Join Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat on a unique retreat in exotic, coastal Panama! This retreat combines Spanish instruction, yoga practice, a beach setting, and local culture. It is suitable for all levels of yoga and for Spanish beginners, as well as those who want a review. Top this off with comfy, eco-friendly accommodations and healthy, home-cooked tropical fusion meals prepared by a master chef, and you have the makings of an unforgettable holiday getaway.
During the retreat, you will be accommodated in Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat for five nights and in Riande Granada Hotel in Panama City for one night (breakfast included).
Nestled among the trees, each of the seven bungalows at Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat blends seamlessly into the natural backdrop of the jungle that surrounds the property. Each bungalow features balconies with seating and hammocks, pillow-top orthopedic mattresses, air-conditioning, ceiling fans, mini-refrigerators with complimentary drinking water, luxurious linens, and private bathrooms with hot water showers.
The property has free Wi-Fi in a central gazebo with hammocks, a living room with air-conditioning, a walking meditation labyrinth, a roofed 80 square meters yoga studio, and an outdoor restaurant. You will be just a five-minute walk from the beautiful Playa Grande beach and have the sounds of the forest lull you to sleep.
Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat is located on four acres of land, an acre of which is intact rainforest. You can enjoy the wilderness by taking a stroll on the property's short walking trail to a natural pond on the property. The pond, home to a family of dwarf caiman, flows into a creek that runs through the property and around the yoga studio, eventually working its way to the beach.
The property hosts a variety of fruit trees, some were recently planted and many already producing. Fruit trees include three varieties of mangoes, cashew nut, orange, mandarin, grapefruit, star fruit, guava, soursop, rambutan, avocado, tropical plums, custard apple, sapodilla, jobo, hicaco, dragon fruit, and two varieties of limes. Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat proudly serves these fruits to you and have incorporated them into their menu.
Besides their two children and boxers, Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat shares their property with other wildlife, including tamarin monkeys, iguanas, colorful toucans, motmots, crimson back tanagers, yellow-bellied flycatchers and blue tanagers, and dwarf caiman, amongst others. They are also in close proximity to a private forest reserve that is home to deer, jaguarundis (small rainforest cat), coatis, sloths, agoutis, and other wildlife. You will be awakened in the morning by flocks of parakeets flying overhead and go to sleep to the sound of frogs singing from the creek.
During the sessions, you will experience a stimulating yoga practice while receiving ample amounts of Spanish language input. You will then be able to apply what you have learned during carefully designed, yet fun, communicative activities and on excursions to restaurants, to a traditional marketplace, to a village of the Embera (one of Panama’s indigenous cultures), and to the sites that you will visit on a tour of modern Panama City.
This retreat won’t be go, go, go all the time. There will also be plenty of time to relax, to swim in the Pacific (just a five-minute walk from the retreat center), to stroll along the pristine and deserted beach, or to just swing in a hammock. Additionally, there are the options of massages and SUP (stand-up paddleboard) instruction. No matter what you choose, your body, mind, and soul will be refreshed, rejuvenated, and energized by the end of your stay.
Brenda gives workshops in mindfulness, Tai Chi, and yoga to both kids and adults. She has been teaching K-12 students in international schools over the past 25 years. She studied Tai Chi and qigong in China, Taiwan, Malaysia, and the U.S and has a professional license through the National Qigong Association. Brenda is also a Yoga Alliance licensed yoga teacher with additional certifications to teach yoga for kids, yoga for teens, yoga for stress relief, and Restorative yoga. She has given workshops and retreats all over the world, most recently in China, Panama, Ethiopia, and Aruba.
Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat is located in Playa Grande, a rural beach community on the western edge of the Panama Province in the Republic of Panama. The venue is an hour and 15 minutes away from Panama City and 10 minutes from the town of Coronado. It is secluded but not isolated. If there is anything that you forgot from home it can probably be found in Coronado where you will find supermarkets, pharmacies, shops, as well as a modern clinic with English-speaking doctors.
Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat is a five-minute walk to a secluded beautiful beach. As you approach the beach, the last two minutes of the walk are through a jungle trail with the warm tropical Pacific Ocean waiting for you. Something that attracted the owners to the area is the miles of black and white sand beach that has plenty of natural shades from the rainforest that grows close to the water’s edge.
The beach is a great swimming beach and almost always calm except on the rare occasion when storms can produce a powerful shore break. If you wake up early, you can see the sunrise over the ocean and the local fisherman and lobster fisherman bringing in the catch of the day. You may run into Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat’s staff buying your afternoon lunch as well. The beach is also a nesting ground for marine turtles that come to these shores once a year to lay their eggs.
Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat is 30 minutes away from El Valle, a picturesque town nestled in the crater of an extinct volcano. In El Valle, there are some beautiful hikes in the cloud forest, hot springs, horseback riding, a butterfly farm, a zip line, and an artisan and fruit / vegetable market, amongst other attractions.
Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat’s menu has been lovingly crafted by the owner and chef Sean Davis, a graduate of a prominent cooking school in New Orleans, Louisiana. They offer a tropical fusion cuisine that blends influences from Latin America, Caribbean, India, Middle East, the Mediterranean, North Africa, the Far East, South East Asia, Cajun, Southern US, and the Pacific Rim Islands. Most of the meals are vegetarian or fish and seafood based. However, they can easily accommodate you who are gluten-free, vegan or require substitutions because of food allergies.
Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat’s meals are created from what they have grown organically and supplemented by what can be purchased locally. They make every effort to maintain a light carbon footprint and support local farmers and fisherman, buying the high majority of their produce and seafood within a 20-mile radius.
From the airport, take either a bus or a taxi to the Albrook Bus Terminal. From the Albrook Terminal, you can take a bus to Chame or Anton (they leave every 15 minutes) and tell the bus driver you want to get off in Coronado. This will be a 1.5-hour bus ride. Coronado is a good place to stop and pick up some snacks for your room (there will be refrigerators in your rooms) and anything you may have forgotten at home. From Coronado, you will take a taxi to Istmo (around 10 USD). Once arrived, ask that taxi driver to park at the top of the hill at the designated parking area, and walk down to the reception.
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