The Lists

The Most Beautiful Gardens in Central and South America

Best Gardens in Central and South America

New research indicates that spending time in a garden is a powerful way to increase personal wellness. To help you find the best lovely spots, we embarked on a round-the-world tour. The result is our five-part series on the most beautiful gardens in the world. We’re sharing our top picks of the best gardens in the United States and Canada; Europe; Asia; the Middle East and Africa. Here’s the list of the most beautiful gardens in Central and South America – the best gardens in the Caribbean, Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil and more.

what are the best gardens in the Caribbean, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Brazil?

The climate in Central and South America makes for some of the most lush and bio-diverse gardens in the world. Visiting them is a chance to view not just flora and fauna, but also beautiful wildlife – even some endangered species.

Many of them are located in Brazil, but the best gardens in Mexico, Costa Rica – and even the Caribbean – can hold their own.

Here’s our curated list of the best ones to visit the next time you’re in the region.

the most beautiful gardens in Central and South America

1. Hunte’s Garden

Gardens are not what typically comes to mind when one thinks of islands in the Caribbean. However, the happy news it that there are wonderful tropical gardens not far away from the sandy beaches.  In Barbados, Hunte’s Garden is one of the best gardens in the Caribbean. It’s situated in a 2-acre sinkhole — a collapsed cave, with rare exotic species and the tiny hummingbirds that love them.

most beautiful gardens in the caribbean, mexico, costa rica and brazil

Hunte’s Garden Barbados

2. Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens

St. Lucia is home to Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens on the Soufriere Estate, one of the oldest and best-preserved estates on the island. Drive through a volcano and bubbling sulphur springs to reach this wonder that sits in a natural gorge. In addition to the vibrant blossoms, there is a colorful waterfall that owes its changing hues to the volcanic minerals in the water.

most beautiful gardens central and south america

Diamond Falls, St. Lucia

Mexico

3. Las Pozas

Las Pozas is an exotic garden built by Englishman Edward James in the 1950s. It’s set on a 100-acre hillside where the Sierra Madres meet the coastal plains of the northeast state of San Luis Potosi. What makes it one of the best gardens in Mexico?

Well, for one thing, it took him 20 years to complete, and it’s perpetually at risk for being overrun by the jungle in which it resides. James was reasonably eccentric, and a patron of surrealists including Dali, Magritte, Leonora Carrington and Remedios Varo. His garden reflects this: sprawling over 80 acres, it features fantastical buildings, suspended walkways, a series of waterfalls and pools (“Las Pozas” means “The Pools”) and surreal sculptures emerging from the undergrowth.

best gardens mexico, Caribbean, Costa Rica and Brazil

Las Pozas, Mexico

Costa Rica

4. Else Kientzler Botanical Garden

If you love orchids, Costa Rica is a must-visit, as it has the richest variety in Central America, with more than 1,400 identified species.

Special gardens to see include the private Else Kientzler Botanical Garden at the foot of the Poás Volcano, home to over 2,000 different varieties of flowers.

5. La Paz Waterfall Gardens

The La Paz Waterfall Gardens house the world’s largest butterfly garden, and also a lovely hummingbird garden.

best gardens Caribbean, Mexico, Costa Rica Brazil

La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Costa Rica

6. Monteverde Cloud Reserve

The Monteverde Cloud Reserve supports a complex and extensive eco-system with over 100 species of mammals, 400 species of birds, tens of thousands of insect species, and over 2,500 varieties of plants (you’re also likely to spot jaguar, ocelot, Baird’s tapir and rare tropical birds).

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Brazil

The superstar of horticulture in Brazil is Roberto Burle Marx. Credited with having introduced modernist landscape architecture to the country, as well as having discovered 20 new plant species, Burle Marx employed native plants to create living works of conceptual art.

7. The Strunk Garden

He designed public spaces, like the Copacabana Promenade. But most of his noteworthy work can be found in places like the Strunk Garden (in a private home) which includes a wonderful checkerboard-patterned lawn.

best gardens in Brazil, Caribbean, Costa Rica and Mexico

The Burle Marx Garden at the Edmundo Cavanellas residence in Brazil. Photo Courtesy Vogue Magazine.

8. Fazenda Marambaia

One the best gardens in Brazil is the Fazenda Marambaia (formerly known as the Monteiro Garden) is in a spectacular valley with the Serra dos Órgãos Mountains as a backdrop. Its focal point is a small lake, one side of which is planted with dramatic blocks of foliage.

Fazenda Vargem Grande in Brazil. Photo Courtesy Vogue Magazine.

9. Sitio Santo Antonio da Bica

If you’re interested in even more of Burle Marx’s work, head to his work space. The artists’ home, Sitio Santo Antonio da Bica, is located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. It boasts a stunning collection, including paintings, sculptures, and glass art. There are more than 3,500 plants in the gardens.

Want to pay further homage? Pay a visit to Sao Paulo and stay at The Palacio Tangara, a 5-star hotel next to Burle Marx Park.

best gardens central and south america

Sitio Santo Antonio da Bica. Photo Credit: ©Filippo Poli.

10. the Pantanal

Elsewhere in Brazil, another stunning green space is the Pantanal, the world’s largest continuous wetland area, most of which lies within the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. The Caiman Eco Lodge is the perfect place to see the indigenous flora and fauna (the bird-watching is phenomenal).

The Pantanal

That’s it – our round-up of the the most beautiful gardens in Central and South America. What’s your top pick? Did we miss anything?

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