The booking portal for the Caminito del Rey has now made available all dates up to and including the 30th of September 2015. There is also and English language option at the top right of the portal.
Today, the Malaga Council presented its next phase of improvements for the Caminito del Rey that will cost around 1.2 million euros and will include a tunnel, a waterfall and two visitor centers. Presumably some of this money will come from the investment from the company that won the contract to run the walkway for the next four years.
The visitor centres will be located at either end of the Caminito but the biggest investment seems to be in widening and improving the road network leading to the Caminito del Rey. There will also be new information signs for tourists.
What is unknown is whether the Caminito will reopen from the direction of El Chorro or if all visitors will have to walk in one direction from the lake/kings chair/el Kiosko side and return to the start point by bus.
News was also released today that the Caminito del Rey will reopen before the end of April at a cost of 10 euros per person. Distribution of tickets for the coming 4 years is, quite frankly, astounding… 36% for local business (hotels etc), 36 percent for agencies and adventure travel guides, 16% for schools, studies etc and a measly 10% available on the online booking system… This will probably mean the the 10 percent will get snapped up in the first few days leaving the same system of using a local bar or hotel to get a permit as has happened over the last year…
Although the official date has not been announced yet for the reopeing of the Caminito del Rey under control of a private company I was assured today on the telephone by the company who made the winning bid that visits will start again sometime towards the middle (20th) of April 2016.
The company talking over control of the Caminito del Rey (Hermanos Campano SL) already have some experience in running large sites as they alreay run “El Teatro Romano” In Malaga. The oldest monument in Málaga City and situated at the foot of the famous Alcazaba fortress. Here they provide guided visits, organise archaeoligical investigations and maintain the entire area.
With regards to the Caminito del Rey they will control all access, maintainence, guided tours etc They will also pay a hefty sum of over 300,000 euros a year to Malaga town council for the next 4 years (1.6 million Euros) Which is why they won the contract in the first place as they put more money on the table.
The website for reserving a walk on the Caminito will remain the same (www.caminitodelrey.com) and presumably some techie is working at this moment to get some kind of payment system installed onto the existing website.
The price to enter will be around 10 Euros per person which presumably means that the various companies in the area charging for guided tours will either have to stop their activities or raise their prices as over the last year, some have been charging 10 euros for adults and 5 euros for children (10yrs). Hotels that have been getting free access for their guests and benefitting from a huge increase in room sales will also have to charge from April onwards.
This short documentary (in Spanish) shows the incredible walkway in all its glory.
The governing body of the Council of Malaga has approved the contract documents and economic conditions for the new management of the Caminito del Rey. The date when this will start is April 1 2016 and the company that wins the contract will run the Caminito for four years. This means that as from April the 1st the Malaga council will hand over all resposibility for the management of the pathway day to day running, conservation, repairs, safety and surveillance.
The president of the council of Malaga, Elijah Bendodo announced this at the International Tourism Fair (Fitur) that is, this week, being held in Madrid and he stated that this is a unanimous agreement by the members of the monitoring committee of the Caminito del Rey and the municipalities of Alora and Ardales He added that this decision is to “Exploit the Caminito del Rey as a major tourist resort and that the first year of operation has served to announce the pathway to the world with free access. Now begins a new stage of national and international promotion through experts and specialized companies.” Bendodo also said that the “Caminito del Rey is now an international brand and thanked the commitment of the municipalities of Alora, Ardales, Antequera and Valle de Abdalajís for helping to make the project a reality for all to enjoy.”
In this new management model the entry to the Caminito del Rey will no longer be free and a maximum price of 8.26 euros plus VAT at 21% will make the final price around 10 euros. The contracted company also has a limit of visitors set at 300,000 people per year with a maximum of 1,100 people a day in order to preserve the important natural area. The Caminito will be open from Tuesday to Sunday (Mondays closed) except for 24, 25 and 31 December and 1 January (unless weather conditions prevent the visit.)
The company that wins the contract will have to pay a minimum fee of 75,000 euros a year to the Council of Malaga who will invest that back into the ifrastructure of the local area. A minimum of nine percent of the revenue from ticket saies must be used to help pay for the maintenance of the Caminito. The companies that are being invited or wish to run the Caminito must have an annual turnover of 750,000 euros and the technical competence to run and maintain the walkway.
Proper use of the facilities
The contract also obliges the company that wins the bid to preserve and maintain the facility in perfect working order and they will be responsible for both major and minor repairs and anything else in order to maintain the facility in perfect working condition and operation.
Personnel management and conservation
There is also a minimum personnel clause in the contract. There must be security, 24 hour surveillance every day of the year, sales team, walkway monitors, cleaners plus specialized workers in maintenance, a mountaineer/qualified climber and a laboror, who will be responsible for maintaining the infrastructure in good condition.
300,000 times 10 sounds a lot of cash but the expenses for this project must be huge… Just think how much the public liability insurance will cost let alone staff wages, taxes and maintenance… Best of luck to whoever wins the contract 🙂