Arturo and his great assistant, Adrian, led a small group, two-week tour, with six of us on board.  The ostensible purpose of the trip was birding – Arturo excels at that! – so we saw tremendous birds throughout Cuba…endemics and many others.  Highlights we still remember are the cuban tody, bee hummingbird,  trogon, a variety of owls, pink flamingos (several times!), and a whole array of magnificent winged species, small to large.  One of us (me) is a photographer, and Arturo gave constant tips about how to best capture these birds, as well as taking extra time to allow for those opportunities.   So that’s a good trip right there.  

 

But that is not nearly the whole story – not for us.  What was equally wonderful was Arturo’s expertise in making the whole experience such a smooth one.  We stayed in top-notch small homes and bed & breakfasts – the five-star kind. Home-cooked meals, delightful hosts, and every detail covered ahead of time (or if needed, at the time of a request).  We are vegetarians (one of us entirely, the other mostly), and we’d been warned that this might be difficult.  Not under Arturo’s planning…instead, organic produce at every meal, salads until even we’d eaten enough salad, and always an extra plate or order to accommodate this diet.  Delicious at every turn!

 

Additionally, we aren’t hard-core birders; we love the whole nature thing…land, water, ecosystems, bugs to bats to bears.  So we asked for time and opportunities to go scuba diving (in some of the clearest oceans and living reefs we’ve ever seen, as a side note), and time to venture on walks on our own.  Another tour member wanted to see music and dance in old Trinidad – so that was added into the trip (to our delight, too), and we arrived early to allow for some time in Havana where Arturo found us a fantastic historical/city guide, as well as setting up all transport to/from the scuba sites, our bed-and-breakfast accommodations, etc.

 

The ease of travel (despite knowing that any country has its quirks and challenges) and the quality of the experience we had in every area is a testament to Arturo’s care, attention, knowledge of local culture and people, along with his renowned expertise in the birding realm.  And apart from Arturo and Adrian, who are a delight to be with,  we made four lovely friends along the way, in our other tour members. As very independent travelers, that’s saying a lot.  

 

We would recommend Kirkconnell Tours to anyone and everyone – and have been doing so already.  We hope we’ll have a chance to return.

 

Thank you, Arturo!

 

Juliet & Phil

 

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Top-Notch Cuba Birding & Nature Tour ( Jan 2017) 
Birders

My wife and I recently went on a Cuban 11 day birding trip with Arturo Kirkconnell, Jr., his driver Hernan, and our master helper, Adrian. We were very impressed with every facet of the trip. Arturo is keenly aware of the sites for all of the endemics and other near endemics. The weather was gorgeous, the accommodations fine to excellent, and the Cuban people were so friendly. A fantastic trip to a fabulous island that we would recommend highly to anyone. Ron Hoff and Dollyann Myers, Clinton, Tennessee USA.

 

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Ronald Hoff and Dollyann Myers
Birders

Thanks to Arturo and our driver, Rodolfo, my wife and I had a great two weeks in Cuba.

 

Arturo’s knowledge of where (and when) to go regarding the different places to find birds enabled us to see every endemic possible. His zesty sense of tongue-in-cheek humor, and ease in speaking English made for a fun trip, more like going on a trip with a friend than on an elementary school field trip.

 

Cuba was a far easier trip regarding driving, walking, and early rising than many of our previous trips. At the age of 61, that’s a plus!

 

The private homes (B&Bs) we stayed in were great, and the hosts terrific. It enabled us to be part of the life of the Cuban people more directly. The other birding couple we traveled with were also great people to bird with. The more professional resort accommodations were, of course, very nice and pampered us delightfully. The food was also fabulous, whether at fancier restaurants or served home-style. And NO tummy trouble of consequence!

 

The Zapata peninsula was especially terrific to bird, with so many places to see, and the one guide who joined Arturo and us in finding the more secretive owls and doves. What a treat!

 

Thank you so much Arturo! It was a delight to have you guide us.

