27 févr. 2011


Ark Herb FarmOrchid
Secreted away in the mountains of Heredia, just a few miles northwest of downtown, the Ark Herb Farm offers an “ethno-botanical garden,” which is home to organic herbs and export-quality medicinal herbs. (Santa Barbara de Heredia. $12; open by reservation only. 2846-2694.)

Botanical Orchid Garden
Learn about orchid cultivation and observe hundreds of orchid species. Trails meander through a demo orchid nursery, laboratory, orchid showroom, and extensive gardens, where a permanent orchid flower exhibition is always on display. Facilities include a coffee shop and souvenir store. (La Garita, Alajuela. 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tues-Sun. $12 adults, $6 children; special rates for groups. 2487-8095.)

Founded in 1940, the Center for Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education (CATIE) is one of the world's most important centers for tropical agricultural research. Guests are invited to tour the Center’s 2,500 acres, where they’ll find more than 350 tropical plant species from around the globe, including Tanzania, Brazil, Mexico, Ethiopia and Kenya. (Three miles southeast of Turrialba. 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mon-Sun. $5 self-guided tour, $15-$25 guided tour; children under 8 free. 2556-2700.)

botanical trailsElse Kientzler Botanical Garden
Located on 17 acres, the Else Kientzler Botanical Garden is home to 2,000 plant species from around the world. Flowers and plants are labeled with interesting information like natural history, uses, and the importance of each species. A trail winds for more than a mile through the landscaped gardens, passing by a tranquil pond, the perfect spot for an afternoon picnic. (Sarchi. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mon-Sun. $15 adult, $10 students and children; $25/hour private guide. 2454-2070.)

La Paz Waterfall Garden and Butterfly Observatory
La Paz is the country’s largest butterfly garden with more than 4,000 butterflies – 60% of Central America’s neo-tropical butterfly species – soaring freely in a natural habitat the size of an American football field. The waterfall garden has two miles of walking trails that pass by several impressive waterfalls, a hummingbird garden, serpentarium, orchid exhibit and the butterfly observatory. (Vara Blanca, 45 minutes from Alajuela. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon-Sun $32 adult, $20 children. 2225-0643; from U.S. 954-727-3997)

bromeliadLankester Botanical Garden
This world-renowned garden, famous for its collection of epiphytes, spans 27 acres and hosts more than 3,000 plant species, almost 1,000 of which are native and exotic orchids. The best time to visit Lankester Botanical Garden is March and April when most of the orchids are blooming. (Two miles east of Cartago. 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. admission; garden open until 5:30 p.m.; open every day of the year except January 1, the Friday before Easter Sunday, and Christmas Day. $5. Special rates for students and seniors. 2552-3247)

Zarcero Topiary Gardens
The town of Zarcero’s most popular attraction is its surreal topiary gardens, where wavy arches carved from conifer cypress invite visitors to explore artist-landscaper Evangelisto Blanco’s latest inventions. Here, spectators are given a rare opportunity to step through the looking glass: shrubs and trees manifest as dancing animals, stylized creatures and other unique abstractions. (Zarcero. Public space; open 24 hours. Free.)

Central Pacific:

Fincas Naturales Butterfly Botanical Garden

This 25-acre wildlife refuge features a butterfly botanical garden. Guided tours, where you’ll learn about the role of host plants in butterfly metamorphosis, are available by reservation. (Manuel Antonio. 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; night walks at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Mon-Sun. $15-$45 adults, $8-$35 children under 12. 2777-0850.)

Pura Vida Botanical Gardens & Waterfalls
Billed as a visual masterpiece, Pura Vida Botanical Garden is nestled on 45 acres of tropical rainforest, where millions of flowers, including thousands of orchids, line the paved walking paths. The garden’s 2,000-foot altitude affords beautiful views of the Nicoya Peninsula and Pacific Ocean. The property is also home to Costa Rica’s tallest waterfall. (Next to Carara National Park, outside Jaco. 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Mon-Sun. $20 adults and $10 for ages 18 and under. 2645-1001.)

