The story of a Canadian-American couple who settled in a small Guatemalan village and built their dream home in the mountains.
Drew and Briana arrived in Guatemala in the Summer of 2003 with a battered old Volkswagen Bug and a dream. With no prior construction or farming experience they set about transforming an undeveloped but perfectly situated patch of land into one of the coolest places on Earth.
There were no buildings, water or electricity on the property when they arrived - everything was built by hand and from scratch. After building houses for themselves and their caretaker, Drew and Briana moved to the property in November 2003 and started work on the dorm, the first two cabins, the sauna and the main Earth Lodge building. They opened for business in July 2004. Since then there have been countless additions and enhancements, including a third cabin, the tree house and the deluxe tree cabin.
Earth Lodge is a fully functioning avocado farm. The majority of the 400+ trees were planted in Summer 2004 and the rest in Summer 2007. Avocados are harvested twice a year, usually in January and July. If you're lucky enough to be visiting around those times you will have a chance to sample the famous Earth Lodge guacamole!
As well as running the Lodge and farm, Drew and Briana are very much involved in the local community, particularly the village school. From humble beginnings (donating 1Q of every Happy Hour drink) they have progressed to providing sponsorships so that more children can attend school, getting running water to the school, helping to fund the computer lab, and educating the children on recycling and sustainability. We have now partnered with Las Manos de Christine to provide full-time English tuition. Please visit their website to read more about the program in the El Hato school and how you can help!
The Present & Future
Drew and Briana's long-term goal is to increase capacity of the lodge from 28 to 35-40 guests. The first phase of this expansion - an extension to the main lodge building with a bar, fireplace and extra seating - was completed in September 2010. In March 2011, a new house for Drew and Briana was built and the old house is now for rent as La Casa Buena Vista. We plan to build more accommodations starting in November/December 2012.