Lankester orchids garden

Location: 20 miles (4 km) E of Cartago toward Paraiso.
Size: 26 acres (10. 7 ha).
Hours: Daily 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Information: (506) 552-3247, fax (506) 552-3151; e-mail

Established in the 1950s by English naturalist Charles Lankester to preserve local epiphytes, beautiful Lankester garden was bought in 1973 by the North American Society of Orchideology and Stanley Smith Foundation of England and donated to the University of Costa Rica. Thousands have walked these paths to see the orchids-more than 800 species of local and foreign orchids, from tiny miniatures to flowers with stalks more than 15 feet (5 in) high. Though peak months for orchids to bloom are February through May, there are enough in flower to dazzle visitors at any time of year.

Well-maintained trails lead over brooks, under arbors, and to greenhouses, through a breathtaking display of flowers and trees that attract more than 100 species of birds. You may be surprised to find a cactus and succulent garden here. Though most Costa Rican cacti grow in tropical dry forest, some live as epiphytes in the rain forest. Palms, bromeliads, bamboo (40 varieties), heliconias (35 varieties), gingers, aroids, and ferns abound. The secondary forest is in the premontane life zone. Research and education go hand in hand with plant production. Though there are currently no guided walks, some descriptive signs are in place and a written guide for the self-guided tour may be available by your arrival. Allow one to two hours to enjoy the garden and gift shop, where you'll find T-shirts, books, and a video about the garden. Bring insect repellent in rainy season.

Getting There

By bus: From Cartago, catch Paraiso bus; ask to be let off at the entrance to Jardin Botdnico Lankester. Walk a half-mile (3/4 km) to the reception area.
By car: From Cartago, look for the entrance on the right just past Casa Vieja Restaurant, next to Campo Ayala. Other: Taxi from Cartago $15.

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Fax: +506.2643.1356

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Telephone: +1.866.465.6202 / +506.2643.2953 -- Fax: +506.2643.1356
#13, 50 East to Hotel Amapola, Jaco, Puntarenas - Costa Rica.
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