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Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese
(2019) VdP Seville to Salamanca
(2020) VdP Salamanca to Santiago
A friend sent me this link. Don’t know what to think. I guess it would be good for those that want a taste but they don’t tell you anywhere that this doesn’t qualify for the Compostela.

Maybe we are getting too close to plain tourism without any spiritual aspect on this one.

 

TMcA

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona to Santiago (2013)
Le Puy to Pamplona in segments (2013 - 2016)
Pamplona to León
$6400 for nine days = $700+ per day. Very, very pricey.

Worse than the outrageous cost is the fact that the tour group is going to be sequestered for meals and will probably walk together with their guide(s). Chances of interacting with other walkers is thereby greatly diminished. As our POTUS would say, "Very sad!" :(
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
The price is barely worth talking about because it’s the same price level for similar National Geographic trips:

9 days Hiking the Julian Alps in Slovenia - $5,600
9 days Iconic Hikes Swiss Alps - $8,300
13 days England Coast to Coast - $6,200
10 days Tour du Mont Blanc - $5,800
 

Pilger99

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
addicted since 1999 (Aragones, CF), lots of caminos in Spain and Portugal since then
You see hiking Spain is expensive, at least much more than England and France ;).

If you don't like to hike there are better choices spending the money. Send someone else instead! Even in the US you should find people that happily walk for you 9days and get the Compostela for you @ 6400US$. I guess that will also cover all expenses they have (flight, hiking gear, hotel and food).

If that trip is just too cheap I've heard several years ago of a more turistic trip by plane. Stopping in all major airports along the Francés (Biarritz, Logrono, Burgos, Leon, Santiago), some sightseeing with airconditioned bus, good hotel for the night and champagne while on board just added to 10 or 20,000$. A pilgrimage can be good, if you can pay for ;).
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
I’ve always wondered about the people who are registered as “solo cultural” by the Oficina del Peregrino in Santiago ... who are they? Are they people who just want a last sello in their passport? They were 5000 in May 2019 and about 30,000 last year (2018).
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
You see hiking Spain is expensive, at least much more than England and France ;).
Parador Nacional de Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Palacio de Burgos, Monasterio San Zoilo, Hotel Real Colegiata, Parador de Villafranca del Bierzo, Parador Nacional de Monforte de Lemos, Hostal dos Reis Católicos (2 nights) - that’s the kind of old and traditional accommodation that you find along a famous Spanish pilgrimage trail but not along the trails in the Alps where you may have to stay in more modest places. 🙃.

They are not selling it as a pilgrimage. They are selling it as walking/hiking plus heavy doses of culture. It’s a Cultural Route ....
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
I’ve always wondered about the people who are registered as “solo cultural” by the Oficina del Peregrino in Santiago ... who are they? Are they people who just want a last sello in their passport? They were 5000 in May 2019 and about 30,000 last year (2018).
Being neither religious or spiritual, but honest, that's how I registered.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
Being neither religious or spiritual, but honest, that's how I registered.
So I suppose you didn’t ask for and didn’t get a Compostela?
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
So I suppose you didn’t ask for and didn’t get a Compostela?
Correct. But I discovered that i was given a Compostela after my first Camino despite not asking for it. I only realized it when I compared the two certificates that I received on my first and second Caminos, and found that they were different. I had assumed that I had received the "welcome" certificate both times.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
So it seems that the Cathedral is totally ok with putting one last stamp into the credential they have issued themselves for people who walk for non-religious non-spiritual cultural reasons (which I guess includes history including the role of religion, architecture, food, nature, exchange with people etc). And if that’s the case then I know what I’d think about the NatGeo trip. I’d think there are people in the USA who spend more money on a 10 day trip than I would. And that would be about it.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I’ve always wondered about the people who are registered as “solo cultural” by the Oficina del Peregrino in Santiago ... who are they? Are they people who just want a last sello in their passport? They were 5000 in May 2019 and about 30,000 last year (2018).
I did my 1989 Camino solo for purely cultural reasons. I was living in Spain at the time and passionate about medieval history, culture, and architecture. The Camino seemed ideal for someone with those interests.

I didn't go to the Pilgrim's Office and neither asked for nor received a Compostela for that Camino.

