7 Days Meditation and Dynamic Yoga Retreat in Panama

  • Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat, Playa Grande, San Carlos, Panama

7 Days Meditation and Dynamic Yoga Retreat in Panama

  • Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat, Playa Grande, San Carlos, Panama

Awakening Meditation and Yoga Retreats Panama

Explore in depth the dynamics of practice, teaching, and meditation in the bright light of the Dynamic yoga training. It is a unique sensitization and awakening methodology that naturally and dynamically gives context, sense, and safety to every awareness practice and any yoga style. In the midst of lush tropical forest and only steps away from a secluded Pacific beach, immerse yourself in a generous and restorative practice to create a stable ground for self-practice and enjoyment.


  • Daily Dynamic yoga classes
  • Meditation and breathing practices
  • Lectures, workshops, and group assessment
  • Yoga posture practice class
  • 6 nights accommodation
  • Daily healthy meals
  • 6 days with instruction
  • Spanish, English
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The retreat center has seven air-conditioned bungalows all with pillows, top mattresses and luxury linens, private baths, and balconies with panoramic views of the property. The center can accommodate up to 22 people. Their facilities include a hardwood floor yoga studio surrounded by forest and a small stream, stand-up paddleboard classes or rental, a short nature trail through the forest on the property, a full size walking meditation labyrinth, and an air-conditioned living room which is a perfect place to hold intimate talks with your group, a gazebo with hammocks, family dining and bar area.

Each bungalow at the retreat center features balconies with seating and hammocks, air-conditioning, ceiling fans, mini-refrigerators with complementary drinking water, and private bathrooms with hot water showers. Stay connected with free wireless in their centrally located hammock gazebo. Enjoy a healthy breakfast before you begin another day in paradise.

Double rooms

A delightful oasis of comfort and tranquility, truly unwind when you enter their stand-alone air-conditioned bungalow that blends seamlessly into the natural backdrop of the jungle that surrounds the property. Istmo double room comes equipped with two full-sized beds, outfitted with pillow-top orthopedic mattresses and luxurious linens for your ultimate comfort.

Quadruple room

A spacious and inviting air-conditioned bungalow with plenty of comforts and amenities. Unwind in this soothing oasis, nestled amongst trees offering a seamless natural backdrop. With two bunk beds, each offering a full bed below and twin bed on top, both outfitted with pillow-top orthopedic mattresses and luxurious linens, there is a room for the whole family or group in these stunning accommodations.

This retreat offers a great opportunity to live a rich and profound experience in nature, learning, training, and deepening your awareness and well being while being fully supported by expert tutors. Whether you choose to enjoy this retreat as training immersion (personal or professional) or vacation retreat, you will be nourished with daily yoga and meditation practice, wholesome and delicious vegetarian food, silence, beautiful walks, ocean swims and views, time to relax and connect with yourself, and so much more.

The course

Based entirely on action and experience, this retreat or immersion constitutes a comprehensive grounding in yoga posture practice that can serve as a powerful basis for both satisfying self-practice and effective teaching. Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat offers you abundant hours of practice every day including three unique Dynamic yoga practice series with specific emphasis and benefits (individually adaptable) and a gradual development of meditation practice. Explicative and contextualizing talks, group dialogues, and special workshops to clarify techniques.

You will be provided with invaluable tools to fertilize your experience and deepen your understanding both of how to practice and what to teach. The course will be supported by abundant and comprehensive study materials and personal tutorials with the teacher. It is self-complete, open, and suitable for everyone, from complete beginners to advanced level, including experienced teachers of any style. You will find deep benefits from this retreat. Even if you are not interested in teaching, this course is completely relevant, helpful, and applicable to any activity, and any student or teacher dynamic.

All classes will be taught in English with some support in Spanish if needed. This immersion can be taken independently or as part of the 200 hours Dynamic yoga personal and teacher training course.

Dynamic yoga training method

The Dynamic yoga training method is a unique and revealing methodology of somatic self-inquiry that recalibrates body, mind, action, and perception. It uses soft rhythmic movements to prepare the body for genuine stillness in classical yoga postures, integrating the dynamic of the bandhas in your whole body, so that deep intimacy with breath, body, mind, and consciousness becomes effortlessly possible.

Deep, systematic sensitivity to sensation allows the natural alignment of inherent integrity to be generated directly by the body. No matter what your age, experience, flexibility, or strength, Dynamic yoga allows you to access and enjoy the eight limbs of yoga practice by flowing diligently from movement into deep stillness, and into the meditative mind explored in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

Sample schedule

  • 08:30 - 09:00 Breakfast
  • 09:00 - 09:30 Meditation and breathing practices
  • 09:30 - 12:00 Yoga posture practice class
  • 12:00 - 13:00 Relaxation and meditation
  • 13:00 - 14:00 Lunch
  • 14:00 - 16:00 Free time
  • 16:00 - 16:30 Meditation
  • 16:30 - 18:30 Lectures, workshops, and group assessment
  • 18:30 - 20:00 Yoga classes and teaching practices
  • 20:00 - 21:30 Dinner and rest
  • 21:30 - 22:30 Meditation (optional)
  • José Luis Cabezas

    José Luis is an expert in helping people and training professionals to access the intelligence of consciousness directly through the body. He is one of only two Senior Trainers of Dynamic yoga worldwide, having worked closely with Godfrey Devereux and The Dynamic Yoga Training Method for over 16 years. Appreciated for his vast experience and understanding of the dynamics of yoga, his wholehearted dedication and comprehensive, sensitive and down to earth way of teaching, José Luis has trained hundreds of teachers internationally.

This retreat will take place in Playa Grande, San Carlos, Panama. Istmo Yoga and Adventure is family owned and operated yoga retreat center located at Playa Grande, San Carlos. It is one hour and fifteen minutes outside of Panama City and 10 minutes from the town of Coronado. The property is situated on four acres of land, an acre of which is intact rainforest, it is a beautiful five minutes walk from the tranquil Playa Grande Beach, which is infrequently visited and has natural shade from the trees growing close to the water’s edge.

Nearby places

  • Coronado - 10 minutes
  • Panama City - 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • Playa Grande Beach - 5 minutes
  • Hiking trail nearby
  • Massage
  • Stand up paddle boarding
  • Swimming
  • Air-conditioned public areas
  • Air-conditioned rooms
  • Balcony
  • Bar
  • Beach nearby
  • Dining area
  • Hammock
  • Labyrinth
  • Yoga studio
  • Free parking
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Room cleaning

Three delicious meals, ovo-lacto vegetarian and made from fresh local ingredients, will be served daily. Drinking water and herbal teas are available throughout the day. Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat could accommodate various diets, from vegan to gluten-free, and everything in between.

Istmo's menu has been lovingly crafted by 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 their guests who are gluten free, vegan or require substitutions because of food allergies.

Their meals are created from what they have grown organically and supplemented by what they can purchase locally. Istmo makes 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 miles radius. During your morning walk, you may see them down at the beach on Playa Grande, buying the catch of the day for your dinner.

Beginners SUP class at Playa Grande

For first timers and beginners, Istmo offer a two hours introductory class at Playa Grande, San Carlos with 45 minutes of guided practice. The class will be focusing on safety aspects and SUP techniques followed by one hour and 15 minutes of supervised practice time. The cost is 40 USD per person with equipment included.

Embera indigenous village SUP visit

This tour includes a one hour or more paddling session down a beautiful calm river which meets Lake Gatun. You will have an ethno-cultural tour of an Embera village, dance show, and traditional lunch. The tour also includes return trip on a motorized dug-out canoe, and it is about one hour and 45 minutes drive. Istmo needs at least 48 hours advance notice to organize this trip. The price for two or more person is 130 USD per person while for a single person the price is 190 USD. Although this trip only includes a low impact paddle, previous SUP experience is required.

Farallon Island SUP tour

Paddle to and around beautiful Pacific Farallon Island known as the nesting ground for frigate birds and pelicans. At lower tides, you can paddle through a cave that traverses the island. The tour includes a one and a half hour paddle on the Pacific Ocean around Farallon Island and it is about 15 minutes drive from the retreat center. This is a generally low impact paddle, however, due to the unpredictable wind, it can become a more strenuous paddle. Intermediate paddling experience required. The price for two or more person is 70 USD per person while for a single person the price is 120 USD.

