The Hotel Bougainvillea is a relatively small, privately owned hotel in a suburb of San José in Santo Domingo near Santa Rosa in the Herdia province popular as a starting point for nature tours in Costa Rica. Part of the reason making this a popular choice is the affordable prices but the real selling point of the hotel is the 10 acre garden. It has been my experience that the most beautiful, varied and interesting gardens are created by a collector. While I never met the owner(s), this is truly a world class garden, with sculpture, mature local and special rare species from the surrounding countries and even an amazing rock collection. The rooms are typical of a Motel 6 but the restaurant is good, especially with local favorites and it has air conditioning. The Costa Rica National Gardening Association has given them an award as the best garden in Costa Rica. In this garden you can find small samples of the country’s crops, such as coffee, cocoa, bananas, pineapple and papaya. They have 22 types of bromeliads, 51 different orchids, 28 types of heliconia and 29 types of lilies among many other plants. Because it was winter, I only got to see a fraction of the garden in bloom but trust me, this is a garden you will want to visit.
When we traveled to Sydney from Las Vegas, we took an overnight stopover in a small hotel near the airport, the Jetpark Hotel. While the hotel was clean and perfectly suitable for an overnight stay, the garden and landscaping outside was something special. Although I asked to meet the gardener, we never managed to connect. Even so, the plants were neatly labeled and the variety was extensive and representative of New Zealand. It was clear that someone took a great deal of pride in this landscaping. Even though this was not a “botanic garden”, I thought I would share the pictures I took.