Building Belize's First Earthship Alongside the Mayan Ruins

Phil Moore
Monday, 15th October 2012

Belize's first Earthship lies within sight of the Maya ruins of Lubaantun in the south of the country, creating a wonderful juxtaposition between ruined civilization and new ecological design

Renegade architect Mike Reynolds and his crew began construction in March 2012. Commissioned by an ex-pat British family, the building is situated on a huge piece of land with a cacao farm, an important and popular crop in this part of the world.

Richard and Alisa arrived in Belize two years ago having lived in Scotland, Spain, and Mexico with their three children. Now settled with three dogs, three cats, and an army of chickens most of the building work is being done by locals employed from the nearby village of San Pedro Colombia. The Maya crew headed by Cessaerio were taught the ropes by Mike and his team and there are plans to use the tyres and bottle brick approach to create a rain water catchment system for the village school.

The curved arches and reflective glass bottles make for a stunning architectural statement

The Earthship is technically a retrofit. Using the foundation of what was once a huge barn, the two storey construction made of mostly recycled materials has a nice touch of history to it.

The building will be used as a bar and guest house for travellers heading toward the famous Maya ruins. In 1926 adventurer F.A. Mitchell-Hedges was invited to the site and in memoirs published years later he wrote about his daughters discovery of the infamous crystal skull. Mitchell-Hedges, incidentally, was also to become the inspiration for the fictional Indiana Jones.

A spectacular setting alongside the ruins of the ancient Maya

The area certainly does have a magnestism to it and there's something very fitting about the juxtaposition of a ruined civilization with an earthship - a symbol of a sound & ecological sane shelter riding the waves of an uncertain future. Rebuilding resilience.

The Belize Earthship welcome volunteers... and glass bottles!

For more info and to keep up to date with the build, visit

Phil Moore is on a permaculture tour of the Americas. He tweets as @philmoore_