Gallery: ECO EWOK TREEHOUSES: Finca Bellavista Rainforest Village


If you been dreaming of picking up roots, living on the edge, or literally going out on a limb in terms of eco-lifestyle possibilities, then Finca Bellavista: A Sustainable Rainforest Community might be just the thing for you. Located on the base of an almost 6,000 foot primary rainforest mountain on the South Pacific Coast of Costa Rica – not far from the Pan American Highway, Finca Bellavista was created with the sole purpose of preserving 300 acres of local rainforest by offering a unique opportunity for ecologically minded property owners to live sustainably in and steward a managed rainforest environment.

With a principle focus of creating a balance between maintaining a fragile habitat for wildlife and using natural resources wisely, Finca Bellavista aims to implement sustainable energy practices such as hydroelectric and solar power, while operating a full-fledged recycling center and a common garden area for the community. This might make it an eco-utopia for some, but for others it’s a possible solution for dovetailing conservation with development.

As per Finca Bellavista‘s guidelines on their website, treehouses in the community must be low-impact, stilt-built or arboreal dwellings that utilize a rainwater catch system to provide water for each unit. Waste that is generated is to be treated with “a cutting-edge technology found in biodigestors”. A “hydroelectric turbine system” will power the entire community. The power grid will run via a system of transformers and underground power cables installed along the horseshoe-shaped main access road that runs throughout the community, producing peak power of 62 kilowatts at the generator leads. The power system at Finca Bellavista will produce clean, sustainable, and extremely reliable power for the community, all the while virtually eliminating any monthly electricity bills for residents.

Fancy a bit of socializing or Tarzan action? Residents can opt for either the community’s system of ground trails or its ‘Sky Trail’ network of zip lines and platforms that deliver them to and from their homes in the rainforest canopy. Missing the outside world? A main parking lot exists at the community’s base area, where high-speed Internet and WIFI are available.

The proprietors state that “these requirements will not only preserve the integrity of the rainforest canopy and its inhabitants, but will also provide an unusual and adventurous lifestyle for human dwellers as well. Imagine waking to the sounds of a tropical bird symphony or catching a zip-line to meet up with friends for a meal or an evening cocktail…” This might be a bit too much of an ewok housing scenario for some, or a real estate development plan that should simply exist as a rainforest preserve, but for now it is on the table as a possibility for how “going native” might be the wave of the future or the cure for what ails us.

+ Two-acre plots from $50,000

+ Finca Bellavista
+ Finca Bellavista in Outside magazine


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  1. DavidOmen December 21, 2012 at 6:43 am

    is the 50,000 for the land with or with out the house ??

  2. superorion 5 February 11, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    Do I need to have $50.000?? I Really wanna live like this!! Awesome!!!

  3. fair trade products January 29, 2011 at 10:56 am

    I don’t know why but this reminds me so much of Avatar! :)

  4. save-world June 25, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Guys, I was so impressed with this work that I decided to run an interview of the founders of this project on my blog.

    You can learn more about this amazing community here:

  5. Save-world June 9, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    @ Angela M, can’t be totally sure that it is their only contractor without someone from FB to confirm, but on their website they refers to a company called blue forest, based in UK and apparently specialised in treehouses

  6. Save-world June 9, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    … just teasing, this design is just beautiful, its like a childhood’s old dream made real

  7. perfectcirclecarpenter June 9, 2010 at 5:13 am

    @Save-world, what if the tree is falling… are you asking if anyone would hear it?

  8. Save-world February 9, 2010 at 3:51 am

    what if the tree is falling?

  9. cpw November 1, 2008 at 10:56 am

    FYI. The third treehouse from the bottom, with the copper, is not in Costa Rica. Its in Los Angeles. Designed and built by Roderick Romero. Its built from all salvaged materials. (except the copper) I get to see it everyday. :0)

  10. Angela M October 13, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    Does anyone know the name of the architect or city planner that designed Finca Bellavista?

  11. Angela M October 13, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    Does anyone know who the architect or citty planner was the one who designed the Finca Bellavista?

  12. ArchitectsAnswer March 17, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    Terra Verde….This project is in ‘America’ since its in Costa Rica. Maybe the word you were looking for is ‘United States’.

    I find nothing ‘sustainable’ about this or ‘green’. I think the copying of indigenous housing types and providing it to jet-traveling, business moguls is not in any way sustainable. Further, placing objects in nature does not make it ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’. The way these words are being used they have the same value as ‘electrolytes’. A sustainable revolution should not take place in marginalized regions of the world but in high density urban regions where small gains in efficiency multiplied millions of times translate into large cuts in energy use. Furthermore, second homes are not sustainable. Lets not render our sustainable future to the taboo housing types or high-minded eco-fashion. Turning your TV off when you aren’t watching is so much more effective.

