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“Spotting quetzals with Melvin the Naturalist”

Curi Cancha Reserve
Ranked #2 of 68 things to do in Monteverde
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: To protect of natural resources of the planet operating through an economically and environmentally sustainable business that preserves local forests and biodiversity, benefits people of the area, and provides the highest quality experience for the visitor. Walk along beautiful natural trails with an experienced guide and see different species of birds and mammals. Learn about the amazing diversity of the cloud forest.
Reviewed June 5, 2013

My two friends and I had such an unexpectedly wonderful experience at Curi-Cancha in March 2013. The friendly man at the entrance gave us his best directions on how to find the avocado tree with the quetzals in them. Not being experienced naturlists ourselves, we hiked around Curi-Cancha without much luck (although still very much enjoying ourselves with the scenery, big beautiful trees, hummingbirds galore, etc). We happened upon a field where a man was setting up a telescope to look into a tree. As we walked over, the man motioned for us to come over to his scope and look inside. What do we see but THREE gorgeous quetzals in the tree. We would have never seen these birds in a million years had it not been for him. As it turns out, the man with the telescope was Melvin, a naturalist, who brought his two sons to come see the quetzals. Melvin (and his sons!) were happy to tell us all about the quetzals and even held our iPhones up to the telescope to get fantastic close up shots of the birds. This was such a beautiful experience to have on our first full day in Costa Rica thanks to Melvin and the Curi-Cancha reserve.

1  Thank lmv130
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 2, 2013

Our B&B hosts recommended that we visit the Curi-Cancha Refuge with guide Melvin Leitón (ticos4x4@yahoo.com or 506-2645-5310.) It was the highlight of our Costa Rica trip!

Curi-Cancha is a private, less traveled preserve just ten minutes from Santa Elana center on the way to Montverde. These trails lead through more variety of habitats than you will find in the more popular Monteverde park. Melvin took us first to a lower overlook, patiently waiting until we located toucans through his high powered telescope. Then we went up in search of other wildlife, soon finding a troop of howler monkeys, followed soon after by an amazingly close, long encounter with a mating pair of quetzels. Melvin and the few other guides here are in frequent contact with each other when one locates a special species and this cooperation leads to many more sightings. We literally ran up the mountain to get ahead of a family of traveling spider monkeys who eventually passed right overhead, and, after seeing several other birds, Melvin would not give up until we had a great sighting of a bell bird. The closeup photos I have were all done by Melvin on my iPhone through his telescope. There are plenty of hummingbirds to see at the feeder station at the end of the tour, and very clean bathroom facilities.

Curi-Cancha is a great find, and Melvin is a gem. Both are highly recommended!

2  Thank BillVanArsdale
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 29, 2013

On advice from our hotel we opted to visit Curi Cancha rather than Monteverde Cloud Forrest reserve and I'm so glad we did. Less people meant more birds and our wonderful guide Danilo found us a male and female Quetzal. It was really a wonderful experience to see them in the wild. We also spotted Toucans, Bell Birds, Hummingbirds, Monkeys and lots of other wildlife. Danilo was enthusiastic, knowledgable, passionate and spoke impeccable English. We were lucky enough to also have him for our night walk. You won't find a nicer guide in Monteverde. Muchas Gracias Danilo for an experience we'll never forget.

1  Thank Shuggie3003
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 24, 2013

Christian was our guide and he was very knowledgable. He spotted a tree climbing porcupine, bell bird, emerald toucanet, and a quetzal all in a matter of a couple of hours. This was the first time that I have used a guide in the Monteverde area. I have been to the both Monteverde and Santa Elena reserves and saw some of these animals but I didn't really know what I was seeing and hearing until this trip. It really does make the difference... for me at least. I would recommend this trip and Christian when you are in the area.

1  Thank treetica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 16, 2013

We happened upon this as a recommendation from hotel Belmar. There are only a limited number of people allowed in each day which makes for a quiet atmosphere and a feeling of really being close to nature as it is not highly developed for tourists. Our group consisted of only 6 people so we were easily able to hear and see everything the knowledgeable guide pointed out and said. The guide had a telescope which allowed us to see things up close and also showed us how to take photos through it using it as a zoom lens. We got some great pictures this way. There is a hummingbird area that is not to be missed. I have never seen so many and such a variety of them in one location. I can't say enough about our guide. Not only did he seem to know a lot about the area, he seemed very excited to share it with us. You could tell he liked his job and that made it even more special for our group. I only wish I could remember his name. This is definitely worth the money to see!

2  Thank synthesis45
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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