Finca Dracula is an orchid farm, located at only 5 minutes of the suburb of Guadalupe, Cerro Punta. After the gate, the path through the finca (farm in spanish) moves along a zone of woodlands.

The name it's all to do with the Dracula Orchid--and there are 124 species of Draculas growing in the finca's greenhouses. They only wake up in the night lifting up a blossom with a ghoulishly vampiric face. Different faces, different colors--but none raise their heads during daylight hours.

Started as a hobby in 1969 by owner Andrew Maduro (Maduro Tropical Flowers), the finca covers 22 acres. Formerly cattle pastures with a main house built in the 1920s by Swiss-German immigrants, it now produces over 2,200 types of orchids from all over the world. It's both a safe haven for endangered varieties as well as a business. And not just within Panama--over 25% of the plants get exported overseas. Some rarities can fetch more than $5,000 apiece.

Some of the more important Dracula Orchids species originated in Panama are:

  • Dracula erythrochaete - Warmth-tolerant
  • Dracula maduroi - New Species, Very Limited! Very rare!
  • Dracula olmosii
  • Dracula roezlii 'Finca Dracula'*
  • Dracula vampira 'Panama Orange'*
  • Dracula amaliae 'Finca Dracula' - A tall red-orange Masdevallia crossed with a large white Dracula.
  • Dracula Volcan Baru (cordobae x sodiroi)
  • Dracuvallia (Masdevalia ignea 'Maduro's Mountatin' AM/AOS x Dracula amaliae 'Finca Dracula') - A tall red-orange Masdevallia crossed with a large white Dracula.
  • Dracuvallia Panama Gold (Masdevalia veitchiana x Dracula Volcan Baru) - A tall red-orange warmth-tolerant Masdevallia crossed with a large red-orange warmth tolerant Dracula.
  • Dracuvallia Rosemary (Masdevalia uniflora x Dracula hirtzii 'Finca Dracula')
If you're fascinated by orchids, you can visit any day between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., but I thought a small fee for being shown around was rather steep. Tel (507) 771-2070.

Sources of information: http://www.woodstreamorchids.com & Steenie Harvey, for International Living.