Nestled in a cloud forest just minutes off the main highway, this recently upgraded lodge is, indeed, a paradise for resplendent quetzals and for those who want to spot this sought-after bird. 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 cabins, each set in splendid isolation, have new picture windows
and upgraded bathrooms. Four new 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 coveted country's Blue Flag for eco-friendliness. Per-person rates include breakfast, dinner, and one guided birding tour. The hotel also arranges daylong birding tours of the area ($80) and challenging mountain treks starting at sunrise.