In the midst of freezing New York winter, I can’t help but let myself get swayed away by memories from Nicaragua, where Abbi Miller and I led SuperYOU: A Yoga & Superfoods retreat with The Trip Tribe in November 2014. It was the first retreat we led together, and with Conde Nast Traveller and Shape Magazine setting the bar high by calling it one of the top yoga retreats of the year, we knew that we had to deliver.
If I could describe the trip in one experience, it would be… magical. We would start the day waking up by no one else but howler monkeys, who alerted the group it’s time for energizing morning yoga. A superfood breakfast demonstration would follow, after which we indulged the nutrition-packed creations at a family-style big wooden table, with a lot of “yummm-ing” accompanying each meal.
After superfood breakfast, there was space for optional activities–whether it was taming the waves with a surf board, zip lining in the jungle, collecting sea shells, exploring local town of San Juan Del Sur, or enjoying a divine massage by a local massage therapist, Dunya (who also happens to be a surfer and a jewelry maker). All the options were, in fact, included in the price of the retreat, which we plan to repeat in 2016.
A relaxing evening yoga flow would follow, and it seemed like no words were necessary the moment when the sun would throw its red, orange and purple strokes over the sky, reflecting in the blue ocean. The whole group would pause–and breathe just a little more deeply, all together–in awe of nature’s beauty.
Think of the most raw, wild place you’ve been to. Nicaragua is that, taken a step further.
We were hosted by Marc and Marielle at Buena Vista Surf Club–an eco lodge which they’ve built and have been running for years. Now when I used to think of eco-lodge, nothing fancy would come to my mind. And even though Buena Vista Surf Club is not luxury lodging by any means, it’s one of the most incredible places I’ve ever stayed at–and here’s why. From the moment we walked into the spacious, tasteful, woody lounging/dining area that connects with the yoga deck, it felt right. It’s full of light and serenity. The rooms were beautiful wooden bungalows overlooking the jungle, making you feel like you’re in the nature, yet in a comfy bed, in the spirit of glamping.
Mark and Marielle made our group feel like at home, and Ben, Maive, Ciara and James–two couples from the UK who were on duty during our stay–took the experience to a whole new level with their hospitality, sense of humor and–THE MEALS. Food at BVSC deserves a whole separate post. Every dinner was a freshly farm-sourced, home cooked meal that would leave us inspired to spend more time in the kitchen, stat. Cooked with healing spices, worldly flair and a whole lot of love, dinners we at at Buena Vista were impeccable (and accommodated meat eaters, vegetarian, and gluten free).
The unofficial “bible” of the Buena Vista Surf Club kitchen is cookbook by BVSC’s founder Marielle. She was getting so many questions about her recipes and secrets by guests, that she decided to put it together in a book (hallelujah!)
One of the days we rented a van and went off to explore Nicaragua out of the jungle–the towns, the markets and the lakes. The day was filled with colors, palm trees everywhere, captivating culture and stunning sky.
Even though the weather was gloomy most days, it was still warm and nice out, and some of us surfed every day. It’s the kind of tropical rain that would never ruin your day.
On our last evening, Abbi and I led an appreciation circle under the full moon, followed by the most adventurous of the group walking over to the beach, where we danced around the fire with a (ridiculously talented!) Canadian DJ spinning.
We left Buena Vista Surf Club feeling well rested, disconnected from the outside world (there was no wi-fi access most of the trip, which was very refreshing as my life revolves around social media), and connected on the inside and bonded within the group. And of course… there were many yoga pictures taken.
Thank you The Trip Tribe and Buena Vista Surf Club for making this trip possible!
The next SuperYOU: Yoga & Superfoods Retreat is tentatively scheduled for March, 2016. Subscribe to our email newsletter to get more details once it’s confirmed!
Photos by Ksenia Avdulova, Abbi Miller, Brittney Andrews and Jennifer Klemm.