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Karin Eckhard

Although born and raised in New Hampshire, USA, I have had the fortune to live in places as diverse as Vail, Colorado; Salzburg, Austria; London, a small village in England and Madrid, Spain has been my home for the last decade. I started Espíritu Travel with my partner who is Spanish because we wanted to create customized trips that had a more local feel. I love creating trips that include both the highlights of Spain and Portugal as well as the off-the-beaten-path places. Those hidden gems you would not otherwise know were there. Espíritu Travel has offices in both the US and Spain.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"We specialize in trips to Spain and Portugal. We can create all types of tailor-made trips; culture, art, history, culture, architecture, gastronomy, outdoor activities, nature-based, small groups, and off-the-beaten path. "

How did you get involved in travel?

"I got involved in travel by chance when I saw a job advertisement for a reservation agent at an international tour operator. I applied, got the job and three days later I was answering calls (80 per day) to sell trips around the world. One minute I was discussing a trip to Japan, the next hiking the Inca trail. It was a steep learning curve but I loved it. Within 3 months, I took a trip to Peru and nine months later I was promoted to operations specialist for Latin America. I loved the work and loved working in this aspect of the travel industry. I still love the work.....more than 20 years later. During those years, I have worked in various roles in the tourism industry, hotels and travel companies, in addition, I hold both a masters degree in international tourism development and conservation. I also spent a couple of years working as a consultant in sustainable tourism before launching my own travel company. I have traveled extensively, 50 countries to date including visiting Cuba over the last decade 11 times. I have also lived for many years in Europe in both the UK and Spain. "

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"One of the most unique experiences I had was while on a hike in the Sierra de Gredos, a rural area about 2,5 hours from Madrid. I was hiking with a conservation group and we had reached the top when the sky just opened up and it started to pour. And I mean downpour. We tried to make our way down as quickly as possible but it was a slog trying to not fall on the slippery grass and rocks. The 15 of us came upon a goat herder's house (more like makeshift huts put together) and they welcomed us into their home! All of us drenched hikers, it was more than that, they quickly started preparing food for us, bringing out a giant wheel of goat cheese, of course from their own goats and other snacks they had on hand. They had homemade drinks, they even started a fire so we could dry our clothes. We all just sat around talking to them for a couple of hours and enjoying their unbelievable hospitality. Finally, the rain let up and we made the difficult trek back down. A once in a lifetime moment of authentic experience."

Basque Coast near San Juan de Gaztelugatxe
North of Spain Ultimate Roadtrip - 13 Days

Immerse yourself in Northern Spain's breathtaking natural beauty, medieval history, and world-class gastronomy on this 13-day road trip. Traverse the dramatic Basque coast, sail to the stunning beaches of the Cíes Isles, and explore the foodie hotspot of San Sebastián. Along the way, you'll discover the world's first winery under the Cantabrian Sea, tour the best of Bilbao's pintxos bars, and marvel at the masterpieces of the legendary Guggenheim Museum.

Play on the beaches of the Algarve in Portugal
Family Vacation to Spain & Portugal - 14 Days

This two-week family vacation combines Portugal's beaches, palaces, and flavors with Spain's flamenco, royalty, and parks. Start your trip in Portugal with highlights kids and adults love, including playing on the beach, sailing in the ocean, and spotting dolphins. Then, make your way to Spain, where unique cultural experiences await, including sites like Granada's Alhambra, Madrid's Plaza Mayor, and Seville's Royal Alcázar.

Have fun exploring the Canary Islands
Active Family Vacation in the Canary Islands - 14 Days

Enjoy this epic family vacation to Spain's Canary Islands, where 14 days of kid-friendly outdoor adventures await. Explore mountain peaks and volcanoes, spend time playing at the beach, hike through tropical forests, kayak in the ocean, visit a banana plantation, and more. These action-packed two weeks will keep the little ones entertained, with plenty of memories to bring home.

Explore Barcelona's sites with the kids in tow
Family Trip to Spain: Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid & Andalusia - 14 Days

Explore some of Spain's biggest and most culturally rich cities through your kids' eyes as this two-week adventure takes you to Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid, Seville, and Málaga. Enjoy family-friendly and kid-approved activities, like scavenger hunts in museums, city food tours, romping through parks and gardens, being royalty for the day, and playing at mountaintop theme parks.

Enjoy the beaches of Costa Brava with your family
Family Summer Vacation in Spain: Madrid, Barcelona & the Costa Brava - 10 Days

Summer is the perfect time to visit sunny Spain and take advantage of the country's kid-friendly outdoor activities. This 10-day adventure is all about family time outside, with visits to Barcelona's colorful and quirky Park Güell, food adventures in Madrid with kid-approved grub, beach days on the Costa Brava, and catamaran cruises, and more.

Enjoy the Andalusian coast with the kids in tow
Spain Family Trip: Madrid to Málaga - 10 Days

Enjoy 10 unforgettable days exploring Spain with your family, starting in the royal city of Madrid and ending in the culturally rich Andalusia in southern Spain. Kids love trying all the different Spanish snacks and tapas (churros con chocolate and croquettes seem to be a favorite), spending all day at the beach, cruising the coast in a catamaran, and discovering exciting cities like Toledo, Seville, and Granada.

Recent trip reviews for Karin

Spain is the place to go 2022
Spain | Aug 13 - Aug 29, 2022

Herbert
Herbert A.
Ballenger Creek, MD | Reviewed on Sep 12, 2022

The overall experience was 5 stars. Karin’s direct experience and knowledge of Spain provided invaluable information in making decisions about the itinerary of the trip. The interactive application provided by Kimkim during the trip was extremely useful to review daily plans and verify trip details. read more

The overall experience was 5 stars. Karin’s direct experience and knowledge of Spain provided invaluable information in making decisions about the itinerary of the trip. The interactive application provided by Kimkim during the trip was extremely useful to review daily plans and verify trip details.

Hotel Reviews
Dear Hotel Madrid
Madrid

Great central location on Gran Via, metro station and plaza de ESPANA. Easy access to numerous city highlights

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
NH Collection Victoria
Granada

Great location

Authenticity & Character
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Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Melia Sevilla
Seville

A lot of amenities and good ambiance

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Petit Palace Museum
Barcelona

Fair to good

Authenticity & Character
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Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
HM Gran Fiesta Hotel
Palma de Mallorca

Very nice and comfortable; good location

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Catalonia Catedral Hotel
Barcelona

Fair to good

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Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Activity Reviews
Tapas Culinary Experience
Madrid

A must do if your visiting Spain. You get to taste a variety of tapas and wines, while getting a local feel of the people during this bar crawl.

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, drivers and staff
Guided Visit of Madrid: History, Culture & Architecture of the Capital of Spain
Madrid

The guide was knowledgeable an insightful of the city’s history. She was very pleasant and easy going.

Quality of Experience
Train Madrid to Segovia, Guided Visit of Segovia, Train Segovia to Madrid
Madrid

Train ride is always fun. Segovia is a must with 3 major attractions: the Roman aqueduct, the cathedral and Alcazar.

Quality of Experience
Guides, drivers and staff
Transport
Tour of the Alhambra and Generalife Gardens
Spain

A MUST DO!!! One of the major highlights of the trip. The 8th wonderful of the world.

Quality of Experience
Guides, drivers and staff
Transport
The high speed train
Flamenco Show
Granada

If your in Granada you have to see this original local show. The performers were extremely passionate about their craft.

Quality of Experience
Private Transfer {{start_location}} to {{end_location}} via Caminito del Rey
Spain

Again, a must do if your in this region. The hike brings diversity to your itinerary with its breathtaking views and natural settings.

Quality of Experience
Guides, drivers and staff
Transport
The actual S class Mercedes Benz used for transport; extremely comfortable!
Guided Visit of Seville
Seville

The guide was truly passionate and insightful. Walking through the Jewish quarter was very cool. Again having someone provide you input to what your observing simply enhances the experience.

Quality of Experience
Guides, drivers and staff
Day Trip to Montserrat & Penedès Region Wine Tasting
Barcelona

Montserrat was very cool to see, but the wine tour was the highlight. You need to expand the time for the wine tour.

