Monday, April 14, 2014

Off the Beaten Path: Jardín Botánico La Laguna

The botanical gardens near San Salvador offer a breath of fresh air, literally.  As you drive down into the base of the caldera, you discover an ancient lake bed (hence the name La Laguna) that was gobbled up by factories looking to locate near to the volcano-cradled capital where flat land is scarce.  If you have ever wondered where Bimbo bread is produced, this is the spot.  The garden is located along the south side of the caldera wall and covers about 7 acres.  As you enter through the gate, you are greeted with a breath of fresh, moist and earthy air.  Walk a little deeper into the garden, and the factory sounds give way to quiet of the trees, the sweet songs of the birds, and the bright trickle of water.

We especially like to visit the gardens before the Missions of Healing.  In the midst of organizing and getting ready to expend large amounts of energy listening and caring, we find that a wander through the gardens helps us to relax and prepare.  The educational and scientific aspects of the garden are also attractive to the gardeners and healers among us.  Upon occasion we have been assisted by a botanist who has hi-lighted the medicinal properties of various flowers, leaves, roots and bark.  We have learned about vanilla and cinnamon, trumpet flowers and foxglove, and all kinds of tasty herbs.

The Jardín Botánico La Laguna is located in Antiguo Cuscatlán in La Libertad.  The cost to get in is $2 and your vehicle can park for free just outside the gate.  The walking path is accessible.  The little cafe in the center of the garden is a good spot to stop for a refreshment, the restrooms or a quick visit to the turtle pond.  Kids will enjoy the big playground and garden enthusiasts should visit the plant nursery.  The garden also has a web site.





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