The beauty of orchids attracts thousands of people, enthusiastic about seeing the flowers in their natural state. Their colour, shape, size and smell are determined during the pollination process and, curiously, many species of orchid take a similar form to that of the insect that pollinated it.
Thanks to Peru's varied geography and microclimates, there are 3,000 species of orchid that grow in the tropical rainforests on the eastern slopes of the Andes, both in the high jungle or jungle brow area and in the cloud forests. Orchids also grow on the north coast in the departments of Tumbes and Piura. In the mountains, in Áncash and Huancavelica, orchids with very special characteristics can be found. They are extremely beautiful due to their colour and size, like the Cattleya máxima, with its large flowers and violet colour. One place where an abundant variety can be found is in San Martín department, known as the "land of the orchids". Here, the swallow, or Cattleya rex species is plentiful, which is considered to be the symbol of this region's wild flora.
Specialised agencies exist to provide tourists with orchid spotting programmes in the various regions of Peru. The Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary, which is home to over 200 varieties, is the perfect setting to combine both natural and historic tourism.