My Guide to Mazunte, Oaxaca: Mexico’s Turtle & Yoga Hotspot (2023)

A hidden gem nestled on Mexico’s Pacific coast, Mazunte, Oaxaca is a tiny pueblo magico (magical town) with laid-back, bohemian vibes, a thriving yoga scene, mesmerizing sunsets and even a turtle sanctuary.

While Mazunte has a lot to offer it’s still pretty off the beaten track so it hasn’t lost it’s down to earth Mexican small beach town vibes. It’s popular with yogis and is home to some beautiful boutique eco resorts making it an ideal getaway for those seeking a relaxed Mexican beach vacation away from the crowds.

Mazunte offers a much more authentic, affordable and unique experience compared to touristy resorts like Cancun and Tulum. Whether you’re a yogi, beach lover, or just looking for an authentic and serene vacation, Mazunte, Oaxaca, Mexico is a great choice.

My Mazunte Travel Guide

I met some great people and fell so in love with Mazunte, and nearby Zipolite, that I ended up spending alot longer than expected here – it’s one of those places that hard to leave and quickly became one of my favorite places in Mexico.

If you’re thinking about visiting Mazunte here’s my comprehensive Mazunte travel guide to help you plan your trip and enjoy this magical Mexican beach town.

Contents hide 1My Mazunte Travel Guide 2Where is Mazunte, Mexico? 3Why is Mazunte a Pueblo Magico 4Things to Do in Mazunte 5Where to Stay in Mazunte: Best Hotels 6Restaurants and Nightlife in Mazunte 7Tips for Planning Your Trip to Mazunte, Mexico 8Best Time to Visit Mazunte 9Getting to Mazunte and Getting Around 10Final Thoughts about Mazunte, Oaxaca, Mexico

Where is Mazunte, Mexico?

Mazunte is a small beach town on the Pacific Coast in the Oaxaca state of Mexico. It’s located approximately 265 km south of Oaxaca City and situated between the larger beach resorts of surf mad Puerto Escondido and the resort towns of Huatulco (which both have small airports).

The neighbouring beach town, Playa Zipolite is famous as Mexico’s only official nudist beach and is another relaxed hippie hangout. Mazunte isn’t the easiest place to get to, that’s why it’s not been overun with tourists, so I’ll describe the various options for getting to Mazunte later on in this blog.

Why is Mazunte a Pueblo Magico

Mazunte is a sleepy pueblo mágico (magical town) of low key, thatched and adobe buildings surrounded by two beautiful beaches on either side of a magical wave lashed headland called La Cometa.

Mazunte was designated as a Pueblo Magico, or Magic Town, by the Mexican government in 2015. This is in recognition of its natural beauty, unique culture and traditions, and its commitment to preserving its environment and local heritage. Mazunte is probably the most relaxed pueblo magico in Mexico!

Things to Do in Mazunte

One of the best things to do in Mazunte is … nothing! It’s a great place to simply relax and soak up the natural beauty. Take it easy and wander round relaxing in the cafes and checking out the street art.

However, if you prefer things a little more active there is plenty to do in Mazunte, despite it’s small size. From exploring the beautiful beaches and the vibrant yoga scene, and the chance to connect with nature.

Here’s some of my favorite things to do in Mazunte:

Relax on Mazunte’s Beach

Mazunte has two beautiful and unspoilt beaches which are separated by Punta Cometa, a narrow, rocky cape that extends into the ocean.

The golden sands, overlooked by lush green mountains (apart from when I visited in late May at the end of the dry season) and facing the rocky outcrops in the Pacific Ocean, paint a picture of a dreamy paradise – but before you jump in for a swim be aware that the currents can be strong on the Oaxaca Coast – it is prime surfing territory after all.

Playa Mazunte & Playa Rinconcito

The main beach, Playa Mazunte, is the most popular and easily accessible from the town. There are a few restaurants and low key beach bars lining the sands. At its west end lies Playa Rinconcito, a protected cove which has calmer waters and is the best swimming beach in Mazunte.

Playa Mermejita

This long wild sandy beach is a quieter alternative to Playa Mazunte as it’s located slightly further walk away from town. Swimming is discouraged due to the strong current but Playa Mermejita is perfect for a relaxing stroll along its wide unspoilt beach and watching the sunset.

Nearby Beaches

You can also easily visit the nearby beach town of Zipolite, home to Mexico’s only official nudist beach, only 15 minutes away. If you want to explore more beaches there’s also San Agustinillo – the smallest and most peaceful beach, in between Mazunte and Zipolite, and the small fishing village of Puerto Angel.

There’s also many beautiful bays and beaches around Huatulco with more upmarket 5 star and all inclusive resorts. Huatulco is a great place for boat trips and snorkelling or you could try surfing in Puerto Escondido which is home to some of the best waves in Mexico.

Hike to Punta Cometa at Sunset

Punta Cometa, a mini peninsula extending into the Pacific Ocean, is one of Mazunte’s most famous landmarks and the southernmost point of Oaxaca state and offers amazing views, especially at sunrise and sunset.

Hiking to Punta Cometa to watch the sunset is kind of a pilgrimage or spiritual ritual and one of the best things to do in Mazunte. There’s a special energy on the peninsular and I wasn’t surprised to hear that La Cometa has been a sacred space since pre-Hispanic times.

It takes about 20 minutes to reach the sunset point and it’s a good idea to bring a torch for the way back. Check out this article for more tips on hiking Punta Cometa.

Join a Yoga and Meditation Class

There are a couple of yoga hotspots in Mexico, but for laid back, bohemian vibes with a huge variety of yoga retreats, drop in yoga classes and other offerings like ecstatic dance, cacao ceremonies, kirtan, tantra, temazcal, massage, reiki, breathwork and mediation workshops, then Mazunte is definitely the place to go.

Mazunte has numerous yoga retreats and meditation classes, workshops and retreats available. Mazunte’s relaxed atmosphere and thriving yoga community creates a unique opportunity for inner exploration and to connect with like minded people.

Hridaya Yoga is the most famous yoga and meditation retreat in Mazunte, they offer many yoga retreats as well as their signature 3 or 10 day silent mediation retreats.

There’s also plenty of yoga classes and activities to drop in to and try across the town if you just want to dabble instead of joining a retreat.

Casa Om is also a great place for drop in classes with a variety of different styles and practices each day and also offers accommodation and a residential package.

Uma Yoga offers an intimate 4 day chakra journey yoga and mediation retreat in the jungle. You can find more yoga retreats in Oaxaca and read real reviews on

Mazunte is also a great place to learn Spanish in super relaxed surroundings at Instituto Iguana.

You can also find out what’s going on in Mazunte and Zipolite on the Conscious Community Facebook group. If you’ve also been to places like Goa and Koh Phangan you might even see a few familiar faces here!

Get Involved with Turtle Conservation

The beaches of Mazunte and the neighboring towns are among the top nesting regions for sea turtles worldwide. Mazunte is known for its significant role in the conservation of endangered sea turtles and is home to the Centro Mexicano de la Tortuga, (the Mexican National Turtle Center) a research and conservation center dedicated to the preservation of sea turtles and protects olive ridley, brown, hawksbill and leatherback turtles.

It wasn’t always this way though, the National Mexican Turtle Center used to be a sea turtle slaughterhouse when the area was heavily involved in sea turtle hunting. It now offers educational tours and workshops on turtle conservation. You can take part in an array of activities related to turtle conservation and can even release baby sea turtles into the wild.

Take a Boat Trip

The waters off the coast of Mazunte are teeming with marine life, making it the perfect spot for a boat tour where you have a good chance of spotting dolphins and sea turtles. If you visit between December and April you might even spot humpback whales during their seasonal migration.

If you want to see more of Oaxaca’s nature and wildlife you could take a day trip from Mazunte to visit the nearby Laguna Ventalilla. This is an unspoilt lagoon and estuary where you can take a tour around the mangroves to spot birds and other wildlife including crocodiles and iguanas.

Where to Stay in Mazunte: Best Hotels

There are some beautiful boutique resorts and budget hotels and hostels in Mazunte to choose from, but there isn’t a huge amount of hotels in Mazunte so it’s a good idea to choose where to stay in Mazunte in advance to book it to avoid disappointment as Mazunte grows in popularity.

Most of Mazunte’s accommodation can be found near the 2 beaches – Playa Rinconcito and Playa Mermejita, or along Calle Rinconcito, the main street. There’s also budget accommodation found on the sandy tracks near Casa Om and Institutio Iguana. Since the ocean can often be too rough for swimming I’d recommend picking a hotel with a pool.

You can walk from one end of Mazunte to the other in about 30 minutes, but in the hot midday Mexican sun it can feel like quite a slog, especially if you’re getting late for a yoga class, so choose your accommodation near to the yoga school, language school or beach to make your trip easier.

Here’s my pick of the best places to stay in Mazunte:

Zoa Hotel Mazunte

This beautiful 5 star eco boutique resort is perched in a stunning location on the cliffs between Mazunte beach and San Agustinillon. With incredible views from the plush rooms, swimming pool and restaurant and plenty of activities on site it’s the perfect place to stay to get away from it all. It’s only a 5 minute walk to the beach. Click here to check prices. If Zoa is fully booked for your dates check out Cocolia Hotel 

Casa Lu Boutique Hotel

The only luxury beach resort in Mazunte with plush beach facing rooms with private patios boasting wonderful views over the beach and the swimming pool and walking distance to all the action on Mazunte’s main street. Click here to check prices 

Posada Ziga Playa

The best budget hotel in Mazunte right on Rinconcito beach. Rooms are simple yet comfortable but the highlight is the large sea facing balconies complete with hammocks and friendly hosts. Click here to check prices 

Uma Yoga

One of the best luxury yoga retreats in Mazunte, held at the beautiful and eco friendly Hotel El Copal. Practice yoga, relax with a massage and enjoy the infinity pool with views overlooking the jungle and quiet Mermejita beach. Click here to check prices.

Casa Mazunte Tierra Viva 

If you’re looking for a budget friendly stay close to everything in Mazunte with all the amenities of home including fully equipped kitchenettes, air conditioning and wifi check out the comfortable fully equipped bungalows at Casa Mazunte. Some bungalows can sleep 6 people making it a good choice for a gorup of friends of families. Click here to check prices 

Hotel Rinconcito

A super conveniently located option on the main street with a nice swimming pool and restaurant, comfortable rustic chic rooms with AC and private balconies complete with hammocks. It’s location is literally right in the middle of everything. Click here to check prices 

Another popular choice is Hotel Pochote Mazunte although the location on the main road can make it a bit noisy.

Restaurants and Nightlife in Mazunte

When it comes to eating out and restaurants in Mazunte, vegans and vegetarians are spoiled for choice as this tiny town has probably the best healthy, vegetarian food scene in Mexico. Some of the best places to eat and drink in Mazunte include

Terraza del Arquitecto – One of my favourite hangouts in Mazunte with healthy smoothie bowls, delicious cocktails and stunning sea views. The sushi and pizza restaurants next door are also excellent and there’s an great bakery and smoothie bar in the middle of the main street.

Almost opposite from that is El Armadillo which serves amazing vegan food and I also liked Luz del Sol, a vegetarian restaurant slightly out of town on the way to Hridaya.

Nightlife in Mazunte is relatively quiet, with just a few bars and restaurants offering a relaxed ambiance to enjoy the evening. El Copal Mazunte is my favorite place for sunset drinks with a view but for a more lively nightlife experience, head to the nearby town of Zipolite which has more options.

Mazunte is the perfect place to unplug and unwind, but be aware, if you are a digital nomad or need to get work done Mazunte and the Oaxaca coast doesn’t have great internet. There aren’t coworking cafes and the wifi in many hotels and cafes was pretty weak and would drop out alot and often there was no service on my local Mexican sim card. Mazunte is not the place to go to get alot of work done – it’s a place to go and disconnect and chill out!

Another thing to note is that only some shops and restaurants in Mazunte accept cards so it’s essentail to carry cash in Mexican pesos. It recommend withdrawing cash before you arrive, as there are not many ATMs in Mazunte and they can sometimes run out of cash.

Tips for Planning Your Trip to Mazunte, Mexico

Best Time to Visit Mazunte

The weather in Mazunte is warm throughout the year. Average high temperatures range from 86-95F, with average lows from 76-80F and the water temperature averages around 80-85 degrees. The dry season is from November to April and the rainy season is between June and September.

The ideal time to plan a trip to Mazunte is between November and April for sunny and dry days. This is also the high season for tourism with peak periods around Christmas/New Year’s and Semana Santa, the holy week leading up to Easter.

I visited Mazunte in May and it was hot! You definitely need AC at this time. You might notice in my photos the vegetation is not so lush and green because it had hardly rained for 7 months so it would be better to visit after the rainy season finishes in November when the jungle is more alive after the rains.

Events and Festivals in Mazunte

Mazunte also hosts several events and festivals throughout the year that you might want to consider when choosing your dates. Every year, the town hosts the Festival Internacional de la Tortuga Marina, a celebration of the conservation efforts of local turtle species.

Other popular events include the Mazunte Festival Artesano, which showcases traditional crafts from around Mexico, and the Mazunte Carnaval, a vibrant parade with music and dancing. There’s also the Festival Nudista next door in Zipolite which is usually held at the end of January or early February.

Mazunte is also home to the Mazunte Jazz Festival, an annual event that celebrates jazz music and culture. The festival takes place in April and features performances by some of the best jazz musicians from around the world. There are also workshops, jam sessions, and other activities during the festival.

If you are combining your trip to Mazunte with visiting Oaxaca City then you might want to time your trip to coincide with The Dia de los Muertos festival, or Day of the Dead, which is celebrated in Oaxaca from October 31 to November 1, and it is one of the most spectacular events in Mexico. It is advisable to book your flights and accommodation early, especially if you plan to visit during these times.

Getting to Mazunte and Getting Around

The nearest airports to Mazunte are Huatulco (HUX) and Puerto Escondido (PXM) both have daily flights from Mexico City and other places in Mexico and make a good entry point for exploring the Oaxaca Coast.

There are direct budget flights from Mexico City that take about 1 hour, much quicker than a 19 hour bus ride! You can connect in Mexico City from an international flight to reach Puerto Escondido or Huatulco quickly and easily. Check Skyscanner to find the best deals.

There’s also 30 minute scenic flights from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido but these are more expensive and get booked up way in advance. See prices, availability and book here.

How to get to Mazunte from Puerto Escondido

Mazunte is only about 1 hour from Puerto Escondido or Huatulco airport. The easiest and most convenient way to get there is by taking a taxi or book a transfer that will take you from the airport straight to your hotel in Mazunte.

You can also take a bus from Puerto Escondido if you have the time and patience. I took the Transportes Delfines bus that leaves from across the road from the Chedraui supermarket heading to Pochutla and Huatulco. I had to get off at Crucero de San Antonio and took the collectivo to Mazunte and Zipolite. It took about 1 and a half hours and cost 50 MXN for the bus and 20 MXN for the collectivo.

Check out all the transportation options and book online here

How to get to Mazunte from Oaxaca City

There are a couple of options for getting to Mazunte from Oaxaca City and vice versa. The quickest and most expensive is to take a 30 minute scenic small plane flight to Puerto Escondido and then a 1 hour taxi from there. The flight offers fantastic views but is expensive and gets booked up way in advance. Check prices and availability here.

Most people take the bus. You have two options – If you suffer from motion sickness opt for the longer, less windy route with the more comfortable and more expensive ADO bus to Puerto Escondido and then take a taxi, transfer or local bus from there to Mazunte. The bus travels overnight and takes about 11 hours. It’s a popular route so you should book your bus online in advance.

If you’re OK with windy roads then take one of the mini buses from Oaxaca City heading to Potchula. This takes the most direct and quickest route but it’s also the most windy route. It’s the cheapest and quickest option at only 7 hours and I didn’t find it that bad, but then I don’t normally get travel sick.

If you’re heading from Mazunte to Oaxaca City then you can make life easier by booking this combined transfer and bus ticket which will pick up you in Zipolite and take you to Pochutla and get you on the Lineas Unidas minibus to Oaxaca. You can book it here.

You could also break up the journey after about 3 hours stop off at San Jose del Pacifico for great mountain views, hikes and magic mushrooms! If you want to book the transfer and bus to San Jose click here.

Check out all the transportation options and book online here

How to travel between Mazunte and Zipolite

Mazunte and Zipolite are only 15 minutes apart and collectivos run between them, stopping at San Agustinillo for 10 MXN so it’s easy to get between the two and you could even choose to stay in one town and visit the other on a day trip.

Mazunte and Zipolite are just 3.5 miles apart and a 20 minute taxi or collectivos/pasajeros (shared pick up trucks with benches and a kind of tent covering) run between them for about 10 MXN so you can easily explore both of them.

Mazunte is a small town, and the best way to explore it is on foot. For longer distances, taxis are readily available and fairly cheap. You could also rent a bike to explore the area.

Safety Tips for Mazunte

While Mazunte is one of the safest places in Mexico and I felt very relaxed and had no problems even as a solo female traveler, it’s always a good idea to take basic precautions. Avoid deserted areas at night, keep your valuables safe.

Always apply sunscreen to protect against the strong sun and be careful of swimming in strong currents and riptides. Don’t forget to take out travel insurance, it offers peace of mind and covers unexpected incidents.

Final Thoughts about Mazunte, Oaxaca, Mexico

As a yoga lover, Mazunte, with its tranquil beaches, variety of yoga classes and like minded community is one of my favortie places in Mexico. Even if you’re not into yoga, Mazunte offers an escape from the stresses of everyday life and the packed tourist resorts elsewhere.

Mazunte gets more and more popular every year though, so if the thought of a super chilled, authentic, Mexican beach vacation appeals to you better go soon before the word is truly out!

