Search 57,387 Camino Questions

A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it


Advertisement
Camino Way Markers
Original Camino Way markers made in bronze. Two models, one from Castilla & Leon and the other from Galicia.
Camino Maps
A collection of Camino Maps from the Camino Forum Store

LIVE from the Camino Seattle USA to Porto

Sunbolt

Jeremy
Past OR future Camino
2021
Hello all! We have made it to Portugal and have been on our Camino a few days now. It has been very stressful leading up to the trip, deciding whether or not to cancel, but we decided to go for it. TLDR: everything has been much easier than I was expecting. Here is the COVID travel detail:

We booked a pretty wonky flight using my work-earned Alaska Airlines miles. SEA -> LAX -> HEL -> OPO. Lots of time and transfers but cheap. Sorry. Lol.

We used Carbon Health (Alaska’s recommended partner) for PCR tests. I had a difficult time finding any better choice. All of the local drug stores either had no availability or no guaranteed turnaround time. The test needs to be within 72 hours of boarding for your actual Portugal flight as I understand it. So we paid the $170 each. They guarantee results by 2:00 pm the next day. The first flight was Thursday at 1:00 pm, we did our tests Tuesday at 5:00 pm, and got our results via email when we woke up Wednesday. I printed them and put a copy on our phones.

Because I overthink everything I had also booked a rapid PCR at Seatac airport at Xprescheck as a backup. Those are $250 each and will give you results in 1 hour while you wait. After we had done the Carbon ones though, I figured that was enough, so I tried to cancel the Xpres ones. They do not have an option to cancel over the internet - you have to call in. I called quite a few times and sat on hold forever and never got through to a human. So I basically walked up to the Xprescheck station the morning of the flight and canceled the tests like an hour before the appointment. They didn’t complain or try to charge me anything.

I brought with us six Abbott BinaxNOW rapid antigen tests. They cost $25 for 2 at Walgreens or CVS. I also brought our original CDC vacc cards in plastic sleeves. We signed up for the Clear health pass and the Washington state myIR system and generated our absolutely cheesy vaccination certificates. We did the Portugal visitor locator card online and it gave us a QR code. I took a screenshot of that. I made multiple printed copies of all of this, as well as digital copies on our phones. Did I mention I overthink things?

Even though we weren’t checking baggage, we had to go to a ticketing agent - the Alaska app wouldn’t give us our digital boarding passes. The agent asked us for our test results. The pdf we were given by Carbon was so cheesy. It was a simple document that I could have made myself in a minute in Word. There was no QR code or stamp or anything official looking. He glanced at it and we got our boarding passes.

Flying was normal (for COVID times). At LAX, we did not have to go through security again. We went up to the Finnair gate and the agent asked for our test results. No issues.

Flying Finnair was pretty nice. The food was fairly miserable but the plane was practically empty, and because it was a Finnish flight it was DEAD SILENT. Lol. Great for sleeping.

We landed in Helsinki and had to go through customs. The agent wanted just our passports, asked the basic “what is the purpose of your visit” and we were stamped and through. At the gate, the agent asked for the visitor locator card. He just glanced at the screenshot I had on the phone and said okay. Didn’t scan it. He also asked for proof of vacc. I think he was expecting we were EU citizens because he seemed a bit surprised when I pulled out the CDC cards, but he checked them over and said okay.

We landed in Porto and just walked right out of the airport. I thought there might be a second customs or a check of our tests or something but nope. Literally one minute after exiting the plane we were finding our taxi driver. He was wearing a mask and so were we, but he didn’t ask about tests or proof of vaccine.

I bought some MORE rapid antigen tests at the local pharmacy. They are super cheap, like €3 each or something. I was afraid the locals wouldn’t recognize the USA Abbott tests.

As far as lodging goes, so far:
Porto - private apartment off booking.com
Didn’t even ask about vacc/test.
Matosinhos - Fishtail sea house hostel
Entry was automated and no staff was present. We got a door code. Didn’t ask about vacc/test.
Vila do Conde - Venceslau Hotel
Front desk asked for proof of vacc or test - I gave him our original CDC cards and he looked at them and said okay.
Arcos - Quinta Sao Miguel de Arcos
Same as previous night.

