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Sunday, 1 July 2012


This will be a series of posts from our holiday in Cala D'Or, Mallorca, but this one is a special as there is no real information in English, on this destination and what there is is heavily Engrished on its main site.
Es Llombards square.

Botanicactus is a botanical garden situated about a kilometer outside of Ses Salines, in the south of the island, we had previously seen an old article in the BCSS journal detailing a trip there, but untill we saw an excursion for this on the Saga Holiday noticeboard we had forgotten entirely that it was there.

On the Friday we decided to take a trip out on our own to see if we could make it there by bus, not having a hire car.  Two words, Big mistake.  First of all these are country buses, they rarely run on time and if you miss one its quite a wait for the next bus. (incidentally if you are in the north east this is a worthwile trip to undertake Son Baulo and its shorefront prehistoric site is definitely one to take in especially for nature lovers).

Anyway we took the Palma bus and got off at Santanyi, the main administration center of the area, we found that

A: it would be a 90 minute wait for the next bus (more like 2 hours) and
B: spending 90 minutes in Santanyi would be 90 minutes far too long. 

We're not saying it was a one horse town, more like one and a half, typically Spanish and if there are any foriegners they are much more likely to be Germans than English. It was really twisty and for extra weirdness we kept seeing leaflets stuck up for the memorial of a 103 year old woman who looked creepy as fuck (sorry no photos of that).

Santanyi outside the church.

With that, and the reassurance that it would be like closer to Es Llombards a village further up (about 3km away but more like a mile down the hardtop). We decided to walk.  If you are fit and able you can do this easily, bear in mind its outside Ses Salines rather than Es Llombards its more like a 4 mile trip than anything else, and is only really advised for the hardcore and the sporty.
The first thing we noticed walking down the strip is that there are a few barren farms out there with sheep and chickens, the other thing is that the side strips are littered with dead birds.  Every few hundred yards we would come across some unidentified mass of feathers lying on the roadside (though we found a dead partridge on one occasion) and sometimes what we thought was a flat hedgehog.
We made it to Es Llombards before caving in and taking a local bar for a drink.  Es Llombards is even smaller than Santanyi (a one pony town), but the people there was nice, we got directions from the lady behind the bar, and I got to try out my ropey Spanish.

Suitably directed up we set off on the longer leg of our trip and following the road round we finally made it to Botanicactus.

Our first impressions is that it kind of reminds me of the old cactus park outside Los Christianos / Playa de las Americas in Tenerife but with the added bonus of not being closed.   There are a few Yuccas and some big Cerei outside and a faded mascot billboard in a sombrero leading the way inside.  But first this is what Wikipedia has to say (we actually translated this ourselves with about 20% help from Google translate)

Botanicactus is a 150,000M Square botanical garden specialising in Cacti and other succulents.  A private garden situated outside Ses Salines, Mallorca.

It took two years work to transform the landscape into the Botanicactus gardens, utilising the local hills to give protection from the wind, and digging out the artificial lakes which doubles up as a source of clean water.  The garden was opened on the 20th May 1989 and is not affiliated with any organisation or institution.


The site is home to 1000 species and 15000 specimens of which 12000 are cacti,  These are grouped into 3 sections.

Tropical species. (50000 m2)
Cacti from Arizona with a Saguaro that is over 300 years old* 40000m2
Native Mallorcan flora, Represented by Olives, Almonds, Pomegranate, Cypress, Pine and Eucalyptus? 25000m2

Also included is the biggest navigable lake in the Balearics, situated in the tropical zone with reed banks, bamboos and tropical plants.
* we didn't see this actually, though Arizona is pushing it with the species I saw its more like South America with an extended stay in Mexico.

At a pinch those Yucca could be from Phoenix

Reality is far more different, there are three zones, one is a tropical zone with some planting including Jacaranda, locust beans (Carob) and day lillies, its not too bad and had a massive rill leading up the hill toward the main desert zone.  This is actually very impressive a little heavy on Echinocactus Grusonii (not the nicest of cacti) but with plenty of mature Agaves and big stands of Aloe Melanacantha and Arborescens and
yuccas galore too.  Occasionally you'd get a big silver torch cactus or something different just to break it up, its set on a sloping hill allowing you to walk around and looks the business too.

The last zone is of course the lakes, there is a small lily pond home to a few wandering coots along with red and blue dragonflies.  The main lakes are surrounded with large reeds and had more coots swimming on the lake as well as some stilts confined to the edges.  Walking around there are two islands one Duck island is not accessible whereas the lake island is allowing you to walk out onto the bridge and see the lake.  Whilst walking past duck isle we happened across a massive moth which is probably a Eyed Hawkmoth which had nestled into a palm and was reluctant to fly. 

Walking back we took a few more snaps and had a look at the gift shop (small selection of cacti with some postcards and snacks for sale) before heading back to Ses Salines to catch the bus.  We didn't see much of Ses Salines as we bumped into the lady from the bar in Es Llombards who graciously gave us a lift back to Santanyi and called us a taxi taking us back to Cala D'Or.  We noted that the bus we should have taken from Ses Salines came in a good ten minutes after the adjoining bus had left for Cala D'or.

Overall that is Botanicactus. Situated outside Ses Salines, Mallorca

Admission price E8, 50 Adults E4.40 kids.
Travel advice.  If you can make it in one bus trip do so, otherwise a hire car is the only way especially if you are up in the northern end.  We'll leave you with some photos of the place.

Big Cerei.
Mascot surrounded by Aloes
Little lake with waterlillies
Aloes, we saw a lot in flower here.

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