Cloud Forests of Boquete, Panama

Blog by Debra Harwood

Cloudforest at around 1,600m in Macaya Biosphere Reserve on the Massif de la Hotte, Haiti

Here in Boquete we are fortunate to have some incredible cloud forests where you can spend hours hiking in what truly is a beautiful and breathe taking place on our planet. A cloud forest, also called a fog forest, is a generally tropical or subtropical, moist forest characterized by a persistent, frequent or seasonal low-level cloud cover, usually at the canopy level. Cloud forests often exhibit an abundance of mosses covering the ground and vegetation, and why some people call them a mossy forests. Cloud forests usually develop on the saddles of mountains, where moisture introduced by settling clouds is more effectively retained.
Typically, there is a relatively small band of altitude (500m – 4000m) in which the environment is suitable for cloud forest development. This is characterized by persistent fog at the vegetation level, resulting in the reduction of direct sunlight.  Within cloud forests, much of the moisture available to plants arrives in the form of fog drip where fog condenses on tree leaves and then drips onto the ground below.


Cloud forest are extremely important in our world. They are very delicate and dependent on local climates and are strongly affected by global climate change. Results show that the extent of environmentally suitable areas for cloud forest in Mexico will sharply decline in the next 70 years and would lead to extinction of up to 37 vertebrates specific to that region. In addition, climate changes can result in a higher amount of hurricanes, which may increase damage to tropical mountain cloud forests. So the results of climate change will be a loss in biodiversity, altitude shifts in species ranges and community reshuffling, and, in some areas, complete loss of cloud forests. In 2004, an estimated one-third of all cloud forests on the planet were protected which shows that we realize their importance and I do hope that as of 2016 we are protecting well over one-half.
These rare ecosystems are valuable for their beauty and biodiversity conservation, but they also have value to those living around them. They maintain water cycles, provide food sources, and are often attractive centers of tourism and because of that provide many people with their livelihoods.
Important areas of cloud forest are in Central and South America, East and Central Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua-New Guinea, and in the Caribbean.


If you have never experienced a cloud forest please make sure that while you are here in Boquete you take advantage of Mother Nature’s beautiful gift. So pack a light lunch, your camera, rain jacket and take your time and just breathe in the sights and sounds.  I make sure I am out hiking several times a week and I never get tired spending time in the cloud forests here.
Here at Casa de Montana we would be happy to assist you in setting up hikes depending on your hiking level during your stay with us. Nobody should miss out on this great experience!!!

Boquete’s Green Season – A time to cleanse your body and soul!

A view from the guestroom window

A view from the guestroom window

It is not a surprise to us that some tourists prefer coming to Boquete during the Green Season when it rains the most. We thoroughly enjoy this time of the year as well. The color green is much greener! Come to think of it, ALL colors seem to be so much more vibrant. The peak rainy months are September and October. In the U.S. it’s starting to cool down and there is always the possibility of snow in the Mountain, Upper Midwestern and Northeastern states. Here in Boquete, we enjoy both the Green and the Dry seasons and that’s all we have to be concerned with.

We tend to start the morning with the sun shining brightly in the sky. Around 11 AM, the clouds begin to roll into the valley over several hours (we took pictures of some of this happening, out of the window of our guestrooms, the other day). Then around 2 pm, it starts raining with a wonderfully soothing cool breeze. The perfect time to sit on the back porch, enjoy some coffee or cocoa or even a nice glass of wine and watch the rain fall to the earth and create the “purifying green” that we get to enjoy here year around.

DSC00657What’s also very nice about September and October is that you can plan to do the zip line tour, coffee tour, quetzal walk and any other tours in the mornings when it rarely rains. There are fewer tourist here and there seem to be discounts available for those who plan on having an adventure here at this time of the year. Also, in general there are greater varieties of blooming orchids and flowers here as well.

For those of you who especially enjoy having some time to read a book, sit and watch the rain and just have an incredibly slow relaxing time, this may just be the months of the year for you to come down and visit us!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

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