With all the stresses of daily life adding up, it’s no surprise that more and more people are looking to stay at a yoga retreat on their travels. Yoga retreats are not just about improving fitness and strength, but about calming your mind and connecting you to your spiritual self.
Guatemala is known as the Land of Eternal Spring, for its active volcanoes, rainforests, ancient Mayan sites, Spanish colonial towns, and the iconic Lake Atitlan which is surrounded by gorgeous nature spots. With all this nature, you’ll be nestled in a landscape that exhales calmness and tranquility.
Imagine a deep, cobalt lake surrounded by dozens of tiny villages and looming volcanoes. That is Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. Its shores have been attracting hippies and hedonistic travelers for decades.
It is no secret that Guatemala grows some of the best coffee in the world. If you know a little about coffee, then you know that the best coffee grows at higher elevations.
Antigua Guatemala is known as the best-preserved Spanish colonial city in Central America. Stroll the cobblestone streets, lounge with the locals in Central Park on sunny afternoons, or hike up one of the volcanoes overlooking the city for amazing views. Antigua used to be the capital of Guatemala until a damaging earthquake caused a switch to Guatemala City. As harrowing as the earthquake must have been at that time, some of the remains of Antigua’s stunning colonial buildings still stand today.
18. November, Saturday - Day 1: Transfer from the La Aurora International Airport (GUA) in Guatemala City to Antigua City. First night in Antigua.
19. November, Sunday - Day 2: Acatenango Vulcano overnight hike
We depart Antigua early in the morning in a private shuttle for a comfortable one-hour drive to the Mayan village of Soledad and the Acatenango trailhead. The drive from Antigua to the start of the Acatenango trek takes around 1 hour depending on traffic, police checkpoints and animals on the road, etc.
The 1525 m ascent winds its way up through four distinct ecosystems, starting with a tapestry of fertile agricultural fields where local farmers harvest corn, flowers, and snow peas. From there, the trail rises into an old-growth tropical cloud forest that harbors a diversity of flora and fauna, and also provides hikers shade and comfort as they push up the steep slope. Emerging from the cloud forest, we enter a sparse high-alpine forest that reveals views of six additional volcanoes, making it a great spot for a scenic trail lunch.
After lunch, we make the final push of the day and climb above the tree line into the fourth microclimate wind-swept and mystical volcanic terrain.
The campsite is already set up at 3600 m.a.s.l., we do not need to carry any of the camping gear. The tents are for 2-3 people. Each tent has a pillow, – 6°C sleeping bag, an extra blanket, and a 5″ or 12cm comfortable mattress, under the matt all over the tent is a waterproof carpet to isolate the cold from the bottom, also there is an extra tarp to isolate the cold from the top. They provide also a clean inner sleeping bag and the campsite got its own outhouse.
Now we can relax, stretch, and take in the sweeping views of the Antigua Valley and Volcan Fuego before being served a hot dinner followed by coffee, tea, and marshmallows over the campfire. The campsite looks directly over Volcan Fuego, and your evening is spent splitting time between gasping at volcanic eruptions and staring into a mesmerizing sky full of stars above. Fuego is one of the most active volcanoes in Central America and has erupted more than 60 times in the last 500 years.
20. November, Monday - Day 3: Wake up call at 04.00 am. We begin a 90-minute ascent up to Acatenango’s summit (3976 m) to watch the sunrise. It is a steep but rewarding climb through dwarf pine trees and gravel scree that leads to the top of the world. From the summit, we will find 360-degree views of Volcan Fuego, the Antigua Valley, and the distant Guatemalan highlands that stretch all the way to the border of Mexico.
Breakfast is at 8.00 at the base camp.
We are back in Antigua early afternoon (~1:00 pm) with plenty of time for a celebratory beer, cappuccino, or a siesta! Overnight in Antigua.
21. November - Day 4: Shuttle to our yoga retreat location near lake Atitlan, where we have an evening yoga class and dinner.
Lake Atitlán sits at an altitude of just over 1550 meters above sea level. The surrounding Lake Atitlan is world-renowned for its Cacao and Coffee plantations.
22. November - Day 5: Morning yoga class, breakfast, relaxing by the lake, paddleboarding or kayaking, lunch, evening yoga class, and Sacred Mayan Cacao Ceremony.
It was believed that the gods gifted cacao to the people directly. The scientific genus name for cacao is theobroma, which translates to “Food of the Gods,” and the Maya believed that cacao was a key ingredient in restoring balance and connection to the divine.
23. November - Day 6: Morning yoga class, breakfast, Tzununa permaculture farm tour, Love Probiotics, and a short hike to local waterfalls. Lunch at Tzununa. Evening yoga and dinner at the retreat center.
