Three cloud forests to visit
Cloud forests are unique ecosystems that are located mostly in tropical areas at high altitudes. These forests have high levels of cloud cover, precipitation, and very temperate climates. The cloud-cover leads to high levels of precipitation which is taken directly from the clouds. Cloud forests have especially high levels of biodiversity which are home to an incredible number of unique plants and animals. Cloud forests are extremely rare ecosystems that cover around 0.14% of the planet’s land surface. These mystical forests are extremely important to maintaining biodiversity, but sadly many species are in danger of disappearing due to climate change. These fragile forests are worth a visit and worth advocating for change to help save these natural plant and animal havens.
Mindo is a preserved paradise in the clouds found just a couple of hours from the capital city of Quito. It is situated where two of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world meet, in the western foothills of the Andes. The convergence of bio-diversity provides for a wealth of possible activities to enjoy the surrounding nature. Topping the list is the journey to the waterfall sanctuary which includes a cable car journey with epic views over the top of the forest and hikes to seven impressive waterfalls. Enjoy bird watching as the cloud forest is home to about 350 unique species. Check out the organic coffee farm or for a bit more adrenaline, raft down the river that runs through the village, or even enjoy a ziplining journey through the forest for more breathtaking views. Wake up amongst the nature in charming tree-house style accommodations that are situated around the center of this quiet village.
Cerro Huitepec, Mexico
Located within the Sierra Madre de Chiapas, Cerro Huitepec is an extinct volcano that has a cloud forest located in the upper part of the reserve. This cloud forest is quite untouched with no resorts or accommodations inside the reserve. A trip to the cloud forest here consists of a simple hike but truly allows you to experience the importance of a rainforest. As you descend on the cloud forest, the temperature drops, the moisture increases, and the light diminishes, as the trees are reaching high into the sky to compete for light. Clouds suspend over the forest and more than 100 different species of birds are profoundly heard throughout the forest. The cloud forest is just 5km from San Cristobal de las Casas which has plenty of accommodation and has many other activities in the surrounding area.
Monteverde Reserve, Costa Rica
Situated on the continental divide where the Pacific and Atlantic slopes collide, Monteverde is the probably the world’s most visited and well-known cloud forest. It is a cloud forest reserve that encompasses an astonishing 10,500 hectares (25,945 acres) of land. There is an impressive amount of wildlife to be spotted amongst this clouded forest due to the diversity of ecosystems found on the reserve. There are over 100 different mammals like white-faced monkeys, 120 amphibians and reptiles, and over 500 different species of birds. Scientists say that there are still many undiscovered species living in the reserve. There are trails that lead to views of the continental divide, waterfalls, and the famous hanging bridge overlooking the canopy of trees.