Biotopo del Quetzal

Baja Verapaz, Guatemala

Located approximately 3 hours drive  North of Guatemala City I’m spending several hours hiking one of Guatemala’s beautiful nature reserves – El Biotopo del Quetzal. To be honest I wasn’t all that excited about it at first. After hiking an active volcano and visiting one of the world’s most beautiful lakes the previous days I didn’t think a normal hike was going to measure up to  the other adventures. I held out a little hope because this reserve was however a sanctuary for the Quetzal, Guatemala’s national bird and we were told we might spot one among other wild critters.

Starting from the visitor center there are 2 trails, a short one (2 KM) and a long one (4 KM). We chose the longer trail just as a light sprinkle began. Normally I hate the rain, which had been impeding my photography all through the trip – but it was a blessing because it cooled the air and at least momentarily kept the biting bugs away. The trail was well maintained and made for easy walking. Our group kept a slow and steady pace alternating between watching our steps and looking high up in the trees for the elusive Quetzal. While we never spotted one, we did see some brightly colored birds, numerous lizards and a few odd insects.


The cloud forest was filled with dense plant growth – all sorts of mosses, ferns, and orchids were spotted on the trail. Both trails pass by creeks and waterfalls, some big enough to swim. We found a pool of water to cool off in and hopped in! It was a bit chillier than expected so we didn’t race laps. Deep in the trail I took a moment to reflect and realized I was in a pristine rainforest in the middle of Guatemala – this was nothing short of amazing and although it wasn’t as astonishing as Pacaya Volcano or Lake Atitlan it was certainly worth the visit.  🙂

Biotopo del Quetzal


After drying off we found the top of the waterfall, and what a view it had in store for us! It’s hard to describe how beautiful Guatemala is. Words and pictures really don’t do this country justice – despite the rampant pollution on the roadways it has the greenest forests I’ve ever seen.



Below – our encyclopedia on all things Guatemala, tour guide Fernando who happens to have a very funny accent!

Tour Guide Fernando

After the hike we drove through some more sketchy roads winding through steep valleys until we reached the small city Coban. Despite being tired it was hard to rest knowing the following day I’d be headed to Semuc Champey!


This was day 4 of my guided trip with Guatemalan Adventure, read more here:

Note: Guatemalan Adventure hosted this tour at a discounted rate so I could to bring you this review. As always, all opinions published here are my own.