If you are interested in heliconia flowers the best places in Central America are Belize, or, within Guatemala, the botanical garden of the Hotel Villa de los Castellanos. Heliconia is a relative of the banana plant and especially of the bird of paradise flower. Countless species of heliconia are native to Central America.
The Hotel Villa de los Castellanos is a local botanical garden with an emphasis on medicinal plants. Dr Castellanos is interested in all this and has built the garden and hotel as a result. Andrea and I spent a pleasant afternoon as guest of the family.
This garden is especially appropriate for anyone who loves tropical flowers as well as for students of anthropology, native medicine, folk healing, etc. This is not as extensive as giant government gardens yet I saw flowers here that I never saw at Kew Gardens outside London or the great botanical gardens in Munich, Montreal, or St Louis (my three favorite gardens).
To get to the Hotel Villa de los Castellanos you can ask any driver at the Tikal airport or Tikal park. Poptun is about an hour from Flores (less than 2 hours from Tikal). You can drive down, have lunch, and be back in the Flores or Tikal area for overnight. Or, naturally, you can also overnight at the Hotel Villa de los Castellanos itself. Tel: (502) 7927-7541, Fax: (502) 7927-7307