"In the kingdom of the Andes there was a beautiful
young princess. She fell in love with a brave and
handsome warrior of the
Inca. 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
To you, I am betrothed,
Flower blooming in the
What shall your song be
when I carry
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
The meandering paths and trails on the
Picchu 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
Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu. More than a hundred of these
may be easily seen in these orchid trails, in
their natural habitat.
The Ñusta Orchid Walk
Is the first
area that guests see. Ñusta was the official title of
the Royal princess of the
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
tranquility 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
The Orchids Explorers' Trail
mountain trail used by Hiram Bingham on his way to
is carefully designed to be an exiting and
educational orchid identification search which will
familiarize the trekker with several different orchid
habitats. The walk begins in avocado orchard and a
vegetable garden belonging to the Hotel and continues as
a hike up into the higher-altitude of the Urubamba
Valley canyons, which reach 2460 meters / 8000 ft. above
sea level. The emotion of seeing orchids suspend over
rushing water or contrasted against brilliant blues
skies will be your most treasured souvenir. Strict
Hotel rules require that all trails be visited only
during daylight hours and that, without exception, guest
be accompanied on their explorations by a Hotel
designated guide or interpreter.
This is a
large, terrestrial, trifoliate plant with dark green
September to December; it bears single, medium-sized,
creamy white flowers with purple-rose spots on sepals,
petals and lip.
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 Cóndor, to the south in the
high cloud forest of the Department of Puno. The
Anguloa is the most common orchid in Peru.
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.
grow in the ground and have ovoid-conic pseudo-bulbs
with 3 or 4 leaves at the apex.
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.
Terrestrial. A common species in cloud forest areas at
about 1 500 mt. / 5 000 ft.