Biotopo del Quetzal



The most accessible place to seek out the elusive, resplendent quetzal, Guatemala's national bird, is at the Quetzal Biotopo (also known as Biotopo Mario Dary Rivera), near the town of Purulha, about 81 mi/130 km north of Guatemala City. This 2,500-acre/1,000-hectare reserve has a system of nature trails winding through cloud forest, plus waterfalls and many varieties of orchids and other plants.

Quetzals are difficult to pin down, but the best time to spot them is early morning February-September. Nearly 15% of Guatemala has been set aside in protected areas, although enforcement is sporadic.

These parks and reserves are popular with both ecotourists and adventure travelers. Options include bird-watching (species include military macaws, parrots and toucans), white-water kayaking and rafting, and sailing.

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