Our last day of Costa Rica trip definitely wasn’t a lazy one. We woke up early to meet our new local friend Erick Matamoros – a great freelancing photographer and kindly our guide for a car trip to Irazú volcano, followed by a visit to the Lankester Botanical Garden and then a direct drive to the airport for home journey. Irazú and Lankester Garden is a common combo for a day trip as both are situated in Cartago province, a couple of hours driving from the capital city San José.
Like some other our days public botanical gardens in the country, Lankester Garden started as a private coffee plantation and a collection of local plants by one enthusiast – Charles Herbert Lankester. When “Don Carlos” died 1969, the estate and collection was acquired by American Conservation Society and later donated to University of Costa Rica. It has been opened as Lankester Botanical garden to public since 1973.
With its almost 27 acres (more then 100.000 sqm) Lankester Botanical Garden today houses the largest in the world collection of orchids.
You can easily walk through the garden by following a path, which will take you through eight different plant collections (see the map).
The first one you will inevitably start with is of course orchids. A huge green house full of them is the first you are going to see after the entrance.
The end of the rain season is not the best time of the year to see flowering plants. Also, I’m not really an orchid guy and we were a bit in a harry to the airport so I kind of skipped that green house. I took just a few photos here.
Next on the path after the greenhouse is a loop around Japanese Garden. With its pond, a wall of bamboo and a large Japanese style wooden building, this is a popular place for wedding photography.
Back from Japan you will next enter a patch of so called secondary forest. This is the name for the forests which had a chance to regenerate from timber harvest and deforestation. Here in the garden it is an example and a study case of what should be done in a much larger scale throughout the tropics.
Because of the luck of time I had to skip almost the half of the garden, namely the cacti and succulents part as well as ferns.
Instead I prioritized my favorite plant family Zingiberales. Celebrity family members there are bananas, Heliconia, Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) and the largest of them all Traveler’s tree (Ravenala madagascariensis). I actually do have them all growing in our living room.
So here I just had to explore everything and I didn’t stay just on the path. See the photo proof below.
Bromeliads and palms
The more time I spent with my beloved Zingiberales, the less time I had left for the last two parts of the garden, unfortunately. So just a few photos on the run from there.
THANK YOU COSTA RICA! LA PURA VIDA!
And that was our last day on that trip to Costa Rica, but I’m sure it wasn’t our last trip there. A big thank you would be also appropriate to my dear partner Alex for following with me on all my geeky botanical adventures. Also a special thank you for our friend and amazing photographer Erick Matamoros for this lovely day to remember and also for this photo in my right environment: