I got a recommendation of a builder in Guanaja from a friend, and started messaging to find out how much it would cost to put up a little cabin, just a shell of walls, roof and floor. I decided if we were investing into it, we'd make it with the layout that we'd eventually want to use down the road as one of our retreat cabanas, just without any of the plumbing, electric, glass windows etc.
I started making sketches of what I was envisioning, both for the cabin layout as well as for the layout of all the building at the retreat, so that we could plan where to put the cabin. I had wanted to meet with Farrel, the builder, on our last trip, but it hadn't worked out, so I decided we'd just arrange for him to build without actually meeting in person. He was very responsive on messages, and lined out the costs for materials, labour and permit fee.
We talked a few times, and messaged back and forth, with me sending sketches of what I wanted and where I wanted it, and him sending photos of some of his other builds.
I sent him a partial payment on labour, and then got in touch with the hardware store to pay for materials. They weren't able to process my credit card without being there in person, but Deven from the hardware store had a trip planned to Roatan, so he brought along a portable POS machine. We met up inside of Wendy's at the mall, and put through the transaction on my card.
The materials aren't kept in stock in Guanaja, there was a bit of delay as they ordered them and had them sent over. Farrel kept me up to date on getting our site inspection done, and let me know when the materials arrived, and had been transported over to our land (we're water access only, so everything had to be brought over by boat).
I got daily photos of the progress, when I forwarded on to Deo and Auri, so we could all share in the excitement. Within 2 weeks, the shell was pretty much complete, aside from a few finishing details of screening, and supports to have a couple temporary bunk beds to use for the next few years.
I'm Mel. Together with my 2 sons, Deo and Auri, we form the DAM team (Deo, Auri, Mel). I'm Canadian, my boys are half Canadian, half Honduran, and have grown up on the island of Roatan. We have a hostel in Roatan called Roatan Backpackers' Hostel, which I started when the boys were young. Now that they are adults, we've decided to start a new venture together on the beautiful neighbouring island of Guanaja. In 2022, we purchased our land, and in March of 2023, we put up a little cabin so that we have a little spot to sleep in and store things while we slowing work to get our project together. We are hoping to get our business running in the next 3-5 years, with these next few years giving us a chance to save up capital and advance a bit at a time at planting and infrastructure. Our blog will share our adventure with anyone who wants to follow it!