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General information


Los Quetzales National Park is located in Los Santos, south region of Costa Rica, between Providencia and San Gerardo de Dota, and is part of the Talamanca Mountain Range and the basin of the Savegre River, 80 km from San Jose, the capital.
Conservation Area:
Central Pacific Conservation Area (ACOPAC)
4.117 hectares
Schedule: from 7:30am to 4:00pm
When to go?

Dry season: December through April
Rainy season: May through November, but it rains the less in July and August.
Birdwatching: from 5:30am to 9:00am and from 2:30pm to 4:00pm (feeding schedule).

Conatct information
(00506) 2200-5354
Regional Office:
(00506) 24167068
(00506) 22560917
Send mail
Web Page:
Visit Wen Page
Camping permissions:
General information
Los Quetzales is the most recently created national park in Costa Rica. Its main goal is to promote sustainable tourism activities and neutralize carbon emissions in the environment. This park is home to the quetzal, bird known for its magnificent and extraordinary beauty.

Los Quetzales National Park has three life zones or different types of forests, 14 ecosystems and a great richness in flora and fauna. It also has seven different altitudes, which allow a large biological variety and the formation of seasonal lagoons of glacial origins (wetlands).

This park keeps the natural conditions of forests of high altitudes, like the oak forests, the cloud forests and moorlands. It also helps to maintain the hydrologic functions of these forests, the protection of habitats of endemic species and the reproduction of the quetzal. Aside from this, the park protects as well the basin of the Savegre River and serves as shelter and nesting site for the beautiful quetzal.

During the decades of the 70’s and the 80’s, a massive deforestation took place in this area due to the construction of some parts of the city of San Jose. The MINAET (Environment, Energy and Telecommunications Ministry) considered the importance of recovering this region for the natural conservation of plants and animals (it has a wide variety of species) and this way keep a biological corridor in the area. It was created along the Agencia de Cooperacion Española (Spanish Agency of Cooperation), as a project for the sustainable development of the Savegre River’s basin, and it is bonded to the Garajonay National Park in Spain.

The park is formed by empty and State lands, Los Santos forest reserve and Cerro Vueltas biological reserve, in the cantons of Dota and Tarrazu (in San Jose) and Aguirre (in Puntarenas).

The average annual rainfall ranges between 2.000 mm and 4.667 mm, and the temperature goes from 12°C to 28°C.
Dry season: December through April
Rainy season: May through November

This park has three life zones: low montane very humid forest 23%, montane pluvial forest 76% and low montane pluvial forest 1%.


Cloud forests: these forests have shorter trees compared to other areas and also have a wide variety of epiphyte plants, like bryophytes, lichens and ferns. Many species here are endemic.
Moors: it also has a large amount of endemic species (60% of its flora), and is one of the most fragile ecosystems of the country. It has lagoons of glacial origin, forests with trees that are 35 to 40 meters tall, and bogs, which are acid wetlands that have herbs and bushes, with endemic species like the Puya.

Oak forests: there are 4 different kinds of oak trees that can reach 40 m. in height.

There are also 979 types of plants, of which 119 are trees. There are very tall ones like oak trees and short ones, like timber trees. You can find as well 14 kinds of laurel trees, with species like the aguacatillo, 164 types of mosses and hepatics, 74 species of epiphyte plants and 148 kinds of ferns.

You can find palm heart plantations in the very humid and pluvial forests, multicolored mosses, many lichens, fungi and little vegetation in the moors (in the Cerro Vueltas).

This park also has species that are used as medicinal plants, trees for logging and other flora that is used in cooking.

This rich area has around 25 endemic species. It has 116 types of mammals and protects endangered species, as well as felids like the puma, the jaguar, the ocelot the margay and the jaguarundi. You can also find animals like tapirs, coyotes, deer, anteaters, otters, coatis and ring-tailed cats.