Love Probiotics produce healthy, live, locally sourced, fermented probiotic foods and beverages (various types of raw sauerkrauts, raw vinegar, organic black, green, and white tea kombuchas, ginger beer, sparkling water kefirs, jun tea, organic kefir yogurt, Lacto-fermented hot sauce, super-food bliss balls, sourdough bread and more!), and they also offer a variety of hands-on fermentation workshops.
24. November - Day 7: Morning yoga class, breakfast, visit Panajachel, evening yoga, and dinner at the retreat center.
Panajachel, known as Pana, is home to several restaurants featuring local and international cuisine, coffee shops, street food vendors, and more. The town's main street, Calle Santander, is where visitors can shop for textiles and artisanal pieces handmade by indigenous people from around the lake. Panajachel offers a spectacular view of the San Pedro, Tolimán, and Atitlán volcanoes.
25. November - Day 8: Indian Nose Sunrise hike with a local guide, brunch, dinner, relaxing, and evening yoga at the retreat center.
The Indian Nose is the mountain on the northwest shore of Lake Atitlan. Also called Rupalaj K’istalin, this 2550 meters tall mountain presents one of the most rewarding climbs of Lake Atitlan. In addition to viewing the sunrise over a chain of volcanoes and then onto the pristine waters, this climb provides great views over the San Juan and San Pedro la Laguana villages. The climb takes about 30 minutes. The peak of Indian Nose is at just over 2200 meters elevation.
26. November - Day 9: Morning yoga, breakfast, and transfer to El Paredon on the Pacific coast to watch the release of baby sea turtles. The drive is about 4 hrs, 180 km.
Pacific Coast beaches typically have black volcanic sand. El Paredon is a very laid-back village with a spectacular black sand beach and ocean waves that are perfect for surfers and skilled swimmers. From September to December, every morning at 5.45 am baby turtles is released into the wild from the Driftwood Conservation Project on Playa El Paredon. The number of turtles released depends on the number that hatch. And that depends on the weather – fewer turtles hatch when it’s rainy.
The Pacific coast is famous for its beautiful sunsets. We will have a meditation walk at the beach and time to admire the sunset. Dinner at the restaurant and overnight at the El Paredon Surfhouse.
27. November - Day 10: Shuttle to the La Aurora International Airport (GUA) in Guatemala City and say goodbye.
Very early bird (booking 6 months in advance) until May 18
Shared room 1200 USD
Private room 1700 USD
Shared room for 2 persons 2200 USD (1100 per person)
Early bird (booking 3 months in advance) until August 18
Shared room 1400 USD
Private room 1900 USD
Shared room for 2 persons 2600 USD (1300 per person)
Last-minute booking (less than 3 months in advance) from August 19
Shared room 1600 USD
Private room 2100 USD
Shared room for 2 persons 3000 USD (1500 per person)
We ask for a deposit of 350 USD per participant to reserve your spot in this yoga retreat.
50% of the remaining balance should be paid 60 days before the retreat starts (September 2023).
The remaining balance should be paid 30 days before the retreat starts (October 2023).
Cancellation less than 30 days before the start of the retreat: 100% cancellation fee (no refund)
Fees are completely non-refundable and non-transferable.
You can make your reservation and pay your deposit by clicking here.
It is a perfect opportunity to take time for self-care in order to maintain a healthy mind, body, and soul.
Am I excited to visit South Africa in February 2023? Hell, yeah!
You definitely don't want to miss the yoga retreat in the world's most exotic countries with us on February 06-14, 2023.
And here is why:
Our yoga retreat starts at Cape Town International Airport in South Africa.
Cape Town is one of three capital cities in South Africa. This seaside city is beautiful and picturesque with a great backdrop of the famous Table Mountain National Park. South Africa’s top tourist destination has lots of beautiful coastlines and beaches nearby, many whales watching tours, amazing scenery, and it has a walkable waterfront area with tons of great restaurants and shopping, and more.
Cape Town, the “Mother City”, or the world’s most fabulous city, is the oldest city in South Africa and has a cultural heritage spanning more than 300 years.
There are few countries where you can go to the beach and expect to see penguins - South Africa is one of them. There is a colony of 3,000 penguins that live in and around Boulders Beach in Cape Town, South Africa. If you want to see more, you can visit a sea bird rehabilitation center SANCCOB where the majority of the residents are penguins.
South Africa is famous for its wines with the majority of the vineyards being located just outside of Cape Town. There are many vineyards and wineries that you can visit for lunch, enjoy tasting menus, take tours, and purchase some fabulous wines.