Quality of Experience
Guides, drivers and staff
Transport
Catamaran Trip around Mallorca with Snorkeling, Kayaking or Paddleboarding
Mallorca

A fun way to introduce yourself to the island and get an opportunity to go swimming, relax, and drink.

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, drivers and staff
Local specialist: Karin Eckhard
Karin
Karin Eckhard
Local specialist in O Barco de Valdeorras | Reviewed on Sep 12, 2022

Thank you Herbert for this lovely review. I hope you have had a chance to rest after your epic trip around Spain. :-). It was a pleasure to help you plan this trip for you and your daughter.

Family trip to Portugal
Portugal | Jul 1 - Jul 11, 2022

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Brooke L.
Granby, CO | Reviewed on Jul 22, 2022

KimKim made planning our trip to Portugal fun, personal, and customizable. Our local specialist, Karin, was incredibly thoughtful and attentive a long the way - including through the planning process and logistics on the ground. We cannot sing her praises enough! read more

KimKim made planning our trip to Portugal fun, personal, and customizable. Our local specialist, Karin, was incredibly thoughtful and attentive a long the way - including through the planning process and logistics on the ground. We cannot sing her praises enough!

Hotel Review
Hotel da Baixa
Lisbon
Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Local specialist: Karin Eckhard
Karin
Karin Eckhard
Local specialist in O Barco de Valdeorras | Reviewed on Jul 22, 2022

Thank you very much Brooke for taking the time to do the review. I am pleased to hear your family was able to enjoy your trip despite the delay in leaving the US and missing part of your it. I hope to be able to help plan another trip in the future.

We did a 15 day tour of Spain:Madrid- The H...
Spain | May 14 - Jun 1, 2022

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Catherine H.
Canada | Reviewed on Jun 28, 2022

We did a 15 day tour of Spain:
Madrid- The Hotel Regina was well located, had a pleasant room, and great staff. They were very friendly and helpful to new tourists.
May 16: Arantxa -tour of Prada and Madrid- Prada was rushed- it needs a tour by itself. The stroll and food part of the tour was very good, especially the stop for Vermouth and Tapas. Arantxa is very personable and down to earth. She was willing to answer any questions and was excited to see us when we ran into her a few days... read more

We did a 15 day tour of Spain:
Madrid- The Hotel Regina was well located, had a pleasant room, and great staff. They were very friendly and helpful to new tourists.
May 16: Arantxa -tour of Prada and Madrid- Prada was rushed- it needs a tour by itself. The stroll and food part of the tour was very good, especially the stop for Vermouth and Tapas. Arantxa is very personable and down to earth. She was willing to answer any questions and was excited to see us when we ran into her a few days later.
May 17: Beatrice- guided walking tour of Madrid- was very good, the pace was good and she was flexible to our needs and wants. She explained lots and answered questions well.
The evening of Flamenco was not as good as we hoped for; while enjoyable to some degree, it felt like an amateur production.
May 18: we had a free day to explore on our own and we enjoyed the break and some down time. It's a good idea to work some down time into the tour.
May 19: David, who drove us from Madrid to Segovia and then Salamanca, then to Burgos the next day, was very good, he showed us some good sights along the way and was very personable and answered questions well.
Elena in Segovia was also good and very thorough, she didn't hurry us and again answered questions well. The restaurant Meson de Candido was very good, and the view of the aqueduct was spectacular.
The NH Palacio de Castellanos was very good with good rooms, great location, and a nice restaurant on the patio.
May 20: Carmen's tour of Salamanca was mixed- parts of it were very good, such as the glimpses into the university grounds and cloisters, but she seemed distracted and spent a lot of time checking her phone.
The NH Palacio de Burgos was outstanding, with a large room, beautiful eating area next to an old cloister, comfortable lobby, and a great location.
May 21: Johan the young driver to Atapeurca was very sweet even with limited English. He did a great job.
Atapuerca was a highlight- it was fascinating and the archeologist who gave us the tour was really interesting.
The tour of Burgos with Rosalia was also fascinating- she showed us many highlight of the city's interesting history and was very engaging, asking us question and checking our knowledge.
May 22: The transfer to Bilbao was quiet and good.
The Hotel Sercotel Coliseo was good, with a good location and nice rooms.
Tour of Bilbao and Guggenheim with Ana was also good- she explained the museum well and her walking tour of the old city was interesting but not very comprehensive. It did feel rushed at the end. She did suggest a very good restaurant, though, which we really enjoyed. It was unfortunate that the tour was later in the day and we didn't get a chance to go back to Guggenheim on our own. It would have warranted a whole day just for that.
May 23: Diego won all our hearts- he was down to earth; he didn't know all the historical details, but he knew the local area and great places to take us. He took his time with us, let us explore at our own pace, and showed us all kinds of local spots. He joined us at meals and got to know us and let us get to know him and his perspectives on the local culture and history. His input was very valuable.
Patxi the sheep farmer (and his sheep dogs) were a highlight for us.
May 24: Diego took us to San Sebastian through the coastal route which was again spectacular.
The Hotel Zenit San Sebastian had great staff and a good restaurant, but was in a bad location for tourists on foot (especially an older lady) - it was a half hour brisk walk to the old town where our tours started, and also where the sights and good eating places are.
May 25: The e-bike tour was fun with a great guide, Pelayo. It's a great way to see different aspects of a good sized city.
The evening food tour with Imano was good, but felt abbreviated- we stopped for 4 Pintxos which were very good, but it felt like Imano was in a hurry and he didn't give a lot of detail about the history of the area and the food.
May 26: This was another good day with Diego exploring the local area- Pasai Donibane was a highlight, even in the rain. Diego picked out a good lunch of Pintxos for us in Hondarribia. We then went to the winery Hiruzta, which had lovely Txakolli wine.
May 27: The train from San Sebastian to Barcelona was lovely- the train was comfortable, had good coffee and tea, and the scenery was gorgeous. The transfer to the hotel was prompt and courteous.
The Hotel Ciutat de Barcelona was not good- it felt more like a North American college dorm room than a nice hotel- the rooms were small, there was no kettle, cups, or fridge, the safe was difficult to use and on the floor so hard to get to, the bathroom was outdated with a very slippery shower. The bed was uncomfortable and the mattress felt like it was covered in rubber. There were only sheets and no blankets on the bed. While we expect some street noise, the building itself was noisy and it felt like there was a youth party going on. Any one of these things would have been tolerable, but the accumulation of them was too much. In addition, there was no restaurant and the provided breakfast was not good- with little selection in food. By then we had decided to move and were glad we did.
The Hotel Icon BCN (Petit Palace) was very nice- the room was small but pleasant, with the expected amenities such as a kettle, tea, coffee, and cups. The staff (including Alicia the manager) were very pleasant and the lobby and restaurant were excellent with good food and drinks. The breakfast was very good with lots of variety and eggs cooked to order.
May 28: The Barcelona city tour with Gemma was interesting with some good insights into history of the area and we got see parts of the city we would never have found ourselves. However, it did feel rushed, especially around the churches downtown and when we got to La Sagrada Familia.
May 29: La Costa Brava was gorgeous where Shilo took us along a path on the shore which was lovely. He adapted his plans to accommodate Aunt Mary's abilities. The tour of Girona was also very enjoyable and Shilo shared some good insights with us.
May 30: Guy took us to Montserrat which was spectacular. He was both informative and very nicely easy-going, allowing us to tour the church on our own while he took Mary up the funicular. (My fear of heights prevented me from going). Then we went to Felix winery, which was another highlight for us. Christina, the owner (with Felix of course) was delightful, and explained the wine making process in wonderful detail. Their wine is very good! Guy also took us to one of their vineyards with its gorgeous old grape vines. We would highly recommend this winery for future tours.
This was really the end of our tour, although we stayed in Barcelona for three more days, which was a pleasant end to the holiday. One improvement i would suggest is a day with no tours in the middle of the trip, just to provide some rest. We were tired from learning so much by that time!
Thank you, Karin, it was a great trip.

