EL CAMINO X CAMILLE BECERRA: GROUP TOUR DETAILS
How Does This Trip Differ From Your Other Group Trips to Cuba?
Like other El Camino trips, this collaborative itinerary is designed for deep immersion into Cuba but does so by offering a unique “taste” of its bustling culinary scene. This trip has been curated for the passionate foodie and the aspiring chef that seeks to experience Cuba through a food-focused lens. We will be introducing our travelers to the restaurants and individuals who are on the forefront of Cuba's modern culinary scene which is progressing at a lightening speed. However, what makes this trip a once in a lifetime experience is the fact that you will be traveling to Cuba with Camille Becerra and taking in the city through her eyes. Camille’s personal roots to Cuba, as well as her long-list of accolades in kitchens across New York City, Paris and beyond make her a coveted resource. This is a unique opportunity to travel and experience a local culture the way Camille knows best while taking advantage of her expertise, in order to fortify your own understanding of the craft.
Who Is This Trip For?
How would we describe this trip? Sensory, vibrant, enlightening, eccentric, are a few words that come to mind. Restful? Not so much. Inspiring and invigorating? Absolutely.
During our five days in Cuba, you best believe we will be making the absolute most of the long weekend trip. If you have been following us for some time, you know that we go above and beyond to ensure that you are not getting stuck in the tourist traps (and there are many in Cuba). We've worked closely with incredible local talent to create authentic experiences that immerse you in the culture of this unique country while also enabling you to have the most honest understanding of the dynamic food industry in Cuba.
Traveling with El Camino means that you will not waste time figuring out where to go, what to see, and (most importantly), where to eat. No, with El Camino, we bring you right into the heart, soul, and kitchens of Havana bringing you face-to-face with the innovators and taste makers who are taking Cuba into the future. This is responsible and sustainable travel the El Camino style.
We've got tons of experience traveling to Cuba and we know the ropes. We hear too often that visa requirements and confusing rules have kept many from seriously considering Cuba but trust us, we're experts. El Camino Travel will provide you with high-level customer service before, during, and after the trip, ensuring throughout that you are legally compliant with all regulations surrounding travel to Cuba under the OFAC approved travel category of Support for the Cuban People. You just need to book and show up. Easy peasy.
Now, we cannot promise you won't encounter the unexpected in Cuba - in fact, you most likely will. For better or worse, surprises are part of the Cuban experience. Hell, it's part of travel. What we can promise is that our team will assist you with any surprises throughout the duration of your trip. If you're not willing to go with the flow, please consider postponing your trip to Cuba for a few years as its aging infrastructure catches up with its growing tourism needs.
In addition, internet is hard to come by and takes much effort to get. Please expect to be digitally disconnected the whole time as we will not spend anytime chasing down the wifi signal. Instead, we will be following the smells of Cuban cuisine wafting from every street corner.
It is important to note that we provide a group photographer on all our group tours so that our travelers can go back to being present in the moment than worrying about capturing it. They are the travel photographer for the whole group and not a personal photographer to each individual traveler. Because of the lack of availability of internet access during the trip itself, we will provide travelers with 100 images within 24 hours of the trip ending and an additional 150 within three weeks. We offer our guests dynamic and candid images of the trip so that they can share these with their friends and family back home. While this is an important element that adds to the unique experience of our trips, it is not the focus of our trip. Our guests are excited about receiving stunning images of their trip that they could never get with their phone or selfie stick, but the act of travel and indulging in the moment is what they value most.
Travel to Cuba is legal but complicated. Tourism is still strictly prohibited. To comply with US law governing travel to Cuba, you must do two things— (1) Have a full-time schedule of activities that are deemed to be in support of the Cuban people by standard set by the US government; and (2) Retain travel records for five years. We work with all our partners to manage this process for you and we ensure that your final itinerary is compliant with US law under the "Support for the Cuban People" permitted reason for travel. We will also retain records on your behalf. If you want to learn more please check out the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document regularly updated by the US Treasury Department. Here is a link to the latest, updated as of November 8th, 2017. We have also published a blog post outlining travel with Support for the Cuban People and what this process entails.
