Costa Rica: Monteverde Cloud Forest – Resplendent Quetzal

Resplendent Quetzal is like a holy grail of birdwatching – birders sometimes spend days to spot this colorful midsize birds in the rainforests of Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica (it’s actually the National bird of Guatemala and their currency is named after it – the quetzal). The quetzals are primarily green, although the feathers are iridescent and glow with a variety of colors from gold to blue-violet to lime to ultramarine. The belly is bright red. Make quetzal are particularly ornate with a crest on their heads and long tail feather up to a meter long or 3x their body length. Bird tours often spend hours and hours, if not days, trying to find one, but we go super lucky and spotted one right in front of your eyes on the hike through Monteverde Cloud Forest (and without any guides). It was a male and he posed in all his glory for us for nearly half an hour, within feet of the cameras.