Cerro Punto

cascadesAbove 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.

shooting hummingbirdsI 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.

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