The pipeline (waterfall) trail

The main thing to do in Boquete is walk the trails in the surrounding cloud forest. The attractions are waterfalls and birdlife – but at the end of the dry season there is not much action to be had as far as waterfalls go…. However, this area is the home of the Resplendent Quetzal – a magnificent bird that everybody wants to see! 🙂

We decided to go for a trail called the ‘pipeline trail’, also known as the ‘waterfall trail’. It’s called the pipeline trail because it follows a pipeline… and also it ends at a waterfall… so it’s VERY appropriately named 🙂 This trail has an area where lots of quetzals hang out – apparently…

It’s only around 45 minutes in a colectivo to get there from Boquete, and the trail’s total length is around 4.5km (return trip – it’s a one way trail). It’s actually on private land, so you have to give $3 USD to the family who live there. We were hoping that we would get some quetzal sightings for our cash…! 🙂

It’s a popular and easy trail, and we saw lots of people – we were definitely the slowest walkers on the trail – but that’s not because we are slow, old people – NO! It’s because we are dedicated quetzal trackers. 🙂 Not only did we see FIVE quetzals – we also decided that we had to hang out with the quetzals for at least 10 minutes each 🙂

Many people on the trail didn’t even spot the quetzals, even though we were standing VERY close to them. Perhaps they shouldn’t have been making so much noise, and then we might not have turned in the other direction from the quetzal and pretended to drink water instead of looking at the quetzal… 🙂 I must point out though, that we did show one guy who came along where the quetzal was – and it really made his day – he was super-excited to see it. So… we’re not all bad are we? 🙂

At the start of the trail.
Welcome to the cloud forest. Altitude 1578m.
The first part of the trail is more like a farm track.
Yellow-faced grassquit.
PB on the trail.
Check out this cool bird! An elegant euphonia.
CC crossing a stream on the pipeline.

OK…. you know you’ve been waiting for this moment! WHERE ARE THE QUETZAL PICTURES! 🙂

Here is a female quetzal. The females are not as spectacular as the males.
That’s more like it! Check out that amazing tail on the male quetzal!
PB crossing on another bit of pipeline.

Apart from the bits of rusting pipeline, it was a very scenic trail through some pretty amazing forest. It turned out that we had seen quetzals even BEFORE we were supposed to… 🙂

We’ve officially arrived at the quetzal habitat area. Elevation 1780m.
This tree is estimated to be around 1000 years old.
Here is the waterfall at the end of the trail. Yes, not that spectacular is it? Luckily we saw more quetzals to make up for it…
PB crosses another stream.

OK, definitely time for some more quetzal pics – on the way back we got even better views of them! 🙂

Look at this amazing looking quetzal!
Close up of the quetzal.
Here he is again! 🙂
Did you spot that this bird isn’t a quetzal? It must be easy for other birds to feel inferior next to quetzals – but we still like them. This is a yellowish flycatcher.
OK, back to the quetzals. Here is a another female.
And one more male quetzal for good luck!

The walk had far exceeded our expectations quetzal-wise, and we saw a few other birds as well – it was definitely a worthwhile excursion.

Brown-capped vireo.

As it was quite a short walk, we ended up back in Boquete in time for lunch. YES – FIVE quetzals before lunch – NOT BAD! 🙂

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