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Welcome to b í k u

The Panama treehouse retreat!

Inspired by friends and family, laughter and living slow – sloth style! We’re on a journey to build treehouses on a jungle island in the sun – oh, and make chocolate as well. We’d love for you to join us to help make this dream a reality. Register your interest to find out more about b í k u, get sneak peeks at the treehouse designs before anyone else and get the best perks when our crowdfunding launches in September. 

We look forward to you being part of our journey and hopefully someday, our guests! There’s an island, a treehouse holiday and chocolate waiting for you …

About Us

Who are we?

So who are we? We’re the two halves of b í k u – one is Panamanian, from Bocas del Toro (Ariel) and the other is British (a true Welsh, Scottish and English mix – Zabrina). See our interviews in our blog posts to get to know us even better!

Ariel has lived outside of Panama since he was 17 and has been living in the UK for more than 15 years. He has worked in the hospitality industry for more than 20 years. Customer service is his main passion; as he notes himself, “it’s what I love and it’s what I do well”. He has worked at some of the top hotels in London including The Soho, Covent Garden (both of the Firmdale family of hotels) and ACE Hotel. And as for Zabrina, well, she’s always been a little unconventional – she’s a nature and culture lover with a passion for Latin America.

For both of us, now the timing is right to head to Panama and create something amazing, create something that will benefit the local community and environment – things that we love and care about deeply. Our dream, really, is chocolate in the treetops, on a tropical island. It’s pretty exciting!

We are crowdfunding in September to raise the capital for the build – and as part of the crowdfund all you lovely people will be able to get great offers and perks! Register your interest to stay updated.

10000
Plant types
40%
Tropical rainforest
7
indigenous groups
1500
types of tropical trees

What's The Story

Protect, Preserve and Share

We have always been driven by a desire to own our own business. For Ariel, to do this in his home country would be a real dream come true. Since he left Bocas, there have been significant changes – some for the better and some for the worse.

A large amount of investment has flooded in to Bocas in the past 20 years or so, and with that, a tourism boom. “I’m proud that so many people want to visit the beautiful islands where I come from – but I also hope that we are able to protect, preserve and share the colourful community, culture and nature I grew up with – including the sloths.”

Sloth
Fishing - net throwing

Unfortunately some of the investment and subsequent businesses have not had these considerations at their core – and there is a real danger that in the pursuit of success, irreparable damage is being done to the local environment.

For the Bocas community in particular, we want to demonstrate that the land can be used in a sustainable and innovative way – that protects, preserves and shares what our small part of the world has been gifted with. The key is education and creating opportunity for sustainable income.

At b í k u, we hold these values at our core. We will reinvest money in to the community – to address environmental, educational and social issues.

Why Panama?

A COUNTRY OF CONTRASTS

When I think about Panama I think about colour, life, nature and laughter. It’s a place full of warmth, it’s tropical, it’s vibrant, it’s green – and it’s a little crazy! In the best way possible.

Panama is a fascinating and unique country, and still relatively undiscovered. In many ways, Panama is a country of contrasts. It’s the perfect destination for whatever you’re looking for, whether it’s adventure, history and culture or pure relaxation and nature at its most beautiful.

For me, it truly is a treasure – and for many – an undiscovered one.

Don’t just take my word for it, Lonely Planet describes Panama as ‘a humming metropolis’, ‘a road trip adventure’; a land of ‘sun kissed panoramas’

Where is Panama? … Panama is that tiny, thin wiggle of land that connects North, Central and South America. It borders both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean and sits between Colombia (to the East) and Costa Rica (to the West).

Panama is one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America. It has a population of just over 3.6 million.

Panama has a tropical climate and boasts 2,490 km of coastline. Its dry season runs from December through to May and the green season from June to November.

Panama has over 1500 types of tropical trees. Deforestation of tropical rainforest and mining of natural resources are both threats to Panama’s environment.

Latest blog Posts

The Blog

Beauty in the city

Beauty in the city

Panama visit – day 2. We’ll be trying to blog daily during our two-week recce to Panama. This is our last trip over here before our project crowdfunding in late September. We have meetings set up with conservationists, potential investors, collaborators, videographers, lawyers, builders and architects – so it will be a busy couple of…

WIN a fabulous 4-night break in the Cotswolds, England

WIN a fabulous 4-night break in the Cotswolds, England

WIN a fabulous 4-night break in the Cotswolds, England We have teamed up with Sycamore Cottage to offer you the chance to WIN a 4-night break in this delightful cottage in the centre of Stow-on-the-Wold, in the Cotswolds. To enter the competition, just sign up to our mailing list. The winner will be chosen at random on…

Bocas del Toro – what’s in a name?

Bocas del Toro – what’s in a name?

The history of a place has always fascinated me. The more you learn about a place’s history, the more you tend to understand traditions, behaviours and attitudes. You can begin to understand the people. How much about where you live or where you’re from do you know? Ariel is from Bocas del Toro, Panama, and…

Bocas chronicles – the young entrepreneur

Bocas chronicles – the young entrepreneur

From a very early age my mum made sure she taught me the value of work and independence. One of the ways for my mum to generate some extra money was to make tamales on the weekend. A tamal is a traditional Latin American dish made from a corn dough. So, you could say that…

Wellness tourism: the naked truth

Wellness tourism: the naked truth

I have always assumed that any travel outside of business travel has some kind of health benefit to the traveller. We use holidays, after all, as respite and escape from the daily grind. But holidays can be stressful in themselves, and we can find it hard – even on holiday – to truly ‘switch off’.…

COMPETITION HAS ENDED. WIN a legendary one night’s stay at ACE Hotel London Shoreditch

COMPETITION HAS ENDED. WIN a legendary one night’s stay at ACE Hotel London Shoreditch

COMPETITION HAS ENDED WIN one night’s stay at ACE Hotel London WIN a legendary one night’s stay at ACE Hotel London Shoreditch – London’s ‘most creative, engaged district.’ We have teamed up with ACE Hotel London to offer you the chance to WIN a night’s stay in the coolest of London’s districts, Shoreditch. As ACE itself…

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