San Gerardo de Dota

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Journey south of San José to a little know corner of the highlands at San Gerardo de Dota; a haven for bird-watchers especially and from where you have an excellent chance of spotting the beautiful resplendent quetzal.

San Gerardo de Dota is a beautiful and less-visited region of the country, only 85 kilometres southwest of the capital on the Pan-American Highway and a natural cloudforest habitat for many species of flora and fauna. The area constitutes an ecological niche where the brilliant but elusive resplendent quetzal bird lives throughout the year, giving you the best possible chances of sightings.

The unequalled beauty of the highland scenery provides the unique opportunity to experience the sounds and secrets of the tropical cloud forest and to discover the wonders of Costa Rican ecology. Refresh yourself in the cooler mountain climate before descending to the more humid coastal regions.

San Gerardo de Dota is within the largest extension of protected areas of the country and highly recommended to nature lovers, especially bird-watchers. Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve may be more well-known to birders but as numbers increase there, sightings become harder. San Gerardo still offers a very remote haven and sanctuary for some spectacular bird species and local birding guides at the lodges agree that this is the place to be now.

With few people visiting this region, lodge accommodation is more limited and therefore, you should think about booking well in advance if you would like to spend some days here looking for birds and mammals. The lack of people also means the scenery is quite breath-taking with rolling hills interspersed by forest and fruit plantations.

As well as the elusive quetzal which mates during the first months of the year, you can expect to find tanagers as well as a plethora of different hummingbirds and woodpeckers. Look out for peccaries and coyotes scurrying around in the denser forests.

This is an area for gentle pursuits, spending time at a quiet hide observing the magnificent local birds or taking a day to walk along beautiful hiking trails in the mountains. Or if you also enjoy fishing, anglers can try fishing for trout on the Savegre River. Coffee lovers can visit local plantations for a tour and then taste the delicious product at the end. After a long day’s hike stroll to a stunning waterfalls for a refreshing swim.

We’d be delighted to talk to you and design a fantastic Costa Rica wildlife holiday encompassing the best destinations this delightful small country has to offer.


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‘Greetings. this has turned out to be a paradise in so many ways....so a big thank you from us.

Wonderful support from your company over here....we were met at the airport (with flowers!!!!!) and introduced to our personal guide who is fabulous. Can't get over the attention to detail ....cool flannels, chilled water, fresh juice on arrival, bag full of thoughtful goodies for our trip, wonderful rooms with bathrooms bigger than our bedroom at home(!) and we were upgraded to a suite and as I write we are listening to tropical birdsong as we look out over the lagoon from our balcony. Wow!!!!!

I could go on but I'll spare you.

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