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Much like Cuba understands its cadence, El Camino tapped into this pulse and pulled all of us into its groove and we rode the wave for several days. Cuba is this amazing collage of art, not just in its galleries or artists’ homes, but on its graffittied walls and its cuisine and people, its cigar-tinged air and the exhaust fumes from old Buicks and Oldsmobiles. There is no way we would have been able to truly saturate ourselves and see Cuba on this level had we planned this ourselves. Don’t take the trip solely based on the enviable Instagram-worthy images provided by the in-house photographer (though, where else are you going to have that built into your trip?); go for the stories that you bring home and the adventures that will keep you smiling each time theybrush across your memory banks. You know those enviable insider guides on all the different places you want to explore around the world, the ones that show you the places that tourists can’t even access but the writer hasa friend showing them their favorite haunts around town, meeting the guy who makes the best conch salad on the island and the woman who grows and roasts coffee beans on the plantation that’s been in her family for three generations? That’s El Camino.
Cuba. A land before time. Where do I start about this magical place. Thanks to El Camino Travel I was able to experience this fantastic island devoid of most tourist traps and get one of the most auténtico trips outside of staying with friends. Being that Cuba still has lots of restrictions I wanted someone else to do the proverbial “dirty work” and El Camino delivered. We stayed at a local casa, saw the sights of Havana (old and new), danced the night away at a local salsa club, drank with the ghost of Hemingway, and saw Cuba through the eyes of our guides, who live in Havana. We got to meet local artists and ate super fresh food and made so many great memories. Best of all was our photographer Valeria, who not only took such epic photos but allowed us to really get immersed with the locals and focus on creating memories. There was a good balance between scheduled activities and free time to get out and do our own thing. There are not enough words to describe this trip, but trust me GO, and cross Cuba off your bucket list of places to travel. If you want a trip that allows you to truly experience a people and culture look no further than El Camino travel.
Cuba was my second trip with El Camino - and as usual, I left the island with a bag full of memories and my heart full of love. It was exactly the experience I wanted and so much more. I got to learn about the culture and people while making my little impact on the lives of those I met along the way. I met people of all ages that not only taught me a thing or two about the island but also about myself. I realized that even a world traveller like me can have misconceptions about a culture. Traveling with El Camino has humbled me! It's not only a travel experience tailored to make the world a better place, but also to make you a better person for it. El Camino has made me part of a diverse community of (often women!) travelers that are on a mission to learn and love. And for that I'm so grateful.
Traveling to Cuba with El Camino gave me an experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life. They took me through the heart of the culture as I celebrated with the country's most precious element......the People. For that, I will always be grateful! I can't wait until my next travel experience with El Camino!
I had the chance to travel to Cuba with El Camino this December - and it exceeded any expectations I had! I'll admit, group adventures aren't generally my first choice, but I've been following El Camino for a while and knew they weren't your typical group travel company. From the moment we landed in Havana, the experience was perfect. The El Camino team thought of everything, and our guide, Sara (and her two future guides in training) were exceptional. They answered every question we had, shared with us so much about their experiences growing up in Cuba, and exposed us to people and places that would have been impossible to experience on our own. And the photos! Don't even get me started. I can't recommend traveling with El Camino enough - I can't wait to do it again!
Returning from Cuba in May 2017, I felt that I had truly experienced Cuba, not just visited the magical country. The feeling of being immersed in Havana and nearby Vinales was 100% because of El Camino's wonderful curated itinerary and amazing local tour guides, the combination of which provided an actual experience of Cuba, not a typical "tour" and definitely a visit that felt longer than the 5 days of the itinerary. The company did a wonderful job organizing the tour, sharing information (especially when traveling to Cuba can be tricky), and potentially best of all -- appealed to a wonderful group of like-minded adventurers who were a pleasure to tour with. In short, if you don't want to visit Cuba, but to truly experience it, El Camino's Cuba trip cannot be beat. The experience was so great that I hope to try their other itineraries at some point.
Cuba was one of the most interesting trips I have ever been on. I was hoping for an authentic exciting trip to celebrate my 30th. Between the food, the cigars, and the salsa it was everything I could have hoped for and more. You truly get to experience Cuba for everything it has to offer. It's filled with welcoming friendly people eager to show you "their" Cuba. They were enthusiastic to share their story and provide a great understanding of the history of the country and what it is evolving into. I made many great memories with new friends. I encourage everyone to visit Cuba for themselves...and of course the awesome classic cars.
I went on the Nicaragua trip in 2015 and as soon as I saw spots for Cuba open up I booked immediately (like frantically at my desk at work). I figured especially in a place so new to U.S. travelers, El Camino would bring a totally unique level of cultural immersion and really ensure that we were supporting local communities through responsible tourism. Now that I'm back in NYC I cannot stop telling everyone how incredible this trip was - partially because I want to go back immediately, and partially because I think everyone I know needs to meet the incredible Cubans that we did and experience such a vibrant, welcoming place. Hats off to El Camino on this one!
I can't say enough great things about the El Camino Travel experience. I went to Cuba with them in the fall of 2017. Cuba travel can be... complicated. El Camino made it simple, with easy payment options, updates and instructions and online transactions. Once on the ground in Havana, our guides were amazing (we're still in touch on Facebook and Instagram.) They gave us tons of local scoop, special experiences and were so smart and interesting. Our fellow travelers have also become friends. We meshed really well and had a lot of fun together, even during down time. And the photographer that travels with you is such a unique value add. When you get back home, you have stunning photos of your experience. I would most definitely book with El Camino Travel again. And, go see Cuba with them. It's wild and fabulous and creative and gorgeous and at a unique moment in history right now.
When I travel, I crave adventure, deep conversations, and the chance to step away from the chaos of everyday life to appreciate the moment. Most tours haven't matched up to my travel expectations, but when El Camino started offering tours to Cuba, I suspected this trip would be different. The activities, food, lodging, and (most importantly) companions came together in an alchemy that made for a unique, intimate, and memorable experience. Everything was curated thoughtfully and beautifully documented by our photographer, Val. I experienced a culture full of life, creativity, and passion and saw beautiful buildings and architecture. I only wish I could have stayed much longer. If you're thinking about booking a trip with #elcamino, DO IT! It's a great chance to travel with your friends, but also the perfect group to join if you're a solo traveler.
I love to travel, but generally don't go the group travel route. However, I found myself a bit overwhelmed as I thought about tackling Cuba. It really isn't a trip you should do on your own without an expert. I had been introduced to Katalina previously and was impressed with the incredible small business she had built, and I always love to support a hardworking woman owned venture. I signed up for the Cuba trip with two girlfriends this past November and have told every person I have interacted with since then that they must book this trip with El Camino! El Camino does all of the legwork to ensure you have a relaxing and cultural experience. We salsa danced, rode through tobacco fields in the Viñales countryside, and entered the homes of Cuban citizens who shared stories with us and made us coffee. This trip provided us the opportunity to feel like locals rather than tourists, and I loved that El Camino ensured that the money we spent while visiting went back into the hands of hardworking Cuban citizens. If you're going to Cuba, you must go with El Camino!