The beauty of the orchids attracts thousands of people keen to see these flowers in their natural setting. Their color, shape, size and scent are determined during pollination and curiously, many species of orchid resemble the shape of the insect that pollinates them.
Peru's varied geography and microclimates are hosts to 3,000 species of orchids that grow in the tropical rainforests on the eastern slopes of the Andes, in the high jungle area and in the clouded forests. Orchids also grow on the north coast in the departments of Tumbes and Piura. In the mountains of Áncash and Huancavelica visitors can admire rarely beautiful orchids of exceptional color and size, like the Cattleya máxima, with its large and violet flowers. A wide variety of orchids can also be found in the San Martín department, an area known as the 'land of the orchids'. Here swallow species abund (Cattleya rex) and are regarded the most emblematic flower of the region's wild flora.
Specialised agencies offer tourists orchid observation trips in different regions of Peru. The Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary, which houses over 200 varieties, is the perfect setting to combine both natural and historic tourism.