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“Our favorite birding spot on the trip” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Paraiso Quetzal Lodge

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Paraiso Quetzal Lodge
3.0 of 5 Specialty Inn   |   Cerro de la Muerte, Ruta 2 Sur km 70, San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Portland, Oregon
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Our favorite birding spot on the trip”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2013

Our cabinita was charming and comfortable, with lots of blankets for the cold nights! Meals were delicious. The guided walks (we took two morning walks and one night hike) with Jorge Sr and Jorge Jr were all great. Yes, we saw Resplendent Quetzals, but also lots of other great birds: Black-and-yellow silky flycatchers, Dusky Nightjars, and a few dozen other species. The self-guided hiking trails were outstanding. The hummingbird garden is mind-blowing!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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99 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (15)
Date | Rating
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English first
Golden, British Columbia, Canada
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2013

If you want to see birds this is the spot. We were very luck to see Quetzals here - thanks to our guide, Jorge. The trails surrounding the lodge are very beautiful making you think you are in Hobbit land. The rooms are simple but clean with great views into the valley and mountains. Each room is a separate cabin of it's own.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Nuremberg, Germany
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2012

Jorge Serrano and family are wonderful hosts and do everything to make guests feel welcome.
The main building with the restaurant has a nice view and a terrace with a hummingbird garden. The feeders attract five different kinds of hummingbirds, among them the spectacular fiery throated hummingbird (see photos). Taking pictures of them is a nice passtime during the day. The highlight, though, are undoubtedly the Quetzal-tours. Jorge and his sons obviously know a number of places where you can see them and it doesn't seem to happen more than once or twice a year that none of these magnificent birds is showing up. In order to be sure, we stayed for three nights and had two early morning-Quetzal tours, where we drove for about 10 minutes by car. At both occasions we saw several birds, both male and female (see photos) - even non-birders get excited (the birders are me and my oldest daughter, my wife and second daughter are interested, but not passionate). These birds are simply breathtaking, especially the males with their endless tail-feathers and the green metallic glare of their bodies.
The cabins are simple, but cosy. At almost 2,700m altitude it does get really cold at night, though, and you have to have the heater running at full blast. Especially as temperatures around 5 degrees celsius or less feel very different at such a high humidity than in the Alps or Rocky Mountains. And as insulation of the cabins can't be measured with European standards. This is the reason, why we give four instead of five points - along with a clear recommendation to stay here. A must for anybody who would love to see a Quetzal - forget Monteverde or any other place. With the beautiful mountain forest and some nice trails around the place still a worthwhile stopover for anybody else - we had the most beautiful sunset of our two and a half week Costa Rica holiday. Plan a night or two and you'll see everything you could hope for.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Santa Cruz, California
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2012

My girlfriend and I took a three week birdwatching trip to Costa Rica and this was our seventh (and essentially last) stop. Paraiso del Quetzal is basically just a few cabins and a dining area built onto a gorgeous hillside at about 9,000 feet on the Cerro de la Muerte. The cabins are rustic and small but functional. Some might find them a little too funky, but we found them cozy and charming. Food is fresh and delicious, and served in a dining room overlooking the valley below, with a nice fire billowing from the handmade fireplace. The birdwatching and hiking around the lodge are fantastic, though the weather can be a bit of a challenge at times--expect sun in the mornings and the likelihood of fog and misty rain in the afternoons. (We stayed during the dry season, so be especially prepared for rough weather in the rainy season.) It's chilly up there, so bring a coat, warm hat and gloves for comfort. Our cabin had six thick blankets on the bed, plus a heater and four extra blankets, and it was still a little chilly at night.

The happiest memories we have of the place are of the warmth and hospitality of the Serrano family, particularly Jorge (the grandson of the founder), who basically kept us company during most of our stay. (There were no other guests at the time, so I'm sure he's less available when the place is busier.) Jorge shared stories of the area, took us birdwatching in the morning, and was in all respects a fantastic host and guide.

For birdwatchers, I absolutely recommend this spot if you're looking for the Quetzals or any of the other high elevation Costa Rican birds. Fiery-throated Hummingbirds are basically guaranteed to be around the feeders near the dining room, and the Quetzals are easier to locate here than in San Gerardo de Dota. And Paraiso del Quetzal is far quieter and more peaceful than SGDD. Just be prepared for a significantly more "rustic" experience than that offered by Savegre, Dantica or Trogon Lodge in SGDD.

