Retreat FAQs

I’ve never done yoga before.  Is this the right retreat for me?
Martha Whitney a gifted teacher who creates a class environment that supports all levels of students–from the beginner to the long-time practitioner.  Martha will be leading each of the classes and she will offer suggestions and modifications so that you will feel comfortable and safe experiencing yoga for the first time. If you feel called to go on this retreat, follow your heart and join us!

I’ve been practicing yoga for years. Is this the right retreat for me?
Yes! Imagine connecting to your wholehearted self and deepening your practice with twice daily yoga classes. Imagine moving through a mindful flow of postures while gazing out on to Lake Atitlan and the three majestic volcanoes that encircle the lake waters.  Imagine being inspired and engaged, with spacious time for rest, reflection, service, and exploration.

What types of meditation will be offered?
We will welcome each morning with a mediation designed to spark awareness and joy.  From sitting in stillness to walking mindfully outside, we will we experience a variety of meditation techniques.  Each of the meditation sessions will be suitable for those new to meditation as well as those who have an established meditation practice.

What is the typical daily schedule?
We will begin the day with a morning meditation and a yoga class followed by a nourishing breakfast at the retreat center.  The rest of the day will include time for you to nurture your body, mind and spirit.  Most afternoons we will have another yoga class, and each evening we come together for dinner.  Some nights we might gather for an evening program. On our two excursion days we will be out from around 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m..  Every activity is included in the trip, yet each one is optional so that you can craft a retreat that is perfect for you.

What is the weather like?
The weather is beautiful and we will enjoy sunny, 75-85 degrees days and cool and comfortable nights. It is possible that we might also experience a light rain and some windy afternoons, but this will not prevent us from being outside. Lake Atitlán is about a mile above sea level.

How fit do I need to be to participate in this retreat?
The beauty of this retreat is that you can do as little or as much as you want and still have an amazing experience. The yoga classes will be tailored to meet your level of body ease. Those who wish to participate fully in the excursions should be able to walk two miles on uneven ground, and everyone needs to be comfortable getting in and out of a boat as that is only way to reach the retreat center.  If you feel called to go on this trip and are concerned about your fitness or mobility, please get in touch and we can talk about your specific situation.

How will we dress throughout the retreat?
Your regular spring/summer clothes will be perfect for this getaway, and your typical yoga clothes will be all that is needed to participate in yoga and mediation classes. On our volunteer day, please plan to dress slightly more conservatively and to wear sturdy shoes.  You will receive a packing list as part of your welcome packet.

Do I need to bring my yoga mat or any yoga props?
The retreat center will have mats and props for us to use.  Of course, if you would like to bring your favorite mat, you are welcome to do so.

Will I be able to do laundry?
Laundry services are available at the retreat center for about $8/kilo.

What water will we be drinking?
The water in Guatemala is non-potable, so we will be drinking filtered and bottled water throughout the entire trip.  Unlimited drinking water, tea and coffee will be available each day.

What is the Guatemalan currency and how can I get it?
The Guatemalan Quetzal (Q) is the national currency.  The easiest way to get Quetzales to use an ATM at the airport or nearby our hotel in Antigua; be sure to bring two different debit cards in case one is not accepted. If you want to bring U.S. dollars, the bills must be crisp, flat, and new.  Some handcraft stores in Antigua accept credit cards.

What travels documents do I need?
In order to enter Guatemala, your passport must be valid for at least six months.  If your current passport will expire prior to September 23, 2019, you will need to make arrangements to obtain a new passport.  U.S. citizens do not need a visa to enter Guatemala.  Citizens of other countries should check entry requirements.

Are any immunizations required for travel to Guatemala?
Please consult with a travel doctor or your physician for recommendations regarding immunizations and other medical situations.  When discussing your travel plans with your doctor, it is important to mention that we will only be at Lake Atitlán and in Antigua.

Can the program accommodate specific diets?
We will enjoy delicious, vegetarian meals at the retreat center; fish and chicken options are available for an additional $7 per portion. When we are in Antigua, the program includes meat or vegetarian entrees, whichever you prefer.  If you have other dietary needs, please let us know.

Where is the nearest health center?
When we are at the retreat center, the closest hospital is in Sololá, about an hour away. There are several hospitals in Antigua. We encourage all participants to purchase emergency medical travel insurance so that if a situation arises beyond what can be treated locally, your can evacuated for medical treatment.

Is there anything that I might be surprised by?
You can not flush toilet paper in Guatemala.  Instead there will be trash baskets by every toilet.

