This past April I, along with 12 other yogis, embarked on an adventure to Bocas del Toro, Panama. These gorgeous islands have been on my bucket list for quite some time because of their obvious beauty and location off the beaten path.
When I started researching locations for a yoga retreat this is where I started and quickly looked no further once I found Casa Cayuco. Casa Cayuco is an eco lodge on Isla Bastimentos owned by the sweetest couple from Michigan, Dave and Suzanne. Dave and Suzanne are the most attentive hosts and made us feel completely at home from the moment we stepped off the boat on to the island (yes you take a boat to get there!).
We all stayed in open air cabins steps away from the ocean. Listening to the crashing waves as you fall asleep and waking up to the monkeys and birds as you awake makes you feel so alive and so present.
Our days consisted of morning walks on the beach, a vinyasa practice to wake us up, and time to relax on the over water hammocks in the afternoon. Every evening we would watch the sunset as we moved through a gentle yoga practice on our dock, the location of our studio for the week.
One of the most rewarding days according to our group of yogis, was the day that we took a boat over to the local indigenous village on the island, Salt Creek. Dave and Suzanne employ only locals from Salt Creek and therefore have a very close relationship with the village. Because of this, Dave knows what the needs of the village are and where they can use some help. When we were there, the school of Salt Creek was implementing a "Keep our Village Clean" program with all of the young ones. Teaching them to take pride in their home by picking up trash and learning about proper disposal. This is where we came in. We helped paint new trash receptacles all over the village and also went around with the kids to do a giant clean up!
I believe our greatest education in this life is experiencing things and places different from our own. I also believe that when we travel to these places, especially those less well off than our westernized world, we have the responsibility to give back. Whether that's by donations, volunteering our time, or simply sharing a smile and a laugh. This is why this part of our Panama Yoga Retreat was such an important component to include and also why I have decided to return in April, 2018.
Other highlights of the trip included some time on the beautiful Caribbean Sea, snorkeling around the reefs, finding octopus, and seeing dolphins along the way! Every night morning, afternoon, and night we would gather around the table for some of the most delicious and fresh meals I have ever eaten thanks to Suzanne and the women who prepare a menu composed of only fresh local ingredients.
If you are interested in joining us in Panama next April click here or shoot us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone call (203-741-9936).