In short, we had a lovely stay here and would absolutely return. (Pura Vida, Jorge! Y Gracias.)

Room Tip: Some of the rooms are steeply downhill from the reception and dining area, so if you're trudging...
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2012

En route from the Turrialba area to the Pacific Coast, my husband and I stayed at PdQ for one night during our honeymoon adventuring in Costa Rica. We are very glad we did. Of course the cabins are pretty basic but cute, and what they lack in posh splendor, the views make up for tenfold. All of the cabins have nice porches from which to watch magnificent sunsets. Additionally, it gets kind of chilly at night so the cabins have little heaters and LOTS of extra blankets. Meals prepared at PdQ are very tasty, and the Serrano family is super nice and accommodating to the guests. My husband and I enjoy birdwatching as well so the nature hike in the morning to see the quetzals was very enjoyable and fruitful. We not only saw them but also saw their nesting cavity and them carrying food to their young. Jorge, our hike leader and bird guide made sure we kept our distance and took photos using no flashes when near the nesting birds. We appreciated his very ethical behavior is this aspect and were so glad to see a family who took such good pride in and care of the beautiful natural resources and wildlife found at PdQ. Next time we visit, we'll have to try out their extensive trail system through the beautiful surrounding forest. I highly recommend this place for those who love mountains, spectacular views, great service, and birds. However, if you're looking for 5 star accommodations, you're likely think the cabins are not for you.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winnipeg
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 29, 2012

Paraiso del Quetzal is an avid birder's dream location. At 2700 m, it is a place where you can see species of birds that are not seen at lower altitudes. It is advertised as a sure place to see Resplendant Quetzals and, thanks to my competent guide, Jorge Serrano, I was not disappointed. The cabins are basic and, due to the altitude, cold at night. The shower does not provide much hot water. But the mountain views, the well-kept grounds, the pleasant owners and guides, and of course the Quetzal, Central America's bird of paradise, are well worth the visit. The price is very reasonable considering that you get three hearty meals and one guided tour for each night at the lodge. They even made me a lunch for the road.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Anchorage, Alaska
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2012

The GPS coordinates were taken at the lodge’s front door with 7m accuracy.

There’s a big sign at km 70 on the Interamericana Highway; turn west and follow the rough dirt driveway for 1 km.

Cabins 7 & 8 have the best views.

See the review by JimmyDSquid from 2011 – everything he said is still true today. This is a very cool place.

The drive from San Isidro north to Paraiso de Quetzal is curvy and foggy – sometimes really foggy. The trucks have a really hard time going uphill and passing is interesting. No one ever thinks to pull over and let traffic pass.

The cabins are basic but have a comfy full-size bed, a set of bunk beds, a small heater, a great view – a really great view – and ample hot water in the shower.

Jorge Serrano is the bird guide's bird guide. He takes finding a quetzal very seriously. Be prepared to chase after him through the brush and the mud. He’s a wonderful guide. He finds quetzals…and everything else.

Don’t run up hill; you’re at 8,600 feet. It was 5 degrees C (41F) one morning in January; bring your polar fleece. It can be cold and rainy here. The big wood-burning stove in the lodge’s dining room feels good.

We very much enjoyed this place. It’s the most basic of any place we were in the 5 weeks we traveled around Costa Rica but it’s just plain fun. The cabin is rough-cut planking nailed on a frame and not all the boards fit really well. The view off the balcony and from the room – the entire front of the cabin is window – is stunning. Jorge’s enthusiasm is remarkable and heart-warming. The grounds are beautiful and there are probably 10km of trails (the longest is about 4km) around the place that you can explore on your own.

Go for the trout at dinner. Avoid the beef.

The staff is entirely family members and they’re all really nice folks.

Room Tip: Cabins 7 & 8 have the best views
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Paraiso Quetzal Lodge

Address: Cerro de la Muerte, Ruta 2 Sur km 70, San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of San Jose > San Gerardo de Dota
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 7 Specialty Lodging in San Gerardo de Dota
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Paraiso Quetzal Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 16
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Paraiso Quetzal Lodge Costa Rica/San Gerardo De Dota

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