Personalizing the Retreat Experience one retreat at a time
Host your retreat at Istmo, and we will support you as you create a transformational experience for your friends, family, and community. Istmo is designed to host groups of 8 to 22 people in their transformational work.
At ISTMO Yoga and Adventure Retreat, we believe that group travel with an inspirational leader has enormous transformational pow
We built our facilities and designed our services to support you, the inspirational leader, as you enable exploration, connection, and transformation in your guests.
ISTMO'S JUNGLE AND BEACH LOCATION IS IDEAL FOR INTIMATE AND EXCLUSIVE RETREATS.
Our bungalows are comfortable and full of hidden luxuries, including air-conditioning, pillowtop mattresses, luxury linens, private bathrooms with hot water, private balconies, and wi-fi.
ALL OF OUR RETREAT PACKAGES INCLUDE ACCESS TO ALL OF OUR FACILITIES.
Facilities include a Yoga Studio nestled in the jungle, a Walking Labyrinth, a Nature Trail, a Family Dining Area, and areas throughout the property for meetings, relaxation, and meditation. Our Retreat Center has been designed to support groups of 8 to 22 people in their transformational work.
ALL OF OUR RETREAT PACKAGES INCLUDE THREE MEALS PER DAY.
Our farm and sea-to-table tropical fusion cuisine are created with love by Sean Davis, the owner, and professional chef. He can accommodate gluten-free and vegan and will happily provide substitutions for food allergies.
ALL OF OUR RETREAT PACKAGES INCLUDE airport TRANSPORTATION AND AN EVENING BONFIRE ON THE LAST DAY.
Additional activities include surf lessons, hiking the cloud forests and waterfalls, visiting the Panama Canal, exploring an indigenous community, visiting an artisan market, SUPing on a mountain lake, exploring the mangroves on a SUP, and of course, massages and plenty of hammock and beach time!
“...they treated our group like family. Their generous hospitality is unforgettable.”
- Kali Kennedy, Retreat Leader, Arizona, USA
As the retreat leader, you show up and share your gifts with your community. We take care of all the details, ensuring you and your group are comfortable.
Hosting a retreat at Istmo guarantees an exclusive and personalized experience. You can rent our entire facility for 5 nights or longer retreats.
Our facility has 8 rooms in total with 22 beds.
- 2 bungalows, each with two (2) full beds.
- 3 bungalows, each with two bunk beds. The bottom bunk has a full bed, and the top bunk has a single bed - 4 beds in each bungalow.
- 1 ground-level jungle studio apartment with two bunk beds and a kitchenette. The bottom bunk has a full bed, and the top bunk has a single bed - 4 beds total.
- 2 bungalows, each with one full bed and a kitchenette.
Considering the above, your retreat can have anywhere between:
- 8 people in single occupancy, or
- 2 people in single occupancy + 12 people in double occupancy (14 people in single/double occupancy), or
- A maximum of 22 people in shared occupancy.
The above numbers include you, the retreat leader.
If this sounds perfect for your group, please fill out the google form at the link, and we will send you availability, pricing, and our retreat booking policies.
* Please know that Istmo will use your email to communicate with you about our services.
What Others Say
"ISTMO went above and beyond my expectations. I recently hosted a two week-long Yoga immersion training course at ISTMO, and they treated our group like family. Their generous hospitality is unforgettable. In addition to great service, we enjoyed fresh food, locally sourced meals, and comfy and spacious boutique bungalows! ISTMO’s entire property is something special- from the main house to the Yoga studio, labyrinth, and hammock gazebo. Secluded but with easy access to a stunning, quiet beach (both black and white sand) and numerous waterfalls in the area. We felt we were truly enjoying an authentic experience in the Panamanian rain-forest!!"
