Birding in the cloud forest of
Ranchitos del Quetzal and Biotopo del Quetzal

Resplendent Quetzal
Male Resplendent Quetzal at Ranchitos del Quetzal private nature reserve.

Biotopo del Quetzal is one of the most important cloud forest reserves in Guatemala. It covers 1,150 hectares of primary cloud forest at 1,500-2,300 m (4,920-7,545 ft), which is accessible on short and long loop trails.

Unicolored Jay
Unicolored Jays are close companions at Ranchitos del Quetzal.

Ranchitos del Quetzal is a private reserve, family-owned in third generation. The reserve covers approximately 40 ha and is located adjacent to the Biotopo del Quetzal. The cloud forest is accessible on two short and well maintained trails. Ranchitos del Quetzal provdides comfortable lodging and healthy food within walking distance from the Biotopo.

Highland Guan
Highland Guan

The Biotopo and neighboring private reserves are part of the Sierra de Chuacús, which connects cloud forests of Sierra de las Minas with cloud forests in Alta Verapaz.

Blue-crowned Chlorophonia
Blue-crowned Chlorophonia

Biotopo del Quetzal and Ranchitos del Quetzal offer good opportunities to see birds of mid-elevation cloud forest, such as Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner, Spotted Nightingale-Thrush, Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush, and Tawny-throated Leaftosser. Typical cloud forest species such as Highland Guan, Slate-colored Solitaire, Common Chlorospingus, Blue-crowned Chlorophonia, Unicolored Jay and Azure-hooded Jay are not missing. Also Nightingale Wren, Shining Honeycreeper, and Golden-cheeked Warbler have been recorded. Resplendent Quetzals are readily observed at the Ranchitos del Quetzal.

Green-throated Mountain-gem
Green-throated Mountain-gem

Access and accommodation: Biotopo del Quetzal can be reached via the CA14 road from Cobán in 1 hour, and from Guatemala City in 4 hours. The Ranchitos del Quetzal private reserve offers currently four double rooms with private bathrooms and hot showers, as well as a restaurant - within walking distance from the biotopo. Several more hotels are located within driving distance from Biotopo del Quetzal.

For independent travelers: We would be happy to organize your birding visit to the cloud forest of Biotopo del Quetzal and Ranchitos del Quetzal. Please fill this reservation form and we will send you information on rates and space availability as soon as possible.

Best time for birding Biotopo del Quetzal and Ranchitos del Quetzal: Year round.

Cloudforest at Biotopo del Quetzal, Guatemala
View over the lush cloud forest canopy of Biotopo del Quetzal.

How do you support conservation and development at Biotopo del Quetzal and Ranchitos del Quetzal? With your entrance fee for visiting these protected areas you support their conservations and maintenance. The Biotopo del Quetzal has a team of rangers who provide nature interpretation and also patrol the borders of the reserve to avoid illegal use and/or extraction of natural resources, and help diminish the possibility of forest fire through community education programs in the area. Ranchitos del Quetzal provides employment to local people, and fosters environmental awareness among visitors of all ages through a education program. Biotopo del Quetzal and Ranchitos del Quetzal are part of the Sierra de las Minas - Motagua Important Bird Area (IBA GT012).


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Barred Forest-Falcon
Barred Forest-Falcon
Slate-colored Solitaire
Slate-colored Solitaire in the cloud forest at Biotopo del Quetzal.
Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush
Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush
Common Chlorospingus
Common Chlorospingus
Emerald Toucanet
Emerald Toucanet
Tawny-throated Leaftosser
A Tawny-throated Leaftosser in the dark cloud forest understory.
Azure-hooded Jay
Azure-hooded Jay
Yellow-blotched Palm Pit Viper Botriechis aurifer
Yellow-blotched Palm Pit Viper (Botriechis aurifer), endemic to the highlands of Guatemala and neighboring Mexican state of Chiapas.

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