Despite its small size, Costa Rica’s temperate climate and high annual rainfall help facilitate some of the most verdant landscapes in the world. The country is home to more than 500,000 plant species, and the Cartago province in particular offers interested visitors a wealth and diversity of unique flora.
The main attraction in the area for plant and flower lovers is Lankester Gardens, an exceptional 11-hectare private garden founded in 1917 by British orchid enthusiast Charles Lankester and now run by The University of Costa Rica. The site features over 1000 types of orchids (most spectacular in April) and a Japanese garden, in addition to areas full of bromeliads, palms, heliconias, and other tropical plants.
Located about three miles west of Paraiso on the road to Cartago approximately 6.5 miles northwest of Orosi, the gardens can be reached via a 15 minute drive. Admission to Lankester Gardens is $10 for adults ($7.50 for students) and hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., seven days a week. The garden is wheelchair accessible and both English and Spanish guided tours are available by prior arrangement.