More Mexico Blog Posts and Travel Guides:

I hope my Mazunte travel guide helped you to plan your trip to this laid back slice of heaven and that you have an amazing time. If your planning a longer trip around the region check out my Mexico City and Oaxaca itinerary and my other Oaxaca posts.

If you’re into surfing don’t miss my Puerto Escondido guide, if you want to check out the free spirited nudist beach check out my Zipolite guide and to explore the colorful culture, history and amazing cuisine read my Oaxaca guide.

If you’re heading to Mexico City check out my guide to where to stay in Mexico City.

How to Travel the Maldives on a Budget in 2023

The stunning paradise islands of the Maldives are somewhere that most people think is only a very expensive luxury honeymoon destination – not many people know that it’s even possible to have a cheap Maldives holiday!

Budget and independent travel and backpacking in the Maldives has only been allowed since 2009. So while those iconic Maldives overwater bungalows and luxurious private island resorts are certainly not cheap, nowadays it is easier than ever to travel the Maldives on a budget!

So, without further ado, let me show you how to plan a budget Maldives trip!

A Complete Guide to Traveling the Maldives on a Budget in 2023

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Maldives Budget Guide

In this Maldives budget trip guide I’ll tell you everything you need to know about how to plan a cheap Maldives holiday. Including:

  • How to use the local ferries and go island hopping on a budget,
  • The best local islands to visit not far from the airport,
  • The best places to stay for budget travellers and how to find cheap accommodation,
  • How to save money on food and excursions,
  • How to find cheap flights to the Maldives,
  • Essential things you need to know before visiting the Maldives.

Contents hide 1A Complete Guide to Traveling the Maldives on a Budget in 2023 2Maldives Budget Guide 3Essential Tips for Traveling the Maldives on a Budget 4Our Top Money Saving Tips for a Cheap Maldives Holiday 5Private Resort Islands vs Cheaper Local Islands 6Best Places to Stay in Maldives on a Budget 7The Best Maldives Local Islands 8The Costs for a Budget Maldives Trip 9How to Find Cheap Accommodation in the Maldives 10How to Find Cheap Food in the Maldives 11Things To Do in The Maldives on a Budget 12Getting To and Around the Maldives on a Budget 13Things you must know before visiting the Maldives local islands

Essential Tips for Traveling the Maldives on a Budget

To save money and plan a Maldives budget trip, first you’ll need to know a bit more about this beautiful and unique island nation in the Indian Ocean.

The Maldives is made up of 1,192 tiny islands clustered into 26 atolls that stretches over 90,000 square kilometres.

The island nation is comprised of atolls that were formed from coral reefs that developed around the top of sunken extinct prehistoric volcanoes.

As the ocean floor subsided with the volcano, corals grew around it forming a fringed reef and sand banks that became tiny islands surrounding a lagoon in the middle.

This article explains the process of how the Maldives atolls were formed – with pictures.

Our Top Money Saving Tips for a Cheap Maldives Holiday

Out of the 1,192 islands of the Maldives, 200 are inhabited local islands and there are approximately 132 resort islands.

If you’re planning to visit the Maldives on a budget trip the top way to save money is to avoid the expensive luxury resorts – stay in guesthouses on the inhabited local islands, eat at local restaurants and take the local ferries instead.

When visiting the local islands you should know that the Maldives is a Muslim country and alcohol is banned. If you want an alcoholic drink you’ll have to visit the resort islands or take a trip out to a floating bar boat.

Also, to respect the local culture, be aware that bikinis and skimpy clothing should only be worn on the designated bikini beaches and you should cover up when walking around the village. I’ll go into more detail about this later on in the article.

Private Resort Islands vs Cheaper Local Islands

Maldives Resort Islands

Tourism in the Maldives has traditionally been focused on luxury resorts since the first Maldives resort, Kurunba, welcomed the first tourists in the early 1970s. The overwater villas and luxury resorts on private islands will set you back anything from a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand dollars per night and make for very expensive vacation!

There are some more affordable Maldives resorts but check what’s included – half board or all inclusive packages are often better value because food and activities can be expensive on a private island resort and it’s not like you can easily leave to find something cheaper. Also watch out for the taxes and extra charges.

The resort islands are also not accessible by the local public ferries. This means you’ll also have to shell out a couple of hundred for private speedboat or seaplane transfer to reach the island. The cheapest Maldives resorts are often located a long way from the airport so, after the cost of the transfer, may not be such a cheap deal after all.

The Cheapest Maldives Resorts

Staying on the local islands is by far the best place to stay in the Maldives on a budget as most of the resorts are quite expensive. But if you really want that resort experience these are the cheapest resorts in the Maldives:

  • Biyadhoo Island Resort
  • Equator Village Resort
  • Rahaa Resort
  • Gangehi Island Resort & Spa
  • Medhufushi Island Resort
  • Malahini Kuda Bandos Resort
  • Reethi Beach Resort

Maldives Local Islands

Since the law changed in 2009 to allow independent and budget travel, tourists can visit, and stay on, the inhabited local islands. There is a growing range of budget accommodation in the Maldives and plenty of beautiful islands to choose from.

Now that tourists are no longer constrained to only the luxury resorts it’s become totally possible to save money and enjoy the Maldives on a budget if you stay on the local islands instead of the fancy resorts.

The local islands usually have a mosque, school, playground, pharmacy, administrative buildings and a couple of shops and local cafes and offer an interesting insight into local life.

Guesthouses, budget hotels and homestays are now available on the local islands offering accommodation, local eateries and excursions for a fraction of the price of the resorts so now it’s possible to enjoy a cheap Maldives holiday!

Traveling around the island nation can get expensive but you can save money by taking the local public ferries to the local islands which only cost a couple of dollars.

Not only does visiting the Maldives local islands make it possible to travel the Maldives on a budget, it also gives you a fascinating insight into the real Maldives and the lives of people who live in this unique country. Plus your money goes directly into the pockets of the local people not international luxury hotel chains.

Best Places to Stay in Maldives on a Budget

Planning a budget Maldives trip does require a bit of research as there are 200 inhabited local islands in the Maldives stretching across 90,000 kilometres of the Indian Ocean.

When your choosing which for Maldives local island to stay on be aware that the further away from the airport and Male City the more expensive and time consuming it will be to get to your chosen island.

Some of the closest atolls to the airport are Kaafu Atoll (also called Male Atoll and split into North Male Atoll and South Male Atoll) and Vaavu Atoll.

Each island has a slightly different vibe and there’s a few that you might not live up to your dreams of a tropical paradise, which I’ll mention in this blog post.

If you want to do a bit of island hopping in the Maldives on a budget using the local ferry it’s totally possible with a bit of forward planning as the ferries usually only run once a day. It’s a good idea to pick islands in the same atoll as they are on the same ferry route so you don’t have to go back to Male to change ferries.

The Best Maldives Local Islands

With over 200 inhabited local islands in the Maldives you can’t expect to see them all in one trip. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the best local islands in the Maldives and the best places to stay in the Maldives on a budget.

Male and Hulumale

Male City is the capital of the Maldives and one of the most densely populated cities on earth! It’s probably not your idea of a tropical paradise but the mosques, fish market, park and museum make an interesting visit.

Male is just across the water from Male international airport and most budget travelers will have to go through Male at some point to catch the ferries to the islands. If you arrive late, or have an early flight, you may need to stay near the airport in Male or Hulumale.

I recommend the Amina Residency if you are looking for a comfortable and affordable hotel in Male close to the ferry terminals and all the attractions in Male City.

Next to the airport and Male is Hulumale – another very built up island with high rise residential and industrial buildings. The island is reclaimed from the ocean and built at 2 meters above sea level to withstand rising sea levels. When finished, it will be able to house 100,000 people. It’s an interesting project and convenient for a night close to the airport, but probably not your idea of Maldives beach bliss.

If you have to stay near the airport Hulumale is a more peaceful choice. Beach Breeze is a nice budget hotel located on the beachfront with really helpful staff and a 24 hour check in. The best rooms have an ocean view.

North Male Atoll

Located just north of the airport in the same Atoll as Male, the local islands of Himmafushi, Huraa, Thulusdhoo, Dhiffushi make an easy and fun budget Maldives trip.

Himmafushi and Thulusdhoo are popular with surfers as they are close to some of the best surf breaks in the Maldives. You can even join a fun, and budget friendly, surf and yoga camp.

The main reason to stay on Himmafushi island is for the surfing and Jail Break Surf Inn is the best place to stay there. Check out this complete guide to Himmafushi for more.

For Thulusdhoo, we stayed at Villa Kudi which we loved. There are also some stylish options right on the bikini beach like Samura if you want to spend a little more. The coffee, smoothie bowls and pizzas at Indulge Thulusdhoo were some of the best we tried in the Maldives.

The main draw for Dhiffushi is the three beautiful bikini beaches. We stayed at Dhiffushi Inn as it has the best location right next to the best bikini beach on the island. The owners were really friendly and helpful and they also have a beach bar and restaurant and organise good value excursions.

South Male Atoll

Just South of Male are the local islands of Gulhi and Maafushi are ideal for budget travelers. Maafushi is the most popular island for a cheap Maldives holiday while tiny Gulhi offers a more peaceful escape.

Gulhi is a small, peaceful, tropical, island with two bikini beaches. The best place to stay is Beach Stone, a friendly guesthouse located right on the beach with lovely ocean views from the terrace. Read this Guide to Gulhi island for more.

Maafushi island is the biggest, most developed and most popular local island for those traveling the Maldives on a budget. There’s plenty of accommodation, eating and excursion options for suit all budgets and Maafushi has the liveliest atmosphere of the local islands. Check out this Guide to Maafushi Island for more info.

The best place to stay in a budget is Island Ambience, a new guesthouse where the staff will go out their way to help you. If you want something a bit more luxurious without the resort price tag Maafushi has plenty of options. Kaani Palm Beach is our favourite because of the location on the beach front and the stunning ocean views from the rooms and the rooftop infinity swimming pool.

Vaavu Atoll

Further South from South Male Atoll is Vaavu Atoll which offers some of the most exciting snorkelling and diving in the Maldives where you can explore shipwrecks and swim, dive or snorkel with nurse sharks and manta rays! 

The best local islands to visit in Vaavu Atoll include Fulidhoo, Thinadhoo, Felidhoo and Keyodhoo.

Fulidhoo is many budget traveller’s favourite local island because of the great bikini beach, relaxed vibes and the chance to see and even feed nurse sharks and sting rays right from the beach. Check out this Guide to Fulidhoo Island for more info.

Fulidhoo is the largest island in this atoll and the closest to Male with the most options for accommodation and eating in Vaavu Atol. The best budget pick are the comfortable rooms surrounded by tropical greenery at the Bougainvillea Inn. Or stay in a sea view balcony room at The Pearl Sea View. They also have a great restaurant and offer a full board option.

You can catch the ferry from Male city or from Maafushi island to reach these islands (but the ferry doesn’t operate every day)

Other good local islands to consider include Rasdhoo and Ukulhas in Alif Alif Atoll. Rasdhoo is close to some famous dive sites and offers excursions to sand banks and picnic island while Ukulhas is known as the cleanest and most eco friendly island in the Maldives.

See more here on the local islands of the Maldives

The Costs for a Budget Maldives Trip

You might be surprised at how affordable visiting the Maldives on a budget can be! If you stay in guesthouses on the local islands, visit local eateries and take public ferries you can travel in the Maldives on a budget of less than $100 per person per day.

Here’s a round up of our average costs for our Maldives budget trip in 2023:

  • Accommodation: $50 – $70 per night for a double private AC room with ensuite bathroom
  • Food: $10 per dish
  • Coffee and Soft Drinks: $5 each
  • Local Ferries: $1.50 each
  • Shared Speedboat: $25 per person
  • Excursions: $35 for a turtle snorkelling trip

How to Find Cheap Accommodation in the Maldives

You want to choose your accommodation carefully because you will probably eat at and arrange excursions and transfers with your guesthouse so it will have a big impact on your whole experience.

The cost for a decent room in a good guesthouse or budget hotel starts from around $40 – $50 a night. When you book in advance they will help you with getting to the island and may pick you up for free from the harbour.

Choosing a hotel that includes breakfast will save you money. Most guest houses have decent wifi, air conditioning, hot water, and will give you free drinking water – so you can save money and the planet by not buying plastic water bottles!

You can find, read reviews and book budget hotels and guest houses online on As there are alot of expensive resorts in the Maldives sort the listings by the lowest price first and start there.

Pay attention to which island the guesthouse is on. Don’t just book the cheapest hotel you find before checking on the map to see how far away it is from Male. If it’s on a very remote island it could end up being difficult or costly to reach. I’ll recommend some good local islands that are easy and cheap to access later on in this guide.

The best time to visit the Maldives is between December to April in the dry season. Traveling in the low season also means cheaper prices but a high chance of monsoon rain. Do you really want to be on a tropical island in pouring rain?

Is Backpacking in the Maldives Possible?

While backpacking in the Maldives is increasing in popularity there are not many backpacker hostels as such, although you may find shared dormitory rooms in the surf camps.

Being a dry country you won’t find a big party vibe here so it’s not so easy to meet other backpackers as it is on places like Thailand, but the islands are small so you soon end up bumping into the same people. The yoga and surf camps probably offer the best social scene for solo travellers and backpackers.

How to Find Cheap Food in the Maldives

We usually like to go self catering to save money but we didn’t find any apartment style accommodation with cooking facilities apart from in the capital city of Male.

Some of the surf camps offer use of a shared kitchen so you can save money by cooking your own food. Most islands have small grocery shops where you can buy snacks, soft drinks and even beach essentials. But, as everything has to be shipped in, the prices aren’t cheap, so self catering probably wouldn’t save you that much money anyway.

The best place to find cheap food is in the local eateries which typically serve Maldivian food like tuna, fish curry and rice and roshi (like Indian roti.) Maldivians food has influences from nearby India and Sri Lanka and contains alot of tuna and other seafood.

Guesthouses often have restaurants aimed at tourists and most local islands also have a couple of restaurants that serve Western foods like sandwiches, salads, pasta and pizza with prices ranging between $8 – 15 per dish. Some offer a set meal for around $12 which includes salad, pasta, chicken, water, tea/coffee and fruit.

The local currency of the Maldives is the Maldivian Rufiyaa but many businesses accept US Dollars and some also accept Euros. Be sure to take plenty of cash with you as not all guest houses can accept cards and not all islands have ATMs (and those that do have one don’t always work.) Often you will pay in US Dollars and get your change in the local currency but, from our experience, we recommend having both Dollars and Rufiyaa.

Things To Do in The Maldives on a Budget

When you imagine a Maldives vacation relaxing on some of the world’s most beautiful beaches is probably the first thing on your mind and even if your traveling the Maldives on a budget you won’t have to miss out on this.

There are also plenty of activities and things to do in the Maldives. Being an island nation naturally most of the activities are water based. The activities available will depend on which island you stay on.

The good news for budget travelers is that excursions are much more affordable when arranged on the local islands instead of the expensive resorts. Most guesthouses can help you arrange any activities and excursions you want.

Relax and swim on the bikini beach

Most of the local islands have designated areas called ‘bikini beaches‘ where tourists can relax and enjoy the beach in swimwear and some of these beaches are no less stunning than the ones found at the expensive resorts.

There’s free sunbeds and shade on the bikini beaches and no-one tried to hassle us or sell us anything (unlike other nearby beach destinations in Asia.)

Make sure you watch the spectacular Maldives sunrises and sunsets too as the sky turns into impossible shades of pinks and purples.

Water sports

There’s a huge array of water sports activities you can try in the crystal clears waters which are a highlight of any Maldives holiday.

Choose from snorkelling, diving, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, surfing, parasailing, jet skiing, banana boating, fishing trips and much more.

Boat trips

There’s also many boat trips you can take, from a huge variety of fishing trips to sunset dolphin cruises and trips to visit other islands. One of the best things to do in the Maldives is to get dropped off with a picnic on an isolated sandbank in the middle of the Indian ocean.

You can get a day pass to visit a nearby resort island if you want to have a cocktail and get a glimpse of how the other half live! Some local islands now even have a spa so you can relax with a massage or spa treatments for a lot less than at the fancy resorts.

Another way to have an alcoholic drink is to hop aboard the bar boat found at some of the more popular islands like Maafushi. If you go at sunset you get to enjoy your drinks from the boat while watching the sunset over the ocean.

Some beaches have a stall where you can arrange water sports, activities and excursions right from the beach but your guest house should also be able to help you most of these things to do.

Snorkeling and diving

Snorkeling and scuba diving are some of the best things you can do in the Maldives. The diversity of ocean life and the visibility in the warm, clear, turquoise water is incredible.

Many resorts and islands have a house reef where you can snorkel off the beach without the need for an excursion. Most guest houses and dive shops rent snorkelling gear and you can save money by bringing your own snorkelling gear with you.

If you want to snorkel with turtles, manta rays and sharks, or see more pristine coral gardens, then you’ll need to take an excursion further out to see. Snorkelling trips start at $25 when organised by the local guesthouses.


The Maldives is an amazing surfing destination with some world class surf spots. Some of the best surf breaks include Cokes and Chickens, near Thulusdhoo island, while Jailbreaks is near Himmafushi island.

Most of these reef breaks are only for experienced surfers, but there are also some surf and yoga camps that can teach beginners the ropes. Even if you’re not into surfing you may be able to drop in and enjoy a sunset yoga class.

Check out this article for more about surfing in the Maldives.

Getting To and Around the Maldives on a Budget

How to Find Cheap Flights to the Maldives

Flights are always one of the most expensive parts of any trip, but there are plenty of cheap flights to the Maldives. The cheapest direct flights to the Maldives are from India and Sri Lanka and the flight takes only an hour or so.

So if you’re already traveling in South Asia then you’re in the perfect place to take advantage of the cheap flights and explore the Maldives on a budget too! There are also affordable flights from other hubs in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

If you’re coming from Europe budget airline Wizz Air have a direct flight from Abu Dhabi and cheap connections to Europe. Check Skyscanner to find the best deals on flights to the Maldives from where you are.

