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Cuba - advice for best location (1 Viewer)

Robin Edwards

Well-known member
I must confess to being lazy here and have done no research but wondered what folk think would be the best place to head for on the island for an R&R holiday in October with a non-birding partner but where a few days could be arranged with a guide to track down some choice species?

I see that companies fly to Varadero and Havana so wondered where would be best location to meet both ideals?

Much appreciated
Varadaro and Havana are very close. You can travel between them for about $10 on the bus. Base yourself in Varadaro if you want to be at a sea-side resort or Havana if you want to spend a lot of time seeing the city life. Or half and half if you have the time. Not sure yet about birds in the area but I am going there about the end of October so will check it out. I know there are some parks around the outskirts of the city. For choice species you will probably have to travel further afield.
Thank You Maroon Jay

So if locale is good and/or local guides are potentially available operating from Valadaro, are there good birds in easy reach or would I need to travel much further afield for things such as Bee Hummer for instance?
Nothing special right close to Varadaro. The Bee HB is found in the Zapata area which is across the island to the south of Varadaro. Not too far. You could do it in a day trip but not sure if you could find the hummer and get back in the same day. Perhaps with a guide who knows where to find them it could be done in one day. If we are there at the same time I would be interested in sharing the cost and go with you. I don't have exact dates yet, probably early November. Would love to see the world's smallest bird.
Hi Robin,

The significant other and I have only been to Cuba once, which precludes me making any comparisons between places; but for “low-hassle” birding there, we found Playa Larga (on the south coast, top of the Bay of Pigs) to be a really good destination. We went there for seven days in (egad!) 1997, on a really cheap (under $1000 each) all-inclusive package. The hotel was really quite pedestrian, but who cares – we flew into Varadero, were taken directly there by mini-bus, and were able to bike (or walk) to some really good birds.

There was also a guide employed by the hotel, whose job (it seemed) was to take people like us around, at no extra charge (I doubt this is true any more, though – we tipped him by sending him a couple of field guides, which are really hard to come by in Cuba). The only extra we paid for was a bus ride into the Cienaga Zapata – to look at Flamingoes and Spoonbills! (In other words, not the “good” part that has the wren....) Hardly worth it, although we did also see Yellow-headed Warbler along the way, which we didn't see anywhere else.

Just around the hotel, there's lots of short forest, with tracks through it – we found the trogon, the tody, the pygmy-owl, Bee Hummingbird, and a bunch of other endemics, within a short bike ride of the hotel.

I see on the Interweb that the Playa Larga is still operating, and so you could probably still go there - but I'm sure much will have changed in 18 years, so there may be better options now.

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