Fodor's Expert Review Paraíso Quetzal Lodge

Km 70 Pan-American Hwy., San Gerardo, Cartago, 11702, Costa Rica

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 16 km (10 miles) of hiking and birding trails through ancient oak forests dripping with moss and epiphytes. Cozy, olive-green 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 (2,650 meters, about 8,700 feet) and you'll be happy for the electric heaters and hot-water showers. The main lodge has a large fireplace and an observation gallery abuzz with brilliant hummingbirds that aren't the least bit fazed by onlookers. Meals are simple but hearty, and an espresso machine guarantees excellent coffee. 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. A new bird-photography shelter is equipped with battery-charging stations and natural backdrops and feeders to attract the photogenic birds ($10).


  • scenic views
  • pristine cloud forest
  • amazing hikes and bird-watching


  • very simple food
  • steep paths to some cabins
  • very cold nights


Local Flavor


Phones: -2200–0241 | -8810–0234


10 bungalows, 4 superior bungalows
Rate Includes: Some meals

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