Tree house + Kids = Happiness (and peace for parents?). We had been told about one in the small village of El Progresso only 5km from San Cristobal so we decided to go for lunch. A $2 taxi ride later we were there and in the time it took me to pay the driver Ben, Zoe and Lara had disappeared up the suspended wooden bridge to explore the 300 year old tree, the largest on the island.
Having built more than a few such bridges in my time I was interested in the construction which I studied on my way up to make sure our intrepid explorers were safe. I am glad that they are 1) Sure of foot and 2) Weigh a lot less than I do! As you can see the timber was rustic, perhaps by design, but had obviously needed quite a few old pieces replacing, I wonder if they change them after they break or if it has been rebuilt since it was erected 22 years ago? The gaps between the coat hangar like wires on the side did little to reassure me especially at the top with a 10 metre (30ft drop)! I followed them rather dubiously, avoiding the middle, spreading my weight and ready to play Indiana Jones if needed.
It is a pretty cool tree house, set up with a fridge, lounge area and even a working loo.
The open doorway you can see behind Ben leads straight out to a fireman’s pole where you can play at Bridget Jones. Safety barrier is not included, if Ben, Zoe and Lara had a look before I arrived they passed the natural selection test, don’t tell Mum.
If you want to stay the night it is $20/person, I am sure the kids would have loved it.
The thoughtful owners even supply emergency equipment:
As well as some scary looking masks:
The bridge is held up by wire rope and a single set of plates which I doubt have a CE mark or have been applied using a torque wrench. I wonder what my friend Bill who sits on the European Ropes Course Committee would make of these? It is worth noting in the UK we use 4 D shaped wire grips, this may be overkill but quite reassuring!
We miss out on the fireman’s pole experience and I send the kids down the bridge one at a time making sure they hold onto the hand high wire. For someone that takes pride in being more risk aware than risk adverse I am unusually happy to be back on terra firma. Luckily the kids find a big swing to play on while Mo and I have black coffee and banana cake which was all they had. (I don’t think they were expecting guests for lunch).
Zoe discovers a magic entrance in the enormous roots and a ladder going down and heads off to explore:
It would appear that the enterprising tree house builders have expanded downwards as well:
We find out about the $1 entrance fee when we pay the bill, looks like we missed the big sign at the entrance. I wish we had a big tree in our garden for a swing and tree house, they had so much fun. At home they just have to make do with a swing in our hall from the banisters.
If you have read this far, thank you! Please can you help by doing the poll or adding a comment. Thanks, Martin