Local specialist: Karin Eckhard
Karin
Karin Eckhard
Local specialist in O Barco de Valdeorras | Reviewed on Jun 28, 2022

Dear Catherine and Mary-Jo, thank you very much for taking the time to make such a detailed review. I enjoyed reading it. I am pleased to hear that you had a great trip and was such a pleasure to work with you ladies. Just one little comment, some of the activities might have seemed rushed because you had a lot of activities packed into your itinerary so, in order for it to go smoothly, the guides had to be quite strict with times. :-). Again, thank you so much for this amazing review. Karin

An Extraordinary Trip to Portugal
Portugal | Apr 20 - May 1, 2022

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Brigette B.
Chicago, IL | Reviewed on May 18, 2022

First and foremost, accolades to kimkim, Espiritu Travel, and Karin Eckhard for planning my family’s trip to Portugal; it was extraordinary. We are still reminiscing about the culture, food, and people of Portugal. Karin did an incredible job developing our very thoughtful and organized trip plans.

The tours and private transfers that Karin arranged were above outstanding. Our tour guides and private transfers were prompt, professional, and very personable. Our tour guides were extremely... read more

First and foremost, accolades to kimkim, Espiritu Travel, and Karin Eckhard for planning my family’s trip to Portugal; it was extraordinary. We are still reminiscing about the culture, food, and people of Portugal. Karin did an incredible job developing our very thoughtful and organized trip plans.

The tours and private transfers that Karin arranged were above outstanding. Our tour guides and private transfers were prompt, professional, and very personable. Our tour guides were extremely knowledgeable about the various parts of Portugal that we visited and each one made our experience a true five-star delight: Porto (Sergio, Pedro), Douro Valley (Nelson), Aveiro (Marta), Coimbra (Marta), Tomar (Marta), Lisbon (Marta), Sintra (Nuno), Cascais (Nuno), Evora (Miguel), and other various locations in the Alentejo Region (Miguel, Joanna) and the Algarve (Pedro).

The hotel accommodations that Karin arranged were beyond expectation. The beauty and quaintness of Infante Sagres Hotel in Porto made us feel like we stepped back in history. Corpo Santo Hotel in Lisbon enveloped us in a part of history pampered by the staff and remarkable amenities. The M’ar de ar Aqueduto in Evora was classic and serene offering an exceptional gastronomy experience. The Tivoli Carvoeiro Algarve Resort was a beautiful, ocean paradise.

Special shout out to Marta for taking us to several quaint cafes off the beaten path that were special to her.

Karin was accessible throughout our trip. Her messages were timely and she assisted us with restaurant reservations on a number of occasions. She made us feel like VIPs. We are already talking about our next trip, and we will definitely want Karin to be our point person. We are also highly recommending kimkim, Espiritu Travel, and Karin to family, friends, and coworkers.

Obrigada!!!

Hotel Reviews
Infante Sagres
Porto

The beauty and quaintness of Infante Sagres made us feel like we stepped back in history. Excellent breakfast and very lovely staff.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
M'ar de Ar Aqueduto
Évora

The M'ar de Ar Aqueduto hotel was classic and serene offering an exceptional gastronomy experience. The spa was great and the hotel grounds are beautiful.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
M'ar de Ar Aqueduto
Évora

The M'ar de Ar Aqueduto hotel was classic and serene offering an exceptional gastronomy experience. The spa was great and the hotel grounds are beautiful.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Activity Reviews
Privately Guided Tour of Porto
Porto

Embarking on our first full day in Portugal we met our lovely guide, Pedro, and immediately delved into Porto’s history through a walking tour. Pedro was warm and patient, adjusting the pace of our tour as necessary to help accommodate the elderly. He was extremely knowledgeable about Porto’s history, and he answered all of our questions along the way. Engaging in conversation was a breeze and very insightful. We truly felt Pedro went above and beyond. We highly recommend this tour!

Quality of Experience
Guides, drivers and staff
Transport
Porto Culinary Experience
Porto

Shortly after arriving to Portugal, we met with Sergio for a walking culinary experience. Sergio was very personable and knowledgeable about Portuguese cuisine (cod, sardines, traditional dishes, and pastries) and wine. Sergio guided us through the city center experiencing great dishes, cafes, and restaurants along the way, then he led us off the beaten path to experience more local treasures. This tour was an excellent way to begin our Porto experience!

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, drivers and staff
Transport
Private Day Trip to Sintra, Cascais & Estoril
Lisbon

Our excursion to Sintra and Cascais with our amazing guide, Nuno, was pretty magical. The Quinta da Regaleira that we visited in Sintra was like something out of a fanciful novel. Every bit of it was picturesque and at the risk of sounding corny, exploring the grounds was full of wonder. Nuno then took us to Restaurante da Adraga, the best beach-side, seafood restaurant we’ve ever been to. The food, wine, dessert, and service were top notch. After lunch, Nuno made sure we had an opportunity to visit and enjoy the shops and sights of Cascais. To top off our experience, this particular day was Freedom Day. Sharing in that moment with Nuno was a heart-warming experience. We feel blessed to have such wonderful and vivid memories of this day.

Quality of Experience
Guides, drivers and staff
Transport
Private Transfer {{start_location}} to {{end_location}}, via Tomar & Knights Templar
Portugal

If you have a curiosity or enthusiasm for the Middle Ages, Tomar is a place that transports you to the period of the Knights Templar. Here, in Tomar, we visited the Castle of the Knights Templar. This site is an architectural marvel, and we were graciously allowed time to really take in the expanse of the castle and its grounds. Moments were powerful, serene, and haunting. A must-see for any history buff!

Quality of Experience
Guides, drivers and staff
Transport
Guided Visit of Aveiro with Tuk-Tuk & Boat Tour
Portugal

The day in Aveiro and Costa Nova with Marta was a treat! Marta is an incredibly knowledgeable guide with a well-rounded repertoire of places to visit and things to try. First, we spent the morning and early afternoon touring Aveiro, learning about the city’s large array of Art Nouveau buildings as well as its history as a once, major exporter of sea salts. We viewed the active salt flats via tuk-tuk and visited local shops by foot to collect a variety of local salts, canned fish, and egg yolk treats. Perfect for culinary aficionados or home cooks! We also enjoyed a boat tour on the canals of Aveiro where we learned that many of the guides are indeed local fishermen. It was a charming city. After Aveiro, Marta took us to dine in another town called Costa Nova. Here we enjoyed a fresh and delicious seafood lunch at Canastra do Fidalgo. Conversation with Marta was intriguing. We felt like we understood Portugal and way-of-life in the country much more holistically through her insights.

Quality of Experience
Guides, drivers and staff
Transport
Explore Alentejo -Jeep Safari through a Cork Fork & Visit to a Olive Oil Estate
Portugal

Now into the wild: the safari cork tour was a quiet diversion from our city excursions, as we made our journey south to the Alentejo Region. Our safari’s guide, Joanna, was both personable and quite knowledgeable about the lands that produced cork and wine. Always interested in understanding origination, production, and distribution, our visit to a cork factory after our safari tour was appreciated. One of us is now happily awaiting a unique piece of cork furniture directly from Cortiçarte. Our primary guide in Alentejo/Evora was Miguel. Miguel was outstanding! He truly went above and beyond to maximize our experiences in the region with care, consideration, and kindness. Amongst the most enjoyable of the experiences that we shared in the Alentejo was our visit to the small olive orchard, the Monte da Oliveira Velha estate, where Amor é Cego is produced. There, our hosts João and family warmly greeted us and shared the history of the estate before welcoming us to their table for an olive oil tasting and lunch. This experience was truly special.

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, drivers and staff
Transport
Private Transfer Hotel to Hotel
Porto
Quality of Experience
Guides, drivers and staff
Transport
Get to Know Lisbon
Lisbon
Quality of Experience
Guides, drivers and staff
Transport
Evening of Fado
Lisbon
Quality of Experience
Food
Private Transfer Évora to Lisbon Airport
Évora
Quality of Experience
Guides, drivers and staff
Transport
Algarve Sunset Experience
Portugal

There was no better way to end an amazing trip to Portugal than with an Algarve sunset experience guided by Pedro! Pedro was very personable, courteous, and possessed a wealth of knowledge of the Algarve. En route to St. Vincent Cape of Sagres via a 4WD jeep, Pedro took us to see some of the most picturesque views of beaches and breathtaking landscapes, particularly Cordoama Viewpoint! Pedro planned our experience perfectly giving us plenty of time to take in these views along the way. Our trip concluded at St. Vincent Cape of Sagres where we witnessed the most captivating sunset while enjoying great wine and bread with chorizo.

