Orchids have a mystique. A magic, beguiling beauty. Their complex patterns, colors and forms in a flower so delicate and fragile, simply boggle the senses. They are coveted like an elusive, exotic treasure, and bought, sold and traded around the world. Whole societies and organizations are dedicated to preserving these amazing beauties.
This weekend in Sarchi, Costa Rica at the Else Kientzler Botanical Gardens, you can immerse yourself in the enchanting world of orchids at their Orchid Festival 2015. The event will be held March 13, 14 and 15 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the botanical gardens, located in the artisan town of Sarchi, about an hour northwest of San Jose.
The setting couldn’t be prettier – 17 acres (7 hectares) of exotic botanical gardens with more than 2,000 species of exotic tropical plants from places like Guyana, New Zealand, Madagascar, Japan, the Bahamas, Java, Brazil, India, Korea, and of course Costa Rica. There are ponds, a river, and a large playground for children. Visitors can stroll two kilometers of trails; more than 40% of the gardens are wheelchair accessible.
Orchids are the largest and most diverse family of flowering plants on Earth. There are between 21,950 and 26,049 currently accepted species of Orchidaceae – more than twice the number of bird species, and about four times the number of mammal species on the planet, according to Wikipedia. Orchids are found in tropical areas on all continents except Antarctica. They are most abundant in warm rainforest-type climates.
Costa Rica’s National Flower is the purple orchid Guarianthe skinneri and you can find more than 1,400 species of orchids in Costa Rica. “Orchids flower in Costa Rica all year long,” noted Ovido Esquivel, director of the Else Kientzler Botanical Gardens. “But the majority of species flower during our summer from January to March.”
At this weekend’s Orchid Festival 2015, there will be an exposition of orchids with many rare species. Experts will be on hand to answer questions and talk about the orchids. You can buy your own orchid to take home, and learn about ways to care for your orchid at on-site orchid and gardening workshops during the festival. There will be a drama theater about the environment for families, live music and food and drink for sale. On Saturday, Mar. 14, at 1:30 p.m., folkloric dancers will have a show, and on Sunday, Mar. 15, you can join a relaxing yoga class at 9:00 a.m. on a beautiful yoga platform amid the gardens.
Admission is $10 for foreign tourists; 2,900 colones for residents; 2,200 colones for students and seniors; and 1,900 colones for children.
The beautiful Costa Rica botanical gardens are open every day from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Guided walks are available in English, Spanish and German with advance reservations, or you can go on a self-guided tour.
Article by Shannon Farley