The Camino de Santiago can be a transformative experience that continues long after one reaches Santiago. Case in point: Ryan Goodman, a student at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. He walked the Camino with a few classmates...and after reaching Santiago, he continued his journey in a very interesting way. Click here to read more.
The Pilgrim Office in Santiago recently released the final statistics for 2012. A total of 192,488 pilgrims made their way to Santiago last year, up from 188,366 in 2011. Meanwhile, pilgrims from the United States totaled a record 7,071 in 2012- a figure almost double the 2011 number of 3,726. Prior to 2012, the number of US pilgrims had been climbing steadily and was approaching 4,000. Many believe the movie “The Way” (released in late 2011 and starring Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen) played a key role in driving awareness of the Camino among Americans and may have inspired the spike in 2012.
Other Camino statistics were broadly in line with those from recent years. Overall in 2012, 57% of pilgrims were men while 47% were women. Nearly 86% traveled on foot with 14% on bicycle. The Camino Frances remains the most popular route accounting for more than 70% of all pilgrims while Sarria (popular for pilgrims who walk the last 100km only) and St. Jean Pied de Port (for those who walk the entire route) continue to be the most popular starting points.