Our friends are building a home “off the grid” near Samara. Perched on a beautiful piece of acreage, the home site has views of the surrounding forest and hills. But it has no access to public utilities. The last power pole is a couple of klicks away. They’ll have to be pretty self-sufficient. Since J is a retired architect and repressed carpenter, we know this project is a labor of love as well as a dream home. We’d been out there before they started construction but wanted to check out their progress. So when Saturday afternoon turned gorgeous, we headed out.
The road can be pretty rough to get to their place – you have to cross a number of creeks, which isn’t easy this time of year. But they live out there so how bad can it be? We took a look at the first river crossing, just a kilometer off the paved road, but after a rain storm two nights before, the river was wide and deep and ugly. We didn’t even attempt the ritual test wade. Instead, we turned around and headed further up into the hills to cross at the bridge, adding about 15 k each way to our tour.
Eventually, we wound our way off the public road, through the cow pastures, and across several creeks. Our arrival brought out the dogs. Apparently, Molly wasn’t aware that our two year old, Miga, had been invited for the afternoon. There was barking and sniffing and retreat but very shortly the running began, around and around the pool.
Yes, they have a swimming pool and all the other comforts of a tropical home. Eight solar panels, backed up by batteries provide plenty of power for pumps, lights, tools, and appliances. Their equipment is either AC or DC and very efficient. Internet is provided by cellular by ICE via a little stick. And for big heat producers, like cooking and hot water, they use propane. Of course they don’t need heat or AC. They practically live outside. The main living pavilion is like a typical Tico rancho, completely open to the breeze, views, and light. A big roof provides the only “shelter”. Just beside the outdoor master Bath shower, two monkeys were hanging out. But the sense of exposure feels just right in this exquisite valley, surrounded by birds and breezes, monkeys and misty hills. This house is truly something special in a tropical paradise.