More info about the 2021 retreat
Thanks so much for your interest in the 2021 yoga retreat to Guatemala. We have included lots of information here, organized by the topics listed in the menu below. If you have any questions, please get in touch.
Select a category below
What is the weather like?
How will we dress throughout the trip?
Your regular spring/summer clothes will be perfect for this getaway, and your typical yoga clothes will be all that is needed to participate in yoga and mediation classes. On excursion days, please plan to dress slightly more conservatively and to wear sturdy shoes. You will receive a packing list as part of your welcome packet.
Will I be able to do laundry?
Laundry services are available at the retreat center for about $8/kilo. Keepin in mind that you will need fewer clothes than you think!
What travels documents do I need?
In order to enter Guatemala, your passport must be valid for at least six months. If your current passport will expire prior to September 13, 2021, you will need to make arrangements to obtain a new passport. U.S. citizens do not need a visa to enter Guatemala. Citizens of other countries should check entry requirements.
What is the Guatemalan currency and how can I get it?
The Guatemalan Quetzal (Q) is the national currency. The easiest way to get Quetzales to use an ATM at the airport or nearby our hotel in Antigua; be sure to bring two different debit cards in case one is not accepted, and prior to the trip, notify your bank you will be traveling. If you want to bring U.S. dollars, the bills must be crisp, flat, and new. Some handcraft stores in Antigua accept credit cards.
Do I need to bring my yoga mat or any yoga props?
The retreat center will have mats and props for us to use. Of course, if you would like to bring your favorite mat, you are welcome to do so.
Do I need to bring a voltage adapter for my electronics?
Guatemala has the same electric current as the US, so no voltage adapters are needed. You can plug your phone/camera charger directly in the wall. However, if you are bringing something with a three-prong plug, you will need a two-prong adapter.
Are any immunizations required for travel to Guatemala?
No immunizations are required to enter the country. Please consult with a travel doctor or your physician for recommendations regarding immunizations and other medical situations. When discussing your travel plans with your doctor, it is important to mention that we will only be at Lake Atitlán and in Antigua.
Where is the nearest health center?
When we are at the retreat center, the closest hospital is in Sololá, about an hour away. There are several hospitals in Antigua. We encourage all participants to purchase emergency medical travel insurance so that if a situation arises beyond what can be treated locally, your can evacuated for medical treatment
What about stomach issues?
We eat at places that cater to travelers and offer the highest health standards possible. However, given the environment, some people do experience traveler’s diarrhea. Symptoms can range from just a squiggly-belly feeling to severe cramping and loose stools. Usually this resolves within one to three days. Some travelers like to take Grapefruit Seed Extract, charcoal tablets, or Pepto Bismol if they have stomach issues. Please talk to your doctor about specific recommendations for your situation.
Are there any other health concerns in the region?
Is there anything that might surprise me when I get to Guatemala?
You can not flush toilet paper in Guatemala. Instead, there will be trash baskets by every toilet.
What water will we be drinking?
The water in Guatemala is non-potable, so we will be drinking filtered and bottled water throughout the entire trip. Unlimited drinking water, tea and coffee will be available at the retreat center.
Can the program accommodate specific diets?
We will enjoy delicious, vegetarian meals at the retreat center; fish and chicken options are available for an additional $7 per portion. When we are in Antigua, the program includes meat or vegetarian entrees, whichever you prefer. If you have other dietary needs, please let us know.
What about safety?
A lot of what's written about Guatemala can make it sound very scary, especially if you have never visited before. While violence and crime is very much a problem in Guatemala, it is one that is generally isolated to certain areas and cities. We will not be spending time in any of these areas! For the majority of your stay, you will be in Santa Cruz, a very friendly and safe community. Other towns we might visit during the retreat, such as Panajachel and Antigua, are also very safe tourist destinations, though in those places it is recommended to keep a close eye on valuables as petty theft is more common. If you are worried about traveling to Guatemala, please contact us and let us know about your concerns. We likely will be able to put most of your fears to rest.
What types of transportation will we use?
We will hire private vans and buses for long drives, and we will use both private and public boats to get around Lake Atitlán. During our excursion days, we may be transported in vehicles owned or hired by the organization we are visiting, including pick up trucks. We also might hire small, three-wheeled vehicles called tuk-tuks for short trips around town. Most of the time we will be on foot!
Can I bring gifts or donations?
Thank you for your generosity! We won't be giving gifts directly to individuals; instead, a few weeks before our departure, we will ask our local partners what their greatest needs are and then we will share these "wish lists" with you. If you would like to contribute items from an organization's wish list or make a financial donation, it would be certainly be appreciated.
