A tour of the most scenic botanic gardens of Cuba
Spending your vacation in Cuba is always a good choice! Whether you decide to opt for its fantastic beaches or visit the superb historic towns, wander in the wild nature or try the spectacular Cuban foods, cigars and cocktails, you will surely return home with pleasant memories. Cuba is one of the Caribbean region’s jewels. The wildlife, the landscapes dominated by palm trees and its flora are amazing and worth visiting! If you are a nature-lover, I suggest you to visit at least one of its gorgeous botanic gardens. There are numerous gardens in Cuba with rare and beautiful plants. To help you making a good decision, below there will be presented some of the most scenic botanic gardens of the country.
The National Botanic Garden
It is one of the best attractions in Havana for nature-lovers, being a beautiful place with many endemic plants and gorgeous palms. The garden was established in 1967 and open to the public later, in 1984. It is located about 15 km from the city center, lying on a surface of about 600 ha. There are numerous species of palm trees with edible fruits in the garden. The most common palm tree of the country is the Royal Palm (Roistonea Regia) besides the 87 other species. The botanic garden is not only a space planted with beautiful trees, but also an installation for healthy recreation. Here, you can admire the beauty of vegetal exemplars. The garden also provides education about environment preserving and scientific investigation of Cuba’s flora. Visitors will surely be amazed by the guided tours during which they will find out a lot about the plants, especially the endemic ones. The garden can be visited daily from 9:00 to 17:00. (July 2012)
The Sancti Spiritus Botanic Garden
This spectacular garden is situated in Sancti Spiritus Province, about 1.5 km from the capital city of Sancti Spiritus. It is a 54 ha area. The Sancti Spiritus Botanic Garden opened its doors to the public in 1996, in different stages. In the first stage, the public could admire collections of ornamental plants, medicinal plants and part of the Gallery Forest. In the second stage plants of economic significance could be seen. In the third stage (2000), the public could see a display of the flora of the Canary Islands and the semi-deciduous forest area. The Herbarium contains more than 1,000 specimens, mainly from the Province of Sancti Spiritus. The botanic garden has an Environmental Education Program that includes different educational systems. There is also planning for developing different activities for children, grandparents and interested amateurs.
Cienfuegos Botanic Garden – Arnold Arboretum
In 1899 it was established The Harvard Botanic Station for Tropical Research and Sugar Cane Investigation. The Atkins Institution located in Cienfuegos became a center for tropical plant research in the early 1900s. It combined research on sugar and other commercial crops with a tropical garden that included thousands of species. In 1924 the Harvard Biological Laboratory was constructed in the garden. In 1932 the garden’s administration was officially named the Atkins Institution of the Arnold Arboretum. The garden reached its peak of beauty and diversity as a tropical arboretum. The garden was used by professors, students and visiting fellows to study tropical botany. It has gorgeous varieties of grains and fruits and is today known as the Cienfuegos Botanical Garden. It is administrated by the Cuban government and is a very popular tourist destination.