South America, Peru

Orchids and Hummingbirds: The Wonders of Waqanki

June 11, 2014

Waqanki Orchid Center was the primary reason we decided upon an overnight stop in Moyobamba in the first place, but as a result of our unexpected but amazing experience at La Casa de Seizo, we didn’t make it here until day 3.

Waqanki Orchid Center is a private family-run reserve located in the Mayo Valley 3-4 kilometres from Moyobamba and if you blink you’ll miss the sign, which directs you up a dirt track to the right of the main road out of Moyobamba.  If you see the left turning towards Baños Termales de San Mateo, you’ve gone too far.  Assuming you’re visiting from Moyobamba though and not from La Casa de Seizo (as we did), you’ll more than likely be arriving in a mototaxi, so the driver should know where to drop you.  He may even brave the dirt track up to the entrance if you’re lucky.

Waqanki is home to some 150 species of orchids, and a guide will take you around the grounds for a cost of 10 soles per person.  Although you can see the orchids all year round, not all of them will be in flower.  The best time to visit is in summertime between June and September, after the rains during the first few months of the year have subsided and before the rainy season begins again in the autumn.  As we visited towards the end of the rainy season (April) we only saw a fraction of the total number of orchids at the site, in flower.

However, the visit was still worthwhile: the trail winds its way through beautiful forest, and culminates at a wooden three-storey observation tower at the top of the hill, from where you can watch several different species of hummingbird regularly visiting the nearby feeders. Over 25 hummingbird species have been recorded here so far and I was lucky enough to get a few seconds of footage of a Rufous-crested Coquette at the feeder just metres in front of me.

Waqanki really requires no further introduction; the photos speak for themselves.  Enjoy!

I think this was some kind of parasite, but it's definitely a cool one in my opinion!








Hummingbird, Waqanki

Below is the video footage I took of the Rufous-crested Croquette hummingbird, which visited the feeder for a few precious seconds whilst I was filming!

Practical Info

Where we stayed

Hospedaje El Portón, San Martin 449, Moyobamba

Pros: Central but tranquil, attractive well-manicured gardens strewn with hammocks, modern, spotless rooms, incredibly accommodating and friendly owner who’s always around to serve you coffee whenever you require, safe and secure.

Cons:  Wifi didn’t work in the room, but that’s really only a small complaint considering everything it’s got going for it.

Prices:  Ok, I have to confess, we paid only a fraction of the price of the actual cost of the room.  From what I understood when the room was arranged for us by the lovely folk at La Casa de Seizo, the normal price of a matrimonial room with private bathroom was 130 soles (£27.84).  Breakfast (should you choose to have it) is 10 soles (£2.14)

Where we ate

La Olla de Barro, Canga at Filomeno, Moyobamba

Pros: Extensive menu, lots of ‘interesting’ meats and a good selection of river fish.  Overall a great place to sample some local jungle dishes – if you know what you’re ordering!

Cons: Research what you want to eat beforehand and learn the Spanish for it!  There were no English translations on the menu, and the waiter didn’t speak a word of English either.

Best wifi in town

Aroma Cafe, Jose de San Martin, Moyobamba

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  • Reply Lauren June 11, 2014 at 11:01 PM

    Those orchids are gorgeous! What a treat to visit such a unique place with so many different flowers that it would be difficult to see anywhere else!

  • Reply Carmen (CarmensTravelTips) September 22, 2014 at 3:17 PM

    I love Orchids, have a few in my kitchen. They grow so well in tropical climates like Peru.
    Carmen (CarmensTravelTips) recently posted…What’s Atlantis?My Profile

  • Reply Jess September 22, 2014 at 11:45 PM

    I love orchids! I’ve never seen some of those kinds, though. They’re beautiful.
    Jess recently posted…New England in a Day – The Big E’s Avenue of StatesMy Profile

  • Reply Isabella September 24, 2014 at 11:41 AM

    Wow, if not the movie, I wouldn’t know that hummingbirds are so fast!! 🙂
    Isabella recently posted…Leave your heart in Norsk FolkemuseumMy Profile

    • Reply Kiara Gallop September 24, 2014 at 5:38 PM

      Yes they’re amazing to watch, aren’t they? 🙂

  • Reply Maria from Nerd Nomads September 25, 2014 at 6:30 AM

    I just love orchids, and this Waqanki Orchid Center looks awesome!!! So many different orchids, and they all look beautiful. Great photos!! I don`t think I have ever seen a hummingbird in real life, they looks so cute. Amazing that they can stand still in the air like that, wow! 🙂
    Maria from Nerd Nomads recently posted…How To Take Onsen – 10 Steps To Japanese Hot Springs BlissMy Profile

    • Reply Kiara Gallop September 26, 2014 at 4:11 PM

      Yeah, Hummingbirds are fascinating to watch Maria but they move so fast it was impossible to catch a still shot of them, hence the video!

  • Reply Christa September 26, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    Hi it’s Christa, host of the Sunday Traveler, I just wanted to pop in and say thanks for joining in on the fun! The photos really do speak for themselves I can see why you love the area so much. My fav part of the post is your pros, cons and best wifi in town!! You know what a girl wants 😉
    Christa recently posted…Dracula Untold at Halloween Horror Nights Universal OrlandoMy Profile

    • Reply Kiara Gallop September 26, 2014 at 4:10 PM

      Haha, well I needed somewhere to upload all those orchid photos, didn’t I? 😉

  • Reply Sarah May 16, 2015 at 10:35 AM

    Hi Kiara,

    I had a chance to sit down today and really enjoy your work. You have such beautiful photography and great structure to your pieces. You’ve found your latest fan 😉

    I hope you’re having a beautiful week.


    • Reply Kiara Gallop May 16, 2015 at 5:50 PM

      Aw, thanks Sarah. That really means a lot 🙂 It’s kinda tough in the early stages of blogging when you feel like no-one’s reading your work, so every comment like that just totally makes my day and makes it all worthwhile 🙂

  • Reply Kennedy January 20, 2017 at 2:57 AM

    What a beautiful place, the contact with nature is invigorating. These orchids are simply wonderful!
    Kennedy recently posted…UTI para orquídeas: Como Fazer?My Profile

    • Reply Kiara Gallop January 20, 2017 at 9:38 PM

      Thanks Kennedy! Orchids are definitely one of my favourite flowers 🙂

  • Reply Alexandra Santos January 20, 2019 at 9:07 PM

    Muito lindas são maravilhosas obrigado por compartilhar.

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