Lonely Planet Writer

Book ahead to stay in these cocoa pod treehouses in Panama next summer

If you spent the summers of your childhood climbing trees and building houses high in the branches, then this magical new retreat could be right up your alley. The design for these treehouses was modelled on a cocoa pod and they are planned for the Bocas del Toro archipelago in the west of Panama.

Treehouse lovers can now stay in a cocoa pod hut in Panama
Exterior view of the bíku treehouse cocoa pods. Image courtesy of Baca Architects

UK-based Baca Architects – who are behind the design – said they wanted something that could be built entirely from local materials. They told Lonely Planet: “The site includes a small cacao plantation [and] although the designs have evolved, the cocoa pod was the original inspiration. The cocoa pod is a sturdy enclosure that protects its precious cargo and this seemed a fitting analogy for the design.”

Bíku huts now avaible for rent in Panama
Interior view of a bíku cocoa pod hut in Panama. Image courtesy of Baca Architects

The founders of bíku – the team developing the project – said the treehouses would be built as part of an eco-friendly retreat and chocolate farm on nine hectares of tropical rainforest on Isla Pastor.Each treehouse will feature outdoor showers, shaded balconies, sleeping areas, and staircases that spiral up from the ground around the tree trunk.

Visitors will be welcomed to the retreat at the water’s edge and cross over to their accommodation by boat. Also available on the idyllic Isla Pastor will be snorkelling and canoeing expeditions, treetop adventures, and chocolate making activities.

Cocoa pod tree huts are available for rent in Panama
Concept sketch of a bíku treehouse. Image courtesy of Baca Architects

Cofounders of bíku Ariel Stephenson and Zabrina Shield said: “We will offer guests a highly-personalised experience, and the treehouse designs are part of this. They embody childhood dreams turned into a reality, a world of possibilities.“We will reinvest a significant amount of the profits in the community, where they’re needed the most, in social, educational and conservation programmes.”

They are hoping to open bíku by the summer of 2019 and said they were looking forward to the challenge of creating rooms where guests could live among the trees while still enjoying their creature comforts.