For more on building and life in Nicaragua…. HipEHabitat.com
Lately our home base has been a thatched roof cabana at El Coco Loco, the Eco-hotel where we run our women’s surf and yoga retreats. Since the guys at Coco Loco have been letting us crash there in between retreats, whenever their 5 cabanas are full with paying guests we get relocated to a tent, which means constantly moving our stuff around. We love Coco Loco but we’ve been getting desperate for a place of our own where we can unpack more permanently. We have a few land purchasing deals in the works but realizing that closing on any of those deals isn’t going to happen anytime soon we decided that it’s time to start building a semi-permanent home for ourselves.
Since Coco Loco only has 5 cabanas, as more people find out about the place they will eventually need to expand. We decided that if we funded the construction of a new cabana that we could live in for the time being but that would eventually be useful to Coco Loco guests everyone wins. Two days later, we were shopping for eucalyptus posts and breaking ground on our new home site.
We wanted our cabana to fit into the Coco Loco environment and decided to use the same materials and general building plan that they used to build their other cabanas. We measured the one we’ve been staying in and made a few design and size modifications.
Our cabana will be slightly bigger – with an 18’ x 18’ footprint that includes a 7’ x 18’ porch and 11’x 18’ interior. We included an 18’ x 7’ sleeping loft to allow the entire downstairs to be used for kitchen and living space. The roof support and pillars are locally sourced eucalyptus, with a palm thatch roof, and concrete floor. We are still trying to decide between pine and guanacaste for the walls. Guanacaste is a local beautiful hard wood that is more expensive than pine, but also forest harvested, whereas pine is cheaper and probably more sustainable since it is grown in plantations.
We got a cost estimate from Orlando the Coco Loco caretaker and chief of building operations for just the roof and wall structure to be about $643 US to build.
For the eucalyptus pillars, we drove out to farm up the road that was lined with a eucalyptus fence. We walked the fence looking for trees with the right trunk diameter, length, and straightness and picked out nine winners.
Each post cost 250 Cordobas, plus a 200 Cordoba cutting fee for all of them which came to 2,450 Cordobas. With 700 more Cords going to the guy who delivered them to the building site with his tractor, the nine pillars ended up costing us about $143 US dollars. We spent another $35 on four bags of cement to secure them into the ground, so with just our main support pillars up we are at $178 US.