Lobster Claw Heliconia
Lobster Claw Heliconia
Lobster Claw Heliconia

About Us

The duPlooy Story …

by Judy duPlooy

Just before Christmas in 1987, Ken and I loaded our five children and dog into our Suburban and left our home just outside of Charleston, South Carolina to head for Belize.  After an adventurous road trip through Mexico, (try this with 2 teenagers, a preteen and 2 preschoolers, all girls!); we found ourselves in San Ignacio, a quaint town in Western Belize, locally known as “Cayo”.

After getting stuck in the mud 4 times in one day, we took this as a sign that we should start looking for a house. At this point we had been in Belize for just 3 days. We drove for six miles on the unpaved “Benque highway” and 4 more on a really bad road and somehow managed to find the isolated  20 acre farm our new friends had told us about the previous day.

Next we made our way down to the Macal River and were awed by the majestic limestone bluff facing us and the beauty of the river and large sandy beach. So without any hesitation we went to look for the owner and signed a contract without a survey and ignoring the fact that the farm had no running water and only a small rainwater collection tank (not nearly enough to provide for a family of 7) and no electricity. For more about the duPlooy family … continue reading 

1997 – Belize Botanic Gardens

The construction of the nature lodge is thanks to Ken. He also realized early on that he needed something to keep him out of a house filled with 6 women and began to dabble in gardening. Several thousand plants later something had to be done to justify his ‘hobby’ so, in 1993,  45  acres that had been purchased adjacent to the lodge grounds in 1997 were officially designated as Belize Botanic Gardens. This non-profit entity was, at the time, the only botanic garden in Belize and is still the largest.

Despite fighting heart disease for many years he worked enthusiastically in the garden until his death in August 2001. His ability to tell wildly exaggerated tales is still much missed by those who knew him. 

What’s Happening Now?

We’ll just skip a few years and lots of stories and see what’s happening now. In 2018 I sold the lodge in order to concentrate on Belize Botanic Gardens. 

A lot of changes have been made to the Gardens in the last year.  We have built an office and guest house, and reworked the Visitors’ Center, adding a kitchen where delicious local meals are served to visitors to the Guest House.  New study programs have been developed and several areas of the gardens have been upgraded.

Other Services We Offer

At the gardens and at our shop in San Ignacio which opened in 2015, we offer landscape consultation and installation, plants and fruit trees, soil mixes, coconut fiber and coir, organic fertilizers and pesticides. 


In 2017 , realizing that there is a growing market in Belize for health products, we added organic foods and other items to our inventory at the shop. 


To  have your in-country questions answered call: 
671-3322 or 651-3321 or email: judy@belizebotanic.org


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