure my tickets are both changeable and refundable (should I need to cancel).

May you all be well...and have a buen camino!
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Our (UK) foreign office is offering travel to Spain advice updates via email - if interested you can sign up here.

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain/email-signup

At the moment there are NO Coronavirus travel restrictions for those travelling to Spain except for one specific hotel in Tenerife -

Same for Portugal - no restrictions for foreigners arriving

Sign up here - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/portugal/email-signup

Same for France - no restrictions for foreigners arriving

Sign up here - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france

If something happens and any of these nations have problems you would be updated.

So let us all stay calm ;)
 
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Ducks

Walking for 3
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugese (2020)
Camino Frances (2021)
Our (UK) foreign office is offering travel to Spain advice updates via email - if interested you can sign up here.

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain/email-signup

At the moment there are NO Coronavirus travel restrictions for those travelling to Spain except for one specific hotel in Tenerife -

Same for Portugal - no restrictions for foreigners arriving

Sign up here - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/portugal/email-signup

Same for France - no restrictions for foreigners arriving

Sign up here - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france

If something happens and any of these nations have problems you would be updated.

So let us all stay calm ;)
Thank you. This is really useful. Have subscribed.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Our (UK) foreign office is offering travel to Spain advice updates via email - if interested you can sign up here.

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain/email-signup

At the moment there are NO Coronavirus travel restrictions for those travelling to Spain except for one specific hotel in Tenerife -
Like @Ducks - thank you @David. Very useful. We too have just subscribed and (for others) it is very simple to do with a choice of instant, daily or weekly alerts to any changes of advice from the foreign office.
We have a 'wait and see' attitude at present and will follow any official advice given.
 

nathanael

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Plata,
Hola Laurie and Fellow Moderators.
Thank you for reopening comment on this potentially life threathening issue. I am aware of the best precautions to take both on the Camino and in and around the albergues and restaurants . Regular and effective washing of hands is a must. Will you allow updates or comments of reports in (say) Portugal and specific towns/cities?? Thanks
Cheers for now.
Greetings usually this time of year I start making plans for my yearly Camino, but as it now looks I will forego it this year. Spain is one of the countries affected. Sadly safety is more important.
 

Jimliz83

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
First Camino start 23.4.2020
Our flights from Scotland will be going via Amsterdam then onto Bordeaux so we have a few countries to worry about if the uk tell us not to fly. Anyway at this point myself and my wife will start our comino on April 23.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Greetings usually this time of year I start making plans for my yearly Camino, but as it now looks I will forego it this year. Spain is one of the countries affected. Sadly safety is more important.
I too am concerned. We are walking the Porto Coast route. But my brother is a retired doctor and we have been well school in washing hands, faces etc. So at the mom its a go'er, but any reports (more than 4 or 5) in Portugal may give us cause for concern. Cheers
 

Ardent1

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Franchigina
While not definitive (you should check directly with you travel insurance provider) I found this summary of what major travel health insurance providers are saying about Covid-19 coverage.

 

meye1099

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2013, 2016, Aug. 2020), Del Norte (2018), Primitivo (2018), Nakahechi (Apr. 2020)
My husband and I have been planning a trip to Japan leaving early April to hike the Kumano Kodo for the past year, and we are taking it day to day trying to decide whether or not to cancel the trip--we have three weeks to make the call before we face significant cancellation fees. The CDC switched the alert to level 2 for Japan, which has begun to tip the scales for us towards canceling. The entire situation has been stressful and frustrating--I am ready to just cancel the trip, shut off all news outlets, and enjoy a staycation instead.
We called Delta about our cancellation fee and learned that we'll get reimbursed in Delta eCredits, but they need to be used by May 20th this year, which is a year from when we bought the tickets. So if we don't go to Japan, we at least will go somewhere! I suggested Belize as Plan B! Chilling on a beach or trekking through the jungle sounds like a nice alternative...maybe drinking a Corona?

But we will most likely be going full steam ahead with our trip to Japan in April to hike the Kumano Kodo. We were talking about how if we had to go anywhere during an outbreak, Japan is the place. We're taking a Japanese language adult community ed class to prepare, and we've learned they don't shake hands, instead they bow to greet each other, and there are special slippers designated to use for going to the bathroom. And with all the precautions being taken in the country, we are picturing Tokyo and Kyoto being like ghost towns!

