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How to make a thatch roof

thatch roof cabana

Every guest that visits us on the island marvels at the thatch roof on their cabana and the construction techniques used to build it. During the pre-season period in early November of each year, our Mayan crew comes out to the island to re-thatch old roofs and create any new ones that we need. Since we average only about 4 years for the lifespan of these roofs due to the salty climate, humid air, and constant wind, we are always re-thatching about 4-6 roofs per season on a rotating basis. The thatch must be brought in from the mainland, which is quite a chore.

thatch roof construction

This season some of our local guides, in response to the never ending questions about how these roofs are made, have started a ‘thatch demo’ talk for our guests. They set up a couple of poles in the kitchen and get some palm leaf, split it, and show everyone how to thatch. The process involves assembling the palm leaf halves on opposing runs with the ‘V’ leafs pointing up,then bundling them, setting them on the pole supports, and as they are spread out a continuous line of twine secures them to the poles.

Here is a shot of our crew showing everyone how it is done!

thatch roof

[photos by Vladamir Breznia, Steve Hulsey, and Jasmine Ardeshiri]