SoulCollage® & Yoga Retreat, Guatemala — March 27 – April 3, 2016 

 Sacred Tenderness — A SoulCollage® Retreat in Tuscany — September 12–21, 2015 

About this Retreat

On this retreat we will be nurtured by the creative process, the gentle spirit of the Mayan culture, the company of other women, and the beauty of nature, as we play and create on the shores of Lake Atitlan in the Highlands of Guatemala.

Sometimes we need to pause, allow ourselves to settle into an inner stillness, and reconnect with our essential selves and our innate wisdom. Art making and creative expression can be practices in listening deeply to ourselves and coming home to that which is most true and essential in us.

We are all naturally creative and have something inside us that is authentically ours, wanting to be expressed. Each day we will play with a variety of creative and contemplative practices including mixed-media artmaking, SoulCollage®, journaling, yoga, meditation, creative movement and dance, all of which are designed to bring us into closer relationship with ourselves and our authentic creative expression.

Click here for the Art & Soul Photo Gallery of photographs from previous retreats.

Throughout the week we will be working with SoulCollage®, a process of creating a personal deck of unique, collaged cards from found and personal images for the purposes of creative renewal, exploring our inner lives, and self-acceptance. SoulCollage® is a fun, engaging and illuminating process that is all at once a form of creative play, self-care, and personal reflection. We will also be making our own journals and filling them with stories of our inner and outer journeys, using writing as another portal into ourselves. For more information about the SoulCollage® process, click here.

On this retreat, the yoga will be gentle hatha yoga, designed to take us deeper into our bodies, our hearts and our inner experience. We will use mindfulness and meditation practices to reconnect us to the simple experience of being fully alive and to an experience of the sacred.

No yoga, art or writing experience is needed, only a desire to explore your creativity and your inner world. Beginning and experienced artists and writers alike will find a safe, supportive, encouraging environment in which to create from their deep authentic selves. You will be encouraged to experiment, play, explore and return to the freedom of creative expression we all enjoyed as children.

A beautiful veranda offers handmade hammocks for resting and reading. Swimming and kayaking in Lake Atitlan are delightful and invigorating. There are traditional Maya villages nearby to explore or you can hike the magnificent lake basin. The retreat will include two optional excursions to Mayan villages and artisan workshops.

"I came away from the Art and Soul retreat in Guatemala with new perspectives - both about myself and about the creative process. I decided to go on the retreat for many reasons, but principal among them was a sense of lack of creativity in my life. Laura's guidance, support and wonderfully crafted week allowed me to learn, explore, and ultimately to find things in myself I didn't believe were there. I can't say enough about the wonderful setting on Lake Atitlan. Watching the sunrise over the lake while practicing yoga was a spiritual experience I will treasure forever."

~ Brenda Hill
    Independent Higher Education Consultant

About Villa Sumaya

Villa Sumaya, perched on the shores of Lake Atitlan with panoramic views of the lake and three majestic volcanoes, is an unforgettable sanctuary for those in search of rest, reflection and natural beauty. This unpretentious, exquisite, thatch roofed complex, with comfortable rooms, spacious gardens, hot tub, sauna, and outdoor pergolas, is hidden in the lush natural beauty of the highlands of Guatemala. Colorful Guatemalan textiles and handcrafts are used throughout the retreat center adding vibrancy and warmth to its inviting atmosphere. Villa Sumaya's world-class yoga hall and group room boasts a lake front location, full panoramic views, hardwood floors, a pyramid skylight and cascading garden waterfall. The restaurant at Villa Sumaya caters to vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. The cuisine is exceptional and created largely from fresh produce grown on the property. Villa Sumaya offers outstanding massage and bodywork treatments upon request.

About Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan was described by Aldous Huxley as the most beautiful lake in the world. Lago de Atitlán, as the Guatemalan's call it, is surrounded by craggy mountains and three majestic volcanoes. Formed by a collapsed volcano cone, the lake is 45 square miles and 320 meters deep, the deepest lake in Central America. Approximately fifteen villages lie on its perimeter, mainly inhabited by traditional Mayan peoples with a sprinkling of foreign settlers. The word "atitlan" is a Mayan word that translates as "the place where the rainbow gets its colors".

In the highlands of Guatemala, especially around Lake Atitlan, the Mayan culture still thrives. The spirit it invokes is the hidden gem of Guatemala, and makes this among the most interesting of destinations in the world. The Mayans are known for being friendly, funny, deeply connected to their earth-based spirituality, and welcoming of strangers. Visiting among them is an enchanting , heart-opening and life-changing experience.

