(Richard W. Tripp, Jr.)
are the rules of conduct and social interaction—collectively
referred to as etiquette--for the Camino?
When you are on the Camino, you will soon realize
that your fellow pilgrims come from many different
countries, with widely diverse backgrounds and cultural
expectations (such as how close one stands next
to the other person when talking).
If everyone insisted that the others should behave
according to their own national or individual norms,
there would be many unhappy pilgrims.
Adopt a tolerant attitude and realize that perceived
slights are unintentional.
Part of the experience of the Camino is the opportunity
to meet people from other cultures and learning
how they think and live.
That said, following are some simple rules concerning
conduct in albergues or other Camino lodgings,
and while walking on the Camino.
Boots should be removed when entering the albergues
and placed in a designated area to air and dry until
people leave the following morning.
Give your donativo soon after you arrive, so you
don’t forget later on.
Find out what time the doors close, and be back
in the albergue by then, or earlier if you can.
If you arrive before the doors are opened, wait
your turn to sign in when they do open. Don't jump
Share. Be kind and thoughtful. Do unto others as
you would have them do unto you.
Keep your backpack and gear near your bunk and do
not use excessive space, crowding other pilgrims.
If you are abled-bodied and have attained or been
assigned a lower bunk, if the place is filling up
fast, and an elderly or obviously-suffering pilgrim
arrives, give them your lower and take the upper.
Elderly and infirm pilgrims should always have lower
Younger and sprier pilgrims must sometimes give
up what might be “rightfully” theirs, just as one
would do on the bus or subway.
The space under the bunk is to be shared by both
occupants. Save half for the other person.
Use some sort of sleep sack on your bunk.
Don't walk around in your underwear.
The chair is there for everyone to sit on. It is
not yours for pack storage just because you got
Clean up after yourself in the shower area--and
Take short showers so others will have hot water.
Be quiet. There will be people trying to sleep according
to their needs, which may not correspond to your
times of activity. Respect their rights to undisturbed
If you wish to rise and get started early in the
morning before others get up, organize your belongings
the night before, so your departure preparations
will not disturb the others who are still trying
If you need an alarm to get up, use the lowest setting
possible, so only you will be awoken.
Some people will snore. If you have a tendency to
do so, take action to minimize it. If you don't,
protect yourself with earplugs.
Share clothesline space. If the albergue is filling
up, adjust your space so others have some room on
the line. Remove your laundry as soon as it is dry.
Whether you are walking by yourself or with someone
else, be alert to others walking faster than you
do, and adjust your position so that they can pass.
If you are overtaking, let the people ahead know
you are there and wish to pass. Do not assume that
you are making enough noise with your footsteps,
labored breathing, and walking stick.
If you are overtaking by bicycle, do not assume
that a noise that is a clear signal to other bicyclists
will be recognized by walkers from another country
as such. A misunderstanding resulting in a
wrong move can lead to injury at worst and bad feelings
at a minimum.
Do not get so absorbed in conversation with a companion
that you ignore your surroundings; your voices may
also drown out sounds, such as bird song, for other
Don't forget to pack toilet paper (seems like they're
always out in the morning) and a plastic trowel
(any outdoors store) for a "cat hole,"
should you need to “take advantage” of the countryside.
Most of the Camino is semi-desert; what you leave
behind will not decompose soon, and in any case
your follow walkers do not want to see it. Bury
it or pack it out, just like dog poop in the park.
à Q.Pratique Route