A select number of sites in Mexico and Central America offer excellent prospects for seeing resplendent quetzals in the wild. The combination of the quetzal’s beauty, splendor, and unique features with its endearing behaviors and its overriding cultural and religious significance make the bird enormously alluring to ecotourists. Visiting the quetzal's cloud forest habitat and seeing the other wildlife that share it increases the appeal.
Costa Rica and Panama offer the best opportunities for ecotourists to encounter the resplendent quetzal. Costa Rica has a marvelous national park system, and its most recent addition is the Parque Nacional Los Quetzales (summer of 2008). Visitors who wish to see the quetzal also can watch for other birds and wildlife, kayak and run rapids, and partake of a host of other adventurous activities. San Gerardo de Dota in Costa Rica and Chiriquí Province in Panama provide the best chances to see the resplendent quetzal in the courtship, mating, nurturing, and fledging season. Sites in Guatemala, Mexico, and Honduras also offer opportunities. Here we provide information on some excellent places for encountering the quetzal in its natural habitat.