Guatemala: Volcanoes, Sugarcane and Yoga Mats


Yoga is all about finding an oasis of calm within yourself, but your surroundings certainly help, the more remote the better. Hence the appeal of yoga retreats.

If you’re going to retreat, you might as well do it properly. How about Guatemala, which is currently turning into a yoga and eco-tourism hotspot? The country is enjoying a stable economy (as of 1996) and is an ecological feast for the senses. Lake Atitlan is the obvious destination (shown above) – it’s already home to a community of yoga enthusiasts. And who can blame them, with that view to lower blood pressure and foster inner tranquility.

Options abound. The hotel, restaurant and retreat center Villa Sumaya offers…well, it’s quicker if you go here and look; the list is impressively extensive. There’s just 16 rooms, all – to this writer’s eyes – absurdly good value. (However, if you’re there to be part of a specific retreat, the price rises.) Less expensive is the Lake Atitlan Hotel, an eco-tourism project offering rooms as cheap as $35 a night – here is Responsible Travel’s write-up on Lake Atitlan.

A brief web-search unearthed umpteen yoga retreat packages for the area, all-inclusive and usually in excess of $1500 / week. However, if you’re feeling adventurous, design your own: find some suitable accomodation, find a yoga venue, ask around…be flexible (which is what yoga’s all about). 

Image: Villa Sumaya

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Mike Sowden

Mike Sowden is a freelance writer based in the north of England, obsessed with travel, storytelling and terrifyingly strong coffee. He has written for online & offline publications including Mashable, Matador Network and the San Francisco Chronicle, and his work has been linked to by Lonely Planet, World Hum and Lifehacker. If all the world is a stage, he keeps tripping over scenery & getting tangled in the curtain - but he's just fine with that.