Is it better to walk the Camino de Santiago organized or by your own?

Every year more pilgrims choose to make the Camino de Santiago through organized packages, an experience that clashes with the traditional spirit of pilgrimage to Santiago. Is one option better than another?

Camino de Santiago

Camino de Santiago

Walk the Camino on your own or hire it through an agency. What advantages and disadvantages are you going to find?

Making the Camino de Santiago organized is an increasingly palpable reality, an increasingly common habit among some walkers (although far from being a majority) and that is why it is inevitable to talk about it. The Camino de Santiago has become for some years a true mass phenomenon, attracting more than 300,000 pilgrims every season; its attractiveness has crossed social, cultural and religious boundaries and it is logical that it attracts more and more people of all kinds.

Surely not all people attracted to the Camino de Santiago are willing to make a pilgrimage to use and therefore opt for services that try to "mold" the Jacobean experience to make it less "demanding", for example in terms of physical effort. Are these organized "a la carte" trips capable of transmitting you the same Jacobean experience as a traditional pilgrimage? That is undoubtedly the key question and the main point of contention.

In ViveCamino we have a totally different approach to the pilgrimage than those proposed by these organized trips, however we find it very interesting to address this phenomenon and analyze its advantages and disadvantages in cold, comparing them with the more traditional pilgrimages, those that you start many weeks before leave preparing, informing and planning everything.

Be that as it may, this analysis of both proposals is nothing more than our opinion. The goal is for everyone to reach their own conclusions, deciding if it is worth investing time and effort in planning a trip to Santiago de Compostela more traditional or if you prefer to focus directly on walking, leaving aside the possible inconveniences involved in the Jacobean Route.

No doubt they are two totally different experiences and of course no one is in absolute possession of the truth when judging them (although obviously we all have our opinion about it). We would never question the role of the agencies that offer these experiences; they simply offer an increasingly demanded service, as they do with other tourist experiences that almost everyone has ever hired.

Hacer el Camino solo ¿es recomendable?

Hacer el Camino solo ¿es recomendable?

The Camino de Santiago organized (through an agency)

When you face your first Camino de Santiago and perhaps you have not been informed enough, it is normal to interpret it as another trip (why would it be different?). For this reason it is not far-fetched that many travelers are interested in making the Camino de Santiago organized, relying on experienced agencies and leaving everything in their hands; In the end it is what we do many when we go on vacation and we want to disconnect.

This approach, which more and more walkers adopt, is totally respectable, however, from experience we can say that the Camino de Santiago goes far beyond a tourist experience, it is a journey of instrospection, of meeting challenges and surpassing ourselves.

The positive points

  • Travel insurance that covers possible inconveniences (although in the case of health problems, remember that in Spain, health is free and universal).
  • Focus 100% on walking, without having to spend time organizing anything.
  • If you have physical problems (back, lumbar) that prevent you from walking with your backpack, luggage transport can be of great help.
  • Have clear directions at all times so you don't get lost while walking.

Negative points

  • Stop living the experience of organizing your pilgrimage yourself.
  • Having to adapt to the dates pre-established by each agency.
  • Higher cost than doing it on your own (logical, you have to pay the agency).
  • Hostels and restaurants / bars previously chosen; less possibilities

The Camino de Santiago by your own (organized by you)

In our opinion (which surely coincides with that of many pilgrims), doing the Camino de Santiago for free, organized by you, is the best decision you can make. In this way your experience will be more complete and more enriching, checking first hand the good side and the bad side of the Camino.

Face the blisters, endless slopes, the weight of the backpack, learn to orient yourself, experience compadreo with other pilgrims cooking in the hostel ... Sometimes the Camino de Sanitiago is uncomfortable and demanding, but in the end reward and much . Without that challenge component, we certainly would not feel the same emotions when we reached the goal in Obradoiro square.

The positive points

  • Live an experience as traditional as possible, looking for the usual Jacobean essence
  • Choose the dates you want, marking your schedulesChoose the hostels and bars / restaurants you want, without commissions
  • Experience the freedom to improvise on the go, without having everything tied
  • Set yourself a challenge, fight to overcome your limits and finally get it

Negative points

  • The uncertainty of not knowing if you will find a place in public shelters (in high season)
  • Possible physical problems that could leave you walking
  • The weight of the backpack, if you are not able to only carry the essentials
  • Organize the Camino de Santiago stage by stage from scratch, if you've never traveled it
  • Solve for yourself the possible problems that may arise

And you who really think about all this? If you didn't have time to organize everything and have the money, would you let an agency organize your Camino de Santiago? Do you think it is something that we will see more and more frequently in the future?


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