Quality of Experience
Guides, drivers and staff
Transport
Day Excursion to Douro Valley, Wine Tasting & River Cruise
Porto

Our day started with meeting our incredible tour guide, Nelson, who guided us on our day excursion to Douro Valley. He filled us with the history of Douro Valley; Portuguese history and culture; and, insight on the vineyards' planting, harvesting, and production. One of the highlights of our tour was our lunch at Toca da Raposa, a quaint, family-owned restaurant that featured an excellent menu and wine selection. The wine tasting at Quinta da Pacheca was a charming experience, which we thoroughly enjoyed.

Quality of Experience
Guides, drivers and staff
Transport
Local specialist: Karin Eckhard
Karin
Karin Eckhard
Local specialist in O Barco de Valdeorras | Reviewed on May 18, 2022

Brigette & family, this review leaves me almost leaves me without words. It truly was a pleasure working with you and your family to create this fantastic trip Thank you so much for taking this much time to give reviews not only for the overall trip but all the services we don't often get this complete review. I will be forwarding this message to all the guides you had during your trip. I hope to help you great another amazing trip in the future. Warmest and sincerest regards, Karin :-)

I really appreciated the service that went in...
Portugal | Apr 16 - Apr 25, 2022

K
Karen S.
San Leandro, CA | Reviewed on May 06, 2022

I really appreciated the service that went into planning our trip. We stayed in Estoi at Palacio de Estoi. I appreciated staying out of the way of the more touristed areas. The food was good, the room and view was lovely, the pool was very nice. Taking a car to where we wanted to go worked out really well. We had a really nice boat trip out of Rio Formosa with a guide Joao from Fantastikspirit out of Olhao. Loved the hotel Almalusa hotel in Lisbon. The breakfast at the Almalusa was really... read more

I really appreciated the service that went into planning our trip. We stayed in Estoi at Palacio de Estoi. I appreciated staying out of the way of the more touristed areas. The food was good, the room and view was lovely, the pool was very nice. Taking a car to where we wanted to go worked out really well. We had a really nice boat trip out of Rio Formosa with a guide Joao from Fantastikspirit out of Olhao. Loved the hotel Almalusa hotel in Lisbon. The breakfast at the Almalusa was really nice and the location perfect. We rented electric bikes and rode to Belem to see the monuments and monastery which was great. We also saw a a great exhibit at the Museum Colecao de Berardo- Berardo's personal collection. We did have to call a couple of times for some minor hiccoughs and the team handled it. We are vegetarians and it was easy to find good food in Lisbon.

Hotel Review
Pousada Palacio De Estoi - Monument Hotel & SLH
Faro

The palace is away from the most touristed areas but nestled in the hills of the Algarve with lovely grounds and view. It was really nice to stay away from a crowded area. It felt special. The restaurant was good. The pool has a lovely open view. The location was good and we drove to all the spots we wanted to see- old town Faro, Lagos, Sagres and Cabo Sao Vicente, Rio Formosa. We even drove to Sevilla Spain - 1.5 hour away to spend the day.

Tips for future travelers

You need to book your dinner meals as the restaurant has limited seatings.

Authenticity & Character
What's not to like about a restored Roman villa?
Location
On a hillside with amazing grounds and views.
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
the room was large
Activity Review
Birdwatching Excursion in Ria Formosa
Portugal

Beautiful ride. We didn't see a lot of birds but the excursion was beautiful.

Quality of Experience
Guides, drivers and staff
Local specialist: Karin Eckhard
Karin
Karin Eckhard
Local specialist in O Barco de Valdeorras | Reviewed on May 06, 2022

Karen, Thank you very much for taking the time to do a review. I am pleased to hear that your family. had a lovely vacation in Portugal. It was my pleasure to help you plan this trip. Karin :-)

Great trip organized well
Spain | Dec 24 - Jan 1, 2022

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Ravi R.
Redwood City, CA | Reviewed on Jan 21, 2022

Due to Covid, this trip was booked last minute due to several iterations. Karin made it possible and was even available during the trip in spite of a personal situation. She is the best to work with.

Local specialist: Karin Eckhard
Karin
Karin Eckhard
Local specialist in O Barco de Valdeorras | Reviewed on Jan 21, 2022

Ravi, thank you so much for this review. I am so pleased that you were finally able to make the trip despite having reservations about traveling because of the Covid situation in addition to having flight cancelations. I look forward to helping you plan another trip. :-)

Karin planned our trip across Northern Spain ...
Spain | Aug 31 - Sep 8, 2021

C
Catherine G.
Wentzville, MO | Reviewed on Oct 08, 2021

Karin planned our trip across Northern Spain that we had wanted to do for many years. Although we had some specific places that we wanted to see, Karin was able to recommend several places that we would never have found, and that absolutely delighted us. She hired guides that were knowledgable, friendly and flexible, and twice when an emergency came up for them, another was substituted at the last minute, which was also great! We could never have done that. I recommend Karin, and Espiritu... read more

Karin planned our trip across Northern Spain that we had wanted to do for many years. Although we had some specific places that we wanted to see, Karin was able to recommend several places that we would never have found, and that absolutely delighted us. She hired guides that were knowledgable, friendly and flexible, and twice when an emergency came up for them, another was substituted at the last minute, which was also great! We could never have done that. I recommend Karin, and Espiritu travel with Kimkim

Hotel Review
San Francisco Hotel Monumento
Santiago de Compostela

Housed in a former Franciscan Monestary, this hotel is very comfortable, but not luxurious. It has a wonderful atmosphere, and is located a block from the Cathedral and other attractions. I would stay there again gladly.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Local specialist: Karin Eckhard
Karin
Karin Eckhard
Local specialist in O Barco de Valdeorras | Reviewed on Oct 08, 2021

Catherine, thank you for taking the time to do the review. I am pleased to read that you had such a lovely long await trip to northern Spain and that you were able to see some hidden gems.

Portugal Travel Extraordinaire
Portugal | Sep 9 - Sep 24, 2021

Ellen
Ellen F.
Taos, NM | Reviewed on Sep 28, 2021

We have traveled a great deal in our lives, but concerns about handling our own arrangements in light of the ever changing Covid restrictions led us to Kimkim, Espiritu Travel and Karin Exkhard our travel consultant. We were so pleased with every aspect of our trip, the attention to details, response time, selection of tours, guides, and flexibility when changes were either necessary due to inclement weather, or we decided to add a tour mid trip, or change a destination during the final days... read more

We have traveled a great deal in our lives, but concerns about handling our own arrangements in light of the ever changing Covid restrictions led us to Kimkim, Espiritu Travel and Karin Exkhard our travel consultant. We were so pleased with every aspect of our trip, the attention to details, response time, selection of tours, guides, and flexibility when changes were either necessary due to inclement weather, or we decided to add a tour mid trip, or change a destination during the final days of our trip. Karin and her team were exceptional and we will without question return to them again, and use Kimkim in the future for other destinations.

We loved our time in Portugal, the care being taken regarding Covid-19, the warmth, friendliness and knowledge of everyone we encountered. Hotel selections, tours and guides were all spot on, reflecting a genuine understanding of the interests we expressed for our trip.

Our exploration of the walled city of Evora, in the Alentejo region, was enhanced by the knowledge of Martin, our guide. Our visit to a Cork Estate and Vineyard in the Alentejo region with a 4 x 4 Jeep tour, was an excellent way to deepen our understanding of the growth and production of cork, the numerous products made from cork, and the importance put on the preservation of these trees. We really enjoyed learning about the Alentejo region and the exceptional wines produced in this large region of the country.

We also, with Martin, visited several of the impressive megalithic monuments discovered in the Alentejo region. These standing stones, which you can walk among, predate Stonehenge by 3000 years. This day also included an olive oil tasting at a small organic farm, that has been in operation for three generations. They create an extraordinary olive oil, Amore é Cego "Love is Blind" and truly witness the love this family has for the trees, the olives themselves, and the creative process used to protect the olives and create this extremely high quality olive oil through the use of sustainable agricultural processes. The opportunity to sit among the olive trees for our tasting and to share a beautifully prepared lunch with the family, (both teachers) and their beautiful daughters, was a high point of our trip.

