Biotopo del Quetzal Tours

The Biotopo Mario Dary Rivera Nature Reserve, commonly referred to as Biotopo del Quetzal, is one of Guatemala’s best nature sites. It gets its name from the country’s national bird, the endangered Quetzal, which has found a home within the sanctuary.

Quetzals are rather elusive within Biotopo del Quetzal, but they are sometimes spotted near local restaurants, as they prefer to feast on avocado-like fruits from neighboring aguacatillo trees. Some say December and January are the prime months to spot them; keep your eyes open for birds with bright-red chests; green, fuzzy feathers on their heads; and exotic, long tail feathers.

If you don’t manage to spot one, there is still plenty to see at Biotopo del Quetzal. Despite the fact that only a small portion of the vast reserve is open to visitors, there are a number of different mosses, ferns, orchids and epiphytes to see, as well as other birds, including the emerald toucanet and highland guan. Howler monkeys and other wildlife also make their homes in the reserve.

Two trails begin at Biotopo del Quetzal’s visitor center, branching off into the vegetation. The first trail, Los Helechos, is shorter at 1.24 miles (2 km), while Los Musgos (The Mosses) is twice that length. Whether you opt for the shorter or the longer trail, you will pass by scenic waterfalls where you can stop and enjoy a quick swim.

Practical Info

Biotopo del Quetzal is located approximately three hours north of Guatemala City, just east of the village of Purulhà. The reserve is best explored in conjunction with a multi-day excursion.
Address: Biotopo del Quetzal, Cobán, Guatemala
Hours: Daily
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3-Day Tour of Cobán and Semuc Champey from Antigua

Take in the highlights of central Guatemala over three memorable days on this action-packed tour from Antigua, including accommodation. Experience village life in the alpine town of Cobán, then spot quetzal and rare orchids on a 3-hour hike through the El Biotopto del Quetzal forest. Venture underground to explore the Lanquin Caves; marvel over the stalagmites and stalactites of the Rey Marcos Caves; and plunge into the rock pools of Semuc Champey.
  • Duration: 3 days
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  • Duration: 3 days

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