Guatemala special feature: wellness retreats for perfect peace
After the challenges we’ve all been forced to face from the pandemic, what could be better than finally planning that trip away? Guatemala is now open to visitors again, and while I’m not necessarily suggesting going this year, let’s have a look at where you could go in 2021.
Jürg Widmer Probst Guatemala special feature: wellness retreats
There are travel restrictions in place and if you are off to Guatemala this side of Christmas 2020, make sure you check them out. The international airport opened on 30 September 2020, and all visitors to the country must produce proof of a clear COVID-19 test.
The results of the test can’t be more than 72 hours old, and you also need to fill out some Health Check documents before you can cross the border into Guatemala. In common with just about every other country, anyone showing signs of COVID-19 won’t be allowed in. In the meantime, here are some of the fabulously relaxing places you can visit when you finally get to Guatemala.
Lake Atitlan is a haven of laid-back wellness retreats and villages
Guatemala is a beautiful destination with some of the most intensely adventurous terrain and countryside to explore. From stunning beaches to remote and wild jungle, Guatemala offers so much that other countries don’t. And in many ways it’s the ideal destination to really feel you are truly getting away from it all.
Lake Atitlan has evolved over the years into the ideal place to go for anyone looking for a wellness break with great retreats. Many of the villages that surround the stunning lake are extremely laid back, with a welcoming atmosphere. In normal times, these villages can get very busy. Of course, this year is very different, but assuming 2021 offers more normality you can expect it to be busy during peak times. However, there is generally enough choice and space around to find your own niche while you’re there.
While Lake Atitlan is pretty isolated, it’s also accessible to tourists. You can pick up a shuttle bus direct from Guatemala City airport for as little as $25. Check whether public transport is running during COVID-19 though, as many services are running at a reduced rate. If you feel like splashing more cash, then you can always take a helicopter out to Lake Atitlan from the airport.
Retreats ideal for meditation, creativity, spirituality and yoga
Away from busy areas, Guatemala can give you a uniquely peaceful wellness holiday. There is a quiet side to this bustling country, not only out at Lake Atitlan but also in cities like Antigua as well. Here are a few ideas for ideal wellness breaks in Guatemala.
- The perfect spot for a yoga holiday
There are many yoga centres situated around Lake Atitlan, and whatever your choice of holiday you’ll find something to suit. I really like the Conscious Living Retreat at the Yoga Forest. It is set within the beautiful countryside and gives you a stunning view over the lake and towards the surrounding volcanoes. Even if you don’t do any yoga at all, you’ll find yourself relaxing here.
Aside from the spectacular surroundings, the Yoga Forest centre is a calming and luxurious space. They offer individual and group retreats and loads of classes ranging from different kinds of yoga to shamanic healing.
- Feeling creative?
Wellness doesn’t just mean stretching and exercise. For some people, flexing their creative muscles while staying in a fascinating and beautiful country is the ideal way to relax. The beautiful city of Antigua is, of course, worth a visit at any time. Packed with colourful churches and colonial era architecture, it’s a delight to the senses.
And for those seeking the wellness retreats in Guatemala but with a creative edge, there’s the Selva Studio creative holiday. They held one in February 2020, and while there has been a gap for obvious reasons, you can expect them to restart in 2021. Held in the quieter part of town at the beautiful Palo Santo Hotel, the retreat combines yoga, meditation and the creative arts.
- For those who just need some Zen
Heading back to Lake Atitlan, the final wellness retreat focuses on mental wellbeing. The Doron Yoga and Zen Center is located in Tzununa, a secluded Mayan village. Designed for visitors to regain their equilibrium through a mindful and practical reconnection with the natural world, the centre offers meditation and yoga. It is a Zen Buddhist centre and offers all the benefits of skilled mindful meditation, but its ethos also encourages guests to find their own way to a truly Zen state of mind.