Isla de la piedra/Stone Island has a secret, one I have known about since I got here, but which I have resisted exploring. It is called Amaitlán and is a proposed planned sustainable tourist city, the first in the world. What we have right now is the botanical garden, sample cottages, and a dream. I’ve been getting bits and pieces of the Amaitlán story and what I understand is that they are developing the project as people buy vacation property that hasn’t been built yet. The proposal is for a sustainable self-contained community that recycles its water, grows its own food, and lives in harmony with nature. It’s a grand idea and one that would dramatically change this peninsula and the surrounding communities. Will it come to pass? Who knows. But there has been tons of development away from the existing botanical garden, especially in the last few months.
My riding buddy Sue suggested we go to the botanical garden today. I thought that was a good idea. It’s Semana Santa again and Isla is hopping. I’ll have more about that in another post. But I know that Mexicans are not welcome in the botanical garden at this time of year for some reason while foreigners are, so it would be a chance to escape the crowds and the music for a spell. Here is the entrance, across from the RV park (I’ve included a crude map at the end of the post). There was a security guard and I asked if we could go in. Not a problem.
The pathway stone work is exquisite!
There are several styles of paths, each one more beautiful than the other.
That wall of sticks you see in the back is against the road where Daniel, our riding guide, keeps his horses, just a short ways down. I’ve been passing this place regularly without ever assuaging my curiosity about it!
First, we toured the cactus section. So many varieties!
I was awestruck by how meticulously landscaped the garden is, with many species well labeled. I
I loved this contrast of the coconut palms with the cacti.
Can you see the iguana against the wall? I’m pretty sure it lives in that hole.
Hard to believe this is our Isla.
Sue and I liked the contrast of the orange with the green here.
And we both thought these shriveled things look mouldy and not particularly attractive.
So many pretty colours.
This ramp’s incline is very subtle and wheelchair accessible.
This agave looks like an octopus.
Oh, look at that. It’s called octopus agave!
I thought these were particularly striking, with their dark outline.
Such bright contrasting colours.
The ramp leading back down gently.
The hummingbird garden, with lots of flowers with little tubes (imagine miniature dandelions) for them to stick their beaks into. The French word for hummingbirds is identical, hence why I understood the sign. I’m not quite yet at learning bird names in Spanish. Just not a priority. 🙂
More of those fuschia ones.
And now some coral ones with bigger petals.
This red fluffy thing looked like it was covered in bird feathers.
Waterlilies. There were a lot of tadpoles hopping about.
One of the cottages.
More beautiful pink petals.
And yellow ones. These grow in a tree.
My first sighting of bananas growing in the wild!
The butterfly garden.
I liked these blue flowers, a nice change from all the warm colours.
These looked like miniature daffodils.
Bamboo. We’re just right by where our horses are tied up, on the other side of the wall.
So much bamboo!
More bamboo. There’s a whole forest of it.
Relaxation area. Bring mosquito repellent!
I was really impressed by the bananas. Notice the pod thing hanging from the bottom of the plant.
Closeup of one of those banana pod things.
For someone who loves and needs bright colours, this place was truly a feast for the eyes.
Red is not a favourite colour, but I could appreciate these.
Pretty spot for wedding!
Off of which was a split bath, with a shower on one side…
Sink and vanity in the middle, and toilet on the other side. Notice the coconut toilet paper holder.
There is a kitchenette of sorts by the bed.
Beautiful wooden stairs up.
Next to the hot tub.
Nice hot tub!
Not a bad place to relax!
The larger cottage had a full kitchen.
Cozy dining area, all downstairs.
Bedroom upstairs, still open air.
Check out the sink!
Indoor shower. Notice that the plumbing was worked into that gorgeous wooden beam.
View of the lake from the balcony:
This one had a stone staircase, but it was also beautiful, with this pattern on the landing.
We believe these are papaya.
View of the larger cottage.
The other side of the lake.
We circled the lake and finished at the fruit garden, opposite the cacti.
Pomelos. I was amazed to see all these fruits in their natural setting!
Miniature/dwarf pineapple. I asked the guard about them when I came out and he said this is as big as they grow and they are ornamental.
There was a bunch of them growing.
New building project. Forgot to ask about it. I’m facing the ocean right now, with the RV park between us.
Mushrooms grown in the damp soil.
And just when I thought we were done, this spiral.
And these are at the entrance: