The Flow of the Retreat
The retreat is designed to allow you to deepen your yoga practice, immerse yourself in local culture, and connect with the community all while soaking up the majesty of Lake Atitlán. While the itinerary below captures the intention of the retreat, we may adapt the schedule to meet the needs of the group, the needs of the local communities, the weather, and other changing conditions.
You will be welcomed at the airport by a private driver who will take you on a one-hour drive to the beautiful colonial city of Antigua. Your driver will drop you off at our hotel, two blocks from the central plaza, and Kristin will orient you to the city. Spend the afternoon exploring the colors and sights of Antigua or resting after your long day of travel. In the evening, we’ll gather for a group dinner.
After breakfast at the hotel, we will take a three-hour drive through the Guatemalan highlands to the shores of Lake Atitlan. A private boat will bring us to Villa Sumaya Retreat Center, an oasis of peace and tranquility that has received accolades in Tashen's Great Yoga Retreats as well as in the Yoga Journal. Martha will welcome us at the dock and, we will gather together in gratitude on the shores of Lake Atitlan. We will enjoy lunch overlooking the lake and then will have the afternoon to relax and explore the gardens, paths, and views that make Villa Sumaya so special. Martha will guide us in an opening ceremony and grounding restorative yoga practice that will help us settle deeply into our retreat experience.
Our morning will start with meditation, and after breakfast we will receive an orientation from the Villa Sumaya staff. We’ll spend the day being nourished by the all the retreat center has to offer. You could relax in the tropical gardens, swim in Lake Atitlan, read by the dock, take in the volcanoes, schedule a spa treatment, rent a kayak, or hike nearby. We will practice yoga in the afternoon, and our evening program will include time for reflection, connection, and gratitude.
We’ll welcome the morning with a walking meditation and a yoga practice, and then we’ll hike up to the village of Santa Cruz to meet with leaders of Amigos de Santa Cruz, a remarkable NGO (founded by former Vermonter, Pat Thorpie). We’ll tour the village, learn about Amigos’ programs, and visit their handcraft shop. Graduates of Amigos' programs will teach you how to bead your own bracelet, weave a scarf, or cook a three-course Guatemalan meal. We'll return with enough time to relax at Villa Sumaya before dinner. Our day will close with a gentle yoga practice.
Our morning meditation will start on the dock and then those who are interested will continue their practice with a "mindful meander" along the shore of Lake Atitlan. After breakfast you are encouraged to soak up the beauty of the area in ways that make you feel most alive. Create the perfect day for yourself! Consider strengthening your connection to the natural world: relax in the gardens, paddle on the lake, explore the many walking trails in and around Santa Cruz, or simply be present to the magic at the retreat center. In the evening, we will explore the Maya understanding time and creation and you will learn your nuhaul--a symbol of your energy.
After morning meditation, lakeside yoga, and breakfast, we’ll have the rest of the day to explore the villages around the Lake. You could take a boat to Panajachel and browse in the many market stalls, visit the artistic community of San Juan, check out the beautiful pottery studios in Santa Caterina Palopó, go bird watching across the lake in Santiago, or stay at the retreat center and embrace the peace, stillness and ease. During our evening program we’ll integrate our experiences through movement and conversation.
We will savor our outdoor morning meditation and be uplifted by our yoga class. Breakfast will be early so that we can gather together in appreciation and participate in a Mayan fire ceremony. Fire ceremonies, often considered to be the heart of Maya spiritual practice, are beautiful two-hour events, full of color, fragrant incenses and flowers, and rich words. After the ceremony, you might want to revisit some of your favorite places or check out some things that you have not yet had a chance to do. Indulge in one of Villa Sumaya’s revitalizing healing treatments, take a sauna, hang out in your hammock, meditate in an ashram several towns away, hike to a restaurant perched on the cliffs, visit a nature reserve, go on a bird watching tour, hop on a public boat and visit a village, or get together with some other participants and book a private boat tour. After dinner, we will honor our final night at Villa Sumaya and celebrate all that we have received.
We’ll have our final morning meditation and yoga session at Villa Sumaya and then it will be time to say goodbye to Lake Atitlan. We’ll head back to Antigua and spend the afternoon visiting the handcraft markets and walking the cobblestone roads of this UNESCO World Heritage site. We will enjoy a final group dinner and then settle into our hotel nearby the airport.
We’ll take an early morning shuttle to the airport and, with our hearts full, we will travel back to the United States.
"The spiritual atmosphere and beauty of Villa Sumaya was another unexpected highlight. Wherever one walked, in a corner or crevice, one found a surprise, a spiritual connection, a beautiful color, a smiling buddha, a reminder of peace."