Tourists do not need a visa to visit the Maldives for stays of less than 30 days so that’s another saving.

How to Get Around the Maldives on a Budget

Getting around a country of thousands of tiny islands will either take a bit of time or a bit of money. For those in a rush with money to spare, private speedboat transfers and seaplanes can get to the most remote Maldivian islands but transportation costs can really add up this way. If your traveling the Maldives on a budget then you’ll need to get acquainted with the local ferries.

The airport ferry

When you arrive at the international airport you’ll need to take a public ferry over to Male. It runs every 15 minutes and costs $1.

It will drop you at the ferry terminal where you’ll be able to connect to other ferry services or walk along the jetty to find the shared speed boats.

There’s cafes above the ferry terminal which make a good place to wait and watch the planes and ferries coming in.

Local public ferries

If you’re traveling the Maldives on a budget and want to save money on transportation then the local public ferries are a very affordable option, but you’ll need to have a bit of patience and forward planning.

Local public ferries connect each atoll of local inhabited islands with the capital at Male. There’s no need to pre-book and the ride only costs a couple of dollars.

The local ferries can be slow and you’ll need to check the schedule as they usually only run once a day at most taking islanders into Male in the morning and getting them back to the islands before nightfall. You can check the ferry schedules on the MTCC website here.

If your flight arrives after 3 or 4pm you may have to stay in Male and wait for the ferry the next morning or take a shared speedboat transfer. Also be aware that public services are very limited on Fridays as this is the Islamic holiday, so it’s better to avoid traveling on a Friday in the Maldives.

Shared speedboat transfers

There’s also the option of a shared speed boat transfer. These often run 3 or 4 times a day with the last boats leaving at around 10pm. The shared speedboats are a lot quicker than the public ferries and much cheaper than a private speedboat transfer.

You’ll need to pre-book your seat but your guest house can usually help you arrange this. The cost is between $20 – $35 per person depending on the destination.

Things you must know before visiting the Maldives local islands

Our budget trip to the Maldives was a highlight of my 10 years of full time travel. The Maldives is a unique, fascinating and beautiful place. It was great to see the ‘real’ Maldives beyond the luxury resorts and meet the local people who were all very kind and helpful.

But if you are interested in a budget Maldives holiday then there are some things you must know about the country before you visit. Did you know that the Maldives is a strict Muslim country.

This means that no alcohol, or pork is permitted in the country, except at the private resort islands. Dogs are also banned in the Maldives. Don’t buy alcohol at duty free because you will not be allowed to bring it into the country.

You will find many cafes offering a good range of coffees, juices, soft drinks and mocktails but if you want an alcoholic drink you’ll have to go to a resort or onto one of the floating bar boats.

As the Maldives is an Islamic county you should respect their culture and cover up when not on the designated bikini beaches.

I asked the guesthouse owners about what was acceptable to wear as I’d heard I should cover shoulders and knees but they seemed more relaxed on the dress code. They said tourists don’t need to be fully covered up – wearing a t shirt and shorts or sarong over your swimsuit is ok,  they just don’t want people wandering around the village in tiny bikinis and trunks.

Be aware that not all the local ferries run every day. Also many things like local ferries and shops are closed on Friday – the Islamic holiday. You’ll hear the call to prayer multiple times a day from the mosques. Luckily every place I stayed at was quite well sound proofed so it didn’t wake me up in the morning.

So that’s it for my Maldives budget travel guide. Remember that these rules only apply to the local islands – if you are in a fancy resort you can wear whatever you want and drink cocktails all day too – but it won’t be a budget friendly holiday and you won’t get to see the real Maldives.

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Have you visited the Maldives on a budget trip? I’d love to know if you have any more tips. Or let me know if you have any questions – I’d love to help more people visit this dream destination!

5 Amazing Yoga Retreats In Arizona, United States (2023)

While retreats by the ocean or in the jungle are lovely, practicing yoga in the desert is a truly unforgettable experience. Among the deep canyons and red rock formations, you’ll find many amazing yoga retreats in Arizona where you can cultivate more balance, peace, and spiritual connection amidst breath taking landscapes.

Why you should go on an Arizona Yoga Retreat 

Arizona has some of the most iconic spiritual places, natural landscapes and national parks in the United States, including the epic Grand Canyon.

If you love nature as much as yoga and are looking for a unique or spiritual yoga retreat in the USA, you should definitely consider joining an Arizona yoga retreat.

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Why we love Yoga Retreats in Sedona

Sedona, Arizona, is one of the most spiritual places in the US, best known for its powerful vortex energies. Regarded by Native Americans as a sacred landscape, Sedona is a place of pilgrimage and transformation that attracts seekers from all around the world and there are many spiritual yoga retreats in Sedona.

All the best yoga retreats in Arizona feature outdoor yoga sessions and guided hikes. Moreover, the Grand Canyon has a deep spiritual connection as it is said the canyon contains the origin of life and is where spirits return. Thus, many Arizona yoga retreats utilize this spiritual force with healing practices and sacred ceremonies.

Arizona is one of the best places in the US to take a yoga retreat. From luxury weekend yoga retreats to eco-ranches and affordable glamping and yoga vacations, whatever your style and budget, these five yoga retreats in Arizona will blow your mind. 

The Best Yoga Retreats In Arizona

  • Best Luxury Yoga Retreat – 5-Day Yoga, Hiking, and Breath Retreat in Sedona
  • Best Women’s Only Yoga Retreat – 4-Day Unwind and Rewild Women’s Wellness Retreat in Sedona
  • Best Yoga Retreat For Nature Lovers – 4-Day Nature Wellness Retreat and Adventure in Page
  • Best Private Yoga Retreat – 3-Day Private Holistic Healing Retreat & Meditation in Sedona
  • Best Budget Yoga Retreat – 4-Day Yoga, Hiking, and Nature Retreat in Grand Canyon


Best Luxury Yoga Retreat – 5-Day Yoga, Hiking, and Breath Retreat in Sedona

For the perfect blend of luxury and nature, join Vita Pura Yoga for four lavish days at a 4-star resort with views of the famous red rocks. 

Highlights include:

  • Daily outdoor Hatha yoga
  • Guided breathwork and meditation
  • Daily guided hikes

This is one of the most popular Sedona yoga retreats on BookYogaRetreats, suitable for all levels. Each day you’ll practice yoga and pranayama in nature and discover a new hiking trail (3-4 miles long).

You’ll stay in a private suite at The Hilton Resort at Bell Rock, one of the most luxurious resorts in the area. Here you’ll enjoy top-quality, locally sourced breakfasts and lunches, and access to the resort’s multiple pools, jacuzzis, and spa.

Discover all the juicy details here.


Best Women’s Only Yoga Retreat – 4-Day Unwind and Rewild Women’s Wellness Retreat in Sedona

If you’re looking for a fun, intimate, and rejuvenating women-only yoga retreat, join Retreats and More at Red Agave Adventure Resort in Sedona.

Highlights include:

  • Multi-style yoga classes (Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin, Acro)
  • Daily nature walks and meditation
  • Workshops, wellness talks, and ceremonies 
  • One-hour sound bath

This is one of the most diverse and jam-packed yoga retreats in Sedona. It includes various yoga styles, meditation, and nature walks. In addition, you’ll join guided hikes to bell rock vortex and cathedral rock, a group psychic reading, a sound bath, a medicinal herb healing ceremony, and more.

You’ll have a private room at the resort with free use of the firepits, grills, heated pool, and hot tub. All meals and drinks are included, too, so you can focus entirely on your healing and rejuvenation. 

Find out more and check availability here.


Best Yoga Retreat For Nature Lovers – 4-Day Nature Wellness Retreat and Adventure in Page

While all yoga retreats in Arizona are nature-rich, this 4-day retreat with Monumental Meditation will help you deeply connect within by spending time with mother earth.

Highlights include:

  • Daily meditation and gentle yoga sessions
  • Wellness workshops
  • Slot Canyon hike
  • Kayaking in Lake Powell 

This jam-packed Arizona yoga retreat features gentle Hatha and restorative yoga, meditation and breathwork, sound healing, mindful walks, evening astronomy, and various wellness workshops. You’ll also hike the beautiful surroundings and participate in a cooking class.

You’ll have a private room with scenic lake views at the eco-friendly Lake Powell Resort. All meals are included with a healthy, organic, and vegetarian menu.

Find out more information here.


Best Private Yoga Retreat – 3-Day Private Holistic Healing Retreat & Meditation in Sedona

If you seek personalized healing or solitude in nature, check out this private holistic healing retreat at Sedona Ranch.

Highlights include:

  • Hatha yoga and meditation with chakra alignment
  • Sage clearing
  • Acupuncture
  • Animal spirit guidance
  • Tailored treatments

You can attend this retreat solo, with your partner, or with up to three friends. You’ll stay in a cute cabin at the ranch with cooking facilities (note that meals are not included). 

The weekend retreat offers a taste of many wellness and spiritual practices, including yoga, meditation, and acupuncture. Depending on your preference, you can also choose between a coaching session, quantum healing, or an e-bike adventure. Thus, this retreat is totally tailored to your unique needs. 

Learn more and check availability here.


Best Budget Yoga Retreat – 4-Day Yoga, Hiking, and Nature Retreat in Grand Canyon

Thanks to Grand Canyon Glamping, you can enjoy a nature-rich yet affordable Arizona yoga retreat set in the heart of the Grand Canyon.

Highlights include:

  • Daily Hatha yoga and meditation
  • Hikes around Grand Canyon and Sedona
  • Wellness activities including massage, art class, Reiki, sound healing, and Ayurvedic consultations
  • Wood-fired sauna and cold immersion tub

This eco-friendly glamping retreat is set in a serene, off-grid forest location 45 minutes from the Grand Canyon. Here you can stay in a glamping yurt or tiny cabin in an eco-friendly campsite with fire pits, a wood-fired sauna, and a cold immersion tub.

Along with daily yoga and meditation, you’ll enjoy a wide range of other activities, such as painting, sound healing, and a cacao ceremony. Of course, there will also be plenty of time for hiking the Grand Canyon and Sedona. If that’s not enough, you’ll also have an on-site chef cooking your delicious plant-based food daily.

Find out more about this awesome deal here.


Tips For Planning Your Arizona Yoga Retreat

Getting to Arizona is easy, with four international airports (and more regional ones). However, as most yoga retreats in Arizona are in remote locations, you’ll need to figure out transport to your resort. Some retreat organizers offer transfers (for an additional charge), or you can rent a car from the airport.

I recommend going on an Arizona yoga retreat in the fall or spring when the weather is most pleasant (mild, dry, and sunny). The summer is often too hot for many, with highs of 104 °F (40°C), so it’s best to avoid this time.

Ensure your travel insurance covers all activities you plan to do while in Arizona and emergencies or covid related cancellations.

Finally, always check reviews on BookYogaRetreats beforehand to ensure you choose the retreat most suited to you. 

Still looking for the perfect USA yoga retreat? Check out our pick of the best yoga retreats in California, beautiful retreats in Florida, and amazing surf and yoga retreats in Hawaii.

Or if you want to go further afield – here are the very best yoga retreats around the world.

If your planning on combining your yoga vacation with exploring some other exciting places check out my pick of the best US destinations for more tips and inspiration.

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What to Pack for a Yoga Retreat: My Yoga Retreat Packing List

Wondering what to pack for a Yoga Retreat Abroad? Here’s my Yoga Retreat Packing List

If you’re looking to deepen your yoga practice, or simply want to take some time away to reconnect with yourself, a yoga retreat is the perfect break. As always, careful packing is key to an enjoyable and stress free trip but if you’re unsure what to pack for a yoga retreat here’s my top tips and my own yoga retreat packing list to help you.

I’m a strong believer that yoga retreats make the best getaway. Anyone who practices yoga knows the benefits it brings to mind, body and soul and when combined with a trip to warmer climes or being immersed in a different culture you’ve got the perfect relaxing and rejuvenating escape.

If you haven’t already chosen and booked your perfect retreat check out where you can search for yoga retreats all over the world and read reviews from previous guests.

Yoga retreats are also the ideal vacation for solo female travellers, as you’ll be busy with activities in a fun and safe environment, with plenty of healthy food and meeting like minded people so there’s no risk of feeling lonely. Many retreats also offer local sightseeing excursions so you can see the best sights a destination has to offer while also having a relaxing and healing retreat experience.

Yoga retreats are so varied nowadays, from yoga and surf camps in Hawaii, Bali and Portugal, to yoga, meditation and hiking adventures in Nepal, shamanic healing retreats in Mexico or Peru and even wine tasting and yoga retreats in Italy and France.

My yoga retreat packing list

The nature of your chosen retreat will inform your yoga retreat packing list to an extent. However, the essentials remain the same and as always, overpacking is a sure fire way to add more hassle and cost to your trip, plus you won’t have space left for any local delights, souvenirs or presents that you want to take home.

To help get you started, I’ve put together my essential yoga retreat packing list. Read on to discover what you really need to take on your next yoga retreat or skip to the end to find a quick yoga retreat packing checklist.

What to wear on a yoga retreat

Your yoga retreat is an opportunity to step away from the pressures of daily life and really connect with yourself, your body and your yoga practice. While you may don your favourite fashionable activewear for your yoga classes at home, on your retreat you can prioritise comfort and ease of movement.

Comfort will, of course, depend on where you’re heading for your retreat! If you’ve opted for a yoga retreat abroad, or to practice your sun salutations in the sun, you may need to adjust your usual yoga class clothing for the warmer environment. Consider shorts rather than long leggings, and lightweight vests instead of t-shirts. Tops with a bra included are also a good way to stay cool when practicing in warm environments.

A yoga retreat is your moment to receive customised attention from your yoga teacher, with more hands-on adjustments to get deeper into the proper alignment of the asanas. For your teacher to see the subtle nuances of your posture, they’ll need to be able to make out your silhouette. For this reason, super low-crotch harem pants might not be the best call! More fitted clothing will help your teacher to help you into the correct posture.

However, if your retreat is taking place at a traditional ashram, shala, or place of spiritual worship in somewhere conservative like India there may be clothing requirements to adhere to as well. Cultural and spiritual dress codes vary, so check with the retreat organiser before your visit, many yoga teacher training courses require you to wear all white for opening and closing ceremonies and it’s always a good idea to bring a shawl to cover up with.

Your yoga mat

Yoga retreat centres used to provide all the essential yoga equipment you’ll need for your asana practices but, due to the pandemic, many now require you to bring your own mat for hygiene purposes.

So check with your retreat if you need to bring your own yoga mat and props like blocks and straps. Even if they do, if ever there was a good excuse to upgrade your yoga mat – a yoga retreat is it, and it just feels more hygienic to have your own.

Not all yoga mats are equal and the last thing you want is to be slipping around during your downward dog so take time to choose a good quality yoga mat with a good grip and cushioning so that you feel comfortable. If you’re fairly new to yoga, consider a mat with alignment marks to help you find your perfect warrior pose.

There are so many eco-friendly yoga mats these days that you’re spoilt for choice. Consider natural rubber, hemp, or cork options to reduce your impact on the environment.

Other activity clothing

Depending on the type of retreat you’re attending, you’ll probably also need something other than yoga wear! Your itinerary may include sightseeing excursions or other sports, like surfing, hiking or outdoor activity, in which case you may need clothing and equipment specific to that activity.

If you’re combining surfing with yoga, most retreats provide board and wet suit hire if required, but for hiking retreats you’ll definitely need to bring comfortable and sturdy footwear and a jacket suitable to the climate. Even if you’re visiting a warm, tropical destination it could rain so take a lightweight waterproof jacket.

If you have an evening social workshop or dinner, a comfortable dress or lightweight trousers and top will help you transition from zen to social mode. If you’re heading out to a wine tasting with your retreat group, you may prefer to pop on a sundress to keep you chic and cool as you explore the local vineyards.

A large scarf or lightweight shawl is also bound to come in handy, whether keeping you warm on chilly morning walks, as a cover up for visiting temples or churches, or doubling as a sarong for beach visits. If your retreat centre has a pool or spa or is near the beach, don’t forget to pack a couple of swimsuits!

Finally, consider packing a pair of long, thick socks, ideally yoga socks with grip. If your accommodation is cooler than expected at night, or if you have evening or early morning workshops or meditation to attend, flip flops or bare feet might feel too chilly.

You might also want to take a yoga towel if you’re practicing hot yoga or ashtanga or visiting a warm country to keep you feeling comfortable while you sweat, and a blanket to keep you feeling cosy in savasana or in early morning or evening meditation. I also like to take a comfy fleece top (without a hood because it falls over your head in downward dog) – even in places like India I feel chilly in the mornings, especially in Rishikesh.

Other essential items to pack for a yoga retreat

If you’re lucky enough to be jetting off to a sunny country and exploring the great outdoors on your retreat, don’t skimp on the sun protection and mosquito spray. The last thing you want is to feel uncomfortable during shoulder stand because you’ve burnt your shoulders or have itchy bites.

Leave the make up at home if you can – it will only slide off in the heat and a retreat is a great opportunity to embrace yourself au naturale. But of course, make sure you don’t forget to pack any essential medicines you might need. Taking them with the packaging and a copy of your prescription is a good idea as some common medicines can be illegal in other countries.

As well as a high SPF sun screen, pack sunglasses and a wide-brim sun hat to keep you protected while out on your adventures. If you’re going in the water opt for eco friendly reef safe sunscreen too! You can also opt for eco friendly toiletries and menstrual solutions. Period pants are the most comfortable to practice in.

Your retreat itinerary will probably include a variety of activities in addition to yoga classes. Throughout all of these, from meditation workshops to mountain walks, you’ll need to stay hydrated. A good sized refillable water bottle will be your best friend on your retreat experience, and is also friendly to the environment. You can’t go wrong with stainless steel or glass to reduce unnecessary plastic waste and the retreat should have somewhere to fill up your bottle with fresh, safe, drinking water.