There are 61 species of bats, like the red fruit bat, the funnel-eared bat and the eastern red bat, 25 types of rodents, 12 kinds of carnivores and the 4 species of monkeys found in Costa Rica: the squirrel monkey, the howler monkey, the spider monkey and the white-faced monkey. You can also see animals like peccaries, pacas, the singing vole, the pocket mouse, the cottontail rabbit, the ring-tailed cat, the northern naked-tailed armadillo, the woolly opossum, the two-toed sloth, the shrew mouse and the greater Grison.

In the basin of the Savegre River 508 kinds of birds were found (429 resident species and 79 latitudinal migratory species). Also, there are around 51 sea birds and more than1.000 land birds that travel along this territory.

This park is home to bird species like trogons, hummingbirds, the mountain hen, the common blackbird, woodpeckers, the yellow-bellied siskin, goldfinches, the yellowish flycatcher, the torrent tryanulet, the black-headed grosbeak, the flame-throated warbler, bellbirds, the Baltimore oriole, the brown-and-yellow marshbird, the fiery-throated hummingbird, the magnificent hummingbird, the clay-colored thrush, the bee hummingbird and the green heron.

The main attraction of this park is the quetzal, one of the most beautiful birds of the Central American forests, which has green and red feathers.
Here you can also see some types of butterflies like the sunset butterfly, the cecropia butterfly and butterflies of the genus morpho.

Many of the reptiles that live in the park have reduced populations, such as the Central American banded gecko, the turnip-tailed gecko, the anole lizard, the rainbow boa, the sand boa, the boa constrictor and other lizard species. The endemic reptiles found in this area are the mountain lizard, which is a type of anguid lizard, and the Norops altae and Norops tropidolepis lizards.

Among the amphibians, there are three endemic species of salamanders (Bolitoglossa cerroensis, Bolitoglossa sooyorum and Oedipina altura) and two of frogs (Duellmanoyla rufioculis and Eleutherodactylus rayo).

Services and facilities on the Park
Park rangers’ booth
Visitor centers
Parking lot

Inside the Park:
Birdwatching, specially the quetzal
Walking through the trails

Outside the Park
Visiting Los Santos forest reserve
Get to know the nearby communities
Walking through the woods
Trout fishing

  • Recomendations
  • Interesting data
Tips para el viajero
Access recommendations
Schedule: from 7:30am to 4:00pm
Make your trip in a 4-wheel drive vehicle

General recommendations inside the park
In case you need any help, go to the park rangers, they will be more than glad to assist you.

Clothes and accessories recommendations
Bring comfortable shoes for walking and warm, comfy clothes. Also bring some extra clothes in case of need.
Bring a thick coat and umbrella or raincoat.
Bring photo camera, binoculars, hat or cap and sunglasses.
Bring mosquito repellent.
Bring water bottles and sunscreen.
Bring a small backpack; do not use a purse or a handbag instead.

Recommendations for a responsible tourist
Do not take with you any plants or animals from the park, and also please do not disturb the animals.
Loud noises are not allowed (stereos, horns, speakers, etc.) because they can disturb the peace and calmness of the park and its animals.

Recommendations with the animals
It is better to enjoy birdwatching at dawn. The best times for this activity are: from 5:30am to 9:00am and from 2:30pm to 4:00pm, which is their feeding schedule.
Even though there's a large variety of animal species in the park, most of them are hard to find because of different reasons, like the fact that they're night creatures, their reproductive or migratory behavior and the forest's density.

Datos interesantes
Datos interesantes:
There are 4 trails in the park:
Ojo de Agua trail: it is 3 km long and goes through oak forests covered by mosses, orchids, bromeliads and ferns.
Camino a Providencia (“Road to Providence”): perfect for birdwatching, goes along oak forests.

Aventura and Cerro Frio trails: it usually takes from 5 to 6 hours to go over them, and you must be in good shape and have a great physical condition.

This park also has a specific trail for educational trips.
Highest point of the park: Cerro Vueltas (Vueltas Hill) 3.000 meters above sea level.

