Vanilla is an orchid that grows in the jungle of Chinante. In fact, the Chinantla is the only place in the world where it grows wild, without human intervention.

Instead of humans, who does the job of pollinating vanilla is the hummingbird. The pod is then used to extract the oil with the characteristic aroma of vanilla.

Vanilla orchid

The vanilla species that grow in the Chinantla are endemic but also species that are cultivated in Papantla, Veracruz.

Although Papantla is known for the production of vanilla, scientists believe that because of the genetic diversity and the presence of wild vanilla, the Chinantla could be the place where the vanilla originated.

Besides gold, the Chinantla had to pay tribute to the Aztecs with vanilla. The captivating aroma of vanilla oil was used by Aztec women as a perfume.

To see the wild vanilla you must reach the Chinantec town Rancho Grande. The touristic center “Ecotourism Rancho Grande” can give you a tour. They can also explain you that vanilla is not very profitable. That is why the main activity of the inhabitants in Rancho Grande is the cultivation of organic coffee and the production of honey Melipona, which you can also visit. It is important to say that the honey from this area is produced by bees native to the Chinantla.

The community also has cabins to stay and sleep here. It also has a restaurant.

How to get there:
From Tuxtepec it is 62 km, approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes. From Tuxtepec take the federal highway 175 Oaxaca city-Tuxtepec. When you get to Valle Nacional take the deviation towards Cerro Armadillo Grande. Continue on that road for 8 km and you will reach the town Rancho Grande.

More information:
Ecotouristism “Rancho Grande”
Tel: +52 (283) 596 3378
ranchograndechinantla@hotmail.com