Lovers of orchids will find nirvana at Vivero Verapaz (Carretera Antigua de Entrada a Cobán, tel. 7952-1133, 9 a.m.–noon and 2–4 p.m. daily, $1.50).
This wonderful nursery is just outside of town and has several hundred species of orchids on display. The best time of year to visit is between October and February, when many of the flowers are in bloom. The national orchid show is held here in December and is reportedly magnificent.
A guide is on hand to show you around and will lend you a magnifying glass for viewing miniature orchids. Guatemala’s national flower, the rare monja blanca, can be seen here in season.
Otto Mittelstaedt, the original collector of the nursery’s orchids, has died but the nursery lives on. Vivero Verapaz is about a 40-minute walk from the central plaza, two kilometers southwest. A taxi costs about $3.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com