 

Roger and Celeste Lau

 

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Roger and Celeste Lau
Birders

1. What went well?  What exceeded your expectations?

One week before our scheduled trip I had an accident that cause me serious mobility issues. my participation in the trip was very questionable. Charles and Arturo had the problems solved in no time. they brought in the most delightful young man who helped me every step of the way. this was my companion Adrian.

I had expected to have to sit in a vehicle and bird from afar, but with the help of Adrian i was able to be out and in the fields with the other birders and was able to get all the birds  that everyone else got and i did not ruin anyone’s enjoyment by having them be responsible for me and slowing them down. Arturo and Adrian made sure I got every bird.

everywhere we stayed the staff was very respectful of my problems and did everything they could to make my stay enjoyable. 

my expectations were met tenfold–I was not even sure I would be able to go and participate at all. 

 

2.What could have gone better? I cannot think of a thing that could have gone better. 

I was not prepared for the tipping as I did not have small currency.

 

3. What did not meet your expectations.

my expectations were pretty low as I was injured and i expected to be car birding. it was amazing that I was able to get out and go with everyone else. I was truly in tears that everyone was so helpful to make my trip a once in a lifetime experience. 

I am so grateful to everyone that the trip was so wonderful.

 

4. Feel free to provide any other feedback you may have?

I had no idea what to expect in Cuba.  my mind was a blank slate. I am so impressed with the Cuban people. they were so gracious, caring and genteel. they were so genuine in their concerns for me .they made me feel very safe. they treated me like an elder in their family which I thought was a huge compliment.

I enjoyed their wonderful tasty food. 

our travel company did a wonderful job of preparing us. they sent us travel and birding information that was so helpful and alleviated some of the apprehension of a foreign trip.

our guide Arturo is just the best. he knew the habitat and the songs and he got us on birds so fast I thought we would be done in 2 days. he is just amazing. he was so personable and just a joy to be around. 

my friend Adrian was the sweetest most caring man . he never let me take a step without him helping me.i could never have done the trip without his assistance. I will be forever grateful to him and everyone who made this trip possible for me. I cannot thank him enough.

thanks to everyone,

Sherry.

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Sheryl Estep 1
Birders

Amazing birding trip to Cuba! We saw 22 of 23 Cuban endemics and had great looks at all the birds. Arturo Kirconnell Jr. is an astounding guide tremendous.. read more

Suzie Snyder & Jason Estep
Birders

Many times finding birds, watching their behavior and getting a sharp photo is luck. To increase the odds of a successful birding expedition, a professional guide is key. Arturo Kirkconnell Jr. is that guide for Cuba. He knows where to find the birds and once at the right habitat, his ability to identify bird call is excellent. When he hears a bird, he’ll wait patiently for it to appear and when he sees it, he’ll make sure everyone gets a good look as well. On a boat trip in the Zapata Swamp, he partnered with local guides to help spot. We had a long look at and heard the musical song of the Zapata Wren.

There were many highlights of our trip including long sessions with the Bee Hummingbird, Cuban Tody and Fernandia’s Flicker. We saw 21 of 22 endemic birds during 9 days in March 2016. It was a special treat to watch the migrating warblers closer than we had seen them in the states.

As a lovely extra, Arturo has a great sense of humor. He quickly becomes attuned to his clients needs and interests. Many times he’d slow down the drive so we could get photos of the countryside and people. We also met many Cubans on our trip and learned about their country.

I hope you can be lucky as we were to have Arturo as your guide. Arturo and Kirkconnell Birds are a five star organization.

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Kay and Bob Merrick
Birders

Cuba is blessed with beautiful and interesting birds, and our recent trip there did not disappoint. Our guide, Arturito Kirkconnell Jr was everything one could want in a bird guide–great at spotting the birds, explaining the intricacies of identifying them by plumage and calls, good at logistics, and great fun to be with. He was considerate of my non-birding spouse, so Gerry enjoyed the trip as much as anyone. Arturito was also a wonderful guide to his beautiful country and its people, going out of his way to show us areas and sights that were not to be missed. It was a rich and rewarding trip in every way, so thank you, Arturito!

