The Felipe Marín Moreno Botanic Garden in Pisac is definitely not on the tourist trail and is the perfect antidote to the noisy and busy Pisac Market. Slip away from the crowds and spend some time wandering in this little slice of nature set in an old enclosed colonial garden.
The garden was created in 1917 by Felipe Marín Moreno, a Peruvian botanist and explorer who used the garden to experiment. His collection was built up over the years through correspondence with various institutions and botanists around the world from whom he received samples and seeds.
Fast forward 95 years to today and Felipe Marín´s son José has taken charge of the gardens, recently opening them to visitors after they were declared part of Peru’s historical heritage by the Minister of Culture. It´s not a large garden by any stretch of the imagination but it does provide a fabulous insight into native and non-native Peruvian plants and trees. It boasts a collection of 200 varieties of Peruvian potatoes (this seems impressive until you learn that Peru has in fact 3000 varieties of potato!) and a selection of butterflies, beetles and other insects in the open air museum.
You can see 12 varieties of the Peruvian national flower the Kantu and also discover where the deep red cochineal dye colour that is used in local weavings comes from (a beetle of the same name that lives on a specific type of cactus plant.) Bird song echoes around the garden as you wander the narrow paths. Colourful butterflies and hungry bees float around their bellies pregnant with nectar and you can easily forget that you are in fact right in the middle of a town called Pisaq.
The owner José is usually around on weekends and will happily guide you around telling you a bit about the history and showing you all the different plants.