Also, reading the WHO website on helping protect yourself from CoVid-19 calmed me down a bit. There were no scary verbs ("strong verbs" my husband with a journalism major corrects me ;)), like the virus "surges" or "rages" like I've been reading in headlines on the internet. I didn't realize it was only recommended to stand more than three feet (one meter) from a person who coughs. Also, we will be bringing along plenty of hand sanitizer and some travel Lysol or Clorox wipes for the plane ride.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
For people heading out, or hoping to head out, on a camino, travel uncertainty is a reality. This article describes airline decisions to cancel different flights, current as of yesterday. Though no one knows which way this trend will go, it is hard factual data to put in the mix as you decide whether to cancel or not.

 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
For people heading out, or hoping to head out, on a camino, travel uncertainty is a reality. This article describes airline decisions to cancel different flights, current as of yesterday. Though no one knows which way this trend will go, it is hard factual data to put in the mix as you decide whether to cancel or not.

Wow! That is a LOT of flights!
Personally, I think it is a responsible thing for the to do (can I say that on this thread?)
For one thing, I won't have to worry about people traveling from those areas being in the airports I'm in.
 

zrexer

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15,16 & 19 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo
2020 Camino Del Norte
We are still planning to Camino Frances in September and by then we should know if we are being practical, sensible or fool hardy.
Same here. We normally walk in the spring, but my wife started a new senior government role about a year ago and spring is tough now for her to get away. We have booked air for late September for our Del Norte Camino.
I think the reality is that everyone within the next six months to a year will eventually be exposed to Covid-19 regardless of what they do. It will depend on each individuals constitution as to how they fair.
So far I am not too concerned, but would hate to leave my country and have difficulty potentially getting back in.
Hopefully an effective vaccine is developed sooner versus later.
I think it has reached the point that a few common sense preps for home are probably a good idea to consider.
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
A question for all you air travel pros!

If Coronavirus concerns cause Summer/Fall bookings to Spain to drop, do you think that the airlines will slash prices in order to fill seats?!

Signed, Un Peregrino Pobre
Sadly, any answer to that question would fall in the prohibited category of speculation, so I will refrain. ;) But I think we can expect that the well-established forces of supply and demand will operate unabated and unchanged on the travel market as the coronavirus works its way around the globe.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2020)
While not definitive (you should check directly with you travel insurance provider) I found this summary of what major travel health insurance providers are saying about Covid-19 coverage.

Thanks you, @Ardent1. I sent this link to my insurance agent, who had told me yesterday that I would be covered, and now she backtracked, she’s looking into it.

US based Insurance update:

I haven’t bought insurance yet although I always buy it when I travel overseas. And now It seems that US based travel insurance won’t cover coronavirus either. My regular insurance agent suggested I look at a policy from Geo blue, but once I delved into it a little bit they seemed not to cover anything coronavirus related if you bought the policy after January 27, When they pronounced it a “known event”. I emailed world nomads as well, and they simply didn’t answer, two days ago so far.

Of course I wasn’t expecting to be able to buy any kind of trip cancellation policy, but I need to have regular medical insurance that covers everything when I’m traveling. My insurance agent is double checking, but I now believe that I’m going to have to cancel my trip which was scheduled to start April1. It would be irresponsible.

Even though I’m a US citizen and resident, I also have Italian citizenship. With a little bit of paperwork, I’m covered in Italy when I visit there, but I don’t think it extends to anywhere else in the European Union. I might contact my consulate And see if they have any suggestions, but I’m doubtful. And now seriously saddened.

I’ll monitor the situation, but if it continues getting worse as I suspect it will, I’ll look into see if I have any options, also doubtful, to change my flight.
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Business Insider just updated its reporting on cancellations, now up to 62 airlines.


And here are some suggestions and information about how the traveler can react.

 

Ardent1

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Franchigina
Thanks you, @Ardent1. I sent this link to my insurance agent, who had told me yesterday that I would be covered, and now she backtracked, she’s looking into it.

US based Insurance update:

I haven’t bought insurance yet although I always buy it when I travel overseas. And now It seems that US based travel insurance won’t cover coronavirus i either. My regular insurance agent suggested I look at a policy from Geo blue, but once I delved into it a little bit they seemed not to cover anything coronavirus related if you bought the policy after January 27, When they pronounced it a “known event”. I emailed world nomads as well, and they simply didn’t answer, two days ago so far.

