Costa Rica has more than 1,400 varieties of orchids, and almost 800 species are cultivated and on display at this botanical garden. Created in the 1940s by English naturalist Charles Lankester, the gardens are now administered by the University of Costa Rica, with the goal to preserve the local flora, with an emphasis on orchids and bromeliads. Paved, well-marked trails meander from open, sunny gardens into shady forests. In each environment, different species of orchids are in bloom. An information center and a gift shop are also on site. Plan to spend between 1 and 3 hours here if you’re interested in flowers and gardening. You can easily combine a visit here with a tour at Cartago and/or the Orosi Valley and Irazú Volcano.