Lancetilla botanical garden.
Honduras is a country of over 8 million people in the heart of Central America. It is divided in 18 different states or “departamentos”. Atlantida is one of the most populated ones in the country and home of the third largest city. Each department, or the equivalent of a state as in the US, possesses municipalities. In one of the northern departments, Lancetilla boasts with a stunning array of animals, plants and nice natural views. Lancetilla itself belongs to the department of Atlantida and the municipality of Tela. Great food, ambient and people are found in this nice locality.
As you arrive, you are charged a small fee that covers the whole day for your adventure. As in most Honduran places, the staff is very friendly and informative. After a 5 minute drive, you arrive at the reception area where you can buy food, use a restroom and delight yourself with a small museum. This botanical garden was first formed in 1925 to basically study the productivity and potential commercialization of plantain. Hence, it is also considered a research center.
There are two different sections in the botanical garden. The Wilson Popenoe Arboretum, which is an area for experimental planting, and the Biological Reserve of virgin forest. With approximately 78 hectares of land, the arboretum contains one of the largest Asian fruit plants in America. Orchids, palms, mangoes, bamboos are also represented, as well as the largest plantation of mangosteen in the western hemisphere. I highly suggest for you to try this delicious fruit. Very sweet and enjoyable, typical of a tropical country like Honduras. Then there is the biologial reserve with more than 1,280 hectare of unexplored forest. Profoundly amusing to say the least.
Around the botanical garden
So, after a small experience inside the museum at the entrance, me and my partner were off to see what the place was about. The first stop was at a huge pathway with several bamboo trees all around. They over-arched each other creating a beautiful natural spot to enjoy. It felt like a truly unique experience; very pleasing. I could imagine this would probably be a true paradise for pandas.
As we progressed, we were able to see many different unknown trees and several birds all around. There was even a space where hundreds of butterflies were gently hovering over the vast grass. The special thing about these places is that they are full of many different species of living things. However, we felt that authorities could do a better job at managing the place in general. The place is very beautiful, and if you are a fan of plants and animals, you can derive some serious learning from spending some hours at the garden. There are trees that bloom with a very peculiar flower all around it and we couldn’t help but go ahead and picture it. I honesty wasn’t able to investigate the name of it but it simply looked peculiar compared to the rest.
Many of the fruit tree names were unfamiliar to me but they surely looked tasty and tropical. Lancetilla is implementing an important mission of ecological education at the national and international level. Every year the Garden receives approximately 30,000 visitors from Honduras and other countries. Guided tours are provided due to the eclectic nature of the place. By the way, at the end of the walk through the forest, there is a small house for wine and jelly tasting and buying. Of course, most of the wines do have a small percentage of alcohol. The curious thing is that there is a wide variety of different tastes from different fruits. In contrast, I must confess that we do recall reading about very poisonous fruits inside the garden. Don’t get me wrong though, it has nothing to do with the wines. It is just for informative purposes!
All in all, and above all, enjoy the scenery. As a result, amuse yourself with the little details like watching insects roam about and birds and butterflies enjoy their surroundings. Also, of the most interesting spots in the whole garden was the tombstone site for many foreign people that died back in the early 20th century, including some of the founding members.
After enjoying the whole place, you can easily drive over to Tela and enjoy the ocean views and maybe treat yourself to a nice dish. Consequently, I recommend one of the many restaurants near the beach or one of the small eateries located in Triunfo de la Cruz. It is a small village less than 20 minutes away from downtown Tela. Furthermore, it is practically a small Garifuna community, and to be honest, they sure know how to cook.