Not In Your Guidebook: Earthship Lands Besides Lubaantun Maya Site in Southern Belize

Last weekend, on the very last day of the weekend long Belize Chocolate Festival, we took a shuttle bus down the mile long path to the Lubaantun Maya Site in the Toledo District of Belize.  Huge trees and greenery was pretty much all we were seeing until just before the ruins – this sign.

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Ummm.  Earthship Belize.  And the view of an odd adobe-like structure behind some brush.   What the heck is that?  There is a sign…it must be open to the public.  Maybe.  Surely there could not be attack dogs.  There is a sign!

We kept going (we were on a shuttle bus) but I made note to check this out on our exit…

And I am certainly glad that we circled back because what I found was…well…shocking.  Or at the very least very VERY surprising and actually really beautiful.  An “Earthship” made of trash and cement that almost looks like a Moorish temple or a home in Morocco or Turkey.  Unique for sure.  Here’s the Earthship just feet away from Lubaantun, the 1400 or so year old Maya site.

IMG_6488The entire base is stacked tires stuffed with styrofoam and crushed cans.  It’s AMAZING.  Here are some pictures from 2012 and a brief article about this Earthship and its builders.  They are a type of home that was “invented” in the 1970s in the US…homes that collect water, use the sun, are built of trash and recyclables and as self sufficiently as possible.

I was just struck by the beauty of this building, the artistry and the sheer amount of hands’ on effort it is taking this family and a small group of workers to plan and build it.

The molded tire base.

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Not seeing anyone around, we initially wandered beneath this structure and Alisha, the owner, came from next door to VERY GRACIOUSLY show us around.  (Rather than shout NO TRESPASSING – which is exactly what we were doing.)
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Okay…that’s not the really beautiful part.  LOOK AT THE GLASS BOTTLES!

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They are not just glass bottles.  Each “brick” is two bottles…sawed in half, carefully washed and then the two bottom halves are glued together.  To make the brick.

The stars down at the bottom are the bottoms of plastic soda bottles.

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IMG_6493And then up the stairs.  I’ll say it.  OMG.

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Look at this jungle framed in these gorgeous “windows”.IMG_6495

 

And the other side of the building is a study in greens and browns…IMG_6496

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These bubbles are just dreamy.  Gorgeous.

IMG_6499 IMG_6500This project has taken 2 years so far…and it sounds like the entire south of Belize is collecting bottles.  Bring them a crazy colored one?  And I bet you’ve made a friend forever.

One who just happens to own an Earthship.

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IMG_6507Alisha showing us around…

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INCREDIBLE.  Totally beautiful and completely unexpected.  Headed to Lubaantun Maya Site, you run into an Earthship.  Certainly something I had never heard of.

It’s the only one in Belize.  The official Earthship creator came to Belize to show them how to build it.  How to orient it for proper cooling/heating/water collecting…

It is pretty amazing and TOTALLY surprising.  Stop in when you are down in Punta Gorda, perhaps you will also be inspired to build one.   I was more hoping that an Earthship would land fully formed in San Pedro…on a piece of land that had been magically designated for me…maybe on Northern Ambergris Caye.   Aliens…take me to my SanPedroEarthship.

Think of all these bottles sparkling as the sun rises over the ocean.   Sigh…

For more on Earthship Biotecture and what it’s all about, check out their Facebook page.  The Belize Earthship family also has a Facebook page…see their appropriately named page, The Chaos Oasis.

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  • http://travelingtwosome.weebly.com TarheelBornGal

    WOW. This post gave me goosebumps. I want one too! Thanks so much for sharing your delicious discovery with us!

    • sanpedroscoop

      It’s pretty gorgeous. And think of all the trash we could put to work!

  • marysaunders

    Just fabulous. I visited the ones in Taos many years ago. I had an aching back, walked into one of these and forgot all about my back! Sat down on the floor to watch a movie and only remembered my back when time to get up. Amazingly, my back worked fine after that.

    • Belize Blog

      Fabulous is right…I’m still left thinking how I can get one of these for my very own.

      • marysaunders

        There is a movie about Michael Reynolds called Garbage Warrior. My son e-d me to say they played it at MIT, which is great. I watched it, and it is hilarious. Their video on working in Haiti is wonderful also. I think I found the links on the Earthships website.

  • Alisa

    Thank you so much, and so happy you “get” it!!! Some people think we are completely mad ( which we are of course……), any time you’re near…….it’ll be a little more finished! Alisa

    • Belize Blog

      I SO will stop in…by the end of the year FOR SURE. I ADORE it. And have been thinking about it (strangely) lots since I was there. SO GORGEOUS. Keep it up. And…of course you are mad!