Monteverde Region:

Orchid Garden
Learn about Costa Rica’s 400+ orchid species at Monteverde’s small orchid garden. Rare orchid species, such as the Plztystele jungermannioides, the world’s smallest orchid, are also found here. (Santa Elena. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon-Sun. $10 adults, $7 students; 2645-5308)

Northern Region:

Arenal Botanical Gardens
This private reserve boasts 2,500 tropical plant species and a small serpentarium with butterfly garden. Seeds and tropical plant cuttings (pre-approved for export) are available for purchase. (Three miles east of La Fortuna. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Open Mon-Sun, November through April; Mon-Sat, May through October. $10 adult, $6 child. 2695-4273.)

HeliconiaCentro Neotropico Sarapiquis
A combination of eco-lodge, museum, archeological park, education center and botanical gardens, the center’s mission is to integrate education, conservation and scientific research. The botanical gardens are divided into four distinct sections, spread out over a formal, labeled garden and a less formal garden. (La Virgen de Sarapiqui. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon-Sun. $8 garden; $28 entire facility. 2761-1004.)

Heliconia Island

A tour de force in tropical gardening, Heliconia Island – a bed & breakfast and eco-park – is a five-acre island, host to ginger plants, bromeliads, ornamental plants, and more than 70 species of heliconia. The island was created by a split in the Puerto Viejo River and is only accessible via a wooden footbridge. (Between Las Horquetas and Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon-Sun. $10 self-guided tour, $15 guided tour. Bed & breakfast rates begin at $62/night and include free entrance to the gardens. 2764-5220.)

Northern Caribbean:

Costa Flores Flower FarmBromeliads
Wind your way through well-groomed pathways on this 300-acre flower farm.With more than 600 varieties of tropical flowers, the farm, which was in 1988 by North American David Carli, is largest tropical flower farm in the world. English-language tours explain how tropical houseplants make their way from Costa Rica to your home. As a special souvenir, create your own bouquet from flowers at the farm. (Guapiles, west of Limon. 6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Mon-Fri, reservations recommended; weekends by reservation only. $19.50. 2716-6430.)

Las Cusingas Botanical Garden
Combining tropical plant research with botanical education, this garden offers visitors educational tours, miles of trails, and horseback riding excursions over its 49-acre property. The garden features more than 80 species of orchids, 30 species of bromeliads, and 80 species of medicinal plants. Birding is also excellent. (One mile east of Guapiles. By reservation only. $5 guided tour; 2710-2652.)

South Pacific:

casaorquideas-clownflowerCasa de Orquideas
Casa Orquideas’ bright, maze-like geography is strangely reminiscent of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Bird watchers marvel at 100 species of birds that are attracted to this park’s orchids, heliconias, bromeliads and slew of edible plants. (Playa San Josecito, Golfo Dulce. Guided tours offered Sundays and Thursdays at 8:30 a.m.; $8 per person, 3 people minimum. Self-guided walking tours available Mon-Wed and Saturday; $5 per person. 8829-1247.)

Hacienda Baru Orchid Garden
With more than four miles of trails winding through varying habitats, Hacienda Baru has rainforest walkways, a birding tower, a butterfly garden, and offers a beautiful orchid garden, home to a large selection of these delicate flowers. (Two miles north of Dominical. 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon-Sun. $6 self-guided tour, $25 guided tour. 2787-0003.)

Herrera Gardens
Composed of over 260 acres of secondary rainforest, the Herrera Botanical Gardens were conceptualized in 2000 – primarily to entice local wildlife to utilize a stream running through the property. The gardens feature over 12 miles of forest trails, along with a multitude of animals including the tayra and the neotropical otter. (Puerto Jimenez. 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon-Sun. $4 self-guided tour; $10 guided tour, reservations recommended. 2735-5267.)

