Camino de Santiago
Camino Frances: Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela
May 21 -June 1, 2023
$1,799 FULL COST
- Creatio guides
- Trip insurance*
- Lodging in pilgrim albergues and hotels
- Ground transportation
- Baggage Transfer (daily – as needed)
- Breakfast and dinner every day
- Pilgrim materials (shells, credenciales, certificates, etc.)
- Spiritual reflections and Mass
- Wonderful opportunities for friendship, spiritual talks, and the chance to meet pilgrims from around the world!
*See below for more details on our required trip insurance policy
- International flights
- Passport fees
- Lunches while walking
A NOTE ABOUT FLIGHTS
We allow you to choose your own flights to keep our trip costs as low as possible. The earlier flights are purchased, the better! We recommend checking www.kayak.com, www.skyscanner.com, and www.google.com/flights/ for flight options.
May 21 – June 1, 2023 Open Enrollment Camino de Santiago
Looking for Other Dates?
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About this Trip
Join Creatio for a trek to one of the world’s most significant pilgrimage sites, Santiago de Compostela. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Camino de Santiago combines deep Christian spirituality, world history, and mystic adventure into a life-changing experience.
Since the 8th century, millions have made the trek to Santiago. Thousands of historic churches line the route; not to mention tapas bars, albergues (pilgrim hostels), and every other amenity you could need to make your pilgrimage a success.
Whether you are a devout Christian looking to deepen your relationship with God, a seeker trying to find what’s missing, or someone simply looking for a fun and challenging way to get some exercise amidst some of the world’s most beautiful scenery and friendliest people, “the Camino provides.”
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“The highlight of the trip was doing it within a community. I don’t think the trip would have been nearly the experience it had been if doing it with a small group or 1 or 2 others”
Rob, South Dakota
“The Camino teaches humility and perseverance…you will know yourself better, emerging more aware of your tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses”
Will, University of Colorado
The Pilgrimage of Our Lives
A pilgrimage is a metaphor for and a reality of our lives. As we walk we see how our lives are like a voyage filled with joy, effort, beauty, suffering, surprises, goals, adventure, love and expectation. But our life is not only “like” a pilgrimage, it is in fact a pilgrimage from birth to death; in this world we are only “strangers and sojourners” (1 Pe. 2:11). “For we brought nothing into the world, just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it.” (1 Tim 6:7) We are all pilgrims walking through, and this life, this passage, is the time we are given to reach the eternal goal, IT IS THE TIME OF SALVATION. Let us enjoy the journey, love it and live it! Pope Francis reminds us: “I want people to go out! I want the Church to go out to the street! Jesus, with His Cross, walks with us…!”
Santiago de Compostela
The Crown of Northern Spain, Santiago de Compostela has been the integral part of Spain’s Heritage for more than a 1000 years. Since the historic rediscovery of the tomb of St. James, brother of John and Apostle of Christ, faithful Christians have made pilgrimages to the Tomb of the Apostle by the millions over the centuries. It is the end of our pilgrimage, where we will spend 2 days exploring this beautiful and spiritual city.
Since the 16th century, Spain has been home to the Spanish Monarchy and capital city of Spain. A city of beautiful boulevards, large parks and squares, and home of some of the world’s most amazing artwork (in the Prado museum), pilgrims will get to spend their last day exploring this amazing and historic European gem.
Community and Friendship
“Community,” “deep conversation,” “friendship.” Many pilgrims chose these words when asked to describe their Camino de Santiago experience in one phrase. Others affectionately remember their experience by calling their fellow pilgrims their “Camino Family.” Of course the Camino experience is known as a great opportunity for silence, personal reflection, and soul-searching. But we are made for community, made for encounter, and much of that soul-searching happens in communion with others. Those conversations while preparing dinner, or sipping a hot expresso in tiny village, or helping someone with their blisters (yes, they’re real) may be the ones that help change our lives. Come prepared to live out the beauty of Community in a way that you may have never experienced before!
Creatio’s spirituality is focused on strengthening the four relationships: relationship with self, with one another, with nature and with God. We encourage all of our pilgrims to be open to experience a deepening of these relationships while on our trips. Nearly everyone that walks the Camino de Santiago will say that it is a profoundly spiritual experience, regardless of religious background. Stopping at 1000 year old churches to pray for a moment (or an hour), has a powerful affect on the soul. Celebrating the famous daily “Pilgrim Mass” is essential for all pilgrims, and many non-Catholics join in because of how important this is for the pilgrim.
Pilgrims will have the opportunity for daily moments of prayer and reflection led by both trip guides, and will participate in the daily Pilgrim Mass at each stop. These are a wonderful complement to the daily walk and the heart of the pilgrimage itself.
