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Guatemala has recently become rather famous for its yoga retreats and yoga teacher trainings, with Lake Atitlan offering the very best yoga spots in the country. You will be spoiled for choice as each one has a different focus, facilities and teaching philosophy. In this guide we will take you through all the best Guatemala yoga retreats in Lake Atitlan with details to help you choose the best one for you.
So if you’re looking to find the perfect Lake Atitlan yoga retreat, you should find all the info you need here!
Lake Atitlan is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, both in our opinion and that of many famous visitors over the years. An incredibly deep crate lake formed by the collapse of an ancient volcano, it is surround by steep ridges and three volcanoes still standing. Volcanes San Pedro, Toliman and Atitlan can all be climbed or simply admired from any of the amazing viewpoints around the lake.
Each Lake Atitlan village has its own flavour, level of accessibility and list of things to do. So, when trying to chose a Lake Atitlan yoga retreat you should also consider the village it is in before you decide if that is where you want to stay.
Panajachel is the oldest tourist town on the lake, while nearby Santa Catarina Palopo is very colourful and one of the prettiest. Next up is the pottery village of San Antonio Palopo, then the virtually unknown San Lucas Toliman, with one of the best restaurants on the lake. Santiago Atitlan is the largest town on the lake and one of the least touristy.
Along the north side of the lake you’ll find Santa Cruz la Laguna with, in our opinion, some of the best views on Lake Atitlan. Nearby Jaibalito is pretty, quiet and only accessible by boat. Up and coming Tzununa is still very authentic and has some of the top Guatemala yoga resorts, as does San Marcos la Laguna, known as “spiritual”, “holistic” or “hippie” depending on your stance on some of its rather unusual offerings.
San Pablo is known for its boisterous “feria” celebrations but doesn’t have much in the way of tourist facilities and San Juan la Laguna is our pick for nicest village on Lake Atitlan, although it’s no longer a secret and gets busier with daytrippers every year. Finally, there is San Pedro la Laguna, considered backpacker central and the place to go for cheap stays and wild nights.
Lake Atitlan Quick Links
Here are some of our most popular Lake Atitlan posts to help you plan your trip to Lake Atitlan.
Best Yoga Retreats in Guatemala on Lake Atitlan
Eagle’s Nest in San Marcos La Laguna
Choose Eagle’s Nest if you want a retreat with ariel and acro yoga options
The first of two excellent options for a San Marcos yoga retreat is Eagle’s Nest which somehow boasts incredible views from their amazing yoga platform overlooking the lake in all its glory.
Eagle’s Nest tends to attract a younger crowd and has a similar concept as Yoga Forest for people being able to set up their own retreat while staying there.
What sets them apart is offering a different acro dance & contorsions, acro yoga, circus arials (silks and Lyra or with fan, staff, whips or hula) and flow arts with fire through out the week. There are also daily morning classes that include manifestation vinyasa, ashtanga, kundalini, power flow, open heart flow and yin/yang options.
They also hold ecstatic dance parties that are very popular.
The trade-off of the stunning views from the yoga shala and many of the rooms is that it is a bit of a trek to get there. However, you can take a tuk-tuk most of the way and have just a 2-minute walk left on a narrow dirt path.
It is all-inclusive, as well, which means your meals and yoga are also included in the price.
Yoga Forest in San Marcos la Laguna
Choose Yoga Forest if you want a retreat with a wellness focus
San Marcos has been a popular yoga centre for a long time and the second great San Marcos yoga retreat is Yoga Forest, with its spectacular location way up the hill (a 25-minute walk). New owners recently took over (the previous owners are building a new place on the lake called Casa Floresta).
They can meet you in the village to guide you to Yoga Forest as the walk is on a few small trails through the trees and ends in a steep staircase carved into rock (think about your luggage choices carefully before coming here).
If you choose Yoga Forest you won’t be necessarily joining a specific retreat. They are set up so that you can make your own retreat for as long as you are able to stay (with a 2 night minimum). The multiple daily yoga classes are included in your stay and you are able to choose from a dizzying array of wellness treatments at an extra cost.
They believe that retreat and wellness are synonymous and combine to provide a ‘safe and sacred space to enliven the body, stimulate the mind, express emotions and renew the spirit.
