Resplendent quetzals are one of the iconic species of the Central American tropics. They are near-threatened, reside in the tropical cloud forest, and we are fortunate to have easy access to their habitat: EN RESERVA NATURAL VALLE DE LOS QUETZALES in La Paz de San Ramon. Aztec and Mayan cultures venerate quetzals as sacred creatures that symbolize goodness and light. This glorious bird is associated with the Snake God Quetzalcoatl, and when you see the male’s long iridescent tale undulating in flight you’ll understand the connection.
In addition to Resplendent quetzals, this nature reserve also offers birders the chance to see (and hear!) the Three-wattled Bellbird, a “vulnerable” species with one of the loudest bird calls on Earth. And the Emerald Toucanet and Long-tailed Manakin are also there, along with approximately 200 other bird species that have been observed at this reserve.
In addition to the birding experience, this reserve offers a 13-kilometer hike, moderate in difficulty, to a 50 meter waterfall in the cloud forest. Hikers on this trail can sometimes spot the Baird’s Tapir, the largest native land mammal of Central and South America classified as a vulnerable species in danger of extinction. This is a perfect experience for those wanting to do a longer hike up into the cloud forest.
The birding and the waterfall hikes take approximately 5 hours, starting at 7 a.m. in the reserve to optimize birding. The tours includes transportation to and from our lodge, a nature guide, and a packed breakfast and lunch. The birding trail is 5 kilometers in length, but it may be a much shorter hike depending on birding conditions. There is also a ranch in the reserve where people not wanting to hike can set up camera gear for a more relaxing experience. The birding trail is well managed, and the degree of difficulty is “easy.” Please check with reception for birding conditions – species will vary depending on the season.
The time required for this activity is 8 hours approximately.
- The tour starts at our reception desk at 6 am
- The tours are scheduled by reception, upon request
- Recommended ages: 16- 100+ yrs old.
- Rate: $135 per person (special rates for groups)
- What to bring: Quick dry clothing or poncho, hiking shoes, socks, sunblock, mosquito repellent, change of clothes, camera.
- Includes: Entrance fee, transportation, rubber boots, lunch and professional bilingual guide.
- Minimum: 4 people.
- Discounts: 20% off for students and Costa Rican residents