The Road of Saint James (El Camino de Santiago) has many traditions. In addition to being a pilgrimage route for Christians wanting to visit the tomb of Saint James, many experts believe that pre-Christian people traveled it into the setting sun to the "end of the earth". There are also Celtic traditions, Goddess traditions, even traditions having to do with the lost city of Atlantis. This intertwining of traditions is one of the most interesting aspects of the Road: there is something there for almost everyone, but not always what people expect at the outset of their journey. Pilgrimage lore says that while a pilgrimage of any sort is by nature an intensely personal experience, the best way to complete this journey is in a small group of like-minded people. Maximum group size: 10
Not included: Travel to and from Madrid, transportation from Santiago back to Madrid at the end of the trip, guide gratuities, beverages, 1 dinner, lunches and travel insurance. Most lunches will be at cafes where you can order an empanada/sandwich or eat your own picnic bought the day before.
This trip is designed for women who are interested in traveling a traditional pilgrimage route on foot, who are able to enjoy walking four to six hours each day on consecutive days and want to experience the community of the Camino de Santiago. The trip is rated 3. Prior to beginning the trip, participants should be engaging in aerobic conditioning, such as walking vigorously up hills, jogging, cross country skiing or stair stepping for 30 - 45 minutes at least 3 - 4 times a week. Rating: 1 2  4 5.
This is not a typical hiking trip, although we are hiking every day. We are following an historic pilgrimage route and will be observing some of the pilgrimage traditions that have grown up along the Road over the years. The route includes a mixture of dirt roads, some paved roads, and some trail. In addition to hiking 4 to 6 hours a day, we will feast on local foods, chat with pilgrims from all over the world, and learn the lore and legends of the Road.
We will be staying in double occupancy rooms with ensuite bathrooms in different types of accommodation, typically mid-range family-run hotels that are chosen for their hospitality or proximity to the path. Limited single accommodations are available for an additional cost. If interested and available select this option when you register.
Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.
Having knowledgeable guides allowed the group to gain insights and have experiences that wouldn't have been possible if planning a trip like this on your own.
The beauty and meaning of the places we visited; the congeniality of the women I had the privilege of travelling with; the care and knowledge of our guides.
I ca not say enough good things about the guides. Sharon and Anne, were exceptional. Each provided their expertise individually, but they also complemented each other so well. Anne’s knowledge of the Camino history, her network of special stops, hotel and restaurant choices were outstanding and very special. I got sick early in the trip and Anne and Sharon made sure I had food—since I couldn’t go to dinner—and brought back amazing soups. This is remarkable because Spain does not do carry-out. The chefs had to improvise in the devices for proving the food—but without Anne it never would have happened.
The guides, Anne and Sharon, were remarkable. Their knowledge of the Camino and the the time both of them took to share that knowledge with all of us was extraordinary. Their desire to make sure every hiker was safe, happy and healthy throughout the trip made this trip so enjoyable. They were friendly and kind and just overall two very remarkable guides and people.
Not doing any of the planning!
I had a fabulous time exploring the Camino and Spain for the first time. El Camino has been on my bucket list for a number of years. We had a great group of ladies with us, including our AGC guides, and I loved chance meetings with pilgrims along the way. The architecture, the forests and gardens, all the villages along the way made this trip special. And the horreos (corn cribs) were everywhere! I'm glad I spent extra days at the front and back of this trip to do extra exploring in Madrid, Santiago, and Finisterre.
Knowing that I was travelling with AGC gave me the assurance of a safe, well-planned trip with an awesome guide, along with being with 2 friends that I had met on previous trips. Having excellent accommodations & abundant food didn't hurt either! Having time in Madrid prior to and in Santiago afterwards was a great way to learn more about the culture.
I was very interested in walking a pilgrimage route and I’m so glad that I was able to do it with AGC!
Annes knowledge of the history and lore related to the Camino. Being able to go to Majorca for a few days.
