There are approximately 30,000 known orchid species in the world today. Over 3,000 of those can be found in Peru!
Known as “tika” in Quechua, orchids have been popular for hundreds of years. Today they are greatly admired for they beauty, are often kept as low-maintenance houseplants and can even be incorporated in natural beauty treatments. During the time of the Incas, orchids were associated with royalty and grown in private gardens. It has even been told that young women would throw orchid flowers on the ground when princes would walk by.
Orchids can be found all over Peru – from the costa to the sierra to the selva – the country is a flower enthusiast’s dream. There are hundreds of species located around Machu Picchu alone, offering just one more reason to visit the incredibly stunning Inca citadel. In fact, many people visit Machu Picchu just to see the beautiful flowers. Located outside the town of Aguas Calientes at the base of the famous ruins, the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel boasts a beautiful 12 acre property containing the world’s largest native orchid collection. 372 individual species have been counted and registered there to date.
Orchids are truly present all throughout Peru and can be spotted at the majority of popular tourist destinations. After all, Peru is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. Along the northern coast, orchids are commonly encountered in Tumbes and Piura where beachgoers can take a side trip to see the fuchsia Cattleya Maxima orchid. In the Cordillera Blanca mountain range, orchids can be found in abundance in and around Huaraz and the Huascaran National Park. In the jungle, especially concentrated around Manu and Tambopata, you can spot the showy Masdevallia orchids with tube-like flowers that vary in color from bright pink, orange and red.
However, it is worth noting that the best place to see orchids in Peru is a little farther off the beaten track. Moyobamba is the capital city of the San Martin region in northern Peru, and has rightly earned the nickname of “The City of Orchids”. The town sits at 2,820 feet (860 meters) above sea level and approximately 3,000 individual species of orchid can be found in the humid, tropical area surrounding the town. While not a major tourist attraction, the city can be accessed by road from Tarapoto which lies to the southeast.
Between November and March is Peru’s rainy season, but it is also Peru’s orchid season and the flowers are in full-bloom during this time. And yet, while Peru is an amazing travel destination all year long, the best time to see the orchids is at the beginning of April when the flowers should still be blooming but the rain will have abated.
If you have any questions about traveling to Peru or where to go to see the best orchids, don’t hesitate to contact us. Enigma is here to help!