Panama·February 5 - 11 2023
A curated wellness, cultural + culinary experience on Panama's sparsely populated Pacific coast. Quiet, remote + totally authentic Panama!
This is a retreat to truly get away from it all. Panama is nestled between Costa Rica and Colombia and has many of the best elements of both. We'll spend our time in a private resort in a remote corner of the world in the western province of Chiriquí, Panama. Our home for the week is perched on the edge of a cliff with amazing vistas of lush jungle, the Pacific Ocean and rivers valleys. Together we'll get off the tourist path and hike remote waterfalls, have lunch on a deserted island, wake up to the sound of howler monkeys and practice yoga with 360 degree views of the breathtaking landscape. Get away your day-to-day and into a new rhythm of a tropical Panamanian life.
*Please note we are requiring proof of COVID vaccination (including at least one booster) AND a pre-retreat negative test for all 2023 retreat guests*
- Group Size: 10-14 Guests
- Luxury Score: 4 (out of 5)
- Activity Score: 2.5 (out of 5) - Some Active Tours
- Cuisine: Omnivore (some meat + fish offered)
*Want to see it all and add on Panama City to your visit? Check out our 9 day / 8 night experience "Best of Panama Retreat: Jan 2023"
Our quiet, remote retreat venue is held exclusively for Above Yoga Retreat guests and is set on an expansive property with lush landscapes in every direction. Sip a drink from the infinity pool as you look out at the ocean or nap in a shady hammock. Get back to your true self as you re-ground into nature.
All your delicious, healthy meals are included. From made-to-order breakfasts like veggie omelets and tropical fruit + yogurt bowls, to lunch options like local fish tacos to multi-course candle-light dinners, you'll remember the food on this retreat long after your last bite. Seafood, meat and vegetarian options are available. You'll also enjoy local cuisine on two excursions.
Enjoy invigorating lovingly cultivated yoga classes 1-2x a day in our thatched roof, open-air yoga shala just steps from the main building. Class types range from vinyasa, to slow flow, to yin and gentle. The shala is open to you outside of class times if you'd like to do additional movement or meditation practices.
Our villa is just a 15 minute walk from a local and quiet beach area. There are lounge chairs and hammocks set up for the retreat guests, so it's the perfect place to relax on a free day. Take a swim in the bay or just watch the hermit crabs climb over the sand dunes at sunset. Natural beauty at its finest.
A retreat is meant to be a sanctuary and a withdrawal from the every day stressors of life. You'll have plenty of time and space to journal, read, nap or just enjoy nature across several outdoor sitting and lounge areas on the property. There's lots of room to spread out mentally and physically in our Panama refuge.
We'll spend a half day exploring local islands by boat. Enjoy plenty of time to swim in the crystal clear waters, an included local lunch at a beach restaurant on a deserted island that'll make you feel like you've been castaway to another world. Swim, explore, just relax -- this beach + boat day can be as adventurous or as laid back as you want!
Sure to be one of the highlights of your trip - our guided waterfall hike and full day adventure will take you deep into the jungle, through indigenous villages and up mountain roads in 4x4 vehicles. The exciting journey is more than worth it - because the views after our short, but steep hike to descend to the base of the waterfalls is absolutely breathtaking.
In addition to our owner and Chief Zen Officer Anna, each Above Yoga retreat has one or two additional certified yoga teachers or fitness instructors on-site who will lead a portion of the classes and support students in their practice. We find that an opportunity to participate in a variety of classes with various teaching styles adds to our guests’ overall retreat experience.
Anna is Above Yoga's Chief Zen Officer and lead yoga instructor. Anna handles all retreat planning and logistics on-site. She aims to hold space for others to experience personal growth, transformation and community through wellness travel. She loves to teach yin, slow flow and also moderately paced vinyasa flows focused on alignment that are accessible to every level of student but that offer challenges in an inclusive and warm environment.
Hunter is a yoga teacher in Charleston, South Carolina. She began her yoga journey in 2018 and fell instantly in love with the mind and body practice. She teaches for Charleston Community Yoga and loves teaching a wide range of yoga from more relaxing yin to powerful vinyasa flows. When she's not teaching she's probably traveling, exploring outdoors, reading or hanging out her with cat, The Great Catsby.
