The best places to find zen in the Caribbean.
Yoga and travel, especially during a global pandemic, might sound daft and frivolous. Before COVID-19, it was rather easy to take both for granted. As a working writer, my life constantly revolves around a deadline. Almost everything is carefully planned out in a calendar app on my phone. Yoga, in many ways, has been perhaps my essential tool for life management.
An avid Bikram yogi, the practice boasts of an intense workout, sauna, and facial. It also offers an open-eyed meditation that gives you the confidence needed to navigate one’s hectic life and restores the connection with your true inner self. Maintaining that connection, however, has been challenging throughout this health crisis.
Yoga retreats combine the proven benefits of consistent practice with the idyllic backdrop of a beautiful landscape. Nestled throughout the Caribbean, these retreats offer both in abundance, including nutritious local foods, daily yoga practice (designed for novice and experienced yogis), and other restorative benefits gained from either seeking out or reclaiming one’s spiritual connection.
Top Picks for You
Go Natural Jamaica
WHERE: Long Bay, Portland, Jamaica
Go Natural Jamaica offers many bespoke options for aspiring and advanced yogis alike, offering either week- or month-long stays that promise an immersive wellness experience. If funds are tight these days, consider the Budget Retreat Relax option, which includes shared accommodations, yoga practice twice daily (at sunrise and sunset), three meals a day (vegan and vegetarian options), and other local excursions including live reggae and a trek to one of the parish’s many lush waterfalls.
Spirit Quest Jamaica at Eden Gardens Wellness Resort
WHERE: Kingston, Jamaica
Held at the Eden Gardens Wellness Resort, Spirit Quest Jamaica offers a four-day-long retreat that infuses the healing powers and scenic backdrop of the island into an immersive and life-changing escape. Inspired by the life of Bob Marley, the retreat itself pays homage to his deep-rooted spirituality, complete with daily Bikram yoga practice and meditation. Spirit Quest also offers nature-filled excursions to Marley’s known locales for spiritual rejuvenation, including Cane River Falls, the bustling Ocho Rios in Saint Ann’s parish, and Strawberry Hill Resort, located in the resplendent Blue Mountains.
WHERE: Negril, Jamaica
Known for its stretch of beaches, Negril also offers an oasis from the hustle and grind of everyday life. Through its Retreat to Freedom, Irie Yoga has tapped into these and other therapeutic benefits. This five-day-long holistic retreat consists of daily Kemetic yoga practice (derived from ancient Egypt), reflective meditation, fitness workshops, and nutrition counseling that promotes sustainable healthy eating habits to gain the most nutrients from our food sources.
WHERE: Las Galeras, Dominican Republic
Caribe Yoga hosts many retreats year-round at the Samaná Ocean View Eco Lodge, which houses 14 bungalows that offer stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and tranquil seclusion needed for any yoga escape. Upcoming sessions include its Heavenly YogiTribe Samaná Retreat and Prana in Paradise, a week-long retreat that features active yoga, restorative/yin yoga, meditation, conscious dancing, and much more.
Ki-Ra Holistic Living
WHERE: Boca Chavon, Altagracia, Dominican Republic
Ki-Ra Holistic Living goes back to the basics, drawing its inherent beauty and healing powers from the island backdrop. Offering private and secluded retreats year-round, Ki-Ri offers daily yoga, meditation, Ayurvedic spa treatments and cooking demonstrations, juicing, horseback riding, nature walks, bike riding treks along the nearby Boca Chavon, and beach bonfires at nighttime.
Se Yoga, Martinique Yoga Retreat
WHERE: Le Lamentin, Martinique
Nestled in the heart of the French West Indies, Martinique is by far one of the underrated gems of the Caribbean. Amid its lush and serene backdrop, Se Yoga’s Martinique Retreat helps you to unwind, relax, and find yourself again. Offering Kemetic yoga sessions outdoors taught by a master-level instructor and meditation daily, the retreat also provides vegan meal options and activities like kayaking and nature walks, holistic massage and balneotherapy, and even a chance to swim with the sea turtles.
COMO Shambhala at COMO Parrot Cay
WHERE: Parrot Cay, Turks and Caicos Islands
Worth the splurge, COMO Parrot Cay is a renowned luxury resort that sits on a private island, tucked away in the splendor of the Turks and Caicos Islands. At the resort’s Shambala Retreat, they offer a wide range of holistic and Asian-derived treatments (Ayurveda, Pilates, and group yoga), aimed at quieting the mind and helping to restore wellness and balance. Private yoga instruction is also offered, for an additional fee.
BodyYoga at BodyHoliday Saint Lucia
WHERE: Castries, St. Lucia
Just as the name suggests, BodyHoliday, indeed, offers a vacation for the “body.” Part of St. Lucia’s all-inclusive resort, BodyYoga is a program that is tailored for each individual’s needs and specific goals. It combines yoga and Ayurvedic teachings to help yogis achieve optimal physical, mental, and emotional health benefits.
INSIDER TIPIn your free time, plan to make regular treks over to the nearby Castries Market, where you can buy local produce, souvenirs, even sample some of the island’s cuisine.
Maya Tulum Retreat & Spa
WHERE: Tulum, Mexico
A premiere destination for yoga and wellness for over 30 years, Maya Tulum Retreat & Spa sits right on the Caribbean coastline of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. Newly reopened since the start of the pandemic, private yoga instruction is currently offered at the resort. Custom retreats are held year-round, including a Relax & Recharge Retreat with Arezu, who specializes in Kundalini yoga, and Moving Beyond Fear with Karen Donahue, opening hearts and minds to untapped possibilities.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat Bahamas
WHERE: Nassau, Bahamas
The Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat offers a plethora of different ways to embrace a yogi lifestyle. Its Yoga Vacation Program hosts daily yoga classes, meditation, live talks with leading holistic experts, and free time built in to fully explore the Bahamas. Other healing treatments and services are provided at the Well Being Center, including massages, body treatments, and an Ayurvedic consultation offering customized diet and lifestyle plans to achieve optimal health.