Bocas del Toro Botanical Garden: Finca Los Monos

We finally made it up to the Bocas Del Toro Botanical Garden:  Finca Los Monos (The Monkey Farm) run by David and Lin Gillingham.   In 1998 they bought the 20 acre farm and have worked to clear nearly half of the thick jungle to create a beautiful jungle garden oasis.

The kids enjoyed the two hour hike around their property where we able to see the many flora and fauna that inhabit the archipelago.

Scary "Dinosaur Jaw" like plant

Scary “Dinosaur Jaw” like plant

While there we saw numerous species of ginger plants, banana plants, balsa wood and even found out what the beautifully symmetrical palm trees are called – the Traveling Palm, originating in Madagascar.

The kids were excited to see monkeys lounging in the trees and even spotted a sloth or two.  We found a small cayman in one of their ponds and observed a ton of beautiful birds (of note, 2 small kingfishers), butterflies, spiders (yes, even they can be beautiful) and frogs.  And finally some HUGE birds nests and a green vine snake!

Fresh coconut water - "Pipa"

Fresh coconut water – “Pipa”

At the end of our tour we were treated with some “pipa” – fresh coconut water.  The kids were eager to try but it wasn’t their cup of tea.  And Lin also had some nice cool lemongrass tea.

Of note if you are heading to the farm for a visit – be sure to tell your taxi driver to drop you at the Botanical Gardens vs. Finca Los Monos.  A new neighbor recently named their home “Casa de Los Monos” and inevitably someone gets dropped there and has to trek back to “Finca Los Monos.”  (This happened to someone on our tour who ended up missing the first part of the tour).  The botanical gardens are just past the Smithsonian Research Station.

Lin currently conducts tours on Monday’s at 1pm and Friday’s at 8:30 AM.  Call ahead to confirm.  There are also facilities for functions and weddings.

Giant Birds' Nests

Giant Birds’ Nests


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    One Response to “Bocas del Toro Botanical Garden: Finca Los Monos”

    1. palm tree says:

      Windmill palm trees grow nicely on dry soil also!

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