Of course I wasn’t expecting to be able to buy any kind of trip cancellation policy, but I need to have regular medical insurance that covers everything when I’m traveling. My insurance agent is double checking, but I now believe that I’m going to have to cancel my trip which was scheduled to start April1. It would be irresponsible.

Even though I’m a US citizen and resident, I also have Italian citizenship. With a little bit of paperwork, I’m covered in Italy when I visit there, but I don’t think it extends to anywhere else in the European Union. I might contact my consulate And see if they have any suggestions, but I’m doubtful. And now seriously saddened.

I’ll monitor the situation, but if it continues getting worse as I suspect it will, I’ll look into see if I have any options, also doubtful, to change my flight.
Yes, I’d planned for a 4/15 start after a stop in Barcelona (from US) but without health insurance the trip would not be prudent. As someone earlier said, a couple of weeks in the hospital at 1 to 3 thousand a day adds up quickly.
Hope you can find another solution.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2020)
Yes, I’d planned for a 4/15 start after a stop in Barcelona (from US) but without health insurance the trip would not be prudent. As someone earlier said, a couple of weeks in the hospital at 1 to 3 thousand a day adds up quickly.
Hope you can find another solution.
There’s still some hope, but I think not much. It’s amazing how much the world can change in one week! Maybe later this year…
 

Donna Sch

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Levante-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
England Camino routes ?2024
Switzerland authorities just forbid gathering of more than 1000 people, till at least the 15th March.
https://www.admin.ch/gov/en/start/documentation/media-releases.msg-id-78289.html
This will impact a lot of public activities like sport, cultural and economical activities...
Given that many of the Spanish cases in Valencia were in Milan for that football match.


For the Aussies here,
Australia has reciprocal health agreements with the following countries which will cover you for acute care:

United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Norway, Malta, Italy, Belgium, the Republic of Ireland and New Zealand.
 

Helen1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
London to Santiago (2014)
Narbonne to Oloron (2015)
Camino Portugues (2016)
Sentier Cathar (2017)
We’re due to fly to Madrid on 19 March for our next stage and are keeping our fingers crossed we’ll be able to go.

There was some good advice from a UK health expert about quarantine for people thinking about travelling. Paraphrasing she said that if you travel and end up in quarantine abroad for 2+ weeks will that be a problem for you (as in you might lose your job/income or have other commitments)? If you travel and have to self quarantine when you get back will that be a problem for you or your family (elderly relatives at home/lose your job/income)?

Assuming we can travel. I am in two minds about taking my laptop so that if we do get caught up in a quarantine I can still work remotely. It will be heavy to carry but if our 10 day trip ends unexpectedly ends up becoming 3+ weeks I will have a problem if I can’t work (although I am lucky that I can work remotely). Nothing we can do be wait and see!
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
Thank you so much for this post Rebekah. I’m not so concerned about getting ill so
Much as the infrastructure supporting the pilgrims on the Camino decide or are told to shut down operations by the ministry of health. Without hospitaleros like yourself we are in a perplexing conundrum.
Imagine trying to keep a place open if the volunteers decide to stay home...
 

ginniek

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
frances 2017
This interactive web-based dashboard which is tracking Coronavirus worldwide has been very informative for its up-to-date status of number of cases by country. It was developed by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE), Johns Hopkins University and went live late January. I am also adding a link to a recent article in The Lancet, which explains how they access the data and how frequently it is updated.

If this post is allowed, the information regarding either the containment of the virus or the speed at which the number of cases increase in Europe may be helpful for decision-making. I am personally in a 'wait-and-see' mode for fall travel.

Link to dashboard: https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

Link to Lancet article: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30120-1/fulltext
Thanks. The Johns Hopkins map and tables are very informative.
 

MitPunkten

Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues 2018
Camino Frances 2019 until Fisterra

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
2nd case in the US of a patient with no known exposure to the virus through travel or close connection to another infected person or at-risk group. News conference with Santa Clara County Public Health Department.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I was prompted to read the fine print on my travel insurance policy. For hiking:
"Hiking/Trekking (excluding mountains):
o on a clearly marked trail with a registered guide..."

So I wonder if I need a registered guide to be covered?
The Camino Frances is more of a "walk" than a hike. I assume the need for a guide is to prevent the risk of someone getting lost. Not likely on the CF.

It would be very tempting to get diverted off topic (as I have), but that makes it hard for the moderators who are keeping an eagle eye on this thread. Let's keep focussed on facts, figures, updates about the CoronaVirus.
 
