Top Guatemala Retreats

Journey Into Sacred Expression Women's Writing & Yoga Retreat, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

About This Event

Find yourself in a magical, luxury setting at Villa Sumaya on Lake Atitlan. Practice meditation and yoga as we look out over lake and volcanoes. Gather for raw, intimate expression with brave and beautiful women in a sacred writing circle. Indulge in fresh, delicious meals. Relax in a hammock. Take a swim. Join candle-lit ceremony. Fall asleep to the lull of the lake beneath watch of the stars.

Retreat Highlights:

Inspiring lakefront location with expansive volcano views
Daily meditation & yoga practice
Two self-exploratory writing circles on most days
Scenic lake-side thatch-roofed yoga temple & writing space
8 nights stay in shared or private accommodation
3 delicious organic vegetarian meals/day and juice bar
3 sacred healing ceremonies (eg. Mayan, Sound, Dance)
Solar hot tub and on-site spa services
Breaks for swimming, hiking, kayaking, therapies, sauna, relaxing
Optional excursions (village tour, adventure)
Intimate group (maximum is 12 women)

Meditation, yoga, sacred ceremonies, and our intimate sacred circle for writing will be women only and privately held. Meals may be shared with other guests, women or men.

A Sacred Women's Journey:

Breathe and relax into lakeside luxury as we gather for an inspiring and beautiful week beneath the watch of volcanoes. Join a circle of women in the spirit of reclamation for a creative inner adventure through meditation, yoga, self-exploratory writing, and sacred ceremonies at Villa Sumaya in Santa Cruz, Guatemala. 

You are invited to take a brave and honest journey into your center to connect with your intuition and express from your core.  Created for all women who want to reveal their own truths, connect to their intuition, re-ignite their soul voice, feel empowered in their self-expression (whatever form it takes), and be inspired as the courageous storyteller of their own lives…this retreat is a gathering of women in the spirit of reclamation. 

 This retreat is not about ‘writing’ as a subject or art form. Every woman has a voice in her own life – we are gathering together to raise it up and own our self-expression. The Women’s Sacred Expression Retreat was listed #2 among ’31 Incredible Writing Retreats to Attend in 2017′ by The Write Life.

Stunning Location:

Cradled by rural highlands and lush forests, Lake Atitlan is a breathtaking beauty framed by three majestic volcanoes. The lake is known to attract travelers in search of soulful reconnection. Resting in a secluded lakeside cove, Villa Sumaya is an eco-chic sanctuary dedicated to rejuvenation, holistic practices, and preserving Mayan tradition.
This gorgeous location offers expansive views, inviting and comfortable accommodation, delicious and nurturing slow-food meals, juice bar cafe, on-site spa, solar hot tub, fair-trade boutique and wood-burning sauna in unparalleled natural surroundings. Villa Sumaya is an eco-friendly wellness center perfect for self-care, refreshing perspectives and renewing energies. 

Sample Daily Flow: 

Guests arrive on Friday, August 12th afternoon to relax and settle in. We'll open our circle in the evening after dinner. Our daily flow will begin on Sundat, August 12th.
Here's a sample schedule. Please note on two days, we will have only one writing circle to allow some space for excursions.
7:15-9:00 Meditation & Holistic Hatha Flow/Vinyasa Flow
9:00 Delicious Breakfast
10.00-1.00 Sacred Expression Writing Circle/Discussion
1:00-4.00 Delicious Lunch & Free Time
4:00-6.30 Sacred Expression Writing Circle/Discussion
6.30 - 7.30 Delicious Dinner
7.45 Sauna, Circle, Healing Ceremonies (some evenings)
Delicious meals are vegetarian. Chicken/fish ($7 extra per meal) and alcohol can be added to meals at your discretion.
Relax in a hammock and enjoy the views, swim in the lake, do a meditative walk on nature trails, receive a spa treatment, dip in the solar hot tub & pools, or detox in the sauna in daily breaks.
On two days, we'll hold longer breaks and offer optional group excursions - visits to villages or adventure options. 


Retreat guests will be staying in the beautiful rooms of the Maya Rose house (doubles and privates) or the Skyline Bungalows (privates). Maya Rose is a ranch style house with six unique rooms in a row. All of the Maya Rose rooms have private bathrooms with hot showers and outdoor patios with exceptional lake views. They are centrally located near the courtyard, dining room, gardens, and boutique. The Skyline Bungalows are up several steps , and will be available on a first come, first serve basis for women reserving a private room.

What's Included: 

- Daily guided meditation & yoga- Two self-exploratory writing circles on most days
- 8 nights accommodation at Villa Sumaya (double or private)
- Delicious vegetarian breakfast, lunch & dinner
- Unlimited tea/coffee service
- 3 sacred healing ceremonies (eg. Mayan, Sound, Dance)
- 60 minute therapeutic spa treatment of your choice
- One group wood-burning sauna
- Use of solar spa pools
- Gratituities for the local indigenous staff

Not Included:

- Additional options:optional excursions (approx $30-60 each)
- extra spa treatments, massages, or private saunas
- meal supplements (fish, chicken $7), alcohol
- WIFI access ($20 week)
- Flights & transport to & from the retreat
- Travel insurance (strongly recommended)

Getting There & Away:

The closest international airport to Lake Atitlan is Guatemala City La Aurora International Airport, three hours away from Panajachel on Lake Atitlan. From Panajachel, it's a ten minute scenic boat ride to the private dock at Villa Sumaya.
Guests are advised to fly into La Aurora Intl Guatemala City (GUA) by 1pm on the day retreat begins, and book return flights for mid/late afternoon on the day the retreat ends.
Once we have your travel plans, we can happily arrange your private transportation to Villa Sumaya from the airport, hotels nearby, or from Antigua.
Payments, Cancellations, & Refunds Policy
A $600 deposit is required to reserve your space. The balance is required 60 days prior to the retreat start date.


If you cancel before 90 days in advance of the retreat start date: 50% of the deposit is refunded. If you cancel 90-61 days in advance of the event, no refund of the deposit is provided, unless your spot can be filled within contract, and then 50% of the deposit is refunded. If you cancel within 60 days of the retreat start date: No refund on full payment is provided. But if we can fill your spot within contract, we'll provide a refund minus the full deposit. No refund is provided if you miss the event or part of it for any reason.

Storyteller Within reserves the right to cancel any program at any time. Retreats have final confirmation on or before 60 days out. If an event is cancelled, you will be fully refunded your retreat fees. Nevertheless, Storyteller Within is not liable for events beyond all control - such as natural disasters, political upheaval, or other such unexpected circumstances - that would necessitate cancellation of the event.

guatemala lake atitlan meditation sacred journey women womens circle womens retreat writing writing retreat yoga

Reviews     To review this event, visit the page for the venue or retreat leaders (above).

  • Samantha Turner   March 11, 2020

      Trip of a Lifetime

    Lake Atitlan is a magical place, and Villa Sumaya increased the joy of my stay tenfold. Incredible service, amazing food, and a staff of therapists and guides that I don't think you'll find anywhere else on the planet. Where else can you swim in a gorgeous lake at dawn, do yoga to start the day, hike, paddleboard or kayak after a meal made of every colour of the rainbow, have an astrology reading with the wizard on the hill, a meditative massage, or a sweat lodge ceremony in the afternoon, meditation at dusk, and then have the best sleep of your life? I'm coming back. Worth every quetzal :)

  • Jeannette Mueller   March 11, 2020

      A week to remember

    Villa Sumaya was my first experience leading and coordinating a retreat. Although there were miscommunications along the way and during the retreat the overall experience was great. Everyone loved the food, the rooms were clean and comfortable, an incredible view of the lake, friendly staff (we loved Jorge!) and a truly incredible family of healers. I was in awe after my sessions with Paula, Nirguna and Robert, and Thomas' ceremonies touch the hearts of all in our group. Alex who led our hikes was great, and if you have a chance to venture to Tzununa for the day there is an amazing permaculture farm called Atitlan Organics owned by Shad who is a wealth of knowledge. If you are interested in regenerative living its a great adage to any retreat. I'd love to see Villa Sumaya and Atitlan Organics collaborate more

