Exploring the Belize Spice Farm & Botanical Garden in Punta Gorda

by Larry Waight

Belize has become a favorite international tourist destination. Divers love to explore the world’s second longest barrier reef. Nature-lovers consider the rainforest to be extraordinary, with its jaguars, tapirs, howler monkeys and beautiful birds. The Maya ruins are one of the wonders of the world. Now those who love fragrance, flavor and spice have a new favorite destination. It is the Belize Spice Farm and Botanical Garden in Punta Gorda.

From India to Punta Gorda

When the Mathews, an Indian-American couple, visited Belize in 1989, they found the climate to be just like that of Kerala, in India. They wondered if they could grow the same spices in Belize that are grown in Kerala. These spices include Tellicherry black pepper, cardamom, vanilla, allspice, and nutmeg. Thanks to help from the Government of Belize, the Mathews were able to import seeds and cuttings from India. Today, their farm grows spices that are not found anywhere else in the region. It also has magnificent trees such as rosewood, mahogany, teak, sandalwood, and banyan, some of which are endangered, and a variety of exotic Indian fruits and flowers. Here you can enjoy the aromas and flavors of tamarind, tropical blackberry, the Surinam cherry, lychee, star apple, and avocado.

Tours to explore the grounds of Belize Spice Farm & Botanic Gardens

  • Spice tour: Learn about the history of the farm and the culinary importance of the fruits and spices grown here. The tour will stop while going through the orchards so visitors can pluck and smell leaves and spices. At the end of the tour, you’ll enjoy a spice tasting and fresh juice.  
  • Culinary tour: You’ll learn how the spices grown enhance your culinary skills. After a tour of the farm and a grinding demonstration, you’ll enjoy a cooking demonstration followed by lunch.  
  • Bird-watching tour: The diversity of plants and trees attracts a variety of birds. You’ll see toucans, parrots, parakeets, hummingbirds, chachalacas, and many more.  
  • Lotus and orchard tour: You’ll view the lotuses, orchards and flowering arches.  
  • Self-guided tour: For those who would prefer to explore on their own.  
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Belize Spice Farm & Botanical Gardens. Photo by Quilz Tamay Photography

Next time you are in Southern Belize, make sure to visit this unique 500-acre farm. With so many tours to choose from, you might have a hard time picking just one! Whatever you choose, make sure to have your camera, and, if your tour does not include lunch, stop at the farm’s Cinnamon Hall restaurant for a lovely meal.

Header photo by ROEming Belize. This article was published in August 2020.

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