Moyobamba is far from being a tourist hotspot, but it’s definitely a prime destination for orchid lovers and green-fingered fans of exotic flora. The city sits in the selva alta, the high jungle region where the foothills of the Andes begin to disappear under the vast cloak of the lowland Amazon jungle, a region perfectly suited to the cultivation of orchids.
Two establishments are particularly popular for viewing the regional plant life. There’s the Jardín Botánico San Francisco (San Francisco Botanical Garden), located a short ride from the plaza de armas. Then there’s the Waqanki Orchid Center (www.waqanki.com), which lies a mile or so outside of town.
Another option is the Agro Oriente Viveros, a plant nursery that cultivates and sells a wide range of local flora, including hundreds of different varieties of orchids. In its entirety, the center is home to more than 200,000 plants and 1000 species. As a company, Agro Oriente has competed in various international exhibitions including the Redland International Orchid Festival in Miami, the Pacific Orchid Exposition in California and the IPM Essen in Germany.
If you arrive in Moyobamba and the tropical rains just won’t stop, Agro Oriente is a good alternative to the botanical garden and Waqanki Orchid Center as most of it is covered and sheltered from the rain (whereas you can expect quite a soaking in the larger but more exposed plant centers).
The center is situated along the northern edge of town (about six blocks from the plaza de armas) at Jr. Reyes Guerra 900, not far from the Malecon San Juan and the steps that lead down to Puerto de Tahuishco. There’s a small entrance fee, S/.5 if I remember correctly — my notes were later obliterated by the rain…
For more details and an extensive online catalogue, visit the Agro Oriente Viveros website.