Nestled in a cloud forest just minutes off the main highway, this rustic but comfortable lodge is, indeed, a paradise for resplendent quetzals and for those who want to spot this sought-after bird and other highland birds, including hordes of hummingbirds. Even if you don't catch sight of a quetzal, the vistas of cloud-enshrouded mountains and valleys will keep you busy, as will the hiking and birding trails through ancient oak forests dripping with moss and epiphytes. Cozy bungalows, each set in splendid isolation, have picture windows and modern bathrooms. Four junior suites are quite luxurious, with hot tubs, king-size beds, dehumidifiers, and TVs. Nighttime temperatures drop into the 40s at this high altitude, and you'll be happy for the electric heaters, hot-water bottles, and hot water for showers. The main lodge has a wood-burning stove and an observation gallery abuzz with brilliant hummingbirds that aren't the least bit fazed by onlookers. Meals are simple but hearty, cooked
on a woodstove. This was the first hotel in this world-renowned birding area to receive the country's coveted Blue Flag for eco-friendliness. Per-person rates include breakfast, dinner, and one guided birding tour. The hotel also arranges daylong, highland birding tours of the area ($80 for up to eight people, plus $10 per person entry fee) and challenging mountain treks starting at sunrise.