I did put my hand on the Tree of Jesse in the centre of the Portico of Glory when I got to Santiago in 1989, though. It was permitted then.
 
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KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
...

9 days Hiking the Julian Alps in Slovenia - $5,600
...
WHAAAAT??? I'm from Slovenia, ex-climber and this is just crazy, far out!!! I'll guide you 9 days for 500€ (my fee without your food and accommodation expenses).

I mean why I don't do this for living??? Stupid, stupid, stupid KinkyOne!!!
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
$6400 for nine days = $700+ per day. Very, very pricey.

Worse than the outrageous cost is the fact that the tour group is going to be sequestered for meals and will probably walk together with their guide(s). Chances of interacting with other walkers is thereby greatly diminished. As our POTUS would say, "Very sad!" :(
And of course this does not include: Airfare, Visas, Alcoholic Beverages, Insurance, Gratuities, Boo-Boo and Blister Care, Earplugs, or Permethrin.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
They are not selling it as a pilgrimage. They are selling it as walking/hiking plus heavy doses of culture. It’s a Cultural Route ....
That's true. The product is labeled as:
"Spain: Walking the Camino de Santiago"
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
I did my 1989 Camino solo for purely cultural reasons. I was living in Spain at the time and passionate about medieval history, culture, and architecture
1989 must have been a time when contact and interaction with other walkers, today considered by many as an essential characteristic of camino walking (it is feared that the NatGeo travellers might not experience it in the way they could or should!) was minimal or didn’t exist, because overall numbers of pilgrims were so much lower.

I have a big fat book, 440 pages, written by pioneering people who walked in several years between 1974 and 1996, and it deals nearly exclusively with art, architecture, geology, history, folklore, saints lives, flora and fauna of the pilgrimage road to Santiago. Only rarely a comment about accommodation or encounters with non-local persons on the road. Today, if one has an interest in these essential parts of this famous and exceptionally well preserved environment of the pilgrimage road, it feels as if one has to defend or hide this interest while walking because it’s considered as “tourism”.
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
That's true. The product is labeled as:
"Spain: Walking the Camino de Santiago"
This isn’t the first time that a trip with such an extraordinary price tag, with luxurious accommodation and sections that are part bussing/part walking, turns up on the forum. I often feel compelled to defend the right to coexistence of these travellers but if innermost truth be told I don’t really want to see them on the Francés trails. But I don’t want to see them on Alpine trails either ...
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
This isn’t the first time that a trip with such an extraordinary price tag, with luxurious accommodation and sections that are part bussing/part walking, turns up on the forum. I often feel compelled to defend the right to coexistence of these travellers but if innermost truth be told I don’t really want to see them on the Francés trails. But I don’t want to see them on Alpine trails either ...
Thank goodness there are no Paradors on the Pacific Crest Trail :)
 

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
WHAAAAT??? I'm from Slovenia, ex-climber and this is just crazy, far out!!! I'll guide you 9 days for 500€ (my fee without your food and accommodation expenses).

I mean why I don't do this for living??? Stupid, stupid, stupid KinkyOne!!!
You should, Kinky...go for it! A great idea!
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
WHAAAAT??? I'm from Slovenia, ex-climber and this is just crazy, far out!!! I'll guide you 9 days for 500€ (my fee without your food and accommodation expenses).

I mean why I don't do this for living??? Stupid, stupid, stupid KinkyOne!!!
I typically like to do my own planning but a KinkyOne Expedition could be fun - it might be hard to sell to the folks at home though. A name change might help;-)
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
Thank goodness there are no Paradors on the Pacific Crest Trail :)
The PCT is such a young trail - wait until it’s a thousand years old. The thing about the accommodations listed is of course, that they are part and parcel of the history of the pilgrimage to Saint James. I would love to stay in all of them for that reason.
 

