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

About This Event

Find yourself in a magical setting in the forest.  Watch the sun rise over the volcanoes. Practice meditation & yoga in an open-air shala with breathtaking views of Lake Atitlan. Gather for intimate and honest expression and sharing with brave and beautiful women in sacred circle. Indulge in delicious vegetarian meals. Join night ceremony by candlelight. Fall asleep to the natural rhythms and sounds of the forest.

A Sacred Women's Journey:

Imagine a week of inspiring landscape, higher perspectives, and beauty all around. We'll take a creative and spiritual journey through meditation, yoga & self-exploratory writing and more at The Yoga Forest in San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala. 

We invite you to pause and exhale, take an honest and creative journey inside, and connect with your inner voice.  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 Sacred Expression Women's Retreat has been listed among the top five recommendations for 'Incredible Writing Retreats to Attend' for three years in a row (2018, 2017, 2016) by The Write Life.

A Surreal Location:

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala captures the heart of many travelers, with its volcanic peak panoramas, spectacular lake, small rural villages and local indigenous Mayan culture.

San Marcos la Laguna is a small Mayan village on Lake Atitlán in the western highlands of Guatemala. It has become a Mecca for international travelers attracted by its beauty, tranquility and diverse options for spiritual exploration and therapy. It is often quoted as the most naturally attractive and peaceful village on the lake. 

In the rural highlands of Guatemala, The Yoga Forest perches high in the jungle overlooking Lake Atitlan and three majestic volcanoes. A stunning location hidden away in the valley behind San Marcos La Laguna, The Yoga Forest offers beautiful shared cabins with comfortable beds, panoramic views, delicious vegetarian meals, yoga, and Mayan sauna in dream surroundings. Inspired by the creative union of yogic and permaculture principles, this location provides an eco-friendly living experience in harmony with nature for the adventurous of heart.

The Yoga Forest is a 2o minute gorgeous hike into the valley from San Marcos, with an entrance of stone steps leading up, up to this surreal spot, where the adventurer is richly rewarded with dreamlike views over the lake and volcanoes. A basic level of fitness is good.

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.  

What's Included: 

Daily guided meditation & yogaDaily self-exploratory writing sessions9 nights accommodation at The Yoga Forest (shared - 4 people)*Delicious vegetarian breakfast, lunch, & dinner3 ceremonies to complement our journeyMayan Sauna

Basic Gratuities for Staff 

All taxes

Not included

Flights Transport to & from the retreatTravel insuranceExtras during your break ((contact info blocked) massages and other spa treatments)Tips for Local Staff

Payments, Cancellations, & Refunds Policy

A $450 deposit is required to reserve your space. The balance is required 30 days prior to the retreat start date. If you cancel before 60 days in advance of the retreat start date, 50% of the deposit is refunded. If you cancel 60-31 days in advance of the retreat start date, 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 30 days of the retreat start date, no refund on payment is provided. 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 30 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.
Travel Insurance
To protect your investment (including travel costs) against unforeseen circumstances, travel insurance is strongly advised for all participants. Providers such as Travel Guard offer packages (travel, medical, cancellation) with "cancel for any reason" options that must be purchased within 15 days of buying airline tickets or incurring trip costs.

Suggested Packing List
Bring a backpack or duffel bag (rather than a wheelie suitcase) and a spirit of adventure! Please bring your own biodegradable toiletries, a towel, and layers of clothing to suit varying temperatures during the day and night. Natural insect repellent is nice to have and a headlamp is a necessity. Hiking or running shoes are handy for walks in the valley. The Yoga Forest is a 20 minute hike out of town, so we advise bringing anything you might need on hand. There is one ATM in San Marcos and none of the businesses take credit cards so we advise you to arrive with a modest amount of cash for extras. Please note that neither Storyteller Within nor The Yoga Forest are responsible for any loss, damage or theft to personal items.
I spoke truths that I previously never dared. I danced, stomped, howled at the moon, cried, felt alive in ways I didn't know were possible, profoundly connected to myself and other beautiful women, and emerged with a light inside of myself that continues to shine brightly even a month after returning to ‘real’ life. (Ellen)

Event Highlights

  • Surreal & inspiring location with panoramic views
  • Daily morning meditation & yoga practice
  • Daily self-exploratory prompted writing sessions
  • 3+ sacred healing ceremonies (eg. Mayan Fire Ceremony, Sound Healing, Cacao, Dance & Movement)
  • Scenic outdoor thatch-roofed yoga shala & writing space
  • 3 delicious organic vegetarian meals/day
  • Mayan sauna
  • Permaculture tour upon request
  • Breaks for swimming, hiking, kayaking, therapies, visiting villages
  • 9 nights stay in shared, beautiful eco-friendly cabanas
  • Intimate Women's Gathering: Maximum of 12 participants
  • Meditation, yoga, and our intimate sacred circle for writing will be women only and privately held. Meals will be shared with other guests, women or men (the retreat center holds 20-30 guests, including our group).


