Belize Botanic Gardens
Located in the Cayo district of Belize, the Belize Botanic Gardens encompass 45 acres (18 hectares of native and exotic plants. Collections at the gardens change by season, but don't miss the Native Orchid House that includes over 100 species of Belizean orchids. The gardens are also a place of study and work on local plant conservation, as well as home to more than 50 varieties of tropical fruits.
Once a cattle pasture, the site of the gardens was purchased by an amateur botanist and his wife in 1993. Due to rising costs related to exporting Belize’s noted bananas and citrus fruits, the couple began to experiment with tropical fruits that could flourish locally and command a higher price on the export market. Belize's lack of a registered botanic garden was later noted, and the idea to turn this spot into one was set in motion.
In addition to the orchid house, other exhibits include Palms of Belize, Zingiber Alley, and Plants of the Maya. The only botanic garden in the country, this site includes both native and exotic plants of Belize, as well as non-native and non-invasive species. Self-guided tours as well as guided tours are available on site.
Things to know before you go
- The gardens are a must-visit for botany enthusiasts and bird lovers; you can reserve time in the classroom to learn how to identify specific plants and birds.
- There are also on-site accommodations, including an eight-bedroom, four-bath guesthouse and two cottages.
- A restroom is located in the visitor’s center.
- There are no concessions at the gardens but the nearby Sweet Song resort offers food and drinks and is a 5-minute walk away.
How to get there
Belize Botanic Gardens are located about 10 miles (16 kilometers) past San Ignacio Town on Chial Road. There is a daily shuttle service to/from San Ignacio, departing from the garden shop and health food store in San Ignacio; tour and shuttle packages are available. The gardens are located about 6 miles (9.5 kilometers) south from San Ignacio along Western Highway. You’ll need to travel 4 miles (6.5 kilometers) off the highway, along a dirt road, to reach the site.
When to get there
The gardens’ collection of orchids is in bloom in April and May but you may be able to see other species in bloom if you’re visiting at another time. (The Black Orchid is Belize’s national flower.) Overall, the best time to visit Belize is from late November or early December to April as this is the dry season.
Located near the Guatemalan border, close to San Ignacio and the botanic gardens, the ruins at Xunantunich are some of the most visited Mayan sites in the world. Made up of about 25 temples and palaces, the archaeological site features El Castillo, from the top of which you can catch views of the jungle canopy and even into Guatemala.
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