The Time I Almost Fell Off a Coconut Tree

I’ve always been jealous of people who can climb coconut trees. Growing up in the Philippines, I loved the easy access to cheap coconuts. I’ve often sat and watched people climb up the trees with ease, grabbed a coconut from the top, and slide back down like a boss. 

In tropical and humid countries, coconuts are the fruits of choice. They are known for their many uses as seen in this awesome and catchy song in Moana:

On a hot and humid day, thirsty? We drink the coconut juice. Hungry? We eat the meat inside. The leaves are used to fire, basket-weaving, shade, and more! The trees are easily accessible, can be seen everywhere on the streets. I’ve always wanted to climb one. The problem: the coconuts are super high up in the air. Since there are no branches to climb up on, people rely on pure arm and leg strength. /ugh/

Being a less than capable climber, I mostly admire these coconut climbers from afar. While traveling in Central America, locals showed us new methods to help the coconut harvest process safer and go faster, and can be learned by newbies. Yes! The group of Italians who stayed with us were too smart to try something like this and had only watched us from the hut. My boyfriend, Cuong, who has always been more physically fit than me, climbed first on the tree about fifty feet in the air.

How it works: Using two rope loops, wrap them around the tree. One rope loops around your thigh, and the other rope is used to step on. You can lever yourself upwards by shifting the ropes up. See a video of coconut climbing in action here.

My turn. Still in my flip flops, I decided to give it a try. Skeptical of my abilities to go all the way up, I was hoping to maybe climb a few feet. Before I knew it, I was already a fourth of the way up the tree. Wow, it was easier than I thought. The ropes dug into my thighs and the tree scraped against my arms and and legs, but it was do-able! I decided to keep going, despite the lack of proper shoes.

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Two-thirds of the way up!

Two-thirds of the way up, the tree curved to the side, the ropes didn’t have enough friction to grab onto the tree, and slid loose. I lost my footing. My heart jumped out of my chest. 

I was so scared that for the next five minutes, I hugged and cursed myself for climbing so far up in the first place. One fall like that could definitely break a bone. After what felt like an eternity of panic, I realized that no one is going to be able to help me. I have to get out of this mess on my own. I decided to keep climbing up (since I didn’t know how to get down and that was a problem for future Winta).

The top of the coconut tree had dry fibery leaves, which made it difficult for the ropes to grab on. The coconut was more difficult to pick than I thought. I had to twist it a dozen times before it broke and fell to the ground. My first coconut picked from the tree. 

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Reaping the fruits of my labor.

As with any cat that climbs a tree and can’t get down, I looked at the ground faaaarr below me. I realized I didn’t know how to get back down. Great, fifty feet in the air and I’m experimenting on ways to pull the ropes and lever back down. After a series of trial and error, I was finally able to shimmy myself back down.

Here are a couple of celebratory pictures of my difficult climb:

I should also mention that both our climbs took about 20-30 minutes, and the locals probably take 5 minutes to go through the whole process. I imagine that they were highly amused by our determination through this ordeal. Despite my incredible thirst, I spent 15 minutes clumsily cutting open my coconut and drank the sweet, sweet reward.

I’m quite proud of this day, almost falling off a coconut tree, but reaching my goal. I came out with only a couple of scratches, aches, and bruises, but I had learned something new: that it was all possible. Perhaps, in the far future, I will climb for coconuts again.


Thanks for reading!! I would love to hear your thoughts on my dangerous heist in comments below. ❤

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21 thoughts on “The Time I Almost Fell Off a Coconut Tree

    1. TANKS FOR READING! I know, looking back, I can’t believe I would do that myself. I guess there’s something about being in the moment that made me feel braver than I was. Maybe I felt connected to that tree. lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It honestly sounds like alot of fun despite the risk. No coconut trees where I am but there are thick ivy vines on alot of the trees here that i’ve climbed up about 30 feet at the most. Im always trying to overcome my discomfort of unsupported height. I don’t think i’ll ever go all the way up the big trees here as they top out around 90-100 feet and don’t have anything worthwhile up there unless you want to climb for the view.

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    1. Yeah, there’s always something about being in the moment that makes me feel braver than I actually am. Looking back, I don’t know how I had trusted two rope loops with my life. Hahaha, yeah, you’re right, at least at the top, I’ll find a coconut. It would be kind of disappointing otherwise. /whoop, climbed to the top? Time to go back down./ Whoa, those are tall trees! Yeah, I wouldn’t climb those…. Ivy vines?? Where do you live, in a forest?

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      1. Oxford, Ohio. It’s a tiny town with a big college surrounded by several nature preserves and farm land. The people and business here are all about preserving local floral and wildlife but also about staying up to date so you get this interesting mix of old forests and new buildings with a old English style. So not really a forest, just an urban town with alot of forest surrounding it. The really tall trees are usually white Sycamore trees with old ivy or grape vines that run up to the top of them. When they are sturdy enough, you can swing and climb them. Next time I go out on a trail I’ll have to get a picture of one to put in a post.

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        1. Yes, pose pictures with big beautiful trees pleaseee (feel free to message me about nature posts)! Your town sounds like a beautiful scene from the movies. GYAHH, swinging on vines like Tarzan!! I wish I could do that. I have pretty low confidence in my arm strength. PS: I could have sworn I followed you before, did your site change? Anyway, looking forward to you next posts! ❤

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          1. lol, not as dramatic as Tarzan. More like a gentle tire swing. Some of the areas around here can seem like a movie. Especially the campus. Unfortunately there’s not much screen time for this town. There was one movie that had a few scenes here called “Ides of March” which was an american politics movie. A bit of a boring movie to me, but still neat. My site didn’t change locations but I did update the header and prologue with different images a day or two ago. But thanks for following.

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            1. Wow, okay, this sounds crazy, but would you like to blog exchange sometime? I write on travel and would love to have Grover as my guest star- giving a tour of Oxford town. ❤ What do you think about having Grover travel around NYC? I could do a post of him at famous spots around here. Just an idea, let me know!

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              1. While I personally wouldn’t be able to go out of my area any time soon due to work, family, and pre planned events for this year, I would be happy to mail my Grover out for you to travel with granted I got him back after you were done.

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                1. Awesomeee! Yeah, I will be out of town for the next week, but I’ll definitely shoot you a message when I get back. Uber excited to meet Grover!

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                  1. So I talked it over with the others on the site and they weren’t too fond with sending out any of the Grovers as of now mainly due to how new we are right now. Unfortunately I’ll have to postpone sending one out to you until everyone is on board with a traveling Grover to people. Im really sorry. But i’ll keep in touch for when I can send one out. I think it’s a great idea though. :/

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Hey! No worries. My request for Grover as a guest star/blog post still stands- whenever you’re free, of course. And whenever you guys are comfortable with a traveling Grover, I’ll be here. ❤ Cheers!!

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    1. TANKS FOR READING!!! Hahaha, I WAS TERRIFIED. I probably wouldn’t do it again anytime soon. Looking back, I don’t know how I had the nerve to trust two ropes with my life! They could have easily snapped!

      I LOVE MOANA!!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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