Last week we heard that our good friend, Lisa Brunetti would be in Portoviejo on the weekend. She was going to attend a showing of pictures and sculptures by an artist at the Portoviejo Museum and also wanted to see the Botanical Gardens.
In addition to the many thousands of things that Lisa does she also shows tour groups around sites in Manabi province. Many of the visitors have requested a chance to see native plants and wildlife, but their time is often limited. Lisa wanted to visit the botanical gardens to see if it would be a suitable place to bring visitors.
We decided to make a day of it and hopped on the bus early Saturday morning to meet Lisa at the museum to first see the art and then accompany her on the tour of the gardens. We had a great time at the museum and did some walking around Portoviejo before linking up with our taxi driving friend, Roberth to go to the gardens.
The Botanical Gardens (Jardin Botanico) is located adjacent to and is a part of the Technical University of Manabi on a main road right outside of Portoviejo. Although the road is heavily traveled a few steps into the garden grounds one sees peaceful quiet scenes like these:
There are hundreds of trees and flowers (often marked to show their name and species) with water ways, ponds, bridges, and habitat areas to attract birds and other wildlife. There is a small zoological area with several species of monkeys, parrots, and an ocelot, but most of my pictures in that area focused on the wire around the pens. The wild animals were abundant though and we got some pictures.
We were intrigued by several species of bamboo plants. One had a velvet-like feel to its’ bark while others grew in clusters in beautiful groves.
There was a large area of bonsai plants where I saw one of the largest iguanas I have ever seen run for cover beneath a shed. It was about four feet long and stood about ten inches tall with the skin around its neck hanging clear to the ground!
He ran when I approached, but I got this shot of him on the run for cover.
This rodent-like animal ran for cover as we approached also. We saw glimpses of five or six of these animals.
There was also a maze (labyrinth), snack bar area, a nursery, and many other things to see and do. We had fun exploring many of these sites with Lisa. Lisa is a great photographer and shared some of her photos with us.
This will give you an idea of what it takes to get close up photos…
Of plants like these:
We were there from about one to three in the afternoon on a Saturday and you can see there were no crowds that day. We felt like we had the entire garden for our private use and enjoyment.
As is my wont – I found a funny face peering out at me from one of the bonsai plants:
We had a great day exploring the gardens with Lisa and can not wait to go again!
We were also happy that Lisa accepted our offer for her to stay at our place Saturday night. We had a great meal, a trip to the market on Sunday morning, another great dinner on Sunday and saw Lisa off for Jama at about two thirty.
Life is so good in Ecuador!
Written by John