As with all cities, La Ceiba has many great places that few people are aware of. One of them is the old botanical garden that belonged to the Standard Fruit Company. This huge garden is home to the CREDIA, which stands for “Centro Regional de Documentacion e Investigacion Ambiental”. Translated to English it would be something like Regional Center for Environmental Investigation and Documentation. In addition, to the documentation center, the complex also has some meeting facilities and a small restaurant. Without doubt its largest asset is the real estate that it is sitting on!
Many years ago, the Standard Fruit Company produced many different fruits. These included oranges, coconuts, grapefruit, and of course, pineapples and bananas. As time passed, they concentrated on pineapples and bananas. The old orange grove became a high-end residential area that is known as “El Naranjal” which means the Orange Grove. Within this area, the fruit company had two important areas: The Research Facility, that still exists and operates in El Naranjal. The Research facility occupies a whole block within El Naranjal.
The other was their Botanical Garden, which was quite close to the Research facility. This large property, that occupies about 14 acres is small compared with the Lancetilla Botanical Garden in Tela. However, it offers an old growth forest very close to downtown La Ceiba. This property was donated to the Municipality of La Ceiba many years ago. With time, the European Community had a Project and they agreed to join forces with the Municipality of La Ceiba and build the CREDIA facility here. To this day, the Municipality still has its plant nursery at the far end of the property, which provides plants to keep the city green and beautiful.
The CREDIA Foundation oversees managing this Botanical Garden and all the facilities within it. These include meeting rooms as well as a nice 1000-foot trail and an area for kids to play in. The trail is a great flat trail to hike or run and is very safe. The huge decades old trees provide plenty of shade and attract many different bird species. As such, the CREDIA is an outstanding spot for birdwatching within the city. The CREDIA trails are open Monday through Friday from 8 am till 5 pm.
If you happen to be in La Ceiba and do not have time to visit one of several Pico Bonito Trails, you might take advantage and visit this trail. It is less than 5 minutes from any downtown hotel. Because it is next to the Cangrejal River and has large trees, the temperature here is usually much cooler that in the rest of the city.
A Visit the facilities at CREDIA is a must if you enjoy visiting parks and large gardens. This is a unique heritage that the Banana Company left to the city and we should make the best of it. Together with the Swinford Park in La Ceiba, it is a testimony to the role that the Standard Fruit Company has played in our city.