Friday, January 7, 2022

The Art of Building a Palapa in Mexico


Traveling through Baja California one might discover lots of palapas, artfully built, using only natural materials: wood, sisal, and dried palm leaves. The most beautiful can be found at the Tango Azul Resort.

A palapa is an open-sided structure topped off with a thatched roof made from dried palm leaves. A palapa originally meaning "petiole of the palm leaf" is an open-sided dwelling.  It is very useful in hot weather and, therefore, very common on Mexican beaches and deserts.  

History of Palapas
Palapa is derived from the traditional construction methods of the 'bahay kubo' ("nipa hut") architectural style of the Philippines, carried to Nueva España (along with coconuts, which are not native to the Americas) via the Manila galleons during the Spanish colonial period.  Palapas are also common in Honduras and other Central American countries.  The builder of these great structures are not only craftsmen but also Artists.

Typical in Mexico
Ubiquitous throughout Mexico where they have long provided locals with protection against both the rain and sun, the palapa has also become a common feature within the tourist industry.  For visitors attracted to the region’s world-famous beaches, they provide a practical and picturesque sunbed for those who don’t necessarily wish to expose themselves to the full-on sun.

Benefits of Palapas
With an increasing focus on wellness and wellbeing tourism, the palapa is also the ideal structure for anyone wanting to partake in a massage or yoga class.  The palm roof provides excellent shelter from the elements while the open sides mean that you’re still outside in the fresh air; far preferable to being stuck indoors in a stuffy or frigid studio. You will find palapa shops, bars, restaurants, spas, gyms, water sports centers, etc.  

No matter how hot it is outside, there is always a cool breeze in a palapa.  The average price of palapa kits ranges from $5,000 - $8,000 - depending on the size and accessory options added such as the number of posts, and the type of thatch. 

See also how Palapas are built:

Finished ...

Enjoy your coffee or meals in the shade of the palapa at Tango Azul Resort 

- or simply watch the sun rising over the Sea of Cortez!




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