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!
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!
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