We love Xcalak, a simple fishing village of about 300 people. So much that in 2005, we purchased a 20m wide by 40m deep lot, right on the Caribbean ocean, only (1 km) to the village.
Two years later we started getting serious about building our beach house. A couple potential designs later, we were inspired by a structure in Palenque. Solid, simple, chunky, timeless.
It would be strong enough to survive the worst potential tropical storms. Provide plenty of shade from the afternoon sun. And a rooftop outdoor living area to catch the morning rays, and enjoy the sunset over the jungle and stars at night. We talked to those who had built their dreams before us and developed a check list.
The result is Casa del Phi. Off grid – 1500w solar is fully 24v battery powered by noon everyday. More than enough to run the lights, fans, wifi and refrigerator. Water (non potable) comes from capturing rain off the roof top and storing it in 10,000 litre tanks(2) under the back porch. High ceilings, large louvered/screened/glassless mahogany doors & windows, help to keep the air flowing. Ceramic tiles throughout. Led lighting. Yes, there is internet too.
At each end of the casa, two large bedrooms, with ensuite bathrooms that include: Dual flush toilets, modern sinks, mahogany vanities & closets with plenty of storage and shelf space, and large walk in showers. Each room has its own interior and exterior entrance. The larger master suite includes a wash machine in the closet area. Plus a desk/work space for those times when one has to work.
The center of the casa has a compact kitchen with stone counter top, large sink, fridge and stove. Plenty of shelf, drawer and cupboard room for storage. There is a kitchen island to sit and eat at the flip up dining counter. Or use the custom made mahogany table for finer dining.
The living area off the kitchen, has two loveseats, and coffee & end table. It’s the least used room in the house, because who wants to be indoors!
The front porch is very large and shaded. A great place to have morning coffee or to get away from the hot afternoon sun. Always a social place with passing tourists & neighbours.
The highlight is the full rooftop (almost 2000 sq. ft.). Two hammocks, a shaded 4 seat mahogany bar with swings. A great private area for sun, evening parties, afternoon Mexican train games. Watch the fly fishing boats head out in the morning, and the sail boats enter the reef in the afternoon. If the timing is right, you might see a passing meteorite in the early evening or the Bonefish tailing at the ocean shore. Night time is always special. With zero light pollution, the stars are simply amazing. With or without a telescope.
Aesthetically, Casa del Phi is unique. It’s been nicknamed “The Library” by some. The focal point, day or night are the hand carved columns, depicting a Mayan King and Queen.
So, what about the other things. Drinking water, food, beer? There are three grocery trucks, Xcalak water, and propane that deliver right to the door. Put your sign out. Listen for a horn, let out a yell…. and go shopping! Costa de Cocos restaurant sells cases of craft beer locally. And the mainstream Mexican beers (Sol, DosXX, Modello) are available in several small stores in town. Along with a surprising variety of cleaning supplies, canned foods and snacks.
The best part, is that all these places are within 1 km of Casa del Phi. You don’t really even need a car. Ride your bike, or hitch a ride with a neighbor on their way to the same event. When you want a day away Hayhu beach club or the Cruiseship town of Mahahual are a short drive away.