7 Days Tropical Adventure SUP and Yoga Retreat in San Carlos, Panama

  • Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat, Playa Grande, San Carlos, Panama and Riande Granada Urban Hotel, Panama City

7 Days Tropical Adventure SUP and Yoga Retreat in San Carlos, Panama

  • Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat, Playa Grande, San Carlos, Panama and Riande Granada Urban Hotel, Panama City

Panama Yoga Retreat

Relax and discover the exciting and beautiful country of Panama on this SUP and yoga retreat. Spend a week’s vacation at Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat - a beautiful rain-forest boutique hotel with luxurious accommodations steps away from an alluring tropical beach. Add SUP adventures, daily yoga classes, and delicious wholesome meals and you are in for an unforgettable experience!

Highlights

  • Daily yoga classes
  • SUP introduction course for beginners
  • Tour to The Panama Canal and Casco Antiguo World Heritage Site
  • SUP excursion to a beautiful mountain lagoon and an exotic mangrove forest
  • 1 night accommodation at the Riande Granada Urban Hotel
  • 5 nights accommodation
  • Daily delicious meals
  • Airport transfers
  • 6 days with instruction
  • Spanish, English
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Nestled among the trees, each of the seven bungalows at Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat blend 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 complementary 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.

On this exciting retreat, you’ll get to explore some off the beaten track hidden gems of Panama: glide around a tropical mountain lagoon on your stand up paddle board; paddle through an exotic mangrove forest, hike through a cloud forest on the slopes of an extinct volcano, visit a colourful and vibrant local market, take a tour to an indigenous Embera village, and learn about their traditions and culture.

Additionally, you’ll have a yoga session every day which will help to calm and focus your mind and strengthen and tone your muscles, leaving you feeling peaceful and rejuvenated. Round it off by spending time on the secluded and pristine local beach, Playa Grande which is just a five-minute walk away from your captivating retreat center, nestled in the rainforest.

The expert instructors will adapt all of the sessions and lessons to suit your ability and level of experience. You will be provided with a daily breakfast and dinner to fuel your action packed days!

Who is this adventure retreat for?

This retreat is designed for standup paddleboard (SUP) beginner to intermediate level and includes some intermediate level hikes in the cloud forest. The paddling is all done on flat water in picturesque locations and usually has a duration of one to one and a half hours on the water. For this retreat, you do not paddle in the open ocean or in areas where there are waves.

If you are a super athlete or advanced paddleboarder, there will be opportunities to continue on your own or at your pace, but know that you will be part of a group that is mainly beginner to intermediate paddlers and hikers.

This retreat is recommended for individuals that are fit and enjoy outdoor activities. It is hot in Panama so plan on sweating. The main hike you do is mostly shaded and uphill and crisscrosses a stream with several waterfalls. As it rains often in Panama, some parts of the trail can be a bit slippery. The peak can be reached in roughly an hour at a moderate pace. You return down the same path you took up.

Yoga classes

The Hatha yoga classes are taught at a beginner to intermediate level. They are designed to help you reconnect with your breath and stay present amidst the activities and new experiences of your vacation. The hour-long daily classes include warm up exercises, sun salutations, an asana practice, and deep relaxation. Prepare to gently explore both your inner and outer bodies in a safe environment.

Schedule

Monday

  • 07:00 Breakfast
  • 09:00 City tour including Panama Canal
  • 13:30 Lunch in the city (not included) and pack up
  • 14:30 Transfer to Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat
  • 17:30 Evening yoga session at Istmo
  • 19:00 Dinner and introductions

Tuesday

  • 08:00 Breakfast
  • 09:00 SUP yoga at San Carlos mountain lagoons and optional hike
  • 12:00 Drive lunch out (lunch not included)
  • 17:30 Evening yoga session
  • 19:00 Dinner

Wednesday

  • 08:00 Yoga session
  • 09:00 Breakfast
  • 08:00 SUP yoga at mangrove site and paddle through the mangroves
  • 12:00 Drive and lunch in Coronado or Chame (lunch not included)
  • 13:30 Standup paddleboard yoga at mangrove site and paddle through the mangroves
  • 19:00 Dinner

Thursday

  • 08:00 Breakfast
  • 09:00 Cloud forest hike (El Gaital, El Valle) and visit to the El Valle market
  • 12:00 Lunch at El Valle market (not included)
  • 17:30 Evening yoga session
  • 19:00 Dinner

Friday

  • 07:30 Breakfast
  • 08:30 SUP to the Embera indigenous village and lunch at Embera village (inclusive)
  • 15:00 Drive back and stop for a snack (not included)
  • 18:00 Evening Restorative yoga session
  • 19:00 Dinner

Saturday

  • 08:00 Morning yoga
  • 09:00 Breakfast
  • 10:30 Depart for airport or city
  • Launching point for Embera Indigenous Village
  • Mangroves SUP excursion
  • Mountain lagoon SUP excursion
  • Night at Riande Granada Urban Hotel in the Cangrejo district - a pedestrian friendly area full of restaurants, bars, and coffee shops
  • Panama City tour
  • Volcano hike
  • Ayesha Davis

    Ayesha was born in Bombay, India, and moved to the United States at the age of 13. Her love for travel and adventure led her to Panama. Yoga has been part of her life for over 25 years. She received her yoga teacher training in 2010, in traditional Hatha yoga at the Parmath Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, India and has been teaching since. Her yoga classes are gentle, but invigorating and are designed specifically for beginner and intermediate students. Through breath, movement, and alignment, she works with the students to bring consciousness into their bodies, mind, and spirit.

