LOS CARDONES, Nicaragua
Rest, Yoga, Surf, Ocean Conservation, Digital Detox
OCT 20 – 28, 2023
Who is this for?
This is for anybody who dreams of being a part of a restorative week of experiencing a connection with others, your body and ocean nature. It is a remote off-the-tourist-circuit adventure!
It is YOUR week to curate—healthy alone time….or meeting others. A retreat should feel like a treat! It is a relaxed schedule. Twice daily yoga and beautiful chilled-out meals, but the rest is up to you.
Relax and sleep in a hammock, get a massage, do daily yoga + sweat, surf, healthy food, detox from your devices as an option (I encourage this although WIFI is available upon request), read a book, eat over candlelight and connect with wonderful people. I also will not judge if you are into a post-surf cerveza! Surf as much as you want. Don’t surf if you don’t want to.
What’s the weather like?
The weather is hot, humid and sunny most days during the rainy season. Be prepared for wild storms at night. Typically it rains for an hour each day, followed by hot sunshine and blazing heat midday. Los Cardones has excellent shade, and you can avoid the sun as much as you need during the hot hours. Expect wild nature, gorgeous sunsets and a lullaby of constant waves several feet from your cabana.
How do I get there?
Airfare in advance is the best way to get the cheapest deals! United Airlines has officially started flying back to Nicaragua post-pandemic, making it easier to get there again. Typically you’ll have to fly through Mexico City or the States as direct flights from Vancouver are a harder find. One site I use for cheaper airfare is: https://www.momondo.ca/
It’s a quick, bumpy 90-minute to two-hour drive to Los Cardones from Managua International Airport. We will arrange pick-up and drop-off for you in advance. Car rental isn’t recommended because once you get to Los Cardones, Google Maps is sketchy, and there is typically zero desire to leave once you get there!
What’s the accommodation and Los Cardones like?
The onsite accommodation is shared beach bungalows (singles available upon request, but cost more, see below).
The onsite tiki-style bungalows have ceiling fans, electricity/outlets and natural/cool showers from the onsite eco-well system that Izic built. This is where I will be staying! I love the simplicity of the bungalows. There are bug-netted beds. Wild storms and creatures outside at night. Sometimes an iguana will hang out on your balcony, or you’ll see a gecko hanging out – and you must be okay with this! Full transparency: Los Cardones is not a swanky spa hotel, but this is part of its charm and uniqueness.
If the one-with-nature isn’t your thing and you are an air-con kind of person, see the below bigger homes to rent (two-person minimum).
Once you get to Los Cardones, other than our group, you won’t see many more people. There are ZERO tourist traps. We are in paradise. Beautiful ocean, massive beaches and sky. Not much of anything else. Zero towns to walk to…You come to Los Cardones; you don’t want to leave. It’s the best.
You can arrange day trips if you like with Laure and the staff.
Do I have to do a digital detox, is there WIFI? I might have to check in from time to time.
During our week, we are off the grid. WIFI is available upon request on the property, and 5G is accessible as well (but it can be sketchy). This is a great place to detox from modern addictions to laptops, cell phones, and social media and to keep it real. In the past, many students have done this. There is also a hotel down the beach where you can have a drink and use their WIFI for a fee.
Who is this NOT for?
If you are looking for a five-star spa experience, admit to being high maintenance and are afraid of thunderstorms and/or mother nature… you may want to reconsider!
Also, if you are suffering from a medical condition, have allergies or an illness that may require instant care if an emergency occurs, we are two hours from the nearest hospital and in the middle of nowhere. As with all adventure travel, the risk is always there.
Because we all need it and were disconnected due to the pandemic for too long.
The style of yoga will be a daily and sweaty vinyasa and pranayama practice structured around the surf each morning. Typically from 9am-11am. As well, at night (pre-sunset), we will do a restorative/yin practice from 430-6 pm. Some students skip yoga to sunset surf as well. Our practice will also include meditation (for all levels). It will be inclusive, so no one is left behind. This is NOT a teacher training. The goal is to leave you feeling filled up, restored and shining by day seven.