The Garden Route is a stretch of the southeastern coast of South Africa that extends from Witsand in the Western Cape to the border of Tsitsikamma Storms River in the Eastern Cape. The name comes from the verdant and ecologically diverse vegetation encountered here and the numerous estuaries and lakes dotted along the coast.
February 06 - Arriving day and transfer from the airport. First night in Cape Town.
February 07 - Day 1: Cape Town, Table Mountain, Botanical Garden, and wine tasting.
We will begin our South Africa adventure by hiking up to Table Mountain and having a magical first yoga session on top of Table Mountain.
This is followed by a visit to the first botanical garden in the world to be established (in 1913) to protect local flora, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in the UNESCO-listed Cape Floral Kingdom follows. Visiting Groot Constantia Wine farm, we taste their export quality wines and have dinner. Overnight at African Soul Surfer, the location for our studio-based class with sweeping views of Muizenberg and where surf lessons are offered.
February 08 - Day 2: African penguins, relaxing, and beach yoga
We journey along the False Bay coastline to Boulders Beach near Simon’s Town, home to one of the few land-based penguin colonies in the world. Boulders Beach in False Bay offers something extra special – a colony of African Penguins in all their smart dresses, waddling glory, right under your nose. In fact, it’s the only place in the world where you can get close to African Penguins. We will choose one of the popular restaurants in the area for dinner. Overnight at African Soul Surfer.
February 09 - Day 3: driving to Caledon 2-hour. Wine and chocolate tasting, spa, yoga
Visit Cape Point, part of the Table Mountain National Park and home to an abundance of flora and fauna. We hike a light downward trail to the stunning Dias beach to enjoy your morning yoga session next to the ocean. You also visit the viewpoint with the Flying Dutchman Funicular.
Driving in the direction of Stellenbosch, we go to the Spier Wine Farm for chocolate and wine tasting on the banks of the Spier dam. Overnight at The Caledon Hotel and Spa which has an impressive view of the Klein Swartberg Mountains and the continuing wheat fields.
The hotel is situated around an hour’s drive away from Cape Town and offers guests mineral-rich hot springs and a spa with three restaurants, a gym, and children’s activities offered to all guests. The wellness center is equipped with comfortable seating, natural hot springs, a lap pool, a steam room, a sauna, a frigidarium (The distinctive brown color of the water is due to the rich mineral content known as chalybeate.), a Swiss shower, elegant Victorian Bath House (erected 1897 and outdoor Jacuzzi, as well as a great Zen Garden. A full range of spa treatments including massages, body wraps, facials, and beauty therapies are on offer as an option. Click here to see the Caledon Spa menu. Book your treatment after 6 pm and at least 3 days in advance. We do not have a yoga class that evening.
February 10 - Day 4: Caledon to Knysna via the Cango Caves: 5-hour drive
Starting with the Garden Route, we move on to the town of Oudtshoorn with Route 62. This route delivers an unforgettable South African traveling experience, making life-long memories. After visiting the Cango Caves for a Heritage Tour, we head down the scenic Outeniqua Pass and onto the green forests and beaches of the Garden Route.
We go to Buffalo Bay for a rejuvenating beach walk. Buffalo Bay beach is a blue flag beach located in Goukamma Nature Reserve, between the coastal towns of Knysna and Sedgefield, along the Western Cape Garden Route. The beach is characterized by dune fields, coastal fynbos, and a forest that flanks the long white sands. Overnight is at the Peace of Eden Nature Lodge and Vegan Retreat. This is “rustic, eco and natural, our accommodation is earthy and creative, our shower water is golden brown, our drinking water is straight from the heavens, and know that here in the country, ‘things’ with 4 legs rule! We are here to chat with the monkeys, clap when the baboons come visiting, give you clean sheets, and generally ensure you have a peaceful carefree time with little bits of spice thrown in the mix with peace, and where guided forest walks, massages, vegetarian cooking classes, yoga, and meditation outdoors.
February 11 - Day 5: Knysna return: 3-hour drive
Breakfast follows a drive through Knysna and to the town of Plettenberg Bay, where you can take a boat ride for a “Dolphin Encounters” excursion of 1,5 to 2 hours at Ocean Blue Adventures. (highly weather-dependable) You can go to the world’s highest bungee jump at Bloukrans Bridge. Standing 709 feet (216 meters) above the Bloukrans River, the arch bridge is ideal for bungee jumping. This is an optional activity (own expense), and you are free to watch the bungee jumpers take the plunge.
