After six months in the cocoon, I am incredibly proud today to be announce the next Wander Women Retreat is emerging as a beautiful aerial butterfly! (Eh, that metaphor got kinda weird. Whatever.)
Bookings are now officially open for Wander Women Cabarete: An Adventure + Aerial Arts Retreat. For a long time I didn’t think the kind of travel that most set my heart on fire was an option in the Dominican Republic. When my friend Amanda first proposed a trip there, I responded, “like, to an all-inclusive resort?” I honestly knew nothing about the country, and kind of thought that was the only way to travel the most visited country in the Caribbean.
How wrong I was.
I’ve been exploring the Caribbean for years as an independent traveler, and so I knew I had found something special from the moment we arrived on the breezy north coast. I had no idea this kind of destination — independent, laid-back, bohemian, filled with soul — existed in the Dominican Republic. For part of my trip, I stayed at a retreat center with extensive aerial arts facilities — an outdoor studio for silks, lyra, and other apparatuses; a treehouse for yoga; a thatch-roof gym for training, a trapeze rig strung up through the palm trees, and a hotel and restaurant with the Caribbean Sea lapping at their doorstep.
Well, it was settled then. This little slice of paradise would be the site of my next aerial arts retreat collaboration with my dear friend, mentor, and collaborator Jess Lubin! Jess’s students come from far and wide to practice under her at Good Karma Studio, the first and only aerial yoga studio in Albany, New York in 2011. Jess’s yoga resume is extensive — she has studied and trained under Tribe Yoga, Gravotonics, Rolf Gates, Janet Stone, Shiva Rea, Yoga Works NYC, Kula Yoga’s Schuyler Grant, and Sadie Nardini — and I’ve watched her take skeptical students — myself included — and leave them absolutely giddy at what they achieved.
While we first bonded over our aerial adventures, we soon realized we were both travel addicts, as well — she too returned to her Albany, also her hometown, after her life path took her around the globe, living and studying yoga in Guatemala and India. We had such a good time working together our inaugural retreat in St. Pete, Florida this summer, we just couldn’t wait to announce the next one.And so the next Wander Women Retreats was born: a five night adventure + aerial arts retreat in Cabarete from January 10-15th, 2020. We’ve created an itinerary with workshops in aerial hammocks, lyra, and silks, plus aerial yoga, mat yoga, and excursions to local surf beaches, swimming holes, and rivers just begging to be floated down. And, of course, a tropical aerial photoshoot! I’ll be behind the lens every step of the way, ensuring everyone leaves with profile-picture worthy shots of themselves in the air, in their favorite asanas, and smiling in the sun.
I’ve been really loving taking Wander Women Retreats to an ever-greener place, and I love that this is truly an eco-travel experience — we’ll tour the organic farm where much of our produce comes from, visit social enterprise cafes that give back to the community, stay in accommodation with truly admirable green practices, and in these ways take an active role in preserving the paradise we visit. As always, this retreat is open to all level of yogis and aerialists, from fresh beginner to long-time enthusiast. We’ll split into aerial groups as needed and make sure every skill level is addressed. If you’re a beginner, consider this a taster menu of our favorite aerial apparatuses — Jess will help you feel like an aerial goddess right away! The cool thing about these practices is you can find a lot of success on literally your first day. And if you’re a seasoned practitioner, take advantage of this time to hone your craft with a true aerial artist, and with unlimited open gym time in the retreat center’s extensive facilities.
The timing of this retreat makes me smile, and not just because it means escaping winter. I just can’t think of a better way to kick of 2020 than learning, playing, reflecting and recharging on the beach with an incredible group of women. I can’t wait.
The dates of this retreat are January 10-15th. Pricing starts at $1,752 and includes just about everything.
• Five nights accommodation
• Five dinners, five brunches, and five morning smoothies (and one bonus lunch!)
• Four aerial arts workshops, two aerial yoga classes, two mat yoga classes and two trapeze lessons
• A tubing tour to Taino Organic Farm
• A local surf beach excursion
• A tropical aerial photoshoot and drive of professional photos
• A lush welcome bag
• Airport transfers from Puerto Plata + all local transportation
• 5% profit donation to local charities
What’s Not Included
• Meals not included in the itinerary (see more in the FAQ)
• Optional surf lesson ($40) 0r optional cave tour ($20)
• Airport transfer surcharge for other airports
• Optional activities
• Mandatory travel insurance
The Retreat Center
We’ll be staying at a beachfront aerial yoga retreat center on Kite Beach in Cabarete. There’s an onsite pool, restaurant, bar, extensive gym, and kitesurfing school — and you’re just steps away from the ocean. All that is in addition to the treehouse yoga shala, the aerial facilities, and the trapeze rig that we’ll be playing on daily!
The focus of the resort is to be as eco-friendly, sustainable and self-sufficient as possible. As such, facilities are basic — the hotel is solar powered, and the ventilation system uses the wind as a natural cooling element instead of high energy consuming air conditioning, tiled floors keep the heat down and low energy fans keep the air from getting stale. The hotel uses multiple rainwater collection systems for gardens and hotel maintenance, uses low wattage light bulbs, low energy consumption fans in all our rooms and low flow water taps in the bathrooms. They hang dry the laundry, use environmentally conscious cleaning products, and have embraced every-other-day room cleaning, as daily cleaning is one of the biggest wastes of natural resources in the hotel industry — all this to say, they walk the walk when it comes to being an eco-hotel! Lots of green vegetation also helps to reduce the heat during the hottest months. As an eco-friendly hotel, they don’t offer a lot of extras, instead they offer environmentally conscious, comfortable rooms you can feel restful and relaxed in, knowing you’re leaving a minimal carbon footprint!