As far as restaurants go, so far:
Outdoor dinner / lunch dining - none have asked for anything
Indoor seating at coffee places - none have asked for anything
Indoor dinner / lunch dining - one asked for proof of vacc. I pulled up the image on my phone of one of our CDC cards, he glanced at it quickly. I started pulling up the other one and he said okay, okay. It was clear that it was just a formality to him. Two others didn’t ask.

Walking around Porto, in the outside areas, people seemed very reasonable. If the area wasn’t too crowded, some people would be wearing a mask, others not. In any inside space, everyone wore a mask, period. The fashion seems to be to have the mask looped on your arm if you are outside and not around other people. It did seem that locals were masking more than tourists though. As we started the Camino and got out into the countryside, we would see most people masking even if there was none else around.

So in summary, I worried too much. As far as I can tell, if you can get here, things should be okay. We haven’t used any of our TEN rapid tests that we are carrying around with us every day. Lol!

The Camino so far seems quite sparse. Tonight in Arcos, there were only 5 pilgrims, including us, for dinner. We only see about 5-7 pilgrims on the road during the day. (We are doing the hybrid coastal to Vila do Conde, connecting to central at Arcos.) I have done one Camino before, and I can tell you it doesn’t feel THAT much different to me. The worst loss is having all hotel and individual room bookings instead of the albergues. That hurts. But otherwise we are having a wonderful time.
 
Learn how to Get "Camino Ready " 2nd Edition. In English, Spanish, German and Korean
2021 Camino Guides
Most all Camino authors have decided to use 2020 guides for 2021, with free PDF files with updates coming in the spring. Get yours today.

mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Sunbelt,
Glad you made it to Porto. Now that the hassle of flight connections is over you can concentrate on the pleasure of walking. Your updatea will be very useful for other pilgrims who are currently planning a route from Porto.
Stay safe and Bom caminho to you!
 

Maravone

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
So in summary, I worried too much. As far as I can tell, if you can get here, things should be okay. We haven’t used any of our TEN rapid tests that we are carrying around with us every day. Lol!

Just done my first camino, starting from home in Porto 2 weeks ago, and I brought a bunch of rapid tests with me, expecting to need them, as legally you're supposed to either present a certificate of vax/past infection or test when staying in any sort of tourist accomodation
In the end, of the 3 nights I spent in the Portuguese part of the camino, I was only asked once in Ponte de Lima.
In Spain there was no requirement whatsoever, so I ended up completing the pilgrimage with a bunch of antigen tests in my backpack.

Choosing to do the coast all the way to Vila do Conde and then turn towards the Central Path is a wonderful idea. The rural landscapes from Ponte de Lima to Valença are wonderful!

Bom Caminho!
 

jreinhardt

New Member
Past OR future Camino
May 2018
Sunbolt, Thanks for your comments. I am going to do the costal route from Porto starting probably Oct 2nd. Your comments are very reassuring as regards the Covid situation. I will be booking my accommodation ahead as I think it may be safer.
 

jas11

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Thanks for the detailed info, very helpful insights of how it’s like on Camino Portugues.
I’ll be doing the Central route early October and hoping finding Accomodations will not be that hard. Hope you keep us posted on how it’s like fo the rest of your Camino.
 
Camino Magnets
A collection of Camino Fridge Magnets
2021 Camino Guides
Most all Camino authors have decided to use 2020 guides for 2021, with free PDF files with updates coming in the spring. Get yours today.

jas11

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
btw where did you get the rapid antigen test in Porto? We can’t buy them here in Canada
 
Past OR future Camino
2021
Thank you for all the detail! My wife and I are transiting through Switzerland on our way to Porto in less than two weeks. We have our PCR tests scheduled for the day prior to our flight to Switzerland (which only requires proof of vax...as of today), but it sounds like flying in from another Schengen country means we won't be checked in Porto anyway. But, we'll have it with us nonetheless as it sounds like it will be useful at some hotels/albuerges/restaurants. We're following the same hybrid route as you, adding the Spiritual Variant in as well. It sounds like the trail is very quiet, particularly compared to our CF in Sept-Oct 2018 when there were 400+ pilgrims leaving SJPdP each day. It will be a very different experience, but I'm staring at my fully packed backpack and simply can't wait to get back on the Camino!
 

