El Banquito

The Place

Signs of uncivilization


With more than 255 hectares and only 4 houses permanently inhabitated, electricity is individually generated either by solar, wind or motor generators. Telephone communication is via cellular and sometimes requires the re-location of the equipment to get a decent phone signal, making -every other call- a search for the perfect spot. Water, source of life, is brought from the nearby Aricagua River by an intracaited network of pipes that defies both jungle and topography. A huge tank gathers water at 98 mts above sea leavel and from there it flows towards the houses, thanks to gravity. Most Houses have systems to collect rain water which is mainly use for garden survival during the dry season. There are no traffic signs,no concrete streets, no traffic jams, no stress. There are no beach vendors and the closest human settling,12 kilometers away by an adventure filled dirt road, is the small town of Chirimena, population 2 thousand, made out mainly by fishermen and “rock fishermen” * is the closest thing to the word “civilization.

Access Roads suffer heavily during the rainy season after which maintaince is performed. Sometimes trees fall (during storms) and roads have to be cleared. Frontier life makes mandatory to carry an oax or a machete just in case this happens. There is also the handy help of El Banquito manintaince personnel for these tasks. El Banquito few permanent inhabitants all know each other and share a -nowdays lost- sense of community where neighbours help each other when required, no questions ask. Houses share a common architecutural heritage which forbids anything that remotely reminds us of advanced technology or civilization. All construction is meant to blend with the sorroundings, not impose itself. Colours, materials and design take us to other -more simple and gentle times- material performance is a must to whistand the harsh climatic conditions: Strong sun, heavy rain, termites and the constant corrosion brought by sea brezze on all metalic material. Thorough maintenance is required. Resistant wood such as Teka and Puy are widely used, also bronze, aluminium and stainsteel. Houses are constructed with the same criteria as sea boats are, bearing in mind the adittional presence of unfriendly termites which are kept at bay using both traditional and advance products, nature friendly except for termites.


* Rock fishermen: literally they fish beach pebbles and carry them by boat to the port town of Chirimena to be process in accordance to its shape, size and colour.

El Banquito is not a place. It’s an attitude before life.
People that could have had his house built in any other place in the world choose El Banquito. Despite difficult roads, with seldom no neighbours, no electrical service, no garbage collection. True isolation.