  • Grāyson Waddington   March 08, 2020


    Such an incredible time had at Villa Sumaya in March 2020 ! I was part of a small group on a yoga retreat for my first trip to Guatemala and it is by far the most fulfilling, rewarding, and memorable vacation I've had! Food (vegan-friendly) was ALL incredible; staff incredibly helpful and accommodating; rooms well taken care of, clean, and tidy; services provided all memorable and life-changing; views and landscapes beautiful and unforgettable (several pictures taken). Waking up at sunrise and jumping into the most beautiful lake I've ever visited (outside of Canada) is the best way to wake up ever! Overall, an incredible experience that I would happily repeat if I am to return to Lake Atitlan, Guatemala ! All the best to Villa Sumaya and its future visitors!

  • Barbara   March 05, 2020

      Excellent Stay- feel Rejuvenated

    I can absolutely say I had wonder time in Villa Sumaya. Staff was friendly and Bilingual. This is a retreat center not a hotel. My room was simple but clean. My bed and pillows were comfortable. I was worried about not having enough activities scheduled throughout the day, I did have to add a couple more (it was additional). I was only there for 3 days personal retreat. I took yoga classes, had a massage, did the cacao ceremony, sweat lodge, and I also had an astrological reading done. The food was excellent. I can't wait to return. :)

  • Linsey Anne Twigg   February 14, 2020

      Fabulous stay, beauty beyond compare

    This place is amazing; it’s enchanting, the food is incredible and the staff are amazing.

  • Virginie Boudreau   January 21, 2020

      Perfect hideaway

    The spot is perfect. The view, the silence at night, the room comfort, the yoga room, the nature... I had the individual yoga retreat with Paola who is the best, talented yoga teacher and also gives the sweat ceremony she knows from het Mexican background and also Mayan cacao ceremony. The vegetarian food is good and the Mayan people who work there are so kind. I recommend it for a beautiful and peaceful retreat.

  • Sydney Bergen   January 11, 2020

      A magical paradise

    I had the best stay at Villa sumaya. The staff were so friendly and accommodating , the meals were fresh, healthy and deliciously unique , the location is divine- private with access to hiking and directly on the lake , the body workers all had a specific niche and I enjoyed my treatments immensely! I love that it integrated local culture with comfort and cultivated a sense of community with all staying here. I highly recommend and hope to come back soon!

  • Sydney Bergen   January 11, 2020

      A magical paradise

    I had the best stay at Villa sumaya. The staff were so friendly and accommodating , the meals were fresh, healthy and deliciously unique , the location is divine- private with access to hiking and directly on the lake , the body workers all had a specific niche and I enjoyed my treatments immensely! I love that it integrated local culture with comfort and cultivated a sense of community with all staying here. I highly recommend and hope to come back soon!

  • Frannie James   January 08, 2020

      Ten Stars!!!

    Beautiful space! I was in a triple room, and it was fantastic - comfortable, cozy, clean AND fantastic view of the lake. I think all of the rooms have views of the lake, which is absolutely magical. The meals were fantastic - was asked at the end of my week to identify my least favorite meal and couldn't come up with an answer. The staff is super helpful and friendly. Overall, I can't think of a single thing that could be improved! Namaste, Villa Sumaya.

  • Ananda Yogiji   December 22, 2019


    We led a retreat here and it was wonderful. The lodging, food, location and staff are top notch. Highly recommend!

  • Adrian Gianforti   December 03, 2019

      Villa Sumaya Stay Thanksgiving Weekend

    I had a wonderful time at Villa Sumaya and would absolutely return. The only thing I'd change is staying longer considering Lake Atitlan can be tough to get to from Guatemala City airport and three days there was not nearly enough time. I appreciate the service staff's help and guidance during my time there. The food was INCREDIBLE as well! Absolutely worth mentioning.

