FAQS ON THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO
The Camino de Santiago is a hiking trail that has been travelled for centuries by people from all parts of the globe. Originally a pilgrimage for people looking to be pardoned for their sins, today it has taken on a different form, a unique place unlike any other hiking trail or location that one just needs to experience to fully grasp.
The reasons to accomplish the Camino Frances are as varied as the amount of flavours at the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory!
But that is part of what makes this trail so unique. People from all walks of life, different ethnicities, different beliefs, different parts of the world, all gathered on this one trail with a common objective…reaching Santiago de Compostella under their own power.
Some people walk to lose weight while others prefer to lose themselves in their thoughts. There are those who walk to gaze at the stunning natural Spanish countryside, and those who like to gaze within. All enjoy the free spirited and fun Spanish culture, and enjoy sharing it with the new friendships created along the way. No matter the reasons for being there, all who embark on this journey support one another and encourage each other to reach their goals. That’s what makes the Camino de Santiago so unique and that’s why we encourage you to venture on the trail on your own rather than a group.
Yes you can! The more preparation (training) you do will obviously make your trip more enjoyable. We’ve encountered people over 90 years of age walking the trail, one hour in the mornings, and one hour in the afternoons, slowly but surely working their way towards Santiago de Compostela.
The physical challenge is not to be taken lightly though and poses obvious difficulties as walking 5-6 hours daily with a daypack is not something most people are accustomed to doing. Even those who do regular exercise can bump into difficulties with weather, blisters, lack of proper sleep, and other little events that turn a simple stroll into a demanding experience.
With our expert knowledge of the Camino de Santiago trail and of hiking, we can easily craft a trip specifically for you, according to your abilities and needs, so that you too can reach Santiago de Compostela on foot.
The origins of the Camino de Santiago are certainly tied to the Catholic religion. Today, there are still many that walk the trail for religious reasons (40-45% according to the Pilgrims Office in Santiago de Compostela) leaving an increasing amount of people that go for other reasons such as cultural discovery, relaxation, or just for a holiday.
Regardless of one’s reasons for being there, all walk away with a unique experience that lasts a lifetime. No matter what your personal motives may be, we’ll be glad to design a trip that will best suit those motivations.
There is a certain instant camaraderie amongst the pilgrims walking the trail, a brotherhood is formed independent of a traveler’s origins, where they are from, their age or what they do for a living. On the Camino de Santiago, everyone is there with the same objective, reaching Santiago de Compostela. Although everyone’s motives for reaching that goal may be different, the objective is the same and because of that, everyone seems to look after each other, care about one another, listen to those who need to talk, share their feelings, trials, tribulations, give encouragement, whatever it takes for all to reach that objective.
Although wonderful in its own right, the beauty of the trail is not necessarily in the countryside, monasteries or historical buildings visited but rather the beauty of the human spirit when a little compassion is shared. That’s what makes this place so special.
Roughly an equal amount of women and men. Ages however seem to focus at either youth (ie: just finished university), and mature (ie: nearing retirement).
There is an overwhelmingly large percentage of the pilgrim population originating from Spain (50%). The other two major participating countries are France and Germany. Canadians and Americans combine for about 5% of people on the path.
FAQS ON OUR SERVICES
Even though the trail is very well marked, sometimes it’s easy to make a wrong turn…frustrating when you’ve already walked 12 miles and you realize that you have to go back the last 2 miles you just did! The GPS feature of our Smart Book helps avoid this situation and can quickly help you get back on the right track if you are slightly off the trail.
It is sometimes difficult to know where to stay for the night and availability can be sparse, so using our services to take care of that in advance eases the process and allows you to enjoy your day rather than stress about whether or not you will find a bed for the evening.
One can never tell what is up the road in an unfamiliar location; where the next restaurant is, where the next water spot is, how far you have remaining before the next village, etc. Now you can make an informed decision with everything available at your fingertips.
To some, staying in touch with loved ones at home is important; whether it be a quick phone call or sending an e-mail.
Essentially, we’ve addressed all of these issues with our tool and more!
We want to put all the odds on your side in order for you to complete the trail and reach Santiago de Compostela. The Camino de Santiago is a magical place and we’d like many people to experience this. Our Smart Book breaks down any barrier, alleviates any obstacle that may have held you back from going there before.
We provide you a personalized Kindle e-book working in conjunction with Google Maps. Both are the most reliable and user friendly platforms we’ve encountered in order to provide you with all the information you need for the duration of your trip.
No, because most features and information from our Smart Book does not need any internet connection. Should you wish to use it to its full potential, a good data plan is recommended. Ask your phone supplier about an international plan. Alternatively, we can provide you with a Spanish SIM card or a Small Pocket Wifi Device, avoiding all roaming fees telecommunication companies normally charge if you were to use your personal phone abroad.
Some of the rate plans offered include unlimited internet use over the cellular data network and unlimited incoming calls. So, you don’t have to worry about any surprise charges or extra fees when using our Smart Book.
Europe has quite different standards than what we are accustomed to in North America. Rooms are sometimes a little smaller, limited shower space, walls can be a little thin, all sorts of small details that can have an impact on the traveler.
We pride ourselves in the quality research we do yearly in order to unearth quality lodging that combines charm, comfort and service.
No matter what level of accommodation you prefer, we’ve scoped out every possibility on the Camino de Santiago trail and its surroundings. We can safely say we’re best equipped to select the best lodging available according to your needs, wants and expectations.
Let’s not kid ourselves, 1,200 years ago, the first people to walk to Santiago de Compostela didn’t have any books, maps or Guide to help them along the way, yet they still made it.
To walk it as it was done originally with no knowledge of what lies ahead is of course an individual choice.
But consider that getting lost can easily be accomplished within a moment’s inattention, not knowing what lies ahead, where the next lodging is, whether accommodations are available, where to get food or water, etc. All of these factors and more make a book or some information about the Camino de Santiago a must for many.
Walking for hours every day is a challenge in itself, why not enjoy a minimum of comfort at the end of the day along with a helping hand to assist you?
Instead of carrying various heavy items to answer all of the various modern needs (book, camera, phone, notebook), why not just take one lightweight tool that includes it all? Our Smart Book.
Rayo Travel is a Canadian based Tour Operator specializing on Camino de Santiago itineraries for over 5 years. Every employee is an avid, experienced adventure traveler.
Despite all of our combined destinations visited, no other place has made as big an impact as our Camino de Santiago pilgrimages. A beautiful, unique, human experience that one does not forget, one we are convinced more people could benefit from. If you’re looking for more than just another holiday, than this is the place for you.
Camino de Santiago FAQs
COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO AND OUR SERVICES