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Covering 10 hectares and surrounded by 355 hectares of natural forest, world-class Wilson Botanical Garden, established by Robert and Catherine Wilson in 1963 and thereafter becoming internationally known for its collection, lies 6km south of San Vito.
A trail map is available for self-guided walks amid exotic species such as orchids, bromeliads and medicinal plants; birdwatchers can look for rare birds here.
Buses between San Vito and Neily (via Agua Buena not Cañas Gordas) pass the entrance to the garden.
In 1973 the area came under the auspices of the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) and today the well-maintained garden – part of Las Cruces Biological Station – holds more than 1000 genera of plants from about 200 families and over 2000 native Costa Rican species. Species threatened with extinction are preserved here for possible reforestation in the future.
The botanical garden isa choice spot for birders, as it draws hundreds of Costa Rican and migrating species, as well numerous butterfly species.
If you want to stay overnight at the botanical garden, make reservations well in advance: facilities often fill with researchers. Accommodations are in comfortable cabins (singles/doubles including meals and a tour US$95/180) in the midst of the gorgeous grounds. The rooms are simple, but they each have a balcony with an amazing view.