If you sometimes struggle to sleep in a new environment or the sound of the jungle keeps you awake then packing an eye mask and some ear plugs will guarantee you a good night’s sleep.

A yoga retreat can be a life changing experience so you might also want to take a notebook or journal to record your journey. A small tote bag or lightweight rucksack is a smart idea for packing the essentials to take to yoga workshops or on excursions.

Also, if you’re a glasses wearer, consider using contacts for your retreat if you can as it as wearing glasses during yoga practice can be awkward.

My Quick Yoga Retreat Packing Checklist

On the basis that you’re heading for a one-week yoga retreat in a warm environment, with no special dress code, here’s your yoga packing checklist:

  • 3 pairs yoga shorts/cropped leggings
  • 4 yoga vests
  • 3 sports bras
  • 8 pairs underwear (always pack a spare!)
  • Outdoor activity sandals/trainers
  • Flipfops
  • 2 lightweight casual/social outfits
  • Large scarf or lightweight shawl
  • Warm fleece top
  • Swimsuit
  • Long socks
  • Yoga mat
  • Sun protection
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun hat
  • Water bottle
  • Eye mask
  • Ear plugs
  • Tote bag/lightweight rucksack
  • Contact lenses
  • Essential toiletries and medicines
  • Passport, visa (if required) travel insurance, cards and local money

With this yoga retreat packing list you’re ready for your yoga holiday. Now all you need to do is set off on your adventure.

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What do you pack for a yoga retreat?

Do you have any yoga retreat packing list suggestions to add to the list?

Let me know in the comments.



My Favourite Things to do in Skiathos – The Mamma Mia Island

Skiathos, a beautiful Greek island in the Sporades, has become famous for being one of the filming locations for the movie ‘Mamma Mia.’ 

This gorgeous, verdant island may be small but it is blessed with a picturesque old town, plenty of unspoilt nature and some of the best beaches in Europe.

And there’s enough things to do in Skiathos, Greece, to keep you happy for a two week holiday or more, even if you’re not a fan of the movie.

My Guide to Things to do in Skiathos – The Mamma Mia Island

Skiathos is one of my favourite Greek Islands. In my quick travel guide to Skiathos, Greece you’ll find all the best things to do as well as essential travel tips and recommendations for where to stay in Skiathos. Enjoy!

Contents hide 1My Guide to Things to do in Skiathos – The Mamma Mia Island 2Why I Love Skiathos – The Jewel of the Sporades 3The Best Things to do in Skiathos, Greece 4Where to Stay in Skiathos 5How to Get to Skiathos

Why I Love Skiathos – The Jewel of the Sporades

All Greek islands are beautiful but Skiathos is special. The Sporades islands are Greece’s most verdant and green islands, like sparkling emerald jewels in the northwest Aegean Sea, and still hold on to their authentic Greek charm.

Skiathos also still has unspoilt nature and pine forests that tumble down the hills to meet beautiful white sandy beaches and clear turquoise shallow waters that are rated as some of the best in Greece.

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The Sporades consist of 24 islands but only 4, Skiathos, Skopelos, Skyros and Alonnisos, are permanently inhabited. Skiathos is the most developed and most visited island of the Sporades and is the easiest to access due to its international airport.

Skiathos is also the ideal gateway to exploring the rest of these idyllic Greek islands with easy daily boat trips to the neighboring islands.

The Mamma Mia movie was filmed on both Skiathos and Skopelos – so if you want to see all the sights you’ll need to go to both islands – but boat trips and island hopping are always fun, especially in Greece!

Here are some more reasons why I love Skiathos:

It’s home to the best beaches in Greece

At only 12 km long and 6 km wide, Skiathos may be a small island, but there are over 60 lovely sandy beaches to explore and plenty of things to do and reasons to visit Skiathos, Greece.

Skiathos’s sandy beaches are regarded as some of the very best in all of Greece. The South of the island is more developed and the beaches offer golden sand, sun loungers, beach bars, water sports and changing facilities.

Whereas the North is more wild, rugged and undeveloped, covered with pine trees instead of hotels and with hidden coves and long stretches of uncrowded beaches like Aselinos and Mandraki that you might even have all to yourself.

But hasn’t lost it’s traditional Greek charm

Skiathos Town is a pretty, traditional, Greek old town with blue and white buildings, historic cobbled narrow streets, stylish boutiques, an open air cinema with nightly showings of the Mamma Mia movie and harbour front cafes.

There’s plenty of accommodation and dining options on the beautiful island but Skiathos island still doesn’t feel too over-developed and hasn’t lost its authentic Greek charm.

The island is a lot less crowded and more affordable than more famous Greek islands like Santorini, Mykonos and Crete but still offers plenty of things to do and everything you might ever need for a lovely holiday.

The locals and other tourists are friendly and speak good English and Skiathos has become known as the Boomerang island as people fall in love and return year after year.

The Best Things to do in Skiathos, Greece

Relax on the Best Beaches in Skiathos

Boasting some of the best sandy beaches in Europe, it makes sense that relaxing on the beach is one of the most popular things to do in Skiathos.

With over 60 beautiful sandy beaches there is a beach to suit everyone in Skiathos whether you like your beaches buzzing with bars and water sports or whether you like to escape from it all and just relax immersed in nature.

So picking the best of the many beaches in Skiathos is really down to your preference. I can’t mention every beach in Skiathos in this quick guide, but here’s some of my favourites:

Koukounaries Beach

The very best beach in Skiathos is Koukounaries Beach. A lovely sandy beach with soft white sands and calm, clear waters backed by a pine forest, lake and nature reserve make for the perfect beach day.

There are a few low key beach bars along the sand and we enjoyed a Greek salad, carafe of Greek wine with our feet in the sand right on the sea front. Umbrellas, sun beds, toilets, showers and changing facilities are available.

More Beaches near Koukounaries

There’s quite a few fantastic beaches with walking distance of Koukournaries like Agia Eleni Beach, Banana Beach and Little Banana Beach.

Agia Eleni Beach is a small sandy beach close to Koukounaries beach that is also very beautiful and popular. Agia Eleni is also my favourite spot for sunset.

You can also walk from Koukounaries Beach over the hill and through the luxurious Elivi Resort to the crescent shaped Banana Beach and head over the rocks to Little Banana Beach – an official nudist beach.

Where to stay and how to get to Koukounaries

Koukounaries is situated at the South West end of the island 13 km from Skiathos town. It’s easily accessible by bus in about 30 minutes from the town and there’s a selection of hotels that make for a relaxing stay.

The Elivi Resort

The new 5 star Elivi Resort is undoubtedly the most stunning hotel in Koukounaries, and possibly the whole of Skiathos. This sprawling new luxury resort sits on the hillside overlooking four sandy beaches with high class restaurants, scenic gardens, sunset and sea view rooms and even private pool suites.

Check prices and reviews.

Lalaria Beach

My absolute favourite beach in Skiathos was Lalaria Beach. The clear turquoise colour of the water was unlike anything I’ve seen before and the sparkling white pebbles, dramatic cliffs and the spectacular natural arch rising above the crystal clear sea really blew me away.

Lalaria Beach

Lalaria Beach is a unique and unbelievably beautiful beach and it’s only accessible by boat which makes it even more special and uncrowded. There are also some sea caves located just before Lalaria.

We rented a boat and had this stunning beach all to ourselves, it was like discovering a deserted island, until a boat tour group showed up. There’s no beach bar or facilities here so bring a picnic!

Vourvoulomis Beach

Another of the most beautiful beaches is Vourvoulomis Beach, a naturally beautiful golden sandy beach nestled in the pine forest 8 km from Skiathos town with a younger and livelier vibe from the beach bars.

If you’re lucky you may even see swans on the beach and in the ocean. We saw them at Troulos and Vourvoulomis.

Beaches Close to Skiathos Town

Some of the main beaches in Skiathos include Megali Ammos Beach, the closest beach to the town but can get pretty crowded, and Agios Georgios Beach.

Megali Ammos Beach

Other beaches to check out include Vassilias Beach, Achilades and Agia Paraskevi Beach. These are also lively and popular beaches busy with bars and water sports.

You can access most of the main beaches in the South by bus, but the most fun way is to use a water taxi transfer which run from the old port in Skiathos Town to the most popular beaches like Koukounaries, Agia Paraskevi, Achilades and Vassilias.

See the Mamma Mia Filming Locations

I have to be honest, watching the movie really reignited my desire to visit a Greek island. So when I found out that ‘Kalokairi’ was actually Skiathos and Skopelos I started planning my own trip!

If you also liked the film then undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Skiathos is to visit the filming locations!

Even though a lot of the film, especially the interiors of the hotel, were actually filmed in Pinewood Studios in London, fans are sure to recognise some parts of the town from the movie, especially the old port and the steps up to Agios Nikolaos church and the clock tower where Sophie sent the letters off at the beginning of the film.

Watch the Mamma Mia Movie Again!

If you want to watch the movie again it’s shown daily in the outdoor cinema on Papadiamantis Street. Watching the movie under the stars and singing along is a fun way to spend an evening.

There’s also a few bakeries and ice cream parlours named after the movie, but thankfully the island hasn’t gotten too tacky by over capitalising on its connection with the film.

Take the Mamma Mia Boat Trip Tour

Some of the Mamma Mia filming locations were on the neighboring island of Skopelos but luckily there are a couple of special Mamma Mia boat tours to take you there for a fun day trip.

I choose this Mamma Mia boat trip as it takes you to Skopelos to swim at Kastani beach (the ‘Mamma Mia’ Beach) and explore Panormos Port and have lunch at a local taverna Skopelos Town. Afterwards you can relax at the most beautiful beach of the island ‘Milia Beach’ and visit Agios Ioannis, the picturesque clifftop chapel from Sophie’s wedding.

Climbing up to the church is quite challenging but it’s a fun day out and you can sing along to the soundtrack on the boat. The locations you visit are beautiful and definitely one of the best things to do in Skiathos, even if you’re not a fan of the movie.

If you want to get a private boat for your mamma mia tour that’s also an option and if you have a larger group then its more affordable and makes sense to have a private boat just for you.

Go on a boat trip or island hopping

One of the highlights of a visit to Skiathos is the range of boat trips from the old port that can whisk you off for a fun day out to explore the many islands nearby, soak up the views from the boat and enjoy snorkelling and swimming in the crystal clear waters of the Aegean Sea – it’s like a mini island hopping adventure!

You can take a boat tour around Skiathos to explore the coastline of Skiathos stopping off at Koukounaries and Lalaria, seeing the sea caves and kastro (castle) as well as visiting the tiny uninhabited islands and nature reserves of Arkos and Tsougkrias.

There’s also boat trips over to explore the neighbouring islands. This popular Sporades islands boat trip takes you to see Skopelos and Alonissos where you’ll see beautiful beaches, explore the pretty old towns and see the unique blue caves of Alonissos.

There are also boats and ferries departing from the port to the neighbouring islands of Skopelos and Alonnisos and the Greek mainland.

Or rent your own boat for a day!

If you prefer the freedom of exploring the island’s hidden gems independently then you can even rent a boat and be a captain for the day! It’s easy and fun to drive the boat and you don’t even need a boat license to rent the smaller motor boats.

We rented a boat from GR Boat Rental and after a quick training session had the best day exploring the whole island, stopping off wherever we wanted, having a picnic on the boat and even seeing dolphins!

Wander the Streets of Skiathos Town

Exploring the old town, the heart of the island, was another of my favourite things to do in Skiathos, Greece.

Just by wandering through the old town and getting lost in the maze of stairways and narrow back streets you will discover many delightful and picturesque blue and white buildings, lanes that overflow with colourful flowers, interesting boutiques, art galleries and cafes in which to soak up the relaxed island life atmosphere.

The old port is the jumping off point for the many boat tours that explore the neighbouring islands and also a lovely place to relax in one of the waterfront cafes.

Also make sure to explore the tiny Bourtzi Peninsula, a former Venetian fortress which lies between the new and old ports with lovely views, shady pine trees and a great café.

Visit Agios Nikolaos Church and The Papadiamantis House Museum

Climb up the winding steps through the old town to visit Agios Nikolaos Church and Clock Tower and take in the views over the town and the harbour.

Another thing to do in the town is to visit The Papadiamantis House Museum, the birthplace and home of Alexandros Papadiamantis, the renowned Greek novelist considered to be the father of modern Greek literature.

Enjoy Skiathos’s Nightlife

Skiathos Town is also the island’s nightlife hub with many bars, restaurants, cafes and shops situated on Papadiamantis Street, the main pedestalised street,

Start the evening at one of the excellent water front seafood restaurants on Paraliakos Street, watching the yachts and local fishermen before partying the night away in one of the nightclubs on the same street.

One of the most scenic places to eat is also located high above the town. The historic Windmill Restaurant is one of the oldest buildings on the island and offers beautiful views over Skiathos, especially at sunset.

If you’re on a budget grab a gyros from one of the stalls on Papadiamantis Street for only a couple of Euros and take advantage of the happy hour cocktail offers in the harbour front bars. My favourite places for cocktails were the bars on the steps of the streets heading up from the harbour.

Experience Plane Spotting at Skiathos Airport

You might not expect to see tiny Skiathos Airport on a list of the best things to do in Skiathos but plane spotting has become a major attraction in Skiathos.

The airport is walking distance from the town and offers a unique opportunity for plane spotters to get super close to the airplanes as they take off and land – something that you can only experience in Skiathos and Saint Martin in the Caribbean.

It’s incredible, and a little scary, how close the planes get to the onlookers and the road. There’s only a couple of flights as day so check the flight schedule before you go to the watching area at the town end of the runway. There’s even a café set up for plane spotters with a flight board.

Go hiking

Skiathos’s unspoilt nature and 197km long hiking trail network make it a popular place for hiking – the perfect way to explore the wild natural landscape of the island.

You can hike to uncrowded beaches, like Mandraki Beach on the rugged North side of the island or up to the island’s peaks for amazing views across the Mediterranean.

One of the most rewarding hikes is to the ancient ruins of Skiathos Castle, known locally as the kastro. This medieval castle is perched high up on a cliff side on the Northern tip of the island and dates back to the 14th century when it was built to protect the island from pirates and invading forces. There’s not much left of the castle now but the views are still spectacular. 

There’s also the option for guided horseback riding tours for a unique way to explore the island.

Visit the Evangelistria monastery

Built in 1794 by a group of monks the serene and beautiful Evangelistria Monastery is one of the most historic places to visit in Skiathos.

Situated on a hill surrounded by pine forests the monastery has a super peaceful setting and a special energy. You can take the bus, drive up or even hike to the Monastery.

An interesting fact about Evangelistria Monastery is that the very first Greek Flag was woven and blessed here! There’s also a cute shop and café with lots of produce made by the monks.

Where to Stay in Skiathos

There’s plenty of different places to stay in Skiathos and a good range of accommodation, hotels and even yoga retreats to suit all budgets.

The most convenient place to stay on the island is in Skiathos Town itself, but there are also hotels and resorts on all the main beaches and I enjoyed the experience of staying at both Koukounaries beach and in the town.

By staying in town you can easily wander the charming streets of the old town, take a boat tour from the old port, and enjoy the biggest selection of accommodation, dining, shopping and nightlife.

Megali Ammos, the nearest main beach to Skiathos Town, is less than 10 minutes away by bus and you can explore a different beach every day by using the handy bus that runs along the coast.

Skiathos Luxury Living

We stayed at Skiathos Luxury Living and loved our spacious mezzanine apartment suite. I couldn’t get enough of the stunning views over the old town and the sea from the balcony and pool and loved watching the ferries and planes.

The location was unbeatable, just a few minutes walk to the harbour or main town yet still peaceful enough to ensure a quiet nights sleep. Check prices, availability and reviews here.

How to Get to Skiathos

Getting to Skiathos, Greece is easy and fun whether you arrive by air or by boat.

The island has a small airport which makes visiting Skiathos easy. Skiathos Alexandros Papadiamantis Airport (JSI) receives daily flights from Athens as well as international flights from other places in Europe like the UK, Germany and Scandinavia.

The best way to reach Skiathos by ferry is from mainland Greece is from the port of Volos in Thessaly. The ferry takes 1.5 – 3 hours and you can book it here.

Skiathos is also connected by ferry to Athens (Piraeus), Thessaloniki, Agios Konstantinos, Evia and other islands of the Sporades.

Getting around Skiathos is made easy with the island’s bus route, but it’s limited to the more developed South of the island. You can also rent scooters, quad bikes or a car to explore the whole island independently.

Ok I think that’s everything for my quick guide to Skiathos. I you enjoyed my photos and found my suggestions for things to do in Skiathos useful. Anything I’ve missed out? Let me know in the comments.


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My Pick of the 7 Best Meditation and Yoga Retreats in Nepal for 2023

My Pick of the 7 Best Meditation and Yoga Retreats in Nepal for 2023

Nepal – a nation of deep spiritual history, magnificent mountains and rich culture, drawing adventurers from across the globe to connect with and conquer the elements. With majestic landscapes, ethereal energies, and famously warm people – yogis and spiritual seekers are spoilt for choice when it comes to meditation and yoga retreats in Nepal.

Where could be a better setting for yoga and meditation than in the lap of the mighty Himalayan mountains? The energy here is just incredible, refreshing and inspiring – perfect for spiritual practices, a yoga retreat or yoga teacher training.

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When searching for Nepal yoga and meditation retreats, I’d always recommend checking out and reading some of the real testimonials and reviews. Sadly, not all yoga gurus are the real deal and not all retreats are heavenly so it’s really worth checking out this site first – it’s like the TripAdvisor or for yoga retreats!

