Ecological Building Course

About us

We're taking our Natural Building Courses to the next level with this collaboration between the Bambu Guest House, Abundant Edge and Return to the Forest! With a cumulative 19 years in natural building, the founders of Abundant Edge and Return to the Forest are some of the best and most experienced teachers out there. This course goes in depth into the entire process of a build, from site design and planning to natural plasters and finishes. Over two weeks, participants will try their hand at framing, build a full wall integrating features such as doors and windows, connect hybrid wall systems, learn about appropriate technology, build a complete rocket stove, and much more! Perfect for first-time natural builders and those looking to refine and improve their skills.

Event Highlights

  • All-inclusive price covers not only the course, but all meals and lodging during the week at the swanky Bambu Guest House
  • Learn ancient and modern natural building methods!
  • Dynamic classroom activities and fun hands-on practicals daily
  • Field trip around the region to see examples of natural building
  • Immerse yourself in the stunning beauty of Lake Atitlan

Venue Highlights

Lake Atitlan has been called one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, and in our humble opinion it is! At the Bambu you will re-connect with nature, falling asleep to the sounds of the nearby stream burbling past and waking to amazing sunrises over the lake. Nearby Atitlan Organics permaculture farm is a great opportunity to connect with Mother Earth and re-discover the harmony between humans and the natural world.


  • Free Wifi
  • Towels
  • Kitchen
  • Coffee/Tea
  • Restaurant
  • Yoga Studio
  • House-Keeping


A typical day looks something like this:

7:00 - 8:00 Breakfast
8:00 - 10:00 Practical 1 (Rammed Earth/Wattle and Daub/Bamboo Joinery/Etc)
10:00 - 10:30 Snack Break
10:30 - 1:00 Practical 2 (Rocket Stove/Tadelakt/Plaster Lab/Etc)
1:00 - 3:00 Lunch
2:30 - 4:30 Review and Classroom Presentation (Ecological Design/Natural Building Materials/Appropriate Technology/Scale of Permanence/Plasters, Paints, and FInishes/Etc)
4:30 - 7:30 Free time, dinner
7:30 - 8:30 Optional Movie

Menu Types

  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian
  • Includes Meat
  • Gluten Free
  • Dairy Free
  • Nut Free


Retreat participants will receive three delicious, nourishing meals (with dessert!) throughout the day as well as mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks, and tea, coffee, and filtered water throughout the day. Our restaurant is supplied by Atitlan Organics permaculture farm and other local producers to ensure the freshest meals possible. Trust us, your belly will be happy!


Lodging is in shared but spacious rooms. Twin and double beds available. Each room has a private bathroom with hot water, wifi, a balcony with hammocks and seating, amazing views, and comfy beds!


The closest airport is La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City (about 4 hours from Lake Atitlan.) Guests may come directly from the airport, or you may want to spend some time in Antigua before traveling to the lake.

Coming from Antigua or Guatemala City you must travel to Panajachel, which is one of the three big towns on the lake and takes about 3-4 hours by shuttle. To get to Panajachel, you can take a tourist shuttle from Antigua for roughly Q100 per person and for Q225 from Guatemala City. There are also private shuttle options that will you take you straight to our door in Tzununa. We can help make arrangements with any of this, so just let us know if you want some help.

From Panajachel, you take a boat (lancha) at the public dock. Tell the captain that you are going to the town of Tzununa (zoo-new-nah) which is three public stops from Panajachel. This costs roughly Q15-20 per person.

Get off at the public dock in Tzununa and take a tuk tuk (little three wheeled car), tell them you want to go to El Bambu. This costs Q5 per person.

When you get to El Bambu, go through the gate and up to the main building.

Tags: central america ecological green living guatemala natural building permaculture regenerative design sustainability sustainable sustainable development

Thank you!

We're glad you've joined our retreat community. See you around :)

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Why Retreat?

We asked people why they go on retreat, here's what they said:

Because I sometimes work up to 16 hours a day, and need time to stop and breathe. Mary

Retreat Guru's Vision

We believe human beings are innately wise, strong and kind. This wisdom, although not always experienced, is always present. Going on retreat is a beautiful way to reconnect to our basic sanity and health. Our aspiration at Retreat Guru is to inspire people to experience authentic retreats and reconnect with their innate wisdom, strength and kindness.

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