Yoga Retreat & Exciting Volcano Hiking in Guatemala 2023

This is more than just a yoga retreat, it is an active adventure with volcano hiking, baby sea turtles, and ancient Mayan culture.

Overview: 

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.

Program: 

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.

Accommodation: 

In Antigua, we will stay at the hotel where you can choose between a single or double room.
Our yoga retreat center is an awe-inspiring ecological resort and world-class event venue for the transformational growth of adventure travelers, artists, and digital nomads. We will have 3 vegetarian meals a day. You can choose between a single or double room. The rooms are simple, cozy, and rustic. The property has outdoor showers, a garden, and a sauna shared with other guests.
In El Paredon we will stay at Surf House by the beach. This beautifully constructed place has lovely thatched bungalows with Bali-style outdoor bathrooms, a lofted dorm with quality mattresses, and some pretty new seafront casitas. The Casitas combines the best of everything they have: the private hangout area towards the beach, the ocean view, and the breeze right at your bed upstairs, the private bathroom with a starlit shower, plus an additional double sofa-bed downstairs (120 cm wide), and a private bathroom.

Food: 

What is traditional Guatemalan food?

How fascinating would it be to know that the best of Guatemalan food has been passed on for generations by its Mayan ancestors? That’s a mouthful of rich ancient history right there.

Traditional Guatemalan food is generally described as based on Mayan cuisine with Spanish influences. Dishes prominently include beans, chilies, and corn, which are abundantly cultivated along with a wide variety of agricultural products due to the country’s tropical setting, fertile volcanic soil, high rainfall, and warm temperatures. This ideal setting has helped make the country the birthplace of chocolate and home to the popular Hass avocado.

When it comes to meats, beef, chicken, pork, and to a lesser extent turkey are frequently used as ingredients and often accompanied by rice and beans. They’re stewed, grilled, or fried, with some dishes having creamy sauces that work well with vegetables. As a result, Guatemala arguably has the most delicious cuisine among its neighbors in Central America.

Tostadas Guatemaltecas or Guatemalan tostadas are snacks made with deep-fried or oven-toasted corn tortillas as the base. They’re often served as a quick snack or appetizer, usually before lunch or when celebrating holiday festivities with family. They’re also commonly sold as street food in Guatemala. Tostadas can be topped with various ingredients but traditional Guatemalan tostadas are usually topped with guacamole, tomato salsa, or refried black beans.

Tamales are a traditional Mesoamerican dish that dates back to 8,000 to 5,000 B.C. They’re made with either corn masa or rice flour and steamed in fresh plantain leaves (or corn husks) to give them a rich flavor and aroma. They can be filled with various meats, cheeses, fruits, corn, tomatoes, bell peppers, roasted chilies, or any other ingredient. Guatemala has four main versions of the dish – tamale colorado (red tamales), tamale negro, chuchito, and tamalito.

If each country has its own soup dish that stands to represent its culture and cuisine, Guatemala has Caldo de res. Often called cocido or “cooked” in Antigua, this beef broth is one of the most consumed dishes in Guatemala. As a result, it’s a regular offering on the menus of Guatemalan restaurants and other dining establishments. Its roots can be traced back to a similar dish of Andalucian origin – a peasant soup called puchero that was prepared during colonial times in Latin America and the Philippines. It has taken many names in countries where it’s popular, and Guatemala has its own version of it in the form of Caldo de res.

Jocon is another traditional Guatemalan dish that hails from Huehuetenango, a city and municipality in the country’s western highlands. It’s popular among the Mayan population since the dish itself is heavily influenced by its people. Also known as jocon de pollo, the recipe uses chicken stewed in a green sauce made with cilantro and tomatillos. It’s then thickened with ground pumpkin and sesame seeds and served with corn tortillas, rice, and avocado slices.

Pepian de Indio, is recognized as one of the national dishes of Guatemala. This chicken stew is also said to be the ultimate Guatemalan comfort food. With its tender cuts of chicken cooked in a lightly-spiced tomato sauce and mixed with toasted pumpkin seeds and chili sauce, it’s hard to argue with that. Its origins date to pre-colonial times when the Mayans grew crops such as corn, beans, chilies, squash, and tomatoes, which are the basis of their cuisine. But the key to the delicious nutty flavor of pepian de indio is the pan-roasted pumpkin and sesame seeds that are ground into a fine powder and mixed in the sauce to give it that smooth velvety texture.

