Above Cerro Punto and Guadalupe is a charming international park. The jungle is dense, dark and exotic. Birds, including the quetzales, live in abundance. The air is cool. It’s called a cloud-forest (rather than a rain-forest).
I liked the coolness of Boquete, but not the widespread tourist development, so I headed to Guadalupe, a small settlement above Cerro Punto on the north side of Volcan Baru. I rented a cabin in the mountains at 7,000 feet in altitude, located inside Parque International La Amistad. The park spans both Panama and Costa Rica, hence its name.
I went to the cabin in a four-wheel drive vehicle. During the day, after 9 a.m., there were some construction workers and bird-watchers, but after 5 p.m., I was left alone in the cloud-forest. From the porch, I watched a multitude of hummingbirds and heard the song of the quetzal. During the day, I hiked through the jungle, stopping by cascades, slogging through mud and gazing at wild orchids, enormous ferns and vine covered trees. In several days, I spotted six quetzales. They are called “resplendent” and indeed they glow. The male, in particular, with its three-foot tail and bluish-green teal color is almost garish in the green jungle. I spotted them, not by shape, but color. When they fly, there is a flash of red. At night, the temperature went down to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. I rented the cabin from Los Quetzales Lodge.