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 has been my home for the last 7 years. 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 as well as Cuba. In both countries, we have our own offices so we can create all types of tailor-made trips; culture, art, history, culture, architecture, gastronomy, outdoor activities, nature-based, small groups, off the beaten track"
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.....20 years later. During those twenty 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, 45 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 very 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 herders house (more like makeshift huts put together) and they welcomed us in to their home! All of us of 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 or 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."
Featured trips & expertise
A little over two weeks is all you need to visit the highlights of Spain. This 16-day itinerary is a whirlwind of royal palaces and Moorish temples, world-class gastronomy and some of the most beautiful natural landscapes anywhere in the world. The destinations you'll visit cover the map, from Barcelona and Basque Country to Madrid and the stunning cities of Andalusia, like Seville and Granada.
Get ready for the trip of a lifetime. In 17 days you'll experience the highlights of Spain, from Barcelona to Basque Country, Madrid to Andalusia. It's a grand tour that covers all the hallmarks of this incomparable nation, from the legendary food to the beautiful landscapes to the legendary architecture and historic palaces.
To do Spain right what you need is time, and 18 days is the perfect amount to get to the heart of this historic nation. This timeframe allows you to visit the Mediterranean coast and Barcelona, the Atlantic and Basque Country, the capital of Madrid, and finally southern Andalusia. Throughout, you'll stroll some of the most historic streets and marvel at some of the most ancient architecture anywhere in Europe.
19 days is more than enough time to travel the length and breadth of Spain on a tour of the most remarkable locales in the country. This includes not only the capital of Madrid but the sunkissed metropolis of Barcelona, the Basque Country, and the southern Andalusia region. It's on this last leg of the journey that you'll discover some of the country's most historic landmarks that date back to the time of Moorish rule.
Over 20 days you'll visit Spain's most beautiful and iconic regions as you spend time on both the Mediterranean and Pacific coasts. The journey begins in the north with stays in the incomparable city of Barcelona as well as the foodie haven of San Sebastian. Heading south, you'll enjoy the highlights of Madrid followed by a stop in Andalusia, a region rich in Moorish culture and romantic flamenco melodies.
Get to know the major regions of Spain with this three-week getaway from north to south. Begin in Barcelona and enjoy an immersion in Catalan culture followed by a jaunt to Basque Country to sample world-renowned cuisine. Finally, you'll head to the mountains of Málaga and further south through Andalusia, a region rich in Moorish culture and historic cities like Granada, Córdoba, and Seville.
Recent trip reviews for Karin
Walking & site seeing in spain, Spain - May 12 - May 28, 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
Portugal in 5 days, Portugal - May 23 - May 27, 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!
Portugal, Portugal - May 9 - May 24, 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
5 days in cuba - 6 unique itinerary ideas, Cuba - May 15 - May 20, 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
Spring portugal trip, Portugal - Apr 6 - Apr 21, 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.
Cuba 2019, father and son trip, Cuba - Apr 14 - Apr 19, 2019
Very educational trip, tour company did it's best to insure our best possible experience.
Trip to portugal, Portugal - Mar 29 - Apr 5, 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
Father son havana, Cuba - Mar 13 - Mar 17, 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
Cuba for culture, Cuba - Feb 7 - Feb 12, 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
Organized “freedom” in cuba, Cuba - Nov 21 - Nov 21, 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!
Discovering lower part of spain, Spain - Oct 17 - Oct 26, 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
Planning your visit to cuba, Cuba - Aug 4 - Aug 10, 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