Jane and Gerry Chelius

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Jane and Gerry Chelius
Birders

Trip to Cuba with Arturo Kirkconnell Jr.

Andrea and I very much enjoyed our 10-day birding tour with Arturo. Very few people combine the ability to quickly find birds by sight and by ear to the extent that Arturo does. His deep knowledge helped us find the endemics and near-endemics and also a great number of other birds. And he shared our excitement at seeing birds and noting interesting bird behavior. The places we stayed were all wonderful – with great food. Except for the fancy hotel in Havana, the service was excellent everywhere, We returned home with great memories of the birds and an appreciation of Cuba.

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Larry and Andrea- Birding in Cuba
Larry and Andrea Gardella
Birders

This was the trip of a lifetime for us and we are so happy to have experienced Cuba in such a personal manner. Arturo Jr. was a great birding guide and we enjoyed his company very much. The birding was spectacular. We had exceptional views of all of the birds we encountered. The small group size was key to our experience. Arturo and the arrangements he made gave us a glimpse into the lives of the Cuban people. We are grateful for this wonderful experience and recommend Kirkconnell Birding highly!

Gracias, Arturito,

Susan & Rudy

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Rudy & Susan Boesch
Birders

Thank you, Arturo. We had an wonderful 10-day bird watching trip with you in June of 2015. It was great to travel around Cuba (in a rental car) from Havana to the Viñales Valley to Camaguey to Cay Coco and back again, with our additions of Trinidad and Santa Clara, and stops along the way.

You and your father were great at knowing where to look for the birds and finding them once we arrived. One of our favorite experiences was seeing the Bee Hummingbird in that couples backyard while drinking expresso. What could be finer then seeing the worlds smallest bird in the care of such knowledgable birders and in the comfort of such nice Cubanos? But that was just one of the over 130 species we saw.

This was one of only two international trips where we left all of the arrangements for food and lodging to our guide. Thank you for taking such good care of us. The cabins on the hillside overlooking the Viñales Valley were absolutely wonderful. And, then you took us to the very restaurant that was written up in the LA Times. That was amazing! …delicious…and the amount of food was more then generous.

We will cherish our wonderful memories of seeing Cuba with you.

Susan and Gary Levenson-Palmer

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Susan and Gary Levenson-Palmer
Birders

Arturo,

We did not know quite what to expect on our Cuban birding adventure, but it surpassed our expectations in every way.
Not only did we see and hear an abundance of beautiful birds but also we met some lovely people and covered great distances of interesting country in the car.
It was a pleasure to go birding with you from start to finish. Thank you for being so patient and good humored with us, especially when we forgot, got mixed up or made up new names for your birds.
It was so nice to meet your family too. You have a beautiful wife, Anet and two lovely children, Adam and Alexa and we wish them all the very best.
We were honored to meet your father and it was a huge privilege to bird with him. He has taught you well.

You are very professional and he is right to be proud of you.

We will have many great memories of our once-in-a-life-time Cuban birding tour to help sustain us through our frigid Canadian winters thanks to you.

We wish you every success in your future endeavors and hope that we may see you and Anet in Oakville/Toronto.

Gracias Arturo,
Leon and Rachel

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Leon and Rachel
Birders

We had never used birding Pals before, but we luckily managed to arrange a trip with Arturo Kirkconnell Jr, a Cuban Birding Pal Professional Guide.
We were totally pleased with our 14 day trip. Arturo, like all great birders, seemed to have eyes in the back of his head and could name that spot in the sky
from the flicker of a wing or the shadow cast, whether driving or walking!
Arturo began our trip with a great breakfast stop that produced many endemic species, and the trip continued with spontaneous and planned stops in diverse habitats,
each producing new species.
All our lodging and meals were excellent as well.

Our trip was so totally enjoyable we are looking forward to making a return trip and exploring other parts of the island.

Arturo is completely personable and professional and enjoyable.

Regards
Nancy and Bill read more

Bill and Nancy
Birders

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On the Kirkconnell family we have been birding for over 30 years, we can offer you the experience of your live in what birds are related. Enjoy Cuba, it Nature and Culture surrounded by joy.

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