Katie is a licensed Clinical Social Worker and runs her own therapy practice. She specializes in Restorative and Trauma-Sensitive Yoga and has been teaching it for 5+ years. She loves the restorative and gentle styles of practice as they compliments her passion for helping others work through anxiety and stress. She's also the host of a podcast called "Healing Charlotte." Katie has also been on retreat with us to Ireland, Morocco, France and Mexico!
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Panama! In the late afternoon, you'll be greeted outside the Enrique Malek International Airport (in David) by your private transfer and enjoy an hour long scenic journey to the villa.
Enjoy a leisurely check-in and get settled into your new home! Soak up the sunset views as our private chef prepares our first delicious dinner. Sit back and kick your feet up as we prepare for our week together!
To prepare our bodies and minds for our time in this magical space, we will have an optional grounding and gentle yoga practice after dinner. You'll have to take just a few steps back to your comfy beds to sleep the night away.
Private Chef Dinner
We'll wake up to have an invigorating morning yoga flow class followed by a gourmet made-to-order breakfast. Join for an optional guided walk to our nearby beach area.
The day is yours to relax and enjoy the scenery. Feel free to hang at the beach in a hammock, take a swim in the Pacific or sit by the pool and dive into a new book. Lunch can be ordered poolside at your leisure.
We'll gather in the early evening for an optional journaling workshop followed by a restorative and meditative yoga class. Then it's another gourmet dinner (maybe the fresh catch straight from the ocean) while overlooking our villa's infinity pool. You could get used to this life, right?
Morning Vinyasa Yoga
Intro Beach Walk
After our morning yoga class, enjoy another specialty breakfast dish + tropical fruit and local coffee. We'll head out late morning for an adventurous drive to the next province and deep into the jungle and small indigenous villages.
We'll meet up with our hiking guide who will help us descend deeper and deeper into the valley. The hike is short (less than a mile) but extremely steep. The views are more than worth it! After traversing behind the falls, you'll be able to swim in their cool, clear pools.
We'll return to one of the local villages to enjoy a traditional Panamanian lunch in an open air restaurant (chicken or veggies with rice, beans and plantains).
Once we're back at the villa in the late afternoon you can hop in the pool until it's time for another delicious group dinner such as local Mahi Mahi with tropical salad.
Morning Yoga Class
Guided Waterfall Hike
After another thoughtful yoga class in our private thatched roof shala, we will have an amazing villa breakfast. Today's a free day to slow down and soak up your surroundings by enjoying beach and pool time. Craving more adventures? You can sign up for an additional excursion such as a mangrove kayaking tour. Today is also a great day for a deeply relaxing on-site massage.
Lunch is available mid day to order at your leisure. We'll join together for an early evening restful deep stretch yoga class and then have another incredible group dinner.
Optional Excursions or Spa Appts
Enjoy our favorite combo of amazing outdoor morning yoga + strong coffee + a breakfast of tropical fruits, yogurt and homemade granola. After breakfast we'll head out for a 30 minute drive to the nearby town to board a boat for our island day! We'll explore a local island that's white sand beach and tropical palm trees -- a castaway's dream. There's a small local restaurant tucked into the shoreline where we will enjoy a local lunch such as a whole fried fish with the usual Panamanian sides! Grab a frozen beverage and float in the ocean afterwards.
We'll be back to the villa by late afternoon time, so we suggest you grab spot by the pool to watch the sun go down before another amazing group dinner by the pool.
Boat / Island Excursion
Lunch on Island
Enjoy our sunrise flow morning yoga class and breakfast (it wouldn't be one of our sand + sea retreats without this blissful combo!) and then head to the beach to soak up some more sun!
You'll still have plenty of time to enjoy a free afternoon before a yin evening yoga class and another mouthwatering dining experience like local prawns with a tropical sauce at the villa this evening.
Parting is such sweet sorrow! After your final tropical breakfast and last cup of delicious Panamanian coffee, we'll head out as a group in the morning back to the airport in David for your flights to Panama City and onward to your final destination.
But you're a part of the Above Yoga family for life and we know we will see you on another retreat soon!
Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily (all meals!)
Expertly curated yoga classes (1-2x daily)
Airport transportation to villa
Guided waterfall hike + lunch experience
Boat excursions + island lunch experience
Guided journaling workshop(s)
Ample free time for beach, pool, etc.
