Where can we see flamingos in Cuba?

I HOPE TO TRAVEL TO CUBA WITH A GROUP OF FRIENDS IN OCTOBER. OUR ITINERARY INCLUDES HAVANA, VINALES, CIENFUEGOS, TRINIDAD AND CAMAGUEY. IS THERE ANYWHERE WE COULD SEE LOTS OF FLAMINGOS WITHOUT SPENDING MANY HOURS DOING SO? WHAT WOULD BE AN ECONOMICAL ROUTE TO GET TO CUBA USING BETTER AIRLINES?

H. BROWN, ENGADINE

Cuba has some 70,000 nesting Caribbean flamingos and countless chicks, the largest colony in the Western Hemisphere. The best place to see these majestic birds is the Rio Maximo Wildlife Reserve, a flamingo conservation and rehabilitation facility run by Cuban conservation biologists, located to the north of Camaguey Province. However it's not particularly user-friendly, since access is difficult. Flamingos are quite often seen from the causeway out to Cayo Coco but this might not feature on your itinerary, and it would mean a long detour off the main route to Camaguey.

Contours Travel Managing Director Ted Dziadkiewicz advises Qantas or Air New Zealand to Los Angeles, then Mexicana Airlines to Mexico City and on to Havana. Another option with an excellent and highly reliable airline is LA to Panama City with Copa Airlines and on to Havana. He advises against Cuban airlines on grounds of reliability.

Melbourne-based Contours Travel (contourstravel.com.au) is a Cuba specialist, and a great choice for anyone planning to visit this fascinating  but creaking Caribbean island.

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