Are there additional expenses I should anticipate?
Please read the retreat description and the pricing guide carefully so that you are clear what activities are included, and what activities are optional and require an additional fee. Generally speaking, this retreat is designed to be an all inclusive journey. The only additional expense that we strongly encourage you to consider is gratuities for the Villa Sumaya staff; each retreat participant will be invited to contribute $8-10/day ($48-$60 total) which will be pooled and shared among the cooking staff, housekeeping staff, gardeners, and local managers. When considering your budget, please know that all activities not taken with the group (food, sightseeing, transportation, etc.) will be at your own expense. Other additional optional expenses include: wifi at the retreat center, fish and chicken at the retreat center, spa treatments, laundry service, kayak rentals, tours and activities that you might arrange through the retreat center, and of course any gifts and souvenirs you might buy to remind you of your time in Guatemala.
I'm considering staying after the retreat and exploring Guatemala a bit on my own. Can you make any recommendations?
Guatemala is a beautiful country and if you have the opportunity to stay after the retreat, we encourage you to do it! We can not offer trip-planning advice, but will provide a list of our favorite places upon request.
I've never done yoga before. Is this the right retreat for me?
Martha Whitney a gifted teacher who creates a class environment that supports all levels of students--from the beginner to the long-time practitioner. Martha will be leading each of the classes and she will offer suggestions and modifications so that you will feel comfortable and safe experiencing yoga for the first time. If you feel called to go on this retreat, follow your heart and join us!
I've been practicing yoga for years. Is this the right retreat for me?
Yes! Imagine connecting to your wholehearted self and deepening your practice with twice daily yoga classes. Imagine moving through a mindful flow of postures while gazing out on to Lake Atitlan and the three majestic volcanoes that encircle the lake waters. Imagine being inspired and engaged, with spacious time for rest, reflection, service, and exploration.
What types of meditation will be offered?
We will welcome each morning with a mediation designed to spark awareness and joy. From sitting in stillness to walking mindfully outside, we will we experience a variety of meditation techniques. Each of the meditation sessions will be suitable for those new to meditation as well as those who have an established meditation practice.
How fit do I need to be to participate in this retreat?
This retreat resonates with open-hearted, adventuresome, resilient women who have a curiosity about the world. While there is a certain rigor inherent in the landscape and the travel, the retreat is designed to gently and lovingly support and nurture a wide range of yoga and meditation experiences and physical capacities. On previous retreats, our community has included women ages 17-77! If you have concerns about your physical capacity and your needs for yoga class, or about walking up and down stairs, or getting on and off the boat taxis, we invite you to get in touch with Martha. She'd be happy to talk with you about what you can expect.
What will our rooms be like?
While you shouldn't expect deluxe accommodations, it is likely that you will be surprised by the beauty and character of each room. At the retreat center you will have your own warm, comfortable bed (twin, full or queen), a western-style bathroom, and a private patio from which you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Lake. Some rooms are cozier than others and some are newer than others, but all have a unique welcoming essence that will support your retreat experience.
Will I be able to room with a friend?
If you and your friend register together for a double room, the two of you are guarenteed a shared room. If you discover you have friends attending the retreat and deceide after you register that would like to room with one or two of them, please let us know and we will do our very best to make it work.
If I would like a single room, what can I expect?
We are able to offer a limited number of single rooms for those who would prefer more privacy. If you would like this option, please consider registering as soon as possible as the single rooms will be booked on a first come first served basis, and yet they can not be guaranteed until payment has been received. The private rooms in Antigua tend to be slightly darker than the shared rooms, but each of the rooms at our Antigua hotel look out into a beautiful courtyard. Several of the private rooms at Villa Sumaya are bungalows tucked into the hillside. The views from these private rooms make the steep climb worth it! However, if you have concerns about climbing a large number of stairs, please let us know and we will try to place you in a private room closer to the yoga studio.
I'd prefer not to climb many stairs. Which room type of room should I select?
The Gardenside Patio rooms require the fewest stairs are are closest to our yoga studio and the dining room.
How often will I have access to the internet?
Villa Sumaya charges its guests an additional $3/day for internet access. Our hotel in Antigua will have free wifi. Please note that the internet is not always dependable and it is typically quite slow.
"I've just put my $500 deposit in the mail today. I'm elated by my decision. Villa Sumaya and Lake Atitlan are beacons lighting my daily path. Committing to Guatemala March 2021 is a commitment to hold fast to my daily practices."
- 2019 Retreat Participant returning in 2021
Have more questions? Get in touch!
"My heart is full. Thank you!"
-Parent Participant, 2017