Yogis seek out retreats in Riviera Nayarit for its coastal views and jungle setting. // © 2013 Thinkstock
Surfers around the world have flocked to Riviera Nayarit for its great waves. But, recently, more surfboards are staying on the racks as guests now come to the destination for a chance to practice yoga.
“Riviera Nayarit is one of the few places in Mexico where yogis can still experience the raw nature of the coast, the privacy of their own beach and the lushness of the jungle,” said Andre Araiz, owner of Haramara, a top yoga retreat.
Thanks to its “untouched nature,” from secluded beaches to holistic-centered communities, Riviera Nayarit is emerging as a destination for yogis who prefer the region’s truly natural setting and the affordability of its retreats. Several terrific yoga spots along the coastline offer fully immersive experiences with a backdrop of landscapes so lush, there’s no better place for a sun salutation.
Haramara Retreat is not only well known in Riviera Nayarit, it is internationally famous. In fact, Yoga Journal voted it as one of the 10 best yoga retreats in the world. Spanning 16 acres, Haramara (“Mother Sea”) is tucked away in a tropical paradise with 16 private palapa cabanas (each with a hammock and a rustic open room) and terrific sunset views.
Morning and afternoon practice takes place at one of two yoga pavilions with high thatched-roofs and handcrafted hardwood floors. The pavilions, or shalas, offer 360-degree ocean and mountain views. Guests can participate in private and group classes and have the option to meet instructors beforehand to determine the best fit for their experience level.
The onsite restaurant serves three healthy gourmet meals a day, using local produce. All meals are vegetarian-based, but fresh catches of healthy fish may also be included.
Clients should know that there is no electricity, and that the retreat is not set up to accommodate children.
Standard rooms start at $248 per night.
Mar De Jade
Opened in 1983 in Chacala, Mar De Jade is a quiet retreat right on Chacala’s beach. There are 17 garden suites and 11 guestrooms, in addition to yoga and meditation studios, dining rooms, a bar and a guest lounge. Unlike the other retreats, there is a central swimming pool and a large Jacuzzi. Additionally, guests may wander through the property’s lush tropical gardens.
Mar de Jade is not limited to yoga vacations — guests can also participate in the traditional temazcal ceremony, among other activities — but yoga offerings are its top feature. Thanks to the number of rooms, the retreat can accommodate large groups of up to 75 people.
All the food served here is prepared with healthy, organic produce from the property’s very own organic farm, including free-range eggs, organic milk, corn and passion fruit.
Jungle Rooms start at $145 and Garden Suite Kings start at $220.
Tailwind Jungle Lodge
Just north of the small town of San Pancho, The Tailwind Jungle Lodge captures the allure of eco-friendly, coastal Mexico. Opened in 2007, the family-run jungle property has a collection of six uniquely designed units — bungalows, palapas and casitas — all perched on the hillside to minimize environmental impact. The palapas are semi-enclosed (three out of four walls) with open-air living spaces, a queen bed and a separate bathroom. The bungalows are the most budget-friendly of the three, comprising wooden platforms with canvas, safari-style wall tents.
In 2009, Tailwind Jungle Lodge became the first certified, sustainable eco-lodge in Mexico. There is a small plunge pool and jungle trails to secluded beaches.
The yoga retreats include daily yoga with the founders of the property (Tamara and Judi Jacobi), as well as holistic nutrition coaching and workshops.
Bungalows begin at $80 and palapas start at $200.