Kak’ik is one of the most popular Mayan dishes in Guatemala and is also recognized as one of the country’s dishes of intangible cultural heritage. It’s a type of turkey soup cooked in a lightly spiced red broth. This popular Guatemalan turkey soup is traditionally prepared by using native turkeys, tomatoes, cilantro, chilies, and achiote which gives the soup its vibrant color.

If there’s one dish served during a specific holiday in Guatemala, that would be Fiambre. Widely regarded as a Guatemalan national dish, fiambre is a unique salad prepared and consumed yearly for All Saints Day (Dia de Todos Santos) and the Day of the Dead (Dia de Los Muertos). Fiambre was believed to have started when families tending their dearly departed’s graves would bring food – usually what their loved ones enjoyed when they were still alive – and share a meal. They believe this reignites their connection with them. With Guatemalans known for being warm and friendly, they eventually share what they have with other neighboring families visiting their gravesite, creating fiambre in the process. Fiambre translates to “cold meat” or “cold cuts” in Spanish. It’s an assembly of various ingredients on one big plate and served cold. A fiambre recipe involves an assortment of meats, cheeses, pickled relishes, and vegetables, which totals an average of around forty ingredients, making it worthy of being the mother of all salads.

Mole de platano is a traditional Guatemalan dessert that’s perfect for chocolate lovers. It’s made of mole, a chocolate sauce mixed with fried plantains, cinnamon, chili, and bell peppers sprinkled with sesame seeds. The dish has been deemed so important in the country’s culinary heritage that it was given Intangible Cultural Heritage status in 2007 by the Guatemalan Ministry of Culture and Sport.

Guatemala is considered the birthplace of chocolate. The ancient Mayans worshipped the cacao tree and its beans to the point that they referred to it as the “food of the gods”. Ixcacao was the goddess of chocolate and was often called upon to provide bountiful harvests. During the Mayan era, chocolate was consumed mostly as a bitter and spicy drink. To prepare, they would grind the cacao beans by hand and mix them with water, vanilla, honey, corn, and chili. Typically reserved for the elite, chocolate was regarded as a valuable commodity that was used as an aphrodisiac and a form of currency.

Atol de elote is a sweet and creamy corn drink that’s commonly sold in markets. Served warm and often seasoned with cinnamon or vanilla, atol de elote tastes similar to arroz con leche and could be described as a cross between horchata and corn chowder. Creating the silky-rich texture is traditionally done by grinding corn using a grinding stone or metate. Milk, sugar, and spices are mixed in a giant pot where the sweet concoction is heated before being served in cups.

Your investment: 

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)

Booking and refund options: 

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.

Payment methods: 

  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Bank transfer
  • Wise

Card & Paypal payments have a +4% fee.
To avoid this fee, please contact us for payment by bank transfer.

What is included: 

  • 9 nights accommodation
  • 1 or 2 yoga or meditation classes per day
  • Yoga mats
  • Breakfasts
  • 3 vegetarian meals a day during our stay at the Yoga Retreat Center
  • Acatenango Vulcano Sunrise hiking tour (overnight at the base camp) with a local guide
  • Indian Nose sunrise hiking with a local guide
  • Tzununa permaculture farm tour and Waterfall hiking trip with a local guide
  • Visit Love Probiotics
  • Visit Panajacel
  • Sacred Mayan Cacao Ceremony
  • Watch the release of baby sea turtles
  • Entrance fees
  • National park fees
  • Airport transfer on the arriving and leaving day
  • All transportation for included activities

What is not included: 

Additional Information: 

The quetzal is the currency of Guatemala, named after the national bird of Guatemala, the resplendent quetzal. In ancient Mayan culture, the quetzal bird's tail feathers were used as currency. It is divided into 100 centavos or len in Guatemalan slang. The plural is quetzals. There is no ATM or bank in the smaller places.

Duration: 10 days / 9 nights
Deposit $350.00
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