  13. April March 16, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    the video game mist or was it myst

  14. Kevin March 7, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    further to Christopher P.’s comments, the minimum setback is 30′ from the edge of your property, but he is forgetting to include the MANDATORY 50 METRE protection zone that buffers any property from the river. Hence, the closest anyone could build their house to the rivers would actually be more like 195 feet (50 metres PLUS 30 feet), not the 30 feet like you claim. I hope this helps clarify things for people and that Christopher will do a little more homework prior to making negative statements in the future.

  15. Kevin March 7, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    My wife and I also bought at the Finca and we have this to say:

    We would encourage you all to read the development guidelines if you are unsure of just how serious the hogan’s ar about building a world-class ecovillage. You will find that there is much more than just a ‘vision statement’, and that there are several policies owners must follow — all of which are designed specifically to ensure our environmental footprint remains as small as possible. This alone is something that virtually all North American developments fail to do. On top of that, the environmental review board does take its job seriously and, even though the guidelines technically allow for large dwellings, that is only a result of each lot being very large. The percentage of allowable built-out space is just a small fraction of what most comparable developments allow. On top of that,the likelihood of any owner in the finca building a 10,000 sq.ft McMansion is actually very low as all of us are deeply committed to sustainability. Most houses will be in the 500-2000 sq.ft range spread out over the forest. Even a 2000 sq.ft house in the middle of your property would virtually disappear in the dense rainforest.

    As for accessibility options, the basecamp IS being designed to accommodate handicapped and elderly folks. Mind you, it may not be the destination of choice for old people — but that’s no different than saying that single people might not like attending a ‘couples only’ event — that’s just life. Beyond the basecamp, it’s the choice of individual owners how accessible they wish to make their homes.

    The whole thing is very exciting and I hope all of you get to come and visit sometime to see for yourselves.


  16. I want to live here &la... March 7, 2008 at 3:47 am

    […] Inhabitat […]

  17. Ewok Village in Costa R... March 6, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    […] just love Dark Roasted Blend . . .without it, would I ever have heard about this real-life sustainable treehouse community in Costa Rica? If you been dreaming of picking up roots, living on the edge, or literally going out on a limb in […]

  18. anyonomous March 6, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    doesn’t this remind anyone else of that tree top houses part of the game Myst?

  19. Justin March 3, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    But what about the Elderly or handicapped or sick.

  20. Katie March 1, 2008 at 9:48 am

    Wow! I would LOVE to live there. It reminds me of the game MYST. There was a world where the prior inhabitants lived just as these pictures describe. AMAZING!

  21. Catherine February 27, 2008 at 7:24 am

    What a beautiful surprise!
    This is the type of conscious effort and progressed planning that sets a new standard of possibility….who else will step up to the plate?
    Which (if any!) North American Developers have the Vision, Courage, Determination, and Wisdom to follow in these very large footsteps….. show of hands anyone?
    Hmmmm, that would be interesting to see, wouldn’t it?
    But I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one (sigh).

  22. BB February 27, 2008 at 12:59 am

    My wife and I purchased land in Finca Bellavista, so I thought I would comment to answer a few questions above. After reading the outdoor magazine article and deciding that the Ewok Village/Swiss Family Robinson concept was our idea of heaven – we took a huge leap of faith an flew down to Costa Rica to see things for ourselves. I was amazed at the beauty of the rainforest, the diversity of the flora and fauna, the waterfalls, the enormous trees. I camped out next to a rushing stream, hiked through torrential downpours, basked on rocks in the sun and just soaked it all in. I spent a great deal of time speaking with the Hogans about their plans – we were especially concerned about the community guidelines (as I am from the United States, and have watched developers push boundries building McMansions right up to the last inch of allowable space), and environmental impact of the project. I can say whole heartedly that i believe the Hogans and the board of directors are first and foremost concerned about these issues, and everything I have seen so far in their actions has supported this.

    A couple of specifics: I have yet to see, anywhere in the world, a tree house larger than 6000 sq ft. And that includes the $7 million dollar Anwick Castle….something I doubt will ever be repeated, especially in a dense rain forest. So the comments above about the possibility of a 24,000 sq ft Xanadu are hardly realistic, even if the board would lose their minds and approve this (which they wouldn’t).