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Larky1888

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Easter 2020
As this article reports, the first instance of coronavirus on mainland Spain has been confirmed. With that sobering news, the virus has come front and center for many pilgrims. We are going to try again to open the forum to discussion of factual information and confirmed official actions. Fearmongering and what we consider to be fake news (and that extends to unsubstantiated rumors) will be deleted. We understand that there is likely to be considerable anxiety and uncertainty while the trajectory of this virus plays out, so please keep your reports to those items that can be substantiated in reputable mainstream news. With people coming to the forum from all continents, the news reporting each one of us sees is likely to focus on different things, and this thread should be a place for us to get a fuller picture of the ongoing and emerging crisis.

Buen camino, hopeful for forum cooperation in this endeavor, Laurie

Rule 7 still applies - disagreements with a moderator's rulings are not to be the subject of public debate. Negative points will be awarded for any member in breach.
I am flying from Dublin to Britz
 

andyhp

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April 2020
I just waited on hold for 40 minutes to Covermore to be told they do not cover for any epidemic/pandemic illness or flight cancellations even though I booked my flights last November.
Double check that because most insurers will cover if there is a ‘do not travel’ order for that destination in existence- the trouble is its only in extreme cases that such a travel advisory will be given.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Lots of excellent information above .. in the end all of us (national governments included) are going for a 'best guess' and as the information alters so do our guesses ...

Worrying, true, but we have to keep positive .. and keep our sense of humour too ...

I have just bought one of these .........

87626629_10157240509632815_192564124276752384_n (426 x 426).jpg
 

Orlando Wren

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (June-Aug 2018)
Camino Portuguese from Porto Oct 2018
Camino Frances (July-Aug 2019)
This interactive web-based dashboard which is tracking Coronavirus worldwide has been very informative for its up-to-date status of number of cases by country. It was developed by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE), Johns Hopkins University and went live late January. I am also adding a link to a recent article in The Lancet, which explains how they access the data and how frequently it is updated.

If this post is allowed, the information regarding either the containment of the virus or the speed at which the number of cases increase in Europe may be helpful for decision-making. I am personally in a 'wait-and-see' mode for fall travel.

Link to dashboard: https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

Link to Lancet article: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30120-1/fulltext
Hi, thanks for the post. The second link is interesting, but I'm not a fan of the first link to "gisanddata" because it does not specify where the cases actually occur. For instance, look at Italy - it shows just "Rome." There are better maps out there such as this one that is updated daily. You can zoom into any country and see the cases reported by city. There are source links for the info.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
This is for those planning to walk the Via Francigena:

The US on Friday warned against non-essential travel to Italy, a top destination for US tourists, over the growing corona virus epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Italy. There is limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas," it said in a statement. The State Department raised its travel advice a notch for Italy to "reconsider travel".

In addition, about 17 countries have closed their borders to people who have spent more than 14 days in Italy.
https://www.iatatravelcentre.com/internati.../1580226297.htm Reports an travel bans and/or quarantine policies:. Anyone who has visited Italy (in the last 14 days)
Complete ban on entry to Aruba, Bahrain, Cook Islands, Egypt, El Salvador, Fiji, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kiribati, Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mongolia, Nauru, Paraguay, Samoa, St Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles,Solomon Islands.
 

Dani7

Stop wishing, start doing.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
When the time is right
Hi, thanks for the post. The second link is interesting, but I'm not a fan of the first link to "gisanddata" because it does not specify where the cases actually occur. For instance, look at Italy - it shows just "Rome." There are better maps out there such as this one that is updated daily. You can zoom into any country and see the cases reported by city. There are source links for the info.
Thank you. I like that map very much. This one is updated regularly, vs WHO's daily communication.
 

ctay122

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020 Camino Frances
I am trying my best to stay positive about my planned camino, flying into Oviedo via landing in Madrid on April 20th. I will truly be hugely disappointed if I cannot go and must cancel, putting all my hopes and dreams on some "future time"...we all know not when that could be.
I’m right behind you, I leave for Paris from US on 18 Apr and arrive SJPDP with 2 friends on Apr 20. We still plan on going and are trying to stay positive. Hopefully by then we have better information to make a decision.
 

