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Quetzals Of The Cloudforest CC

Visiting: Costa Rica
Tour Duration 15 Days
Reviews for Quetzals Of The Cloudforest 4.5 out of 5 based on 27 ratings.

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Tour notes

Each departure date has it's own dedicated tour note, detailing all you need to know about that tour. Whether you've already booked, or weighing up your options, please choose carefully the relevant itinerary for you.

We have the following different versions of the Quetzals Of The Cloudforest tour available at present.

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4.5 Mike Wheeler, 20/08/15

Please review your overall experience and what your highlights were

The entire experience was a highlight. A great group of fellow travelers, fabulous tour leader with a really deep knowledge of the country. If I had to pick a highlight it would be the Cloud Forest at Monteverde. This is staggeringly beautiful and lived up to my expectations and beyond. Finding Resplendant Quetzals in the reserve will live with me for ever.

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4 Elizabeth Holt, 22/04/15

Please review your overall experience and what your highlights were

A great over view of Costa Rica travelling from San Jose to the Carribean and across the country to the Pacific which gave the group an opportunity to see such a variety of animals and plants. The highlights were varied; river trips, treetop walks, waterfall swims and some amazing accommodation.

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4.5 Simon Ford, 31/03/15

Please Review Your Overall Experience And What Your Highlights Were

The wildlife excursions were the highlight for me with the night time walk in the jungle being a particular highlight. Also I have to say that the sunset cruise was a perfect ending to the trip.



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4 Susan, 07/02/15

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

The wildlife was stunning. Particularly the birding. Fantastic

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5 Andrea Goodall, 26/04/14

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

The trip was great from the start. We saw much more than we expected including the elusive quetzal (several times!), scarlet macaws, red eyed frogs, sloths. Hard to pick specific highlights but Monte Verde was fab - you have to do the zip wire (including superman if you feel brave enough!). Arenal is impressive if you get good weather which we did. The boat rides in Tortuguero were great for bird spotting. Swimming in a very warm sea at Manuel Antonio was very welcome as the temperatures were well into the 30´s. All the hotels were much higher quality than we expected. Great trip all round.

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4.5 , 06/12/13



Tour Name

Quetzals of the cloud forest

Tour Code


What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

Where shall I begin! There were just so many memorable moments. I would highly recommend the 'dug out canoe' optional excursion in Tortuguero national park. This was so peaceful and enabled you to get close to the wildlife without intruding or disturbing. The hanging bridges at Monte Verde gave a wonderful bird's eye view of the cloud forest canopy and the Bellbird. Going on a cruise in Manuel Antonio national park allowed me to have my first snorkelling experience, view dolphins and see the most magnificent sunset! The hot springs at La Fortuna are well worth a visit for some relaxation time. Tour around CATIE was very informative and well worth the trip.

Tour Leader Name

Ray Salazar Saenz

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Ray was fantastic. His enthusiasm and passion to teach us about everything from wildlife and nature to history and culture shone through. He went out of his way to point interesting things out and we made frequent stops on our travels to look at animals and birds. He even located a quetzal at Monte Verde! He was helpful and organised optional excursions for us. He tried to keep the group together as much as possible for meals and evening events which really helped the group to gel. I would recommend Ray as a tour guide for this holiday any day!

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

This trip gives a good overview of the many different life zones of Costa Rica. I was a little confused by other reviews stating that if you are interested in wildlife this tour wouldnt suit. There is so much wildlife to see from plants and trees to mammals and birds. The country is alive with wildlife and this is surely one of the main attractions of the country! The group I travelled with gelled together very well but I agree with other reviewers that 18 is a few too many so you may want to consider this when booking. Binoculars are a must!

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

If I could recommend changing anything about this trip it would be the morning boat trip around the canals of Tortuguero. I would consider substituting the motor powered boats for the dug out canoes as everyone should get to experience this. This would make the holiday even better!

5 , 15/08/13



What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

Walking quietly along a shady grassy track by the Caribbean, looking for the village post office. A constant stream of thousands of butterflies brushing past me heading north. My postcard was accepted through the window of what looked like a private house and stuffed into a filing cabinet. But when I got home from my holiday, my postcard from Tortuguero had already arrived!

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Nice guy, informed and relaxed

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

Don't hestitate! I'm only posting this review, over a decade after I took this trip because, even with nearly 20 Explore trips under my belt, this is still a stand-out for wildlife, lovely local people, stunning scenery and above all, the 'pura vida'. I'd happily book the same trip again: it's the benchmark I use to decide where to go next time.