From Evora we traveled by private transfer to Lagos, which we used as a base for our exploration of the Algarve. The recommendations on what to do in this area while on our own were also spot on. We explored many of the beaches on foot, even walking from town to Ponta da Piedade shortly after our arrival in Lagos.

Although we'd planned a trip inland to explore the Western Algarve, inclement weather prompted our guide Pedro Marreiros to propose an alternative coastal tour, which turned out to be the perfect decision. Pedro's knowledge of the area, and our opportunity to see some of the smaller and more wild coastal areas and to visit Cape St. Vincent was a perfect day.

The next day as rain was intermittent, our planned Catamaran trip was cancelled. We were informed as soon as this decision was made, and a refund was promptly issued. With proper rain gear, we walked the long beach in Lagos and set off on foot to explore many of the other beautiful beaches, some quite close to town.

Our last day in Portugal we requested a transfer from Porto to Lisbon with a stop off to visit the city of Aveiro, often described as the Venice of Portugal. Our driver Anna was excellent and she took the time to show us around the city, encouraged us to take the canal tour even when rain was threatening (it held off until we finished our boat trip) and then she took us to another nearby community, Praia da Costa Nova, to show us the beach and exceptional tile work on the houses. She was delightful, and offered us a truly memorable last day in Portugal.

A big thank you to everyone who helped to make our first visit to Portugal truly memorable. We look forward to returning!

Local specialist: Karin Eckhard
Karin
Karin Eckhard
Local specialist in O Barco de Valdeorras | Reviewed on Sep 28, 2021

I don't have words to respond to this review! Other than wow and thank you so much for taking the time to write such detail. I am so pleased that you had such a fabulous time, it is what our team always strives for. I enjoyed working with you and Donna to create this wonderful trip!! I look forward to working with you in the future. Karin :-)

Portugal done right
Portugal | Aug 21 - Aug 29, 2021

M
Michael V.
Altadena, CA | Reviewed on Sep 06, 2021

Every guide we had, and there were several, was prompt, professional, engaging and courteous!
I’d never travel again without going through Kim Kim!

Local specialist: Karin Eckhard
Karin
Karin Eckhard
Local specialist in O Barco de Valdeorras | Reviewed on Sep 06, 2021

So lovely to read this review! I am thrilled that you had a fantastic time in Portugal. We look forward to helping you plan another trip in the future. :-)

What a blast!
Portugal | Aug 21 - Aug 29, 2021

S
Stella S.
Altadena, CA | Reviewed on Sep 06, 2021

We could not have asked for a better itinerary. We saw so much in such a short amount of time, yet had enough time to ourselves to explore.

Every guide was friendly and professional. It was like meeting a new friend in Portugal everyday.

Thank you so much for the very well thought of tour for us. I will definitely recommend you to my friends and family!

Local specialist: Karin Eckhard
Karin
Karin Eckhard
Local specialist in O Barco de Valdeorras | Reviewed on Sep 06, 2021

Thank you Stella for this review and for posting all these great photos! :-) I am so please you had a blast and have left Portugal will lovely memories of your trip. It certainly was a pleasure to help you plan this trip.

Northern Portugal:10days
Portugal | Aug 8 - Aug 17, 2021

Kaisha
Kaisha S.
Germany | Reviewed on Aug 20, 2021

The trip was planned really well. Karin actually took into considerations my preferences and requests and planned it out well in a very short period of time. Karin and Marina were available even during the trip in case I had questions and were very prompt in their responses. They really were experts in the city and provided recommendations on what to do during my trip in a short period of tome with a blend of power packed days and free days for leisure so that it felt like a holiday. The... read more

The trip was planned really well. Karin actually took into considerations my preferences and requests and planned it out well in a very short period of time. Karin and Marina were available even during the trip in case I had questions and were very prompt in their responses. They really were experts in the city and provided recommendations on what to do during my trip in a short period of tome with a blend of power packed days and free days for leisure so that it felt like a holiday. The locals who were responsible for walking tours Pedro, Jose actually customized the tour based on my preferences which is different from the typical tours and also the Nelson and Marta customized the day tours very well. They were experienced, know what they are doing, checked with me what I prefer or would want to make of the day and made the tours fun. This is a rare ask as usually the tours are standardized and there is no flexibility. Karin planned every details with recommendations in each city and was a splendid experience. This was my first experience with Kimkim and I would definitely recommend it. Obrigada<3

Local specialist: Karin Eckhard
Karin
Karin Eckhard
Local specialist in O Barco de Valdeorras | Reviewed on Aug 20, 2021

Kaisha, thank you so much for this lovely review and the attached photos of your trip. It was a pleasure to help you plan this last-minute getaway to Portugal. I am so pleased that you enjoyed the trip and all the fantastic activities. Karin :-)

Cuba was a nice place to get away from being connected all the time
Cuba | Jan 16 - Jan 20, 2020

Sally
Sally P.
Canada | Reviewed on Jan 21, 2021

Cuba was a nice place to get away from being connected all the time. The great weather is a huge plus.

Usually, I personally prefer mid-budget, backpacking style trips, but I was with family and saw that Cuba is easier to see with a guide, so I opted for a guided tour. For my first time in Cuba, I wanted to see a little bit of everything, so I asked for an itinerary which included Havana, Viñales, and the beach. This itinerary is a very common one, and the price appears to be similar to tour... read more

Cuba was a nice place to get away from being connected all the time. The great weather is a huge plus.

Usually, I personally prefer mid-budget, backpacking style trips, but I was with family and saw that Cuba is easier to see with a guide, so I opted for a guided tour. For my first time in Cuba, I wanted to see a little bit of everything, so I asked for an itinerary which included Havana, Viñales, and the beach. This itinerary is a very common one, and the price appears to be similar to tour packages I found on other sites. Since it is a private guided tour with taxi for the whole stay, it is pricey. There was a mix up with the prices (I received the wrong pricing), and my trip was almost canceled last minute, but Kate from KimKim reached out to me and we resolved the issue.

In Cuba, Darián, who was our guide for Havana and was with us for the early part of Viñales, was very professional and knowledgeable. He used to be a professor so his history and ecology knowledge was immense. If we had any questions, he was very helpful, and went above and beyond to make sure we were comfortable at all times. The driver we had was also very skillful, always on time and prompt, and always had water for us in his car which was great. He also took us to a beach for the last day. Beach was beautiful and mostly locals only. The guide at Viñales was great. I recommend the walking tour over the horseback riding tour if you only have a day as you get to see more in detail, have a chance to climb up a steep mountain and walk through a cave as well. Bring some cash as you stop by a farm on this tour which sells homemade cigars and coffee.

The casa particular we stayed at was a bit far from Old Havana, but walkable to the Hotel Nacional and the Malecón, near a popular restaurant and a park with wifi (very spotty/poor), and was very clean. There were two bathrooms (with new towels provided upon request), and the breakfast prepared every morning was very filling and excellent. Also, we asked about beach towels, and they went above and beyond by providing sunscreen as well (we were actually running pretty low). The beds were mostly okay, nothing outstanding, but we were usually tired after a long day, and slept fine. Next time would probably prefer to stay closer to Old Havana.

Overall, the days were packed and busy. We got to see a lot in a short time. I would say this is good for anyone looking to get a taste of Cuba. Definitely would've liked a tad more time in each place we went. I appreciated that we were not really taken to shops (unless we wanted to go) since on other tour packages, I always feel pressured to buy something. The old car tour was just okay, tad disappointing. The places we went in the car tour were not very interesting, and we definitely weren't prepared for it - bring sunglasses and maybe hair tie. I think driving even a short while along the Malecón would've been nicer, and getting some pictures taken with a better background. Plan to come back, but it will be more leisurely paced and hopefully, a longer trip.

Side note: I had baggage issues where Air France/Delta lost my baggage, and Karin and Darián did their best to keep me updated on the bags. I am very grateful for their part in this as the lack of internet access had made me very worried. Unfortunately, I never got those bags until more than a month later, but that is the airlines' fault 100%.