Sample Daily Flow:

Guests may arrive to The Yoga Forest on Thursday, July 25th (check in is 3pm) to relax and settle in. We'll open our circle in the evening.

Our daily flow will begin on Friday, July 26th. Thereafter, our days will generally be structured in the following way, creating space for a couple of long breaks during the week to relax, hike, swim, or explore the village(s). We'll hold sacred evening ceremonies and gather around fire.

6.30am-7am: Meditation

7am-8.30am: Holistic hatha flow / vinyasa flow

8:30am-9:30am: Delicious breakfast

10am-12.30pm Spontaneous writing exercises / discussion

12.30pm-1:30pm: Delicious lunch

3.00pm-6.00pm: Spontaneous writing exercises / discussion

6:30pm-7:30pm: Delicious dinner

7:45pm: Sauna, circle, or healing sessions (some evenings)

Delicious meals are vegetarian, and organically grown.

We'll include a couple long breaks during our week to relax, hike, swim, or explore the village(s).

Venue Highlights

Spectacular forest eco-adventure location with dreamlike volcanic views
Scenic lake-side thatch-roofed yoga temple & writing space
Stylish cabins made of bamboo, cypress, adobe and thatch roofs
Mayan sauna, hammock and relaxation spaces in nature
Forest gourmet meals made with locally sourced vegetables, fruits and greens
On-site permaculture practices
Hiking, kayaking, swimming and excursion opportunities


A stunning location hidden away in the valley behind San Marcos La Laguna, The Yoga Forest offers beautiful shared cabins with comfortable beds, panoramic views, delicious vegetarian meals, yoga, and Mayan sauna in dream surroundings.

Shared Cabanas (up to 4 people):

Made of bamboo frames, adobe walls, cypress, and thatched palm roofs, each cabana features Guatemala furniture, Mayan fabrics, and Indian textiles. There are no private bathrooms. Showers and compost facilities are outdoors with beautiful views. Cabana living is attuned to the natural electricity-free rhythm of day & night, with solar power only.

Private Rooms - Radha & Krishna:

With wonderful views of Lake Atitlán and the surrounding volcanoes, private rooms Radha & Krishna are located under Shakti Shala and accommodate one or two people in a queen size bed. The beds are comfortable with warm feather duvets and pillows, and decorated with Guatemalan cushions. The rooms have an outdoor deck area for relaxing. There are no private bathrooms. Showers and compost facilities are outdoors with beautiful views. Living is attuned to the natural electricity-free rhythm of day & night, with solar power only.

Private Petite Cabins:

With wonderful views of Lake Atitlán and the surrounding volcanoes, these new petite private cabins have a queen bed and single day bed. The beds are comfortable with warm feather duvets and pillows, and colorful Guatemalan touches to make your stay cozy. There are no private bathrooms. Showers and compost facilities are outdoors with beautiful views. Living is attuned to the natural electricity-free rhythm of day & night, with solar power only.


  • Spa
  • Sauna
  • Kitchen
  • Tour Assistance
  • Coffee/Tea
  • Cafe
  • Yoga Studio
  • House-Keeping

Menu Types

  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian
  • Ayurvedic
  • Gluten Free
  • Dairy Free
  • Nut Free


All meals are vegetarian. The Yoga Forest is dedicated to growing food organically and understanding the organic nature of our relationships to our food, our environment and the people within it.


The closest international airport is Guatemala City, four hours away from San Marcos La Laguna. The village of San Marcos La Laguna is easily accessed via shared shuttle or private shuttle.

Guests are advised to fly into Guatemala City by noon on July 25th and book return flights for late afternoon on August 3rd, or the following day.

We can arrange private shuttle transport to San Marcos La Laguna (which can often be shared) from the airport or nearby hotel. We can also recommend options for additional overnight stays in San Marcos, Antigua or near the airport.

It's recommended, budget and schedule permitting, to stay at the lake for some extra time and enjoy the beauty it has to offer.

Tags: adventure escapes meditation selfexpression spirituality womensretreats writing writingretreats yoga yogaretreats

Thank you!

We're glad you've joined our retreat community. See you around :)

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Why Retreat?

We asked people why they go on retreat, here's what they said:

My last retreat at SMC was so inspiring and so relaxing. But i'd love to have more time there to spend at the Stupa, visit the Kami shrine, and generally interact with the beautiful enlightened society happening on that entire land. Brett

Retreat Guru's Vision

We believe human beings are innately wise, strong and kind. This wisdom, although not always experienced, is always present. Going on retreat is a beautiful way to reconnect to our basic sanity and health. Our aspiration at Retreat Guru is to inspire people to experience authentic retreats and reconnect with their innate wisdom, strength and kindness.

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