Earthship Pitaya Festival – Promoting Environmental Awareness

The Earthship Pitaya Festival, known locally as Pitaya Fest, takes place in February every year in Nicaragua’s seaside town of San Juan del Sur and the neighboring community of El Carizal. Coinciding with the full moon, the week-long festival aims to raise awareness of environmental issues, while at the same time offering music, the full moon, sun, sand, surf and a party atmosphere like no other. The festival is named after the local Pitaya fruit and the Earthship – a unique self-sustainable structure constructed from tin cans, bottles, tires and other items which would otherwise have landed up in already overfull rubbish dumps.

This remarkable structure makes use of solar panels to harvest the energy from the sun to power all the electrical appliances, while rainwater is collected by various means for household use, and grey water is reclaimed to irrigate the vegetable gardens and fruit trees. The beautiful, lush gardens around the Earthship serve as the venue for the Pitaya Fest, with proceeds going to the non-profit organization, Casa Llanta Fund, which aims to educate local communities in the benefits of sustainable development. The fund helped to finance the establishment of El Carizal’s community pre-school and assisted in setting up a co-op for local women to market their jam products. Other projects aided by the Casa Llanta Fund include English language classes and the development of a school for children with special needs.

Highlights of the 2012 Earthship Pitaya Festival, which takes place from Monday 6 February through to Saturday 11 February, include the Quiksilver El Carizal Surf Competition and the six-mile Paddle Stampede. Beach parties, happy hours and open mic events will take place throughout the week, with the main festival happening on Saturday. Artists and musicians who will be performing include the ever-popular Matty Powell, DJ Johnny G and Don Bigote y Los Pobrecitos.

A photo booth will be on site for festival goers to capture some memories, and previous festival pictures will be on display. As usual Santa Barbara expats will be supporting the event, and donations of clothing and sports equipment will be made to local children. The Earthship Pitaya Festival offers the perfect opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to the local communities of San Juan del Sur and El Carizal, while at the same time having a whole lot of fun and making some happy memories.