Shared rooms come with two queen sized beds or one queen and one single. Of course you can room with a friend but if you’re traveling solo, fear not, so are most of our Wander Women guests! We’ll do our best to pair you with someone we think you’ll click with based on your intake forms — and we’ll all be besties by the end anyway. Private rooms are available.
Day 1: Arrivals and a post-travel yin massage yoga class (yes! a massage! during yoga!) followed by sunset welcome drinks and a beachfront getting-to-know-you dinner.
Day 2: Rock a morning aerial hammock workshop before heading into town for lunch at a cute local cafe. After, enjoy time to shop local boutiques, enjoy our pool or beach, and join an optional group excursion to the town’s local caves and swimming hole. Enjoy a later afternoon trapeze class before another beachfront organic dinner at our hotel.
Day 3: Kick off the day with a morning aerial lyra workshop before heading out on a tour of the organic farm that supplies our hotel’s produce, followed by a farm lunch and river tubing tour! Back at the hotel, we’ll chill out to an evening aerial yoga class before dinner under the stars.
Day 4: Start the day with a morning silks workshop before heading off to a hidden local surf beach. Take an optional surf lesson, or beach bum under the palm trees and soak up the bohemian vibes. Back at our hotel, swing between those palm trees at another trapeze class before we sit down to dinner together to gush over our day.
Day 5: Begin the day with a mixed apparatus workshop and tropical aerial photoshoot before heading for lunch at a sustainable local cafe. Enjoy some free time at the beach, pool, or in town before a laid-back aerial yoga class and a goodbye dinner up in the hills above Cabarete, with stunning views over the Dominican Republic’s North Coast.
Day 6: Say farewell to Cabarete with a closing mat class in the treehouse, followed by a beachfront brunch at a colorful, organic cafe.
What We’ll Eat
The resort’s onsite restaurant will host our daily breakfasts and most of our dinners. Our meals will be healthy, organic, and locally grown. Onsite permaculture gardens and an off-site organic aquaponics farm, Taino Farm, produce much of the organic food served there. The Taino Organic Farm is cutting edge for the region, with modern aquaponics and water management systems, vermiculture, animal husbandry practices, as well as apiculture and aquaculture. The systems are so advanced for the Dominican Republic that some of the country’s best Universities take field trips out to visit the farm to learn more about its systems. We’ll visit Taino Farm for a farm tour, tubing trip, and fresh farm lunch! Working together with their organic farm, our host hotel has planted over 2,000 trees, further offsetting their carbon emissions. That’s more than any other hotel in the region!
For lunch, we’ll visit the best of Cabarete’s cutes and delicious healthy café scene — from one that supports a nonprofit organization that works to house street children in the Dominican Republic to another that is an industry leader in recovering respectful beekeeping practices, producing quality goods from their own hives.
For our final night, we’ll have a special farewell dinner at a beautiful restaurant in the Cabarete Mountains, with stunning views of the island.
Safety in the Dominican Republic
We get it. It seems like a crazy time to launch a trip to the Dominican Republic. Yet in a way, I feel it’s more important than ever to do so. Stick with me for a minute!
Needless to say, we would never hold a retreat in a destination where we didn’t feel fully confident of your safety, and our own. We will take the same safety precautions we would take anywhere in the world. During my own research trip to the Dominican Republic in February of 2019, I rode in local transportation, stayed in local guesthouses, and felt comfortable and at ease my entire trip.
The incidents that have occurred, launching a media frenzy around the Dominican Republic, have been confined to a handful of all-inclusive resorts along the south coast. The distance between where these isolated events took place and Cabarete, a laid-back beach town with nary an all-inclusive in sight, is over six hours. There are currently no travel alerts from the US Department of State in place for the Dominican Republic, where the travel advisory status remains at “Level Two: Exercise Increased Caution” — the same ranking currently assigned to Germany, Belgium, and Italy.
Of the ten million residents of the Dominican Republic, a vast number rely on tourism to feed their families — we look forward to supporting the local economy with our trip. Still unsure? I really enjoyed this Oprah Magazine essay from our host resort’s onsite yoga teacher on this very topic.
Come to Cabarete!
A $500 non-refundable deposit is required to book this retreat. I want to make this experience as accessible to as many of you as possible, so payment plans are available. Remember, don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any and all questions or concerns over if this is the right retreat for you! I’m always here to chat.
For further information, including an extensive FAQ, information on getting to Cabarete, and a little more background on me if you don’t already know my story, check out the Wander Women Cabarete retreat sales page.
Can’t make it to Cabarete? Don’t fret — there are other ways to become a Wander Woman! First of all, sign up for my retreats newsletter to be the first to know when enrollment opens on future retreats.
We still have a few spots left for our Koh Tao Dive + Yoga Retreat in March, 2020. And, the Wander Women team is in the process of developing retreats in Israel and Mexico for 2020 — plus another edition of what we hope will be our signature Egypt trip. If there’s somewhere you’re dying to go or something you’re itching to do on a Wander Women Retreat, let us know! We love hearing what’s on your mind and in your heart.
So, who’s with me? I can’t wait to swing through the palm trees with y’all!