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8 Days Compassionate Living Yoga Retreat in Guatemala

  • Villa Sumaya Retreat, Lake Atitlan, Santa Cruz La Laguna, Guatemala


Meditation and Yoga Retreat Guatemala

Living in the Self invites you to join this retreat that will allow you to take the time needed for self-care and reflection. Although this is a group retreat, it has been specially designed to offer personalized, individual attention and guidance to each and every participant. You will be guided by three teachers who have all committed their lives to self-inquiry, holistic health, and compassionate living.


  • Daily yoga classes
  • Daily meditation practices
  • Access to individual coaching sessions
  • Access to individual yoga therapy session
  • Compassionate communication sessions
  • Daily discourses and guided exercises
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Daily vegan meals

Skill level

  • Beginner

  • 7 days with instruction
  • English
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During this retreat, you will stay either in a shared or a private room. Villa Sumaya has 20 comfortable and tastefully decorated accommodations, two inspiring group studios, two majestic open-air lounges, an office or reading room, the harmony spa healing huts, and their very own Café Sumaya Sol.

All rooms have warm, inviting decor, private baths, outdoor patios, amazing views, orthopedic beds, and quality linens. You will also have access to the complimentary, solar-heated, stone hot tub oasis that is tastefully tucked above the garden lounge.

Maya rose house

The charming Maya rose house has six rooms varying in size and decor. The room two is next to the manager’s office on the veranda and the room seven is located farthest from the courtyard. All rooms include sensational lake view patios and are conveniently located near the courtyard, dining room, gardens, and boutique.

Skyline bungalows

The bungalows are handcrafted rooms with unique charm and gorgeous views. The Bungalow nine is the comfortable thatched-roof, lookout room with an expansive vista and rustic charm. Featuring a queen bed and a spacious bathroom built imaginatively into the hillside, it is a great room.

The bungalow 10 is an intimate accommodation showcasing a vaulted roof, a queen-sized bed, a romantic seating area and a 100-year-old chipilean tree in its sizable bathroom. It also has a private patio with a handmade hammock and a sitting area with an outstanding view.

The bungalow 20 is the “writers’ roost”. It is a romantically-appointed room with a glorious view and a secluded location featuring a queen-sized bed with an antique carved headboard and a large white wicker writing desk. With enchanting artwork and a beautiful Turkish hanging, this room is a charmer.

Lotus house

The lotus house hosts six rooms with two rooms on each of the three floors. All rooms are gracefully appointed rooms with private baths and stone showers that offer stunning lake view balconies or glorious garden patios. The Tara temple is on the top floor and this house is easily accessible to all of Villa Sumaya’s amenities.

Ginger suites

The newest complex offers luxury accommodations varying in size. All the rooms have majestic lake view balconies and elegant antique furnishings. Both 17 and 19 are suites with appointed-seating areas. The room 17 has a fireplace for chilly nights, as well as a handmade hammock on the patio. The junior suites are rooms eight and 18.

The room eight has a snug bedroom with a queen bed and a separate single bed in the sitting area, as well as a spacious wooden deck and handmade hammock. The room 18 features a built-in window seat and a lake view desk to inspire your creative sensibilities.

The studio 21 is the crown jewel of the collection with luxuriously-appointed furnishings including a queen-sized bed and two twins, a fireplace, a kitchenette, a love seat, and an amazing 180 degree panoramic view of the lake.

This retreat will be held at Villa Sumaya Retreat in Santa Cruz la Laguna, Guatemala. The retreat is situated on the shores of Lake Atitlán and nestled in a landlocked bay on the north shore of the beautiful lake on 18 acres in the traditional homeland of the indigenous Maya.

This area is known to the Maya as the belly button of the Earth. The retreat looks directly across the lake at three spectacular volcanoes. The 5,000 foot altitude and proximity to the equator, offers a high plane semi-tropical paradise often referred to as “the land of eternal spring.”

The deep caldera walls of the lake create a powerful inverse vortex to the volcanic mountains and ridges above, creating tremendous beauty and distinct natural challenges to work with.

Lake Atitlán

Lake Atitlán is believed by the Maya to be the center of the universe where God’s seeds of mankind evolved. This large endorheic lake (one that does not flow to the sea) is the deepest lake in Central America with a maximum depth of 1,120 feet (340 meters).

There are 12 villages around the lake. Each village has its own distinctive style, revealed through the traditional dress of the women. The two Mayan dialects spoken on Lake Atitlán are Kaqchikel and Tzutujil.

