Puerto Morelos Botanical Garden, also called the Yaaxche-Alfredo Barrera Marin Botanical Garden, celebrates its 37th anniversary this June and if you have never visited it, why not pencil in a visit on your next trip. With trails winding through 65 hectares of jungle and wetlands, it is the second largest botanical garden in Mexico and a haven for wildlife.
Learn about trees and plants native to the Yucatán Peninsula such as the ceiba, sacred tree of the Maya, caoba or mahogany and chicozapote. In a jungle clearing there is an exhibit about chicle, the white, latex-like resin tapped or harvested from the chicozapote tree that is the original raw ingredient for chewing gum. Walk through the herb garden, which is full of medicinal plants used by the Maya since ancient times. Jungle trails lead you to wooden observation towers offering panoramic views across the jungle and wetlands to the sea.
A visit to the Botanical Garden is a must for nature lovers. It is home to spider monkeys, coatimundi, deer, agouti, iguana, shimmering blue morph butterflies and a variety of birds. During a walk through the park, you will certainly hear the distinctive rattle call of chachalacas and you may spot Yucatan and green jays parrots, trogons, turquoise-browed motmots, pygmy owls, orioles, woodpeckers and hummingbirds.
The Botanical Garden is located just south of Puerto Morelos on Highway 307. It is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Take a camera, binoculars and use eco-friendly insect repellent to ward off biting insects.