Considered the largest tropical botanical garden in America. Lancetilla Botanical Gardens provides both, an educating experience about tropical plants worldwide and a look into the history of Honduras and the banana companies that forged the development of Atlantida in the Caribbean coast of Honduras. Lancetilla Botanical Gardens were originally set up as an experimental station. The goat was to identify tropical fruits that were not native to Honduras but that would thrive in our climate. This after the government of Honduras awarded huge land concessions to the Tela Railroad Company to produce bananas and other tropical fruits in exchange for the building of a railroad in their territory.
Many different species of fruits where imported and planted in this experimental garden and the results have had an impact on the development of Atlantida and the Caribbean Coast of Honduras. In its early stages the garden was managed by Dr. Wilson Popenoe, who later became the dean of the Escuela Nacional Panamericana better known as “Zamorano” by far the most prestigious agricultural university in Central America.
Lancetilla Botanical Gardens is located just outside the city of Tela, and can be reached from Tela by bicycle, as well as a motorized vehicle. From La Ceiba, it is roughly 110 kilometers, about 66 miles, and can be reached in about 1 ½ hours at the most, making it an easy and worthwhile trip from either city.
Lancetilla Botanical Gardens offers unique bird watching conditions. This is due to the huge variety of tropical fruits that act like a magnet for the many different species of native birds to Atlantida. Certainly, walking under the bamboo tunnel will provide for a memorable experience as these 100 year old bamboo trees are absolutely impressive! Any visit to the Gardens should include a stop at the visitors’ center, as well as hike through the trails. Having a guide to explain the different fruits and their origins is a must.
A series of orchards and agro forestry plantations have become part of the landscape at Lancetilla. Many of the original experimental plantations are still producing plenty of fruits to this day. Perfect examples are the rambutan and mangosteen plantations, unique to Honduras and seen nowhere else in Central America. During their production season you will find them throughout the markets in all of Honduras. Another plantation that has become very popular in the country is African Palm. Today Honduras is a big exporter of palm oil to many countries, including Mexico and the USA. There is no doubt that Lancetilla Botanical Gardens is the perfect spot to discover unique, exotic and tasty tropical fruits from around the World. Come and see for yourself!
If you are driving your own car, getting to Lancetilla is easy. From both La Ceiba and Tela take highway CA13 in direction of San Pedro Sula. Shortly after you pass the huge fuel storage facilities you will find on the left of the road you will see a sign indicating the entrance to the Lancetilla Botanical Gardens. Take a left, register and pay at the gate next to the road. Then follow the road for approximately 4 km to the visitors’ center, where you find parking for your car.
If you do not have a car and want to hire the services of a tour operator, the following tour operators provide tours to Lancetilla: From Tela, you can hire Eco Di Mare Tours, Garifuna Tours and Tela Dive Center. From La Ceiba, you can contact Tourist Options. Enjoy your tour to Lancetilla! Do not forget to bring bug repellent and your camera. Good hiking shoes are also a good idea!