The gardens are part of the same complex as the diamond waterfalls and there is a wealth of lush, tropical vegetation and literally thousands of plants. I'm not the biggest flora lover but there were some weird and wonderful plants to look at.
To be guided or not guided? This is an option as you enter the park. There are volunteers who are keen to explain their deep knowledge of all the flora in the gardens – and our guide “Alexander the great” was certainly encyclopaedically knowledgable about what we could see. For me, it gave a lot more detail to what we were seeing – including explaining the origins from across the world of some of the plants. He took photos of us un front of the waterfall and even made us a grasshopper and angel fish out of the leaves of a tree – awesome and very cute really.
For my wife, she found him more annoying, as he rushed us along somewhat. Also - once he discovered we weren't keen on taking him up an offer to guide us around other sites for the rest of the day - he showed less interest in us and was more keen on getting the next tip-offering guests on the hook. You tip whatever you feel it's worth, so the cost just depends on how tight you can bear to be to people trying to make an honest living.
One thing to bear in mind about getting a guide is that – as we discovered over the course of our trip – lots of the tourist sites in the vicinity of Soufriere cover the same ground in terms of explaining the different plants, their origins and uses. We found that the Tet Paul park or the Jungle Bike tour at Anse Mamin beach had more interesting and interactive tours which were more engaging and worthwhile.
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