Belize Botanic Gardens
Visiting the country’s only Botanic Gardens (tel. 501/824-3101, www.belizebotanic.org, entrance US$5, guided walk US$7.50) makes a wonderful full-day activity, no matter where in the area you are staying. Walk through fruit trees, palms, tropical flowers, and native plants of Belize as you learn about the medicinal and ritual “Plants of the Maya” and experience the orchid house with more than 100 species.
Botanists’ work here has resulted in 20 new orchid records for Belize and one species new to science: Pleurothallis duplooyii (named after Ken duPlooy), which has a bloom about the size of a flea!
There is also a rainforest trail, a pine forest habitat complete with 30-foot fire tower, a special guidebook for children, education programs for local schoolchildren and visitors, and a sustainably built visitors center for meetings, yoga, and other activities. Belize Botanic Gardens sponsors a program where volunteers pay US$550 for room and board while working on various garden projects for a month.
© Joshua Berman and Avalon Travel from Moon Belize, 9th Edition