  • 2 daily yoga classes
  • 3 daily organic vegan meals
  • Access to all amenities
  • Access to individual coaching sessions with Robert Gonzales
  • Access to one-on-one yoga therapy sessions with Tiffany or Kristof
  • Compassionate and communication sessions with Robert Gonzales
  • Daily discourses, guided exercises, integration sessions, and mindfulness practices
  • Daily meditation sessions

During this retreat, you will experience two daily yoga classes, mindful meditation sessions, and compassionate communication and self-compassion sessions with Robert Gonzales that will serve as a springboard for continued growth well beyond the retreat. There will also be ample time to enjoy the pristine beauty of the tropical lakeside setting and the intimate, secluded location in Guatemala that is know for its serenity.

Kristof and Tiffany will share with you more than 30 years combined of experience in yoga and meditation during their classes and individual sessions throughout the week that will invite you into a contemplative practice and be highly considerate of your unique needs.

Robert Gonzales will also share a lifetime of inquiry into the intersection between spirituality and human communication during the daily practices for living life fully, grounded in compassion for one’s self and others. Throughout the retreat, you will also have access to individual coaching sessions with Robert Gonzales and one-on-one yoga therapy sessions with Tiffany or Kristof.

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at La Aurora International Airport (GUA). Airport transportation can be arranged with Villa Sumaya Retreat for an additional cost. Upon arrival at the airport you may have to travel to Panajachel and then take a boat to Villa Sumaya.

Arrival by shuttle

The shuttle service of Villa Sumaya is a three-hour drive to Panajachel, and then a short boat ride to the dock at Villa Sumaya. The cost of the van depends upon how many people are in the shuttle ranging from approximately 25 to 100 USD per person.

Most guests like to have a private boat waiting when they arrive in Panajachel. The cost is 25 USD for one to four persons and 5 USD for each additional person. Public boats run between 07:00 to 19:30 leaving every half hour. Be sure to ask to be taken to the Villa Sumaya dock. The cost is about 3 USD per person on public boats.

Seasonal information

At an altitude of 5,000 feet in the Guatemalan highlands, the climate has been referred as the “land of eternal spring.” The two predominate seasons; wet and tropical and dry and sunny, are somewhat unpredictable but periods of rain typically begin in May.

In July and August, you may experience a phenomenon called the canícula, which brings hot, relatively dry weather. September and October are typically rainy while the time between November and April brings brilliant sunsets, sunshine, and dry days and nights.

Mobile / communication information

Villa Sumaya offers Wi-Fi throughout most of the center. Two complimentary computers with internet are available for quick check-ins with friends and family. Phones are available for local distance communications. If you’d like to have internet service on your own device the charge 3 USD per day or 20 USD for the week. Calls to USA are 1.50 USD per minute.

Accessibility information

If you have slight mobility issues, Villa Sumaya can most likely accommodate you. Getting off boats and onto docks and walking on stone paths and stairs can be challenging or impossible for those with moderate or severe issues.

What to bring

Sunscreen and lip balm, a flashlight, insect repellent, walking shoes or sport sandals, personal medicines if required, decaf coffee or decaf teas if required, a clocks, a hair dryer, personal electronics, books, and snacks.

Passport / visa

A valid passport is mandatory to enter Guatemala. Visitors from the USA, Canada, and most European countries do not need visas. You will automatically receive a 90-day tourist visa upon entry.

Local expenses / money information

There are ATM machines in Panajachel, San Pedro, and Santiago. It is recommend that you carry about 100 USD cash to cover incidentals. The exchange rate is best when using ATM’s rather than exchanging money at the bank or airport.

At Villa Sumaya they can only change small amounts of dollars to Quetzales (the local currency). You can put all your extra purchases on a personal bill. Many places do accept US dollars but it is recommend that you have Quetzales for excursions and shopping.

Additional information

For more information, ask your questions directly to Living in the Self, who will be happy to assist you. Simply click on the Send Inquiry button to send a message.

  • Tiffany Nicholson-Smith

    Tiffany Nicholson-Smith is a radiant yogini, an Ayurvedic practitioner, and a lover of life, who is known for bringing her clarity, abundant energy, and aspiration for truth into everything she shares and offers. A world citizen and sacred activist, she approaches life with an open heart and an inspired mind. Tiffany has studied and retreated extensively with various teachers in India and around the world, immersing herself deeply into Tantric, Hatha, and Kundalini yoga, Advaita Vedanta, spiritual nutrition, Ayurveda, compassionate communication, and sacred sexuality.