alhartman

346 joyful days in Spain and France since 2005
Camino(s) past & future
Hope so!
Since the "community case" in Oregon is a school employee working 10km from my house, I think my speculation has moved from dreaming how I can get back to the Camino in September, to learning how to deal with the realities of a social environment under the threat of a contagious illness.
Seems like this is too new for rational speculation, but happy to know that 4/5 of the infections are mild--and that children have accounted for only 2% of the infections in China (see the great WHO video linked above)
 

Orlando Wren

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (June-Aug 2018)
Camino Portuguese from Porto Oct 2018
Camino Frances (July-Aug 2019)
It is vital that people be informed and not succumb to the false rumours that are floating around on social media and other corners of the internet. If you are informed, you will be better prepared and not as prone to falsehoods which lead to mixed messages and fear.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is the UN agency leading the world wide coordination. The WHO are publishing news, advice, and even YouTube videos to counter the false rumours and dangerous guidance that is circulating. They are a good source.

I'm Canadian so I also follow the excellent guidance being provided by Health Canada. Other countries have similar public health resources.

If you are interested in tracking the outbreak, Johns Hopkins University has built a live graphical site that is continuously updated mapping out the number of cases in each country and each area. I'm quite visual, so this is a useful resource for me. The background information for that site, if you are interested, is here.

We can greatly reduce our chances of contracting the seasonal flu and COVID-19 by practicing proper hygiene, social distancing,... Following your public health officials' guidelines will greatly reduce your chances of becoming ill from the coronavirus COVID-19, the seasonal flu, or any other virus.

If you become ill, or come into contact with someone how is, it is vital not to infect others and important to seek proper medical advice.

Personally, my plan is still to start from SJPdP on April 10, however, as others have said, the situation is fluid and this may need to be adjusted. And that's all part of the journey, isn't it?
Hi, regarding that Johns Hopkins University, I cannot locate the individual cities within Spain that have been affected. What am I missing here? For that reason, I prefer this site. It shows each case by city on the map you can scroll down to see. The site has source links and is updated daily.

 

Seabeggar

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Mozarabe
Due to start on a pilgrimage in a month, all paid up. The situation is developing quickly. What ever is happening in the locality today may have no bearing on whats happening in a months time. Just need to be patient and decide on the facts a few days prior. Not worth fretting daily.
However I suspect we may have a lesson to learn from pilgrim history, just Google Pilgrimage and Plague to see the unfortunate association. Suspect public health teams will be considering this and perhaps we will need to curtail plans this year for the greater public good.
 

nathanael

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Plata,
We called Delta about our cancellation fee and learned that we'll get reimbursed in Delta eCredits, but they need to be used by May 20th this year, which is a year from when we bought the tickets. So if we don't go to Japan, we at least will go somewhere! I suggested Belize as Plan B! Chilling on a beach or trekking through the jungle sounds like a nice alternative...maybe drinking a Corona?

But we will most likely be going full steam ahead with our trip to Japan in April to hike the Kumano Kodo. We were talking about how if we had to go anywhere during an outbreak, Japan is the place. We're taking a Japanese language adult community ed class to prepare, and we've learned they don't shake hands, instead they bow to greet each other, and there are special slippers designated to use for going to the bathroom. And with all the precautions being taken in the country, we are picturing Tokyo and Kyoto being like ghost towns!

Also, reading the WHO website on helping protect yourself from CoVid-19 calmed me down a bit. There were no scary verbs ("strong verbs" my husband with a journalism major corrects me ;)), like the virus "surges" or "rages" like I've been reading in headlines on the internet. I didn't realize it was only recommended to stand more than three feet (one meter) from a person who coughs. Also, we will be bringing along plenty of hand sanitizer and some travel Lysol or Clorox wipes for the plane ride.
well, the best to you and enjoy it. I will stay home the six-hour flight in a confided plane with breathing everyone's air does not appeal to me be safe.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Hi, regarding that Johns Hopkins University, I cannot locate the individual cities within Spain that have been affected. What am I missing here? For that reason, I prefer this site. It shows each case by city on the map you can scroll down to see. The site has source links and is updated daily.

I really like this tracking map and it was even updated today. Lots of good details when you click on individual cities affected.
Thank you, Orlando Wren!
 

Carol06

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (May 2012)
Frances (May 2015) all going well and with my husband this time.
We are booked to fly from NZ to Milan on 3rd April to walk the Via Francigena. We have some concerns about becoming ill but our biggest worry is that we will get caught up in a lockdown somewhere. And we are also concerned about airport closures. It would be very, very expensive to be trapped for weeks or even months in Italy.

