I am no gardener. In fact, I sit here staring at my fingers on the keyboard searching for any green hue on my thumbs and there is none. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy other people’s gardens! It is easy to understand why Monet found inspiration as an artist at Giverny. While I am no Monet, I am a photographer, and I often find inspiration in gardens while traveling.
I visited Belize Botanical Garden as an afterthought when our visits to a few local San Ignacio area archaeological sites were shorter than we originally planned. I had spied a tiny little sign on the side of the road that said “Botanical garden” with an arrow. I was secretly hoping we would be able to make time to go. So we set out. This garden makes you work to get there driving approximately four miles on a terrible unpaved road uphill. When we got there the relief was palpable seeing such a well maintained and peaceful property.
The garden boasts 45 acres of native plants and native wildlife. The garden is adjacent to DuPlooys Jungle Cabins which has a restaurant/bar and jungle cabins for rent. It is very classy and seems like a wonderful and relaxing place to stay as an alternative to San Ignacio. http://www.duplooys.com/belize-botanic-gardens.php
After checking in and receiving a lovely little garden map we set out. Before I even had a chance to remove my camera from its bag we were greeted by Collared Aracari Toucans eating star fruit for dinner in the orchards. I would have been happy if this was all I had seen! We sat and enjoyed them for several minutes before we reluctantly left them. We were anxious to see what we could of the grounds before sunset.
Various tropical plants, trees, bushes, flowers, have been lovingly planted beginning more than 27 years ago when the ex-pat owners originally purchased the property. I would have thought this was all wild plants and trees judging by how mature everything was. Only, the park-like setting gave it away.
A duck blind has been established for birders to sit and observe a small pond located on site. No birds presented themselves for us in this part of the garden however we did enjoy small pond turtles. A native orchid house exists paying respect to various seasonal orchids. A replica Mayan hut made of local materials is on display for those interested in how thatched roofs are designed. An area dedicated to palms was enjoyable. And a professional gardener’s area has lovely flowers on display. A 25 foot tall homemade fire tower exists on one end of the property giving the intrepid climber a lovely canopy view of the area.
We were the only visitors to the gardens that afternoon making it feel like we had it all to ourselves. We finished our walk on a river trail that culminated at the bar where we finished our lovely afternoon off with a Rum Punch and a Belikin before bouncing our way back down the dirt road to San Ignacio.