Lagunas de San Carlos SUP beginners tour

The Lagunas de San Carlos is a beautiful mountain lagoon surrounded by a forest area, making it the perfect place for beginner stand-up paddleboards to practice. The laguna is 45 minutes scenic mountain road drive from Istmo, and the temperatures are cooler due to the altitude. There is also a nice 45 minutes hike up to the top of the hill with nice views of the area. The tour includes transportation (45 minutes driving time each way) and two hours of SUP instruction and supervised paddle at the Lagunas. On the way back to Istmo, you will stop for lunch in Coronado (lunch will be at your own expense).

This tour leaves at 10:00 and you will return to the center at 14:30. The price for two or more person is 60 USD per person while for a single person the price is 95 USD.

Lake Gatun SUP adventure

Paddle around the rainforest islands and through the remains of a flooded forest on this man-made lake which is an extension of the Panama Canal. The tour includes transportation (one hour 20 minutes each way) and two hours of paddling on the calm fresh waters of Lake Gatun. On the way back to Istmo, you will stop for lunch at your own expense. The price for two or more person is 70 USD per person while for a single person the price is 120 USD. Although it is a low impact paddle, previous SUP experience is required.

SUP mangroves tour

This tour is an excursion to Chame Mangroves. The tour includes two hours paddle on calm water through beautiful mangroves, and it is about 30 minutes drive from the retreat center. Although it is a low impact paddle, previous SUP experience is required. This tour is tide dependent, and leave based on the tides. The price for two or more person is 60 USD per person while for a single person the price is 95 USD.

SUP rental at Playa Grande

At Istmo, they provide SUP board rentals for experienced paddlers. Board rental is 20 USD for one and a half hours. Paddlers are required to transport the boards to and from the beach. They do provide a hand trailer that can carry one to two boards.

Weekly yoga classes

Istmo offers weekly yoga classes for their retreat center guests. Their yoga classes are held every Saturday and Sunday starting from 08:00 to 09:15. The class fee is 10 USD per person per class.

At an additional cost, you can experience the benefits of massage therapy including reduced pain, improved pain, improved circulation, increased immune efficiency, enhanced focus, and more.

  • 3 daily lacto-ovo vegetarian meals
  • 6 nights accommodation
  • Access to all facilities at the retreat center
  • Daily housekeeping
  • Dinamic yoga classes
  • Meditation and breathing sessions
  • Unlimited herbal teas and water
  • Workshops and study materials
  • Additional activities
  • Travel expenses
  • Personal expenses

Driving directions from Playa Grande

  • The main street to Playa Grande off the highway is between kilometer markers 97 and 98 and has an arch over it that says “Playa Grande”.
  • The entrance to the property is 1.2 kilometers from the main highway.
  • On the Playa Grande road, stay to the left at the fork in the road, the entrance to the property will be to your left, in-between two small speed bumps on the road.
  • The will be a sign that says “Istmo” on the far fence of the entrance.
  • Please leave your car in the parking lot at the top of the hill, and walk down to the reception.

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Tocumen International Airport (PTY).

Arrival by taxi

From the airport, you can take a taxi to take you to the bus station from where to pick the bus to Coronado. From Coronado to the retreat center, you can hire a taxi which will cost you around 10 USD.

Arrival by Bus

From the airport, you can take a taxi to the Albrook Bus Terminal. From the Albrook Terminal you can take a bus to Anton or Penenome (they leave every 15 minutes), and tell the bus driver you want to get off at Las Uvas where the turn-off to El Valle is located - there is a big Delta Gas Station there.This will be a one hour and 45 minutes bus ride.

From the bus stop, you can cross the Inter-American highway using the pedestrian overpass and go right (away from Panama City) on the shoulder of the Inter-American highway towards the entrance to Playa Grande.

Turn into the entrance to Playa Grande - it will be on your first left - and walk down the street (staying to your left at the fork in the road) for around 15 minutes. The entrance to the property will be to your left, in-between two small speed bumps on the road. A sign that says “Istmo” will be on the far fence of the entrance. Walk down to the reception and they will be there to greet you.

You can also take a bus to Coronado and after the taxi until Istmo Retreat Center.

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 35% of the total price.
  • The deposit is fully refundable if the booking is cancelled up to 2 days before the arrival date.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 60 days before arrival.