Alternative to the “Dolphin Encounters” boat ride you can make one of the activities at Stormsriver Adventures: a Tsitsikamma Woodcutters Journey or a Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour. Overnight is at the Peace of Eden Nature Lodge and Vegan Retreat.
February 12 - Day 6: Knysna to Cape Town: 6-hour drive
After you did some activities of your choice at the Peace of Eden Nature Lodge we head back to Cape Town and visit some of the amusing farm stalls on the way. Overnight is at the Zebra Crossing Backpacker. It is a 2,5 km walking distance from the beach. Evening and morning yoga is on the beach.
February 13 - Day 7: The Big 5 Safari in the Aquila Private Game Reserve: 2-hour drive
The “Big Five” is a term that is used to refer to the 5 African animals that early big game hunters considered the most difficult and dangerous animals to hunt on foot in Africa. These animals include the African elephant, lion, leopard, Cape buffalo, and rhinoceros.
February 14 - Day 8: Transfer to the airport
Accommodation during the retreat is described in the program section. You can choose a private room or a shared room.
South African currency is the rand (ZAR).
There are 52 nationalities who can enter for up to 90 days visa-free. Read more by clicking here.
Remember to bring:
The itinerary is subjected to slight changes according to weather conditions and unforeseen circumstances.
Will you be fully vaccinated soon? Or have you taken your COVID-19 vaccination and are looking to travel sometime in the near future?
As vaccines are being rolled out across the world, it brings the promise of a return to our pre-pandemic life, or, at the very least, something close to it.
That said, it’s important to keep in mind that while these shots do come with some protection against the virus, some regulations, such as lifting the mandated use of masks, may not be happening as soon as we’d hoped.
Should you choose to travel sometimes in the near future, it’s highly advisable to continue to take health & safety precautions, such as wearing a mask, washing your hands often, and maintaining the practice of physical distancing.
While it’s not mandatory, you should also consider getting tested 3 to 5 days after arrival and self-isolate for 7 days, even though you are fully vaccinated. We are still unsure as to how much protection the vaccines offer against the new variants of the virus (and the strains continue to emerge), so, it’s always better to be safe.
In short, being fully vaccinated does give you more ‘freedom’ and peace of mind when it comes to travel but it’s in you & your fellow travelers’ best interest to maintain precautions when traveling.
Not only is it crucial for us to ‘adhere’ to local rules but also to keep personal consideration and precaution for the sake of your and others’ health and safety.
Even if you are fully vaccinated, these days, the type of travel you choose to take matters more than ever.
Domestic travel has been returning slowly but steadily starting last summer. With the rollout of vaccines, countries that are likely to reach herd immunity faster, maybe a ‘safer’ choice for locals and non-locals alike.
Many travelers are now choosing destinations that are off-the-beaten paths, those that are away from condensed cities, and often, these places are immersed in nature.
A yoga retreat in nature is a great choice for any traveler. Some retreats are easy-going while others go above and beyond to offer a wealth of activities. But no matter where you choose to go, it is easy to combine other outdoor activities such as hiking, walking, cycling, or running with your yoga sessions.
To get to your travel destination, road trips are recommended as non-public transportation is safer than using public transportation. In fact, according to the CDC, fully vaccinated travelers who go on a road trip and are moderately careful at the destination, would have a relatively ‘safe trip’.
Another way to lower risk is to choose to visit a country that is waiving restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers. At the time this article was written, only a handful of countries have gone this route, but, as summer approaches and the vaccine passports are likely to become a reality, more and more countries would consider this option to open for travel.
Lastly, should you choose to travel internationally, it’s better to focus on visiting one country, rather than opting for a multi-country itinerary. Now is the perfect time to focus on slowing down, taking longer to explore a country, immerse in its culture and traditions, and discover local gems.
It’s also important to keep in mind that while the entry requirements into a certain country might not include showing a negative test, the airline might require one to board the plane. Do your due diligence and check the requirements ahead of time so that you can plan accordingly.
Nothing supports our mind and soul to open up like a natural setting. The usual distractions are far away, and your attention and focus are directed towards what’s in front of you, quieting the mind and simplifying your thoughts.
Being in nature awakens your senses – touch, scent, sight – and you cannot help but become more aware of what’s around you and start to appreciate the little things you might usually take for granted.
The smell of morning dew and flowers, a simple bird song, a gentle breeze in your hair, touching the grass or sand, provide stimulation and make you more present. You become more in tune with yourself and the world around you.
On most retreats held in nature, you’ll have the opportunity to do some forest bathing. Also known as Shinrin-yoku, this is the practice of making contact with and taking in the forest atmosphere to receive mental and physical healing.