Botanical Garden: Need a Heads Up


Well-known member
Jun 13, 2014
retired English teacher (30 years)
Hello All,

I need to get out of my El Conde rut and see the city. I've had the Botanical Garden in mind for a long time (Jardin Botánico Nacional). When I look at Google maps I see that the garden is large and that there are various entrances. When I go to the website oh, please, that's a joke--all legalize and all about the $$$, wedding pictures, etc. Nothing about the plants, the garden, etc.

For those who have been there, is there a recommended entrance? Any tips on how to best enjoy this?


Polls Forum Moderator
Jan 20, 2003
There are descriptions of the plants, but I think they are all in Spanish (in the main entrance there are signs in a bunch of languages). Every plant native to the island is grown there, including the Cacheo palm which in the entire world naturally grows in a very small area of the Bahoruco mountains only. That's truly a Dominican tree. Obviously, most nstive plant species to the DR are also native species of Haiti, minus a few like the Cacheo palm which grows naturally in the DR only.

There is a trolley service (same in the national zoo), though despite large it can be walked.

Some of the things not so easily known about the botanical gardens are:

- When Balaguer inaugurated it in the 1970's it was the largest botanical gardens in Latin America. It could still be, but in any case it's one of the largest in the region and the largest in the Caribbean.

- Next to the parking lot is a floral clock that when it was inaugurated with the gardens it was the largest in the world. Bigger ones have been buikt elsewhere, but I think there is nothing as big in the rest of the Caribbean.

- It has one of the most complete butterfly exhibit with all or most of the butterflies of Hispaniola.

- It also has one of the most complete orchids exhibit. This may or may not be open when the botanical gardens is open.

- The Japanese Garden is the largest and most meticulous in the Caribbean. It was a gift from the Japanese-Dominican community headed by Mamoru Matsunaga (there is a plaque of him on a rock, he introduced Judo to the DR and is considered to be the father of that Japnese sport in the DR). This is a major photo op place and you will see why. It also has a bamboo forest within the Japanese Gardens that includes a "bamboo tunnel" (live bamboo plants creating a sort of tunnel anyone can walk through). The entrace to the Japanese Garden has an authentic Japanese gate, brough directly from Japan, and is the largest of its kind in the country. There is another smaller one in Jarabacoa.

There are other stuff. Truly a gem. You'll forget you are in the middle of a city while in there. In the early morning and again in the late afternoon many people go there to excercise walk, jog, etc.
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May 28, 2003
When I have gone, I have seen families with coolers. I think people spend the day there also letting the kids play.


Well-known member
Jun 25, 2019
In the Botanical Gardens there is a little train (like they use in the All Inclusives) which does a tour of the park and I think that's included in the entrance. At least that's how it used to be for many years, I haven't been since Covid happened. The train gives you a good whizz round the park and there is also a commentary (in Spanish) which tells you the history of the park. If you need to buy any plants, they have a very cheap and excellent nursery there. There is also a pretty Japanese garden where the train stops for about 20 minutes.

Another option if you want some green space is to go to Parque Mirador del Sur which is about 30 mins ride in a taxi from the Conde. It's a truly enormous park and especially later on in the day (say 4pm onwards) comes alive with people running, walking, cycling, playing every type of sport, rollerskating. There is a lot of security as it's in an upmarket area. Just get an Uber to Avenida Anacaona near to the junction with Nuñez de Caceres, it's about RD$ 350 each way.