Hydrographic basin of the Savegre River:
This natural area goes along a corridor that starts at 3.491 meters above sea level and goes down to the Pacific Ocean’s coastline. A large number of important populations are settled in this basin, which is one of the areas with the most biodiversity in the country. Although, this zone also has a high biophysical, social and economic vulnerability due to the natural disasters it has suffered in the past.

This area is very important because it is home to a large population of rainbow trouts and also serves as an uptake and supply zone for aquifers, essential to protect water resources. Keeping the forest areas of this basin will help reduce the effects of weather changes.

Community support
The creation of Los Quetzales National Park has served as financial aid to the nearby communities (Providencia and San Gerardo de Dota) through conservation efforts.

The towns of San Gerardo, Jaboncillo, Division and Copey have already seen the benefits of the park’s opening because it has drawn tourism to this area, and the villagers have been able to open their own commercial places like hotels, restaurants and grocery stores.

Project for the sustainable development of the Savegre River’s basin
The government of Costa Rica and the kingdom of Spain have carried out the Project of Conservation and Sustainable Development of the Savegre’s River Basin (Savegre’s Project) through funds of debt exchange. This project is part of the Araucaria Regional Program.

The XXI Araucaria Program is the main instrument used by the Spanish Cooperation to preserve the biologic diversity and promote the sustainable development of the Central American populations.

The project intends to keep a large coverage of forests in the basin, as well as a great biodiversity of an important ecological value. The National Institute of Biodiversity (INBio) develops a series of technical studies that will serve as inputs for the formulation of a Territorial Arrangement Plan for the basin. The National Park Foundation (FPN) is in charge of the financial funds.

Garajonay National Park (Spain)
The Garajonay National Park, in the Gomera island, Spain, and Los Quetzales in Costa Rica, have bonded in a way that it allows the exchange of experiences and also an increase in cooperation means; from the training of park rangers to the purchase of equipment needed for the control and preservation of the quetzals.
Both parks have cloud forests and their ecologies and water resources are very similar.

como llegar?
How to get there?
Tracopa (San Jose, Street 5, Ave. 18-20)
From San Jose to San Isidro del General, passing through the entrance of the park (in front of a restaurant called “Chespiritos #1”):
Schedule: every day 5:00am, 6:00am, 7:00am, 7:30am, 8:15am, 8:30am, 10:00am, 11:00am, 12:00md, 1:00pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm, 4:30pm and 6:30pm.
From San Isidro del General to San Jose, passing through the entrance of the park:
Schedule: everyday from 5:00am to 8:30pm (every hour)
Office phone number: (506) 2221-4214, (506) 2771-0468
Musoc (San Jose, Central Street, Ave. 22-24)
From San Jose to San Isidro del General, passing through the entrance of the park:
Schedule: every day from 5:30am to 5:30pm (every hour)
From San Isidro del General to San Jose:
Schedule: every day from 5:30am to 5:30pm (every hour)
Office phone number: (506) 2222-2422, (506) 2771-0414

From San Jose, take the route #2 heading south, in direction towards El Empalme, for about 52 km. Keep going until you get to Salsipuedes, passing through the towns of Cañon and Trinidad. The entrance of the park is at the km #76, in front of the restaurant called “Chespiritos”.

Other kind of transportation


Sus comentarios son importantes para mejorar la calidad de nuestra publicacion. Muchas gracias
Comments See all comments

Costa Rica Explorer Guide
Costa Rica

Información adicional
Hola Jorge, gracias por su pregunta. La carretera es de lastre. haste hace 6 meses, última vez que pasamos por esa calle, el acceso era bastante fácil. Eso si, siempre recomendamos el uso de un vehículo doble tracción.

Jorge Gonzalez
Costa Rica

Información adicional
Quisiera saber si la entrada al Parque frente a Chespititos No. 1 es una carretara asfaltada, de lastre, piedra etc., y si es de fácil acceso con automóvil o si se requiere un vehículo de doble tracción. Otra pregunta es a que distancia de esta entrada se llega al Parque?. Muchas gracias por su ayuda.

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