COVID-19 Update: Nepal has reopened for tourism, but be aware that pandemic-related travel permissions can change at any moment and be dependent on your nationality. Check out the Nepal travel and tourism website for the most up to date information and remember to check the re-entry rules for your home country. Also make sure you have travel insurance which covers Covid, mine is with Safety Wing.

From ashrams and monastery stays in historic Kathmandu, to yoga retreats on the banks of the Pewa Lake in Pokhara and even yoga treks to Mount Everest – here’s my picks of the 7 best meditation retreats and yoga retreats in Nepal to help you decide on your next life changing adventure.

So here is my pick of the 7 Best Meditation Retreats and Yoga Retreats in Nepal

Atmashree Yoga Retreat, Nepal

Beginners Yoga and Meditation Retreat at Atmashree Yoga Retreat, Pokhara

Designed for budding yogis who are starting to dip their toes in the deep pool of yoga practice and spirituality, this 8-day meditation and yoga retreat in Pokhara is the ideal introduction.

Atmashree is one of the most popular yoga retreats in Nepal, the experienced teachers here  will guide you through some of the less vigorous approaches to yoga, including hatha, vinyasa, sivananda, and satyananda disciplines. They will offer modifications to make sure you’re comfortable in the postures, and also help with alignment so that you’re getting the most out of them.

As well as physical yoga practice, you’ll experience guided meditations, mantra meditations, and silent nature walks to hone your awareness. There’s also an introduction to chanting, kirtan, and bhajans – musical approaches to yoga and meditation.

The comfortable retreat accommodation varies between a room in a shared house or a private cottage – with all rooms having private bathrooms. Throughout this yoga retreat you’ll receive freshly-prepared vegetarian Nepalese meals, to leave you feeling energised, balanced, and refreshed.

For yogis seeking a slightly more adventurous yoga experience, the retreat centre also offers a yoga, meditation and hiking holiday. Scaling some of the peaks in the surrounding area, yoga and meditation takes places with breathtaking views at heights reaching 3200 metres.

See more details, dates, prices, reviews and book here!

Shanti Yoga Ashram, Nepal

Tantra Yoga Course at Shanti Yoga Ashram, Kathmandu

Where better to explore the wisdom of Tantra, than in its birthplace of the Himalayas in an ashram in Kathmandu.

Tantra – the process of awakening Kundalini energy for transformation and consciousness – is a yogic practice dating back millennia. At Shanti Yoga Ashram in Kathmandu your teachers will guide you through a two-week journey towards enlightenment and self-knowledge, by imparting teachings on several disciplines.

Combining asana, pranayama, manta, nidra, meditation, and tantric ritual – among other practices – you’ll immerse in the applications of yogic philosophy. The Ashram is a vibrant community hub, rather than a luxurious yoga retreat, so you can expect to experience authentic Nepalese life during your stay, and visitors contribute by carrying out karma yoga duties.

During free time, you can soak up the atmosphere of the incredible surroundings, or explore nearby forests and villages. Traditional vegetarian Nepalese dishes are freshly prepared and served for each meal.

See more details, dates, prices, reviews and book here!


Himalayan Yoga Academy, Kathmandu

Meditation and Yoga Holiday at Himalayan Yoga Academy, Kathmandu

Combining nourishing spa treatments with a taste of the authentic yogic lifestyle, this 8-day Nepal yoga retreat is intended to relax, rejuvenate, and inspire. Himalayan Yoga Academy is located in beautiful countryside, rich in history, culture, and wildlife – the perfect setting to disconnect from daily life.

Each day starts with traditional yoga practice and ceremony, before a varied day of exploration, workshops, and therapies begins. Spa treatments include full-body massage, reflexology, steam sauna, and reiki – ensuring that you leave the retreat feeling restored. Meanwhile, fresh vegetarian meals will keep energy levels high and prana flowing.

All rooms are en-suite, and guests can make use of the swimming pool, gardens, library, and meditation areas on site making this one of the most luxurious yoga retreats in Nepal. This experience balances escape with immersion, to help guests feel more themselves than ever.

See more details, dates, prices, reviews and book here!


Actual Adventure, Kathmandu

Yoga Trek to Everest Base Camp with Actual Adventure, Kathmandu

Combining daily Hatha yoga with two weeks of trekking through the incredible scenery of the Himalayas – this adventure holiday is a once in a life time experience with a spiritual twist. Guided by a Sherpa – a native of the region – you’ll not only achieve incredible physical feats, but also experience the traditional local culture close-up.

The route follows the footsteps of great explorers through UNESCO world heritage sites, past ancient monasteries, and surrounded by some of the world’s tallest peaks. Each morning starts with yoga and meditation to prepare mind and body for the day’s adventures. Each night you’ll rest in local hotels and lodges, before another day of passing through Sherpa villages, visiting museums, and discovering the beautiful local flora and fauna along the way.

The experiences climaxes upon arrival to the Everest base camp, although the peaks of your personal journey may be all together different on this transformational expedition. It’s safe to say this is one of the most incredible yoga experiences you can have in Nepal!

See more details, dates, prices, reviews and book here!


Sound of Himalaya Retreat in Pokhara

Sound Healing Course at Sound of Himalaya Retreat Center, Pokhara

If you’re looking to add a new alternative therapy to your repertoire, or simply curious about learning more about sound healing, this 3-day course could tick the boxes. Deep in the Himalayas, discover how to harness the natural vibration of the universe through singing bowls to facilitate healing.

Set at a beautifully remote eco-farm near popular Pokhara, you’ll receive instruction in sound healing theory, energy systems, chakra cleansing, sound journeying, and mastering the gong.

Training takes place from 9am-6pm each day, and upon completion of the course, you’ll receive Sound Therapist certification.

Accommodation is on a shared basis, with solar powered showers and farm-sourced meals. Guests can enjoy the yoga deck, meditation garden and explore the surrounding area in their free time.

See more details, dates, prices, reviews and book here! 


Healing and Meditation Retreat at Osho Divine Zone, nr Kathmandu 

This 5 day transformational healing, meditation and yoga retreat will introduce you to a wide variety of spiritual and wellness practices including Osho meditations.

The retreat is held at Osho Divine Zone in the Nagarjuna Hills – a peaceful nature escape close to Kathmandu. Osho Divine Zone is a small sangha (group) of Osho Sannyasins, founded by Swami Basu Samarpan, from the nearby Tapoban Commune who have devoted their lives to meditation, celebrating life, sharing joy, love and happiness.

The retreat makes you aware of your inner bliss by taking you to your own center of love and bliss by experiencing a variety of passive and dynamic meditations, gentle yoga, reiki, sound healing and philosophy talks. You’ll also go hiking, spend a day in silence and take a trip to see the historical and spiritual monuments of Kathmandu. Food and accommodation is also included.

See more details, dates, prices, reviews and book here!


Discovering Buddhism Course at Kopan Monastery, Kathmandu

The colourful Buddhist monasteries are one of the highlights of visiting Nepal. If you’re interested in learning more about Tibetan Buddhism and staying in a real monastery then you might like the 10 day Discover Buddhism course held at Kopan Monastery, a real working monastery perched on the hillside with stunning views over Kathmandu.

This is not a yoga retreat, but it’s a unique and special experience to stay in a real monastery and learn about Buddhism. The courses are taught in English by monks and are 10 days long including the 2 day silent retreat at the end, but you can also just opt to do 7 days of teaching if you like.

The fee is $150 which includes basic food and accommodation. There are a number of rules to follow including that you must check in your mobile phone and not have any contact with the outside world during the course. Check out my experience at Kopan Monastery

Click here for more info, dates, prices and to book. 

Still looking for the perfect retreat? Check out my round up of the very best yoga retreats around the world

Have you been on any amazing meditation or yoga retreats in Nepal?

Leave your recommendations in the comments below the post and help out other yogis and travellers! 😊


Read More:

Best Yoga Teacher Training Courses in Nepal

The Best Yoga & Meditation Retreats in India

My Experience discovering Buddhism at Kopan Monastery

Can you really find yourself in India?

The Best Yoga Retreats in Sri Lanka

Reasons to take a retreat for your next holiday

Dharamkot: The best place to ‘Find Yourself’ in the Indian Himalayas

A Weekend in Brighton – The UK’s Hippest Seaside City

The UK is a land of many quirky traditions. While many of the country’s seaside towns are now mostly paint peeling reminders of an era before cheap flights when Brit’s used to holiday at home, Brighton manages to fuse traditional seaside nostalgia with one of the UK’s best destinations and most hip and forward thinking modern cities.

If you only have time to visit one seaside town in the UK make it a weekend in Brighton – just don’t come here for the beach itself!

A Weekend in Brighton – The UK’s Hippest, Seaside City

Overlooking Brighton Beach from the pier

Things to do in Brighton

It probably seems a little strange that Britian’s most popular seaside town doesn’t even have a sand beach!  Brighton is built around a 7 mile stretch of pebble beach, but there is so much more to Brighton than just the beach, and spending a weekend in Brighton is an opportunity to experience all the quirky traditions of the British seaside holiday with a hip and modern twist.

Car parking is hard to come by in bike loving Brighton with it’s plethora of turquoise rental bikes and bicycle lanes so I parked down by the marina and caught the cute, little, Volk’s Electric Railway, up to the pier and the centre of Brighton. At 135 years old it’s the oldest electric railway still in use in the world!

Volks electric railway in Brighton

Britain was in the midst of a rare heat wave – it’s yearly allowance of a week of warm temperatures and sunny, dry, skies that makes a marked change from the usual predictably unpredictable cold, grey and wet weather that forms the topic of many conversations and complaints that us Brit’s are stereotypically but rightly known for.

But when the sun does make it’s rare appearance in the UK the collective energy is infectious as everyone dons summer clothes, rushes out to buy beers and barbeque food to make the most of the rare sunshine and subsequently end up looking like lobsters. It’s one of my favourite things about the UK – on a sunny day when everyone’s in a good mood I realise what a pleasant place it actually is!

Brighton Beach is packed on a sunny day and the energy is infectious

Rosy cheeked families licked ice creams as they ambled along the seafront promenade jumping out of the way as turquoise bicycles zipped past on the wide bike lanes, while on the beach front path below well heeled Londoner’s sipped prosecco and glugged down oysters in the fancy seafront restaurants, while the traditionalists who hoped to find a fish and chip supper and have change from a tenner were disappointed.

Brighton Palace Pier

Brighton Pier

The landmark Brighton Palace Pier is a celebration of all things kitsch and nostalgic about the Great British seaside – the tinkle of arcade games, blue and white striped deckchairs over looking the sea, ice cream, candy floss and donut stalls.

Perched on the end of the pier is a fairground with traditional rides including the helter skelter, carousel and ghost train as well as a looping rollercoaster and rides that will keep thrill seekers happy.

The carousel at the funfair on the end of Brighton Pier

Did you know there have been 3 piers in Brighton. The 1st pier was the Royal Suspension Chain Pier opened in 1823 and was popular until the West Pier opened in 1866. The West Pier was in use until it closed in 1975 and despite efforts to save it, after several storms and fires, all that remains is the now iconic skeleton.

The Palace Pier that is still in use today was opened in 1899 making it 122 years old. It’s one of the most popular attractions in the whole of the UK and something that no weekend in Brighton would be complete without seeing.

The skeleton remains of the old West Pier, Brighton

Other Attractions in Brighton

Nearby the pier you can explore the underwater realm of the world’s oldest aquarium at SeaLife Brighton. Or continue strolling along the beachfront path past souvenir shops, art galleries, increasingly upmarket bars and restaurants, crazy golf courses, volleyball and basketball courts and children’s playgrounds to the alien looking gleaming silver disc of the British Airway’s i360 observation tower, the upside down house, the elegant Victorian bandstand and the eerie skeletal remains of the old West Pier.

Upside Down House with the i360 observation tower like an alien rising in the background

The Lanes

And the fun’s not over once you’ve had your fill of the beach – there’s so much to enjoy on a weekend in Brighton.

Head into town to explore the famous Lanes, the other (better in my opinion) Laines, Brighton’s vibrant food and nightlife scene and to get a glimpse of an iconic building that will transport you all the way to India!

Exploring The Lanes in Brighton

The Lanes are a narrow, cobblestone web of 17th century cottages that were Brighton’s original fishing village and are now a gentrified but pleasant and interesting collection of boutique shops and cafes.

But, I much prefer the adjacent North Laines area, which reminds of London’s Camden Town, with it’s alternative vibe and funky, colourful unique shops including second hand stores, record shops and a flea market called Snooper’s Paradise.

There’s also many vegan and vegetarian shops and eateries and the Real Junk Food Project café with it’s innovative mission ‘to intercept food waste destined for land fill and use it to feed people who need it, on a ‘pay as you feel’ basis.’

The North Laines (more funky than the famous Lanes IMO)

The Royal Pavilion

After people watching outside a pub with a refreshing pint of cider, I picked up some takeaway Japanese food from Pompoko and settled down for lunch with a view of probably the most Indian looking place in the UK – Brighton’s Royal Pavilion.

Gazing up at the Royal Pavilion on a warm, sunny day you have to pinch yourself that you are not in India!

Brighton’s Royal Pavillions

This flamboyant, onion domed, iconic sight was built in the early 19th century as a pleasure palace for the play boy King George IV. The association with the Royal family, proximity to London and the reputed healing properties of the seawater played a big part in increasing Brighton’s growth and prosperity into Britian’s most popular Georgian and Victorian seaside resort.

During World War I the Royal Pavilion was used as a hospital for Indian soldiers – I wonder if they thought they were back in India when they woke up here!?

You can go inside to look around but the best thing is that the gardens surrounding it are free for everyone to relax in and soak up the sunshine and the views. There’s also a nice cafe in the gardens.

Brighton Royal Pavilions

Brighton Pride

Brighton has a thriving alternative and LGBTQ+ scene, which centers around St James Street and Kemp Town. It’s lead Brighton to be known as the gay capital of the UK and also the happiest place to live in the UK.

Brighton Pride is one of the best gay pride events in the world with former headliners including the likes of Britney Spears and Kylie Minogue and sees Brighton’s streets erupt in colour, feather, music, parades and festivities during the Summer. Brighton Pride is definitely an unforgettable experience if you can time your weekend in Brighton to coincide with the festivities.

Brighton pier with all the bikes lined up outside

Nightlife in Brighton

Brighton is also home to one of the most lively and diverse nightlife scenes in the UK, no matter your sexual orientation.

This summer weekend in Brighton was also buzzing with it’s new found freedom as the coronavirus restrictions had just been lifted. 19 and 20 year olds queued up, wobbling in high heels and skimpy dresses, to get their first ever taste of clubbing as the nightclubs brushed away almost 2 years worth of cobwebs after being closed throughout the pandemic and breathed a huge sigh of relief at the chance to finally make some money again.

Seagull on Brighton Pier

Brighton Earthship

And for when you want to balance all the partying and fun of your weekend in Brighton with something that gives you that feel good factor head out of town to Stanmer Park and get inspired by the award winning Earthship.

This inspirational and innovative mud building was the first Earthship to be built in England. It’s an off-grid building that heats, cools and powers itself from the sun, harvests it’s water from the sky and treats it’s wastewater onsite using plants. You can take a tour around the building and they also offer courses in how to build an earthship and permaculture.

A weekend in Brighton just isn’t enough but it’s a place everyone should experience at least once in their life. I wish I could afford to live in Brighton! It’s one the most fun, most diverse and open minded places in the UK and one of my favourite places to visit in the UK

Brighton’s Victorian Bandstand

Practical Tips for a Weekend in Brighton

How to get to Brighton and get around

Brighton is easily accessible from London, trains only take 1 hour from London to Brighton or save money and take the coach in 2.5 hours.

For our weekend in Brighton we drove the scenic route from Canterbury to Brighton stopping at the picturesque, small, historic village of Rye for lunch at the Mermaid Inn. We also stopped to take a walk and soak up the views of the White Cliffs from Seven Sisters – the best place to see the White Cliffs.

View of the sunset on the White Cliffs from Seven Sisters on the way to Brighton
The mermaid Inn in Rye on the way to Brighton

Brighton is one of the UK’s greenest cities and you’ll see wide bike lanes and cyclists whooshing all over town. You can rent an iconic turquoise Brighton bike and join them for the best way to get around the city. You can also take a ride between the pier and the marina on the Volks electric miniature railway.

Where to Stay in Brighton

As the UK’s most popular seaside city Brighton has no shortage of places to stay. However if you want to spend a weekend in Brighton you’ll be lucky to find anywhere for under £100. Prices reduce massively during the week so if you’re on a budget try a mid week break if possible.

Backpacker: For such a cool, hip city Brighton has a shortage of backpacker hostels. My favourite is Seadragon Backpackers. It’s a small, intimate hostel with clean and comfy dorms in a regency house just 5 minutes walk from the seafront and the heart of the city.

Midrange: Brighton’s best value for money hotel is The Royal Albion Seafront Hotel. It’s a large, historic 3 star hotel on the seafront opposite the pier. Don’t expect luxury but do expect a great deal and a great location.

Luxury: If you want to splash out on the most iconic, luxury hotel for a special weekend in Brighton look no further than The Grand Brighton Hotel, a sumptuous and sumptuous Renaissance style 4 star hotel in a fantastic location on the seafront which has been Brighton’s premier address since 1864!

View from The Grand Hotel, Brighton

Where to Eat and Drink in Brighton

There’s so many great cafes, restaurants and bars in Brighton and a thriving vegan and vegetarian scene  but, for me, when at the British seaside it just has to be traditional English fish and chips with tartar sauce and mushy peas followed by ice cream on the beach – it’s tradition!

The pier and promenade is lined with food stalls and increasingly fancy restaurants and bars. We had a great fish and chips at Captains and then an excellent coffee and ice cream at The Pump Room. Wander along the seafront and take your pick! Just watch out for the cheeky sea gulls that will want to steal your food!

