Rise from within and together with this Lonely Planet recommended women's writing retreat in a luxurious space on Lake Atitlan. Breathe and relax into lakeside comfort as we gather for a magical and soulful week beneath the watch of volcanoes. Join a very intimate sacred circle of women in the spirit of reclamation for a creative inner adventure through meditation, yoga, movement, magical ceremonies and self-exploratory writing at Villa Sumaya in Santa Cruz, Guatemala.
You are invited to take a brave and honest journey into your center to connect with your intuition and express from your core. To unravel the ways you have learned to limit or deny yourself. To trust, embrace and truly value your raw embodied presence and your truest soulful desires. Within each of us is the call to open our hearts, step further into our courage, expand our self-acceptance and animate our own sacred expression.
A Stunning Location
Cradled by rural highlands and lush forests, Lake Atitlan is a breathtaking beauty framed by three majestic volcanoes. The lake is known to attract travelers in search of soulful reconnection. Resting in a secluded lakeside cove, Villa Sumaya is an eco-chic sanctuary dedicated to rejuvenation, holistic practices, and preserving Mayan tradition.
This gorgeous location offers expansive views, inviting and comfortable accommodation, delicious and nurturing slow-food meals, juice bar cafe, on-site spa, solar hot tub, fair-trade boutique and wood-burning sauna in unparalleled natural surroundings. Villa Sumaya is an eco-friendly wellness center perfect for self-care, refreshing perspectives and renewing energies.
A Women's Sacred Journey
Set out on a transformative creative and powerful journey through daily meditation, yoga, movement and self-exploratory writing as a channel to reveal insight from within. Participate in diverse healing ceremonies that awaken your feminine energies and stoke your soul connection.
Breathe, stretch, relax, and align with your center while sharing in the experience with other women. This retreat is not about ‘writing’ as a subject or art form. In this retreat, we ourselves are the art form. Every woman has a voice in her own life that calls her – we are gathering together to rise it up, embrace our wholeness and allow our self-expression. When we stop chasing our worth, allow our essence and share our gifts from inspired action, we are invited into a great adventure in life.
Infused by the four shamanic directions and rising the feminine, we embark on a revealing week of re-igniting the voices of our hearts and empowering ourselves as the fluid storytellers of our lives.
Meditation, yoga, sacred ceremonies, and our intimate sacred circle for writing will be women only and privately held. Meals may be shared with other guests, women or men.
Villa Sumaya is located on the shores of Lake Atitlan, outside of Santa Cruz La Laguna, with a private dock accessible by boat. Lake Atitlan is famed to hold a magnetic attraction for those travelers who seek to gain a deeper connection with nature and within.
The magical waters are framed by three sister volcanoes: Atitlán (11,598 ft), Toliman (10,360 ft) and San Pedro (9,908 ft), which create a panoramic vista from Villa Sumaya. The lake is dotted with small villages with local inhabitants of Mayan descent.
Indigenous women on these beautiful shores continue to wear traditional dress and create colorful weavings. Farmers grow coffee, corn, and pitaya fruit. Avocados, papayas, and jacotes are plentiful.
creating sacred space
Our intimate women's retreat group will gather together in sacred circle during the mornings and late afternoons in the spacious Blue Tiger Temple, an inspiring atmosphere with stunning views that offers a space to sink in, relax and reconnect, to create our own sacred space.
During meditation, yoga, and our sacred self-exploratory writing circles, we'll gaze upon the ripples of the lake and green volcanoes. All mats and props are provided. In addition to comfortable cushions, low chairs for the writing circle are available upon request.
relax & rejuvenate
In the spaces between our yoga and intensive self-exploratory group sessions together, Villa Sumaya offers the space for personal integration, relaxation and restorative self-care.
There's plenty of cosy outdoor nooks for lounging, for a private journaling session or even a good old chat. During afternoon breaks, you could dip in the lake, lay on the sun deck, soak in the solar-heated stone hot tub, or detox in the sauna. For a moving meditation, you can explore the nearby mapped nature trails of 30, 45 minutes, and one hour.
The on-site Harmony spa also offers rejuvenating bodywork sessions, including various massage styles, ayurvedic consultation, and energy work depending upon the available therapists at hand. The spa can accommodate four women in private healing rooms.
This is an opportunity to connect and re-treat yourself to the experience of going inwards and being fully present. Two complimentary computers are offered for quick check-ins with friends and family. WIFI access is available for $20 for the week
Twice during the week, we will skip the morning writing circle to allow a longer break and have one circle in the late afternoon.
During these days, we'll offer optional excursion(s), such as a visit to a village or kayaking/hiking. Aimee will provide specific options catered to the group. You may also wish to stay back at Villa Sumaya for some extra relaxation, spaciousness, or for treatments.
Retreat guests will be staying in the beautiful rooms of the Maya Rose house, Lotus House (privates) or Ginger Suites (privates).
