The Best Places to See Orchids in and Around Quito

Ecuadorian orchids | © Vibeke Johannessen / Courtesy of The Viking Abroad
Ecuadorian orchids | © Vibeke Johannessen / Courtesy of The Viking Abroad
Photo of Vibeke Johannessen
6 November 2017

Ecuador is often called the land of the orchids. The country has 4,032 species of orchids, with 1,710 not found anywhere else on the planet. There are approximately 800 species discovered every year.

Mountain range

The best places to spot orchids are in the mountain range in Ecuador. It is here where you can find 66% of orchids, with only 17% in the Amazon region and 16% in the coastal area.

Quito Botanical Gardens

If you don’t have a lot of time to take an orchid tour, you can see an incredible collection of the country’s orchids at Quito Botanical Gardens. This locale is also a perfect place to start if you want to explore the best spots to see orchids in and around Quito.

Jardin Botanico | ©Vibeke Johannessen / The Viking Abroad

You will discover many different species while walking through the greenhouses, with controlled temperatures and humidity levels to protect the various species. You can also see other plants such as bonsai and cacti. Quito Botanical Gardens is not only a place for orchid enthusiasts but also children and families.

Ecuadorian Orchids | © Vibeke Johannessen / Courtesy of The Viking Abroad

Ecuagenera Orchids of Ecuador

The family-owned company Ecuagenera sits just outside of Quito. It is mainly a shop where you can buy some of the most beautiful orchids in the country. Ecuagenera also offers orchid tours around Ecuador. These tours are ideal for orchid enthusiasts who want to see a great range of orchids while travelling around the country as well.

Brassia | © Vibeke Johannessen / Courtesy of The Viking Abroad

The Cloud Forest

The cloud forests in the Andean region feature up to 10 times as many endemic orchid species than the lower Amazon region. Some of the orchids only survive in this area because of the high altitude and humid environment. Reserves in the cloud forests work hard to capture rainwater and protect the orchids. The rapid increase of deforestation in northern Ecuador, however, is threatening orchids species and lowering the water quality in these areas.

The cloud forests are also a great place to visit if you are interested in seeing waterfalls, hummingbirds, butterflies, birds and frogs.

El Pahuma Orchid Reserve

Only one hour from Quito, and you will find the 650-hectare orchid reserve El Pahuma. The reserve, which began as a conservation project, is now a popular destination for ecotourists, student groups, researchers and birdwatchers. El Pahuma offers research opportunities, field courses, internships and volunteer programs.

Courtesy of El Pahuma Orchid Reserve

Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve

Located in the cloud forest a few minutes outside Mindo, Bellavista has plenty of species and offers one-day and multi-day tours from Quito. Their reserve is 700 hectares and provides space for research projects for groups of students. Bellavista also offers accommodation, which gives you access to the trails.

Oncidium | © Vibeke Johannessen / Courtesy of The Viking Abroad

Cabañas Armonía y Jardín de Orquídeas

A family run eco-hostel, Cabañas Armonía y Jardín de Orquídeas offers private bungalows located just two blocks from the main square of Mindo. The eco-hostel has its own orchid garden with around 200 species that are native to the location, and it is here where they educate visitors and reproduce orchids. Armonía also offers volunteer work for those who are interested.

Encyclia | © Vibeke Johannessen / Courtesy of The Viking Abroad

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