World Class Gardens
While Iguana Lodge has lovely gardens, Casa Orquideas has exquisite gardens: One of the finest botanical gardens in Costa Rica. Located on the opposite side of the gorgeous Golfo Dulce with boat access only, travel by boat delighting in the serenity and beauty of Nature at its Finest, keeping an eye open for dolphin, to Casa Orquideas where you meet Ron and Trudy McAllister. Self-taught botanists who have lived the last thirty-five years on these shores, they escort you through their magnificent gardens.
The nearly three hour tour covers an amazing array of plants: see and learn about orchids, heliconias, bromeliads, palms; tropical fruits, spices, and medicinal plants; the exotic miracle fruit (Estevia anyone?), the gorgeous gourd and cannonball trees. Taste the exotic star fruit, the sweet pulp of the chocolate bean, the magic miracle fruit seed that transforms the taste of lemon from sour to sweet. Savor the fragrance of the ylang-ylang flower – the base for Channel #5. Really take a moment to become one with the scent of of fresh vanilla beans (BTW, vanilla is an orchid that requires hand pollincation), ginger root, tumeric, lemongrass – gardening!
This is a spellbinding tour for anyone with an interest in plants. You will learn about the unique and various ways tropical plants compete and reproduce. No one will forget the pelican flower with its labyrinth passageways that trap insects for several days and then release them, all in the pursuit of reproduction.
Many years ago we had a guest from the US military return from this tour, and although he expected merely to indulge his wife and accompany her, he told us that it was the best tour of his entire stay.
There is now a Chocolate Garden Tour at Finca Kobo offered here on the Osa as well, where you can learn all about the process of growing and processing chocolate, as well as taste and smell a variety of other herbs and spices. The tour culminates in a chocolate dessert extravaganza. (BTW, this particular tour combines really well with zip lining, as they are near one another.) There is also a local organic farm trip at Rancho Raices highlighting organic tropical fruits and chocolate – it is one of our guests’ favorite.