|We flew from Tampa to Havana, then we were driven in a large modern bus in a counterclockwise loop from Havana to the cities of Viñales, Playa Larga, and Trinidad.|
|Ten in the group were retired from or were working in the Florida Park Service|
|Trudy in full travel mode!|
|Soledad Pagliuca was our excellent tour leader and |
Fortunately Ernesto Reyes, THE penultimate
professional Cuban bird guide and photographer,
was with us the entire time. His ability to find
and identify birds was a wonder to behold!
We saw 19 of the 25 endemic birds of Cuba.
Nils Navarro added his expertise, including copies of his recently published
book 'Endemic Birds of Cuba: A Comprehensive Field Guide'
Dana Bryan and Ernesto looking for the
elusive Cuban Blue-headed Quail Dove ...
and found it!
The following 5 images of the endemic birds are my favorites.
The colorful Cuban Trojan is the national
bird of Cuba
Cuban Green Woodpecker
West Indian Woodpecker
Cuban Pigmy Owl
And saving the best for last ... The Bee Hummingbird, at a length of only 2 to 2.4 inches, is the smallest living bird!!!
Palms on the Bay of Pigs
|Giant Ferns grow to a height of 15 feet.|
And here we have a karst feature, a swimmable
sinkhole, in the Enigma De Las Rocas.
This is one of the bed and breakfasts that we stayed in. This was
one block away from the Bay of Pigs.
|Trudy is among the group of swimmers in the distance late |
The first course of breakfast is shown above, including UNBELIEVABLY
STRONG, EXCELLENT Coffee. Breakfast often included eggs, meat
similar to bologne, and thin pancakes.
We did not drink the tap water ... so CRYSTAL
BEER was my beverage of choice.
|AND MOJITOS - here glasses are of mint, for the addition of |
rum and lime juice, sugar, and soda water.
The food was well prepared and healthy. This was grilled fish,
black beans and rice, and a side of fruit.
|CLASSIC American cars were quite common.|
Four of us walked a short distance to visit the
ALEXIS TOBACCO FARM..
We learned about growing, harvesting, and
|Alexis demonstrated the art of making a Cuban cigar.|
|After dipping the tip of the cigar in honey, he lit it and...|
... We all got to smoke an AUTHENTIC CUBAN