Sisterhood, cheeky and supportive guides and the positively tangible kindness of the group.
The Camino has always been on my wish list and this trip was magical! Our local guide, Anne Pinder, was a font of knowledge and wisdom - I can't imagine a better guide for the Camino. Our AGC guide, Carrie, did a fantastic job of taking care of us and keeping us organized, while being warm and easy-going.
History of the pilgrimage (Ann is incredible) Amazing journey Camaraderie Inspirational
Hiking through all of the little towns and villages. Anne knew so much about this history and that really added to the experience.
Anne the Spanish guide had so much information to share about the Camino and Spain which was a great enhancement to the trip.
The guides were fantastic. I learned so much from a group of women who started off as strangers to me to becoming trusted amigas. The scenery, food, language, trails.
It has been decades since I had the type of trip where all I had to think about was food, putting my shoes on each morning and starting to walk- with the thought of “one foot in front of the other “. I felt the weight of my day to day life lifted off my shoulders. It was definitely a Zen experience.
The people, it was a great group. I liked that the walk was in nature and through towns. Not AGC’s fault, but covid certainly put a bit of a damper on the trip
It was fantastic to walk village to village along the Camino, seeing the land and the residents, the flowers and trees, and the other pilgrims, enjoying the scent of eucalyptus in places. During the rain, there was a different kind of beauty. Experiencing the spiritual aspects of the Camino was meaningful: visiting churches and cathedrals and the special memorials along the path, all of which contributed to the inner journey. The physical aspect of hiking and walking while in a diverse group of positive and supportive women was a very important aspect of this trip for me. The guides were helpful and knowledgeable. Ann had a lot of stories and history to share which was great! I also enjoyed hiking with Scout again! I would love to do a similar and even longer trip with longer days on another Camino route. I also loved traveling with my friend Gail and making new friends on this trip.
The route from Sarria to Santiago with the small local churches and through the eucalyptus forests was very special. I liked interacting with the owners at the little refreshment stands along the way and talking with other pilgrims on the walk. A highlight was a choir group who happened to be on the trek scheduled to sing at the little village churches at the evening town rest stops --This was probably one of my most memorable experiences.
I had no expectations in the beginning just happy to be joining friends and seeing a different country. The beauty of the Spanish countryside and friendliness of the people exceeded my expectations.
The cherished time with old friends. Also meeting up with numerous other travellers at various points along the way. Entering the plaza at the cathedral - that literally blew me away, for a multitude of reasons.
The trip was spectacular in many ways. We were blessed with great leaders, perfect weather and a physically and emotionally challenging 'pilgrimage"- which is what I was hoping for.
Ann and Brenda were excellent guides and very personable. The ladies I met were all very enjoyable. I had my crew of 3 that I knew and one I have known a long time very well of the three. I would do another trip with the group even without my core friends. For me, I would have liked more strenuous hikes and longer hikes but the breaks were enjoyable with 2nd breakfast and just chatting with the group. The hotels and the breakfast and dinners were very good. The driver with our packs did an excellent job and was very friendly and helpful. I'd recommend you suggest warmer hats and gloves for some of the early mornings as I was prepared but others were not.
The highlight was the people and experience of hiking El Camino I did not have as much opportunity for "solo wandering" as I would have liked. I did not have the freedom to "go at my own pace". I understand the guides are responsible for the group, but I would thought I'd be given the destination for each day and the freedom to get there.
The highlight of the trip was the serenity and peacefulness I experienced along the trail.
The beautiful pastoral scenery. Alone time to be with my own thoughts
i loved sharing this experience with a wonderful group of women. The guides both spoke Spanish and were extremely helpful with their translation and their knowledge of the region. Anne was particularly delightful with her wide knowledge of the Spain’s rich history. I never expected such leadership and guidance from both AGC guides!
The overall experience of the ‘camino’ experience was great. The ‘rites and ‘rituals’ of the Camino (example shell and stamps). Made me believe I could do on my own next time.
