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