    A good deal of the property is being set aside as green space/community space, so the estimate of 150 units is also high. Paving? The hogans wouldn’t even allow a current dirt road to we widened recently because they felt it would cause to much negative impact on the environment. Trees may only be cut down (with approval) in the area of the property that were replanted…not in the old growth areas at all. Wood cut from this farm area would be used to build structures on the the property (such as zip line platforms)

    Regarding the trees, my understanding is no drilling is allowed in old growth trees…that means no garnier limbs, no bolts etc. There are a number of suspension methods that allow for growth and don’t harm the trees. I think some owners are considering stilt structures in combination with small tree dwellings, which would also minimize impact on the trees.

    I hope this helps! It truly is an amazing place and I believe strongly that it is in the right hands,

  23. Richie February 24, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    The dilemma of tree houses is their impact on healthy trees. I feel uncomfortable pounding nails into trees to support a tree house, and feel that using a clamping method kind of strangles the trees as well. And there’s the added weight pressing downward. There’s got to be a ‘holistic’ way of situating tree houses amongst vibrantly healthy trees. I just haven’t encountered it yet. Shigeru Ban could come up with a solution, I’m sure. Maybe a web of tension ‘cables’, that were adjustable, so that trees could keep on growing unabated would work ?(A variation on the B.Fuller ‘4-D Timelock’ design ?) A variation on suspension bridge designs ?

  24. James E February 23, 2008 at 10:00 am

    Tree houses are cool…..with all the water fallls in the area… Falling Water (Frank LLoyd Wright) comes to mind.

  25. Lanny Ladner February 22, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    How can I live there?!!!!!

  26. craftthefuture February 22, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    My fantasy world has arrived! The ziplines are the icing :)

  27. Christopher P. February 22, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    I was thinking “George of the Jungle”…. Seriously, according to the rather liberal Planned Unit Development-type guidelines, although the initial offering is in 2 or 3 acre sites (equating to between 100 and 150 homesteads, worth between 5 and 8 million USD to the Hogans), the dwellings thus envisaged could be, following these guidelines, on the order of 16,000 to 24,000 square feet of built area…. more “Xanadu” than “bungalow”! The minimum setback from the two waterways is only 30 feet, hardly conducive to protecting their ecology. No paving standards are identified, and, in this “protected rainforest” environment, the only provision for tree protection is that any tree removed MAY be required to be replaced in another location on the site — which if the review board (or chairman of the review board) is so inclined can mean the replacement of scattered canopy with what would amount to a privacy hedge along the edge of the property. There does not appear to be a master plan, only a vision-statement. Furthermore, there is implied in the design guideline a potential density of approximately 8 units per acre (1000 sf of building per 5000 sf (50’x100′ according to the guidelines) lots– more on par with an older Los Angeles suburb than a nature preserve. That being said, Costa Rica generally has the reputation as being one of the more environmentally progressive countries, and has a history of striving to protect its lands and peoples. It also appears that the Hogans have purchased a fallow farm area and are attempting to reclaim some rainforest qualities of the property — although this seems more like a managed PUD than preserve.

  28. chris February 22, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    this is how it should be.

  29. Hugo February 22, 2008 at 3:56 am

    OpenEco looks like it’s worth a message in Inhabitat. It is a good tool to help reduce GHG’s and such!

  30. Brody February 21, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    Looks beautiful! Has anyone on this blog checked out yet? They have a lot of solutions for calculating your carbon footprint and ways to reduce them. Just thought I’d spread the word to those who took the time to read this insightful article.

  31. Terra Verde February 21, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    I would pay just about everything I own just to live in a place like that in America. *sigh* Possibly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

  32. oakling February 21, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    I love zip lines. But the term “sustainable rainforest community” strikes me as funny, because aren’t most communities that arose in the rainforest sustainable? It’s better than transplanting the urban way of life there without ecological/sustainable adaptations, but I hope they’re not pretending that they’re the first ones to live sustainably in the rainforest :)

  33. Ashbabe February 21, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    I dunno if I would want to live there full time, but it certainly seems like a great place to retreat to, or spend a few weeks just recouping from the stresses life brings. I wonder what the shower/toilet situation is…and what happens if I’m cooking in the kitchen and I start a fire?

  34. Diana February 21, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    i want to live there!!!!

  35. ctd February 21, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    Wow – I had the same thought as the comment above. This is a real Ewok village.

  36. makewealthhistory February 21, 2008 at 9:27 am

    ‘Ewok’ was my first thought, I’ll admit. But on reflection it looks much more like something out of the Donkey Kong games. Either is fine with me.

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