Verified BookYogaRetreats.com reviews

  • K
    Review by Kelly Iannelli from United States

    Retreat Center is beautiful but far from all activities

    CONS Cons: So far from all the attractions and activities so we spent a lot of time on the road an average of 3 hours a day crammed into a pickup truck. My advice, give them some time to work out the kinks as they have only done the retreat a few times.

    PROS Pros: The yoga and the retreat center, ideal for a beach vacation but not close to other attractions.

    Organizer response: Dear Kelly, Thank you for your review. We are glad you were happy with our center, accommodations, and food. You are correct we do pack a lot into this weeklong retreat-night in Panama City, City and Panama Canal tour, mountain lagoon hike and SUP, mangrove forest SUP tour, mountain village and cloud forest hike, as well as the SUP paddle to the Indigenous village. The downside to experiencing all of this in one week is that there will be the transportation time to and from the activities. To be fair though, there is only 1 day when the travel time is close to 3 hours. The travel times to the destinations are as follows: Panama City to Istmo- 1 hour 45 minutes Mountain Lagoon- 40 minutes each way Mangrove Site- 40 minutes each way Mountain Village- 30 minutes Indigenous Village- 1 hour 45 minutes (the longest time spent in the car, also arguably the highlight for most retreat participants) We do appreciate your feedback and are considering eliminating one of the excursions to include a relaxing beach day to enjoy our beautiful retreat center and beach. Thanks again for your feedback

    2017-May-15 17:36:01


  • Review by Mark Mcnamara
    10 out of 10

    "I attended Sean and Ayesha's week-long SUP/yoga retreat in February 2017 and it was hands down my best vacation in recent memory. The tours, yoga practice, accommodations, staff and food were all so impressive, and I'm a picky eater. From the moment I got into Panama, I felt taken care of; I had transportation from the airport, a beautiful hotel in the city, and a city tour the next day with a great tour guide, Adolfo. The first couple of hours spent on their property, I felt years of tension melting from my body, helped immensely by an evening yoga session with Ayesha and a friend from down the street. The package I'd signed up for was advertised as providing vegetarian fare. Upon learning of my carnivorous ways, Sean and the marvelous Kleyberlin made sure to take good care of me. The food was delicious, and clearly prepared with a lot of attention to detail. Fresh fruit every morning, and the mandarin lime pie was...well, there are no words. Istmo is right down the street from one of the most remarkable beaches I have ever been to; soft black and white sand, warm water, bioluminescent waves at night, and the black sand sparkles under a flashlight at night. So cool! I could go on and on about what a great time I had. Highly recommend checking out Istmo for the whole week, but at least come by and experience the remarkable hospitality Sean and Ayesha are offering."

    BookYoga Retreats website, edited

  • Review by Lucapataro from Panama
    10 out of 10

    "From outside the hotel looks average but once you take a look inside, the rooms are very good, comfortable, and clean. Customer service is good. I recommend this hotel! Do take advantage of the yoga classes."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Cristiane Machado from Florida, USA
    10 out of 10

    "Istmo is a magical find in Panama. About 2 hours from Panama City and away from the noise and crazy of the gorgeous and yet busy city, I found a picturesque and Beautiful hidden gem in San Carlos at Playa Grande. Istmo is owned by the Sweet Ayesha and talented Shawn, who is also the chef. From negotiating our stay, to directions to get there and arranging transportation, Istmo was the best choice for one of my Retreats. All of my retreaters were completely satisfied with accommodations and beauty of space. "

    "The cabanas were quite adorable and well located (not easy access for wheelchair keep that in mind). Actually, the beds were the most comfortable I have slept in and natural sounds a lullaby to sleep to. The Beach has somewhat easy access (asphalt gets eroded by rains) and one of most beautiful black (with diamonds in it, I swear) beach I have never been too and completely "empty" and private. They also offer SUP and the ocean is quite easy to practice it. The sunset is breathtaking and so is the sunrise. "

    "Also, Shawn and Ayesha know the area well and suggested great outings. The Food was quite exquisite and prepared with love. An explosion of delicious flavors prepared by Shawn himself who prides to have a "cajun" New Orleans kick to it. The servers and staff were delightful and super friendly. Even the dogs, Luna, Mia and Sunny were a pleasure to be around (they get locked in case guests don't really are for their presence). The yoga room is encrusted among gorgeous trees making our practices a full retreat by itself. If I could, I would give it 10 stars. I will definitely come back!"

