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Lancetilla Botanical Gardens

Located only a few kilometers from the Caribbean beach town of Tela is Lancetilla Botancial Gardens, the second largest tropical botanical gardens in the world. The gardens where established in 1926 as an experimental site by William Popenoe of United Fruit Company. The park was set up as a research station for testing different banana types. This experimentation lead to the introduction and trial of plants from all over the world. The first African palms (one of Honduras most profitable agricultural products) where first introduced here. Much work has also been done over the years with coffee, cacao, rubber and mangoes.

United Fruit continued work here until 1974 when they donated the gardens to the Honduran government. Today the gardens remain a active research station with the National School for Science and Forestry.

The surrounding hills are home to the Lancetilla Biological Reserve. This reserve is home to primary and secondary tropical forest. Tropical rainforests are highly endangered habitats all over the world, due to deforestation and uncontrolled development. Tropical rainforests have the highest biodiversity of all habitats on earth, being home to millions of different and many still undiscovered species. The genetic pool is one of the most important natural resources presented on earth, winning more value every day due to the advancing biotechnology. Scientists have found on one hectare of rainforest some 200 different tree and shrub species. On one big rainforest tree biologists counted 54 species of ants, more than in the whole of England.

One of the secrets of the biodiversity of tropical rainforests is the appearance of a vertical organization of species. Up to five different levels of plants, including the forest canopy, are found. Each level is formed by specific species, and is populated by different animals. This biological reserve makes Lancetilla the perfect spot and maybe the best, for experiencing flora and fauna in Honduras.

Due to the large range of plant species here and in the surrounding reserve the gardens are a haven for many wildlife species. 365 bird species have been counted in the gardens. Parrots, toucans, trogans, tanagers, orioles and motmots are all found and seen regularly. A lot of people are surprised with just how many birds can be seen and are present in Lancetilla. Many mammals, reptiles and insects are also found in the gardens and the surrounding forest reserve. Again the numbers are very high due to the huge range of plant species.

Guided tours can be organized or maps purchased at the gardens visitor center. Plants are color coded which will help you identify them. The visitors center is also home to a cafeteria and a basic hostel which is good for those wanting to stay in this beautiful area.

For tours check out our private tours.