"Istmo far exceeded our expectations. The rooms were very well kept, clean, had comfortable beds and pillows, toiletries provided and plenty of space. The food was amazing and the staff were very friendly and helpful. The grounds are beautiful and the beach is just a short walk away. All details were thought of and we had everything we could have needed. As a retreat leader, my job was so easy thanks to the amazing support at Istmo. I truly cannot recommend this place enough. I cannot wait to go back again!"
"As a yoga teacher with experience leading retreats worldwide, Istmo met or exceeded all of my expectations. The chef was able to create meals to meet everyone's specific dietary requirements AND learned everyone's names (16 people) at our very first meal. Excursions were thoughtfully planned and super fun. It takes a lot for a retreat center to wow me so much that I want to return, but I will be back and CANNOT WAIT! Thanks, Istmo, for a lifetime's worth of incredible memories!"
Six Easy Steps to Hosting a Retreat at Istmo.
Request pricing, availability, and detailed information about hosting a retreat at Istmo
* Please know that Istmo will use your email to communicate with you about our services .
We will will reach out to you personally with our pricing and details.
Each retreat is unique, and we are here to work with you.
Agreement and support material
After we have agreed on the best retreat package and pricing for your needs, we will send you an Agreement where payments and service terms are clearly outlined. This serves as a guide for us to ensure we are always on the same page.
Soon after you sign-up, you will receive Marketing materials and photos of Istmo so that you may promote your retreat.
Start filling your transformational retreat
If your retreat is open to the public, we would love to help you promote your retreat using our website, social media, and mailing list. Please send us all your marketing material so we can help you promote it.
You will be able to reach out to us throughout the process. We will be available to answer any questions and send you any information you need.
Three months before the start of the retreat, you send us a progress payment, and one month before the beginning of the retreat, you will send us the final payment. These payments can be made with a credit card or bank transfer.
One week before the start of your retreat, we jump on a Zoom call to set up all the final details. During this call, we will review the retreat daily schedule and each participant and their personal needs to ensure all details are covered.
Board your flight to Panama, relax, enjoy, and do your thing!
Our Private Transportation will be waiting for you at the airport with a big smile and an "Istmo Retreat" sign. It is time to enjoy your retreat, do your thing, and leave the details to us.
You will be supported as you lead a transformational retreat. You and your guests will be in caring and loving hands from when you land in Panama to when you leave.
It will be amazing!
Frequently Asked Questions
Mid-December to mid-April is the dry season. It does not rain then, and it is cold up North. Come escape the cold in tropical Panama!
Late April and early May mark the end of the dry season, a transitional season, as the green or rainy season is starting. So you may get dry days or rainy days.
Our favorite time is June through November, when the green/rainy season has settled in, and everything is lush. It usually rains for 2 hours or less in the afternoons. During this time of the year, most of the day is available for outdoor activities, and when it rains for an hour or so, it is a welcome change.
October and November tend to be the two most rainy months of the year, but even then, it is rare that you will have an entire day with rain, just a few hours here or there... And as you may know, tropical rain is delicious, like a cool shower. 😉
The beach (Playa Grande) is a 5 to 8-minute walk along a rural road. It is a black and white sandy beach; if you walk 20 minutes along the beach, you get to a breathtaking rocky beach (so you get both). Most of the time the beach is very safe for swimming, sometimes we get a big swell, and there is a bit of a shore break, on those rare days we are happy to organize a surf tour for your group.
Our location is secluded but not isolated. During working hours, an English-speaking hospital is a 15 minutes drive from our property. After 9 pm, there is a 24-hour Public Hospital, a 7-minute drive away. Owner Sean Davis is a trained EMT. In case of emergencies, we will personally take you to a clinic.
Most of the retreat leaders who chose our location are not looking for places with shopping and restaurants in the close vicinity. They are more interested in providing their groups with a "retreat" environment where the group can connect with nature and themselves and disconnect from the daily consumerism we are bombarded with.
Our location allows teachers and students to delve into the subject matter in a beautiful and comfortable setting while simultaneously allowing for diverse activities and adventures during their time off.
