With an altitude of 3.451 meters (11.322 feet) above sea level, the Cerro de la Muerte forms part of the Talamanca Mountain Range and is the highest mountain pass of the Interamericana. It can be reached within a 3 hours drive from San José. In the valley of San Gerardo de Dota, located a bit lower and more protected, it is possible to observe the rare Quetzal bird in the huge oak forests.
Distance from San José: 80 km (50 miles) / about 2 hours
Opening hours: 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Date of foundation: January 16, 2006
Size: 5.000 hectares
The Los Quetzales National Park has been founded in 2006 as the 28th Costa Rican national park. It is located between Cartago and San Isidro El General directly at the Panamericana. The visitor awaits a spectacular flora and fauna. This region of about 5.000 hectares offers more than 100 species of mammals and a rich biodiversity (three types of rainforest and 14 ecosystems). The main attraction is the Quetzal bird that can be spotted right regularly, giving the name to the national park.
The main part of the park stretches along both sides of the Río Savegre River, which has its source in the Cerro de la Muerte and flows into the Pacific Ocean close to Manuel Antonio. As the Cordillera de Talamanca Mountain Range crosses the national park, it reaches an altitude of 3.000 meters above sea level (9.843 feet). The green and red Quetzal bird is a famous guest that can be admired by the visitors; other species are pumas, sloths, tapirs, black guans, squirrel monkeys, jaguars and coyotes.
Amenities: Bathroom facilities, parking, central office
San Gerardo de Dota / Copey de Dota / Santa María de Dota
The village of San Gerardo is located on an altitude of about 2000 meters above sea level (6562 feet) and is still an insider’s tip for nature and bird lovers. In contrast to the more popular regions of Costa Rica, there are only few hotels to be found in this area. Main attractions are guided hikes with the goal of observing the rare Quetzal bird. Especially the drive along the mountains and gorges with view of the rainforest and partly until the Pacific Ocean make this destination very special.
The two small towns of Copey de Dota and Santa María de Dota - typical Costa Rican communities - offer good possibilities for bird watching, next to a marvelous view and a fresh climate.