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
The PCT is such a young trail - wait until it’s a thousand years old. The thing about the accommodations listed is of course, that they are part and parcel of the history of the pilgrimage to Saint James. I would love to stay in all of them for that reason.
Kathar1na, you are like a living, breathing, walking history book...and that's a compliment! I've seen you often on other threads too, and yep, it's true!
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
Kathar1na, you are like a living, breathing, walking history book...and that's a compliment! I've seen you often on other threads too, and yep, it's true!
Oh stop it 😃 ... I’ve actually never been much interested in the Middle Ages although the aesthetics of the great Gothic cathedrals, especially in France, have always appealed to me. It was only while walking through France that I got fascinated with how these people 800 years ago lived and how they thought about god, and sin, and their purpose in life and how they expressed it. Touristic? Spiritual? Religious? Can you even separate it? I’m convinced that experiencing it slowly, through walking, even when only occasionally, is different than only on a bus, and that’s why I look mildly upon these occasional National Geographic or REÍ customers, none of whom I have ever seen on the way to Santiago myself.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
Needless to say, especially for the Camino veterans out there, this DOES NOT qualify one for a Compostela. As others have said, it is a tourism trip to visit the highlights, main sights, along the Camino Frances. But, not having actually walked the final 100 km in to Santiago on this or any route... no Compostela...

This said, these folks WOULD be eligible to receive a Certificate of Welcome or Visitation (Certificado de Bienvenida) to the Cathedral for the purpose of venerating Santiago's relics. This certificate, which resembles the Compostela, but reads totally different, has been available forever. It is also free.

In my experience, I have seen this secondary certificate provided to 'tag along' spouses or friends who accompany or perhaps meet up with their walking pilgrim spouses or friends but do not actually walk. Everyone leaves with something, if they ask.

This is also available to provide to tourists who only traveled to Santiago to visit the Cathedral and the relics. The tour organizers might have arranged this separately with the Cathedral administration. But, in this, I am only speculating. I know nothing about it.

I hope this helps the dialog...
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
It again demonstrates clearly that some have way too much money and do not even dare if the are getting ripped off. I checked Booking.com for 4 of the Paradors on October. 3 were in the $150US a night and Santiago was $238. I am sure the NatGeo is laughing all the way to the bank and paying less per night than someone booking on the website. It doesn’t bother me as people can spend their money however they choose. I have my opinions about protecting and respecting the spirit and soul of the Camino but that’s another conversation. In some manner shape or form this has been happening for ages. Do we think that the Royalty staying at Paradors had a similar pilgrim experience as a peasant farmer?
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
Do we think that the Royalty staying at Paradors had a similar pilgrim experience as a peasant farmer?
Not that it matters much and I didn’t check them all but I think that the majority of the Camino Paradors were originally either purpose built pilgrim hostals/hospitals or monasteries who also housed and cared for pilgrims. Royalty contributed to the funds as they believed this was good for their immortal souls. 😊
 
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Chris Gi

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Did April through June 2018 from Pamplona to Santiago. 2020 May or end of September.
A friend sent me this link. Don’t know what to think. I guess it would be good for those that want a taste but they don’t tell you anywhere that this doesn’t qualify for the Compostela.

Maybe we are getting too close to plain tourism without any spiritual aspect on this one.

At least it’s cheaper than a trip to the Moon. 🙄
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
Not that it matters much and I didn’t check them all but I think that the majority of the Camino Paradors were originally either purpose built pilgrim hostals/hospitals or monasteries who also housed and cared for pilgrims. Royalty contributed to the funds as they believed this was good for their immortal souls. 😊
So I checked and I’ve changed my mind 😉: Of the 9 nights, I would not stay in the Villafranca Parador because it is modern and I’m still undecided about the hotel in Pamplona because it is merely 140 years old. But the rest are indeed former pilgrims hostals/hospitals and former monasteries (Santo Domingo, Burgos, Carrión de los Condes, Leon, Monforte de Lemos, Santiago).

And I agree with @lt56ny: While their rooms are expensive they are not that expensive. I don’t understand the pricing of these tours. But as I said, it doesn’t seem to be specific to the Camino de Santiago, it’s very much the same for similar trips elsewhere and for similar tour operators such as surprisingly REÍ.
 
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MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
No Stargates? I was looking for Stargates.

Seriously,

1) It is the commercialization of a non-commercial activity using public spaces for personal profit.

2) Any company that feels a need to use a tiered billing system geared against single individuals are, to me, the spawn of the Devil.

But that is just my view.
 

Terry W

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2017
April 2018
April 2019
A friend sent me this link. Don’t know what to think. I guess it would be good for those that want a taste but they don’t tell you anywhere that this doesn’t qualify for the Compostela.