Dilbin

Member
Past OR future Camino
Irun to Santander del Norte
Hello all! We have made it to Portugal and have been on our Camino a few days now. It has been very stressful leading up to the trip, deciding whether or not to cancel, but we decided to go for it. TLDR: everything has been much easier than I was expecting. Here is the COVID travel detail:

We booked a pretty wonky flight using my work-earned Alaska Airlines miles. SEA -> LAX -> HEL -> OPO. Lots of time and transfers but cheap. Sorry. Lol.

We used Carbon Health (Alaska’s recommended partner) for PCR tests. I had a difficult time finding any better choice. All of the local drug stores either had no availability or no guaranteed turnaround time. The test needs to be within 72 hours of boarding for your actual Portugal flight as I understand it. So we paid the $170 each. They guarantee results by 2:00 pm the next day. The first flight was Thursday at 1:00 pm, we did our tests Tuesday at 5:00 pm, and got our results via email when we woke up Wednesday. I printed them and put a copy on our phones.

Because I overthink everything I had also booked a rapid PCR at Seatac airport at Xprescheck as a backup. Those are $250 each and will give you results in 1 hour while you wait. After we had done the Carbon ones though, I figured that was enough, so I tried to cancel the Xpres ones. They do not have an option to cancel over the internet - you have to call in. I called quite a few times and sat on hold forever and never got through to a human. So I basically walked up to the Xprescheck station the morning of the flight and canceled the tests like an hour before the appointment. They didn’t complain or try to charge me anything.

I brought with us six Abbott BinaxNOW rapid antigen tests. They cost $25 for 2 at Walgreens or CVS. I also brought our original CDC vacc cards in plastic sleeves. We signed up for the Clear health pass and the Washington state myIR system and generated our absolutely cheesy vaccination certificates. We did the Portugal visitor locator card online and it gave us a QR code. I took a screenshot of that. I made multiple printed copies of all of this, as well as digital copies on our phones. Did I mention I overthink things?

Even though we weren’t checking baggage, we had to go to a ticketing agent - the Alaska app wouldn’t give us our digital boarding passes. The agent asked us for our test results. The pdf we were given by Carbon was so cheesy. It was a simple document that I could have made myself in a minute in Word. There was no QR code or stamp or anything official looking. He glanced at it and we got our boarding passes.

Flying was normal (for COVID times). At LAX, we did not have to go through security again. We went up to the Finnair gate and the agent asked for our test results. No issues.

Flying Finnair was pretty nice. The food was fairly miserable but the plane was practically empty, and because it was a Finnish flight it was DEAD SILENT. Lol. Great for sleeping.

We landed in Helsinki and had to go through customs. The agent wanted just our passports, asked the basic “what is the purpose of your visit” and we were stamped and through. At the gate, the agent asked for the visitor locator card. He just glanced at the screenshot I had on the phone and said okay. Didn’t scan it. He also asked for proof of vacc. I think he was expecting we were EU citizens because he seemed a bit surprised when I pulled out the CDC cards, but he checked them over and said okay.

We landed in Porto and just walked right out of the airport. I thought there might be a second customs or a check of our tests or something but nope. Literally one minute after exiting the plane we were finding our taxi driver. He was wearing a mask and so were we, but he didn’t ask about tests or proof of vaccine.

I bought some MORE rapid antigen tests at the local pharmacy. They are super cheap, like €3 each or something. I was afraid the locals wouldn’t recognize the USA Abbott tests.

As far as lodging goes, so far:
Porto - private apartment off booking.com
Didn’t even ask about vacc/test.
Matosinhos - Fishtail sea house hostel
Entry was automated and no staff was present. We got a door code. Didn’t ask about vacc/test.
Vila do Conde - Venceslau Hotel
Front desk asked for proof of vacc or test - I gave him our original CDC cards and he looked at them and said okay.
Arcos - Quinta Sao Miguel de Arcos
Same as previous night.