So on the strength of the economic risks we are very close to cancelling our trip. I understand that Qatar will keep our tickets valid for 12 months, but there is a cost of US$250 per ticket when we change our flight to new dates. If it comes to the crunch we may end up forfeiting our tickets altogether. And I believe that NZ insurance companies are refunding the cost of policies that have been paid for but not used. I have to check that out for myself though.

We have given ourselves another 10 days before we make our final decision, but it does not look promising.
 

marieh819

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francès - April 2019 - Camino portuguese April 2020
Hi ! I’m starting the Camino Portugues from Lisbon in 2 weeks (March 17). All those informations about Italy being placed in quarantine is starting to stress me. No positive cases in Portugal so far. I know that my insurance will cover if I get sick. I’ve read a lot about it and I guess the things that’s scare me the most is if albergue are closed because of any cases along the Camino.

Do you have any recommandations?
 
Camino(s) past & future
9-17: SJPdP-SdC
4-18: SdC - Fisterra
4-19: Cadiz-Sevilla/Via Agusta
3-20: Sevilla-SdC/VdlP
I've been talking with hospitaleros and others responsible for pilgrim shelter on the caminos.
We are only six people, but we all agree: We are in the care-taking business, on a trail dedicated to people on the move. Long as we are healthy ourselves, we will go forward with our plans for this season until authorities tell us to stop. We will do our best to accommodate the changing plans of pilgrims and volunteers, and will provide shelter and food to those who need it, for as long as we are needed and are able. The camino's seen these things before!
Each community and albergue will decide for itself how to handle this potential threat. For now, we'll keep an eye on the official reports and keep on keeping on.
It's not time to panic yet.
Ultreya y Suseia, peregrinos!
Thanks Rebekah, I have just returned from the prep day for the hospitaleros of the albergue in Roncesvalles. We are also going ahead, the first team is leaving next week! We will work with the guidelines from the 'gobierno' of Navarra and with the local health centre, realising that there is so much uncertainty and unknown at the moment, that we just need to take it day by day. The priority is reliable and up-to-date information. We will not take pilgrims' temperature at the door, but hope that everyone will be responsible for their own health situation. If you feel unwell while with us, please come and see us, so we can help you - if necessary - to get to the health center and follow the guidelines mentioned above. Buen Camino everyone!
 

Walton

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2018 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. Next up hopefully VDP or Del Norte.
What do you base that statement on? I spoke with someone at a large insurance travel company in the US and they said trip cancellation wasn’t covered, but of course everything medical would be covered. I admit I’m still waiting for email confirmation of that, because I want it in writing.
Stephan - My post did not discuss cancellation insurance.

To be sure, you would want written confirmation that coronavirus caused medical expenses are covered. This would be especially so if you are buying insurance now.

My post also stressed the wise precaution of reading your proposed insurance contract very carefully before purchase and suggested that this should occur before you make reservations so that you understand what your losses might be, if any, should you cancel.

With regard to my post and your comment "What do you base that statement on?" - here is a link of a respected consumer organisation in Australia known as Choice. There are heaps of links regarding travel insurance and coronavirus.

https://www.choice.com.au/travel/money/travel-insurance/articles/travel-insurance-pandemic

My advice is general advice only. You have to make your own enquiries, no matter which country you are buying your insurance policy from, as you are doing, which is good to see.

Regards

Graham
 

meye1099

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2013, 2016, Aug. 2020), Del Norte (2018), Primitivo (2018), Nakahechi (Apr. 2020)
well, the best to you and enjoy it. I will stay home the six-hour flight in a confided plane with breathing everyone's air does not appeal to me be safe.
Cool. Thanks. We will. :cool:
 

KathleenJLS

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April (2020)
I am supposed to fly out from Canada on April 2nd. At this time playing it by ear and only reading from reliable sources like WHO. Just playing a wait and see for now. Hoping for the best and ready to pull the plug if I must. I would be heartbroken but this situation is tortally out of my control.
Ditto here from Logan on March 30. Watchful waiting.....
 