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Miranda Hale from Panama
    10 out of 10

    "Beautiful, tranquil surroundings only begin to describe this retreat. The hosts, the experience, the food, and accommodations exceeds your expectations!"

    Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat Facebook page, edited

  • Review by A traveler from Panama
    10 out of 10

    "It is a very friendly place, perfect to disconnect and relaxing. Yoga class is great and is placed near a lot of wonderful places waiting to be discovered. Owners are incredibly nice people. The place is dog-friendly too."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Annet Olyhoek from Netherlands
    10 out of 10

    "This is a beautiful place with lovely hosts. If you like nature, quietness, good food and a beautiful beach nearby (just seven minutes by walking) stay here! The host also provides very comfortable yoga classes! The accommodation, bungalows, beds, terrace, view, it is all amazing!"

    Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat Facebook page, edited

  • Review by Paula B. from Spain
    10 out of 10

    "Istmo is an amazing place full of good vibes, beautiful, clean, and surrounded by nature. Yoga classes are great and also an ideal place for practice. It has a beautiful garden too. Food, is delicious and the owners are nice."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Diane Rouxel from France
    10 out of 10

    "Beautiful place and nice people. I really liked the decoration of the room. The beach is really enjoyable! Food is good and dogs are friendly. Definitely going back for yoga, stand up paddle, and beach."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by a traveler from Panama
    10 out of 10

    "I led a weekend Qigong Retreat at Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat Center in San Carlos, Panama. The experience with the owners, Ayesha and Sean, was extremely positive from beginning to end. Although I dealt with Ayesha mainly through Skype and e-mail, I was immediately impressed by her warmth and willingness to troubleshoot any problems that arose. Her help started with setting up a Facebook page to advertise the retreat, continued with suggestions on prices, and advertising. Over the weeks leading up to the retreat, Ayesha continued to gently offer suggestions in a timely manner. "


    "Being only an hour and 30 minutes from Panama City, Istmo is conveniently located both for people living in Panama and those flying in from abroad, making it an ideal location for retreats. The center has modern cabins which can accommodate about 20 participants as well as the retreat leader. "


    "The area for classes is a screened-in room surrounded by greenery and well supplied with yoga mats, chairs, blocks, and four ceiling fans. "


    "I asked for vegetarian meals for the participants, but the option of fish and seafood is also available. The meals are cooked by Sean and are served buffet style at a long wooden table where the participants and group leader can get to know each other and share experiences. I was impressed by the fact that Sean so easily adapted to the gluten and sugar free requirements of a couple of the participants. What's more, the most frequently repeated word during the meals was “delicious”. "


    "For a small, reasonably priced retreat center at a tropical beach, I can't recommend Istmo enough. Sean and Ayesha offer a professional experience with a personal touch."


    "Room Tip: All cabins have a great view and a hammock on the porch."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Mohsin A. from United States
    10 out of 10

    "We had a wonderful stay with Sean and Ayesha, the owners and hosts of this charming lodge. The accommodations are clean and comfortable, with gorgeous trees and plants on the property. A lovely beach is five minutes walk, and access to the Pan-Am is easy - a really convenient location for Pacific beach access, or to head to El Valle, or the interior of Panama. Service was courteous and very helpful. They provided excellent suggestions about our Panama vacation, and arranged surfing lessons, as well as our next hotel reservation. Food was delicious, locally sourced, and healthy. Dinner every evening was a special treat, great food, tasteful ambience, and wonderful conversations! I already look forward to staying here on my next Panama trip."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Skye W. from Panama
    10 out of 10

    "It's a peaceful setting tucked away in the jungle yet a few minutes walk away to one of the most beautiful beaches. The food was delicious and the atmosphere very calm. Added bonus was the yoga studio! Surrounded by the jungle and hard wood floors. I loved it!"

    TripAdvisor website, edited

San Carlos, Panama

Istmo is Panama's premier yoga retreat center, located just steps away from a Pacific beach. Their packages are the perfect way to explore Panama and relax!

from --

7 days / 6 nights


Arrival: Monday October 9, 2017
Departure: Sunday October 15, 2017

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