We are blessed to live and run our business in a small safe rural/beach community. Our 3 friendly dogs are our 24-hour security. We have not felt the need to fence our property or hire a security guard. General security precautions, cultural considerations, like not leaving valuables on the beach unattended, and single women not going down to the beach too early or too late are sensible measures we ask our guests to follow.
We look forward to sharing our slice of paradise with you!
While at ISTMO, you will spend your nights in a picturesque stand-alone bungalows.
Our accommodations are designed to support you in your retreat experience without the distractions of televisions. Our guests are always surprised by how cared for and comfortable they feel from the second they arrive. The rooms at ISTMO are an oasis of comfort and tranquility. Truly unwind when you enter our stand-alone air-conditioned bungalow that blends seamlessly into the natural backdrop of the jungle surrounding the property.
Accommodations at Istmo consist of seven (7) air-conditioned stand-alone bungalows and one ground-floor studio apartment - eight (8) rooms total. Two are singles, two are doubles, and four are quads.
All eight of our rooms can be used as singles if you have a small exclusive group that prefers not to share rooms.
All the rooms at ISTMO have beds with pillow top orthopedic mattresses and luxurious linens for your ultimate comfort. Each bungalow features balconies with seating and hammocks, air-conditioning, ceiling fans, mini-refrigerators with complimentary drinking water, private bathrooms with hot water showers, and diffusers. You will be provided daily housekeeping to ensure you are pampered and comfortable during your entire stay with us!
Istmo is located in Playa Grande, a rural beach community on the western edge of the Panama Province in the Republic of Panama. We are 1 hr 15 minutes from Panama City and 10 minutes from the town of Coronado. We are secluded but not isolated. If there is anything you forgot from home, it can probably be found in Coronado, where you will find supermarkets, pharmacies, shops, as well as a modern clinic with English-speaking doctors.
We are a 5-minute walk to a beautiful secluded beach. As you approach the beach, the last 2 minutes of the walk are through a jungle trail with the warm tropical Pacific Ocean waiting for you. Something that attracted the owners to the area is the miles of black and white sand beach with plenty of natural shade from the rainforest that grows close to the water's edge.
We are 30 minutes away from El Valle, a picturesque town nestled in the crater of an extinct volcano. El Valle has some beautiful hikes in the cloud forest, hot springs, horseback riding, a butterfly farm, a zip line, and an artisan and fruit/vegetable market, amongst other attractions.
Istmo is located on 4 acres of land, an acre of which is intact rainforest. You can enjoy the wilderness by taking a stroll on our short walking trail to a natural pond on the property. The pond, home to a family of dwarf caiman, flows into a creek that runs through the property and around the yoga studio, eventually working to the beach.
Our property hosts a variety of fruit trees, some were recently planted, and many are already producing. Fruit trees include mangoes: cashew nut, orange, mandarin, grapefruit, star fruit, guava, soursop, rambutan, avocado, tropical plums, custard apple, sapodilla, jobo, hicaco, dragon fruit, and two varieties of limes. We proudly serve these fruits to our guests and have incorporated them into our menu.
Besides our two children and dogs, we share our property with other wildlife, including tamarin monkeys, iguanas, colorful toucans, motmots, crimson back tanagers, yellow-bellied flycatchers, and blue tanagers, dwarf caiman, amongst others. We are also close to a private forest reserve home to deer, jaguarundis (small rainforest cat), coatis, sloths, agoutis, and other wildlife. You will be awakened in the morning by flocks of parakeets flying overhead and go to sleep to the sound of frogs singing from the creek. Honestly, we think it's the best place on earth!
Every detail at ISTMO is designed with your comfort and connection to nature in mind. Our retreat center showcases and embraces nature rather than upstaging it.
Our retreat center features a beautiful 860-square-foot yoga studio. The studio is surrounded by nature, has a jungle stream running around it, features gorgeous tropical hardwood floors, and is filled with love. Our studio is fully equipped with yoga mats, blankets, straps, blocks, yoga chairs, bolsters, and a life-size anatomy skeleton for Yoga Teacher Trainings (YTTs).
