Building Off-Grid In The Jungle, Fun But Challenging!

First thing first… you have to be there. Attempting to build while out of the country is a BAD idea, unless you have a really good trustworthy manager on site.

Some decisions you will have to make before starting your homework are very important: will I build concrete or wood? What size and type of building do I want? The other million things I will need (hardware, furnishings, etc). Being off-grid, what type of commodities do I want (pressured water or gravity, hot water, electricity…)

Building contractors don’t always provide proper outsourcing for specifics like plumbing, electrical, painters/coaters, inside finishing such as kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Many do, but you have to be on top of everything, as anyone can call themselves plumber or electrician because no license is required in those fields. But did you know that to be a tour guide you must be licensed!!! There are good chances that you will end up having to find those labors yourself in the end.

We went for wood buildings on cement posts. I recommend cement over wood posts (sturdier and longer lasting). The hardwoods of Belize are amazing. I never thought I would need to pre-drill a hole to pound a nail… plus I have never gone through so many drill bits in my life! The entire 1,500 sq. ft. floor is thong & groove Cabbage Bark. The walls and ceiling are a mix of Santa Maria, Red Wood, Mahogany, Ceba, and many others.

The homework for this one is a bit tougher as communication can be an issue. Many contractors have ‘mini’ websites with some information. Email works well with many of them, but you have to be ready to get on the phone or better yet, go down for a visit!

You also have to build in the right season. During rainy season, construction often comes to a halt due to some serious downpours that can last a month. So obviously the dry season is the time to do it. That season is from November to May.

There a 2 ways to do the hot water; solar or butane. We have an on-demand butane water heater (very standard in Europe) and it works great. Those little heaters ignite when you turn on the tap by the pressure tripping the flint. All you need is a D battery for the igniter.

Do your homework on butane. For your own safety, you might want to do your butane line yourself. Once you know how to flange an end correctly, it is relatively simple. Butane is important as it will also fuel your stove, fridge, and a clothes dryer if you chose to have one. What we have found out is that those butane appliances are easy to install and they are reliable… the fridge can be a little finicky until you figure out how it reacts to the weather and temperature changes.


Other Posts:

1 ~ Living Comfortably In The Jungle Of Central America!
2 ~ Producing And Storing Your Own Electricity, You Have The Power To!
3 ~ Easy Broadband Satellite Internet Access
4 ~ Water Supply Considerations, Off-Grid In The Jungle
5 ~ The Domestic Cats’ Life In The Jungle
6 ~ The Belize Mennonite’s Lifestyle
7 ~ How To Live As An Expat In A Foreign Country
8 ~ The Invasion Of The Flood Flies
9 ~ Living in Paradise! But, Where Is It?
10 ~ Solar Panel Placement & Sun Chart Creator
11 ~ Health Issues When Living Abroad
12 ~ Telecommunication Challenges In A 3rd World Country
13 ~ Fleas & Ticks In The Jungle
14 ~ The Dangers Of The Black Poisonwood Tree
15 ~ To Buy Or To Rent When Moving Abroad
16 ~ Home Schooling When Living Abroad
17 ~ Tips & Hints On Things To Watch Out For During Construction – Part 1 of 2
18 ~ Tips & Hints On Things To Watch Out For During Construction – Part 2


6 Responses

  1. WOW and WOW again! that’s a beeeeeauuuuutiful house! The wood finishings looks really great. I have always wanted to own a wooden house BUT its all bricks and cement over in the towns here. 😦
    Your home built above the ground looks very similar to the Malay village houses in my country, Malaysia. However, the wooden village houses are in no way as beautiful as your home. Awwww mannn, and the surroundings is so idyllic. Fantastic!

  2. Great stuff, I would gladly swap city life, for a more serene life in the jungle.

    It looks like you need a solar cooker, to help with your self-sustainable lifestyle.

    I’ll be launching a lightweight, portable solar cooker very soon. So let me know if you’d like one. I’ll offer you a special discount for the simple fact you are living the dream others fear to tread.

    Kindest regards

    For more information on solar cooking please visit
    SolReka – Types of Solar Cooker

  3. Great site. Great information. As you helped us set up our battery and generator system, you certainly have the information. this is great stuff!! We are investigating solar. I wish I would have had Harry to set up our satillite system. He was very busy when we were ready. thanks for taking time to set this up. I will be a regular on this blog.
    Best regards,

  4. Your blog is interesting!

    Keep up the good work!

  5. This is so cool, i wish i would own that home. I promise myself, that one day, i will build something similar for me too

    It was probably hard work, but it was worth that for sure.

  6. Great info! Hope to build my own little palm tree cassita somewhere around San blas…

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