Local specialist: Karin Eckhard
Karin
Karin Eckhard
Local specialist in O Barco de Valdeorras | Reviewed on Jan 21, 2021

Hi Sally, thank you for taking the time to write a review especially after so much time has passed, one year in fact. And thanks for sharing your photos! I was pleased to read that you and your family had a good time and were able to sample a bit of Cuba in a short time. There is certainly a lot to see in Cuba and a longer more leisurely pace is ideal.

I wanted to respond to your comment about the location of the casa particular in Havana. The casa you stayed in is located in... read more

Hi Sally, thank you for taking the time to write a review especially after so much time has passed, one year in fact. And thanks for sharing your photos! I was pleased to read that you and your family had a good time and were able to sample a bit of Cuba in a short time. There is certainly a lot to see in Cuba and a longer more leisurely pace is ideal.

I wanted to respond to your comment about the location of the casa particular in Havana. The casa you stayed in is located in the Vedado neighborhood of Havana rather than Old Havana and there is a reason for it. Old Havana is lovely with its cobbled streets and historic buildings but it's filled with tourists, not Cubans, other than those working in the bars, restaurants, and souvenir shops. Vedado is a real Cuban neighborhood and the place to be if really want to get to know Cuban life. In addition, it is a more modern and affluent neighborhood, but it is still packed with bars, restaurants, music venues and, best of all, regular Cubans. There are hundreds of fun things to do in Vedado. Old Havana is a short 10-minute ride ($3) from Vedado. I understand that you would have preferred to be in Old Havana but I wanted to give a quick explanation as to why we use a particular location in Havana.

In regards to the classic car ride, you should have definitely been driven down the Malecón! That is the point of the ride. If this was not done, my apologies as it should have been. If you had mentioned it to Darián at the time, I am sure he could have rectified it.

A quick mention about shops, our guides never bring travelers to shops unless asked as you have mentioned. While the trip is booked as a package (i.e. organized), all our trips are customized to each traveler so activities are not part of any type of ¨tour group¨.

It was a pleasure helping you create and plan your family trip to Cuba. :-)

Overall excellent experience...
Cuba | Nov 24 - Nov 29, 2019

Lucas
Lucas T.
Colorado Springs, CO | Reviewed on Dec 03, 2019

Overall excellent experience. Vinales National Park was worth the 3 hour drive. Bike ride through Vinales was incredible. Very thankful that we did a full day guided tour in Havana on our first day. It helped us get our bearings and find a comfort zone for the remainder of the trip. Karin was very responsive and tremendous to work with.

Local specialist: Karin Eckhard
Karin
Karin Eckhard
Local specialist in O Barco de Valdeorras | Reviewed on Dec 03, 2019

Lucas, thank you very much for this review and I am pleased to hear that overall you had an excellent experience and that you had enjoyed your time in Viñales. It was a pleasure helping you create your customized trip. :-)

Truly a reliable travel agency and an amazing experience
Cuba | Oct 15 - Oct 19, 2019

N
Niki N.
Singapore | Reviewed on Oct 29, 2019

I am very impressed with the service. I submitted my request less than a week before I decided to make a trip to Cuba. Karin responded quickly to my request and curated an itinerary for me. I’m grateful for the swift respond and the customised planned itinerary with accommodation included.

When I arrived Cuba, it took me a while to find my tour guide (Fernando). My feedback is that the signages could be bigger. But other than that, it was alright.

Throughout the trip, I had 2 tour guides... read more

I am very impressed with the service. I submitted my request less than a week before I decided to make a trip to Cuba. Karin responded quickly to my request and curated an itinerary for me. I’m grateful for the swift respond and the customised planned itinerary with accommodation included.

When I arrived Cuba, it took me a while to find my tour guide (Fernando). My feedback is that the signages could be bigger. But other than that, it was alright.

Throughout the trip, I had 2 tour guides with me - Fernando and Laura. Both had given me an amazing overview of Havana and a delightful time. On days that were meant to be spent at my own leisure, they provided me great recommendations and always cheerful. They did make some tweaks here and there. For eg my itinerary stated half day at Vinales but they explained that I wouldn’t see much of it with a day trip as most times would have been spent on the road due to the long distance ride. Hence instead suggested to bring me to Las Terrasaz and Finca Vingia, which is totally enjoyable. My itinerary did not include Buona Vista social club, maridaje (cigar ceremony) and cannon shooting ceremony but they went out of their way to arrange it for me.

Honestly I came to Cuba with lil expectations but I left my heart (heavily) as I totally enjoyed myself thoroughly. My only gripe is that I didn’t stay longer than 4 nights. I will definitely be back again (for the beaches which I think it’s amazing) and without a doubt would engage Espiritu travel services.

Local specialist: Karin Eckhard
Karin
Karin Eckhard
Local specialist in O Barco de Valdeorras | Reviewed on Oct 29, 2019

Glad you thoroughly enjoyed yourself! Cuba can be addictive! I look forward to helping you plan another....longer trip in the future. Karin :-)

A great introduction to Cuba
Cuba | Oct 9 - Oct 13, 2019

Aneri
Aneri P.
San Francisco, CA | Reviewed on Oct 22, 2019

Carlos is a great and experienced guide. He was very candid and happy to answer any questions about Cuba, the political situation, and more. It was a refreshing and fascinating introduction to the country - our only regret was that our trip was too short.

Local specialist: Karin Eckhard
Karin
Karin Eckhard
Local specialist in O Barco de Valdeorras | Reviewed on Oct 22, 2019

Aneri, thank you very much for the review. I am pleased to hear you had an excellent introduction to Cuba.

driving Spain
Spain | Sep 6 - Sep 21, 2019

J
joe h.
Wheeler, WI | Reviewed on Sep 26, 2019

My wife and I recently took a trip to Spain and it was a trip of a lifetime in large part due to the creativity and attention to detail of Karin and the entire KimKim team.

Following a week on the Camino de Santiago from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela we did a driving tour of southern Spain including Salamanca, Caceres, Toledo, Seville, Córdoba and Granada. Kimkim’s support was top notch from start to finish.

Creative pre-trip planning based based on our likes/ dislikes and strong... read more

My wife and I recently took a trip to Spain and it was a trip of a lifetime in large part due to the creativity and attention to detail of Karin and the entire KimKim team.

Following a week on the Camino de Santiago from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela we did a driving tour of southern Spain including Salamanca, Caceres, Toledo, Seville, Córdoba and Granada. Kimkim’s support was top notch from start to finish.

Creative pre-trip planning based based on our likes/ dislikes and strong attention to detail led to an excellent experience. Karin arranged all the hotels, rental car and local guides in each city. It all cane together flawlessly. Each local guide was born, raised and still resides in their home city. Each brought an individuality to their tour and were passionate about their hometown and patient with our questions. We couldn’t help but be excited by their passion and knowledge.

We plan to work with KimKim again on our future trips.

Local specialist: Karin Eckhard
Karin
Karin Eckhard
Local specialist in O Barco de Valdeorras | Reviewed on Sep 26, 2019

Thank you Joe and Diane, it has been a pleasure to help you create the trip of a lifetime!

Walking & site seeing in Spain
Spain | May 12 - May 28, 2019

J
Jamie R.
Chapel Hill, NC | Reviewed on Jun 05, 2019

We had a great trip and are sending a big shout out and thanks to our local specialist - Karin Eckhard w/Espiritu Travels - and her team. We were in expert, caring hands w/Karin: she was very responsive and capable in orchestrating our 16-day trip to Spain and Portugal with "lots of moving parts". We were pretty specific in where we wanted to go and what we were interested in (architecture, history, nature, hiking/biking, food/wine, culture) and she accommodated it all! Everything went like... read more

We had a great trip and are sending a big shout out and thanks to our local specialist - Karin Eckhard w/Espiritu Travels - and her team. We were in expert, caring hands w/Karin: she was very responsive and capable in orchestrating our 16-day trip to Spain and Portugal with "lots of moving parts". We were pretty specific in where we wanted to go and what we were interested in (architecture, history, nature, hiking/biking, food/wine, culture) and she accommodated it all! Everything went like clockwork - all the drivers and guides were on-time and prepared, all the hotels and activities were ready and waiting for us. The drivers and guides were wonderful company and very well informed - we loved spending time with them and learned a lot.