Family Dining Area
Our family dining area with an adjoining bar overlooks the property. You feel like you are eating your meals on the tree tops – surrounded by nature. Our fully equipped bar was created from reclaimed dug-out canoes and is ready to serve delicious fruit smoothies, cold beer, wine, and cocktails.
Playa Grande Beach
At Istmo, you will be a 5-minute walk to a beautiful secluded beach. As you approach the beach, the last 2 minutes of the walk are through a jungle trail with the warm tropical Pacific Ocean waiting for you. The miles of black and white sand beach attracted the owners to the area with plenty of natural shade from the rainforest that grows close to the water's edge. The beach is a great swimming beach and almost always calm. If you wake up early, you can see the sunrise over the ocean and the local fisherman and lobster anglers bringing in the day's catch. You may run into the Istmo staff buying your dinner. The beach is also a nesting ground for marine turtles that come to these shores once a year to lay their eggs.
Hammock, Meditation and Relaxation Areas
Our property is dotted with areas, including our main rancho, perfect for relaxing or meditating in silence. These areas are always open to our guests.
Labyrinth and Humanity Trail
Our property has a short hiking trail through the forest and around the spring-fed pond home to a family of dwarf caimans (no swimming, please :-)). The trail winds through 7 different stations with inspirational quotes about tolerance and compassion. Ideals that the owners embrace. Perfect for birdwatching. Keep your eyes out for the tamarin monkeys and other wildlife in the area!
Labyrinth walking is an ancient practice used by many faiths for contemplation, prayer, and spiritual centering. Entering the winding path of a labyrinth, the walker quiets their mind and focuses on a spiritual question or prayer.
Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP) Boards
While at Istmo, you will have access to a fleet of SUP boards to accommodate your Stand-up-paddle boarding needs. Our boards are perfect for beginners and experienced paddlers. They are "all-around boards" made to tour the open ocean, practice on flat water lagoons, explore mangroves, tour lakes and practice SUP yoga.
Food can make or break your retreat experience, and we take it seriously!
Our Food - Healthy, Homemade, Tropical, Delicious!
Istmo's menu has been lovingly crafted by owner and Chef Sean Davis, a graduate of a prominent cooking school in New Orleans, Louisiana. We offer a tropical fusion cuisine blending influences from Latin America, Caribbean, India, Middle East, the Mediterranean, North Africa, the Far East, Southeast Asia, Cajun, Southern US, and the Pacific Rim Islands.
Most of our meals are vegetarian or fish and seafood based; however, we can accommodate our guests who are gluten-free, vegan or require substitutions because of food allergies.
Our meals are created from what we have grown organically, and supplemented by what we can purchase locally. We make every effort to maintain a light carbon footprint and support local farmers and fisherman, buying the high majority of our produce and seafood within a 20-mile radius. During your morning walk, you may see us down at the beach on Playa Grande, buying the catch of the day for your dinner.
The biggest surprise was the food. It was some of the best food I have ever had! I would go there just to eat.
Your retreat is unique, to support the unique nature of your retreat we offer a wide variety of activities.
Our location provides close access to Beaches, Jungles, Cloud Forests, Indigenous Tribes, Local Markets, Mangroves, Mountain Lakes, Tropical Waterfalls, Islands, even Panama City and the Panama Canal.
At Istmo you can do as little or as much as you desire. Use the time between your retreat classes to explore Panama or spend your time lounging under a tree on the beach, the choice is yours.
The owners will work with you to craft the perfect balance of relaxation and adventure.
The following are just some of the activities you can include in your retreat.
A great way to take some time for yourself during your stay with us is to experience the benefits of a luxurious massage. Our massage therapist are highly trained and will communicate with you to make sure they adjust the massage to your needs.
