If you are looking forward to seeing the endemic species, you may land any time you wish. These are, however, more active during the breeding season (March–July). To spot transient birds, you should be here in August (the first two weeks), September (second and third week), October (second and third week), and March or April (the first two weeks). The best timing to watch winter visitors is between October and March, when diversity is highest. Summer residents start to arrive in the spring, for breeding purposes.
Cuba counts with a Total of 372 species, of these, 26 are Endemics, 22 Caribbean Endemics for a total of 152 briding in Cuba, 245 Nearctic migrants, 117 winter residents and 14 Summer residents.
Depending on the time of the year you can get 150 to 170 species.
Yes, people from America can visit Cuba legally! In December 2014 President Obama greatly expanded legal Cuba travel opportunities for Americans. On January 16, 2015, his Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued regulations allowing nearly every American to visit Cuba without applying for a license.
If you join one ornithological study tours in Cuba, you will be traveling to Cuba for humanitarian purposes. The data we collect on our tours supports ornithological and other environmental study projects and this information is used to support our environmental education programs in Cuba. We have provided well over thirty tours in Cuba in the last three years, and all of them would pass the bar set by the latest (May 2019) U.S. federal regulations on Cuba travel.
Every time we go into the field, we collect data on bird diversity (the number of individuals, species, and locations) and our emphasis is often on those species which are threatened. We often collect other biological and environmental information as well.
- Data collected over the last 3 years (image, video, species distribution, counts, and more) have also helped us in the development of the three upcoming publications. These publications include (1) A Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of Cuba, (2) the British Ornithological Union (BOU) Annotated Checklist, and (3) the second edition of the Field Guide to the Birds of Cuba. These publications are written by Arturo Kirkconnell Sr and Arturo Kirkconnell Jr. These books are useful for visitors to Cuba and for others to support their environmental research and education efforts.
- The database collected during our surveys has been used by important environmental organizations such as American Bird Conservancy and Birdlife International, whenever it has been needed.
We are involving the Cuban people in our environmental education programs and are building community involvement in these programs each time we go into the field. We have included school teachers, reserve and national park staff, conservation professionals, private individuals (and including those involved in providing services on our tours) and children and other Cuban citizens.
We also work to promote small-scale private enterprise. We have always had a preference for small-private owned B&B and private lodges, and we do not do business with the military-controlled enterprises. Our transportation provider promotes eco-tourism in Cuba, providing opportunities for drivers and other staff the opportunity to earn a living wage. All of our meals are provided by small family-owned restaurants. We also use local bird guides in Cuba, providing additional economic opportunities for these entrepreneurs.
Our environmental projects support the education and of the Cuban people about their natural resources and increase the awareness of nature conservation. The economics of our Cuban tours promote private enterprise in Cuba.
Americans still can go to Cuba only if the trip falls within one of 12 categories. Even those traveling to Cuba independently on people-to-people trips are expected to have a full-time schedule of activities and retain documents that demonstrate how they spent their time. Ordinary tourism remains off-limits: Travelers may be asked by their travel organization to sign an affidavit that denotes the purpose of their trip, and they are required to keep travel receipts for five years after they return.
You can go to Cuba legally without a license or paperwork as long as your purpose of travel fits into one of these US government approved categories:
- Educational activities in Cuba for schools, including people-to-people exchanges open to everyone
- Professional research and professional meetings in Cuba
- Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions in Cuba
- Religious activities in Cuba
- Humanitarian projects in Cuba
- Journalistic activities in Cuba
- Family visits to close relatives in Cuba
- Activities in Cuba by private foundations, or research or educational institutes
- Any type of support for the Cuban people
- Exportation, importation, or transmission of information technologies or materials
- Certain authorized export transactions including agricultural and medical products, and tools, equipment and construction supplies for private use
- Official business of the US government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations
If your travel falls within one of these categories you are automatically authorized to visit Cuba legally without having to apply for a license. There is no paperwork involved. You simply arrange travel and go to the island.
For more information please refer to the OFAC website
American travelers to Cuba may open a bank account there and pay for expenses with an American credit card. In reality, few people who take the short trip abroad have cause to open a bank account. But A.T.M.s are few and far between in Cuba, and many establishments do not have the means to process credit card payments. So, cash will be king for some time to come. It may be a good idea to take British pounds or euros, which get a better exchange rate in Cuba than the United States dollar.
Americans can now bring back up to $400 in souvenirs, including $100 worth of cigars. John Kavulich, president of the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, notes that, according to State Department records, Secretary of State John Kerry, who inaugurated the embassy in Havana in August, brought back an $80 humidor, $80 worth of cigars and a bottle of rum.
If you have any question, please let us know, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.