As far as restaurants go, so far:
Outdoor dinner / lunch dining - none have asked for anything
Indoor seating at coffee places - none have asked for anything
Indoor dinner / lunch dining - one asked for proof of vacc. I pulled up the image on my phone of one of our CDC cards, he glanced at it quickly. I started pulling up the other one and he said okay, okay. It was clear that it was just a formality to him. Two others didn’t ask.

Walking around Porto, in the outside areas, people seemed very reasonable. If the area wasn’t too crowded, some people would be wearing a mask, others not. In any inside space, everyone wore a mask, period. The fashion seems to be to have the mask looped on your arm if you are outside and not around other people. It did seem that locals were masking more than tourists though. As we started the Camino and got out into the countryside, we would see most people masking even if there was none else around.

So in summary, I worried too much. As far as I can tell, if you can get here, things should be okay. We haven’t used any of our TEN rapid tests that we are carrying around with us every day. Lol!

The Camino so far seems quite sparse. Tonight in Arcos, there were only 5 pilgrims, including us, for dinner. We only see about 5-7 pilgrims on the road during the day. (We are doing the hybrid coastal to Vila do Conde, connecting to central at Arcos.) I have done one Camino before, and I can tell you it doesn’t feel THAT much different to me. The worst loss is having all hotel and individual room bookings instead of the albergues. That hurts. But otherwise we are having a wonderful time.
Hello and Buen Camino. Although my own travel is more straightforward( from Ireland) I too worry too much, especially when I hear all the horror stories at airports. I'm starting next Monday from Coimbra which is 6 or 7 stages before Porto and it does feel strange now after realising the accommodation situation and fewer pilgrims. Are all the Albergues closed??? Daniel
 

Sunbolt

Jeremy
Past OR future Camino
2021
I should say: I am not really aware of the albergue situation. I didn’t bother to research if they are open or not. Because of COVID, we chose to book everything well ahead of time, and always a separate room in a hostel or hotel. Sorry for the confusion.

When we passed the albergue in Rates, I noticed they had a sign on the door that said they are open.
 

Sunbolt

Jeremy
Past OR future Camino
2021
btw where did you get the rapid antigen test in Porto? We can’t buy them here in Canada
I don’t remember. We just walked into the first pharmacy we noticed and asked for rapid antigen COVID tests in English and they knew exactly what we were talking about. They had a drawer full of them.
 
Learn Spanish for the Camino
Enhance your Camino experience by learning about the Spanish language and culture.
Rent a house in Santiago (1 month minimum)
300m from the cathedral and around the corner from the fresh food market in Santiago. Perfect place to tele commute from (1GB symmetrical connection).
Past OR future Camino
Francés and Portugal
Hi Sunbolt,
I feel like we’re twins separated at birth. I’m from FW. We arrived in Porto on the 6th and started our Camino Central on the 8th. We’re in Peddra Furada tonight and walking only to Barcelos tomorrow. We’ve had a similar experience regarding tests or vaccination proof-hardly asked at all. I do feel that people so far are more mindful of covid hygiene without the accompanying anxiety that is found in the US. I didn’t bring tests with us, not because I don’t overthink but because I overthought my backpack weight instead. Not seeing many other pilgrims along the way, especially out of Porto. Today we walked with several people we met the day before. Making fast friends is so fun on the Caminho. Maybe we’ll see each other along the way. Bom Caminho!
 

jas11

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I don’t remember. We just walked into the first pharmacy we noticed and asked for rapid antigen COVID tests in English and they knew exactly what we were talking about. They had a drawer full of them.
Thanks! I’ll do the same then :)
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Past OR future Camino
2019
Excellent trip report! Honest, funny, and chock full of relevant info for walkers. Perfect! My wife and I leave Porto for SdC around Oct 10.
 

