The Orchid Botanical Garden of Soroa, a Natural and Incomparable Cuban Treasure
For centuries orchids have fascinated the world and are considered by many as the most beautiful flowers, which contrast with the simplicity and its colors.
The Orchid Botanical Garden of Soroa offers a stunning vision of Cuba. There, over 700 species of orchids hanging from the trees provide an unforgettable visual spectacle. It is a National Heritage, located in the Biosphere Reserve of Sierra del Rosario, which is part of the Cordillera de Guaniguanico.
There you will approach to the greatest biodiversity and landscape of Western Cuba. In this area you will find 130 species of orchids in Cuba. They can be seen in the wild, or in shade houses protected from excessive sunlight and air. Among them are included the Chocolate Orchid and Black Orchid.
Also, the garden has 6 000 species of other ornamental plants, trees and flowers that represent the national flora from various countries. The Garden combines ecotourism environmental education for travelers during their Cuba holidays as well as to the locals.
The variety of birds and the richness of the landscape make this Garden a constant place to visit for enthusiastic tourists who love photography. Most wild orchids found in the area are on the trail called Forest to the Sea. This was designed to show areas of high biodiversity in the Guanahacabibes Peninsula of about 100 kilometers long and wide oscillating from 6 to 24 kilometers.
The creation of the garden dates back to 1943 when Tomas Felipe Camacho, a wealthy lawyer from the Canary Islands and a member of the Cuban Orchid Society affiliated with the American Orchid Society and the Eastern Orchid Conference, decided to build a beautiful garden in honor of his daughter.
Camacho was well known for its extensive collection of orchids consisting of approximately 18 000 specimens, including almost all known Dendrobiums, both species and hybrids. For the Garden, Camacho chose a fertile hill of 35 000 square meters in the foothills of the Cordillera de Guaniguanico and he enriched it with a large collection of plants from Asia and the rest of America.
The abundance of water and soft moisture from the mountains soon enabled him to gather more than 25 000 specimens of orchids from over 750 species from distant parts of the world.
It’s currently a productive scientific center at the University of Pinar del Rio and is intended for the preservation and enjoyment of the environment and conservation of Cuban orchids.
At this Orchid Garden detailed studies of the specimen are made to accelerate its propagation through “in vitro” tissue culture and its reintroduction into the wild. New varieties are also obtained by the crossing, and all these activities are used to train new foresters.
Orchids grow in woods where the dense vegetation blocks out the light, or on river banks. For centuries, it was attributed to the exotic plant aphrodisiac properties that influence in men’s sexuality.