Flower Gardens in Costa Rica

Beautiful trails in Paraiso, Cartago
Beautiful trails in Paraiso, Cartago

Whether you're an experienced botanist, or you simply love the look and smell of beautiful flowers, you can't visit Costa Rica without seeing some of its gorgeous flower gardens. The warm climate and nearly perfect blend of sunshine and rain make the country a breeding ground for hundreds of exquisite plants and flowers in its plains, grasslands and rainforests. Outside of growing wild, the plants also grow in the country's many flower gardens. You simply can’t skip them during your trip.

Arenal Botanical Gardens

The Arenal Botanical Garden is by far the most popular place to view Costa Rica flora. Situated in the beautiful forests of Arenal Lake, more than 2,200 different cultivated and wild plants call the botanical garden home. Originally created as a project to preserve the country's native species, the garden features more than 400 orchid species as well as an impressive array of Cycads. You'll want to spend hours meandering through the garden's trails, taking in the scents and sights as you go.

Gorgeous Orchids in Costa Rica

Costa Rica orchids are renowned around the world, and for good reason. Specifically, Lankester Botanical Gardens is known as Orchid Country. Situated near Cartago, a colonial city on the edge of San Jose, the garden has been thriving for more than 100 years now. Charles Lankester West, a British orchid enthusiast, started the garden in 1917. Today, it houses to more than 800 varieties of orchids, some native and some imported. A wide range of other flowers also call the garden home. The garden, which is a research facility for the University of Costa Rica, features the last of otherwise extinct Cattleya skinneri and Cattleya dowina orchids as well as a miniature variety known as Pleurothallid orchids. If you love what you see when you visit Orchid Country, you can visit their gift shop and may even be able to take home a specimen.

Wilson Botanical Gardens

Robert and Catherine Wilson started Wilson Botanical Gardens in 1963 before transferring it to the Organization for Tropical Studies. Today, the gardens include more than 1,000 different species and acts as a public education center as well as a research and training facility for scientists. Common research topics include reforestation, sustainable development and conservation. Wilson Botanical Gardens features a variety of walking trails with color-coded signs that help visitors to find exactly what they hope to see during their stay. Whether visiting to check out the more than 700 types of palm trees or to check out the trail that winds through the primary forest, you are sure to find something you enjoy at the gardens. Visitors can even take a night tour through the gardens on some evenings.

Other Botanical Gardens in Costa Rica

When it comes to flower gardens in Costa Rica, Lankester Gardens and Arenal Botanical Gardens aren't your only options. Many other picturesque gardens are dotted throughout the country. Many tourists flock to see the gorgeous private gardens of Ileana Tehran while others enjoy visiting Jardin de Las Guarias. Located in Palmares, it is one of the largest Costa Rica botanical gardens. Tourists also tend to visit the Orquideas de Monteverde, located in Guanacaste, and the Paz Waterfall Gardens, among many others.

Planning Your Trip

When visiting the botanical gardens of Costa Rica, it is important to plan accordingly. You will want to wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a light jacket in case it rains. Remember to wear plenty of sunscreen. Insect repellant is also important since, of course, plants — and especially flowers — tend to attract a variety of them. A wide-brimmed hat will help to keep the sun out of your face as you “ooh” and “ahh” over the plants you see during your trip as well. Above all else, remember to respect nature during your visit.