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

Event Highlights

  • - Inspiring lakefront location with expansive volcano views
  • - Daily morning guided 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 Fire Ceremony, Sound Healing, Cacao, Dance & Movement)
  • - Solar hot tub, swimming pool, jacuzzi and on-site spa services
  • - Breaks for swimming, hiking, kayaking, therapies, sauna, relaxing
  • - Optional excursions (village tour, adventure)
  • - Intimate Women's Gathering: Maximum of 12 participants

Schedule

Daily Schedule:
Guests arrive on Friday, January 3rd afternoon to relax and settle in. We'll open our circle in the evening after dinner. Our daily flow will begin on Saturday, January 4th.
Here's a sample schedule. Please note on two days, we will have only one writing circle to allow some space for excursions.

7:30-9:00 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)

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 hiking/kayaking adventure options.

You will also participate in afternoon/evening ceremonies with guest facilitators as we stoke our soul voices and connect with our energies - such as Sound Healing, Traditional Mayan Fire, Cacao Ceremony, and Movement or Dance.

Guests are advised to fly into Guatemala City by 1pm on the retreat start day and book return flights for mid-late afternoon on the last day or the following day. We can provide hotel recommendations for stays in Antigua or near the airport before or after the retreat.

About This Event

Recommended by Lonely Planet Wellness Escapes. 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.

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 Journey Into Sacred Expression Women's Retreat is recommended by Lonely Planet, and has been named among "Incredible Writing Retreats to Attend" by The Write Life for five years in a row. 

More Retreat Program Details: 

Call in the four directions & feminine energy:

 The four directions (embodied by the serpent, the jaguar, the hummingbird, and the eagle) provide a thematic framework to inspire our sacred journey. They beckon you to an adventure of higher levels of perception and connection, to detach from self-limiting stories and come back to your heart and your courage. 

You are inspired to become more aware of how you influence your reality. You are invited to envision your life into greater beauty. You will plunge deeper into the center of your wild, knowing and beautiful feminine nature, calling her to rise in strength as we journey.

Meditate & practice yoga in nature:

With daily guided meditation and yoga, you reconnect with the direct sensory experiences of your breath and your body, and become increasingly aware of the power and influence of the energy you bring to each moment. 

Meditation and yoga support you to reach beyond your daily thoughts and become more present to the moment and to yourself. Through stillness and movement, you listen deeper within, open up, and release.

Allow raw creative expression:

In our women's circle, we raise inner journey themes and work through them with dynamic, reflective, and creative self-exploratory writing exercises. In addition to verbal writing prompts, we may bring in movement, images, nature, or sound. You will find that prompted writing gives you a key inside, and somehow you are more able to sneak past your internal filters to unlock fierce personal truths and insights. 

The circle provides a loving and encouraging space to free your inner voices, speak your experience, enliven your possibilities, spark your imagination, and connect more deeply to energies within and with each other. The alchemy is in the daring greatly - it's in the sharing. 

Explore and open y(our) stories:

With raw expression, we will play at exploring the inner stories that constrain us and limit our perception, such as character roles we play, limiting beliefs we animate, narratives we create and recreate, and the words that entrap us. You will open the possibility to transcend these ‘creative blocks’ of your creative energy. You will practice giving your feelings form, putting them into motion and expression so they can transform.

 You will play with the creativity of perspective, exploring how to rewrite your experiences, reclaim your narratives, and own your role as the storyteller of your life. You will let awe in and invite back mystery. As you explore your inner stories with honesty and compassion, you will feel your voice begin to emerge more authentic and true.

Gather in ceremony: 

We participate in evening healing sessions (sound, movement) and ceremonies for renewing wise and wild guiding energy. These will complement the writing journey in reclaiming your heart and soul voice.  

"I spoke truths that I'd never dared. I danced, stomped, howled at the moon, cried, felt alive in ways I didn't know were possible and profoundly connected to myself and other beautiful women." (Ellen)

What's Included

  • - Daily morning guided meditation & yoga
  • - Two self-exploratory writing circles on most days
  • - 8 nights accommodation at Villa Sumaya (private)
  • - Delicious vegetarian breakfast, lunch & dinner
  • - Unlimited tea/coffee service
  • - 3+ sacred healing ceremonies (eg. Mayan Fire Ceremony, Sound, Movement)
  • - One group wood-burning sauna and one night jacuzzi
  • - Use of solar spa pools and swimming pool
  • - Gratuities to local staff members
  • - All Taxes

What's Not Included

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

Venue Highlights

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.

Accommodations

Retreat guests will be staying in the beautiful rooms of the Maya Rose house or Ginger Suites 8 or 18.

Maya Rose is a ranch style house with six unique rooms in a row, each varying in size and having its own unique touches of colorful decor. 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 Ginger Suites are Villa Sumaya's most luxurious accommodation. Each suite features majestic lake-view balconies, elegant antique furnishings and modern stylized bathrooms. The Ginger Suites involve stairs so are not suitable for anyone with mobility issues.

Once all bookings are in, we will assign the rooms, doing our best to accommodate preferences.

Amenities

  • Spa
  • Sauna
  • Pool
  • Towels
  • Hot Tub
  • Coffee/Tea
  • Cafe
  • Restaurant
  • Yoga Studio
  • Ceremony Space

Menu Types

  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian
  • Pescetarian
  • Ayurvedic
  • Meat
  • Organic
  • Gluten Free
  • Dairy Free
  • Nut Free

Menu/Cuisine

Meals are vegetarian and gourmet. Chicken/fish ($7 extra per meal) and alcohol can be added to meals at your discretion. Many guests tend to purchase the Villa Sumaya cookbook PDF after spending time at the venue.

Directions

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.

If you'd like to spend time in Guatemala before or after the retreat, we can provide hotel recommendations for your stay near the airport or in Antigua. It can be beautiful to enjoy a little stay in Antigua.

Once we have your travel plans, we can happily arrange your private transportation to Villa Sumaya from the airport, hotels nearby, or from Antigua.

Private shuttles are $100 - $15/25 per person, depending on how many other guests you are sharing with. We can coordinate with other guests with arrivals or pick-ups at similar times.

The private shuttle will pick you up from the airport or your hotel for the three hour journey to Panajachel, where it will bring you to the boat dock.

From the dock in Panajachel, we can pre-arrange the a private boat ride for $25-$5/per person, depending on how many guests you are sharing with. You can easily get a public boat to the Villa Sumaya dock too (15 quetzals, or $3). The ride is fifteen minutes.

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Reviews  
  Write a review - tell others about your experience.

  • 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

      Wonderful!

    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

      Perfection

    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.

  • Shaelyn Delgado   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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Retreats inspire me to continue to practice and fuel my journey. I always find specified intention and feel it projects me closer to my purpose. Shannon
 

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