Lankester Gardens

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Lankester Gardens

Lankester Gardens has over 800 varieties of orchids.
Lankester Gardens has over 800 varieties of orchids.

It’s a short trip from Cartago to the Lankester Gardens in Paraiso de Cartago. Supposedly, Paraiso (Paradise) was named by weary Spaniards moving inland from the Atlantic coast who discovered its cooler temperatures and lack of malarial mosquitoes paradisical. In 1900 at the age of 21, English botanist Charles Lankester, was sent to Costa Rica by a British company to work with coffee production. The coffee venture didn’t succeed, but lucky for us, Charles decided to make a go at it and bought 37 acres of land to preserve local flora, especially orchids and bromeliads, and to regenerate a natural forest. Now, Lankester Gardens are run by the University of Costa Rica. Costa Rica has more than 1,400 varieties of orchids, and the Lankester Gardens are home to no fewer than 800 of these species. The gardens also attract large number of birds, especially in the peak flowering months of February through April.

Well marked trails meander from open, sunny gardens into shady forests and in each environment various species of orchids are in bloom. There’s also an information center and gift shop. If you’re interested in flowers, plan to spend a couple hours here.

Not far from the Lankester Gardens is the Sanchiri Lodge, a great place to stop in for a drink and a snack that offers a great view of the Orosi valley.

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