As the saying goes, March winds and April showers bring May flowers. In Costa Rica, however, flowers – especially orchids – are always in season and travellers do not have to wait until the North American spring season to get their fix. This list offers just a few of the best locations to enjoy flowers throughout Costa Rica (virtually and in-person).
Botanical Orchid Garden
Costa Rica is home to 1,300 species of orchids, while North America is home to only 200 species of orchids. In fact, Costa Rica’s national flower is the “Guaria Morada,” which translates to “purple country girl.” The Guaria Morada is an exquisite orchid with purple hues and thin, rounded petals, and is known for its distinct scent. According to Tican, or local, tradition, the Guaria Morada actually brings good fortune. To view these purple orchids and learn about their fascinating cultivation, travellers can visit the Botanical Orchid Garden in the small, charming town of La Garita in Costa Rica’s Alajuela province. They just might find some luck, too. The small botanical garden features several tropical trails, water gardens and a greenhouse with a permanent collection of beautiful and rare hybrid orchids.
Lankester Botanical Garden
Located in Costa Rica’s Cartago province just outside of the capital city of San José, Lankester Botanical Garden is one of the most important orchid research centres in Latin America. Founded in 1973, Lankester Botanical Garden’s mission is to promote conservation, enjoyment and sustainable use of flora through scientific research, horticulture and environmental education. Home to more than 3,000 species of plants, with nearly 1,000 of those being native and exotic orchids, the 27-acre botanical garden is a must-visit. Costa Rica’s orchids bloom year-round, but February through April is considered to be the most spectacular time to visit Lankester. Its orchids are displayed at eye level, making them easy to see, smell and admire. Travellers are often surprised to learn how difficult it is to spot orchids in the wild, as they typically grow in the forest canopy on trunks or on branches. You can take a 360° virtual tour of Lankester Botanical Garden here
Caribbean Botanical Garden
Caribbean Botanical Garden is one of the first agro-tourism companies in Costa Rica’s province of Limón, located on the country’s Caribbean coast. This botanical garden is the only one in all of the Caribbean with a collection of over 300 species of national, foreign and hybrid orchids. Nearly all of the orchids growing in this botanical garden are laboratory-produced, which is consistent with their conservation goals as they create orchids on-site instead of taking them from the wild. This ultimately allows the orchids to propagate wildly across the botanical garden. Best of all, travelers can expect to spot toucans, parrots, tangaras, macaws and several other beautiful bird species flying above the treetops within the Caribbean Botanical Garden.
Else Kientzler Garden
Located on the outskirts of the artisan town of Sarchí, Else Kientzler Garden showcases more than 2,000 species of exotic tropical plants and flowers from around the world. Visitors can explore over 2.5 kilometres of beautifully landscaped trails, featuring an extensive collection of orchids, cacti, bromeliads, palms, succulents, heliconia and hibiscus from Costa Rica, New Zealand, Madagascar, Brazil, India, Japan and more. All of the plants and flowers at the botanical garden are labeled with their Latin names, with further explanations around the grounds in both English and Spanish. Else Kientzler Garden offers a birdwatching tour as well as several wellness activities, including guided meditation, yoga, pilates and Tai Chi near its spectacular topiary labyrinth. Else Kientzler Garden is also a popular venue for intimate micro-weddings.
Monteverde Butterfly Gardens
Situated near Costa Rica’s mystical Monteverde Cloud Forest, Monteverde Butterfly Gardens is home to 30 species of butterflies and four different habitats of flora. For over 20 years, the garden’s mission has been to change the way that people think about insects and arachnids. Travellers can learn about Costa Rica’s unique bug life, while exploring lush greenery and getting up close and personal with colourful Monarchs, Morphos and more. This garden is a must-visit for butterfly and flower lovers alike. At this time, in-person tours at Monteverde Butterfly Gardens are not being offered due to the pandemic, but you can book a personalized virtual tour for 45 minutes of fun, learning and all things flowers and butterflies here!
Source: Essential Costa Rica