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A New Camping Shelter for the Reserve

December 17, 2014

Can you imagine building this:


in the middle of the cloud-forest? Can you imagine that it was built at a site without electricity, at the end of a muddy, slippery 45 minute entrance trail and across a swinging bridge, and by two gringos from the United States?

Taking on a building project is never a small task. There is the design, site selection, material selection, and transport – not to mention the actual construction process. We decided to go with a simple design for the most part; shed roof, nine supports, and the hardest part: a floor. Living in the cloud forest means lots of rain and in the past the camping area had flooded and been an uncomfortable place to spend a night. In order to prevent this in the future, Alexia had the brilliant idea of building the new shelter with a floor.

Here you can see the old shelter and you can get an idea of why it was time for a new one.IMG_6818

But where to put it? Close to the house, relatively level, and without any large trees to cut. This is a ‘before’ picture of the area we chose. Two trees had already fallen in this spot so it was a little easier to clear.



With some machete work and sawing up of one of the trees, we were able to clear an area that looked great for the camping shelter!

We designed the shelter using bamboo as the building material, knowing that bamboo looks really nice and assuming it would be light to carry. As you can see it looks great, but it turns out that 12 pieces of Bamboo Gigante (which we found out comes in 8 meter pieces) 25 pieces of Guadua (the native bamboo, theoretically smaller than the other) and 25 pieces of Chilla (bamboo that has been split and flattened – to create the floor) is not a light load. That’s not to mention the 7 pieces of 6 meter roofing we also needed!


You can see that it was not easy to get these materials carried in…


Enjoy the swim Parks!


Just a little further Alexia.


Well to be truthful we did get some help from our local friend, Artemio, with carrying about 40 of the 62 pieces.

Once we had the materials the structure went up quickly. The site has been laid out and the post holes dug and the first pole placed.



Alexia is getting the rafters ready to finish the process of roofing the building.


Note the specially crafted bamboo brackets holding up the rafters, careful Parks


16 Guadua joists support the floor


Here is the completed structure:


and now we can have some happy campers!

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 24, 2014 11:22 am

    Looks awesome, guys! Congrats on an amazing job. We guess your time at Las Tangaras is coming to a close…. hope you had an epic adventure! -Marc & Eliana


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