How to Get There + Visa
It is now relatively easy to reach Cuba from most major cities in the United States. United, American, Jet Blue, Alaska, Delta, Frontier, Southwest, and Spirit Airlines all have commercial flights from the USA. Upon booking, your airline will work with you arrange your visa.
Have questions about flights + visas? Once booked, we can help you answer any questions you may have while booking. We are familiar with the various commercial flights now flying to Havana and their procedures and will be able to walk you through the process.
This group trip will include seven SHARED ROOMS (two people per room) at a casa particular (a private homestay). You can share a room with a friend, lover, platonic lover, someone you met on Tinder, or whoever else, but all rooms must be shared. If you do not have a partner in crime, don't be put off, we welcome solo travelers and our trips are perfectly set up to allow you to make new friends. However, you must be comfortable sharing a room with another traveler in the group of the same gender. More details of the casas will be shared upon purchase of the trip, but we promise we hand picked all casas that are ran by excellent local hosts and who pass the El Camino standard of customer service with flying colors. It is also a unique opportunity to get to know local Cubanos and practice your Spanish if you're so inclined!
Pricing & Payment
This group trip is priced for early reservations at $3200 and will increase to $3400 on February 11th, 2018. To guarantee your reservation, you must submit a 40% deposit at the time of booking. Final payment is due no later than 25 days prior to departure. Payments must be made by credit card. Please read our FAQ for more information and our BOOKING TERMS AND CONDITIONS.
Transportation to and from Havana airport// Meals where noted and reservations at top restaurants//Additional Concierge Service//Record keeping for all travelers to prove compliance with US law//Activities as mentioned above// Transport for activities mentioned above///Tips for drivers and local experiences.
Trips will include 100 edited images of the group within 24 hours of the trip ending + an additional batch of images 3 weeks after the trip ends.
Airfare in and out of the country// Mandatory Travel Insurance //Incidental Expenses// Alcohol except where noted//Tips for photographer and local host
Host + Group Photographer
We have a roster of seasoned and certified hosts and will be tapping into Camille's creative network to provide high-quality, Camille-approved photographs. Prior to your trip, you will receive a welcome packet that will inform you on who will be guiding and documenting your adventure.
Chef Camille Becerra Bio
Camille Becerra is a chef, food stylist and recipe developer in New York City. With close to 15 years of restaurant experience, her menus showcase Becerra’s commitment to healthful, seasonal and local ingredients and her affection for approachable yet refined New American cuisine.
A New Jersey native, Becerra began cooking after high school and attended the Academy of Culinary Arts in Cape May, NJ. After studying macrobiotic cuisine and cooking for cancer patients in Philadelphia, Becerra moved to a Zen monastery in New Mexico, where she cooked vegetarian meals for the monks, sourcing ingredients from the on-premises garden. After a brief stint in Los Angeles Becerra came to NYC where she found herself cooking at renown vegetarian restaurants like Angelica Kitchen.
In 2005, Becerra opened her first restaurant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn named Paloma, after her daughter. The restaurant, in a former stable-turned-parking garage, served an ever-evolving menu of seasonal fare, which she described as “urban American.” Two years later, Becerra competed on Top Chef Season 3, where she was introduced to the fun and challenges of cooking on camera. Becerra lost her restaurant to a fire in 2008. Immediately after, she began working with some of her favorite chefs Paul Liebrandt, Sean Rembold and Damon Wise, all the while waiting for the right opportunity to get back to lead her own restaurant kitchen.
At Navy, Becerra joined partners to open the maritime aesthetic reflected in its seafood-focused menu, while Becerra’s passion for seasonal vegetables also dominated with produce sourced solely from the Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op, underscoring Becerra’s commitment to responsible farming.
In 2016, she was invited to do a chef residency at Café Henrie, the menu she designed for this limited time pop up included the Dragon and Tiger bowls reflective of her vegetarian and natural foods roots.
Currently Becerra continues working as a food stylist, is food contributor at Domino Magazine and develops recipes for Bon Appetit Magazine, all while working on her first published cookbook and overseeing a new restaurant concept in the Nolita neighborhood of Manhattan called De Maria. You can see more of her work at www.camillebecerra.com.