Unlimited filtered water, coffee and tea
Unlimited access to semi-private beach and private pool
A detailed itinerary, packing list and constant support leading up to and during the retreat
A pre-retreat Zoom meeting and private Facebook group
A mobile-friendly secure web app for use on retreat
Curated yoga classes (1-2x daily)
Airfare to David, Panama
Smoothies or alcoholic beverages
Additional excursions or spa services
Optional tips for villa staff
For this retreat, you will need to fly into a small airport in David, Panama called the Enrique Malek International Airport (DAV). The easiest way to do this is from Panama City Tocumem Airport (PTY) on Copa Airlines. In order to use the retreat transfer service you should plan to take the 3:45 pm flight from PTY to DAV on the afternoon of Feb 5 and the 9:30 am flight from DAV to PTY on the morning of Feb 11. You can book these inter-country flights separately from your international flight into PTY.
Our retreat villa is a remote area of Panama, so the nearest towns, and small shops or restaurants are more than 30 min - 1 hour away. This is meant to be a mental detox, so if constant stimulation or shopping is your preferred vacation style, this is likely not a good retreat for you. Please also keep this in mind if you have pre-existing health concerns as the nearest hospitals and medical facilities are a great distance away. We highly recommend you take out travel health insurance.
This is a wonderfully, family owned boutique hotel that also operates as a retreat venue. Given the limited number of rooms and bed configurations, there is no option to have your own room on this retreat. The rooms themselves are extremely large, and there's an option to have your own bed in shared accommodations as desired. There is also plenty of space across the grounds to spread out during the day for alone time!
Average weather for Panama in February is: highs in the upper 80s and lows in the 70s.
Expect ample sunshine (pack your sunscreen) and humidity. As with any tropical destination, there is a small chance or passing rainstorms and of course - bugs! While there are few mosquitos there are "no see ums," so make sure to bring your bug repellant!
While Panama has its own currency - the Balboa, it's tied directly to the US dollar. So US dollars are accepted everywhere within Panama - a great perk for easy travel! For small purchases at corner stores and tips for guides the USD is the best way to pay. Plan to take out money at your local bank before the trip. Major credit cards are also accepted at most establishments.
What a wonderful retreat! Above Yoga takes care of every detail making travel stress free and easy. Although I went for yoga, sun and relaxation, I came away grateful for the time spent with new friends exploring a new country. The nature walk and swim in the cenotes were the highlight of the trip.
Melissa, Downers Grove, IL (Dominican 2021 Retreat)
Anna is prompt in communication. I really appreciated her keeping in contact with us during COVID. She was always open to being asked questions. The retreat venue felt like paradise. The staff we interacted with were very welcoming. I only attended one yoga class and never felt any type of pressure to do more. I can’t wait to go back.
Lori, Winston-Salem, NC (Mexico 2021 Retreat)
The planning and organization were excellent - unlike any event I attended. The mobile app was great to have a quick glimpse of schedule multiple times a day.
Vijay, Northville, MI (Dominican 2021 Retreat)
Anna's attention to every detail is beyond compare! From the moment we booked our retreat, her communication with us was timely and just the right amount. I felt comfortable upon arrival, at every excursion, to our departure. The schedule was clear and organized but also allowed for a lot of flexibility and spontaneity - a great balance for a retreat/vacation. Anna's calm energy was also super-appreciated. Truly excellent!
Sarah, Milwaukee, WI (Mexico 2021 Retreat)
Above Yoga has changed my outlook on yoga retreats! Yoga retreats seemed inaccessible to a novice yogi. But that all changed from the moment I learned about the way Anna builds her retreats. There is yoga, and free time built, but also carefully curated excursions. There is no way you will regret gifting yourself the time away. I came home feeling refreshed, rested, and ready to dive back into my day-to-day.
Angela, Charlotte, NC (Mexico 2022 Retreat)
Villa was amazing, perfect space. The meals were amazing, the events organized as well. Anna you have a real niche for this. The experience was memorable. My wife and I already miss it.
Brandon, Los Angeles, CA (Mexico 2021 Retreat)
Panama·February 5 - 11 2023·6 nights
Join the waiting list and we will let you know if a spot becomes available.