Personalizing the Retreat Experience one retreat at a time
We will support you, as you create a transformational group retreat experience for your friends, family, and community. Our Retreat Center has been designed to support groups between 6 to 20 people in their transformational work.
At ISTMO Yoga and Adventure Retreat, we believe that group travel with an inspirational leader has enormous transformational power.
We designed our facilities and services to support you, the inspirational leader, as you enable exploration, connection, and transformation in your guests.
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 between 6 to 20 people in their transformational work.
ALL OF OUR RETREAT PACKAGES INCLUDE THREE MEALS PER DAY.
Our farm and sea to table tropical fusion cuisine is created with love by, Sean Davis, the owner, and professional chef. He can accommodate gluten-free, vegan and will happily provide substitutions for food allergies.
ALL OF OUR RETREAT PACKAGES INCLUDE AN INTRODUCTORY SUP CLASS ON OUR LOCAL BEACH AND AN EVENING BONFIRE ON THE LAST DAY.
Additional activities include hiking the cloud forests and waterfalls, visiting the Panama Canal, exploring a local indigenous community, visiting a local 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, all you have to do is show up and share your gifts with your community. We take care of all the nitty-gritty details, making sure you and your group are comfortable and taken care of.
We understand times have changed and we have worked hard to simplify the retreat planning process for YOU, the Retreat Leader during the pandemic. The current situation requires us all to be open to change, keep communication lines open, and really understand and serve our guests to best meet their needs.
In planning your retreat, you will have the choice to run:
Similarly, you will have full control of the size of your retreat, with the ability to choose from:
A Standard Retreat
Includes the rental of 4 rooms and is perfect for midsized groups of up to 14 people including the retreat leader. Ideal for a bigger family or a retreat leader with a small group of students.
Includes the rental of 2 rooms and is perfect for small groups of up to 8 people including the retreat leader. Ideal for a group of friends and family that want a hassle-free vacation with everything included.
Includes the rental of our ENTIRE FACILITY (all 6 rooms) and is perfect for groups up to 20 people including the retreat leader. Ideal for a retreat leader/yoga and meditation teacher to build community with their students.
lET US KNOW WHAT YOU AND YOUR GROUP ARE LOOKING FOR, AND WE CAN SEND YOU A CUSTOMIZED QUOTE.
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 our pricing and policies for Retreat Leaders
You will get an email immediately with a preliminary quote.
Reply to the email
Provide us with a few options of the dates you would like to host your retreat, and any details about adjustments you would like to make to our standard package - remember each retreat is unique, and we respect that!
We will send you a personalized quote and let you know our availability. We also set up a phone call so that we can meet each other and answer all questions.
Based on our conversations, we send you an Agreement where everything we have discussed is clearly outlined. This serves as a guide for us to make sure we are on the same page.
We both sign this agreement.
You make your first small payment to reserve our facilities for your dates.
send us your marketing materials
This is only if your retreat is open to the public. If so, we would love to help you promote your retreat.
As participants sign up, you send them a form that captures the information we need (names, travel info, food allergies, etc). We will provide you with this form.
One month before the start of the retreat you send us the final payment.
Fifteen days before the start of your retreat we have a phone call to set up all the final details of your retreat including pick-up times, activities, and any special food considerations.
Board your flight to Panama, relax, enjoy, and do your thing!
We are here to support you as you lead a transformational retreat. You and your guests will be in caring and loving hands from the moment you land in Panama to the moment 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, it is a transitional season, as the green or rainy season is starting. So you may get dry days or rainy days.
Our favorite time of the year 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 very 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 there is an English Speaking Hospital a 15 minutes driving from our property, and 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 at the same time allowing for a diversity of activities and adventures during their times off.
We are blessed to live and run our business in a small safe rural/beach community. Our 3 friendly boxer dogs are our 24-hour security. We have not felt the need to fence in our property or to hire a security guard. General security precautions, and 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 you nights in a picturesque stand-alone bungalow.
ISTMO’s accommodations are simple, comfortable and full of hidden luxuries
Our accommodations are designed to support you in your retreat experience, without the distractions of televisions or phones. 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 (6) air conditioned stand alone bungalows, three (2) of our bungalows are doubles and four (4) are quads.
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 with Doterra essential oils. We provide daily housekeeping, to make sure 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 that 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 8-minute walk to a secluded beautiful 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 that has 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. In El Valle there are 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 it’s way to the beach.
Our property hosts a variety of fruit trees, some were recently planted and many already producing. Fruit trees include 3 varieties of 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 boxers, 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 in close proximity to a private forest reserve that is 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!
We can help you plan an all inclusive retreat for groups between 6 to 20 people.
When you join a retreat you are investing in “treating” yourself. Every detail at ISTMO is designed with your comfort and connection to nature in mind. We are a retreat center with hidden luxuries that 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 beautiful tropical hardwood floors, and is filled with love. Our studio is fully equipped with yoga mats, yoga 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 ready to serve up delicious fruit smoothies, cold beer, wine, and cocktails.
Playa Grande Beach
We are a 5-minute walk to a secluded beautiful 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 that has 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 fishermen bringing in the catch of the day. 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, that are perfect to relax or meditate in silence. These areas are always open to our guests. The main rancho has wi-fi access.
Labyrinth and Humanity Trail
Our property has a short hiking trail through the forest and around the spring fed pond that is 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 of the tamarin monkeys and other wildlife that live in the area!
Labyrinth walking is an ancient practice used by many different faiths for contemplation, prayer, and spiritual centering. Entering the serpentine path of a labyrinth, the walker walks slowly while quieting their mind and focusing on a spiritual question or prayer.
Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP) Boards
We have a fleet of SUP boards to accommodate your Stand-up-paddle boarding needs. Our boards are perfect for beginners and experienced paddlers and are “all around boards” made to tour the open ocean, practice on flat water lagoons, explore mangroves, tour lakes and practice SUP yoga.
ALL OF OUR FACILITIES ARE DESIGNED TO ACCOMMODATE ALL-INCLUSIVE RETREATS, GROUP VACATIONS, OR FAMILY REUNIONS FOR GROUPS BETWEEN 6 TO 20 PEOPLE.
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 that blends 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 easily 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.
We understand that each 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 we can include in the custom quote for 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 we leave Istmo at 10am and are back by 4pm. This is one of our most popular excursions, and has something for everyone!
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.
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, we leave ISTMO at 8:00am and are back by 4:30pm. Join this excursion and tick "Visit the Panama Canal" off your bucket-list.
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.
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.
Farallon Island SUP Tour
Paddle to and around beautiful Pacific Farallon Island, nesting grounds for frigate birds and pelicans. At lower tides, you can paddle through a cave that traverses the island.
This tour is only available from May through November, as December through April has unpredictable winds.
The tour includes a 1.5-hour paddle on the Pacific Ocean around Farallon Island and a 15 minutes drive each way.
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!
Contact us to 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 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 that became a 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 that 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 eight 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 is 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. Her pride and joy is her family .
Ayesha finds her life purpose linked to becoming that bridge between people who support each other for their personal growth. Through clear and consistent communication, she will work with you personally to make sure all the details as you Host a Retreat at Istmo are flawless.