Dilbin

Member
Past OR future Camino
Irun to Santander del Norte
Hello all! We have made it to Portugal and have been on our Camino a few days now. It has been very stressful leading up to the trip, deciding whether or not to cancel, but we decided to go for it. TLDR: everything has been much easier than I was expecting. Here is the COVID travel detail:

We booked a pretty wonky flight using my work-earned Alaska Airlines miles. SEA -> LAX -> HEL -> OPO. Lots of time and transfers but cheap. Sorry. Lol.

We used Carbon Health (Alaska’s recommended partner) for PCR tests. I had a difficult time finding any better choice. All of the local drug stores either had no availability or no guaranteed turnaround time. The test needs to be within 72 hours of boarding for your actual Portugal flight as I understand it. So we paid the $170 each. They guarantee results by 2:00 pm the next day. The first flight was Thursday at 1:00 pm, we did our tests Tuesday at 5:00 pm, and got our results via email when we woke up Wednesday. I printed them and put a copy on our phones.

Because I overthink everything I had also booked a rapid PCR at Seatac airport at Xprescheck as a backup. Those are $250 each and will give you results in 1 hour while you wait. After we had done the Carbon ones though, I figured that was enough, so I tried to cancel the Xpres ones. They do not have an option to cancel over the internet - you have to call in. I called quite a few times and sat on hold forever and never got through to a human. So I basically walked up to the Xprescheck station the morning of the flight and canceled the tests like an hour before the appointment. They didn’t complain or try to charge me anything.

I brought with us six Abbott BinaxNOW rapid antigen tests. They cost $25 for 2 at Walgreens or CVS. I also brought our original CDC vacc cards in plastic sleeves. We signed up for the Clear health pass and the Washington state myIR system and generated our absolutely cheesy vaccination certificates. We did the Portugal visitor locator card online and it gave us a QR code. I took a screenshot of that. I made multiple printed copies of all of this, as well as digital copies on our phones. Did I mention I overthink things?

Even though we weren’t checking baggage, we had to go to a ticketing agent - the Alaska app wouldn’t give us our digital boarding passes. The agent asked us for our test results. The pdf we were given by Carbon was so cheesy. It was a simple document that I could have made myself in a minute in Word. There was no QR code or stamp or anything official looking. He glanced at it and we got our boarding passes.

Flying was normal (for COVID times). At LAX, we did not have to go through security again. We went up to the Finnair gate and the agent asked for our test results. No issues.

Flying Finnair was pretty nice. The food was fairly miserable but the plane was practically empty, and because it was a Finnish flight it was DEAD SILENT. Lol. Great for sleeping.

We landed in Helsinki and had to go through customs. The agent wanted just our passports, asked the basic “what is the purpose of your visit” and we were stamped and through. At the gate, the agent asked for the visitor locator card. He just glanced at the screenshot I had on the phone and said okay. Didn’t scan it. He also asked for proof of vacc. I think he was expecting we were EU citizens because he seemed a bit surprised when I pulled out the CDC cards, but he checked them over and said okay.

We landed in Porto and just walked right out of the airport. I thought there might be a second customs or a check of our tests or something but nope. Literally one minute after exiting the plane we were finding our taxi driver. He was wearing a mask and so were we, but he didn’t ask about tests or proof of vaccine.

I bought some MORE rapid antigen tests at the local pharmacy. They are super cheap, like €3 each or something. I was afraid the locals wouldn’t recognize the USA Abbott tests.

As far as lodging goes, so far:
Porto - private apartment off booking.com
Didn’t even ask about vacc/test.
Matosinhos - Fishtail sea house hostel
Entry was automated and no staff was present. We got a door code. Didn’t ask about vacc/test.
Vila do Conde - Venceslau Hotel
Front desk asked for proof of vacc or test - I gave him our original CDC cards and he looked at them and said okay.
Arcos - Quinta Sao Miguel de Arcos
Same as previous night.

As far as restaurants go, so far:
Outdoor dinner / lunch dining - none have asked for anything
Indoor seating at coffee places - none have asked for anything
Indoor dinner / lunch dining - one asked for proof of vacc. I pulled up the image on my phone of one of our CDC cards, he glanced at it quickly. I started pulling up the other one and he said okay, okay. It was clear that it was just a formality to him. Two others didn’t ask.

