My sister and I signed up for this Cuba birding tour from a site we found on the Internet. What we hoped for was to see a few Cuban endemics and maybe add in some snorkeling. What we got was way beyond our expectations. Our companions (luck of the draw) were hilarious. Our driver, Hernan, was skilled, especially at dodging potholes. Our accommodations and victuals were varied and interesting. And the Cuban countryside, culture, and companeros were superlative. Best of all was our guide, Arturo. He knows every bird’s secret hiding place and they seem to appear upon his command, a genuine bird whisperer. Our ten days in Cuba in summary: good food, great company, birds and more birds, some beautiful fish and just a rollicking good time. Wish we had signed up for longer.

Ellen Przyuski


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April 2 to 12, 2017 Cuba tripBirders

Arturo: I am not very good at the computer thing, and could not get the reference you sent for the testimonies to work on my computer. But I wanted for sure to send you a message of thanks for one of the best trips of my life (and my sister’s too) We have been to many birding festivals and on guided trips in other places, but none like the one we went on with you. It seemed nearly miraculous that every day you would tell us what the target birds for the next day would be– and then march us out to whatever surrounding terrain there was, and there were just exactly those birds, plus many others! So many new birds, plus lots of information about their habits and habitat. You were amazingly patient with us rather novice birders, helpful to our photographer friend, and really good with our fellow traveller expert. Finally, we were very pleased with our accommodations and if anything overfed! The only place we were less happy was the final resort, which seemed a bit overdone to us; but I understand that the ordinary accommodations are not available there, plus we really loved the snorkeling trips and you and the others seemed very happy there. All in all a wonderful trip, way beyond our hopes and expectations. I am sending your website to other birders I know in the hopes that more people will want to join you in the future. Ellie and I hope to meet up with you in October when you come to the US. Please let us know where and when if you can.

Muchas Gratias!

Fran OReilly


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Thanks for the wonderful tripBirders

I had a great time visiting Cuba with Arturo. We had great views of lots of endemics. The places we stayed at were great and the food was always delicious. The driver of our van was friendly and got us safely to where ever we needed to go. There was time to visit museums, old cities, gardens and the beach which made it extra enjoyable. Going into the swamp and seeing the Zapata Wren and Sparrow was especially exciting. Getting great views and photos of the Bee Hummingbird near Playa Giron was a true pleasure. 


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Loren HintzBIrders

What a wonderful tour! Arturo’s keen eyes and ears led us to see so many endemics. His knowledge made the journey a true cultural learning experience. His humor put all of us in a good mood no matter how early in the morning we were off to bird.  

Thank you so much!! 


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Our Birding Trip By Thomas Carlisle April 2017Birders

My husband and I enjoyed a wonderful first-time trip to Cuba in early February. Thanks to Arturo’s lifelong experience with local habitats and species’ ranges, we were able to document even some of the most uncommon endemics. His sharp eye and persistence yielded sightings of species that we would otherwise have missed entirely. Since Arturo is himself a great bird photographer, he naturally steered the photographers in our group into spots providing optimal lighting and proximity to get the best possible photos. In addition to the birding, Arturo arranged fine lodging for us, and took us to restaurants spanning the spectrum of Cuban food. He also served as our cultural guide, answering our questions on Cuban customs, culture, and history. I felt like we were able to see and do a lot in our short time in Cuba and would like to do it again.

 

Thanks so much for this great adventure!

Mindy and Doug


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Services - Kirkconnell Birds
February 2017 Cuba TripBirders

I have so enjoyed reading the testimonials posted by other birders who, like me, have so thoroughly enjoyed a birding experience with Arturo! Everything that the others have said applies equally to my trip in Cuba February 1-10, 2017. Arturo is such an incredibly talented birder (and photographer), locating and identifying the endemic and migratory birds by song and sight and sharing his knowledge of their habitat and habits. By my count, our small group of five saw 146 species in eight days. Arrangements for lodging and meals were excellent, and the support offered by Adrian and our driver Miguel were most welcome. I also enjoyed learning about life in Cuba today and the care and oversight to protect and conserve Cuba’s extensive national park system. I highly recommend Kirkconnell Birds and Partnership for International Birding for a fascinating and rewarding birding experience in Cuba!

 

Deedee


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Birding with Arturo Jr (February 2017)Birders

Thank you for a fantastic trip in Cuba. Arturo’s skills are legendary. He was able to locate the important endemic birds for us. We were treated to great looks at the Cuban trogon, Fernandina flicker, Cuban solitaire, Cuban gnatcatcher and bee hummingbird and more! His ability to hear the birds was so important in finding these birds. In addition, we stayed at wonderful places with delicious food. This was a trip of a lifetime and I am so grateful for the experience.

 

Susan Schott


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Susan Schott (February 2017)BIrders

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 MyersBirders

Thanks to Arturo Jr and our driver, Rodolfo, my wife and I had a great two weeks Birding 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 LauBirders