The University of Costa Rica—a leading Latin American research center when it comes to epiphytic plants (i.e., those that grow on other plants but live off ambient moisture)—operates the Lankester Botanical Garden, which promotes conservation, appreciation, and sustainable use of threatened, endemic Costa Rican flora. Photographers enjoy an exceptional opportunity to shoot many rare plants, including ferns, bromeliads, palms, cacti, and heliconias. The orchids displayed here are especially fascinating because they are rarely seen in the wild. A Japanese garden, nestled within thick bamboo and surrounding a peaceful lagoon, is a marvelous spot for a meditative break. Complete garden visits take about two hours, something to consider if your Lankester stop is on the way to other Cartago attractions like the Orosi Valley. Park biologists offer instructive talks on the epiphytes, by reservation.