One of the most beautiful aspects of a pilgrimage is not knowing where we will sleep each night. Along the Camino, many “albergues” (roughly translated as “pilgrim refuges”) receive pilgrims at a meager cost. The hosts (“hospedadores”) see their reception of pilgrims as a true mission and ministry, and go out of their way to make pilgrims feel at home at the end of each day. It’s truly amazing to witness! Because this is a pilgrimage, conditions may not exactly be 5 star, but basic needs for pilgrims will always be met (warm place to sleep, blankets, etc). Joyous also is meeting and resting with other pilgrims from around the world who also nightly seek the comfort of the albergues for a well-deserved night’s rest.
(subject to change – will be updated with full daily itinerary 60 days before the experience)
Day 1 (May, 21, 2023): Madrid, ES / Astorga, ES
We meet you at the Airport in Madrid (MAD), and take local transportation to the Starting point of your Camino Walk in Ponferrada, ES.
Inclusions: Transportation, Welcome Dinner, & accommodations.
Days 2-9 (May 22 – 29, 2023)
Your 9-day walk to Santiago de Compostela guided by Creatio (Guide to Participant Ratio approximately 1:7). This beautiful walk through the Spanish countryside will take you a variety of terrain, from windswept wheat fields and sunny skies, to mountain tops and quiet villages, finally down through the verdant (and sometimes rainy) and mystical region of Galicia.
Inclusions: Breakfast each day (Choice of options including eggs, coffee, tea, water, juice. Other options available for guest purchase); guided or self-guided walk with maps; nightly accommodations in pilgrim albergues or pensiones (upon request).
Days 10-11 (May 30- 31, 2023)
Your pilgrimage concludes with its final day of walking on May 30, 2023, as you enter the medieval city of Santiago de Compostela in the early afternoon. It’s now time to bask in the glory and thanksgiving of having finished the pilgrimage and rest your weary feet. Creatio will organize a final reflection and retreat on the morning of May 31 to wrap up your experience. There will also be ample free time to explore the city and visit the ancient and majestic cathedral of Santiago during the afternoons of May 30 and 31.
Inclusions: Two (2) celebratory dinners; Accommodations (pension 2-3 stars close to city-center); breakfast (continental); final reflection day.
Day 12 (June 1, 2023)
The group will return to Madrid (MAD) early in the morning of June 1 via a flight from the Santiago de Compostela airport.
Inclusions: Domestic Flight to MAD airport; carry-on luggage Only (full-luggage extra-cost)
Exclusions: Meals; Other Travel or Tourism arrangements.
Camino Starting City: Astorga, ES
Camino Ending City: Santiago de Compostela, ES
Total Walking Distance: 260km
Average Walking Distance/ Day: 22km
Specific Trip Details and Detailed Itinerary will be provided to the group approximately 60 days before the trip.
Travel to and from Spain
ARRIVAL: Participants may arrive in Madrid (Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport – MAD) anytime BEFORE 11 am (time in Madrid, Spain) on Sunday, May 21st, the participants will meet at the Madrid Airport (MAD) at that time. Pilgrims will be given instructions for meeting location. The Experience officially begins at 11 am in Madrid on 05/21/23, any prior travel arrangements are the responsibility of the participant.
DEPARTURE: Participants will arrive back in Madrid at approximately 8am on June 1st. Creatio is responsible for getting pilgrims from Santiago de Compostela to Madrid, unless other arrangements are made.
The Experience officially ends at 8am on June 1st. Participants who wish to remain for extra time may do so on their own. Any other transportation or travel arrangements are the responsibility of each participant, but we can assist you in getting a taxi or take public transit at the end of the trip. In the past, our pilgrims have often traveled elsewhere after the trip, and you are free to do so.
Please wait until we have confirmed your spot in the pilgrimage to buy your flights. Please contact us if you’d like assistance choosing flights or connecting with other missionaries to travel together. We will be coordinating for pilgrims to travel together from Denver if that is where you wish to depart from.
The cost of your pilgrimage with us includes trip insurance. This insurance covers things like trip cancellation/interruption (under certain conditions), emergency medical care & evacuation, travel delays, lost luggage, etc. Travel Insurance only covers the advertised costs and services. If you are purchasing your flights separately (on-your-own) your flight will not be covered by the Trip Travel Insurance, and another policy must be purchased separately.
Travel insurance is required for Creatio trips. A policy in your name will be included in the Experience Price. All policies included in an Experience only provide coverage during the advertised dates of the Experience. If a participant’s personal situation results in canceling the trip prior to departure (e.g. participant gets sick and must withdraw from the Experience prior to departure date), then Creatio’s cancellation policy applies.
