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Meet the Divine Bird, The Quetzal in El Triunfo, Chiapas

quetzal el triunfo chiapas parado en una rama
Hundreds of years have passed since you told me that I was more valuable than metal or precious stones. My colors “livery green and gold” I been decorated for kings. Dazzling is my colorful, royal bird feathers.
My name is Quetzal, linked to the feathered serpent; in my great cultures, it symbolizes the above and the below, the air and the earth, the sky and the underworld.
-Short fragment of the Poem Quetzal by Elizabeth Ríos de Pastrana Nicaragua.

The majestic Quetzal, that bird of resplendent plumage that since time immemorial has become the heart of pre-Hispanic cultures, is one of those endemic jewels of Central America that inhabits the mountainous areas of Oaxaca, Chiapas, and in countries such as Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Guatemala, the latter becoming its national symbol and the name of its currency.

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When we talk about quetzals we must think of a unique animal. A bird that has never been easy to observe, among other things, because it flies through the fog of the cloud forests and it is very easy to hide in the mist despite its striking plumage.

 

quetzal en el triunfo chiapas parado sobre ramasVisit Chiapas and learn the history of one of the most wonderful birds in America

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Quetzal, Sacred Bird of Mesoamerican Cultures

The word Quetzal comes from the Nahuatl word quetzalli which means “beautiful shining feather”. This toponym is associated with its iridescent plumage, such a rare color that, according to specialists, varies according to the light of the day and makes a visual contrast with the red of its belly and its immense tail, so large that it can reach up to 90 centimeters.

For the cultures of Central and Southern Mexico, the quetzal was a sacred animal. The Mayas associated it with Kukulkan and the Aztecs with Quetzalcoatl, they had such a great adoration for this creature that they used its figure in multiple cosmogonic representations; one of the clearest examples of this is in the famous feathered serpent in Chichen Itza.

On the other hand, the beauty of its plumage was a symbol of wealth for Mesoamerican cultures, so much so that priests and high-ranking rulers used its feathers to decorate their attire and great ornaments as we can see in the amazing plume of Moctezuma.

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templo de la serpiente emplumada en mexico

 

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The Quetzal in El Triunfo Chiapas

Despite its importance, today this species is in danger of extinction due to illegal trafficking to obtain their feathers or to sell them as pets. Although certainly their greatest threat is the reduction of their habitats, it is estimated that in recent years these birds have lost approximately 70% of their nesting sites.

Due to the risk they run, several reserves have been created, one of them, perhaps one of the most important, is the Biosphere Reserve El Triunfo Chiapas where visitors can see them from February to April since during those months they offer their courtship flights, which is one of the most extraordinary natural spectacles to appreciate.

Quetzal watching in El Triunfo Chiapas takes place in the Sierra Madre, in the cloud forest, one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in Mexico. For this experience Rutopía has planned some visits with different guides from the Tzeltal community that take travelers to meet this wonderful bird, in the course of which there is the possibility of knowing the nearby communities that are dedicated to the cultivation of organic coffee, one of the most valued in the world.

There is also the possibility of seeing the Quetzal at the Tziscao Ecotourism Center near the Montebello Lagoons, where there are also other species such as the Tucaneta, Achiote, White-tailed Deer and a diversity of orchids and bromeliads. On the other hand, for those who choose to do so, it is possible to hiking, landscape observation, trekking, boarding a log raft and visiting orchid islets and cenotes.

 

quetzal el triunfo chiapas quetzal volandoHelp to protect the Quetzal while you enjoying an extraordinary vacations.

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orquideas en los bosques nubosos de oaxaca mexicoWalk into the cloud forest and be amazed by the beauty of the Orchids and Bromeliads. 

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Definitely, the Quetzal is one of the most beautiful birds in America, and being able to observe them is a wonderful thing you have to do at least once in your life. So come, explore the reserves, and discover a new world among the forests.

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Victoria O.

September, 2022
Two Weeks in Mexico
Seamless transfers, excellent hotels particularly in Mexico city and Puebla, combined with various cultural and food tours. Particular highlights were the cultural/food tours in Mexico city and Puebla (also including the anthropology museum in Mexico city), and the rural tours in Oaxaca where we visited textile workshops, mescal producers and participated in a cooking class using traditional equipment. Also, although we didn't need it, the on call remote assistance was reassuring. I would definitely recommend Rutopia.
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Kris S.

