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Hope Gardens

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Hope Gardens

Smooth-billed ani in Hope Gardens

Melissa Mayntz

The Bottom Line

The Hope Botanic Gardens in Kingston are a great spot to begin a birding getaway to this Caribbean nation or just for a quick visit during a business trip or family vacation. The urban setting provides a vastly different experience than other Jamaican birding destinations, but the variety of birds and the beauty of the gardens makes it well worthwhile.

Pros

  • Urban location is easily accessible.
  • Variety of plants and habitats attracts many bird species.
  • Different attractions for the whole family.

Cons

  • Crowds and events may detract from birding.
  • Restroom access can vary.

Description

  • Name: Hope Gardens / Hope Botanic Gardens
  • Location: Kingston
  • Size: 60 acres
  • Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (may vary seasonally)
  • Suggested Birding Time: 2-3 hours

Guide Review - Hope Gardens

A hidden birding gem in the heart of Kingston, Hope Botanic Gardens is a fantastic destination for birders in southeastern Jamaica. At the foot of the Blue Mountains, this urban park encompasses a range of habitats including meadows, cultivated flower gardens and a natural pond, all of which attract a wide variety of bird species, including many of the country's endemic birds. Beautifully landscaped and attractively maintained, Hope Gardens is also a pleasant place to visit for non-birders, making it a great family destination as well.

Not only is Hope Gardens home to beautiful landscaping and different habitats easily accessible through winding pathways and open spaces, but attractions include the Coconut Museum, Orchid House and the small Hope Zoo. Restroom and meeting facilities are available, making this a popular location for weddings, reunions, picnics and other celebrations. Fortunately, as the largest botanical gardens in the West Indies, there is plenty of room for birders to find unique sightings even on busy days, and the birds that make this park home become readily accustomed to visitors and are less timid than their counterparts in more remote areas.

Birders should plan a few hours to visit Hope Gardens and thoroughly explore the different areas of the park. Birds easily found in the area include both the yellow-billed and black-billed parrots, several varieties of doves, smooth-billed anis, tricolored herons, cattle egrets and different hummingbird species, such as the Jamaican mango and the red-billed streamertail.

As is common with travel reviews, the writer was provided with complimentary travel. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.
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