"Laura has a great ability to gently guide and assist each participant in such a way that both the beginner and the experienced artist can each contact their own wellspring in order to bring out their creative expressions with enthusiasm and joyful energy. The group of women comes together in a mutually supportive way that intensifies the fun of the whole experience!"

~ Judith Nicolaidis, Professor of Art, Emerita, Southwestern College


$2,650 (double occupancy)
$350 single supplement
does not include airfare

What's Included?

What's Not Included In The Price?

How do I register?

To reserve your space send a $500.00 non-refundable deposit to:
Laura Hansen, 4560 Ladera Street, San Diego, CA 92107

How many people will be on the retreat?

This retreat will be limited to 16 participants.

Tentative Daily Schedule

This will give a general idea of the flow of our activities, however, changes will happen to accommodate weather, special activities, and the creative spirit!


7: 00 am - 8:30 amYoga & Meditation
8:30 am - 9:30 amBreakfast
10:00 am - 12:30 pmArt Making session
12:30 pm - 1:30 pmLunch


1:30 pm - 5:30 pmArt Making, Journaling, Activities in Nature, Free Time, Excursions to Mayan Villages


6:00 pm - 7:00 pmDinner
7:00 pm - 9:00 pmJournaling

"After having looked for a long time for a trip that would feed my art and soul- I found it in Guatemala with Laura. The experiences of learning new art techniques, practicing yoga, bonding with extraordinary women, interacting with a new culture full of color and spirit - my dream was fulfilled. It has been the one trip that helped to change me and is traveling within me still."

~ Debby Dunbar, Elementary Teacher

Logistics & Other Info

We want to help make your travel to and from Guatemala as easy and safe as possible. Please contact us with any questions, comments or concerns you may have at:

Air Transportation

When To Arrive

We recommend arriving no later than the Friday before the retreat starts and staying Friday night in historic Antigua (about 30 minutes from the airport). You will land at Guatemala City airport and be responsible for paying for your transportation to Antigua, I can assist you in making a shuttle reservation. In a letter to follow registration, I will recommend a moderately-priced hotel for you to stay overnight in Antigua, and I can make these reservations for you if you wish.

Those who arrive on Saturday should land at the Guatemala City Airport no later than 10:00 am on Saturday and go straight to the designated hotel in Antigua. Our driver will pick us up there at 1:00pm to transportation us to the retreat center.

Assistance with Travel Plans

If you'd like assistance with your travel plans please call Isaac Hilpman at Exito Travel 1-800-655-4053, ext 8507 and tell him you are with Laura Hansen's retreat group. He can help you find a good flight.

Transport from Antigua to Villa Sumaya

Our driver will meet us at our hotel in Antigua at about 1:00 pm on Saturday. We will board a private bus for Panajachel on Lake Atitlan, about 2 hours away. A private boat will then take us across the lake to Villa Sumaya.


You may want to consider staying one or more extra nights at Villa Sumaya or Antigua after the retreat. If you have to fly out on Saturday, the day the retreat ends, we suggest a departure time of 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. or later, to give you plenty of time to get back to the airport. On Saturday morning, the day the retreat ends, we will arrange private transportation for the group to return to the hotel in Antigua or to the airport. For anyone choosing to stay extra nights at Villa Sumaya, transportation back to Antigua will not be included. Private transportation from Panajachel to Guatemala City or Antigua costs between $ 20-40 depending on the number of people traveling together; public transportation is about $20.


Clear and sunny. Cool, in the 60s, in the morning and evenings, going up to the 80's in the afternoons. Perfect for swimming in the lake!

"The Art & Soul Retreat in Guatemala cracked the creative door open for me. I was able to face and have an artistic 'conversation' with the part of me that Laura calls 'The Critic'. You know, it's that voice that tells you that what you do doesn't measure up...isn't good enough. Well, I have to say that by facing that "Critic" I have been able to make it much smaller and less important...and I've been able to have more FUN!"

~ Susan Warren, Weaver

"I went to Laura's Guatemala retreat without expecting anything in particular - mostly due to a demanding work life that doesn't allow for much time to think about anything except the professional work I love to do. What I got was the beautiful and magical surroundings of Lake Atitlan, a luxurious week of self-discovery, a reawakening of how music lives in my soul and body, new writing skills, a surprising affinity for yoga, and an emergence of my love of making art."

~ Karen Yoshino

To register or for questions email us by clicking here.

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