If you are traveling around in Guatemala, it’s on every tourist his bucket list to see Guatemala’s national bird, the quetzal. The quetzal is the symbol of this nation, even the local currency is known as “quetzal”. El Refugio del Quetzal in San Rafael Pie de la Cuesta is the perfect place to spot this mysterious bird in his natural environment.
The tour to El Refugio starts really early, because in the morning you’ll have the best chance to spot a colorful quetzal. Your private transport picks you up around 4:30am. Waking up this early is the hardest part but it’s worth it. El Refugio is about 2 hours away from Quetzaltenango.
When you arrive the real adventure can start. From the entrance it takes an easy 10 minutes descent into the beautiful rainforest. A friendly guide explains everything you have to know about the quetzal and what may help to spot it. Getting all this usefull information is helpfull for the search. From now on you can explore the rainforest and try to see a male quetzal waving through the air. I have to be honest, it takes some hours, loads of luck and binoculars to actually see them.
Luckily you’re there in the morning and you have an experienced guide, so you will definately locate a few of these tropical quetzals. And at the same time you can enjoy the beauty and peace of the cloudy forest with multicolored flora, singing birds and the swirling waterfall. In my opinion there is no better place to experience this. Just incredible!
This adventure takes approximately 9 hours in total and when you’re back in Quetzaltenango you can experience another activity in the afternoon or just walk around the vibrant city centre. And after all you can check this wish off your bucket list