"More is better" is one of those premises that are not always fulfilled. But it does on the Camino de Santiago. Share one of those unforgettable experiences with other people make it fuller and more enriching. Therefore, the Camino de Santiago in group is one of the most demanded modalities by people who resort to specialized agencies. All are advantages. And now we will explain why.
Who does the Camino de Santiago in a group?
Actually, doing the Camino de Santiago in a group is quite common... even if it has not been planned that way. Why? Because even if you start on your own in any town, it is very likely that you will end up coinciding day after day with the same people at the end of the stage. The Camino is very elastic and everyone does it at their own pace and covers the distance they want (more or less), but, in practice, almost everyone ends up doing the same stages and staying in the same places. In other words: coinciding.
In this way, small communities are created that last as long as the pilgrimage lasts and friendships are made with whom to reach Santiago. Hopefully, these friendships last beyond the Camino and what began as a solitary experience ends up being a group experience.
Other people choose, from the beginning, to do the Camino de Santiago in a group, organized by an agency. Either because they want to do it with their family or group of friends or because they do not decide to do it alone and prefer the company of other pilgrims. This second type is often made up of pilgrims who are starting out, who are doing their first Camino.
In fact, the Camino de Santiago in group is one of the modalities that we most recommend to those who have doubts about their own abilities or qualms when facing a new experience. And now you will discover why. Read on!
Advantages of doing the Camino de Santiago in a group
1 / A guide of the Camino at your disposal.
For many people, the first and main advantage of doing a Camino de Santiago in a group and organized is to be able to have a guide of the Camino to ensure that everything goes smoothly. The role of the guide is not so much to go ahead of the group to avoid getting lost, because getting lost on the Camino de Santiago is quite difficult. The signposting is abundant and the associations of friends of the Camino and the public administrations revise it periodically.
His task is to facilitate the progress of the group and take care of the details. His knowledge of the terrain allows him to manage the rest stops that should be made every couple of hours and to help each member of the group with the small vicissitudes and difficulties that the Camino will put in front of them.
In addition, as the guide will always be with the group, he/she is the perfect person to solve doubts, show details of the Camino that sometimes go unnoticed, explain the history of the areas through which the stage runs, give recommendations for lunch and dinners, etc. In other words, with an expert guide in the team, you will only have to worry about enjoying yourself.
2 / Turning strangers into friends
We mentioned it above, but let us insist: a Camino de Santiago in a group transforms strangers into friends. After years of participating in groups and organising them, in our experience, people who opt for this type of organised experiences travel with the best of dispositions and with an open mind and open arms.
And it is also wonderful to see how members who on the first day do not know each other at all and look at each other with curiosity end up hugging each other in Santiago, crying with emotion on the shoulders of their companions or jumping up and down clinging to each other in the middle of the Obradoiro square.
3 / Everything prepared in advance
Another advantage of doing the Camino de Santiago in a group, organised by an agency, is that all the details will be prepared beforehand. In the group programmes that we organise in Proguías we not only book accommodation, but we also choose hotels, historic guesthouses or charming rural houses that complement an unforgettable experience. Places like the Casa do Maestro of Portomarín, in the heart of the French Route, or the accommodation Via XIX of Caldas de Reis.
In addition, in the programmes we also include a support vehicle in case of need and the transport of luggage between accommodations, because carrying a huge backpack is not going to make you enjoy the trip more, nor is it going to make you more of a pilgrim.
This type of already-included services are designed to take the experience a step further.
How do group programmes work?
Although each Camino is unique, all group programmes work in more or less the same way. The day before the start of the pilgrimage we will meet at the departure location, where the members of the expedition should arrive on their own or by taking a collective transfer that we will organise from Santiago de Compostela depending on the arrival of their flights.
Once we have gathered there, a first meeting is held to get in touch and welcome us. Here we explain how the trip works and the details of the stage we will be facing the following day, answer any questions, distribute credentials and luggage identifiers, etc.
From there, every morning, after leaving the bulk of the luggage at the reception for the transport to take it to the next accommodation, we will start our day following the guidelines of the guide of the Camino, with a progressive pace to avoid overload and injuries. As these are walking experiences, the distance to be covered each day is, on average, 20 km. After the first kilometres, each member of the group will walk at their own pace to prevent physical problems and because it is not a question of holding hands as if it were a school excursion. The guide will be in charge of maintaining the dynamics and cohesion of the group.
As a general rule, the stage will end at midday or in the early afternoon, when the planned end of the stage is reached. As all the services are already booked, there is no need to rush and you can enjoy the Camino step by step, which is the real objective.
Upon arrival, your luggage and accommodation will be waiting for you and the free part of the day will begin. Time to eat, rest, explore the village or simply participate in the activity that we will propose you in the place where you are. One of the advantages of doing the Camino de Santiago in a group.
In the evening there will be a dinner arranged for the group at the accommodation or in one of the nearby restaurants. The idea is to live together that special moment of sharing a table and the stories of each member and other pilgrims that we will undoubtedly meet along the Camino.
The arrival in Santiago, after the last stage, will be a key moment. The moment of sharing the joy of having overcome the challenge and the sadness of knowing that the end of the experience is near. These are undoubtedly the most intense moments of the trip. In the afternoon, there is a private tour around the old city centre for the group, followed by the group's last dinner. The programme ends the following day, after an overnight stay and breakfast.
How do I join a group?
Every year we organise several groups on different dates for the French and Portuguese routes. If you want to join one of the groups, just choose the route and dates you prefer. Places are limited (maximum 15 people) and they fly, so, if you are sure about it, the sooner you book, the better.
The place for a Camino de Santiago in a group is reserved with an advance payment of 20% of the total price of the reservation, and the final payment is made one month before the start of the trip, by bank transfer or by credit card (secured payment).
There is also the option of choosing your own dates, if you form a group of at least 8 people. In this case, if you wish, you can contact us to organise everything on the dates of your choice.