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“Rustic Mountain Cabins”

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Paraiso Quetzal Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Santa Cruz, California
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Rustic Mountain Cabins”
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
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3 Thank Richard L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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234 reviews from our community

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Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed March 10, 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
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1 Thank Samantha_Clement
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winnipeg
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
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
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Helpful?
1 Thank Pierre R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Anchorage, Alaska
Level 5 Contributor
31 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
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
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Helpful?
3 Thank LH314
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Haslemere, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed February 18, 2012

We stayed here on our last night in Costa Rica and it was great. Lovely cabin with great views, really friendly hosts and in the morning, Jorge Jnr tried very hard to find us some quetzals (with success!). There are also some good (if steep) trails for birding on your own.
At around $65 pp (incl. food and birdwalk) it's reasonably priced - not particularly cheap but it is very comfortable and they even provide a fan heater to keep you warm in the cabin at night.
There are several brand new cabins and it's probably nicer here than at the Mirardor next door (which does look older and according to the reviews has terrible food!). Dinner was quite nice - not exactly gourmet but they did offer a veggie option.
It is easy to get there by bus - just ask the driver to drop you off at km 70. For a few dollars Jorge will drive you to a cafe about 8 km down the road where all the buses stop for a break - probably worth it as we immediately got on a bus which even had two seats left.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Ute C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, MA
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed January 5, 2012

We found these cabins very uncomfortable--one small step above camping. I like camping, but not when I'm expecting a cabin and a hot shower. There are holes in the walls of the cabins, inadequate blankets, and a thin dribble of lukewarm water that serves as a shower. We stayed here due to the positive review in Fodors and were very, very disappointed.

The main lodge has a cozy warm fire, but that is extinguished early and guests are sent back to their freezing cabins with a hot water bottle. The lodge is too far from town to go out at night.

The trails and forest, however, are fantastic. We saw several quetzals on our early morning walk with one of the Serrano sons. I strongly recommend paying the small entrance fee to use the trails instead of staying at these cabins.

Due to a mixup in our reservation for a 3 night stay, we had to switch to the neighboring lodge (Mirador de Quetzales) across the road, and found it to be marginally more comfortably but still miserable. We canceled our third night, which they were not at all gracious about despite the fact that I got diarrhea after eating there. I would never recommend staying at either of these two lodges.

The two lodges (Paraiso and Mirador) are owned by feuding brothers which also makes the situation a bit awkward (e.g., "Keep out" signs on some of the trails).

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank JSvacation
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
23 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed December 2, 2011

They DO provide space heaters in the rooms, which are quite comfortably warm. I took a taxi there, which was a mistake. Bus drivers know the route better (curvy, foggy, mountainous roads) and I would have felt safer. Charge for a taxi is $80 from San Jose and probably $5 by bus. Breakfast and dinner were excellent, and coffee and hot chocolate are available whenever you want them. The family is nice, nice, nice. One thing: if you are making reservations, use the email address paraisodelquetzal@gmail.com, not the blank form on the website.

Room Tip: They are all nice.
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank rarich
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

Property: 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 #1 of 11 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
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Paraiso Quetzal Lodge has been recently selected by the European Association of Friends for Nature (EAFN). ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Paraiso Quetzal Lodge Costa Rica/San Gerardo De Dota

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