Walking around Porto, in the outside areas, people seemed very reasonable. If the area wasn’t too crowded, some people would be wearing a mask, others not. In any inside space, everyone wore a mask, period. The fashion seems to be to have the mask looped on your arm if you are outside and not around other people. It did seem that locals were masking more than tourists though. As we started the Camino and got out into the countryside, we would see most people masking even if there was none else around.

So in summary, I worried too much. As far as I can tell, if you can get here, things should be okay. We haven’t used any of our TEN rapid tests that we are carrying around with us every day. Lol!

The Camino so far seems quite sparse. Tonight in Arcos, there were only 5 pilgrims, including us, for dinner. We only see about 5-7 pilgrims on the road during the day. (We are doing the hybrid coastal to Vila do Conde, connecting to central at Arcos.) I have done one Camino before, and I can tell you it doesn’t feel THAT much different to me. The worst loss is having all hotel and individual room bookings instead of the albergues. That hurts. But otherwise we are having a wonderful time.
Hello and Buen Camino. Although my own travel is more straightforward( from Ireland) I too worry too much, especially when I hear all the horror stories at airports. I'm starting next Monday from Coimbra which is 6 or 7 stages before Porto and it does feel strange now after realising the accommodation situation and fewer pilgrims. Are all the Albergues closed??? Da
I should say: I am not really aware of the albergue situation. I didn’t bother to research if they are open or not. Because of COVID, we chose to book everything well ahead of time, and always a separate room in a hostel or hotel. Sorry for the confusion.

When we passed the albergue in Rates, I noticed they had a sign on the door that said they are open.
Thanks so much. I would hope to find so of the communal spirit while walking. Have a great Camino.
 

plrinPorto

Rowlandinha
Past OR future Camino
2015
Hi everyone. I've just returned to Porto where I live (Leça da Palmeira, specifically) from a quick trip to California. So I've run the gauntlet here, in the UK, and in the USA. Travel is nerve-wracking, but doable! The airlines have to make sure passengers comply with all destination countries' regulations du jour, which is why you may not be able to get your boarding pass online and have to go to the check-in counter. And sometimes those checks seem very cursory - they have a lot of pax to check! Do confirm requirements for your final destination and any countries you're transiting through--testing, vaccinations, passenger locator forms. For the latest in Portugal's requirements: https://pt.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/ And yes, arrival in Porto or Lisboa is very simple -- passport control and a walk by the customs folks.

As mentioned above, the rapid antigen tests (3-5EUR) should be sold in any farmacia you go into. If you need to get a test with electronic results (i.e. for departure from Portugal), check out Unilabs. In Porto, they have a clinic at Trindade metro station, as well as other locations. The rapid antigen is 25EUR (results in 4 hours or less), the PCR is 100EUR.

Restaurants can ask for proof of vaccination weekends and holidays, but may ask during the week (food court, MarShopping!); keep your certificate handy. Portugal has not lifted the mask mandate (since March 2020!), for outside, but many people in my area are still wearing them or keeping them on their arms. Updates here: https://www.visitportugal.com/en/content/covid-19-measures-implemented-portugal (although this is from Aug 31).

I wish everyone safe travels, bom caminho y buen camino! I may see you if you're doing the coastal from Porto!
 
Last edited:
A Quest of St. James, Tommy Ray, Book Cover, Image
Come follow the vivid imagery of this life-changing adventure.
When you walk the Camino, and suddenly a pandemic appears

Did not find what you were looking for? Search here

Popular Resources

“All” Albergues on the Camino Frances in one pdf ivar
  • Featured
“All” Albergues on the Camino Frances in one pdf
4.95 star(s) 101 ratings
Downloads
15,189
Updated
A selection of favorite albergues on the Camino Francés Ton van Tilburg
Favorite Albergues along the Camino Frances
4.83 star(s) 35 ratings
Downloads
7,869
Updated
Profile maps of all 34 stages of the Camino Frances ivar
Profile maps of all 34 stages of the Camino Frances
4.88 star(s) 24 ratings
Downloads
7,673
Updated

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Updates on YouTube

Camino Conversations

Most downloaded Resources

Top