Our final excursion from Coban was going to the Biotopo de Quetzal.. or almost. We’d told the receptionist at our hostel in Cobàn of our plans and she immediately advised out to do something else. I had already researched the Biotopo and knew that an excursion to the Biotopo would almost certainly not lead to any sighting of the famous Quetzal. I wasn’t expecting it. However our receptionist told us that there was a way to almost certainly see a Quetzal, if only we didn’t go to the Biotopo. Intrigued, we asked for information. As it turns out there are Quetzal in the biotopo, however the place is so huge and the birds could be anywhere.. making it difficult to spot them.
But right next to the vast Biotopo de Quetzal is a little hotel. This hotel planted the birds favorite trees around the house some thirty years ago. Guatemala’s development then did the rest, by cutting off the migration routes the Quetzal usually take. This means that there’s Quetzal present all year round and they know exactly where their favorite berries grow, so they drop by the Ranchito every morning for a copious breakfast. Our receptionist didn’t know about the ‘breakfast’ part, she just told us we’d have a much better chance of seeing Quetzal there than in the biotopo.
So we set off on an early afternoon in a bit off a rush and arrived there shortly after lunch time. At which point the local staff told us that we were very welcome to pay the entry fee and have a look around, but the birds were g– They didn’t quite get to utter the last word, because one of the gardeners came running “Quetzal, quetzal” and motioned us to follow him. Of course the bird had decided to sit on the highest branch of the most dense tree, but we did get to see them after searching for a bit. Unfortunately, this is where we realised we’d forgotten the battery of the camera in the charger back in Cobàn. This meant we just had to sit there and watch the birds. In the end we enjoyed it so much, that we decided to come back the next day on our way to Antigua to get a chance of snapping a couple of pictures of the famous animal.