Traditional British Fish and Chips

Brighton has vegetarian and vegan restaurants so tasty that you won’t be missing meat at all. Don’t miss the chance to try Food for Friends – Brighton’s original award-winning vegetarian and vegan restaurant using concisely sourced produce, and Terre a Terre for innovative and indulgent dishes with a sense of humour.

I also loved just hanging out in the sunshine in the gardens of the Royal Pavilions at the nice café there, don’t miss this if it’s sunny on your weekend in Brighton. I was also inspired by The Real Junk Food Project and recommend Pompoko for great value Japanese food.

There’s no shortage of English pubs in Brighton but the colourful and atmospheric Prince Albert Pub near the train station deserves a special mention for it’s quirky and friendly atmosphere and live music. A great spot to start or finish your weekend in Brighton if you come by train.

Have you visited Brighton? What did you love the most about this hip and fun seaside city?

Read more about the UK:

  • Best places to visit in the UK
  • A weekend in Canterbury

My Travel Tips for Mexico in 2021 during Covid

What to expect when traveling to Mexico in 2021

Traveling is more difficult and complicated these days but it is still possible, and Mexico is your best bet so, after spending a month in Mexico, I wanted to share my travel tips for Mexico in 2021 and beyond.

Why Mexico

Mexico doesn’t really need much of an introduction – think sunshine, beautiful beaches, colourful colonial towns and fascinating ancient ruins then add tequila, tacos, mariachi bands and friendly people and it’s almost impossible not to have fun in Mexico. Sometimes it feels like the party never stops here.

Mexico has always been a popular tourist destination and, most importantly nowadays where the rules regarding travel change so much it gives you a migraine just trying to keep up, Mexico is literally the only country that has been consistently open to all nationalities without any testing, vaccine passport or quarantine throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Pin if you found this post useful! 😉

So it’s not surprising that Mexico has become to the most popular travel destination of 2020 and 2021. Mexico is full of tourists, travellers, backpackers and people from all nationalities and all walks of life who are visiting Mexico for different reasons including taking a much needed vacation in these difficult times to those wanting to escape the lockdowns in their own country, or using Mexico as a way to avoid hotel quarantines and travel bans.

For example, due to the EU/UK – USA travel bans many people go to Mexico for 14 days and are then allowed to enter the USA or to avoid expensive hotel quarantines if they have been traveling in Brazil for example.

When I visited Covid was under control in Mexico but cases are rising again so even if you’ve been vaccinated you should be aware that the majority of Mexicans haven’t had that opportunity yet and Covid is still a risk so please try to bear the safety of the locals in mind when in Mexico!

Zocalo, Mexico City

Why I went to Mexico

I’m from the UK but I was in India and the Covid situation there was getting really crazy. I wanted to get back to the UK but they banned the flights and would put me in a hotel quarantine for 10 days at a cost of £1,750. When everywhere was closed to people traveling from India, Mexico was the only place that would let me in so thank you Mexico!

Even though it wasn’t required I still took a Covid test to be on the safe side. I only needed to stay in Mexico for 10 days to avoid the hotel quarantine and to be allowed back into the UK but I’d always wanted to visit Mexico so I travelled around for 1 month exploring Mexico City, the beaches and Oaxaca. Check out the Mexico route I took.

It seems like the whole world is in Mexico right now and you’ll meet loads of people with crazy stories. I flew to Mexico with only 48 hours to prepare because I had nowhere else to go and had no idea what to expect. I visited Mexico City and Oaxaca including the beach resorts of Puerto Escondido, Mazunte and Zipolite and Oaxaca City and had a great time despite the circumstances. So I wanted to share my experiences and travel tips for Mexico in 2021 to help others who might be in the same position.

Read More: My 2 Week Mexico City, Beaches and Oaxaca Itinerary and Route

Colourful Oaxaca

My Travel Tips for Mexico in 2021

With so much confusing regarding traveling right now I wish someone had given me some travel tips for Mexico in 2021. I had always wanted to visit Mexico but had no idea what it was really like, especially during a pandemic.

So some of these travel tips for Mexico are general travel tips and things I wish I’d known before traveling to Mexico in normal times and some of them are specific travel tips for Mexico in 2021.

Travel Tips for Mexico: How to Travel to Mexico in 2021

Entry requirements

Mexico has been pretty much consistently open during the pandemic, unlike other countries who change their rules so often you can’t keep up!

Mexico also has some of the easiest entry requirements nowadays – no Covid test or quarantine is required from visitors/tourists of any nationalities (but I’d recommend at least doing one of the free home lateral tests to be responsible). Most nationalities get a generous 180 days visa free on entry! See more Mexico visa info here

Flying to Mexico

You should be able to find flights to Mexico from most countries, although the land borders are partially closed. I look on Skyscanner to check what flights are available but then double check on the airlines website directly to make sure they are running and also double check the entry requirements official government website or official tourism website for the country I’m traveling to. Things can change quickly these days. I wouldn’t advise booking anything more than a week in advance incase things change.

Traveling nowadays is more complicated than it used to be but it doesn’t need to be super stressful. If you’ve gotten used to wearing a mask and made sure you’ve got all the documents you need, then flying can actually be quite pleasant and less stressful than in normal times because airports and planes are quieter and less crowded so it takes less time to get through the airport.

The best part is, that on all of the long haul flights I’ve taken recently, I’ve had a whole row of 3 or 4 seats all to myself so I can stretch out and sleep.

Read More: My Pick of the Best Yoga Retreats in Mexico 

A whole row to myself en route to Mexico City!

If you find yourself getting stressed out, remember that this is ‘the new normal’ for the airport and airline staff – they’ve been doing this for more than a year now and it’s their job to help you to get there. You just need to have the documents required, or you could get denied boarding, but Mexico has some of the easiest entry requirements. If you’re getting a direct flight to Mexico you shouldn’t even need any extra documents.

Is flying dangerous in Covid times?

In my expereince, I really don’t think so. I’ve taken many flights during the pandemic and I haven’t gotten sick. Scientists have said that flying isn’t as risky as you might think as the airplane is constantly circulating the air. In fact, flying is no more risky than going to the supermarket. Check out this Harvard study on the risk of flying during covid.

Connecting flights

If you find a flight that requires you to connect or transit in another country it’s also important to check that you will be allowed to connect/transit there. The requirements are which will depend on your nationality and which country you are traveling from. Even though Mexico doesn’t require a negative covid test, you might need to show one to transit in some countries.

If your flight is all on one ticket with the same airline you would be just transiting ‘airside’ which should be OK. But if you have 2 separate tickets you would be transiting ‘landside’ – therefore you might need to collect your baggage, clear immigration and then check in for your next flight which may not be possible due to entry restrictions in some countries. The best thing to do would be to call the airline and check you are allowed to travel on that route.

Very quiet Charles de Gaulle airport

Arriving in Mexico

Mexico has probably the easiest immigration I’ve experienced in a long time and the least requirements regarding covid. Most nationalities also get a massive 180 days visa free on entry! See more Mexico visa info here

You simply need to fill out a small slip called a FMM (Forma Migratoria Múltiple) also known as Tourist Card, with basic details like name and address. For most nationalities, the FMM gives you single entry and a 180 day stay. You give this to immigration and get your passport stamped into Mexico. When the immigration officer hands you back your stamped passport, the exit part of the FMM will be in there. Make sure you hold on to this because you’ll be asked for it when you leave the country (if you lose it you might have to pay a fine) This Mexico travel tip is not covid related and not just for 2021.

For 2021 you also need to fill out this online health questionnaire  to enter Mexico. The airline checked this but Mexican immigration didn’t check this. If you are taking domestic flights within Mexico you’ll need to complete another health questionnaire and this was checked in the airport before flying.

Read More: Where to Stay in Mexico City – The Safest Areas and Best Hotels

Return/onward tickets

You may require an onward ticket to enter Mexico but not always – when I was checking in for my flight to Mexico the airline (Air France) did ask to see my onward ticket and I don’t think they would have allowed me to board without one. Mexican immigration asked how long I was staying but didn’t actually ask to see proof of a return or onward flight.

Did you know it’s the airlines responsibility to ensure you meet the entry requirements for the country they are flying you too and they can be fined if you get refused entry so most of the document checking is done before you board your flight.

When I flew from India to Mexico Air France did a lot of checks to allow me to board both in Mumbai and at my connection in Paris. But when I arrived in Mexico, immigration just asked how long I was staying and the purpose of my visit to Mexico. I simply said tourism and told them the date I planned to leave. They didn’t ask for any proof of my onward flight. It was the easiest immigration I’d encountered since the start of the pandemic.

The airline told us to fill out the health questionnaire and checked my onward ticket, proof of accommodation (I’d just booked an Air BnB for the first 3 days), reason for traveling and covid test but Mexican immigration were much more laid back.

When you enter you will fill out a visitor permit (FMM) try not to lose this slip because you’ll need it for when you leave. If you do lose it, you might have a pay a small fine.

While you don’t need a negative covid test to enter Mexico, the places I was transiting through to get there did require it and I wanted to be responsible and make sure I wasn’t sick anyway before traveling. In small print on the airlines website it said that for transit passengers the requirements of the destination country apply. So I probably could have argued my way through without a test stating that Mexico doesn’t require it, but wanted to be responsible and to have stress free travels so I had one anyway but it was not scrutinised.

Read More: My Experience Backpacking Mexico Solo in 2021

Templo Santa De Domingo, Oaxaca, Mexico

Travel Tips for Mexico in 2021 – Covid Restrictions in Mexico

Mexico’s Covid Traffic Light System

While Mexico is open to all nationalities without any testing or quarantine it doesn’t mean they aren’t taking covid seriously. Mexico had pretty low cases of Coronavirus when I was there but are still taking many precautions.

The country has a covid traffic light system but in June 2021 no areas are red and most things are open, apart from some museums and tourist attractions.

Getting around Mexico is easy (as long as you don’t mind wearing a mask) and everything is open with covid procedures in place. Mexico City airport is surprisingly busy with affordable domestic flights all over this vast and diverse country.

There is also a good network of comfortable buses, Uber’s, taxis, and collectivos all operating a full schedule. Hotels, hostels, Air BnB’s, campsites, beaches, ruins, restaurants, bars, cafes and shops are generally all fully open and welcoming tourists for all nationalities while also taking precautions.

The outside attractions like Mexico’s impressive ancient ruins and stunning beaches are mostly all open. Just some tourist attractions, especially indoors ones like museums and galleries are closed.

Some attractions are partially open, like the mighty and mysterious pyramids at Teotihuacan – they are open but you need to wear a mask to enter and cannot climb up the pyramids, and Frida Khalo’s house and museum is open but with limited capacity and only if you book your ticket and timeslot online in advance and adhere to a long list of covid precautions and a one way system.

You can even buy a Frida Khalo mask outside her house and museum in Mexico City

Some things say they are open on Google Maps but when I got there they weren’t, so it’s a good idea to call and double check that the places you want to see will be open, but also know that things can change at short notice these days.

So, while you might be disappointed that a few places you might have wanted to visit are closed, most things are open. Mexico is a noisy, crowded, colourful, vibrant country which is still full of life, fun, colour and music as usual. I’m sure you’ll find plenty to keep you entertained and having a good time in Mexico – as long as you don’t mind wearing a mask while doing most of it!

In the big cities literally everyone is wearing a N95 mask all the time, even when walking alone outside on the streets or in the park, the locals may look at you a bit suspicious if you are not wearing a mask outside but no-ones beating you up or fining you if you choose not to, but you won’t be allowed into a shop or restaurant without a mask.

What’s Mexico like in 2021 during the pandemic

If you’re coming from a country where masks are only worn indoors then it can be a bit of a shock to see literally everyone wearing N95 masks outside on the streets and even in the parks even when not anywhere near to anyone else.

Entering shops and restaurants requires you to wear a mask, have your temperature checked, walk through a sanitizing mat, receive big dollops on hand sanitizing gel and sometimes the staff will also spray you down front and back with a santizier spray. I found this got pretty draining but Mexico seemed to be controlling the virus quite well.

This was mainly happening only in the big cities, in some areas, like the beach resorts and smaller towns, beaches things are much more relaxed and you’ll hardly see a mask or sanitiser in sight apart from the restaurant staff and you can almost forget about covid and relax and enjoy your holiday. Some shops in coastal areas would let you in without wearing a mask and the beach bars and parties were all carrying on like normal.

Oaxaca Zocalo and Cathedral

Travel Insurance that covers Covid

It goes without saying that you shouldn’t travel anywhere without travel insurance that covers Covid in these times. Many insurance companies do now cover coronavirus related claims but check the small print carefully to see exactly what is covered and what isn’t. I would recommend getting cover for cancellations related to covid, illness while your away and the cost of quarantine or changing flights if the rules change or if you happen to test positive while returning to your home country.

Also be aware that some travel insurance companies may not cover you if you are traveling against your government’s advice. My insurance is with Safety Wing. They are perfect for digital nomads, include coverage for Covid like any other illness and cover quarantine costs and, unlike many policies, Safety Wing still cover me even if I travel against the advice of my government.

Returning home and getting a Covid test

It’s also important to check what the requirements are for testing or quarantine to return back into your country and be aware that they may change at short notice.

Most countries including the US and UK require a negative covid test taken within 72 hours of traveling to enter but there are also different requirements for each state in the US and each country within the UK.

Here’s the page for the current advice on returning to the UK – and for the US check here – and here’s a good article about the quarantine requirements for different state in the US.

Getting a covid test done to return to your home country or for onward travel can be done easily, cheaply and quickly all over Mexico, especially in tourist areas. You can get one from pharmacies and airports. In Mexico City airport it costs 500 Pesos and takes 1 hour for the results. Most major airports around the world now offer this service so getting a covid test while traveling shouldn’t be a problem.

Just make sure your travel insurance covers you just in case the test happens to come back positive and you need to change your flight, extend your stay or need medical treatment. It’s a good idea to take some of the free, self lateral flow tests with you so you can do a test to check yourself before you pay for the official test to travel home.

Sunset on Zipolite Beach, Oaxaca

General Travel Tips for Mexico

Traveling Mexico in 2021 is a little different from normal times but hopefully the above tips will let you know what to expect. There are loads of other articles about general travel tips for Mexico so I’m not going to repeat them all and instead will link to other articles I found useful at the end. Here’s a few general Mexico travel tips I really feel are worth mentioning:

Learn some Spanish

This is kind of common knowledge but my top travel tip for Mexico is not to underestimate how important it is to learn some basic Spanish! You can survive without as most Mexicans are friendly and helpful and I did manage to travel around for 1 month with literally zero Spanish, but if I had time to prepare my experience would have been so much better if I at least had some basic Spanish speaking and listening skills.

Even in the touristy Centro Historico of Mexico City literally no one spoke any English even the Air BnB hosts, restaurant and shop staff. In Oaxaca too, a popular tourist destination, the hostel staff didn’t speak any English. Thank God for Google translate!  I guess I just got spoiled as I’ve always found it easy to find someone who spoke English literally everywhere I’ve travelled in India, South East Asia and Europe so I was surprised to find that even people working in hospitality in touristy destinations didn’t speak English in Mexico.

Luckily there are lots of fun and affordable Spanish schools in Mexico where you can learn Spanish while traveling and immersing yourself in Mexican culture. There are even surf and yoga retreats that also offer Spanish lessons like Oasis Surf School in Puerto Escondido.

I also liked Instituto Iguana in the relaxed beach town and yoga hotspot Mazunte in Oaxaca so if you don’t know any Spanish factor in some time in your Mexico itinerary to learn.

Playa Carrizillio, Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca,

Use Mexican Pesos not Dollars

The currency for Mexico is the Mexican Peso but it can be confusing at first as often this is written with a $ sign. Don’t get confused between dollars and pesos. In some places it may be possible to pay in US dollars but you’ll always get a better rate and better value for money paying in Pesos. Cash in king is Mexico so make sure you’ve always got enough Pesos.

Be aware that most ATM’s will charge you for using a foreign card so it’s more cost effective to withdraw money in bulk and, as usual, if you change money avoid doing this at the airport where you’ll find the worst rate.

The ladies bathrooms are marked with ‘M’ and ‘H’ is for men.

A little confusing but the Spanish word for women is ‘mujeres’ so the ladies toilets are marked with ‘M’.  Men’s toilets are marked with ‘H’ for ‘hombres’ or sometimes ‘C’ for ‘caballeros.’ Also, the toilet paper needs to go in the bin, it can’t be flushed down the toilet. Most toilets do have toilet paper but it’s a good idea to take a little out with you to avoid getting caught out. Mexican toilets also don’t have the hose/ bum gun like they do in Asia.

Safety tips for solo female travellers in Mexico

Mexico doesn’t have the best reputation for safety but I felt pretty safe as a solo female traveller backpacking Mexico alone in 2021.

As a solo woman I felt very safe with the men in Mexico. Regardless of what, or how little, I wore I never got any hassle or creepy vibes from men – even on the nudist beach! It was so refreshing after so long in India. Even the people trying to sell you things on the beaches or around tourist sites were low hassle and left you alone after a polite ‘no, gracias.’ Here’s another good article about solo female safety in Mexico and the best places to visit for solo female travellers.

The most important tip for safety in Mexico City is to do some research into which neighbourhoods are safe and which to avoid. Much like any big city in the world – there are good areas and rougher areas of every city, as long as you are not involved with drugs and gangs, flash expensive stuff, look vulnerable or drunk and use your common sense and stick to the good areas you should be fine. Read my article about the safest neighborhoods and places to stay in Mexico City and, as always, plan to arrive somewhere during daylight hours.

Teotihuacan, nr Mexico City

I’d heard horror stories about safety in Mexico City and I did worry a little in the first place I stayed (East of the Centro Historico) at night. Everything was eerily shuttered up and the streets were deserted apart from the massive police presence so I didn’t go out alone after dark. During the day time the streets bustled with people shopping and I didn’t have any problems. After I’d had my fill of the wonderful historical sights and colonial architecture I moved to Polanco where I felt very safe, even alone at night.

