Every year thousands of yogis and yoginis make their way to Central America to breathe in the serene beauty of a tropical landscape and breathe out the stress of their everyday lives. Central America hosts some of the finest yoga retreats in the world where many go to incorporate the meditative practice into their vacation. Aside from the world class yoga, these retreats offer hiking through the gorgeous wilderness to historic sites, swimming in crystal clear water and a whole variety of other activities.
Pura Vida in Pavas de Carrizal, Alajuela, Costa Rica
Pura Vida is a meditation retreat surrounded by coffee plantations in the Alajuela province of Costa Rica, which is just about 45 minutes from San Jose. Visitors can opt for the three, five or seven night Mind and Body Spirit Package, enjoy the Pure Life Cleanse or attend one of many wellness workshops. Though many go there for the yoga, there are more than a few who go to this resort merely to enjoy the sights and the extensive spa treatments. The Mind and Body Spirit Package includes accommodations, meals and yoga and meditation sessions daily, as well as a one-hour long massage for every day of a visitor's stay. However, the five and seven day packages also include several eco-adventure tours to beautiful places like Poas Volcano as well as guided hikes around the rainforest. Accommodation options range from deluxe tents with carpeted floors to the more luxurious suites with Jacuzzis and private Bali-style showers. The spa features Shamanic healing sessions, deep tissue massages, aromatherapy and a variety of water therapies.
Villa del Olas in La Libertad, El Salvador
Villa del Olas is built into a cliff on the Pacific coast of El Salvador near the town of La Libertad. The resort itself is made up of a Moroccan-style villa and a smaller casita. The villa itself has five bedrooms, which includes a master suite and five bathrooms, so visitors are sure to get a secluded feel should they desire it. The casita has a cozier feel to with only one bedroom, bathroom and kitchen, making it a perfect option for couples. With numerous peaceful gardens and balconies overlooking the ocean, visitors don’t need meditation to feel at ease. However, the resort offers yoga retreats and packages that take place on the villa's rooftop terrace, a large tiled area with a thatched palm roof and exceptional ocean views. Visitors to this resort are also granted exclusive access to the grounds, where they can indulge in private beaches (where some yoga classes are also hosted in the mornings), saltwater pools and jungle walking trails. This particular area of ocean is also renowned for its surf, so many visitors often opt to combine yoga and beach time with private surfing lessons offered by the villa. There is also an option to arrange overnight surfing excursions to some of the nearby surf hotspots. Due to the limited room count, this is a great stay for yogis who really want a personal and secluded touch to their yoga retreat. The villa can also be rented out to yoga groups up to fifteen people, so it may be closed to other visitors at times.
AQUA Nicaragua in Playa Gigante, Nicaragua
AQUA Nicaragua is located on a secluded beach in a tropical dry forest along Nicaragua's Pacific coast. The resort lies where Nicaragua meets Costa Rica, so it is just two and a half hours from Managua and one hour from San Jose. For those yoga enthusiasts who truly crave a natural getaway, the resort itself is almost completely comprised of deluxe tree houses that harmonize with nature. The tree top villas are made of natural hardwood and stone, combining a sophisticated atmosphere with environmentally friendly lodging. Most of the villas have ocean views and some are even set up right on the beach. Visitors will be greeted daily with colourful tropical birds and howler monkeys that swing through the treetops. However, the daily opportunities for wildlife viewing are not the only attraction to this resort. There are many yoga and wellness retreats scheduled at AQUA throughout the year, as well as group and private classes that visitors can attend daily in the resort’s large open air platform. For those that want to engage in other vacation activities, there are a whole slew of extra adventures to undertake such as surf lessons, volcano hikes and city tours.
Ak'Bol Resort in Ambergris Caye, Belize
The Ak'Bol Resort is located off the coast of Belize on the island of Ambergris Caye. Visitors are surrounded by beautiful views of island jungle and the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. The resort itself offers small beachfront casitas and hosts a yoga palapa that cannot be beat. Yoga retreats are scheduled all year round, however, visitors not on a retreat can also book the Yoga Adventure package which mixes daily yoga with a number of water sports. The meditative practice in question is held in the resort’s beautiful palapa. What makes this yoga surface so special is that it is located 90 metres offshore in the middle of the turquoise ocean. This palapa was built over the sea to give yogis the most beautiful and peaceful sessions of yoga they will ever have in their lives. What's better is that after a particularly strenuous session, or just for the fun of it, visitors can hop right into the waters from the palapa. This is a perfect way to start the day, or to end it. Aside from yoga, visitors can enjoy diving or scuba diving, sailing, kayaking or exploring Mayan ruins.
Isla Verde in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
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Isla Verde encourages a sense of peace and tranquility in all who visit. This resort overlooking the beautiful Lake Atitlan is a popular venue for yoga groups. However, the Isla Verde also offers yoga classes for individuals who stay there. The large open air facilities at Isla Verde can fit up to 70 yoga mats comfortably, making it perfect for large yoga retreats. It also hosts a small enclosed room that can fit 25 mats for a more intimate session. Guests are also invited to enjoy the numerous gardens on the grounds and the lakefront swimming area. Accommodation ranges from cabins with either private or shared bathrooms or stylish and spacious apartment for families or larger groups. All rooms come equipped with colourful Mayan fabrics and a noise free environment to ensure a peaceful night’s sleep. Visitors can enjoy hikes to high canyon waterfalls, go for a paddle in the glassy lake or take to a hot spring in one of the neighbouring villages. The resort also hosts a series of educational and immersive classes on Mayan culture, salsa dancing, permaculture and traditional Mayan arts.
Anamaya in Montezuma, Costa Rica
Anamaya Body, Mind and Spirit Resort in Costa Rica has been a haven for yoga types for years. The resort's name, Anamaya, means "good health" in Sanskrit, which is the resort's number one focus. The resort offers an infrared sauna, which gently cleanses the body by encouraging it to release its harsh toxins without putting undue stress on the respiratory system. Anamaya offer meals made from organic ingredients, luxurious spa services and daily yoga classes to melt away stress and anxiety. The resort boasts beautiful beaches and a saltwater infinity pool. Anamaya is one of the most popular places for yoga groups to book retreats, however there is something there for the individual yogi as well. It hosts two open air yoga platforms that look out over the lush green rainforest or the deep blue ocean. Visitors can enjoy surf lessons, leisure time in hammocks and some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world.