4 Anon, 13/03/13

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

"Seeing a margay.
Kayaking the Canales de Tortuguero.
The Basilica de Nuestra Senora de los Angeles
The sunset at Playa Espadilla
The beach at Playa Manuel Antonio
The honey and macademia nut muffin at the Cafe y Macademia de Costa Rica"

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4 Alan, 13/03/13

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

There were a number.  Tortuguero NP was excellent as was Manuel Antonio NP.  The 'Finca' at Turrialba was a wonderful evening and an insight into rural life in Costa Rica.

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Our Response

Thank you for your review. We very much appreciate your support for your tour leader and I have passed your comments onto our Operations Manager. You will be pleased to know that we do receive very positive feedback regarding your tour leader. 

We have noted your feedback about the group size for this tour and have asked this to be reviewed by our Product Manager. 


4 Pamela, 25/02/13

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

The activities I organised myself - kayaking, the Coffee Tour and the Orchid Garden.

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3 Mike, 25/02/13

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

The trip to Tortuguero

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Our Response

It was unfortunate that on your tour you did not get to see as much wildlife as your group would have liked.  We would like to emphasise that, given there is an element of chance when dealing with nature, there will always be an inherent risk that it may not always be possible for groups to see wildlife as hoped.

0 Margaret Waller, 22/02/13

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

Seeing my first wild sloth

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Our Response

Turrialba is just an en route stop, however it gives customer the opportunity to look at the history of the country – Turrialba is the only pre hispanic site in the country and we feel it is worth visiting.

5 Ruby Pillay, 17/01/13

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

The tour of the botanical gardens with Paul was superb, the pace the explanations and the fruit tasting. The hundreds of birds with such fibrant colours and their various calls, the iguanas up the trees spotted on our river boat sightseeing trips, even the pelting rains did not diminish my spirits.Ronaldo, of course played a special part with his outstanding knowledge of almost everything he was asked about the country. The night walk in the rainforest spotting sleeping birds, snake and fishing out the tarantulars from their lairs.It was also a safe peaceful country.The care of the environment and ecology from hotels to the countryside was an eye opener.The bonus was the wipwire especially for a senior citizen.

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4 Robt Adams, 31/12/12

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

Zip-lining / canopy walks in Monteverde (totally optional if you don't have a head for such things!). Tortuguera is good too.  


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5 Lucy Haynes, 28/06/12

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

There were so many wonderful sights but the best was the unexpected  trip on the river on our last day on the Pacific coast.  The trip started with an excellent lunch before boarding the boat.  We saw more birds in those few hours than we had seen anywhere else. Both Ron, our leader, and the driver of the boat were amazing at spotting them. Between us, we managed to spot over 40 species.

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0 GH, 20/02/12
The trip took us to a number of national parks, pretty much following the tourist trail of Costa Rica. This enabled us to see a fantastic range of wildlife throughout the holiday. Our tour leader was flexible to the needs of the group and even arranged a boat trip on the final day, for a last chance to see a variety of bird life, iguanas and crocs. A selection of hotels enabled us to get away from the beaten track on a few occasions. All the hotels were of a good standard, some were excellent.  If you want to sample Costa Rican culture and meet the locals, this is probably not the trip for you. This is very much about the wildlife and landscapes, for which it fulfilled all expectations.    The highlights were numerous, including the boat trips on the Caribbean coast and walking in the National parks. Seeing a Quetzel was a bonus for us, along with sloths, caiman, crocodiles, hummingbirds, coatis, scarlet macaws & 100s of other birds. A good camera, that you know how to use, binoculars and rain gear are essential & a linking of beans & rice would help!
0 Tanya and Dave, 27/10/11

Wow this trip really was an excellent adventure around Costa Rica. Every day was packed with things to do, we never had time to get bored! Highlights had to be Tortuguero national park, packed full of wildlife; Monteverde cloud forest and Manuel Antonio national park. 

We saw several Sloths, varying types of monkey, toucans, scarlet macaws, frogs, snakes (at a serpentarium!) two turtles on the beach at night, and iguanas but to name a few............  Of course we travelled in rainy season and the weather was changable but usually only rained late afternoon and not everyday depending on where you were in the country. 

Our tour leader Ron was extremely knowledgable and friendly and was always providing us with information about anything and everything, and driver Kenneth kept his bus immaculate.  The lodges were all comfortable and clean and you really were in the middle of the jungle with the wildlife at some. 

