PARADISE OF ORCHIDS - MACHU PICCHU

Waqanki Tale (*)

Once her father, knew of the love affair, he prohibited any relationship between them because the princess was destined for the Sun God

When the princess learned of his decision, she ran over the Andes, crying for her forbidden love and was turned into the beautiful "Waqanki" flower. So, each time the warrior found this flower in the Andes, he also would cry remembering his lost love"

The spirit of beauty is still there, expressed also in our days in a song that we can hear even now:

"You will cry, my most beautiful flower with your pretty eyes. Because of you jealousy surrounds me. To you, I am betrothed, beautiful Waqanki, Flower blooming in the heights. What shall your song be when I carry you In my heart"
(*) This is the only testimony of appreciation of the orchids that existed in the empire of the Incas and has been preserved until the present day through oral transmission.

The meandering paths and trails on the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel grounds are designed to provide the guests with unparalleled opportunities to observe and explore on foot the impressive wealth of orchids at the Sanctuary. Bromeliad fanciers and bird watchers will spot many specimens, as well. The three walks vary in length, difficulty and frequency of use.

It is believed there are some 350 native species in the Machu Picchu Sanctuary. More than a hundred of these may be easily seen in these orchid trails, in their natural habitat.

The Ñusta Orchid Walk

Es la primera área que los visitantes observarán. Ñusta was the official title of the Royal princess of the Inca Empire. This paved walkway was painstakingly hand-cut and laid by indigenous stonecutters in the tradition of their ancestors. The path meanders through the Hotel grounds around casitas that lodge guests in gardens so carefully crafted that they appear entirely natural. Visitors immediately enjoy the sight of orchids from the tranquillity of their windows, and exotics orchid plants that are carefully identified and described to provide botanical information on the marvels at hand.

The Imperial Orchid Trail

Is also located on Hotel property. In these natural retreats we learn more about native orchids and theirs growing habits. Again, we will recognize terrestrial, or ground-growing orchids as well as epiphytic orchids, which are "air plants" that grow attached to trees and shrubs, deriving their nutrients from de air. Along this trail, accompanied by the trill of exotic birds, we will undoubtedly observe exquisite orchids which centuries ago delighted Inca rulers and subjects alike. From either, you might have the unforgettable experience of sighting one of the exotic birds native to the Sanctuary, such as the "Gallito de las Rocas" the brilliant orange and black "Cock of the Rocs" (Rupicola Peruviana).

Anguloa Virginalis

This is a large, terrestrial, trifoliate plant with dark green pseudo-bulbs. Flowers: From September to December; it bears single, medium-sized, creamy white flowers with purple-rose spots on sepals, petals and lip.

Habitat/Distribution: It grows in dense shade in the cloud forest and has a widely extended habitat stretching from the north of Peru, in the Cordillera del Condor, to the south in the high cloud forest of the Department of Puno. The Anguloa is the most common orchid in Peru.

Epidendrum Schomburgkii

Impressive because of this height and the size of its flowers, this terrestrial plant forms great masses when growing well. It has stems from 1 to 1.5 meters / 3 to 5 feet tall.

Flowers: Its flower are among the biggest of the Epidendrum, 5 to 10 cm / 2 to 3 inches. They are brilliant orange and appear from September to December, before the rainy season.

Habitat/Distribution: Terrestrial plant. Native to the Central Forest of Peru, grows at altitudes around 1 500 meters / 5 000 feet.

Zygopetalum Intermedium

These plants grow in the ground and have ovoid-conic pseudo-bulbs with 3 or 4 leaves at the apex.

Flowers: Three to six large flowers hang in clusters from the peduncle. They are green, heavily mixed with light crimson. Sepals and petals are the same color, a white lip is adorned with purple veins. It flowers from September to December.

Habitat/Distribution: Terrestrial. A common species in cloud forest areas at about 1 500 mt. / 5 000 ft.

More information: orchids@inkaterra.com.pe

Orchids in Machu Picchu Photo Gallery


Visitantes observando orquideas en Machu Picchu
Visitors watching orquideas in Machu Picchu © Andina
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