I would recommend staying in the affluent and safer areas of Roma, La Condesa, Coyoacan and Polanco with their wider, leafy streets, chic cafes, nightlife and lovely parks with doggy day care facilities and popping into the Centro Historico to see the sights there in the daytime.

Weather and Altitude

The best time to visit Mexico is during the dry, winter months from December – April but it is possible to visit at any time of the year.  Mexico is a generally warm and sunny country but it’s still wise to pack some warm clothes as the weather changes in different regions of this vast and diverse country. Also be prepared for colder temperatures at higher elevations including Mexico City.

Another thing to be aware of is that Mexico City sits at an altitude of 2,240 meters (7,350 feet) which is high enough to experience altitude sickness. This means you might need to take it easy, avoid alcohol and stay extra hydrated for a few days to acclimatize to the altitude. This also means it can get quite cold in Mexico City – even in May the days were pleasant but I felt quite cold at night so bring some warm clothes and a jacket. Meanwhile the lowlands and coastal areas were almost unbearably hot in May’s midday heat.

Mexico’s rainy season runs from June – October/November but this shouldn’t make you cancel your trip as it doesn’t generally rain all day. In June it was normally warm and sunny during the day leading up to a dramatic thunderstorm or rain at about 6 or 7pm or in the night time so the rain needn’t ruin your daytime sightseeing plans but definitely bring a waterproof jacket. If you’re making a beeline for the beaches of the Yucatán Peninsula be aware that September and October brings a risk of heavy rains and hurricanes. See here for more about Mexico’s weather and when to visit.

Calla Acala, Oaxaca

Focus on exploring one region

Mexico is a huge and diverse country and while it’s certainly worth exploring it all it’s just not possible to see all of Mexico in a few weeks trip – you’ll just spend all your time traveling and not being able to enjoy it fully. My tip is to stick to exploring one region and do another next time. The Yucatan Peninsula and Rivieria Maya are understandably popular with their tropical beaches and jungles, cenotes, ancient Mayan ruins and colourful colonial towns. Even if you’re mainly in Mexico for a beach holiday make sure you get off the beaches and explore some Pueblos Magicos (Magical Towns).

But for something a little less touristy I opted to explore buzzing Mexico City, relaxed on the laid back beaches of the Oaxaca coast and explored the colourful, historic city of Oaxaca and it’s fascinating surroundings before heading back to Mexico City. This gave me a wonderful taste of the best this diverse, colourful country has to offer. See my Mexico City, Beaches and Oaxaca Route here.

The AU bus is cheaper than the ADO bus

The best way to get around Mexico on a budget is on the comfortable, executive bus network. Mexico’s most popular bus company is called ADO – they offer comfortable, air-conditioned buses with a toilet, Wifi and entertainment. If you’re on a budget also check out AU (Autobuses Unidos) which are alot cheaper. AU buses are still very comfortable and air conditioned and you can rest easy without the blaring movies. AU don’t have bathrooms or wifi but they stop frequently at clean roadside services and you probably already bought a local sim at the airport anyway.

The ADO site is a little hard to use but I used the same BusBud App that I use in the UK to book both ADO and AU buses in Mexico easily and for the same price.

Uber is your best friend

To get around Mexico City I used Uber – it’s safer than hailing a random cab off the street plus, if like me you have limited Spanish skills, you don’t have to worry about getting lost in translation or having the right change to pay. For places where Uber is not available use the licensed taxi or agree on the price before you set off to avoid any nasty surprises or awkward moments.

VW Beetles are everywhere in Oaxaca!

How to avoid bottled water

You can’t drink the tap water in Mexico but there are alternatives instead of always ordering costly bottled water which is bad for the environment as well as your wallet. To avoid this you could either carry a Lifestraw filtered water bottle. Simply fill up the water bottle and the filter will remove any bacteria or parasites. Or you can ask for a glass of free filter water in a restaurant by saying “¿Un vaso de agua del garrafón?”

Pack Ear Plugs

Mexico is known for it’s lively music and fun festivities. Sometimes it seems like every day is a party in Mexico which makes the country a joy to travel in but sometimes hard to sleep. I always travel with ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones which came in handy many times in Mexico and meant I didn’t miss out on sleep.

More Mexico Tips:

I could go on but that’s enough of my travel tips for Mexico in 2021. There’s other articles written about general Mexico travel tips so I don’t want to repeat what’s already been written so I recommend you to check these out for more tips:

  • 50 Essential tips for Mexico by a long term resident – Travel Mexico Solo
  • 35 Things to know before visiting Mexico – The Globetrotting Turtle 
  • 50 Mexico travel tips – Our Escape Claus

My 2 Week Mexico City, Beaches and Oaxaca Itinerary 

Mexico is a colourful, diverse and vibrant country full of ancient ruins, colourful towns and stunning beaches and any trip to Mexico is guaranteed to be alot of fun.

It’s also a huge country and you can’t see it all in 2 weeks or even a month. With so many amazing places to see it’s hard to decide on your Mexico itinerary if you have limited time.

My top tip is to concentrate on one region, trying to travel long distances and see too many places at once will only make for a stressful and tiring trip – better to focus on one region and enjoy that fully.

I decided on the more off beat region of Oaxaca and fell in love with it. So I wanted to share my 2 week Mexico City, Beaches and Oaxaca itinerary which gave me a fantastic slice of the best of Mexico without the crowds of Cancun or the Yucatan.

My Awesome 2 Week Mexico City and Oaxaca Itinerary

Contents hide 1My Awesome 2 Week Mexico City and Oaxaca Itinerary 2My 2 Week Mexico City and Oaxaca Itinerary 2.1Mexico City – 3 Days 2.2The Oaxaca Coast 2.3Puerto Escondido – 3/ 4 Days 2.4Mazunte and Zipolite – 3/4 days 2.5Oaxaca City – 4 Days 2.6Mexico City – 1 or 2 days 2.7Tips for Planning your Mexico City and Oaxaca Itinerary 2.8Offbeat Small Group Tours of Mexico 2.9Other Places to Add to Your Mexico Itinerary

This 2 week Mexico itinerary takes you to some of the best spots in Mexico City and Oaxaca state. While the Yucatan region might be the most popular this Oaxaca route is less touristy, better value and more authentic.

  • Fly in and out of Mexico City and explore the best of this exciting megalopolis.
  • Chill out, learn to surf or practice yoga on the laid back, less touristy and uncrowded beaches of the Oaxaca Coast
  • Explore the colourful, historic city of Oaxaca and the surrounding countryside, indigenous culture and ancient ruins of the Valles Centrales!

You might want to also read my post about my experience backpacking Mexico solo in 2021 for all Covid related entry requirements and tips for traveling in these strange times. Mexico has been consistently open for tourism throughout the pandemic with no entry restrictions and is the most popular destination of 2020 and 2021.

My 2 Week Mexico City and Oaxaca Itinerary

Zocalo, Mexico City

Mexico City – 3 Days

Mexico City (or CDMX as it’s known by the locals) is an endlessly, amazing, unique megalopolis that offers everything from mysterious Aztec ruins and enchanting Spanish colonial buildings to elegant, tree lined, art deco neighbourhoods and an exciting dining and nightlife scene.

Did you know that Mexico City also rivals London as the city with the highest concentration of museums in the world! There’s over 150 cultural institutions here. So allow at least a couple of days in any Mexico itinerary to see Mexico City (and maybe also a few days before you fly out) – there’s a lot to explore in CDMX!

I didn’t expect to like Mexico City so much! From the, somewhat negative, stereotypes I’d heard I thought it would be a place I’d want to get out of a soon as possible. It was a bit of a culture shock at first but actually I grew to love this exciting, sprawling and diverse city.

Centro Historico, Mexico City

Things to do in Mexico City

  • Strolling around the Centro Historico and taking in the beautiful, Spanish colonial buildings.
  • Admire the mysterious, mighty pyramids at Teothiucan 
  • See the shamans at work in the Zocolo,
  • Visit the massive Cathedral Metropolitana
  • See the Aztec ruins of Tenochititlan at Templo Mayor
  • Ride on colourful boats on the Xochimilco Canals
  • Be inspired visiting artist Frida Khalos House and Museum in Coyoacan
  • Visit the Palacio de Bellas Artes and the Palacio Postal
  • Go up the Torre LatinAmericana for great views over the city
  • Visit some of the museums and galleries. Don’t miss the huge Anthropology Museum and the University Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Stroll around Chapultepec Park and get amazing views from the Castle
  • Learn about and watch Lucha Libre (- a Mexican wrestling match)

More of Mexico’s most colourful and historic cities are easily accessible from Mexico City by taking a day trip tour. You could visit the historic and colourful city of Puebla and see the Great Pyramid of Cholula or take a day to explore Taxco, a unique colonial town famous for its silver works.

Find more things to do in Mexico City and book your tickets and tours here!

I visited during Covid times and some attractions including most of the museums and galleries were not open, so check before you travel.

Teotihuacan, Mexico City

Where to Stay in Mexico City

Mexico City is pretty safe if you stick to the safe neighbourhoods and use Uber.

The safest and most pleasant areas in Mexico City include affluent, modern Polanco, the leafy, arty areas of La Condesa and Roma and Frida Khalo’s birthplace of Coyoacan.

The Centro Historico can also be a good, budget friendly place to stay with lots to see but be careful in the North and East areas at night.

This deserves a whole post so check out my guide onthe best neighbourhoods to stay in Mexico Citytoo. Here’s some quick recommendations for the best places to stay in Mexico City:

Best Hostel in Mexico City: Casa Pepe, Centro Historico

This colourful, boutique, luxury hostel is located in the heart of all the action in the Centro Historico. The comfy dorm beds have plenty of privacy and all the mod cons and there’s a buffet breakfast available. Another highlight are the daily free walking tours and loads of other events and interesting people to meet from all the over the world on the sociable roof terrace. Click here for prices and to book.

Best Budget Hotel in Mexico City: Hotel Catedral, Centro Historico 

This great value 4 star hotel is located in a fantastic location just steps from the Zocalo, Cathedral, Templo Mayor and all the historic sights of the Centro Historico. Rooms are comfy, spacious and airy with large windows. The staff are wonderful and there’s an airport shuttle and a good breakfast included too. Click here for prices and to book.

Ave Amsterdam, La Condesa, Mexico City

Best Boutique Hotel in Mexico City: Hotel Parque Mexico Boutique, Condesa

This colourful hotel is located in my favourite area of La Condesa by the Parque Mexico, the leafy pedestrian Amsterdam Ave, and the art deco buildings and chic cafes. It’s also walking distance to the trendy neighbourhood of Roma too. There’s a lovely terrace with a restaurant and bar with regular live music and the rooms feature handmade furniture, coffee machines and kitchenettes. The staff go the extra mile and it’s great value. Click here for prices and to book.

Best Apartment in Mexico City: Flow Suites Polanco

Feel at home in this modern apartment located near the park in Polanco – the swankiest, and safest, area of Mexico City. These slick and comfy apartments have large windows and everything you need including a double bedroom, bathroom, sitting area and kitchen. There’s also helpful and friendly staff available 24 hours at the front desk. Click here for prices and to book.

Best Luxury Hotel in Mexico City: Four Seasons Hotel, Reforma 

One of the very best places to stay in Mexico City is undoubtedly the Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City. This 5 star award winning hotel is one of the few in the city with a swimming pool, full service spa and fitness center. It’s set in lush gardens on Paseo de la Reforma in an upmarket, well connected and safe area. Click here to check prices, reviews or to book

Read More: Where to Stay in Mexico City: Safest Neighbourhoods and Hotels

The Oaxaca Coast

Oaxaca is one of Mexico’s most loved, enchanting and colourful regions due to it’s fascinating indigenous culture, festivals, unique cuisine and spectacular landscapes and is a highlight of any Mexico itinerary.

You could end up spending a lot longer here but a week should be enough to get a taste of the best Oaxaca state has to offer.

Start your Oaxaca itinerary with the beaches of the Oaxaca Coast! Oaxaca’s beautiful Pacific Coast is home to some of the best sealife spotting opportunities, surf and yoga in Mexico. Plus, it’s cheaper, more laid back and not half as developed as the Yucatan Peninsula.

There are many Oaxaca beach towns to choose from like Puerto Escondido, Mazunte, Zipolite and Huatulco.

Playa Carrizillio, Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca,

Puerto Escondido – 3/ 4 Days

Puerto Escondido is no longer a ‘hidden port’ but remains blissfully laid back. It’s one of the best places to surf in the world due to the consistently massive waves on Zicatela Beach.

The huge waves, known as the Mexican Pipeline, are really only for experienced surfers but there are some fantastic surf camps that will take you to safer waters to teach you the ropes and the beautiful bay of Playa Carrizalillo is a blissful place to hang out.

There’s plenty to do in Puerto Escondido from surfing lessons, yoga classes and beach hopping, to swimming in a bioluminescent lagoon plankton, dolphin and whale watching and even releasing baby turtles.

At night there’s a hip restaurant, bar and live music scene on the sandy streets of La Punta and lively nightlife in Zicatela beach. Check out my complete Puerto Escondido guide for all my travel tips.

La Punta, Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca
Zicatela surf, Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca

Where to Stay in Puerto Escondido

Selina Zicatela

A trendy coworking, coliving and luxury hostel concept just steps from Zicatela beach that also offers surf lessons, tropical gardens, a shady swimming pool and plenty of hammocks and interesting people to meet. Stay in a dorm, thatched tepee or quirky private room. See more details here

Oasis Surf School

If you have more time you could take surfing, Spanish and yoga classes at Oasis Surf School. The experienced instructors make learning to surf fun and easy, plus knowing some Spanish will really make your travels around Mexico and interactions with locals so much better.

There are a couple of surf houses to chose from but I personally liked the apartments, pool and cafe at El Nopal which is located near Carrizalillo Beach, my favourite beach in Puerto Escondido. See more details here. 

Villas Carrizalillo

For the best views over the best beach stay at Villa Carrizalillo. These luxurious, fully equipped rooms, suites and villas with a beautiful swimming pool and tropical gardens offer spectacular views over the turquoise bay and private access to the beach. See prices and book here.

How to get from Mexico City to Puerto Escondido

Puerto Escondido and Huatulco both have airports so are the best starting place for your Oaxaca itinerary if you want to explore the stunning Oaxaca coastline.

To make the most out of your time avoid the long 19 hour bus ride, take a 1 hour flight from Mexico City straight down to Puerto Escondido. I flew with Viva Aerobus for about 1,000 MXN (£35 / USD$50 ) Check Skyscanner to find the best deals.

Also See: 

  • My Guide to Puerto Escondido
  • Best Surf Schools in Puerto Escondido 
  • Where to Stay in Puerto Escondido – The Coolest Areas and Hotels
Mazunte, Oaxaca,

Mazunte and Zipolite – 3/4 days

Head along the coast to the laid-back beach towns of Mazunte and Zipolite – the highlight of my Oaxaca itinerary.

Mazunte is the yoga hotspot and turtle capital of Mexico – it’s kind of like the Arambol (Goa) of Mexico with so many yoga retreats and classes on offer along with all sorts of meditation, tantra, breathwork, ecstatic dance, cacao ceremonies and alternative therapies and healing to try.

Hridaya Yoga is the most famous yoga retreat in Mazunte, they offer many yoga workshops as well as popular 3 or 10 day silent mediation retreats.

Don’t miss trekking to Punta Cometa for an amazing sunset. There’s also some great health food and vegan cafes here but not much nightlife.

Zipoliute sunset

Zipolite is Mexico’s only official nudist beach! It’s not obligatory to be naked and I’d say probably only 1/4 of people where. Zipolite is fun and open minded and very LGBTQ friendly but Mexican families, backpackers and hippies also love Zipolite.

It’s a lovely long stretch of sand with crashing azure waters and low key development where the best thing to do is to eat fish tacos and drink pina coladas and simply relax! Most nights there were low key parties in the beach shacks and you can also find some yoga and healing activities to do here without having to go to Mazunte.

You could also check out San Agustinillo beach and the fishing village of Puerto Angel nearby. If hippie hangouts aren’t your thing you could explore the beautiful beaches in Huatulco and relax in one of the resorts there instead. Or if you have more time for your Oaxaca itinerary you could see it all!

Although the beaches are a highlight of any Oaxaca itinerary be really careful swimming in the ocean on the Oaxaca Coast as the seas can be pretty rough

Where to Stay in Mazunte and Zipolite

Hotel Rinconcito, Mazunte

This new hotel is in the best location as it’s pretty much is the middle of everything. It’s beautifully rustic chic, clean and comfortable with a restaurant that faces the main street and rooms all facing the swimming pool. All the rooms have air conditioning (very important as Mazunte is super hot) and patio doors opening out onto a balcony with hammock. Click here for prices and to book.

Naked Hotel, Zipolite

Zipolite is famous as Mexico’s only nudist beach and, despite the name, I never actually saw any naked people here. But whether you choose to wear clothes or not, Hotel Naked is still the best hotel in Zipolite. It’s right on the beach and the ocean facing rooms are stylishly rustic and super comfortable with AC and balconies to soak up the amazing views. There’s a lovely swimming pool for when the ocean is too rough, a great beach bar and restaurant and plenty of quirky, Instagrammable features. Click here for prices and to book.

Be warned – I came to the Oaxaca Coast for a few days which turned into a few weeks and I nearly got stuck here – it’s easy to get too relaxed, make friends and then it’s hard to leave!

Read More: My Guide to Mazunte – Mexico’s Yoga Hotspot!

How to get from Puerto Escondido to Mazunte and Zipolite

Mazunte and Zipolite are only about 1 hour from Puerto Escondido although getting there can be a little tricky.

There are local buses that leave from Puerto Escondido heading towards Pochutla and Huatulco but you’ll need to get off at Crucero de San Antonio and take a collectivo or taxi from there the rest of the way. This will probably take about 2 – 3 hours in total.

