One or two week orchid expedition in the Andes

One or two week orchid expedition in the Andes

Discover the huge variety of orchids in one of the most biodiverse spots on earth, the Andes mountain range

You can choose between a one week or a two week expedition, as there will be one free day in Medellín just in the middle of the itinerary.

Week 1 - Urrao

Approximately 4 hours away from Medellín, Urrao is a picturesque town located in a middle elevation valley in the north-western Andes. It is surrounded by a variety of habitats, including middle elevation cloud forests, paramo highlands and lowland jungles. Influenced by the high humidity of the Chocó bio-region and the variety of elevations, there is a high diversity of orchid species and possible places to visit.

Depending on the elevations and places visited, different orchids can be seen. Some of them displaying big and colorful flowers, like Phragmipedium lindenii, Dracula platycrater, Dracula bella, Miltoniopsis vexillaria or Cyrtochilum sodiroi. There is also abundance of miniature Pleurothallids to enjoy.

Dates and price:

  • Aug 12 - 16, 2019. 10 pax. $1,200

Daily Itinerary:

Aug 12. We begin our adventure via chartered bus from Medellín to Urrao (4h approx.), and stop on the road for some orchid exploration. Once we arrive in Urrao, we visit a private orchid greenhouse. Overnight in a country house hotel near town.

Aug 13. We get a 4-wheel drive and go to the road leading from Urrao to Carmen de Atrato. This area is well known for its orchid diversity and is surrounded by cloud forests. Phragmipedium lindenii, Dracula platycrater and D.bella can be seen, together with a variety of Epidendrum, Oncidium, Cyrtochilum and many miniatures. Overnight in same country house hotel.

Aug 14. We visit El Charrascal natural reserve. A recently established natural reserve near Urrao protecting some valuable orchid habitats. In the afternoon we get some free time to walk on the town streets and enjoy a good coffee. Overnight in same country house hotel. Highlights: Variety of Dracula, Masdevallia, Scaphosepalum and Lepanthes species, Gongora similis and G. gratulabunda.

Aug 15. We get a 4-wheel drive and continue exploring the road leading from Urrao to Carmen de Atrato, or alternatively, visit another nearby natural reserve protecting cloud forest habitats. Overnight in same country house hotel.

Aug 16. In the morning we get a chartered bus to Medellín and on the way, we stop for a while to enjoy the beautiful colonial town of Santa Fé de Antioquia. Then we continue to Medellín.

Aug 17 (Optional) Get to know some of Medellín hidden treasures with a complementary guided walking tour in Medellín’s historic downtown, or just relax and have a nice dinner at one of the many good restaurants of the city.

Recharge your batteries, get your laundry washed and continue with us on the second one week tour to Orchid paradise in Cerro Montezuma.

Week 2 - Montezuma Rainforest, Western Andes

A famous Birding, Butterfly and Orchid observation paradise, just three hours away from Pereira and located on the western slope of the western Andes. This hill is fully covered with pristine cloud forests and goes up to 2600 m. Being located in one of earth's wettest regions (The Chocó region), it is daily bathed by rains and clouds, thus creating a perfect habitat for a high diversity of orchids, ferns, aroids, mosses and many other interesting plants and creatures.

Highlights: More than 200 species of orchids can be observed here, just along the road margins. Showy species like Huntleya gustavi, Maxillaria speciosa, Miltoniopsis vexillaria, Phragmipedium lindenii, Brachionidium imperiale, Masdevallia hortensis, Polycycnis barbata, Porroglossum eduardi, Dracula carcinopsis and Dracula chestertonii can be seen, along with a huge variety of Elleanthus, Maxillaria, Masdevallia, Scaphosepalum, Lepanthes and many other Pleurothallids.

Dates and price:

  • Aug 18 - 23, 2019. 10 pax. $1,500

Daily itinerary (Can be modified without notice, because of the frequent rains):

Aug 18. We will fly from Medellín to Pereira (1 stop in Bogotá), and then take a van or equivalent transport to Cerro Montezuma (approx. 4h). If we arrive early, we can make a short exploration around the lodge. (Middle elevation orchids like Erycina, Rodriguezia, Maxillaria, Sigmatostalix and Scaphosepalum). Overnight in Montezuma Rainforest Eco-lodge.

Aug 19. We get a 4-wheel drive and go to the Cerro Montezuma top for a nice view of the Tatamá Massif. From there we walk down the road and look for highland orchids on the roadsides all day long. There are many interesting orchids like: Otoglossum, Phragmipedium, Dracula, Porroglossum eduardi, Brachionidium imperiale and many Lepanthes, just to mention some of them. Overnight in Montezuma Rainforest Eco-lodge.

Aug 20. The area near the lodge is very biodiverse and is famous for watching birds and butterflies. In the morning we go along a pasture and forest trail near the lodge to see middle elevation orchids and get back to the lodge for lunch (Pleurothallis, Dichaea, Epidendrum, Lepanthes, Masdevallia, Sobralia, Elleanthus and Huntleya). It is possible to have a swim in the crystal clear river near the lodge and then go for a short exploration up the river (Polycycnis if blooming, variety of Pleurothallids, Elleanthus, Sobralia among others).

Aug 21. As one day is not enough, we get a 4-wheel drive and go to the Cerro Montezuma road to continue exploring at middle elevations. Enjoy the view of a variety of Masdevallia, Platystele, Lepanthes, Pleurtohallis, Scaphosepalum, Miltoniopsis vexillaria among many others.

Aug 22. The area near the lodge is very biodiverse and is famous for watching birds and butterflies. We will walk along the road near the lodge and enjoy a variety of orchids (Pleurothallis, Dichaea, Epidendrum, Lepanthes, Masdevallia, Platystele, Sobralia, Elleanthus among others). In the afternoon you can relax while watching the numerous hummingbirds coming to the lodge feeders.

Aug 23. Car transfer to Pereira (4h) and flight back to Medellín (please let us know if you need to fly to a different destination).

Included:

  • Accommodation at all places mentioned in the itinerary
  • All land and air transport mentioned in the itinerary
  • All meals
  • Local guides
  • Tour leaders
  • Parks or natural reserve entry fees
  • Daily snack
  • Filtered water for your personal bottle
  • Lots of In-Situ orchids for you to enjoy

Not Included:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • International airfares
  • Local airfares not mentioned in daily itinerary
  • Laundry
  • Phone calls
  • Tips
  • Anything not mentioned in the Included section

What to bring:

  • Passport
  • List of contacts in case of emergency
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunblock lotion
  • Hat or cap
  • Long sleeved shirt
  • Raincoat or poncho
  • Rubber boots
  • Binoculars
  • Camera with battery and memory card

IMPORTANT! - Rules and recommendations

  • Because of the limited number of places (10), we recommend you reserve your spot as soon as possible.
  • All participants should be in good health and physical condition. We reserve the right to limit participants due to health or fitness reasons.
  • Although our destinations are safe, do not leave your valuable items inside the car or unattended.
  • As we visit protected areas and support nature conservation, please be respectful, and do not harm or collect any flora or fauna.
  • Additional nights due to flight cancellations are not included.

Want to reserve a place?

Click below to get you on board.