  • Whitney Dupuis   November 09, 2019

      Most amazing place on earth!

    Villa Sumaya truly is the most amazing place I have ever been. The people, the lake, the rooms, the food, the energy, the gardens, the healers, the animals.....the list goes on. EVERYTHING about this place is beautiful. If you are even remotely thinking of visiting...It is a must!

  • Jennifer   October 28, 2019


    I was recently at Villa Sumaya for a Vinyasa yoga retreat, and it was an incredible experience. Villa Sumaya accommodations were amazing, beyond my expectations. The accommodations were beautiful and clean, the staff was super nice and always helpful. The food was healthful and delicious. The view of the lake is unbelievable. It can be a long travel day to get to this little piece of heaven, but it was completely worth it. This is truly a special and magical place to be, I can't wait to visit again.

  • Anonymous   October 27, 2019

      Fantastic Village and retreat center

    My teaching partner and I hosted a retreat of 19 people here and it was fantastic. The village the retreat center is located on is my favorite on the lake and the retreat center is very organized and incredibly safe. The staff is amazing and there are so many great details that go into making the place a very beautiful and serene place to disconnect. We hope to be back next year!

  • Brooke Brownlow   October 01, 2019

      We loved it

    My sister and I found Villa Sumaya when looking for a yoga retreat. She flew from California and I flew from NC. We booked a shuttle with the center's recommended company, Kan Tours, which was great. My sister's flight was a little delayed and when we finally exited into the arrivals lounge, Elias from Kan Tours was there waiting for us. I was worried that the delay may cause him hassle, but no. The drive was a bit more than 3 hours from the airport with a 10m boat ride at the end from Panajchel to the retreat. This place is paradise, truly. The instant we arrived, we relaxed. Our stay included 2 yoga classes with Michelle (who is so sweet and wonderful, a great yoga teacher, too!) We also engaged in a sweat lodge with Paola (another amazing activity led by yet another caring, genuine, down to earth practitioner). All in all, we loved it. The staff are so lovely and the center so very beautiful and peaceful. Oh, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention just how delicious the food was- every meal was a dance for your tastebuds! I'd recommend walking to Santa Cruz during your stay and visit CECAP, the work happening there is incredible and the high quality art and crafts one can find there are one of a kind. Really, if you want to unplug and get away from it all you'd be hard pressed to find something better than Villa Sumaya.

  • Ernesto Ortiz   January 22, 2015

      The Mirror of the Gods

    The mirror of the Gods I have been coming to Villa Sumaya for the past 10 years. I have gotten to know the owner and the employees quite well. Sometime I come with groups two times a year and I will continue coming again and again. Guatemala and Lake Atitlan are magical, the indigenous culture is strong and beautiful, that adds a lot for my group experience. Lake Atitlan is nicknamed The Mirror of the Gods, the name I give it is The Playground of the Gods. It is simply a magnificent location, a slice of paradise that you will fall in love with. Villa Sumaya is a refection of the spirituality and love of the owner for the land and the people. She has created a beautiful retreat center that nurtures your soul and your body. The Tara and Tiger temples are beautiful for any spiritual, yoga practice, The food is vegetarian and delicious, the rooms are perfect for a retreat place, many of them with majestic views of the lake and the volcanoes. The staff is friendly and always ready to help, it is uncommon to find one without a smile on their face. I highly recommend Villa Sumaya for a personal or a group retreat. You will absolutely love it. Ernesto Ortiz

  • Araminta Barbour   October 14, 2014

      Villa Sumaya Review

    Villa Sumaya is an incredibly beautiful & unique retreat space . It has been a delight to study and teach here. The staff are incredibly warm, helpful and talented and the temple spaces are inspiring and provide powerful containers for deep work. The rooms and bathrooms and all the spa features, gardens - EVERYTHING is brimming with attention to detail and love of beauty, elegance and colour. It is always such a joy to be at this magical lake!

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