Only 5 kilometres from Moyobamba, in the San Martin region in northern Peru, in direction of the thermal baths, is the entrance to “Waqanki, birds and orchids refuge”. Don’t miss the panel on your right, because there are none coming from the other direction.
Waqanki – What is it all about ?
The temperature is still very warm on this January afternoon when we visit Waqanki for the first time. The property is more than 100 hectares big and offers lots to do. Why not go for walk, enjoy the nature or hike to a nearby waterfall ?
We are here today to see orchids. This is actually what Waqanki is famous for. Moyobamba is a well-known region for its many species of orchids. They even have their own festival every year at the end of October / early November when most of the different species are blooming.
What to see in Waqanki ?
We park our car and get greeted by Chantal, a girl of 13 years old and daughter of the house. She explains us that Waqanki is a private property and that you have to pay an entrance fee. But this is obvious, of course!
We are three adults, my parents and I. The guided tour to the observatory of the Hummingbirds and the Orchidarium costs 10 Soles per person or 3 US Dollar. Chantal will be our guide.
Waqanki welcomes visitors from 8 am to 5.30 pm. It is already 4.30 pm when we arrive. I am careful and put a lot of insect repellent. A great idea, as my father (who didn’t do it) got bitten by the mosquitoes all over.
Our visit of the Hummingbirds and Orchids
We start the tour and endulge in green vegetation. Chantal points out the first orchids. In this season only some species are blooming, but it is still super interesting. Our young guide tells us that Waqanki is home to some 420 species of orchids. Between these: Venus helmets and other vanilla plants. We continue our walk through the orchid garden.
We climb up through the vegetation and see many other plants and flowers. We finally arrive at the hummingbird observatory that dominates the property. Northern Peru is indeed famous for its variety of birds, especially hummingbirds. Therefore, it is an ideal place for nature lovers and bird trips.
The observatory seems an airport during peak hours. Hummingbirds are all over, attracted by the lush vegetation. They also like the red bright bottles, filled with sugar water. In Waqanki live more than 20 species of hummingbirds. Therefore it is fascinating to watch this ballet of different species, sizes and colours of these small birds which the frenetic flapping of their wings (30 to 40 wing beats per minute or that is what I remember).
Then we go back to then entrance by using another way. The path is always well protected from the sun and Chantal shows us some more orchids that are emblematic to the region of San Martin in northern Peru. Finally we are back at the parking. Those who were not protected by repellent, count now their mosquito bites. Be aware !
I pay for our visit, which lasted a little over half an hour, thanking our young guide with a small tip. Thanks Chantal, we had a great time !