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Finca Bellavista: A Tree House Community

Finca Bellavista offers its guests and permanent community an unparalleled opportunity to live off the beaten track.

Published August 23, 2016 | Featured in

Country: Costa Rica

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A suspended wooden plank bridge leading to a tree house, Finca Bellavista, Costa Rica
A suspension bridge leading to a treehouse. Photo by Bryan-Beasley.

The beautiful tree house community, located in the middle of the Costa Rican rainforest near the Piedras Blancas National Park, provides an immersive experience like no other in the world.

Inspired by the Ewok village from Return of the Jedi, the community is almost whimsical in design, made up of visually stunning tree houses that are connected by zip lines and bridges. In just 9 years, the sustainable community has grown to include over 243 hectares of reclaimed land — land that was slated for palm plantations and would have been sprayed with contaminating pesticides. The staff and residents place a strong emphasis on conservation, sustainability and local community initiatives, while ensuring each guest receives individualised attention and care.

Tree House Community: Woman ziplining towards a treehouse through the treetops
Ziplining home. Photo by Matt Berglund.

“Living in a treehome is almost like living in a conventional home — there’s plumbing, electricity, a kitchen, a bathroom, [but] because of our climate, there are no windows, just screens, and the ambient temperature is surrounding you all of the time,” co-founder Erica Andrews explains.

Host trees are carefully selected by a botanist who assesses a range of criteria, including the tree’s growth pattern and root structure, as well as its overall health and age. This is very important, as if chosen wisely, “there is no reason why a tree house can’t last as long as we do.”

Tree House Community: Used boots used as planters in a nursery
Upcycling used boots for planters in the nursery. Photo by Robb Reece.

For those who reside at Finca Bellavista, daily life involves “work[ing] and enjoying [their] surroundings as much as possible.” Erica attends a morning meeting which may be followed by work on construction and a range of community projects, in addition to hosting visitors, operating tours and, of course, enjoying happy hour with guests. Far from living a lonely existence, Erica explains they “never have a moment alone here — the world comes to us on a daily basis.”

Tree House Community: A group standing on the balcony of the second storey of a treehouse nestled in lush treetops
A group of visitors enjoys the waterfall views from the Mis Ojos tree house. Photo by James Lozeau.

However despite the constant social interaction, Erica does admit to missing her family, as well as snowboarding, the ease of socialising and availability of events in a more ‘civilised’ environment. But that’s about it. She never feels disconnected from the rest of the world, and notes that in fact, the contrary is the case: “Being bombarded in ‘civilisation’ with news media and advertisements creates more disconnection for me.”

This raises an important point: perhaps it is those of us living within an increasingly mediated ‘society’ who are truly disconnected from ourselves, each other and the planet we share.

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