We thoroughly enjoyed this trip and would highly recommend it to anyone who likes wildlife, birds and the jungle.  Don't forget your binoculars and lots of camera card space! (CC -6th August 2011)

0 Andy Pollard, 14/06/11
For wildlife enthusiasts who have been to Africa/India and want to see something different this is an excellent trip. You will see lots of different birds and animals. We saw many creatures such as sloths, crocodiles, all 4 species of monkey, 2 types of eyelash viper on a walk, a river otter and any number of birds, including the resplendent quetzal. Some viewpoints: ALL cash you take should be in dollars. You will not be able to change pounds. You can nearly always use dollars in transactions. You will be given small change in local currency. You will not go through money really fast till Monteverde, where there are a lot of extra options. I particularly enjoyed the sloth sanctuary and the huge butterfly house near St Elena. You should definitely do the night walk, where the guides are expert at locating smaller species. Although you will go through a good deal of money at Monteverde you will need to do this to gain maximum benefit as the options are generally very good. During the time at Monteverde you can review how much cash you need and use the cash machines there for the rest of the trip. Cash machine transactions generally worked ok. My camera has a 10x zoom (395mm). This is really the absolute minimum to get good photos as many of the creatures are small/in the trees. You should take binoculars. The guide was really good at spotting/finding wildlife on our trip. The accomodation was generally good. One course was often enough for meals, as the portions were generally big. I would definitely recommend this trip. (CC - 9th April 2011)
0 Nick Ward, 16/05/11
Here's something a bit different. With so many rightly complementary reviews of this tour already online, I won't repeat what's already been written. Instead I'll be picky and chip in with what I feel are the (albeit minor) downsides of this trip.  First, as the Trip Notes make clear, Costa Rica is no cheap third world country to visit. Being so close to the US means that prices are very much first world. Expect to pay as much or more for food/drink/extra trips as you might at home (eg £4 plus for a small beer in one restaurant our guide took us to).  Secondly, while Costa Rica may be stunningly beautiful, don't expect to experience that beauty in isolation. The places this tour visits are very much ON the tourist trail for mainly US travellers, and while that brings plenty of tourist-friendly infrastructure, it brings crowds too in many places. That may not bother you, but for me I feel that the company which encourages travellers to 'Feel the Adventure' could maybe have been just a bit more adventurous in preparing the itinerary.    Don't get me wrong, though - these are minor quibbles, and all the good stuff in other reviews is true too. A really enjoyable and worthwhile trip.(CC - 12th March 2011)
0 Teresa Mozly (Explore Staff), 04/05/11
I have never particularly been a bird enthusiast, but having seen so many beautiful species, I am now! I have learnt so much about the country, its wildlife and the lives of its people. They are working really hard to conserve so many species of birds, animals, plants and their environment. We travelled among mountains, beaches, volcanoes, rivers, two different oceans, forests, small towns, large towns, little agricultural settlements and big banana and coffee plantations. The accommodation is comfortable, people are friendly, and no-one tries to hassle you when you just want to stroll, observe, or sit still. (CC - 12th March 2011)
0 David Worsfold, 31/12/10
An amazing trip to am amazing country. Having been on many Explore holidays I have to say that for variety of wildlife and scenery Cost Rica packs in more than anything. From coastal scenery (Pacific and Carribean) to cloudforest, rainforest, river scenery; it has it all..  as for flora and fauna it was a birdwatchers paradise..  plus all the insects, butterflys..  not to say the larger creatures such as the 4 species of monkeys, 2 and 3 tied sloths, iguanas on the beach at Manuel Antonio..  the hotels (apart from the one in San Jose!!) were all great with pools..  using a local guide (Herman) made all the difference - he was a mine of information on history, flora, fauna, natural history - plus a daily 'philosopy quote'..  in all an outstanding trip made all the more exciting by negoitiating the effects of the ash cloud!! There were too many highlights to mention but waking up to the sounds of monkeys in the jungle. watching iguana and monkeys on the beach in Manuel Antonio, horse riding in Monteverde, canopy walks, 5 hours up the river to Tortueuga.. to name but a few.. Tips - take plenty of card space on your camera, a good pair of binoculars and a good bird book! (CC - 3rd October 2010)
0 Cynthia Howland-Hodson, 12/11/10
