Cathy’s Camino Tips: Booking Accommodations

Camino superfan Cathy Seitchik Diaz is currently walking the Camino Francésfor the fifth time in five yearswith her partner David Stewart. She provides some useful tips which she would like to share to help pilgrims along the way.  In this post, she describes methods of booking private rooms in advance by using Booking . com, calling, email or using WhatsApp. Even though they focus only on the Camino Francés, you will find some practical advice for any Camino route that you choose to walk.

Below is the first in a series of Cathy’s Camino Tips, fresh from the Way!

Booking Accommodations Along the Way
by Cathy Seitchik Diaz

We have learned that the Albergues, Hostals, Casa Rurales, Pensiones & Hotels use “Booking” for “some” of their “Rooms and Dorm Beds” because the Albergue needs to Pay Booking 15%. Often Booking says a place is Full but it is not. 

I have a List of Places we have stayed at over the past 4 Caminos, with ALL of their Contact info.
– Hospitalero’s Name
– Email
– WhatsApp
– Website
– Address

First, I Email to Request a Reservation, since I have their Contact Info from our past Caminos.

Below is my Copy & Paste Email for each Place.

Hola Iñaki,
Quieremos hacer una Reserva para
-13  April -Sabado
Una Habitación Privada con Bano para 2 personas
Es posible?
Cathy y David
Peregrinos del Camino
WhatsApp: +1-831-428-8670

Hostal Burguete: Iñaki
Mobile: +34-948-760-005

If in a few days I don’t hear from them, I Save the Albergue Info in my Contacts & I Send them a WhatsApp message.
– At the same time, I Send an Email to Request a Reservation, to a few other Places we find Online, as a Backup.
If I still don’t get a response, I Call them.
– We have learned and seen again that between St Jean and Logroño it feels more congested and hectic for Pilgrims needing Beds or a Private Room.
– Many Pilgrims Walk 25-30 Kilometers, 6+ hours ….
Los Arcos to Logroño” is 25 Kilometers.

In my observation with more and more Pilgrims PreBooking ……
– If you know the Miles/Kilometers you like to Walk, then PreBook/Reserve to Logroño or Navarrette.
– We have decided since we are making Reservations, if we get hurt or too tired to Walk we will take a Taxi or Bus to our Albergue.
If you would like my List of the Locations of the 20-ish Kilometers we Walk each Day. Send me a FB Message at – Cathy Seitchik Diaz –
– My List also includes all of our Albergues and all of the Contact info.
– All of them are from Brierely’s Camino Guide and also in the Old Medieval areas near the Churches and other Pilgrims.

UPDATE April 26,  from Cathy on the Camino:

To Reserve OR Not Reserve -4.26.19
I am often asked about …..
– To Reserve or Not to Reserve.
David & I are Walking our Camino #5 right now.
– Often I get asked my thoughts about Reserving a Bed or Room in advance.
– Here is what I say ……
We have learned and seen that for Days 1-8, between St Jean & Logroño, it is more congested & hectic for Pilgrims needing a Bed or a Private Room.
– This year it became very clear to me that it all *thins out* at Logroño, Day 8 for many & for David & I as well. Because …….
– On Day 8  David & I, and others, Walk from *Los Arcos* to *Viana* which is 11 Miles (18 kms).
– David & I like to Walk 8-15 miles a Day (13-24 kms), which is 3-6 hours.
– We usually Walk 5-6 hours but on a “Rest Day” we Walk 3-ish hours.
“Los Arcos to Viana” is 11 Miles (18 kms), 5+ hours.
Whereas ……
Many other Pilgrims Walk 16 to 19 miles (25-30 kms), 6+ hours a Day. 😬
On Day 8  many of the other Pilgrims Walked  from **Los Arcos* to *Logroño* which is 16 Miles (25 kms).
At this point the congested & hectic experience of Pilgrims needing a Bed or a Private Room diminished.
Therefore, in my observation, the first 9 Days (for many Pilgrims) is…….
1 -St Jean to Orisson
2 -Orisson to Roncesvalles
3 -Roncesvalles to Zubiri
4 -Zubiri to Pamplona
5 -Pamplona to Puente
6 -Puente to Estella
7 -Estella to Los Arcos
8 -Los Arcos to *Viana* OR *Logroño*
As said above, it is here, on Day 8 that the congested & hectic search for a Bed or a Private Room dissipates, until *Sarria* to *Santiago* -OR if a Pilgrim shows up to an Albergue at 3pm or later.
At the same time …….
It seems to me, with more and more Pilgrims PreBooking ……
– If you know the Miles/Kilometers you like to Walk, then PreBook/Reserve to at least the 1st -8 nights to *Viana* or *Logroño*.
– After the first 8 Days will have a feel for what Distance you like to Walk and if you want to PreBook/Reserve your Bed or Private Room.
The Hospitaleros are happy to Call the night before and Reserve you a Bed or Room.
– Often Booking. com will say there is not a Bed or Room available but if you Call, or arrive by 1:30pm, there is.
– The Albergues only give some of their available Beds & Rooms, as the Albergues need to Pay 15% each Reservation.
Does this help? 
Warmly, your Camiga –
FB & Instagram 
– Cathy Seitchik Diaz –
WhatsApp: +1-831-428-8670
PS: Here is my 2017 Blog, thanks to Laurie Ferris and “The Camino Provides.”
FB Message me with ANY questions, thoughts, concerns. The Camino is my FAVORITE thing to talk about!!

Read the next post in the series: Cathy’s Camino’s Tips: Baggage Transport.

About Cathy

I met Cathy in spring 2015 when I first started to learn about the Camino de Santiago. She is truly passionate about it and loves to share tips and advice. Her detailed posts on her Facebook timeline showed a glimpse of what pilgrim life really entails—from camaraderie to injuries. I had the opportunity to interview her on a hike in Santa Cruz (see Pilgrim Interview: Cathy Seitchik Diaz).

In November 2015, Cathy and David came up to Oakland for a NorCal Chapter event, A Walk in the Redwoods.In January 2016, she and I organized the Santa Cruz Coastal Hike.

Cathy and David on one of their favorite trails in Santa Cruz, California

She even wrote a guest post, Walking the Camino as a Couple, for the February “Camino Love” feature. Needless to say, Cathy is a great peregrina friend and a trusted source of pilgrim knowledge.

They have shared the stages the Camino Francés—complete with daily distances, photos, observations and useful tips—in a four-part series:

Cathy is, quite possibly, the world’s happiest pilgrim!

Cathy was interviewed on the Camino Podcast for the series about Camino Francés. You can listen to Episode 15 below. In this episode, conversations center on the first six stages of Camino Francés. The episode starts with Cathy Diaz reflecting on the first part of her pilgrimage—St. Jean Pied de Port to Pamplona/Cizur Menor. Rebecca Gallo picks it up from there and talks about the stretch leading to Los Arcos.

You can find other Camino routes linked under the Route Reports drop-down menu, and on the Camino Routes page. If you would like to be a Route Reporter, contact me.

Camino Pocket Guides by Karin Kiser

Camino Pocket Guides by Karin Kiser

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