Cloud forests are all the rage at the moment, but what are they and why should you visit one? Also known as water forests, cloud forests are moist, evergreen and typically tropical forests which are regularly coated with clouds and mist that allows their unique characteristics to flourish. Vaguely whimsical name aside then, here are just some reasons why you should consider stopping by a Mexican cloud forest.
Cloud forests, both in Mexico and beyond, are particularly known for having a high level of endemic animal species taking up residence within them. So, if you’re interested in anything from big cats to birds, insects to amphibians, a visit to a Mexican cloud forest is practically compulsory.
Often described as ‘species-rich’, the unique environmental characteristics of cloud forests give way to many species of flora that perhaps wouldn’t thrive under other circumstances and by visiting, you’ll have the chance to see them in all their glory. For the most abundant and impressive vegetation, try looking for a tropical lowland cloud forest.
If you’re aiming to visit all the states in Mexico over your lifetime, then heading to a cloud forest can give you the perfect excuse to visit perhaps the most turbulent and least-appealing state of all (at least from a tourism perspective), Tamaulipas. In the El Cielo Biosphere, you’ll be able to venture into a cloud forest that might just change your opinion on the state as a whole. Add to that the fact that cloud forests exist in small clutches across 19 more Mexican states and you’ve got yourself the recipe for a thematic roadtrip.
Elevated and sometimes chilly San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas was famed for once being surrounded by cloud forests (thanks to deforestation there is only a small cloud forest region remaining). Even so, visiting the solitary cloud forests of central Chiapas means you can make the lively city of San Cris your base for a few days too and, honestly, any excuse to hang out in Chiapas is a good one, right? The same goes for the cloud forests in the states of Puebla and Veracruz too.
Thanks to the unique characteristics of cloud forests, they are often spots where flora and fauna from both the northern and southern hemispheres come together in harmony. Therefore, by visiting a Mexican cloud forest, you’re killing two birds with one stone in the best kind of way (metaphorically).
The last and perhaps most pertinent reason you should visit a Mexican cloud forest right now is that time is literally running out to do so. One of the biggest threats to Mexican cloud forests at the moment is deforestation, typically to make way for coffee plantations and increases in population, as well as rising temperatures that make the all-important clouds disappear before they reach the forests. This is particularly worrisome because cloud forests in Mexico actually play a crucial role in preventing soil erosion and protecting potentially endangered species, and yet, they continue to disappear at a rate of knots. So, if you’re really looking for a reason to visit a Mexican cloud forest, the fact that they might be gone before long is it.