Did You Know that Lancetilla Botanical Gardens are the Largest Experimental Botanical Garden in the Americas?
It started as a scientific botanical investigation center. The Banana Company needed to see what grew adequately in north coast of Honduras. Under the leadership of the Tela Railroad Company, the site eventually became the largest tropical botanical garden in America! The Lancetilla Botanical Gardens. This site has a variety of tropical plants from around the world. This includes the first plantations of African Palm, Rambutan and Mangosteen in Central America. Under the expert scientific leadership of Dr. Wilson Popenoe, the site inconspicuously grew to be one of the highlights of your visit to Honduras. If you have an interest in botany, tropical plants or bird watching you must visit Lancetilla Gardens!
The Lancetilla Botanical Gardens is just to the west of the city of Tela, on the CA13 highway. It has a good visitor’s center that provides plenty of information regarding the diversity of Lancetilla. A network of trails within the garden and its extended areas will guide you through the facility. This is one of the best spots in Central America for bird watching. The huge variety of tropical fruits in the park attract both native and migratory birds to the gardens every year.
The Park is open the 365 days a year from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. With the entrance fee’s being $8.00 US per person, guided tours are a bargain at Lps. 100 per guide from one to thirty persons. This means that if you are alone and there is no one else there looking for a tour, you will get a one hour tour for only Lps.100! That is less than $5 US dollars. The downside is that there are no bilingual guides. Hopefully you can understand some Spanish to enjoy the tour.
Hike under the majestic bamboo forest, certainly the tallest bamboo stems you have seen in your life. Try some of the unique exotic tropical fruits from around the world. Purchase some locally made preserves and beverages. Visit the plant nursery where you will find everything from ornamental flowers to exotic palms and grafted fruit trees. The Lancetilla Botanical Garden is truly worth a visit. It is also a proud symbol of the history of the Caribbean Coast of Honduras. Under the leadership of the Banana Companies the land was transformed from an inhospitable, dense tropical forest to a productive land that made of Honduras one of the largest banana producers and exporters in the World!
Getting to Lancetilla is easy. If you are not driving your own car you a hire a cab in Tela to take you there. Make sure you bring good walking shoes and your camera! Another alternative is to hire a bicycle with Garifuna Tours, whose office is located a quarter of a block from Central Park, towards the west. If you choose this last option, please exercise extreme caution while on the stretch of CA13 that you will need to peddle through en route between Tela and the Gardens! The trails are mostly flat, so you do not need to be in good shape to enjoy the hike through the Lancetilla Botanical Garden.