Optional wellness treatments include numerology & chakras, yoga nidra deep relaxation, reiki healing, 5th dimension meditation, tarot reading, consultations with a naturopath, wide variety of massages, transformational breathwork, meridian yin yoga, sound healing, facials, cupping, pranic healing, marma therapy, dance 5 rythms, personal coaching, cacao ceremony, Mayan Nahual reading, sacred dance, lunar woman ceremony, sacred tobacco ceremony, coffee reading, medicinal music, hypnotherapy, past life regression, ancestral healing, inner child therapy, dream manifestations, and psilocybin mushroom ceremonies.
San Marcos attracts a very unique crowd of tourists and backpackers, drawn by its reputation as an “energy vortex”. It is filled with yoga retreats, holistic healing centres and new age workshops. A hippie village, if you will. But it also boasts a lot of fantastic restaurants, good value hotels and beautiful lakefront areas.
Most of the tourist action takes place close to the lake. Following the narrow little path leading up from the dock you will pass most of the hotels, restaurants, shops and tour agencies.
Villa Sumaya in Santa Cruz
Choose Villa Sumaya if you want a retreat with amenities
Villa Sumaya is just outside Santa Cruz on Lake Atitlan and they offer many retreats and yoga trainings throughout the year. They will be offering full 200-hour yoga instructor training in June both this year and next if you are thinking about becoming a pro. They also provide the option of a private group retreat, which can be handy if you are a group leader looking to set up a yoga retreat on Lake Atitlan.
Your yoga retreat at Villa Sumaya will perhaps be the most comfortable of all the Lake Atitlan yoga options. They have a large waterfront complex, pool, boutique shop, sauna & hot tub, healing room, playhouse, Maya healing hut, fire ceremony circle and farm.
There are also a variety of massages, reiki and reflexology, facials and acupuncture available. They also have several different rooms to fit different budgets.
Villa Sumaya is ‘dedicated to rejuvenating holistic practices and healing modalities as well as preserving Mayan traditions and facilitating outdoor adventure’.
Their retreats all have a different focus so it is a good idea to check out the upcoming options.
In our opinion, Santa Cruz La Laguna has the best views of any of the villages on the lake. Santa Cruz has probably the best angle to see both Volcan San Pedro and Volcan Atitlan in the same frame (plus a hint of Volcan Toliman from certain spots). You also get unimpeded views of the relentlessly erupting Volcan Fuego near Antigua. Looking to the west you get a good peak at the dramatic Rostro Maya.
Besides the scenery (although it’s a pretty important feature), Santa Cruz also has a really pleasant lakeshore with a nice path that can be walked the entire way, something that isn’t possible in most of the other villages. With a few hotels, restaurants, craft shops and sporting activities this village has a good variety of options for when you have a break.
Mystical Yoga Farm in Santiago Atitlan
Choose ecological Mystical Yoga Farm if you want to get away from it all
Mystical Yoga Farm is located on a secluded hill just across the bay from Santiago Atitlan. Serene, secluded and private, it can only be reached by private lancha (boat) from Santiago.
A lovely place for reflection and rejuvenation, they offer a variety of yoga shalas, yoga retreats and teacher trainings as well as a teahouse, vegan food and an “ohm dome”.
It isn’t the place to go if you need to be in the heart of the action but if you’re looking to relax and reset, Mystical Yoga Farm is one of the most highly recommended options on the lake.
It is the most ecological option for Lake Atitlan yoga with solar power and composting toilets. In their words, Mystical Yoga Farm “is an off-grid spiritual sanctuary focused on healing, transformation, and empowerment. Through the practice of yoga, ceremony, and permaculture we strive to co-create a thriving community environment that is in harmony with nature”.
Tucked into a valley between all three Lake Atitlan volcanoes – San Pedro, Tolimán and Atitlán – Santiago Atitlan was originally known as Chuitinamit as the capital of the Tz’utujil Mayan people. And even today, 95% of the population of Santiago is indigenous Mayan.
Santiago Atitlan still sees far fewer tourists than the main travel destinations on Lake Atitlán such as Panajachel, San Marcos la Laguna and San Pedro la Laguna. Which is one of the main reasons it is such a fascinating place where you can experience another side (somewhat literally) of this beautiful Guatemalan lake.
And without doubt, a visit to see Maximón is the most unusual and unique thing about Santiago. This life-sized effigy of a Mayan/Catholic deity hangs out in dark rooms, wears a big hat, colourful suit and weirdly plain tie. He smokes a cigar and changes houses each year right after Easter (Semana Santa).
