RENEW: Women’s Winter Getaway

IV Yoga
photo credit: Daniel Lopez

Nourish your body, mind and spirit as you relax into the stunning beauty of Lake Atitlán. Explore cultural, artistic and culinary traditions with local women, connect to nature through swimming, hiking, kayaking and yoga, and experience the power of being present and renewed at every level.

This winter getaway is designed for adventuresome women from all walks of life who yearn to put aside their “everyday routine” for a week.  Against the backdrop of Lake Atitlán, you will have the chance to reconnect with your spirit as you slow down, give back and explore.  Our days will be filled with service opportunities, excursions around the lake, and plenty of time to relax by the water, rest in hammocks, and enjoy being surrounded by tropical gardens and the sounds of village life.

The theme of this trip is “renewal” and you are encouraged to soak up the power and beauty of the area in ways that make you feel most alive.  All activities on this trip are included, yet each one is optional so that you can craft a nourishing experience for yourself and return home relaxed, renewed and recharged.

COSTS, DATES & DETAILSPath along lake

Program Fee: $1095.00 plus airfare.  Bring a friend and both of you will receive $75 off the program fee.

Dates: January 21-29, 2017

What is covered: 8-nights of accommodations, all in-country transportation, all meals while we are in Guatemala, cultural activities/classes, materials for service projects, unlimited bottled water, gratuities, pre-departure logistical support, limited evacuation insurance, and a donation to each of the organizations where we will be volunteering.

What is not covered:  Personal expenses including obtaining or renewing a passport, medical services, health and travel insurance, alcoholic beverages, meals and activities not taken with the group, laundry services, spa services, international airfare, etc.

Who should go: Open-hearted, flexible, and adventuresome women who have a willingness to stretch themselves, a good sense of humor, and a curiosity about themselves and the world.  Women of all ages are welcome. No Spanish is necessary. Please note: This trip is not for the traveler who expects to lodge and dine in luxury.

room-wideangleLodging: Accommodations will be in simple and comfortable doubles and triples. Each person will have her own bed.  Bathrooms will be shared and will have a western style toilet and a shower.

Food: We will eat most of our meals in restaurants that cater to travelers and use the highest health standards possible.  We will enjoy a wide range of food that might include burritos, pizza, tempura (yes, there is a Japanese restaurant in town), eggs and toast, oatmeal, yogurt, rice and beans, pancakes, sandwiches, pastas, smoothies and stews. When possible, we will support restaurants that have a social impact component to their work. Most of our meals will be vegetarian, and we ask that travelers bring an open mind and a spirit of curiosity to each meal.

Health and Safety: All hostels, restaurants, work sites, cultural experiences, outdoor activities, group programs, drivers and guides have been carefully selected to provide travelers with an experience that is as safe as possible. Women are encouraged to consider the level of risk of any adventure before participating in this program, and we advise everyone to understand the personal responsibility accepted by  the participant.  Please review the Community Understandings for other information.

Reservations: A non-refundable deposit of $600 is needed by December 1, 2016 to secure your reservation, and the remaining balance is due January 6, 2017. Please indicate your interest here, and then we will send you additional forms for you to return with your deposit.

Day 1: Air Travel to Guatemala City
We’ll be picked up at the Guatemala City airport in a private shuttle and will be transported to Antigua where we relax after our long day of travel.

Day 2: Expansive Lake Atitlán
After a tipico breakfast at our hostel we will take a three drive through the Guatemalan highlands to Lake Atitlán.  A boat will then bring us to a restaurant perched on a cliff above the lake, and will enjoy lunch and the spectacular view.  After our meal we will go to the Cerro Tzankujil Nature Reserve where we will be able to swim, read, write, draw and reflect on our first full day in Guatemala.IMG_4258

Day 4: Working with Children in San Marcos
Our morning will start with a lakeside yoga class and then we’ll spend the day with an organization working to ensure that kids in town have access to nutritious meals.  We will tour their projects, have an opportunity to work in their gardens, and play with the children who receive meals at the center.  The women at the center will prepare lunch for us, and in the afternoon, we will learn how to make tortillas!

Day 3:  Improving Housing in San Pablo

After a hearty breakfast at the hostel, we’ll take tuk-tuks to San Pablo, a town that has virtually no tourists. We will work in small groups with local masons and families to help lay cement floors in homes that currently have only dirt floors.  (This project will be physically demanding and those who would rather have a more leisurely day are welcome to relax in lush tropical gardens, spend time at the lake, or explore a village on their own.)Casa del Tejido

Day 5: San Pedro Market Day and Artistry in San Juan
After morning yoga, we’ll take a boat ride to San Pedro where we will experience the sights, sounds and smells of market day.  We’ll explore the bustling market-stalls, and then have some time to browse through the shops that feature artisan crafts and textiles. We will take tuk-tuks to the neighboring town of San Juan, and have lunch at a restaurant that is part of a social inclusion project for young people who have physical disabilities.  After lunch, a woman will teach us about backstrap weaving and we will try our hand at this intricate process. Her husband will show us around their small coffee farm and we’ll learn what’s involved in picking and processing coffee.

Day 6: Permaculture and Education
Our day begins with a delicious breakfast and then we will walk through the valley and up to a permaculture center high above the town.  We will tour this amazing paradise and then experience the vastness of the Lake while enjoying lunch prepared by the women who work at the center.  After lunch we will visit a primary school and learn how the education is bridging cultures.  We may be able to support the school with a short volunteer project.

Day 7: Sunrise Hike and Personal Exploration
We will rise before dawn and will walk an hour in the dark up one of the nearby volcanic peaks and watch the sun rise over the lake.  We will return to our hostel for breakfast, and then you are free to craft a day that is perfect for you. Integrate your experiences with a grounding meditation class, treat yourself to a massage, explore another village, take an art class, rest in a hammock, continue volunteering, go on a walk, read a book, paddle on the lake, or practice yoga. We will gather again for dinner at a local restaurant.Antigua

Day 8: The Mayan Calendar and Antigua
We will learn about the Mayan sacred calendar and draw on its wisdom as we contemplate our paths in the world. We will celebrate our time at the Lake, and then head to the colonial city of Antigua.  You will have the afternoon free for sightseeing and shopping and then we will gather for our final group dinner.

Day 9: Air Travel to back to the US
We’ll be shuttled to the airport and then depart from Guatemala back to the US.

While our itinerary serves to guide the flow of the week’s activities, we will have the ability to adapt the schedule to meet the needs of the group, the needs of the local communities, the weather, and other changing conditions.