April, 2022
Enjoyed using Rutopia
Enjoyed using Rutopia (Marisol and Melina) to plan my trip to Mexico. Marisol helped me figure out the best options fand booked everything. Melina was my in country support. Rutopia (the company through Kim Kim) is great and would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to take the burden out of vacation planning. My son and I truly enjoyed the trip knowing everything was taken care of and we just had to have fun. Thanks!
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Melissa W.

July, 2022
Adventures in the Yucatán!
Such an amazing time in the Yucatán! Between floating in the mangroves to visiting Chichén Itzá to spending a whole day on the beach in El Cuyo, I couldn’t have planned a better trip without their help. Thank you so much for an unforgettable birthday vacation!! Simply amazing! Don’t think twice about having them help you plan your next vacation!
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Cat839

April, 2022
Great experience with this agency, totally recommend!
Great experience with this agency. Our tour in Mexico was perfect and organised with great passion and precision. Special thanks to Mel (our direct contact during the trip) for being super responsive and to Jorge Barbosa (our tour guide in Mexico City). Totally recommend this tour operator!
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Sue G

June, 2022
Mayan Site Tour in Yucatan Penninsula Mexico
Rutopia did an outstanding job with the arrangement and execution of a 9 day tour of Mayan sites in the Yucatan peninsula. We provided Rutopia with the general parameters of the trip we wanted and they suggested an itinerary. After our approval, they set up the hotels, transportation within Mexico, and site tours. The hotels were good quality, and all of the drivers and tour guides showed up on time. We were very impressed with the quality of the tour guides and learned a lot on the trip. Jorge handled setting up the itinerary, and Melina handled the execution of the trip and was readily available via WhatsApp throughout the trip for any questions or issues. Melina was particularly helpful in changing our transportation arrangements to the airport at the last minute per our request. I would recommend Rutopia and would use them again for future trips.
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Varadarajan

July, 2022
Fantastic Will do it again
My wife and I had a fantastic holiday in Mexico thanks to Marisol, Ana, Teresa and their colleagues & partners. The entire itinerary and arrangements were put together in less than 4 days. What we really liked about Marisol & her team was that they were only a message or a phone call away for any query/suggestion, etc. The trip was bespoke to the extent that Rutopia had kept in mind about our interests, food habits & executed bookings, tours. They were also very flexible in catering to last minute changes/requests. The team took upon them to ensure that our entire trip was comfortable & safe by taking care of even small stuff that one normally finds out post getting to a place. We would definitely like to use their services again!!
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Elena R.

April, 2022
A literally perfect trip to the Yucatan peninsula
Tom and I knew we wanted to go to Mexico. We knew we wanted a little bit of culture, some wildlife, and maybe a splash in the ocean. That's it. With the vague and minimal information we gave them, Rutopia was able to put together a perfect trip for us. We had a flawless itinerary. It's so clear that Rutopia really cares about the communities (animals and humans) in Mexico. Everything we did and everywhere we stayed felt like they were helping us experience Mexico as authentically and respectfully as possible. It's almost impossible to pick a highlight, but top of the list has to be the day we shared with Enrique, a Mayan host who was unbelievably generous with us. He shared the community gardens, including history and background about the families that live in Nuevo Durango and other nearby communities. He showed us the neighborhood cenotes, Punta Laguna, Uma Nojoch Keej (a wildlife reserve), and more. We picked and prepared the plants as Enrique and his wife Blanca showed us the best way to cook them (and rescued us when we were pricked by the nopales!). We saw howler monkeys and spider monkeys in the wild which was very cool. That had to be the very best day, but every day was amazing. Sian Ka'an reserve was lovely, the Mayan ruins were spectacular, the snorkeling in Puerto Morelos was fabulous, the bicycle cenote tour was jaw'droppingly gorgeous. I'm waxing superlative but it really all was like a dream. Beyond the activities, the scheduling and pace was perfect for us. We felt like we really made the most of our six days, but with enough downtime to explore and enjoy at our leisure. From picking up our car at the airport to finding our accommodation, the logistics were very smooth at every interaction. Special shoutout to Melina who pretty much instantly helped us when we had any questions about the trip. We've never used a travel planning service like this before. But after this trip, we'll never go back to the old way!
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David

July, 2022
Journey to Mexico City, Cholula and Cuetzalan
We had a wonderful time. We started out in Mexico City with a 2 day tour filled with museums, food, and beautiful sights. We then went on to Cholula to experience the culture in a smaller town, see a local market, and eat traditional food. We finished the tour in a small town called Cuetzalan, where most people speak an indigenous language. All of our guides were great. Thank you for a memorable vacation!
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DaniEla