Maybe we are getting too close to plain tourism without any spiritual aspect on this one.

I have just returned to New Zealand from my third Camino francis inside two years I am addicted. I even have a book about to go to the editors on the subject . The book called God's Cocaine. The addiction of the Camino.. I have told you this so you know squarely what camp I am in. What I want to say is I am worried where the Camino is going. The changes I have seen over only two years. Good luck to all and God bless.
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Central - October 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (March-April,2016) finished, (October 2019) Portuguese Central Route.
REI sports eqipment stores in the U.S. also offer these hiking tours. It has become a tourism gimmick.
 

Hilarious

Hilarious
Camino(s) past & future
Planning stage Camino Frances from SJPdP (Sept. 2019)
I typically like to do my own planning but a KinkyOne Expedition could be fun - it might be hard to sell to the folks at home though. A name change might help;-)
I disagree KinkyOne tours would be a sellout! However, one could only guess at the clientele that the name could attract. I think walking might be low down on their list of priorities! LOL!
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
I have just returned to New Zealand from my third Camino francis inside two years I am addicted. I even have a book about to go to the editors on the subject . The book called God's Cocaine. The addiction of the Camino.. I have told you this so you know squarely what camp I am in. What I want to say is I am worried where the Camino is going. The changes I have seen over only two years. Good luck to all and God bless.
If you would really like to publish that book then I have to correct you on using "Francis" name. That's a route in Italy named after St.Francesco de Assisi.
If you are about to publish a book about Spanish Camino then better check out spelling. The route from SJPdP is called "Frances" because it is coming from France and not from Francesco ;)

Same with Pampalona, Lograna, Lion, Fonsebedon etc. Seen it all on the forum.

Good luck with your book!
 
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KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
I disagree KinkyOne tours would be a sellout! However, one could only guess at the clientele that the name could attract. I think walking might be low down on their list of priorities! LOL!
AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, You are indeed @Hilarious :D :D :D
Nothing so kinky about me. Just an anecdote from years ago and this Kinky just stucked with me. So I went with it. But I know some ladies here on the forum weren't really fine with that :D
@peregrina2000 or @SYates could assure you there's nothing to be afraid of ;)
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Camino Portugues, June 2019
I really don't care about who does or doesnt get a Compostela trophy. And nobody nowadays is an authentic Medieval pilgrim (at least who carrys an ATM card). They do interact with other walkers. I met and walked for a bit with a middle aged woman and her mother who were on the Nat. Geo tour. The daughter was jealous of my freedom and intended to come back and do it on her own. I just dont enjoy the impact of large tourgroups on the Camino or anywhere i travel. To each his own, i guess, but large choreographed tours feel like pollution to me.
 

Telboyo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
I intend to leave the UK the day Before Brexit and walkMarch -April 2019 Camino Frances
My fear in life is talking to strangers and then having to make friends, so an organised group fills me with terror, one of the reasons I embarked on a camino solo is that I would meet people but would have an escape route. Even more strange is the job I took in the six months before I started in order to fund my escapade (I am semi retired) I was a traffic warden /Parking attendant, I was hoping that it was a safe anti social job, how wrong could I be: Half the day was spent talking to tourists and old age pensioners about directions and the weather. The other half was spent issuing parking tickets or moving people along. Even this resulted in a 50 50 split between gratitude or ambivalence and animosity.
Seems my Camino started before I left, I don't fear striking up conversation as much as I did before.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
And of course this does not include: Airfare, Visas, Alcoholic Beverages, Insurance, Gratuities, Boo-Boo and Blister Care, Earplugs, or Permethrin.
For that a Price....such ancillaries should be free!!;););)
 

NorthernLight

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
Blisters and nightly noises are not likely to be serious risks for them. The chaser van will grab those with sore toes and they all have private rooms.

They won't be competing with the likes of us for resources. And they likely have no clue what a Compostela is, so won't be even thinking of lining up for one. Their credential may well be a special souvenir-edition made by Nat-Geo, as the Welcome certificate won't require the usual credential. I'd bet they won't see the inside of the pilgrim office.

Their biggest risk is having to endure the elitism of those in the group who have racked up many of these journeys and have high country-counts that they need everyone to know about.
 

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