?> Joyxee Island floating on plastic bottles

We are swimming in the ‘Azul Cenote’ in Bacalar with our French friend Mael. This Cenote is not in a cave, like the one in Tulum. It’s more like a big lake, 20 meters higher than the lagoon we have been enjoying a few days ago with a kayak. It is also 90 meters deep, amazing for divers. Alas, we can’t afford the diving but we do enjoy swimming in its warm water.

While we are floating in the water, Mael, who has been sailing from The Canary Islands to Mexico, tells us about the Joyxee Island floating on plastic bottles near Isla Mujeres. A floating Island? Yes, floating on fruit bags filled with plastic bottles. We immediately got inspired and started imagining how you could create a whole town or hostel, existing only out of little recycled islands on a lake.


Richart “Rishi” Sowa isn’t your typical homebuilder. In late 2007 he began building an island named “Joyxee Island” in the waters of Isla Mujeres near Cancun that floats on over 100,000 plastic bottles.

Since 2007 he has added to the island’s size which now boasts three beaches, two ponds and an array of off-the-grid solutions to make life on the island comfortable and sustainable. He built a washing machine on the island that cleans clothes by rolling with the waves. He cooks his food with a solar cooker and gets his water supply from a rain collection system and he generates electricity from solar panels.

On the island he grows mangroves, bananas, spinach, almonds and tomatoes. The roots of the vegetation help to strengthen the structural integrity of the island. He shares the island with his cats, dog, chickens and a duck. Richart’s goal is to “one day sail out into the ocean and become a floating country.”

While this story probably exceeds the ideas many of us have for living small and sustainable, it’s a nice reminder that the way we live is only limited by our imagination.


Watch the video here:

Joyxee floating island