March, 2022
Just wonderful!
We had an amazing trip excellent organized by Jorge and supervised by Melina from Rutopia. We spent 10 days in Mexico, starting in Ciudad de Mexico where we visited the amazing Teotihuacan and then we flew to Yucatan for the amazing sites of Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Ek Balam, Tulum, Merida, Valladolid and the great Island Holbox. The trip was perfectly organized, the hotels were very good, and the guides were carefully chosen. We highly recommend Rutopia and especially Jorge!
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Bikø J

November, 2021
Chiapas, Neri and her family
I traveled to Chiapas for an ecotourism experience with Rutopia and I liked it very much, the team responds very quickly to all questions and accompany the traveler throughout the experience, I missed my flight and they were very flexible to accommodate the entire itinerary, My destination was the lakes of Tziscao, where I was received by Neri with his family in very nice cabins next to a lake with incredible views and a magnificent tranquility, with them you make experiences of beekeeping and coffee and tours to nearby lakes, Montebello is a must! 100% recommended.
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Alexhcros1500

March, 2021
Super local agency
We have worked with Rutopia for several tours in Mexico in the Yucatán and Chiapas and we have never been disappointed. Authentic experiences, with locals, in magical places and off the beaten tourist track. Our contact Marisol was always super available and responsive, understanding and anticipating our desires. And she speaks very good French. I highly recommend Rutopia!
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Mikel D

April, 2021
The best moment lived in Mexico
We were traveling as a group of friends with nothing organized. We like to improvise and be able to find alternative plans to the conventional tourist routes. We arrived in Puerto Escondido - Mexico's paradise - and started looking for options. A Mexican friend recommended us to contact Rutopia and we did. We explained our way of traveling - which they quickly understood - and in a few hours they came to us with a perfect selection of activities. We chose one of them and the next day we found ourselves galloping through beautiful hills, crossing a small lagoon in canoes, bathing on an unspoiled beach at sunset and sipping freshly picked coconuts with some mezcal. We had dinner in the only hut on the beach, eating fish that had been caught that day from the lagoon. Then we went to see the luminescence of the placton with paddle canoes until we were surprised by one of the biggest and reddest moons I have ever seen in my life. We ended up sleeping in bamboo huts a few meters from the waves. There were no more than 5 huts on the miles of beach that we could see. And at ALL times with an exquisite treatment - sympathy, kindness and attention. This is just one of the plans we booked with Rutopia, which definitely changed the course of our trip. Without a doubt, I would repeat this experience in any place I would like to visit in Mexico. Viva Mexico!
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Claudia A

September, 2020
Super organization, great accommodations and nice team
The trip was perfectly organized, we were always exclusive or in very small groups and had freedom to do our own activities. All accommodations were fantastic and sustainable, the food almost always local and very good, we could always fill our Rutopia water bottles and travel as plastic free as possible. We were met at the airport and had assistance getting a rental car. After that, we traveled independently but had our fixed dates and reservations with Rutopia. It was the perfect mix!
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pascalrichard0304

March, 2020
Circuit in Yucatan
Discovering wonderful and surprising sites, Mayan communities with an unforgettable welcome, breathtaking landscapes, a very pleasant climate in the middle of March...and smiling people! A big thank you to Rutopia and his team for the elaboration of this ideal circuit, alternating nature, city life, simplicity and comfort. Thanks to Mélina for the follow-up during our trip. We don't speak Spanish well enough, and we appreciated having a French-speaking contact person who could be reached if necessary. We still have a lot to discover and hope to come back very soon, and with Rutopia without hesitation!
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Sabrina N

March, 2020
Perfect
For those who don't like to manage logistics like hotels, rental cars, activities. And above all, to have someone who speaks fluent French that we can reach at any time for the unexpected... You are in the right place! Thank you to Chloe for the preparation of our trip, to Melina our Ariadne's thread and Teresa for her welcome and help at the arrival and departure. A big thank you to Enrique and Blanca from Nuevo-Durango for their welcome, their smiles, their family, a lot of emotions at the time to leave you. Thanks to Mémo for your teaching of Mexican customs (Sian Ka'an) The Yucatan is a magnificent region. And the population is very pleasant. Only downside Holbox... Too much dust, too much smell of fuel oil, too much tourist. I will keep in memory these wonderful moments!
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