  • Sean Davis

    Sean was born and raised in Galveston, Texas on the Gulf Coast. He spent his life he has living close to the ocean and feels a special connection with it. He has traveled extensively around the world and has lived in Chile, Colombia, and Panama. For the past seven years, he has been a SUP practitioner and instructor, leading tours around the waterways of Panama. He attended cooking school in New Orleans, Louisiana. Additionally, he is also a former beach lifeguard and an emergency medical technician.

Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat is a boutique hotel and a retreat center. Located two hours away from Panama City, it is a slice of paradise situated in the jungle and a few steps away from a secluded beach - perfect for a healthy and quiet retreat. Its central location allows you to discover various tropical ecosystems without traveling too far.

Nearby places

  • Launching point for Embera Indigenous Village - 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • Mangroves - 45 minutes
  • Mountain lagoon - 45 minutes
  • Panama City - 2 hours
  • Playa Grande - 5 minutes
  • Volcano - 40 minutes

Breakfast and dinner are included in the retreat package. Lunches out will be at your expense. Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat will select local restaurants that can cater to different dietary needs.

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.

Their meals are grown organically and supplemented by what they can purchase locally. They make every effort to maintain a light carbon footprint and support local farmers and fisherman. Most of the meals are vegetarian or fish and seafood based meals, however, they can easily accommodate guests who are glute-free, vegan, or require substitutions because of food allergies.

The retreat includes plenty of activities and its itinerary is full. If you plan on staying longer or arriving early for this retreat, you can spend your free time on the beautiful beach, lying on the black and white sand, swimming in the waves, taking long walks, or touring on a SUP board. You can also rest on the hammocks with a book, get a massage, sip on a smoothie, or soak in the nature and warmth that surrounds you.

Community service activities

There are so many ways to give back. Speak to the organizers about incorporating a community service activity into your retreat.

Cooking classes

On special request from former guests, chef and owner, Sean Davis, can guide your group through some of the most requested Istmo recipes.

Drum circles

Drum circles are available on special request for your group.

Other activities

  • Bird watching tours
  • Butterfly farm visit
  • Hand percussion classes
  • Indigenous village visit
  • Marine turtle nesting or hatching observation
  • Massage
  • Mountain hikes
  • Panama Canal visit
  • River rafting
  • Salsa dance classes
  • Spanish lessons
  • Surfing
  • Take a taxi service to Panama City
  • Waterfall zip line
  • Whale watching
  • 1 night accommodation at Riande Granada Urban Hotel
  • 5 nights accommodation at Istmo's luxurious cabin
  • A SUP introduction course on the mountain lagoon
  • Airport pick-up on Sunday
  • Airport transfer for flights leaving after 1:00 p.m. on Saturday
  • All SUP gear
  • Daily gourmet dinner (except on Sunday)
  • Daily healthy breakfast
  • Daily housekeeping
  • Daily yoga classes (except on Sunday)
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Fresh drinking water throughout the day
  • Hiking trip in the cloud forest and a visit to a local market
  • Panama City tour including Panama Canal
  • SUP excursion to a mountain lagoon and mangrove site
  • Taxes
  • Transfer to Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat
  • Transportation for all excursions
  • Visit to an Embera indigenous village
  • Airfare
  • Daily lunch
  • Drinks
  • Extra activities
  • First-night dinner
  • Spa and massage treatments
  • Tips

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Tocumen International Airport (PTY). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat will pick you up from the airport. Transfer from and to this airport is also available upon request, should you miss the organized pick-up. Prices range from 100 USD to 140 USD, depending on the time of day and time of year.

Arrival by taxi

You can also take a taxi from the airport to the Albrook Terminal for around 50 USD. From the Albrook Terminal, take a bus to Chame or Anton to Coronado for around 4 USD. Buses leave every 15 minutes. From Coronado, take a taxi to Istmo for around 10 USD.

  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 15 days before arrival.

Verified BookSurfCamps.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

Testimonials

  • 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

Low season
  • August 20 to 26, 2017 
  • September 17 to 23, 2017
  • October 22 to 28, 2017
  • November 12 to 18, 2017
  • April 8 to 14, 2018
  • May 20 to 26, 2018
  • June 3 to 9, 2018

 

High season
  • December 10 to 16, 2017
  • January 14 to 20, 2018
  • March 11 to 17, 2018

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