Don’t worry, you don’t need to bring garlic. Finca Dracula (tel. 771-2070, www.fincadracula.com ) is named for the 30 varieties of the Telipogon vampirus that are among the more than 2,000 species of orchids found in this famous botanical garden.
It has one of the most important collections in Latin America—it claims to be one of the 10 largest in the world—and is known for its experiments in propagating endangered species. The lovely landscaped grounds, which are crisscrossed with streams and ponds, make for a pleasant walk.
The collections at the finca (country house) are contained in three areas, separated according to climate, from those that thrive at the local temperature of 14–20°C up to those that need a temperature of 25°C or higher.
Even if you’re not a flower freak, you’re likely to find this collection worth a visit. Specimens include carnivorous orchids, orchids the size of a nail head, orchids that disguise themselves as bees, orchids with a delicious fragrance, and orchids that bloom for only one day.
Finca Dracula is in Guadalupe, about a 20-minute walk or very short car ride past Los Quetzales Lodge and Spa . When the road splits past the hotel, take the right fork and then turn left onto the gravel road. You’ll need a four-wheel drive if you’re driving. You’ll see a sign across the gate of the finca on the left, at the turnoff to the entrance to the dirt road that leads to the Los Quetzales cabañas.
Contact Finca Dracula to arrange a tour, or just drop by. Guides speak little English. Minimum tour length is half an hour, but it can go quite a bit longer depending on the level of detail you’re interested in. Tours are available 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m. daily. The cost is US$10 per person.