Dani7

Stop wishing, start doing.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
When the time is right
Ditto here from Logan on March 30. Watchful waiting.....
Praying and waiting. Trying to pray more for others and take the focus off myself. I’m healthy and safe in my home while health care workers and virologists are working around the clock to contain and save lives. Putting their lives potentially on the line. It’s helping me keep it real.
 

czelnick

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Kumano Kodo 2019
We called Delta about our cancellation fee and learned that we'll get reimbursed in Delta eCredits, but they need to be used by May 20th this year, which is a year from when we bought the tickets. So if we don't go to Japan, we at least will go somewhere! I suggested Belize as Plan B! Chilling on a beach or trekking through the jungle sounds like a nice alternative...maybe drinking a Corona?

But we will most likely be going full steam ahead with our trip to Japan in April to hike the Kumano Kodo. We were talking about how if we had to go anywhere during an outbreak, Japan is the place. We're taking a Japanese language adult community ed class to prepare, and we've learned they don't shake hands, instead they bow to greet each other, and there are special slippers designated to use for going to the bathroom. And with all the precautions being taken in the country, we are picturing Tokyo and Kyoto being like ghost towns!

Also, reading the WHO website on helping protect yourself from CoVid-19 calmed me down a bit. There were no scary verbs ("strong verbs" my husband with a journalism major corrects me ;)), like the virus "surges" or "rages" like I've been reading in headlines on the internet. I didn't realize it was only recommended to stand more than three feet (one meter) from a person who coughs. Also, we will be bringing along plenty of hand sanitizer and some travel Lysol or Clorox wipes for the plane ride.
We walked the Kumano Kodo last year. Japan is the cleanest country I have ever visited. You will be staying likely in small ryokan or minshuku, not in large dorms. I would just carry a lot of sanitizer and wash frequently. Have fun, be prepared for a great time and amazingly few people once you get into the forests.
 

KathleenJLS

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April (2020)
Praying and waiting. Trying to pray more for others and take the focus off myself. I’m healthy and safe in my home while health care workers and virologists are working around the clock to contain and save lives. Putting their lives potentially on the line. It’s helping me keep it real.
Dani, I am traveling with 2 family members. Not my decision alone, although we are all well and healthy. Right now I am planning on wheels-up on March 30, but will try to be realistic.
 

Jean françois

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 03,04
88 Temples16
Port. 17
LePuy, Norte, Prim 18
Ingles 18
Jakobova, Arles, Aragon,Baztan 19
thanks for all the info. I still have no idea what i will be doing, but it is nice to see such a supportive community, and well moderated gathering
 

Les Stewart

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Francigena, Kumano Kodo, San Benedetto, Iseji, Assisi, Kunisaki, Shikoku 88 (1~24), Kohechi
With cases rising drastically daily & spreading to otherwise unaffected countries/places I've decided to cancel my next camino in April and take a wait & see approach. It'll still be there later or next year. I imagine the biggest risk to be in crowded refugios with coughing and sneezing internationally diverse roommates and communal toilets/showers. Then there's the pilgrims' mass in Santiago in a packed church. Something to consider & better safe than sorry i reckon.
 

MikeyC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF - September 2016
CF - April May 2017
Shikoku - October 2017
Kumano Kodo - October 2017
CF - 2019
Thanks Rebekah, I have just returned from the prep day for the hospitaleros of the albergue in Roncesvalles. We are also going ahead, the first team is leaving next week! We will work with the guidelines from the 'gobierno' of Navarra and with the local health centre, realising that there is so much uncertainty and unknown at the moment, that we just need to take it day by day. The priority is reliable and up-to-date information. We will not take pilgrims' temperature at the door, but hope that everyone will be responsible for their own health situation. If you feel unwell while with us, please come and see us, so we can help you - if necessary - to get to the health center and follow the guidelines mentioned above. Buen Camino everyone!
The Spanish Health Ministry has produced a poster for travellers in English which may be of use in albergues. There are other languages available. I am putting the link to the English version.

The recommended course of action is to have the pilgrim self isolate and call 112. If you do feel unwell please do not ask the hospitalero to take you to the health centre as this only increases the risk of transmission.


 
Last edited:

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
My decision, at this time and is open to change based on future outcomes, is to remain home this year. My decision based on my parameters, at this time.

Having said this, the longest trip I have ever taken was in 2003 during the SARS pandemic, 30 hours on airplanes each way to and from Thailand to Canada. But that was then. This is now.
 

