I did a self guided Camino Frances organized by Ria (El Camino Tours) together with my two teenage daughters last year September 2022. Before that, I had done the Camino Frances, a full service tour arranged by a different operator in October 2018. Most recently (October 2023) I had done a self guided tour, Camino Frances with the same operator I had used in 2018 (because I could not engage Ria for this year’s Camino). I could appreciate the differences very well.
Ria/el Camino Tours is an excellent Camino Tour operator. Right from the get go, once the tour was booked and confirmed, she was extremely responsive and communicated by WhatsApp with regards to whatever queries I had. The places that she chose for the stay each night were good and she organized it such that both breakfast and dinner were included, for not much price difference between the operator I used this year. I started the Camino with El Camino Tours in Sarria where Ria met us the evening before the actual walk was due to start. Over dinner, she briefed us on how the self guided tour would work, provided us the Peregrino (Pilgrims) package with passport, scallop shell, T shirt and a water bottle as well as writing materials and information on the Camino. She also explained to us that she would send us a communication every evening regarding the next day’s journey with map showing the distance, villages/towns, elevation. She walked out of Sarria with us to esnure that we knew how to follow the Yellow arrows. Along the way, over the ensuign days of the Camino, she would send messages to check on our progress and to see if we had arrived.
Here are some extras: I had asked her for a recommendation for a nice place for dinner the evening we arrived at the Santiago de Compostela and she helped us make a booking for it, and it was excellent! She told us how to register our details online before arriving at the Santiago de Compostela Pilgrim’s office so we would have everything sorted when we arrived to collect our certificates. And when one of my daughters developed stomach troubles, she gave me a recommendation on what to get from the pharmacy (probiotic) that worked perfectly. She would drop pearls like where to get really good churros (from Melide) brands of chocolate to get (my daughters like chocolate) and one night, she arranged a stay in a beautiful Manor House.
I without any hesitation, would recommend Ria’s/El Camino’s services to anyone planning on doing the Camino and if I were to do the Camino again, would chose to do with her!
Ria Fernandez’ elCamino Tours is unique in the travel business as she is not simply a tour guide, but she is a special person, genuinely interested in her clients and in the individual and goup needs of any tour she organizes. Our most recent Camino walk was with a fairly large group of family and friends aged 15 to 85 and Ria managed not only to herd us cats along our various and varied Ways but did so with such kindness and sensitivity to each and every member of our group that we all came away grateful to her for her never-ending kindness as well as for her wisdom, experience, and dedication to making this the best possible journey for us all. In the process, she truly became a welcomed member of our crazy, diverse family. Ria’s knowledge of her land, her dedication to its joys, its foods, its culture and history made our pilgrimage more than any of us could have imagined in advance. We are all profoundly grateful for our experience with elCamino.
You are truly THE BEST,
I can’t imagine a more caring and helpful guide than Ria Fernández, the owner and guide for El Camino Tours. Seven years ago we used Ria for our Camino Frances from Ponte Ferrada to Santiago. We had a group of 8 on a private Camino and were very impressed and happy with her competency and services with our group of hikers of varying ages and abilities.
In May of this year we used her again for the Camino Portuguese. Again she exceeded our expectations. Her assistants are wonderful and share her concern for our comfort and wellbeing. Congratulations for another job well done.
El Camino tours with Ria Fernandez is top notch. This is the second time I’ve been treated to a life-changing experience walking the Camino along the Portugese route in 2016 and now in 2023 along the French Camino from Sarria to Santiago de Compostella. Ria has exquiste taste in selection of hotels, dinning experiences and especially care and sensitivity of her Caminoites attending to our every need throughout the tour. Her picnic lunches are supreme where she takes special care to find the best local cuisine to introduce our palates!
Highly recommend you reach out to El Camino tours if you are considering the Way…
It was a wonderful experience, with Ria, a luxury guide. A solvent professional, who provides her service with warmth and empathy. Furthermore, I appreciated feeling that everyone was aware of their needs and tastes and feeling cared for at every moment. It was an unforgettable Camino de Santiago!!! It exceeded my expectations!!!
I cannot recommend this tour guide highly enough. Ria is highly knowledgeable about the local area and Spanish history. She is friendly & approachable, yet organised & professional at all times. With Ria’s help, I really feel like I have visited the ‘proper’ Spain. Please do not hesitate – book this trip now! You will not regret it.
MJH, the UK
We have completed the Camino a Santiago three times with El Camino Tour. The experience would never have been the same without the support of the El Camino Tour team, since we only concentrated on doing the Camino knowing that the selection of hotels, the transfer of luggage, the restaurants and other details were taken care of. El Camino Tour took care of everything, making the experience bearable. The Camino Tour was designed to meet the needs of our group to Ria. Ria has immense knowledge of each of the towns visited during the journey and maintains continuous contact with the “pilgrims” to ensure that any need or unforeseen event is resolved immediately. Their attentive, gentle and selfless treatment makes the challenge of completing the Camino an incomparable experience. For all this, and many other accumulated details that after completing the Camino three times, we understand that our time in Santiago de Compostela, and the memories we have, have depended largely on Ria’s attention. Personally, it is difficult to put into words our feelings for Ria who has become part of our family. Recommended El Camino Tour without any reservation, and I assure an unforgettable experience with the support of Ria and her work team. GOOD WAY…!!!Alfredo Escalera , Puerto Rico . 2022
I highly recommend El Camino Tours. The trip was beyond expectations, especially our guide, Ria. The accommodations, the food , the bag transfers and overall organization. She also provided helpful information about packing, training, and historical facts before arriving. RIA goes above and beyond. The absolute best!!!
Calle del reloj, 16 – 1 izq
24401 Ponferrada | León | Spain
+34 697 777 578