Los Quetzales National Park
- Location : San Gerardo de Dota
- Area : 12,407 acres
- Hours : 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Telephone : 2200-5354 / 2416-7068
- Entrance Fee : $10
Situated among the mist-covered peaks of the Talamanca Mountains, Los Quetzales is Costa Rica's newest national park, covering more than 12,000 acres of cloud forest. Previously the Los Santos Reserve, the park protects sections of the Savegre River which originates high up on the Cerro de la Muerte and flows through the picturesque valley of San Gerardo de Dota.read more close
Named after the emerald and crimson quetzal, which can be spotted in great numbers year-round, the park also hosts a variety of trogons, hummingbirds, tanagers and other highland species. Much of the park is covered in aguacatillo trees (a relative of the avocado), the favorite food of the resplendent quetzal. Seen less frequently are jaguars, tapirs, coyotes and the black guan.
The park’s terrain ranges from rugged mountains to glacial lakes, with varying altitudes and ecosystems. Oak and cypress trees are common in the paramo, or high-altitude ecosystem that covers portions of the park.
Average Temperature: 53-82° F
Annual Rainfall: 79 to 118 inches
Bird and wildlife watching are the park’s main attractions. The dry months of December through May are considered peak quetzal season, when they can be seen in great numbers throughout the day.
The official entrance to the park is located on the Cerro de la Muerte, at around Km 75, before the turnoff for San Gerardo de Dota. The park does not have public facilities, but lodges in San Gerardo de Dota will gladly arrange birding and hiking tours through the park. There are a handful of family-run cabins and lodges along the Cerro de la Muerte, including Cabanas Paraiso del Quetzal, at Km 70, which offer inexpensive lodging, meals and guided birding tours.