Absolutely exceeded my expectations ... The guides were exceptional and made it so easy for us with absolutely everything preplanned. I so appreciated all the hard work that was put into making it so wonderful for us!
So many highlights: our wonderful AGC guide, Karen. She was fantastic and a joy be around! The women I met were great and easy to travel with. Our guide Ann was extremely knowledgeable and taught us so much on our journey. The Camino itself is a magical place and is now in my heart and I feel a yearning to return to it. I would love to see AGC add a trip from Santiago to Fisterra.
The ladies in the group were all fun and positive. The country was beautiful. Everything was perfect (the weather helped, It was gorgeous everyday!)
We have always been told to hike are own hike. On this trip however our Spanish Camino guide wanted us to stay together We really were not free to hike ahead. The trail was very well marked and there were lots of people hiking so it would have been pretty difficult to get lost. I would have liked to at least be free to hike my own place to our next rest stop.
This was a trip of a lifetime - just incredible from start to finish
The actual experience of walking the Camino and both of our guides!
Highlights included an immersion in the culture of the Camino with our incredibly knowledgeable local guide Anne Pinder, including the ability to stay at the little hotels on the Way without ever leaving the Camino. I think that probably took a huge amount of organization to locate and book the appropriate hotels at appropriate intervals for each day's hike. The whole group was congenial and supportive and good humored, but I got plenty of alone time and personal space which I needed for this particular trip. The whole thing was just so well done.
The trip was very thoroughly planned, the local guide was extremely knowledgeable and the AGC guide was very attentive to the women on the trip. I would suggest that one of the guides recommend each morning that we stretch before beginning the day. I would like to have gone directly to Santiago at the end of the trip instead of breaking it into 2 days. We would have arrived in Santiago in time for the Pilgrim's noon mass and would have had a full day in Santiago.
I so appreciated the guides' sensitivity to our needs while not coddling us. And, see #10.
Very well organized and the guides were awesome!
I started this trip with no expectations because it was going to be so far out of my realm of experience! Anne's energy and passion was the best part, and her knowledge of the history and lore made each step more purposeful and enlightened.
Anne was excellent at sharing stories and legends about the Camino, and her relationships with the owners of the hotels and many of the restaurants we visited meant that we were always welcomed warmly.
I was not going for the religious experience. It was to be a challenge to my rapidly changing body as I head towards my 70's. I found the interaction between the women to be my spiritual connection. I have always had insight into other women. Surprise on this trip, I found some insight into me too! Meeting people from all over the world s we walked was awesome. We were on a quest. The greatest characters met were Norma from Ireland at 75 going on her own and ironically LuLu the dog who probably had the least amount of aches at the end of the day....
Great guides, good hotels, good food
Had hoped for a more physical challenge. More reflective time which I found was hard to get in a group and sharing a room. More "freedom" on the Camino versus always thinking I was part of a group
Spending time with my daughter, challenging myself physically. Seeing Spain and experiencing the Camino
The people in the group...all fantastic women. The group "meshed" so well. The itinerary was well planned and well-paced. The scenery was beautiful. Mass in Santiago was an experience to be remembered for a lifetime.
Meeting the other women in the group and getting to know them was definitely a highlight.
The support from trip leaders and the great folks on the trip
Highlight of the trip was the actual walking on the Camino. It was a great itenerary. Perfect stops. Terrific local and AGC guide!
Trip was well planned, perfect size, and perfect amount of time. Professional, but not stuffy!
Beautiful landscape, great experience walking the pilgrimage route, learning more about the history of the Camino and Spanish culture, delicious food and wine, camaraderie
Communication was excellent prior to the trip. The tour leaders both Ann and Debra were excellent and patient. How the trip was organized and planned out for a smooth, hassle free experience
Great and interesting people,delicious food,great accommodation and the guides Ann and Deb are pretty knowledgeable about the trip.
Great people, food, itinerary, weather, wild flowers, scenery. Wonderful trip. I'm an AGC raving fan !