As the name indicates, the resplendent quetzal is one of the most spectacular birds in the world. The quetzal’s tail feathers (which only the males grow) were worn in the head dresses of Mayan and Aztec kings. The quetzal is the national bird of Guatemala and is featured on all of the country’s paper money which happens to be called (you guessed it) the quetzal. Sadly, this bird lives only in the ever-diminishing cloud forests of Central America and is no longer readily sighted as their habitat dwindles. At the Chelemhá Cloud Forest Lodge, way up in the mountains of the Alta Verapaz region of Guatemala, we headed out on an early morning hike to see a hole in a dead tree stump that was home to a nesting pair of quetzals. After just a few minutes this gorgeous male popped out of the hole and landed on a nearby branch where he graciously posed for us.


Here’s more about travel in Guatemala


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