Help us Build a Turtle Sanctuary, The Revival Project, 4th Edition
This retreat also includes an optional hands-on component. You can participate a little or not at all. This is a give-back, elbow-grease adventure for the gorgeous Los Cardones eco-surf community. Izic and Laure have committed to sustainability, eco-friendly, surf culture and ethical practices.
We will rebuild a turtle nursery together. It’s a bit of a chore but usually turns into a sweaty hot mess of a laugh. if you’re up for it. There were 14 of us pre-covid, and it was still a grunt! We will dedicate two afternoons to helping rebuild it.
Beach clean-ups are something I like to do daily, even just on a morning walk.
Location & is it safe?
Los Cardones is one of my happy places where I have held yoga teacher training programs and retreats for ten years. It is an eco-surf lodge, well-loved by the local villagers. Izic and Laure are surf bums hailing from Miami and France. They built their dream from the ground up and raised their three children at Los Cardones. I love this place with all my heart. You will too. When you get to the airport, we will pick you up – a hired local driver with your name on a sign will get you.
I often get asked if Nicaragua is “safe.” Like any travel, there are risks, and common sense is necessary: always lock your door, avoid walking alone at night (i.e. in Managua), and use the safety deposit for all money and passports. Petty theft is, unfortunately, an issue whether you travel to Nicaragua or Vancouver. At Los Cardones, since I’ve held retreats and training since 2009, has had only one unfortunate theft incident, which was dealt with swiftly by Izic and Laure, and they responded by making the bungalows even safer by changing the doors, locks and security on-site. The staff is kind, appreciates your Spanish attempts and is grateful to have you.
Nica is a 3rd world country, so you will see a bit of this as you drive through Managua. Unfortunately, global systemic racism and dictatorship have Nicaragua in this unfortunate scenario for its people. They make the best of what they have and are kind, beautiful people. Here’s the truth – the government is corrupt. Their leader is a dictator. And the people are kind and doing their best.
I’ve never felt “unsafe” at Los Cardones. I arrived in the middle of the night. I left at 2 am for some trips. I travelled there solo during COVID. I travelled alone across the border to Costa Rica with a driver. I am passionate about this country and want to support tourism here as possible.
Los Cardones website: www.loscardones.com
RETREAT INVESTMENT & FEES
OPTION ONE: ON-SITE OCEAN-SIDE BUNGALOWS
The bungalows vary in size and style. Pricing varies per cabana/bungalow and whether you share a space. This includes eight nights of lodging, meals, drinks (non-alcoholic) and yoga. Extra night(s) discount 10% off Los Cardones lodge rates; please ask Laure if you intend on staying longer.
The prices below include tax, seven nights of shared accommodation (single accommodation is limited and extra for this request), all food (three yummy meals), non-alcoholic drinks, and two yoga sessions daily. Vegetarian, vegan etc., available upon request. To view all the accommodations, go to www.loscardones.com
** pp = per person ** Canadian 5% GST tax is also added onto the below price when converted (ugh, taxes!)
Single occupancy beach cabaña = $1250 USD EARLY BIRD (before July 1st, 2023 | $1450 USD late bird (after July 1, 2023)
Double & triple occupancy beach cabana (2-3 adults) = $1150 USD EARLY BIRD per person | $1350 USD late bird per person
Double occupancy ocean view bungalow (2 adults) = $1500 USD EARLY BIRD per person | $1700 USD late bird per person
Triple occupancy (3 adults, for convenience, not necessarily comfort) ocean view bungalow = $1200 USD pp. $1400 USD late bird per person.
Single occupancy ocean view bungalow = $2000 USD EARLY BIRD | $2150 USD LATE BIRD
OPTION TWO – OFF-SITE HOME RENTALS
These homes vary in style. The minimum is two people for house lodging; Laure will choose the best options for everyone’s comfort and your group size. The homes are a short walk away next door from where the rest of us are staying at LC. Here is a page with some photos of the off-site homes Laure will choose for you pending on your group size.