Local specialist: Karin Eckhard
Karin
Karin Eckhard
Local specialist in O Barco de Valdeorras | Reviewed on Jun 05, 2019

Thank you for the lovely review! It was a pleasure helping to create your trip to Spain and Portugal. :-)

Portugal in 5 Days
Portugal | May 23 - May 27, 2019

L
Lina D.
Colombia | Reviewed on Jun 05, 2019

Karin was just great. She planned the best trip ever and help us get the most of Portugal in just 1 week. All the hotels, tours and transfers were perfect. She was always available and proactive while we were there.
The Kim Kim Team is also great. They have this great company that is always willing to satisfy and help their clients!

Local specialist: Karin Eckhard
Karin
Karin Eckhard
Local specialist in O Barco de Valdeorras | Reviewed on Jun 05, 2019

Thank you Lina for the lovely message. I am pleased to hear you enjoyed your trip!

Portugal
Portugal | May 9 - May 24, 2019

Marlynn
Marlynn R.
West Linn, OR | Reviewed on May 27, 2019

Almost all of the trip when exactly by the itinerary, except when one time a driver waited to pick us up at the train station where instead we were to be picked up at our hotel. Another time, one tour was rescheduled with no notification to Karin or us, but we were able to get in touch with the tour guide who cancelled and said our tour was rescheduled for the next day which still fit into our schedule. Most memorable places were the Douro Valley and wine and port tasting, and Tomar, the... read more

Almost all of the trip when exactly by the itinerary, except when one time a driver waited to pick us up at the train station where instead we were to be picked up at our hotel. Another time, one tour was rescheduled with no notification to Karin or us, but we were able to get in touch with the tour guide who cancelled and said our tour was rescheduled for the next day which still fit into our schedule. Most memorable places were the Douro Valley and wine and port tasting, and Tomar, the beautiful monastery. Also Sintra and walking up the old castle walls was memorable (it was very hot the day we went up, but we made it and the views were very rewarding.

Local specialist: Karin Eckhard
Karin
Karin Eckhard
Local specialist in O Barco de Valdeorras | Reviewed on May 27, 2019

Thank you Marlynn, for five-star review. So pleased to hear you had a memorable trip!!

5 Days in Cuba - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Cuba | May 15 - May 20, 2019

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Jessica D.
Jersey City, NJ | Reviewed on May 22, 2019

Karin was so easy to work with. Booking the trip could not have been easier.

The trip to Cuba was really seamless and eye opening. Everything went off without a hitch and was well paced. We loved all of our guides. Fernando was waiting for us at the airport in Havana and was with us both days in Havana. He was knowledge, fun and accommodating. His love for Cuba was evident.

He drove us to Trinidad where we stayed at the Casa de Mi y Osi. It was in a perfect location and we could not have... read more

Karin was so easy to work with. Booking the trip could not have been easier.

The trip to Cuba was really seamless and eye opening. Everything went off without a hitch and was well paced. We loved all of our guides. Fernando was waiting for us at the airport in Havana and was with us both days in Havana. He was knowledge, fun and accommodating. His love for Cuba was evident.

He drove us to Trinidad where we stayed at the Casa de Mi y Osi. It was in a perfect location and we could not have asked for two better hosts.

Kirenia promptly met us for an interesting and educational walking tour. We not only saw the tourist spots but also the neighborhoods where many locals lived. We also went to a fantastic pottery making studio.

Luis picked us up the following day for a tour to the mountains. We went to a small coffee farm and hiked to some beautiful waterfalls. Luis was an exceptional guide - so knowledgeable, informative, and a great conversationalist.

The trip ended with Fernando picking us up to travel to Santa Clara. We flew back to the US from Santa Clara. Thank you to all the hosts and guides - we are so happy to have met you all!

Local specialist: Karin Eckhard
Karin
Karin Eckhard
Local specialist in O Barco de Valdeorras | Reviewed on May 22, 2019

Jessica, thank you very much for the lovely review. I am so pleased you had a great trip to Cuba!

Spring Portugal Trip
Portugal | Apr 6 - Apr 21, 2019

W
WARREN F.
Canada | Reviewed on Apr 25, 2019

All hotels were quite fine. Staff in hotels were great . The rooms assigned to me were underwhelming. All private guides were outstanding. Overall the trip was wonderfull.
Warren Finlay

Local specialist: Karin Eckhard
Karin
Karin Eckhard
Local specialist in O Barco de Valdeorras | Reviewed on Apr 25, 2019

Thank you for the review and I am pleased to know that you had a wonderful trip. Historic buildings that have been renovated into hotels and which are located in the city centers, the rooms are often smaller than what one might expect coming from North America.

Cuba 2019, Father and Son trip
Cuba | Apr 14 - Apr 19, 2019

B
Boris K.
Essex, CT | Reviewed on Apr 25, 2019

Very educational trip, tour company did it's best to insure our best possible experience.

Local specialist: Karin Eckhard
Karin
Karin Eckhard
Local specialist in O Barco de Valdeorras | Reviewed on Apr 25, 2019

Thank you, Boris, for this review and I am pleased that you an excellent experience.

Trip to Portugal
Portugal | Mar 29 - Apr 5, 2019

I
Iwona P.
Denver, CO | Reviewed on Apr 25, 2019

Without doubt one of our favorite trip so far! Portugal is an awesome country to visit.

Upon arrival we were warmly welcomed by our driver , our names were mentioned on the board and we felt welcomed and with such a friendly atmosphere we had a fantastic start! The guides and tour were extremely good, very flexible (appreciate this!) and for that the organizer, Karin, deserves a special thanks. We had three great days in Porto and Porto area, which obviously also added up to the experience,... read more

Without doubt one of our favorite trip so far! Portugal is an awesome country to visit.

Upon arrival we were warmly welcomed by our driver , our names were mentioned on the board and we felt welcomed and with such a friendly atmosphere we had a fantastic start! The guides and tour were extremely good, very flexible (appreciate this!) and for that the organizer, Karin, deserves a special thanks. We had three great days in Porto and Porto area, which obviously also added up to the experience, and four days in Lisbon. Both our drivers/guides, Nelson and Rui deserve our special shout out. We had a fantastic time in both of the places. Nelson is a very intuitive guide, knew exactly what we like and we appreciate it. He has chosen a boutique wineries with such a idyllic scenery! The scenery was beautiful and it was a relieve to walk in such a quiet and peaceful environment. He also is quite a singer. So, if you would like a singing tour through the beautiful lands of Douro Valley,he is your guide!

Rui is such a great personality and highly motivated guide (recommendable!), full of life and a great sense of humor. We truly enjoyed getting to know Lisbon and the surrounding areas in his company.

The atmosphere is so special that it really felt like home to us. All respect for Nelson and Rui who do a great job there; a true sample of excellent tour guides! And last but not least, thank you Karin for taking such a great care of us. The accommodations were great, and you made us feel like royals.
Iwona and Tad

Local specialist: Karin Eckhard
Karin
Karin Eckhard
Local specialist in O Barco de Valdeorras | Reviewed on Apr 25, 2019

Thank you Iwona & Tad for this lovely review and I am so pleased to know that it has been one of your favorite trips so far. Portugal is truly an awesome country to visit.

Father Son Havana
Cuba | Mar 13 - Mar 17, 2019

D
Don J.
New York, NY | Reviewed on Mar 22, 2019

Karin and Espiritu Travel teamed up for a great inaugural trip to Havana. Karin communicated well and responsively throughout the entire pre-trip experience.

Julio met me at the airport and was basically a full-time guide from 9-10am until we packed it in for the day. Julio is a proud Cuban and incredibly knowledgeable about history, culture and life in general -- and very customer service (American style) focused. Luis, another guide in training tagged along for a couple of days and was... read more

Karin and Espiritu Travel teamed up for a great inaugural trip to Havana. Karin communicated well and responsively throughout the entire pre-trip experience.

