Friday, February 29, 2008

Paradise Gardens

Baby Howler Monkey climbs on Murray's back

Paradise Gardens is the third and newest Boquete garden that we have visited. Not really a garden, it is a wild animal rescue and rehabilation center. Started just two years ago by a retired couple from England, their intent was to house their rare bird collection but it quickly grew as a place where locals brought hurt or abandoned animals.

Murray and I were met at the entrance by a volunteer guide who leisurely walked us around giving the history of the garden and introducing us to the various animals and birds. A butterfly house, beautifully landscaped is a bit short on butterflies right now as mice seem to be eating them.

Our guide shared that there is always something new that she discovers when she comes. Maybe it is a newly arrived animal or the absence of one that has been released back into the forest.

The highlight were two young monkeys that delighted visitors with playful interactions.

Following our tour we spent some time chatting with the owner, Jeannie. A ten month old howler monkey, named Macy, was nestled under her T - shirt with just her head showing. Shortly after Murray sat down, Macy decided to go over to him and explore his camera and his watch. Feeling right at home the young monkey nestled into Murray's lap resting her head on Murray's arm and gently playing with his watch. I took pictures which we will post later of the relaxed pair.

The garden is so new that it isn't mentioned yet in guide books. We highly recommend it. The suggested donation is $5 but it is voluntary and there is no pressure to contribute.

Paradise Gardens is a short drive south from the center of town, turning right onto the road to Volcanito. A taxi ride is 75 cents per person and we had no problem hailing a taxi after our visit to return to town. In typical Panamian style, we shared the taxi with locals.

No comments: