I wouldn’t call myself an expert on many things but I feel that my knowledge of outdoor showers is decent. I’ve always felt like showers were a somewhat baptismal ritual, a chance to scrub clean and start again, and when taken outdoors, the cleansing experience reaches a new level of connectivity to the world as a whole.
When I say outdoor shower, I don’t mean standing outside in warm rainstorms or skinny-dipping under a waterfall, although, yes, those are two things one must experience. I am talking about showers with shower-heads, soap and privacy: Showers that let you feel the sun on your face or look out across a Costa Rican bay while you rinse.
Here are my top four outdoor showers from my travels around the world:
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
When you step into this huge shower space, the dark rock and surrounding foliage makes it feel like you are showering in the rainforest. There is a bench at one end to place your warm, fluffy towel on while you gaze across the treetops, spotting very cheeky monkeys jumping from tree to tree, roof to roof. Buena Vista is built into a hill giving each villa an uninterrupted view of the water with beach and rainforest stretching across the landscape on either side. Showering while the sun sets is a awe inspiring experience as unobstructed views of paradise fill you with warmth, reminding you that the world is truly a spectacular place.
Sauble Beach, ON
Since the location of the outdoor shower moved from lawn side to beachside, the experience has gone from pretty cool to amazing. My father in law is a DIY guru and this outdoor shower is another example of his genius. The expanded outdoor shower is the perfect way to deal with sandy beach feet and gives the perfect excuse to extend shower time. The extra space acts as a ‘dressing room,’ providing time to towel off and get dressed without having to tiptoe to your Bunkie in a towel while everyone around pretends they don’t see you. In the afternoon, the sun shines directly on the shower, warming your face while you shampoo away the day’s dirt. It is the ultimate in end of day refreshment.
Mara Conservancy, Kenya
Although this shower technically has a canvas cover, I call it an outdoor shower because it is in a tent…and the water comes from a bucket. The en suite bathroom in this luxurious Kenyan safari tent is exceptional. With a flushing toilet, eco-friendly shampoos and bottled water for toothbrushing, it is easy to forget that you are on safari in Africa. The shower water is heated everyday by the camp staff to a temperature that best suits you and put in a 40L bucket outside of your tent. Once you pull the chain beside the large rain shower-head, the warm water falls (good pressure too!) and you are clean once again.
Koh Phangan, Thailand
It’s been years since I showered in this stunning space but it was my first outdoor shower experience and has stayed with me since. Santhiya is on the north of the island and like Buena Vista, their villas are built into a hill overlooking the magnificent Gulf of Thailand, white sandy beaches and green, luscious trees. Both traditional and uniquely modern, this outdoor air bathroom is big enough for two. A mixture of stone and wood, low lighting gives your nighttime shower a romantic glow.
Where is your favourite outdoor shower?
Which outdoor shower have I missed?
Let me know in the comment section below.