The easiest and most convenient way to get there is to book a transfer that will take you from Puerto Escondido straight to your hotel in Mazunte or Zipolite.

You could also make a day out of it and book a tour bundle with GuateGo that will pick you up from your hotel in Puerto Escondido and visit the Ventalina ecological zone, Mexican turtle Centre, Mazunte, Zipolite and Puerto Angel before dropping you at your hotel in Zipolite. See more details here and book your trip.

Mazunte and Zipolite are only 15 minutes apart and collectivos run between them, stopping at San Agustinillo for 10 MXN so you can choose one to stay in one town and easily explore them all.

See all the options for getting from Puerto Escondido to Mazunte and Zipolite and book online here

Read More: My Guide to Zipolite – Mexico’s hippie, nudist beach!

Templo Santa De Domingo, Oaxaca, Mexico

Oaxaca City – 4 Days

Oaxaca City offers enough cultural delights and colour to rival most other places in Latin America without the overwhelming size of some cities.

The UNESCO world heritage listed Centro Historico is packed with historic, colourful, colonial buildings and churches, art galleries, street art and museums, chic cafes and boutiques all within walking distance of each other and is a must for any Oaxaca itinerary.

Oaxaca is also a great base for day trips in the Valles Centrales to explore ancient ruins, stunning countryside and natural wonders, indigenous Zapotec villages and artisan villages and fields of mezcal. Don’t miss seeing the stunning countryside off your Oaxaca itinerary.

Oaxaca is also known for it’s vibrant festivals and is one of the best places in Mexico to celebrate Dia de Muertos (The Day of the Dead) so time your trip around the end of October and start of November if you can.

Colourful Oaxaca

Things to do in Oaxaca City

  • Join a walking tour to get to know the history of this unique city.
  • Stroll along the pedestrianised Calle Alcala taking in the colourful buildings, shops, cafes and galleries
  • Visit the Templo Santo de Domingo – Oaxaca’s famous church
  • See huge cactuses at the Jardin Etnobotanico (just behind the church)
  • Discover Oaxaca’s most photogenic and instagrammable sights with a professional photographer on the Oaxaca instagram tour.
  • Join the crowds in the buzzing Zocalo. Visit the Cathedral, browse the stalls, eat street food and soak up the carnival atmosphere.
  • Visit the Museo de las Culturas (Museum of Cultures) to learn about the fascinating history and culture of the region.
  • Visit the local markets like Benito Juarez to get a taste of local culture and life and sample the street food stalls outside
  • Oaxaca has it’s own unique cuisine – if you love mole then take an authentic Oaxacan cooking class here to learn how to make it at home
  • Visit the art galleries and look out for the street art

Check out more tickets, tours and things to do in Oaxaca

Oaxaca zocalo and cathedral
Calla Acala, Oaxaca

Day Trips from Oaxaca

One of the highlights when visiting Oaxaca are the unique sights and beautiful surrounding countryside so don’t forget to allow time in your Oaxaca itinerary to get out of the city and explore.

  • Visit the ancient Zapotec ruins at Monte Alban
  • Soak in the springs at Hierve el Agua – amazing rock formations with hot springs that look like cascading waterfalls.
  • Learn about and sample the local spirit on a Mezcal tour
  • Explore the stunning countryside on a horseback riding tour
  • Go trekking to an indigenous village or visit an artisan village with an NGO like Fundacion En Via the money from your tour helps them to provide financial aid to help village women start business

Take the hassle out of figuring out public transport and make the most of your time you could take this Oaxaca day tour that visits Santa Maria el Tule, Teotitlan del Valle, Mitla, Hierve el Agua and a tasting at a Mezcal distillery!

Monte Alban ruins, Oaxaca

Where to Stay in Oaxaca City

Best Budget Stay in Oaxaca: Azul Cielo Hostel

Oaxaca’s best hostel is located in a colourful colonial style house with a beautiful garden and plenty of private rooms making it perfect for anyone on a budget. It’s located in a quite zone of the Centro Historico just a few minutes walk from all the sights, shops and eateries.  A Oaxacan breakfast is included and there’s also a terrace, bar and shared kitchen you can use. The staff are super friendly and can help you arrange bicycle hire, transportation, tours, and yoga and salsa classes. Click here for prices and to book.

Best Boutique Hotel in Oaxaca: Casa De Sierra Azul

A wonderful colonial mansion in the heart of the Centro Historico. Rooms are spacious, staff are super helpful and friendly. A highlight is luscious, magical courtyard complete with fountain and restaurant. Enjoy the authentic atmosphere and Mexican hospitality as its best. Great value for a heritage hotel in such a good location. Click here for prices and to book. 

Check out more of the best hotels in Oaxaca here.

Getting from the Oaxaca Coast to Oaxaca City

There are a few options to get from the Oaxaca Coast and over the mountains to Oaxaca City.

The quickest, most scenic and most expensive option is to take a 30 minute scenic flight from Puerto Escondido airport in a small plane which offers fantastic views but is expensive and gets booked in way in advance. See prices, availability and book here.

The other option is to take a bus to Oaxaca City from either Puerto Escondido or Pochutla

If you suffer from motion sickness opt for the longer, less windy route with the more comfortable and more expensive ADO or OCC bus from Puerto Escondido which takes about 11 hours. It’s a popular route so you should book your bus online in advance.

If you can handle mountain roads and want a quicker route then take a taxi to Pochutla and hop on one of the mini buses which takes the most direct but also most windy route. It’s the cheapest and quickest option at only 7 hours and I didn’t find it that bad. I went with Lineas Unidas for 250 MXN.

The bus was clean and comfortable and the pharmacy across the road sold 1 Diamox (motion sickness pill) over the counter very cheaply. The journey wasn’t as bad as some people said it would be but then I don’t normally suffer much from motion sickness anyway.

You can make life easier by booking this combined transfer and bus ticket which will pick up you in Zipolite and take you to Pochutla and get you on the Lineas Unidas minibus to Oaxaca. You can book it here.

You could also break up the journey after about 3 hours stop off at San Jose del Pacifico for great mountain views, hikes and magic mushrooms! If you want to book the transfer and bus to San Jose click here.

See all the transport options for getting to Oaxaca City from Mazunte and Zipolite and book online here

Palacio Des Bellas Artes Mexico City

Mexico City – 1 or 2 days

My Mexico and Oaxaca itinerary ends by returning to Mexico City for my flight home.

I wanted to travel on from Oaxaca into Chiapas to San Cristobal de las Casas and Palenque which is totally do-able if you have more time.

I was excited to return to CDMX and enjoyed doing all the things I hadn’t got round to on my 1st visit, revisiting some of my favourite cafes and parks and doing some last minute shopping before heading to the airport. I enjoyed staying in a different Mexico City neighbourhood to the one I stayed in at first as I got a whole different experience of this fascinating metropolis!

You could also do some day trips from Mexico City like to the nearby towns of Puebla and Cholula which are full of colour and history.

Coyocan, Mexico City

Getting from Oaxaca City to Mexico City

It’s quite straightforward to get from Oaxaca City to Mexico City via a 7 hour bus journey or a 1 hour flight if you need to save time.

I took the AU bus back to Mexico City which was comfortable, air conditioned and the 7 hour journey offered great views of the countryside. It was only 476 MXN  whereas the ADO bus is 600 MXN.

The AU bus doesn’t have a toilet (but it stops many times along the way) or WIFI or entertainment but I had a local sim card and the loud movies they play on buses are kinda annoying anyway.

This is a popular route so it’s worth booking your bus in advance. You can book it here.

See all the transport options for getting from Oaxaca City to Mexcio City and book online here.

So there it is, I hope my Mexico City, Beaches and Oaxaca Itinerary is useful and helps you to see the best of what Mexico has to offer in a short time!

(P.S. I actually ended up spending 1 month doing this route as I made so many friends and loved Mazunte and Zipolite too much so I stayed for 2 weeks there. But you could squeeze the highlights into 2 weeks.)

Tips for Planning your Mexico City and Oaxaca Itinerary

My Top Tip – If you don’t speak any Spanish you may find following this Oaxaca itinerary independently a little difficult, especially if you want to get off the beaten track. I’d recommend making life easier by using GuateGo to book your transport online in advance for smooth and stress free journeys.

With GuateGo you can book bus and flight tickets in Mexico and Latin America as well as private transfers and bundle tours so you can make a day out of the journey by stopping off at some interesting places along the way to your destination. Check them out here.

Offbeat Small Group Tours of Mexico

I also wished I’d joined a tour to get more off the beaten track and see more places with a group of like minded people in a less stressful and more enjoyable way.

G Adventures, one of the top tour companies in the world, also have an 8 day tour from Mexico City to Oaxaca and Puerto Escondido and Go Ahead Tours combine Oaxaca, Puebla and Mexico City with Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya.

Vibe Adventures have some amazing interactive, diverse, authentic and fun small group tours that take you off the beaten track to see loads of cool places. This 15 day Hidden Gems of Oaxaca Tour is the most similar group tour to my route with many added extras and off beat places that I, as a solo female independent traveller with no Spanish skills, was unable to get to. Use the code ‘Back2Travel’ to get 5% off all tours.

I kinda wish I’d taken this tour now! You can see everything in this itinerary and so much more. Starting and ending in Mexico City, you’ll explore so much of the rich cultural and natural diversity of Oaxaca. As well as popular destinations like Mexico City, Puerto Escondido, Mazunte, San Jose del Pacifico, Oaxaca City and Pueblo you’ll also visit so many interesting off beat gems including historic and picturesque towns, colonial cities, magical temple towns, ex haciendas and indigenous villages, fascinating archaeological sites, national parks and nature reserves, hot springs, hidden caves and beautiful beaches.

If you don’t have time you could also check out the 8 day Coast and Heartline of Oaxaca Tour from Puerto Escondido to Mexico City. The Off the Beaten Path to Oaxaca Tour takes you from Mexico City to Puerto Escondido in days. One of the highlights of this really diverse and interesting off beat tour is spending time Lagunas de Chacahua National Park.

Other Places to Add to Your Mexico Itinerary

I also wish I’d had time to make it to San Cristobal de las Casas and Palenque in Chiapas. I heard so many good things about this part of Mexico – it seems to be many travellers favourite part of Mexico. It’s on my bucket list for my next trip to Mexico!

The Road to Chiapas 9 day tour takes you from Mexico City visiting the mighty pyramids of Teotihuacan and the colonial city of Puebla to Oaxaca City. You’ll explore all the natural wonders around Oaxaca City before hitting the beach at Salina Cruz, exploring picturesque towns in Chiapas and awe inspiring natural features before reaching the colonial highland city of San Cristobal de las Casas.

You could also see the best of Mexico in just 2 weeks with the North 2 South Adventure 15 day tour. Start in Mexico City, see Teotihuacan, Puebla and Oaxaca. Catch some waves at Salina Cruz before exploring the highlights of Chiapas including San Cristobal de las Casas and Palenque. Then explore the colourful colonial cities of the Yucatan like Campeche and Valladolid, see flamingos in Ria Celestun Biosphere Reserve, visit cenotes and Chichen Itza and check out the famous beaches of Tulum and Playa del Carmen (You can also do this tour in reverse.)

I hope this post helped you to plan your Mexico City and Oaxaca itinerary and that you have an amazing trip to Mexico!

Read More of my Mexico Travel Blogs:

  • My Experience Backpacking Mexico Solo in 2021
  • My Travel Tips for Mexico in 2021
  • My Guide to Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca
  • My Guide to Playa Zipolite, Oaxaca
  • My Guide to Mazunte, Oaxaca
  • Where to stay in Mexico City
  • Where to stay in Puerto Escondido
  • The Best Yoga Retreats in Mexico 
  • The Best Surf Camps in Mexico 




My Pick of the 5 Best Yoga Retreats in Canada for 2023

The Best Yoga Retreats in Canada for 2023

Internationally recognised as home to some of the most beautiful scenery on our planet, Canada offers epic and inspirational mountains, forests, lakes, plains, and rivers aplenty. The range of yoga retreats in Canada are just as diverse, with a wealth of great options to choose from – all sure to leave you feeling relaxed, refreshed and rejuvenated.

From lakeside asana practice to mountaintop meditations, with so many beautiful retreat options in Canada, the hardest part could be choosing the right one for you. To help narrow down your search, I’ve hand picked 5 of the best yoga retreats in Canada.

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Before making a reservation for any yoga retreat or holiday, I always recommend checking out the real reviews and testimonials on – it’s like the for yoga retreats and reading the reviews from yogis you’ve already been there can give you peace of mind that your experience will be safe and memorable for all the right reasons! 

COVID-19 Update: Canada is reopening for international tourism. Be aware that pandemic-related travel permissions can change at any moment and be dependent on your nationality. Check out the Canadian travel and tourism website for the most up to date information. Make sure you have travel insurance which covers Covid related cancellations. Mine is with SafteyWing

Here is my pick of the 5 Best Yoga Retreats in Canada

Wilderness Rafting and Yoga Retreat in BC

REO Rafting & Yoga Resort, Fraser Valley, British Columbia

If your idea of the perfect yoga retreat is an all-out adventure on a private river-front location, this is the one for you. With plenty of yang to balance the yin of your daily hatha yoga practice, you’ll enjoy hikes, whitewater rafting, kayaking, and lake paddling.

Your qualified yoga instructor will guide you through daily outdoor classes, surrounded by remarkable forest and mountain scenes. Meanwhile, your luxe riverside cabin tent, offers you all the home luxuries of glamping, while enveloped by wilderness.

Wine and craft activities are available during ‘social hour’ events. Otherwise, spend your time listening to nature’s soundbath as the Nahatlatch River rushes by.

See more details, dates, prices, reviews and book here!

Read More: Best Yoga Retreats in the USA

Yoga and Singing Retreat at Salt Spring Island, BC

Harmony House Community, Stowel Lake Organic Farm Wellness Centre, Salt Spring Island, BC

Teachers and hosts Sandi and Jeremy have combined their backgrounds as professional musicians to create this unique method of energy work for singers. They believe that anyone can learn to sing, and through yoga and breathing techniques, you can discover your authentic voice.

As well as community singing workshops, gentle hatha yoga is offset by energising pilates, with a focus on making a sacred connection to guide you in your art and through your spiritual practice. Between workshops, you’re invited to follow your own flow and do as you feel, whether a nature walk or simply soaking up the atmosphere.

The four-day retreat is hosted at Stowel Lake Organic Farm Wellness Centre, a magical setting with decades of history as a spiritual retreat. With vegetarian meals freshly prepared using farm produce, you’ll enjoy a taste of community farm life. Find your voice and your inner calm on this special retreat experience.

See more details, dates, prices, reviews and book here!

Read More: Best Yoga Retreats in Mexico 

Total Wellbeing Retreat, Bancroft, Ontario

Grail Springs, Bancroft, Ontario

Grail Springs is the holy grail of yoga retreats in Canada and an award-winning holistic health and wellness destination. With retreat packages ranging from a single ‘self care’ day, to 21-day life transformation retreats, it’s easy to see why Grail Springs has been voted Canada’s best wellness retreat.

The retreat has a full spa with an abundant menu of offerings, from Canadian seaweed facials to equine therapy. Depending on the retreat package selected, you can also sign up for forest hikes, thermal circuits, reiki, snowshoeing and fire ceremonies. Yoga offerings include yin, hatha, vinyasa, and relaxed yoga.

Accommodation options at the purpose-built retreat are just as stunning as the forest setting. Luxurious river-view rooms are the perfect space to unwind after a busy day of self-restoration.

See more details, dates, prices, reviews and book here!

Read More: Top Yoga Retreats in California 

Private Zen Spiritual Healing Retreat in Alberta

Zen Wellness Center, Bragg Creek, Rocky View County, Alberta

A yoga retreat can be a time of introspection and personal healing. If you’d prefer to do this in private, consider this custom retreat.

As well as a private yoga class, you’ll experience 3-4 hours of daily wellness workshops, private coaching and energy healing. Depression anxiety release (D. A. R.) therapy is included as part of the spiritual healing retreat experience. Your private retreat itinerary is fully customisable with extra activities including massage, reiki, angel card readings, and horseback riding.

Riverside Chateau is an impressive traditional log mansion, complete with sumptuous touches. Your private loft accommodation is fully equipped with a kitchen and living area. To facilitate your ‘retreat’ from daily life, the resort is TV and WiFi-free.

Select your organic, whole foods meals from a custom menu, then reflect on your stay from the veranda.

See more details, dates, prices, reviews and book here! 


Meditation, Food, and Yoga Retreat in Parry Sound

MindFitness Meditation, The Muskoka Lakes, Parry Sound, BC

Daily Sivananda-inspired hatha yoga classes are delivered by host and teacher Moris. A former Vedic monk, Moris has created his own method of meditation, MindFitness, which is shared over the seven-day retreat. The intention is for you to leave with a lifelong meditation framework and self-discovery system.

This deeply immersive experience takes place at the stunning Muskoka Lakes in Parry Sound. Workshops are held in the Main House, surrounded by green spaces to enjoy. Your accommodation for the week is a cottage a couple of minutes drive away, with access to a private lake and sandy beach. Over the seven days, you’ll have the option to take hikes in mountains, swims at the beach, and tours of the local area.

Food is an important element of Moris’s teachings, with vegetarian ‘detox’ meals and herbal teas included. You’ll also have the opportunity to take cooking lessons from the retreat chef.

See more details, dates, prices, reviews and book here!


Have you been on any amazing yoga retreats in Canada?

Leave your recommendations in the comments below the post and help out other yogis and travellers! 😊

Read More:

Yoga Retreats in the USA

Yoga Retreats in California 

Yoga Retreats in Mexico 

Yoga Retreats in Costa Rica

Yoga Retreats in Europe 

Yoga Retreats in Australia