Creatio is not an insurance company and has no responsibility for the submission, payment, or adjustment of any insurance claims. Any insurance claims that may fall under the relevant travel insurance policy must be submitted to the insurance company identified in the policy.
If a participant is concerned about recovering costs due to cancelation for any reason whatsoever, Creatio recommends participants to purchase the Add-on Cancel-for-Any-
All Creatio participants are required to have a Primary-Care Medical Insurance plan and are responsible for providing this information to Creatio. The reason for this is that sometimes International Travel Insurance policies will require medical evacuation to the United States to perform costly procedures instead of overseas care.
Health & Safety Information
We recommend you undergoing a medical check-up before traveling to make sure you don’t have any kind of medical condition that could obstruct your participation in the pilgrimage.
Northern Spain has a very moderate climate, though summer weather can be hot. Most of the time, temperatures are between 50-80o F with some rain. The most significant difficulty that pilgrims will encounter involves walking the 18-22 miles/day, which can be very physically demanding. Pilgrims are encouraged to build up considerable resistance to walking long distances, wearing the boots or shoes that they will wear on the pilgrimage. Blisters are one of the most frequent challenges of the walking pilgrim. They can be limited/avoided by getting high quality and good-fitting socks and boots. Pilgrims are encouraged to break-in their footwear if they are purchasing new equipment, walking at least 3-4 weeks with the new boots before use. Many pilgrims walk part of the day in boots, the other part in good walking sandals.
Leon and Galicia, Spain: Medical Care in Spain is very good, although slightly less available in the Northern rural regions along the Camino de Santiago. At each of the daily stops there is generally a local clinic and Pharmacy available to pilgrims, many specifically catering towards pilgrims. Medical Care will be within reach along the entire Way.
For more country-specific health and safety information, visit www.travel.state.gov for details.
- Passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the final day of trip. Passport must have at least one blank visa page.
Non US Citizens or those traveling from outside of the US:
- Visit travel.state.gov to understand visa and vaccine requirements regarding the country from which you are coming.
- Please contact us to confirm non-US citizen visa requirements.
What to Bring
Suggested Packing List
RECOMMENDED – One Backpack (30-55L range)
- Travelers insurance card
- General insurance card
- Copy of Passport, ID, and insurance cards
- Emergency contact information
- Money for souvenirs, airport meals, Camino lunches, personal items, and additional snacks or drinks you might want
- Sleeping bag liner, light sleeping bag, or light blanket
- Water bottle or Camelbak (easily refilled; Spanish tap water is safe to drink)
- Headlamp (helpful if it has a dim/red setting)
- Hiking clothes – Bring two sets of clothing. You can wash one each night. Clothes that dry quickly are best. Avoid cotton.
- 3 shirts – base layer, we will only need a t-shirt most of the day
- 1 long sleeve/outer layer for chilly mornings
- 2 pairs of pants that zip off into shorts (or 2 of each)
- 3 underwear – preferably technical/quick dry (women – same material for bras)
- 2 pair silk liner socks
- 2-3 pair non-cotton socks
- light outer shell raincoat
- If you tend to get cold, 1 extra mid-layer is recommended. Summer temperatures are “mild” in Spain, and in Galacia it tends to rain often.
- Good walking/hiking shoes
- Sandals/flip flops for shower and evenings
- Sunglasses and hat, sunscreen
- Laundry detergent or bar (easy to buy there as well)
- Toilet paper (small quantity for trailside emergencies)
- Towel (microfiber or raw linen; fast drying is key)
- Prescribed and non-prescribed medications
- Pack cover (or poncho or garbage bag to keep your pack dry)
- Book. Keep in mind that there won’t be a lot of time to sit and read. A small book with daily reflections is ideal. Low weight, high mental “calorie” content.
- Bible – be prudent with weight or prepared for penance. Travel version?
- Rosary (sheenrosaries.com is a friend of ours and makes near-unbreakable Rosaries, with a percentage of sales going towards mission work in Uganda)
- Camera and charger – confirm voltage will work with Spain’s 220V outlets
- Phone and charger – most new phones can handle both U.S. and European voltages, but you’ll need an outlet adapter available at any travel store or REI. Leaders will carry a phone for emergencies, enabling you to minimize screen time.
- Spork (FYI common “Light My Fire” plastic ones tend to break in peanut butter/honey)
- Earplugs; albergue bedrooms are noisy at night with other pilgrims
- Moneybelt / small pouch for passport and personal money
- Blister care – safety pins (2), needle, thread, band-aids, first aid tape, Vaseline, moleskin. These are easily found along the route if needed.
- Watch – not necessary, but handy for meeting times and morning alarms
- A stone from home to leave at the Cruz de Ferro
*Trip insurance provides coverage during the advertised dates of the Experience. If a situation arises prior to departure, this would not be covered.