RegRegular

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018 I hope.
I also travelled in 2003 and managed to stay places that I would never have been able to afford in other years. SARS became an advantage rather than a deterrent. I am more cautious with this, though, and find the risk of illness, delay, inconvenience, and quarantine greater than it was in 2003.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Coastal (2018)
Portuguese Coastal, with Spiritual Variant (2019)
Here's a website that seems to do a good job providing up-to-date info on all the confirmed cases around the world:
 

Old Kiwi

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016
Camino Frances 2019
SdC to Muxia and Fisterra 2019
Camino Portuguese "2020"
My daughter and I are booked to walk the Camino Portugal starting 16 June. Like others on this forum I have been told that cancellation because of Covid 19 will not be covered. Unless the situation changes drastically we are still going. I envisage the danger spots will be on the flights from New Zealand to Portugal and return and in the albergues where people are crowded together. I do not know if there will be any benefit in wearing a face mask on the plane. There have been many warnings from medical people that they are next to useless unless it is one of very fine mesh and seals completely around the nose and mouth with a rubber seal. The albergues are a different story as we are all there for the experience of meeting other pilgrims. The medical advice is to keep away from people who cough or have a runny nose and keep washing your hands or using a sterilising solution. I will be doing just that. I presume that anyone on the Camino by June will be well aware of what to look out for and what precautions to take, so hopefully we will all be as safe as if we were anywhere else. It is possible that the situation could change drastically by that time and I might have to cancel and face the loss of fares and the Camino experience. I will wait and see.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
France has passed the 100 cases threshold.

Indoor public gatherings of 5000 people or more have been banned ; all public gatherings have been banned in l'Oise.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
This is not a medical advice forum. We do not have the medical expertise to know if something is factual or not, or whether the source is reliable.

Accordingly we have taken the view that we will not allow any medical advice or opinions, or links to medical advice or opinion pieces, unless they are from WHO or official government advice.

I have deleted a number of posts that link to medical opinions about the virus. If you see anything that is, please "report".
 

Westy

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future
Hi Jill
Yes., insurance was taken out dec27 BUT I was ‘told’ that no insurer is covering cancelling travel because of it. ? I’m ringing insurer (Covermore) this afternoon to hear it from them .
My insurers were very positive. We had taken insurance out well before the WHO statement.
However, they have said that cancellation on the basis of fear of going is not covered.
So basically, can't go is covered, but don't want to go isn't.
Hope this helps.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
One piece of medical advice I have seen, from the French Authorities, is if you suspect you may have it, don't go to a GP or an emergency ward -- call emergency services, in order to minimise the risk of infecting others.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x5, Portuguese VdlP12, Sanabres, Aragones, Norte,Salvador,Primitivo, VdlP 17,Madrid18Norte
Just curious, did they say they don’t cover medical care if you were traveling and become sick with coronavirus? Or did they just say they don’t cover trip cancellation? Those are very different things.
Sorry Stephan,just read this.
I didn't specifically ask that but would expect that to be the case if it is to do with Coronavirus.
I would hope they would cover other illnesses though.
 

Naps

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planned 2021
Ugh.
Remember the good ol' days when all we worried about were bedbugs?
Anyway, has anyone found a good travel insurance company?
Consider checking out the insurance company that covers your air travel purchases with your credit card company. Consider paying more for the highest level of cover eg "unlimited".
Personally, I have written off travel and insurance expenses for intended travel in March and will defer travel to next year.
 

Isca-camigo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Various ones.
Consider checking out the insurance company that covers your air travel purchases with your credit card company. Consider paying more for the highest level of cover eg "unlimited".
Personally, I have written off travel and insurance expenses for intended travel in March and will defer travel to next year.
I am at an advantage over many posters, I live relatively close to my arrival point on the Camino so managed to obtain low cost flights, so writing off expenses is not as painful for me. I have not written of my Camino yet but I am looking at other possible arrival times later in the year as a fallback option.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2019)
"More cases of COVID-19 are likely to be identified in the coming days, including more cases in the United States. It’s also likely that person-to-person spread will continue to occur, including in communities in the United States. It’s likely that at some point, widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the United States will occur.

Widespread transmission of COVID-19 would translate into large numbers of people needing medical care at the same time. Schools, childcare centers, workplaces, and other places for mass gatherings may experience more absenteeism. Public health and healthcare systems may become overloaded, with elevated rates of hospitalizations and deaths. Other critical infrastructure, such as law enforcement, emergency medical services, and transportation industry may also be affected. Health care providers and hospitals may be overwhelmed. At this time, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and no medications approved to treat it. Nonpharmaceutical interventions would be the most important response strategy."

A quote from US CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html#risk-assessment
 
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