Waterfall Hike or Zipline combined with a visit to an Local Artisan Market
A short 45 minute drive and you will find yourself in the town of El Valle, located in the crater of an extinct volcano. Here you can hike waterfalls, shop at a local artisan market or zipline through the trees.
For this excursion you will leave Istmo at 10am and be back by 4pm. This is one of our most popular excursions, and has something for everyone!
Beginners SUP Excursion and SUP Yoga on a Cloud Forest Mountain Lake
A short 45-minute drive from ISTMO and you will find yourself on a beautiful Cloud Forest Mountain Lake. Perfect for SUP Yoga, and a great location for beginners to try out their SUP legs for the first time.
This tour leaves ISTMO at 10 am and returns around 3 pm. A picnic lunch and a short hike around the lake make this excursion a crowd-pleaser.
Excursion to Panama City and the Panama Canal
Come all the way to Central America and not visit the Panama Canal. Impossible!!! The dichotomy of rural natural Panama and the thriving metropolis of Panama City, the gateway to the world, is fascinating.
Our location just 1 hour 30 minutes away from Panama City makes it possible for you to experience ALL of Panama while on a Retreat. For our Panama City tour, you leave ISTMO at 8:00am and are back by 4:30pm. Join this excursion and tick "Visit the Panama Canal" off your bucket-list.
Indigenous Village Tour
Ride down a beautiful calm river in a dugout canoe for an ethnocultural tour of an Embera Village. At the village take a walking tour with the medicine man, enjoy a dance presentation and a traditional lunch, and get a traditional temporary tattoo.
The tour includes a 1 hour 45 minute car drive each way. This tour is not to be missed!
Take one our our most popular excursions - The Indigenous Village Tour - to the next level by arriving to the village on an SUP board! If you are luck, you can stop and feed the monkeys on the way.
Keep your eyes open during your paddle, our guests have spotted sloths taking a swim in the lake (yes sloths swim!). This tour includes everything in our Indigenous Village Tour plus a 1+ hour paddle down a beautiful calm river which meats Lake Gatun.
Although it is a low impact paddle, previous SUP experience required.
SUP Mangrove Tour
Our SUP Mangrove tour is one of the only and most intimate ways to experience this unique ecosystem and all of its beauty. As you silently paddle through the mangroves you seamlessly become a part of the ecosystem and experience its secrets. This unique tour is tide dependent. Although it is a low impact paddle, previous SUP experience is required.
We have partnered with the Panama Surf School, with over 10 years of extreamly passionate experience, to offer you the best surf classes and conditions available!
Let us know if you would like to include surf lessons in your retreat.
And lots more...
Besides the above excursions, we can also arrange horseback riding or a tour to a local vegetable and fish market coupled with a cooking demonstration back at ISTMO.
Want to explore more local beaches? We are happy to set up excursions to different beaches in the area.
Want to catch your own fish? We are can arrange fishing tours to a neighboring island.
Istmo Adventure and Yoga retreat was a dream become reality of the co-founders and managers Sean Davis and Ayesha Irani Davis.
Panama is our adopted country, and we love it and are inspired by it!
ISTMO is the Spanish word for isthmus or a small body of land connecting two larger bodies of land. In this spirit, we hope our retreat center will help bridge connections and personal transformation for our guests.
Sean was born and raised in Galveston, Texas on the Gulf Coast. His whole life he has lived close to and had a special connection with the ocean. He has traveled extensively around the world and has lived and worked as an educator in Chile, Colombia, and Panama. For the past ten years, he has been a SUP practitioner and instructor, leading tours on the waterways of Panama. He attended cooking school in New Orleans, Louisiana, is a former Emergency Medical Technician, and a proud father of two.
Sean will be your main point of contact as you plan this retreat, he is also the chef and SUP instructor at Istmo!
Ayesha was born in Bombay, India and moved to the United States at the age of 13. She served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay. Her love for travel and adventure led to work as an Environmental Engineer in different countries throughout Latin America. In Panama, she met Sean Davis and settled down to have family and create this dream called Istmo.