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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, Portugal, Morocco & Italy. We can create any type of tailor-made trip; 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 a master's 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 travelled extensively, to 60 countries to date. 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."

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Recent trip reviews for Karin

Exploring Mallorca and Ibiza
Spain | Oct 17 - Oct 26, 2022

Jonathan
Jonathan B.
Canada | Reviewed on Oct 27, 2022
We were finally able to take our long-delayed trip (due to COVID) and we're very happy with every aspect of the trip. Karin was extremely responsive and took the time to explain everything thoroughly. The excursions were all top notch and we were pleased that most of them were private. The guides were excellent and very friendly. We hiked in the Tramuntana mountains with Nina, did e-cycling in Ibiza with Heather and had tours of Palma and old Ibiza. The hotels were also excellent. Due to... Read more

We were finally able to take our long-delayed trip (due to COVID) and we're very happy with every aspect of the trip. Karin was extremely responsive and took the time to explain everything thoroughly. The excursions were all top notch and we were pleased that most of them were private. The guides were excellent and very friendly. We hiked in the Tramuntana mountains with Nina, did e-cycling in Ibiza with Heather and had tours of Palma and old Ibiza. The hotels were also excellent. Due to hotel renovations, Karin had to find us a new hotel in Ibiza and we're very happy with the hotel that she rebooked us into. The Balearic islands are truly incredible and the trip had the right amount of free time built in to allow us to fully explore them.

Hotel Review
Finca sa Cova d'en Borino
Campos

A nice hotel in a rural setting. The kitchenette enabled us to make our breakfasts and couple of dinners at the hotel. Includes a nice pool and some farm animals (ponies and chickens).

Authenticity & Character
The room was comfortable and the building had the character of a very old castle.
Location
A little hard to access due to very narrow and rather rough roads.
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Activity Review
Privately Guided Visit of Palma de Mallorca
Privately Guided Visit of Palma de Mallorca
Mallorca

Andres did a great job adapting the tour to what we were looking for and was very friendly. He even produced an iPad with drawings and maps of the cathedral!

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Andres was friendly and patient.
Local specialist: Karin Eckhard
Karin
Karin Eckhard
Local specialist in Madrid, Spain and USA | Replied on Nov 02, 2022

Thank you very much for the review and I am so pleased that you were very happy with your long-awaited to beautiful Mallorca and Ibiza. It was a pleasure to help you with this trip.

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

Herbert
Herbert A.
Ballenger Creek, MD | Reviewed on Sep 05, 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
Hotel NH Collection Granada Victoria
Granada

Great location

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

Fair to good

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
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
Activity Reviews
Tapas Culinary Experience
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 Madrid, Spain and USA | Replied 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

B
Brooke L.
Granby, CO | Reviewed on Jul 21, 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 Madrid, Spain and USA | Replied 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

C
Catherine H.
Canada | Reviewed on Jun 24, 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 Madrid, Spain and USA | Replied 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

B
Brigette B.
Chicago, IL | Reviewed on May 17, 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 Visit of Porto
Privately Guided Visit 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 Foodie Experience
Porto Foodie 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 Excursion to Sintra, Cascais & Estoril
Private Day Excursion to Sintra, Cascais & Estoril
Portugal

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
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
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
Excursion to Alentejo - Jeep Safari Through a Cork Fork & Visit to an Olive Oil Estate
Excursion to Alentejo - Jeep Safari Through a Cork Fork & Visit to an Olive Oil Estate
Lisbon

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
Get to Know Lisbon
Lisbon
Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Evening of Fado
Evening of Fado
Lisbon
Quality of Experience
Food
Private Transfer Évora to Lisbon Airport
Évora
Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
4X4 Algarve Sunset Experience
4X4 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
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 Madrid, Spain and USA | Replied 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
Nature Excursion in Ria Formosa
Nature 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 Madrid, Spain and USA | Replied 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 19, 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 Madrid, Spain and USA | Replied 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

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Catherine G.
Wentzville, MO | Reviewed on Oct 06, 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 Madrid, Spain and USA | Replied 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 27, 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 Madrid, Spain and USA | Replied 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

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Michael V.
Altadena, CA | Reviewed on Sep 05, 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 Madrid, Spain and USA | Replied 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. :-)