Table of Contents
General Information about Soroa Orchidarium
The Soroa Orchidarium is located just seven kilometers from the National Highway and 206 meters above the sea. It is also located in the Sierra del Rosario Biosphere Reserve, which belongs to the Cordillera de Guaniguanico (Guaniguanico Mountains) specifically where the Soroa Tourist Center today is situated. The creation of this garden dates back to 1943. Its creator was a lawyer from the Canary Islands named Tomas Felipe Camacho, a member of the Cuban Society of Orchids and affiliated with the American Orchid Society and the Eastern Orchid Congress. This person was well known for its extensive collection of orchids, which consisted of about 18 thousand specimen including nearly all known Dendrobiums, both species and hybrids. Tomas Felipe Camacho practiced his profession defending the interests of rich industrials related to sugar production. For this reason, it is not surprising that he could invest the amount of a million and a half pesos in a construction of a relaxing place. For the first administration a house was built in order to spend the weekend. The death of his daughter and wife then influenced in the Dr. Camacho´s decision to surrender to the cult of the memory of both, and he devoted full attention to the cultivation of flowers, especially orchids, which were the favorite of his wife. Thus, he was to become a specialist in these.
The Soroa Orchidarium and its Peculiarities
The construction of the house was done under the orders of the Engineer Jorge Gardo. Despite the magnitude of the work, the Soroa Orchidarium was not a source of profit for its owner and although it was visited by national and international tourists nothing is charged for this concept, nor flowers and ornamental plants were sold. By 1953 there were already in the garden about 11 thousand plants distributed in 700 varieties and numerous ornamental plants of different genera and species, including Araceae, Amaranthaceas, Liliceas, Bromeliads, Meliaceae, etc. At that time the center workforce consisted of 16 workers and a Japanese technician. The shadehouses where orchids were cultivated, were made of hardwood, such as Sabicu. It has an area of 35 thousand square meters dedicated primarily to the cultivation of orchids, both endemic and exotic, which are distributed over nine shadehouses and alive plants, plus unique items, extremely protected by the specialists of the center. The Orquideograma is a tenth shadehouses. There flowered orchids display their fragile beauty and delicate perfume to the amazement of the visitors. In Soroa, the wide collection of Codiaeum orchids, also known as crotos, as well as Anthuriums, Begonias and other representations of horticulture, which by its breadth and quality are among the best. The Soroa Orchidarium has specialized library in orchids and it has valuable volumes dating from the last century. Here you can find in trees or shade house with several varieties of orchids of Cuba and many parts of the world. Many of them have not only ornamental value, but also great scientific value.
Relevant data about Soroa Orchidarium
After the triumph of the Revolution Soroa Orchidarium was visited by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro on October 23rd, 1959, who admired the place and the work done. In 1960 Tomas Felipe Camacho traveled to Spain in order to visit his family and there he dies from a heart condition. From the Orchid is currently in the care of one of his workers until 1961, when it became part of the National Heritage and is served directly by the Academy of Sciences. This agency was responsible for paying the debts of the workers, as the death of his owner they could not obtain payment of the workforce employed. In 1978 the leadership of the Cuban National Botanic Garden raised the need for the Orchidarium to be attended by the University of Pinar del Rio. Since 1976 there has been hard work in the remodeling of the gardens and in building shadehouses with good conditions for the cultivation of orchid at a large-scale. Workers also take advantage of the natural lay of the land and the trees that since its construction were planted, generally designed for decorative and aesthetic purposes. Plants were grouped following taxonomic criteria, in most cases by families. In many of these areas it was necessary to condition the soil, for which plantings were done with suitable substrates in each case and always with the components and proportions used in the vivarium of the National Botanical Garden.