  • Kristof Wittstock

    Kristof Wittstock is a down-to-earth spirit, who is known for his clear dedication to truth and his humble heart. He has had the opportunity to study for the last 20 years with various teachers and schools, most situated in India, and steeped in the traditional, classical wisdom of Hatha, Laya, Kriya, and Kundalini yoga. Kristof also has a deep respect and love for Buddhism and has retreated extensively in the Theraveda tradition. His offerings are always infused with this revolutionary edge of Tantric yoga, meditation, and Buddhism.

  • Robert Gonzales

    Robert received a Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1989 and was a practicing psychotherapy for many years offering individual and couples counseling. He has contributed to the work of the International Center for Nonviolent Communication as a certified trainer for many years and currently as the director of the Center for Living Compassion where he conducts seminars and retreats internationally.

  • Additional activities
  • Additional transportation
  • Airfare
  • Airport transportation
  • Gratuities
  • Spa treatments

Three daily organic and gourmet vegan, live food meals are included in this retreat, as well as specific nutritional guidance for your optimal detoxification and wellness. You may also enjoy other meal services at the local restaurant Café Sumaya Sol. The center can accommodate most special dietary restrictions like allergies, vegan, and non-gluten diets on request.

Café Sumaya Sol

Café Sumaya Sol offers a stunning view of the lake and a culinary-conscious menu for slow food lovers and eco-epicureans. The homemade buffets are abundant and freshly prepared in the kitchen daily. Each meal is balanced to meet the nutritional needs of the active guests. Breakfast buffets includes a main dish, granola, yogurt, fruit, and daily specials.

Luncheon buffets include a hearty vegetarian main course, organic greens, homemade bread, and a local fruit platter. Dinner buffets include soup, a vegetarian entree, seasonal side dishes, organic greens, and a scrumptious dessert. The juice bar features exotic smoothies as well as the famous home-brewed strawberry ginger kambucha.

The extensive self-service hot beverage bar offers over 30 alluring teas while the coffee bar features organic artisan coffee from a local cooperative. Tea and coffee service is available the whole day and night during the week. Additionally, they offer local beers, wine, homemade margaritas, and cuba-libres for those looking to relax with a cocktail.

Spa services are available at Villa Sumaya Retreat for 65 USD for 60 minutes, 90 USD for 90 minutes, or 120 USD for 120 minutes.


  • Acupuncture
  • Energy healings
  • Facial
  • Ionic foot baths
  • Manicures and pedicures
  • Meditation instruction
  • Private yoga sessions
  • Reflexology
  • Reiki
  • Sports massage
  • Swedish and Esalen massage
  • Thai massage
  • Women’s health and wellness
  • Coffee tours
  • Guided village tours of Santiago, San Juan, Santa Catarina, San Antonio, and Chichicastenango
  • Hikes from Villa Sumaya
  • Pico del Cielo hike
  • San Pedro Volcano climb
  • Shopping trip to Panajachel
  • Ziplining
  • Hiking nearby
  • Hot tub / Jacuzzi
  • Massage
  • Mountain walking/trekking nearby
  • Sauna
  • Shopping nearby
  • Spa
  • Swimming nearby
  • Zip lining nearby
  • Balcony
  • Bar
  • Café
  • Concierge desk
  • Dining area
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Garden
  • Kitchen
  • Lake
  • Restaurant
  • Yoga studio
  • ATM / banking nearby
  • Currency exchange
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Toiletries
  • Tour assistance
For information about the booking conditions, please send Living in the Self an inquiry.
  • Review by A student
    10 out of 10

    "The yoga teacher training from Living in the Self with Tiffany and Kristof is absolutely unlike any other. It has changed my life, brought fruit to all of my relationships, and helped me grow in ways I didn’t know were possible. It has been one of the most emotionally, mentally, and physically challenging and rewarding things I have ever done."

    Living in the Self, edited

Peterborough, Canada

Living in the Self offers retreats, courses, and offerings worldwide, which focus on yoga, meditation, tantra, and Ayurveda.

Meet the instructors

from US$973

8 days / 7 nights


Arrival: Saturday April 15, 2017
Departure: Saturday April 22, 2017

Early bird discount

The prices below include an early bird discount for single accommodation of 200 CAD per person. To benefit, book or reserve before December 1, 2016.


Early bird discount

The prices below include an early bird discount for double accommodation of 150 CAD per person. To benefit, book or reserve before December 1, 2016.


Early bird discount

The prices below include an early bird discount for triple accommodation of 100 CAD per person. To benefit, book or reserve before December 1, 2016.

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