Doron Yoga in Tzununa
Choose Doron Yoga if you want an intense retreat or training that will help you become more knowledgeable
The Doron Yoga & Zen Center features a vast array of yoga options including a style developed by Doron himself, plus ashtanga, vinyasa, yin and pranayama. While they have allowed drop-ins in the past (and may again in the future), presently they are focusing on retreats and yoga teacher trainings (RYS-200 or RYS-500).
These retreats and trainings tend to be fairly intense with a focus on learning as much as possible during your time there. Of course, there is also extra time for hikes, tours and relaxation as well. Accommodation and meals are included and the buffet-style vegetarian meals are largely sourced from their own farm.
You can choose from rooms with a view, private bathrooms and balconies with hammocks to more basic rooms with shared bathrooms. There are a variety of hammocks, meditation spots and cozy places to hang out in the lush grounds and restaurant during your down time.
They also have meditation sessions and every activity at Doron incorporates nutrition, breathing and mind training.
One benefit is that you are able to take a boat to Tzununa and a tuk tuk directly to Doron Yoga, which is not possible for all of the other Lake Atitlan yoga choices.
When booking a retreat at Doron Yoga use our discount code RouNomad for $50 off and let us know how it went! You can go through all the Doron Yoga retreats coming up and pick the one that fits you best.
Doron Yoga is in the quiet traditional Lake Atitlan village of Tzununa. With a pretty backdrop, the standard excellent views of the lake and volcanoes and more available space than other villages, Tzununá has become the latest expat hotspot and the perfect place to experiment with an astounding variety of alternative hobbies, lifestyles and farming methods.
However, it still very much retains the feel of a traditional Guatemalan village. Despite its growing expat community, Tzununá is still much quieter and offers a much slower pace of life than busier tourist centres like San Marcos or backpacker central San Pedro.
Isla Verde in Santa Cruz
Choose Isla Verde if you are looking for a place to host your private retreat
Isla Verde is known for hosting private yoga retreats on Lake Atitlan.
If you have a group and instructor that you would like to bring down they will close their hotel and restaurant so you can have it all to yourselves.
They have a variety of rooms including hill suites (be prepared for some climbing), cabins and garden suites. To find out more about hosting your own retreat click here.
Lake Atitlan Map
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Trip Planning Resources
Here is a list of the most important websites and resources we use when planning our travels, all in one convenient spot. Full disclosure, when you use any of these links to reserve or sign up for something, we receive a small commission which is greatly appreciated. However, your price does not change and we have only included products and websites that we can honestly recommend.
- For checking out flights we usually find that SkyScanner is the fastest and most accurate site.
- We book the majority of our hotels on Booking.com. With frequent stay discounts, thousands of reviews and free cancellation, it is very rare for us to have a bad hotel experience these days.
- Wise is by far the best international multicurrency bank account we’ve found. We can now send and receive money in half a dozen different currencies, convert to dozens more with no exchange premium and pay or withdraw local currencies. Highly recommended.
- When travelling we always get SIM cards with data for our phones. Local SIM cards are sometimes a bit cheaper but if you have a relatively new smartphone (iPhone XR or newer, Samsung S20 or newer) you can just buy an eSIM online, get a QR code by email and you’re good to go. After extensive research I have decided that KeepGo eSIMs have the best coverage and prices for most of our trips.
- We’ve used Discover Cars in many different countries and they usually have the cheapest deals and have always been very reliable.
- If you’re interested in local guided tours, including everything from city tours to cooking lessons to adventure activities, check out the huge range of options at Get Your Guide.
- World Nomads offers some of the best global travel insurance coverage. It is especially good for frequent travellers and digital nomads but also has competitive plans for short trips.
Summary of Guatemala Yoga Retreats on Lake Atitlan
While each of these Guatemala yoga retreats are surprisingly unique you really can’t go wrong with any of them. The important thing is to prioritize what you are hoping to get out of your Lake Atitlan yoga retreat, then choose the place that suits you best, whether that is views, atmosphere, a peaceful location or intense classes.
Or just throw your mat down for some DIY yoga and enjoy the incredible views!
Check out our list of Yoga Captions that has some of our favorite Atitlan yoga photos.