Nestled in the heart of the Americas, in the beautiful country of Honduras, you will find the largest botanical garden in the Americas: Lancetilla Botanical Garden. Its name comes from one of the local plants that is quite abundant here: the Lancetilla Palm, a lovely tropical palm tree that is protected by a nasty set of thorns that keep it away from the menu of the diverse local animals, as well as off the roofs of the thatched palms that locals build.
Lancetilla Botanical Gardens is located in the lovely destination of Atlantida, right in the heart of Central America’s Caribbean Coast, jus t outside the city of Tela. Atlantida, was the actually created as a department (local equivalent to a state of province) to facilitate the activities of two large fruit companies that established themselves in the area at the beginning of the Twentieth Century: The Vaccaro Brothers Company, which later became the Standard Fruit Company, and the Tela Railroad Company, which is part of the United Fruit Brands. The first had its operational and administrative hub in the city of La Ceiba, and the latter in the city of Tela.
As part of an effort to find different fruits that would be a profitable produce to export, the Tela Railroad Company established a center for investigation and created what today is known as Lancetilla Botanical Garden. Here, a large collection of exotic fruit trees from Central and South America, as well as Asia, Africa and even Oceania was put together, with experimental plantations of several of them, including the absolutely delicious Mangosteen and Rambutan from southeast Asia. Get acquainted with the over 16 different species of palms that form part of the local collection, and walk under the tunnel that the giant spiny bamboo forms at the end of the trail.
Today Lancetilla Botanical Garden is managed by the ESNACIFOR, which stands for National School of Forest Sciences, whose headquarters is in the City of Siguatepeque, in the department of Comayagua. The Gardens are open to the public year round, and have a nice, well kept trail and great guides that will make exploring the largest botanical garden in the Americas a truly learning experience.
Lancetilla Botanical Gardens is also a great place for birdwatchers, because the abundance of tropical fruits make it a site that naturally attracts birds of different species who thrive on the abundance of food in the area.
Plan on spending at least three or four hours in the garden, but make sure you bring some insect repellent with you, as a large part of this tropical garden is covered with a dense jungle that makes mosquitoes thrive!
Lancetilla is but one of the many different nature and educational activities that you can enjoy in Atlantida, which is probably the most complete destination of its sort in the World, certainly in Central America.