Julio met me at the airport and was basically a full-time guide from 9-10am until we packed it in for the day. Julio is a proud Cuban and incredibly knowledgeable about history, culture and life in general -- and very customer service (American style) focused. Luis, another guide in training tagged along for a couple of days and was a pleasant guy as well. Annie, yet another guide, took us out one night for a nightlife tour. Julio and Luis even met us on our last day for no reason other than to make certain that we got in taxis and off to the airport (note: that was a two hour bus ride each way for Luis).

This was Father/Son trip with my 18 year old son. And memorable it was -- I was expecting the old cars, cigars and rum and none disappointed. What i did not expect was the sheer volume of beautiful architecture, the rich and interesting history at nearly every turn, the many color characters that have left their mark - some small, some big -- on Cuba. The food was fresh and fantastic (that is coming from a foodie).

The accomodations were arranged - a casa particulares - by Espiritu. Maria's place in Vedado was very nice. Maria was a terrific host and a great breakfast cook. Rooms were clean, with a/c and hot water.

Local specialist: Karin Eckhard
Karin
Karin Eckhard
Local specialist in O Barco de Valdeorras | Reviewed on Mar 22, 2019

Don, thank you very much for the review and I am so pleased to hear that you had a great first trip to Cuba and a memorable one with your son. I hope you get a chance to return to Cuba!

Cuba for Culture
Cuba | Feb 7 - Feb 12, 2019

M
Meredith P.
Sellersville, PA | Reviewed on Feb 22, 2019

We could not have been more pleased with our experience with Karin, Ariel (our guide), and the people of Cuba. It was an enlightening trip where we learned far more than we ever thought we would about the little island to the south.

Karin’s itinerary was well thought out and tailored to meet our interests. She was a pleasure to work with.

Ariel was extremely informative and passionate about his home country. He was interested in learning of the differences in our cultures and governments... read more

We could not have been more pleased with our experience with Karin, Ariel (our guide), and the people of Cuba. It was an enlightening trip where we learned far more than we ever thought we would about the little island to the south.

Karin’s itinerary was well thought out and tailored to meet our interests. She was a pleasure to work with.

Ariel was extremely informative and passionate about his home country. He was interested in learning of the differences in our cultures and governments while teaching us about his. We felt a special bond with him, as he went above and beyond to make us feel comfortable and valued. We cannot day enough good things about him. He is a very special person and embodies the welcoming spirit of the Cuban people.

Odalys was a gracious and hospitable casa proprietor. Although there was quite a language barrier, she was eager to [enthusiastically] ensure our comfort. The breakfast at her casa was lovely and served in her beautiful dining room where we met some very friendly French tourists.

The Iberostar receives top marks for cleanliness and comfort. The staff was lovely, the beach was breathtaking, and the food was delightful.

I was sad to leave but I look forward to one day returning to Cuba.

Local specialist: Karin Eckhard
Karin
Karin Eckhard
Local specialist in O Barco de Valdeorras | Reviewed on Feb 22, 2019

Hi Meredith,

It was so nice reading this review! Thank you so much for taking the time to do but more importantly that you had such an enlightening and that you were pleased with the trip. I have already passed on your lovely comments to Ariel. The photo of you and your Mom in the classic car is a great photo! It was a pleasure helping you plan your trip to Cuba, I hope you get the opportunity to travel again to the island. Karin :-)

Organized “Freedom” in Cuba
Cuba | Nov 21 - Nov 21, 2018

S
Stefanie M.
Indian Trail, NC | Reviewed on Dec 03, 2018

Karin was extremely responsive and patient as we planned the trip. Our in-country guide, Thais, was extremely professional and knowledgeable. Right away she made us feel welcomed and went out of her way to ensure we enjoyed our experience. Our drivers (Pedro and Ivan) arrived on time and their cars were well-maintained and comfortable. I highly recommend KimKim and Espíritu Travel!

Local specialist: Karin Eckhard
Karin
Karin Eckhard
Local specialist in O Barco de Valdeorras | Reviewed on Dec 03, 2018

Stefanie, so lovely to see your photos and I am pleased that you enjoyed the experience. It was a pleasure helping you to plan your trip!

Discovering lower part of Spain
Spain | Oct 17 - Oct 26, 2018

A
ayesha a.
the United Arab Emirates | Reviewed on Oct 29, 2018

First of all, this was my dream trip which is well organized and to new places which I really wanted to visit. I usually plan all of my leaves and it takes a lot of time and effort to select the places, hotels, type of tours and other. For this trip and by sudden I saw kimkim team and decide to let them plan my trip with my husband. It was really easy to use this web to plan and complete all the payment through the website. Also, connecting me with Karin who is really really supportive and... read more

First of all, this was my dream trip which is well organized and to new places which I really wanted to visit. I usually plan all of my leaves and it takes a lot of time and effort to select the places, hotels, type of tours and other. For this trip and by sudden I saw kimkim team and decide to let them plan my trip with my husband. It was really easy to use this web to plan and complete all the payment through the website. Also, connecting me with Karin who is really really supportive and well known of the places we’ve visited. The plan was reviewed 2 times with few changes, and Karin did the thing I like (activities, changing the hotel, and agreed on the timing). Karin was available all the time I need her help and support. Few things happen at the beginning with the transportation but we handled it. All of the hotels were really nice and lovely. All of our tour guides were helpful, kind and know the places we visited and give a lot of information which helped us understand everything. We’ve loved: the private city tour of Granada by bike and the Las Alpujarras tour. Others are nice too.

I would like to thank Karin for her effort from day 1 till we are back in the air plane she was asking and communicating with me. I would like to thank all of the tour guides for their professionality and kind. I told everyone about kimkim team .

Local specialist: Karin Eckhard
Karin
Karin Eckhard
Local specialist in O Barco de Valdeorras | Reviewed on Oct 29, 2018

Dear Ayesha, thank you very much for the lovely review and it has been a pleasure working with you to create your dream trip. I am so pleased that it was memorable and thank you for sharing some of your photos with us. I will be sure to pass on your comments to the guides that worked with you and all the places that were able to visit in Spain.
I hope that I have the opportunity to plan another trip for you in the future.
Warm regards,
Karin
Espíritu Travel

Planning Your Visit to Cuba
Cuba | Aug 4 - Aug 10, 2018

Barbara
Barbara F.
Cambridge, MA | Reviewed on Sep 28, 2018

Eiser was our guide and he was excellent in his knowledge of Cuba and his awareness of our needs. His driving on the trip to Trinidad was excellent and navigated the many pot holes with extreme expertise and diligence. He made the trip fantastic with his calmness and willingness to go the extra mile for whoever needed it. There was one participant who was quite difficult at times, and always late for whatever we were doing and complained about everything, but he showed great equanimity,... read more

Eiser was our guide and he was excellent in his knowledge of Cuba and his awareness of our needs. His driving on the trip to Trinidad was excellent and navigated the many pot holes with extreme expertise and diligence. He made the trip fantastic with his calmness and willingness to go the extra mile for whoever needed it. There was one participant who was quite difficult at times, and always late for whatever we were doing and complained about everything, but he showed great equanimity, was able to calm her down and many times I marveled at how he did it as I would not have been able to manage my annoyance if I'd been having to deal with her. The highlight for me was Trinidad and our hosts couldn't have been more warm and inclusive as if we were members of their own family. Osi and Miguel. We met her mother, daughter and grandchild, so 4 generations and even an adorable puppy! Our tour guide for the day was also excellent and it was great to have a chance to meet a wide-range of Cuban people. I consulted the recommendations on the itinerary many times and although I didn't get to try most of them, it was comforting to have. I did manage to get to a great Jazz club the last night and that was a highlight.

Local specialist: Karin Eckhard
Karin
Karin Eckhard
Local specialist in O Barco de Valdeorras | Reviewed on Sep 28, 2018

Hi Barbara,
Thank you very much for taking the time to write us such a lovely review. I am so pleased that you had a fantastic trip to Cuba and that you were able to experience the real Cuba! Eiser is an amazing guide and valued part of our team in Cuba. Thank you for sharing your photos, you got some really excellent shots.
Thank you for traveling with us! I hope that I am able to plan another trip for you in the future. We are also specialist for Spain and Portugal through the KimKim site.

Warm regards,
Karin