by Jon Look (March 2013)
Located in San Cristóbal de las Casas,
Orquídeas Moxviquil was established to preserve the amazing beauty and
diversity of the flora of Chiapas, Mexico. OM currently hosts over 600
species of orchids, cactus, bromeliads, ferns and other plants. It is
the brainchild of Craig Robert Dietz, aka “Cisco” who was distressed to
discover that orchids and other epiphytes were being dumped and
burned as garbage in the process of clearing the forests of Chiapas. He
also found some orchids were being removed for illegal commercial sales.
In 1994 he established Orquídeas Moxviquil to preserve the plants and
educate the public as to why they are a valuable resource.
Only 10 minutes from the center of San Cristóbal, the preserve also
protects 100 hectares of oak forests. There are great walking trails
with beautiful views of the city, an amphitheater, beautiful works of
modern sculpture, and a unique greenhouse designed to reproduce the
environment of Jovel Valley wetlands. In addition, over 150 different
bird species, many of them endangered, have been observed on the
property. I first visited OM during the dry season, and just recently in
the heart of the wet season. Although beautiful, both times the change
was striking. Orquídeas Moxviquil is a great place to take a picnic and
have a wonderful, natural experience very near the city.