You don't really have to be a "plant person" to really enjoy the lushness of this little tropical garden paradise. Located off the main highway near the 7 mile marker, this garden is located on a 4 mile stretch of the scenic route that was once the old highway. The entire scenic route is worth the diversion off the main highway, but the tropical garden is the gem in the crown.
Once you pay the relatively steeply priced entry fee of $15, you go across the road to enter the garden. A not terribly friendly senior volunteer was there to take our tickets, but not so much into conversation...that's ok, I didn't pay to be friends with staff and volunteer. You head off to the right, go down a fairly steep path down into the garden. Along the way there are plenty of plants and flowers to observe. Did I mention STEEP? Seriously, we saw many very senior visitors there which left us wondering if they would be able to make it back up. (You do see golf carts occasionally going up and down the steep path, sometimes carrying guests, so I have to imagine if you get down and can't get up, that they will assist you back to the street level). Anyway, the flowers and trees along the various paths are all well kept, named and pruned. The scent of guavas was pretty pervasive, which is pleasant to me but not so much my husband. So..trekker beware!
There is a beautiful cascading waterfall, a collecting pool, orchid garden, wide variety of anthuriums, small lily lake, heliconia (which I had named "zipper plants"...that's what the flowers reminded me of...) and a calathea garden. I'm a super flower-loving photographer, so this was right up my alley. I often saw my husband far up the trail...not nearly as interested in the place as I was. Still, he was willing.
Do be sure to walk all the way down to the ocean vistas, it is well worth your time!! Then, you can begin the daunting task of walking back up that incredibly steep path back to street level.
Tips...either come with your own layer of sun screen AND insect repellant, or be prepared to pay extra for bug spray at the gift shop. Also, bring water, it was hot and super tropical humid throughout the garden, so be prepared. Expensive, yes, but worth it to me. Be prepared to spend 1-2 hours here.
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