Living off the grid in the tropics is like living in a paradise, although not everything is all sunshine and rainbows. For every climate, there are at least a couple of drawbacks when it comes to living off the grid. The main problem with the tropics is the climate, which is extremely humid. You won’t have a problem finding water, but you will definitely get annoyed with the heat if you are not used to it, especially without an air conditioning unit.
Generally speaking, you would be able to find everything that you need to live off the grid in the tropics, although you will have to think outside the box if you don’t want to use your solar panels to generate power for something like an air conditioning unit, as thee tend to use a lot of power. Due to the high humidity, your body will find it difficult to sweat and for the sweat to evaporate, so most days you will probably be soaking wet.
If you want to live off the grid in the tropics then you will need to use a dehumidifier as the humidity in these areas is fairly high, my personal recommendation is to use a dehumidifier that automatically drains and automatically restarts if the power goes down Click here to check it out on Amazon.com
The good news is that during the wintertime you will not have to worry about heating your homestead, or gathering a lot of firewood. The bad news is that you will have to keep almost everything indoors, or under a roof, as when it rains it pours. You will find plenty of firewood, but the challenge will be to actually ignite the fire outside. In some parts of the world, the humidity in tropical areas is so high that most of the deadwood is rotting, which is extremely difficult to ignite.
Trought the world there are a lot of off grid communities that live in the tropics, and some communities actually build treehouses, this way they keep far away from the fairly wet soil which is found in most areas with a tropical climate. If you want to take a look at some of these communities then check out my recent article Best places to live off the grid in the world ( Top 25 ).
Build an elevated shelter in the tropics
The first thing you need if you want to live off the grid in the tropics is shelter, both from the sun and from the rain. People who live in tropical areas often tend to have darker skin, this is excellent for reflecting the sun rays back, on the other hand, if you are fairly pale than you can expect at least a sunburn in the first couple of weeks. Generally speaking, most people who live off the grid in a tropical environment tend to build their homestead on elevated stilts or right on top of the tree.
It is extremely important that you build your shelter on an elevated platform, as the ground below tends to be fairly wet and all sorts of critters are moving around which you probably do not want in your home. The closer you get to the coast the higher the chances of flooding, so you probably should check out how often the area tends to flood before starting to build your off grid cabin or homestead. If you want to check out one of the states which are considered to be a paradise then check out my recent article Off grid living in Hawaii ( The Aloha State ).
Fending off bugs and mosquitoes in the tropics
If you are not used to living in the tropics then the sheer amount of bugs will probably bother you a lot. The tropical climate is an ideal living climate for thousands of different bugs, and they all want to eat your food or to eat your blood. During the first couple of months, you will probably need a couple of bug sprays until you find some alternatives to get rid of the bugs. You will definitely need a mosquito net, otherwise, you will be eaten alive.
There is a lot of water in the tropics
Water will not be an issue in the tropics, the actual problem is with too much water. You can easily harvest rainwater and store it in water tanks or a water cistern. In most tropical areas, harvesting rainwater is legal so you shouldn’t worry about it. Some areas which are considered tropical paradises do not actually have a source of freshwater nearby, so you will probably have to think about that for a minute.
If you do not have a source of fresh water nearby, you can not collect rainwater then your best option is to make freshwater from saltwater. You will need some DIY skills for this, but the idea is to heat up the saltwater and let the steam condense on the glass which then flows into a bottle, and there you go you have freshwater. I know that it is a lot harder than I have described but that is the general gist of it. If you want to take a look at a state which has a fairly hot climate although not ideal for living off the grid then check out my recent article Off grid living in California ( The Golden State ).
It is difficult to grow crops in the tropics
A lot of people think that due to the mild climate, the tropics are excellent for growing crops, while this is true for the most part although the soil in these areas tends to be less fertile. The problem is that if you set up a small vegetable garden then the plants will have to compete with the surrounding vegetation. Most plants that grow in the tropics tend to grow extremely fast, this is because they have a lot of completion, and they tend to suck up all the nutrients from the surrounding soil.
Thousands of years ago the Mayas and the Aztecs have developed some kind of fertilizer which is excellent for the tropics, the problem is that scientists have no clue how they did it. Most people who live off the grid in tropical areas tend to make their own compost and make a clearing where they set up their garden.
Generating power with solar panels in the tropics
Your best option in the tropics to generate power is with solar panels, the sun shines all year round and with a lot of power. You will have no problem generating enough power with a couple of solar panels to power your entire homestead, although you will have to store all the excess power with some batteries. Just make sure that you store the batteries in a dry environment as batteries tend not to last long if they are in humid environments, and they will break if they get wet.
Hunting and fishing in the tropics
The tropics are filled with animals, so with some luck, you will have no problem to hunt or to fish. Generally speaking, people who live off the grid in the tropics near the coast tend to fish, and in most cases, they do not bother with growing crops. In inland areas your best option will be to hunt, just make sure to have a hunting license and you know what kind of animals you are allowed to hunt. if you are not a fan of fishing then you still have plenty of options to catch some critters living in the sea.
Natural disasters in the tropics
Most of the tropics tend to have a couple of natural disasters, like floods, tornadoes, tsunamis, and so on. If you are looking for a tropical area to live off the grid then my personal recommendation is to check out what kind of natural disasters the area is prone to. Even severe storms can do a lot of damage in tropical areas, as most off grid shelters are made from the local materials and not from bricks, as these tend to keep in the humidity, and cooling them off is fairly difficult.
Life in the tropics can get boring
Somebody’s paradise can get quickly boring, so if you want to live off the grid in the tropics just for the heck of it then you should probably expect to get bored at some point. On the other hand, if you want to live off the grid with the main goal of spending as little money as possible then the tropics is probably one of your best options.
As you can see there are a couple of things that you should probably know before moving off the grid in the tropics. If you want to move to another country to live off the grid then you should definitely check the legal aspects of living off the grid, as not all countries are that fond of people who want to live off the grid.