This past summer (August 2009) we hiked the GR-20 in Corsica, a long distance route of over 180 kilometers (about 110 milles) from the north to the south of Corsica in 15 days, from shelter to shelter.
In this post I want to explain how the shelters work the in Corsica. It can be summarized this in one word: BAD, and if you want more details I will say that Corsica shelters are the WOSRT.
Let me explain with a little more detail why I think that the Corsican shelters are a disaster in all aspects:
- First of all, the booking in the shelters is a total chaos. It seems that until the last year, we weren’t able to book in advance: when you arrived at the shelter if there was room, perfect, but if not you had to do bivouac. But begining in 2009 you are able to book in advance through the Internet at www.parc-corse.org
The problem is that when you book your reservation upon arrival, maybe the shelter is full and you don’t have any place to stay. The reason is that the keeper doesn’t know how many reservations have been made over the Internet every day. If a large group comes without reserving, the keeper makes the decision to place them or not.
Several times, during our trek in Corsica, we saw people who arrived too late to the shelter with a reservation an they had no place to stay because The keeper had already given the places to other people.
- Secondly, they are very dirty. When you go to shelter, you know that they aren’t hotels and you have to adapt to what you find. But Corsican shelter are really dirty. On several occasions we literally got eaten alive by bugs, with our arms and legs full of bites. An unpleasant experience. So if you will be hiking the GR-20 don’t forget to bring a good antihistamine. Furthermore, the services such as showers, toilets, laundry, etc, are virtually abandoned without any maintenance or cleaning.
- Food is scarce and poor. The pasta dish every night, inedible. And the list continues.
But for me the worst thing wasn’t the food, or bugs, or dirt, etc. Without a doubt, what most bothered me was the keeper’s rude behavior.
In short, if you decide to hike the Corsica GR-20 in shelter don’t forget some food, a good antihistamine and above all a lot of patience.
There is another option to not suffer the Corsicans shelter, and it is to bring your own tent. In all shelter, without exception, there is a free camping area. In this case, you pay for the use of the services such as toilets, showers, etc.
This is a very good option if you want to minimize the inconvenience of the Corsican shelter.