I left Costa Rica with tears in my eyes and an unspoken promise to be back someday. When I booked this trip, I would never have guessed that I would fall so madly in love with the country and the people. Explore's use of a local guide is critical in making their excursions memorable. Our guide was educated and intelligent, he connected with each member of the group tailoring activities to their interests, was an amazing font of information about wildlife and plant life, passionate about sharing his culture and native land with us and educating us in a manner that was endearing and memorable. Costa Rica is so incredibly diverse: volcanos, cloud forests, brilliant Pacific beaches, rain forest and incredible jungle riverways, agriculture and sunny plains, Carribean paradise and so much more. Each day we woke to the sounds of monkeys and birds, stepped lightly over trails of leaf cutter ants with tiny green sails, ate generous portions of delicious local foods and more fruits than I knew existed, then headed out for adventure. This trip is perfect for anyone - but especially for bird watchers, nature and wildlife lovers. Plenty of opportunity to get your exercise in, or spend time taking photographs. Lots of optional activities and free time to explore. If there was one thing I was not expecting, it was the knowledge of eco-tourism that I gained. I have not stopped talking about Costa Rica and this trip since I came home many months ago - and any trips in the future will be arranged through Explore! (CC -20th February 2010)
0 Poonam Bhati, 22/09/10
Just came back yesterday.  As novice birdwatchers, we signed up for this trip hoping to see a few interesting birds... we saw loads. They ranged from Scarlet Macaws; Hummingbirds; many different parrots and parakeets; to water birds such as the Roseate Spoonbill, Ibis (white and green), egrets, Wood Storks; Jacanas; and even a sighting of the elusive male Resplendent Quetzal - not something many experienced birdwatchers could say! And if that wasn't enough the mammals (Two and Three Toed Sloths, 4 different species of Monkey, Agouti, Coatimundi), the reptiles (Green Iguanas, Jesus Christ lizard, Geckoes galore, Crocodiles and Caiman) and amphibians (frogs, frogs and more frogs!) took up the rest of our time! The standard of the hotels improved with the trip - all were clean and comfortable. We had no need for an alarm clock as we woke up with the rain and cloud forests - I didn't adapt to Costa Rica time, I was on jungle time! One of the things I would say for this trip, as I imagine with most Explore trips, is to not expect the wildlife to just be there - we would wake up early and just go for walks wherever we could, following the sounds of the birds, listening out for rustling in the leaves. It all added to the fun and the sense of adventure. A couple of highlights were the frog pools adventure where we had so much fun looking for the different frogs in pitch dark with just torches; the beach in Manuel Antonio national park (watching a white-faced capuchin eating the lunch he had sneakily stolen from other members of our group); watching the Green Turtles nesting - one of my most memorable wildlife experiences. The food was great too - I'm usually a fussy eater so when I didn't wasn't in the mood for the usual rice and beans there were plenty of fish, Mexican and European dishes to choose from. Be prepared for insect bites... not always mosquitoes so deet wasn't massively useful but long cotton shirts are great for keeping the bugs off. Had such a lovely time, I'm quite disappointed at having swapped tropical paradise with reality! Most useful tip: take your binoculars… I wouldn’t take mine off (even taking them on the night walks). There’s so much to see all the time – the animals and birds move quite fast too so it was just good to watch them; I left the photography to everyone else. (CC- 7th August 2010)
0 Muriel Stoker, 22/09/10
Tortuguero was wonderful- but bring raingear. Monteverde- beautiful- bring bird book. (CC- 24th July 2009)
0 N.G, 22/09/10
I can't recommend this trip highly enough, it was fantastic. So much is packed into the itinerary that it seems much longer than it is and yet it's so much fun that it just flies by. The highlight of the trip for me was Tortuguero, it's a beautiful place and depending on the time of year that you go I would recommend going on the trip to watch the turtles laying their eggs, its magical. Our guide and driver were both brilliant and provided lots of information and local knowledge that made the trip more enjoyable than if it hadn't been a group holiday. I would however advise people to take more cash than the dossier says because ATM's where you can use foreign cards aren't as widely available as the dossier leads you to believe. Also don't be surprised if your meal and/or drinks take a while wherever you order them from, but you don't mind the lack of speed given that you're in such an amazing country. (CC- 24th July 2010)
0 Chris Davis, 21/09/10
The Ash Cloud was somewhat unexpected! We were all extremely impressed with the way that Explore coped and got us home a mere 48 hours late. Costa Rica is a hidden gem! A wonderful country with an incredible variety of wildlife and scenery, enormously enhanced by the superb Explore guide and driver. (CC- 3rd April 2010)
0 Dianne Theresa Christopher, 21/09/10
* The nights in the log cabins/ Arenal volcano/ cloud forest walks/ night walks/ 5 hours travelling along the river and stopping at Nicuargua/ abundance of wild life! * Having the most amazing guide (Herman) unexpected.  * Ensure that you have sufficient cards etc for your camera... (CC- 4th March 2010)
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