Maya Rose is a ranch style house with six unique rooms in a row, each varying in size and having its own unique touches of colorful decor. All of the Maya Rose rooms have private bathrooms with hot showers and outdoor patios with exceptional lake views. They are centrally located near the courtyard, dining room, gardens, and boutique.
The Lotus Suites are gorgeous private upgrades that are up several stairs with private balcony areas. The Ginger Suites are Villa Sumaya's most luxurious accommodation. Each suite features majestic lake-view balconies, elegant antique furnishings and modern stylized bathrooms. The Lotus Suites and Ginger Suites involve stairs so are not suitable for anyone with mobility issues.
Once all bookings are in, we will assign the rooms, doing our best to accommodate preferences within your booking.
Embracing the values of slow-food preparation and culinary consciousness, Cafe Sumaya Sol offers delcious homemade vegetarian meals that blend local and international cuisine.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets are abundant and fish and chicken are available for an additional fee ($7/meal). Organic artisan coffee and a wide selection of herbal teas are available 24/7.
You can also treat yourself to exotic smoothies, kombucha, wine or cocktails, and raw homemade snacks and treats.
Lead Facilitator: Aimee Hansen
Creator, Storyteller Within Retreats
Aimee chases big questions with butterfly nets, only to set them free again. She's always had an irresistible attraction to words and metaphors as a way of playing, provoking, revealing, exploring, understanding and connecting.
A few years into a corporate agency, in 2003 she began sneaking away from her London office for creative writing classes at Central Saint Martins College, rekindling her childhood love of words. On a quest for more meaningful plot in life and a bigger adventure, she left London in 2008 and again in 2010, to travel.
By 2012, her travels guided her to Guatemala and back to herself. Her intensive studies with a mentor who called her "the storyteller" - and her own passion for questions and insight - have started her on an ever curious and unfolding journey into the nature of perception. Her work explores the power of stories and invites a creative and playful adventure in the yoga of perception. She trusts in the mysterious sways of our hearts and the truth in our bodies, listening to what lights us up from within and moving, again and again, from this knowing.
Aimee works as a freelance writer in leadership and inclusion, dances with the muse at poetry and scribbles into tricky spaces. She holds a 200+ hr yoga teacher certification. She is inspired and humbled by witnessing how something raw and honest in the human spirit aches to open, given the invitation. She began Storyteller Within retreats to share in the experience of exploring our humanity and stepping into our courage and vastness as women.
Every event is a collaboration with the gifts of guest facilitators. Aimee will be bringing in guest facilitators for yoga, movement and various ceremonies!
Ceremonies & Sessions:
For each retreat, we invite in magic and mystery, through ceremonies and sessions (eg. movement, sound, fire) with guest facilitators that enrich and expand the power of our journey by sharing their gifts. We gather for sacred connection and expression that goes far beyond words.
Getting There & Away
The closest international airport to Lake Atitlan is Guatemala City La Aurora International Airport, three hours away from Panajachel on Lake Atitlan. From Panajachel, it's a ten minute scenic boat ride to the private dock at Villa Sumaya.
Guests are advised to fly into La Aurora Intl Guatemala City (GUA) by 1pm on the day retreat begins, and book return flights for mid/late afternoon on the day the retreat ends.
Once we have your travel plans, we can happily arrange your private transportation to Villa Sumaya from the airport, hotels nearby, or from Antigua.
Payments, Cancellations, & Refunds Policy
If you cancel before 90 days in advance of the retreat start date: 50% of the deposit is refunded.
If you cancel 90-61 days in advance of the event, no refund of the deposit is provided. Unless your spot can be filled within contract, and then 50% of the deposit is refunded.
Full payment is due on or before 60 days out from the event. If you cancel within 60 days of the retreat start date: No refund on full payment is provided. But if we can fill your spot within contract, we'll provide a refund minus the full deposit. No refund is provided if you miss the event or part of it for any reason.
Storyteller Within reserves the right to cancel any program at any time. Retreats have final confirmation on or before 60 days out. If an event is cancelled, you will be fully refunded your retreat fees.
Exception: Storyteller Within is not liable for events beyond all control - such as natural disasters, political upheaval, countrywide travel restrictions or other such unexpected circumstances - that would necessitate cancellation of the event.
To protect your investment, including travel costs, against unforeseen circumstances, travel insurance is strongly advised for all participants.
For maximum coverage, purchase a 'cancel for any reason policy' upgrade option which covers a high percentage of your non-refundable costs. These policies often need to be bought 14-21 days after booking and have a 48 hours prior to departure cancellation window. Available from insurance companies like Trawick International and Travel Guard.
What to Bring
Once you register for the event, we will send you a Welcome Kit with details of what to bring for your retreat week at Villa Sumaya.
There will be opportunities to get local currency (quetzals) both at the airport and at ATM machines along the way if needed. You're also able to pay for optional extras at Villa Sumaya with cash ($USD or quetzals), checks, or credit cards (8% fee).