The Paradise Tropical Garden
Inaugurated in 2001, this small garden features an enjoyable “see, smell, taste, and touch experience.” Guests are invited to sample edible flowers, fruits, and other plants before heading out into the extensive botanical gardens. The tour winds up with a snack of local foods, including fried plantains and yucca. (Golfito. 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon-Sun. Donations encouraged, reservations recommended to set up food sampling in advance. 2789-8746.)

BotanicalWilson Botanical Garden
Part of Las Cruces Biological Station, this is the most famous botanical garden in Central America. Featuring a large selection of botanical plants, the garden presents a cross-section of the world’s most important tropical plants. Wilson Botanical Garden is also home to the world’s second largest palm collection. (Three miles from San Vito, about two hours southwest of San Isidro or 1.5 hours east of Golfito. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; morning walks at 5:30 a.m.; night walks at 7:30 p.m. Mon-Sun. $22-$28 guided hike. 2773-4004.)

Southern Caribbean:

Bocuare GardensBocuare Jungle
Located in the Estrella Valley, Bocuare Jungle offers an exciting combination of cultural and adventure tourism. The company offers plenty of on-site facilities around its 200-acre property, which includes miles of hiking trails, ponds, botanical gardens and other natural attractions. (75 minutes northwest of Puerto Viejo. 9 a.m. to whenever you’d like to leave. $5 self-guided tour. 2759-1344.)

Finca La Isla Botanical Garden

Open since 1987, this permaculture farm raises organic black pepper, cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, bananas, and many other fruits, spices, bromeliads and edible plants for export. Guided tours are highly recommended, and take visitors through a tasty, interesting tour of their grounds. Highlights include tapping a rubber tree, discovering where mace comes from and sampling the farm’s sweet, organic bananas. (Puerto Viejo. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; $5 adult, $2.50 children under 12, self-guide booklet $1; $10 per person guided tour with $30 minimum; $8 short guided tour with $24 minimum. 2750-0046.)

Last Updated on Thursday, 18 March 2010 14:12

23 févr. 2011


15 févr. 2011


Pendant près de cinq cents ans, le premier chef d'oeuvre de Boticelli va rester dans l'ombre la plus totale. Comme si cette oeuvre révolutionnaire pour son époque n'avait tout simplement pas existé.

Il faudra attendre le XIXe siècle pour qu'elle croise le chemin du plus grand collectionneur de peintures de tous les temps : le cardinal Fesch, oncle de Napoléon.

Une histoire extraordinaire où la redécouverte d'un tableau va conditionner le destin d'un musée, donnant ainsi au palais Fesch Musée des Beaux Arts d'Ajaccio, une renommée internationale.



Polygala Myrtifolia

11 févr. 2011


Cette collection d'oiseaux étaient à l'origine dans la grotte du jardin de la Villa Médicis de Castello. De l'eau sortait de leur bec pour arroser les visiteurs selon le bon vouloir du maître fontainier...

9 févr. 2011


Il ne restait rien du bâtiment principal lorsque le prince Paul Pavlovitch Demidoff en fit l'acquisition en 1872 pour 300 000 lires, à la mort du grand-duc Léopold II de Toscane. Avec sa seconde épouse, il quitte sa villa San Donato pour s'installer dans les communs de la Villa Pratolino (paggeria ou bâtiment des pages) qui subsistent encore sous le nom de Villa Demidoff.

8 févr. 2011


La citadelle (ou Haute-ville) recèle de beaux monuments : l'oratoire Saint-Antoine, la Poudrière, la caserne Sampiero (ex-palais des Gouverneurs) et la maison de Christophe Colomb. Un chemin de visite a été mis en place par l'Office de Tourisme de Calvi afin de mieux faire découvrir ce monument chargé d'histoire. Sur ce chemin, la maison de Laurent Giubegga dans laquelle Napoléon Ier séjourna en 1793.

5 févr. 2011


4 févr. 2011