EARLY BIRD OFF-SITE HOME FEE per person = $2027 USD + $100 refundable damage deposit
LATE BIRD OFF-SITE HOME FEE per person = $2227 USD + $100 refundable damage deposit
Your payment for off-site rentals will be made separately in two parts:
a) Laure will handle direct wire payments separately for the home fee: $1127 USD per person, plus a refundable damage deposit of $100 per person, requiring a minimum of two people.
b) You will pay Julia e-transfer/wire or pay by Visa for the yoga/retreat fees, an additional $900 USD per person (before July 1st) EARLY BIRD and LATE BIRD $1100 USD
The price for eight nights of lodging in a shared house is meals, drinks (non-alcoholic) and yoga. Extra night(s) discount 10% off Los Cardones lodge rates; please ask Laure if you intend on staying longer.
Pictures of off-site homes outside of Los Cardones here
CHECK-IN & EXTRA NIGHTS:
The check-in is the morning of October 20, typically by 10 am, and check-out is on the morning of October 28, by 10 am.
However, you can chill all day at Los Cardones before your flight.
If you want to book extra nights before or after these dates, please arrange them separately with Los Cardones. Guests typically fly in the evening before into Managua airport and either arrange an extra night at Los Cardones (late evening pick up can be arranged) OR spend the night at Managua Best Western and get the morning shuttle. Let us know!
KIDS* – Be in touch as it varies with kids’ ages etc., and if we can squeeze you all into a private bungalow. If this is the case, be in touch sooner than later, as last year sold out. Kids 0-3 are free. Kid rate 4-12. 13 + adult pricing.
Please email me to discuss kid rates.
To register, a $500 non-refundable deposit is also required to hold your spot.
A one to three-part payment plan can also be arranged in advance of Oct 20, 2023
Please email your room/home request and any questions you have to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Travel health insurance, visas & vaccines Nicaragua ENRY PROTOCOLS?
Currently, I’m editing this in March 2023. It may change, so please do your homework regarding COVID protocol. The below is taken from the Tourism Nicaragua website.
The Government of Nicaragua has announced a key change to its travel protocols.
Effective Thursday, June 16, 2022, fully-vaccinated travellers to Nicaragua will no longer have to take a COVID-19 test to enter the country.
The change in protocols states that travellers of all ages and nationalities should only provide at any of the country’s entry ports their vaccination card of two doses or more, independently of the year they were vaccinated.
In addition, those who have received two different doses or have applied only one shot of Sputnik Light or Janssen/J&J will also be eligible to enter with their vaccine card, record, or certificate.
Unvaccinated travellers —both children and adults — will require a negative test that should be made within 72 hours before arrival. Those flying from Asia, Oceania, and Africa will have 92 hours before arriving to make their test.
The only test accepted is RT-PCR. All unvaccinated travellers must present digital or printed test results when arriving at the country’s border.
Is it necessary to fill out a form to enter the country? Yes.
Non-nationals will have to complete an online immigration form that is available on the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is recommended to complete this form at least seven days before arrival. This form is a bit annoying but easy to do in ten minutes. For help in answering some of the questions, please email email@example.com
For re-entry to Canada, it’s loosened up. However, please check in for all COVID-19 protocol here.
Here is all the information for Nicaragua’s protocol for COVID-19
Travel & Health Insurance
- Please make sure you purchase insurance with your flights so you aren’t disappointed in the case of an emergency.
- You must have travel health insurance during the retreat and be asked to email proof of purchase. You cannot attend the retreat without your medical travel health insurance. Luckily, this is very easy and somewhat affordable to purchase via your local insurance broker, certain credit cards or when you buy your flight.
It is unfortunate if you do not have insurance for an accident, sudden illness or injury.
For non-vaccinated travellers who test positive right before travel and cannot attend, please note that if you test positive for COVID last minute, unfortunately, your funds are non-refundable.
Additional costs (in USDs):
Airport transfer – Budget around $100 USDs each way (it gets cheaper with groups)
Massages $25 (1hr full body)
Horseback riding $12 (1.5hr)
Surfboard rentals $25/per day or $150 per week
Surf lessons are $15/hr or $30/hr with board included
Spanish lesson ($7)
Guided nature tour $10 per group of 1-4 (1hr)
Sea turtle nursery: observe sea turtle nesting and hatching (free)
Community outreach and Volunteering (cost of transportation)
Beer, rum, and wines are available for purchase
Also available for free: volleyball, basketball, soccer, ping pong, horseshoe, boardgames, slackline…