What types of transportation will we use?
We will hire private vans and buses for long drives, and we will use private boats to get around Lake Atitlán. We may also hire small, three-wheeled vehicles called tuk-tuks for short trips around town.  Most of the time we will be on foot!

I’d like to reserve the Pre-Retreat Package. How would I get from the airport to the hotel in Antigua?
It’s easy!  All you have to do is exit the airport and look for the driver who will be holding a sign with your name. You can relax on the hour-long drive to Antigua knowing that your driver will take you directly to our hotel and that Kristin will meet you in the lobby and help you check in.

What will our rooms be like?
While you shouldn’t expect deluxe accommodations, it is likely that you will be surprised by the beauty and character of each room.  At the retreat center you will have your own warm, comfortable bed (twin, full or queen), a western-style bathroom, and a private patio from which you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Lake.  Some rooms are cozier than others and some are newer than others, but all have a unique welcoming essence that will support your retreat experience.

Will I be able to room with a friend?
If you have friends attending the retreat and would like to room with them, please let us know.  Although we can not guarantee that we will be able to put you and your friend together, we will do our very best to make it work.

If I would like a single room, what can I expect?
We are able to offer a limited number of single rooms for those who would prefer more privacy.  If you would like this option, please consider registering as soon as possible as the single rooms will be booked on a first come first served basis, and yet they can not be guaranteed until payment has been received.  The private rooms in Antigua tend to be slightly darker than the shared rooms, but each of the rooms at our Antigua hotel look out into a beautiful courtyard.  Several of the private rooms at Villa Sumaya are bungalows tucked into the hillside.  The views from these private rooms make the steep climb worth it!  However, if you have concerns about climbing a large number of stairs, please let us know and we will try to place you in a private room closer to the yoga studio.

Do I need to bring a voltage adapter for my electronics?
Guatemala has the same electric current as the US, so no voltage adapters are needed. You can plug your phone/camera charger directly in the wall.  However, if you are bringing something with a three-prong plug, you will need a two-prong adapter.

How often will I have access to the internet?
Villa Sumaya charges its guests an additional $3/day for internet access. Our hotel in Antigua will have free wifi. Please note that the internet is not always dependable and it is typically quite slow.

What about traveler’s diarrhea?
We eat at restaurants that cater to travelers and offer the highest health standards possible. However, given the environment, it is best to expect to experience mild stomach cramps sometime during the trip while hoping, of course, that you are like most people and don’t have any symptoms.

What about safety?
A lot of what’s written about Guatemala can make it sound very scary, especially if you have never visited before. While violence and crime is very much a problem in Guatemala, it is one that is generally isolated to certain areas and cities. We will not be spending time in any of these areas! For the majority of your stay, you will be in Santa Cruz, a very friendly and safe community. Other towns you might visit during the retreat, such as Panajachel and Antigua, are also very safe tourist destinations, though in those places it is recommended to keep a close eye on valuables as petty theft is more common. If you are worried about traveling to Guatemala, please contact us and let us know about your concerns. Most likely we will be able to put most of your fears to rest.

Can I bring gifts or donations?
Thank you for your generosity!  We won’t be giving gifts directly to individuals; instead, a few weeks before our departure, we will ask our local partners what their greatest needs are and then we will share these “wish lists” with you.  If you would like to contribute items from an organization’s wish list or make a financial donation, it would be certainly be appreciated.

Are there additional expense that I should anticipate?
Please read the retreat description and the pricing guide carefully so that you are clear what activities are included, and what activities are optional and require an additional fee. Generally speaking, this retreat is designed to be an all inclusive journey. The only additional expense that we strongly encourage you to consider is gratuities for the Villa Sumaya staff; each retreat participant will be invited to contribute $6-8/day ($42-$56 total) which will be pooled and shared among the cooking staff, housekeeping staff, gardeners, and local managers.  When considering your budget, please know that all activities not taken with the group (food, sightseeing, transportation, etc.) will be at your own expense.  Other additional optional expenses include: wifi at the retreat center, fish and chicken at the retreat center, spa treatments, laundry service, kayak rentals, tours and activities that you might arrange through the retreat center, and of course any gifts and souvenirs you might buy to remind you of your time in Guatemala.

I have more questions.  What should I do?
Get in touch!  We would love to hear from you.  You can submit your questions using this link.

I want to register for this retreat.  What should I do?
We are honored to share this journey with you! Use the “Register Now!” button to complete the registration and payment process.

Get ready for an adventure of a lifetime!