It’s Wander Women Wednesday! On this glorious mid-week moment, we’re going to highlight an upcoming Wander Women Retreat, or a new aspect of our retreats we’re excited about.
When I rattle off my 2020 retreat destinations, most nod along excitedly while I rattle off exciting destinations like Israel, Thailand, Lebanon, Dominican Republic, Egypt, and… Florida. “Florida?,” comes the typical reply, from those politely trying to figure out how that fits into the rest of our lineup.
The truth is, our Dive + Yoga Key Largo Retreat is perhaps the retreat that most encapsulates our 2020 goals at Wander Women Retreats.
Top of the list? First, making sustainable travel at the core of our business model. That’s been taking shape in several different forms, one of the most exciting of which being this entire retreat dedicated to coral propagation. It also ticks a second boxes: creating shorter, domestic retreats for those with limited vacation days.
Really, this retreat brings together so many passions that fuel Wander Women Retreats: ocean conservation, celebrating the achievements of incredible women, celebrating big moments with joy, and showing off the under-appreciated natural beauty of right in North America’s backyard.
We couldn’t have timed this retreat better. Our weekend of diving in Key Largo from July 15-18, 2021 celebrates both PADI Women’s Dive Day and the 20th anniversary of the Women Diver’s Hall of Fame, of which I am a former grant recipient and current associate member. I’ve been eager to properly splash out in style for Women’s Dive Day for years, and I truly can’t think of a better way than on a private dive boat full of women, including Women Divers Hall of Fame member and conservation hero Patti Gross.
And I’m so proud that our weekend will include meeting and diving with several inductees of the prestigious Women Divers Hall of Fame, who have been pioneers in the industry and incredible mentors to me throughout my diving career. A highlight will be an intimate and private tour of the History of Diving Museum, founded by Women Divers Hall of Fame member and scuba legend Sally Bauer.
But those aren’t the only exciting partnerships we have for this retreat. We’ll be partnering with the Coral Restoration Foundation to learn more about their accomplishments as the world’s largest coral reef restoration organization — each attendee will earn a PADI Coral Reef Conservation Specialty, which includes both classroom learning and four dives with hands-on experience restoring coral, preventing the extinction of an endangered species.
There couldn’t be a more precious place to do it. The Florida Keys are world-renown and home to the only living coral reef in the continental United States and the third largest barrier reef on the planet. With access to the reef only a few miles offshore, an abundance of marine life, aquarium-like warm clear waters, an impressive infrastructure for diving, and a very appealing topside atmosphere, it’s easy to see why divers are so happy to hang their fins here. I’ve been itching to take this full course since my own one-day coral planting experience with the Coral Restoration Foundation, and can’t imagine better classmates than you.
It’s not our only eco-activity of the trip, either. This retreat is all about conservation – we’ll learn to make our own zero-waste coral-safe leave-in conditioner, visit a turtle hospital, and head out for a standup paddle clean up ride.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Wander Women Retreat without yoga – we’ll start off each day with sun salutations on the sand in Key Largo with ocean views aplenty, and even take a scenic SUP yoga class.
When we aren’t exploring the Keys underwater, we’ll be topside enjoying fresh and delicious meals, sunsets on the water, and of course, a few sips of champagne to balance it all out. The Keys totally captured my heart from my first trip — I can’t wait to be back.
One thing to note about this trip: while this retreat is available to all levels of certified divers, it is oriented towards a more experienced diver than my typical dive trips. The dives are focused on restoration and we will ensure all certified divers levels can contribute, however, basic buoyancy skills are required to ensure the safety of the reef. If you’re concerned about your competency, consider a PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy Speciality to brush up on your skills. Read on for more!
The dates of this retreat are July 15-18, 2021. Pricing starts at $1,550 and includes accommodation, diving, yoga, two meals a day, bubbly toasts, and fun Wander Women surprises along the way.
• Three nights accommodation in a beachside boutique hotel
• Four guided boat dives on a private dive boat
• PADI Coral Reef Conservation Specialty certification
• Three breakfasts, two lunches, and one dinner
• Daily yoga sessions
• Private museum tour and admission
• Sunset SUP yoga + clean up paddle
• Professional photos
• A lush welcome bag
• Donation to the Coral Restoration Foundation
What’s Not Included
Subject to change, and expect surprises, but here’s the general idea.
Day 1: Arrive in the early afternoon for a meet and greet before heading to the Coral Restoration Foundation for the first classroom portion of the Coral Reef Conservation Specialty certification. After hitting the books, we’ll enjoy a sunset yin yoga class on the sand followed by a welcome dinner. Later, we’ll get to know each other over a workshop on making your own eco-friendly leave-in conditioner.
Day 2: We’ll kick off the day with a morning yoga class and zero-waste smoothie bowls on the beach. Then, time to put our skills from day one to the test at a coral nursery! After two dives and break for lunch, we’ll have our second classroom session before an after-hours private tour of the History of Diving Museum, and dinner at a popular local bayside spot.
Day 3:We’ll enjoy another stretchy start to the day with a yoga session on the sand before heading back underwater for a two reef monitoring-focused dives with the Coral Restoration Foundation. After some afternoon downtime, we’ll reconvene for a sunset SUP yoga session, followed by a paddle board clean up of the mangroves. The day will close out with a fun group dinner and a toast to sustainability — and our new skills.
Day 4: We’re making the most of our final day on the Keys! After a morning yoga class and breakfast, we’ll close out the trip with a visit to the Turtle Hospital, which rehabilitates marine animals around Florida. Flights should be scheduled for the afternoon to abide by the 24-hour no dive fly rule.
Where We’ll Stay
We’ll be staying at the cheerful Drift Hotel in Key Largo, perfectly located for our eco-adventure. The spacious rooms are outfitted in Wanderland-approved decor, and the sunset views are unbeatable.
Shared rooms have either one king-sized bed or two double beds. 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. If you prefer to have your own bed, book a private room with a single queen sized bed.
What We’ll Eat
Every morning we’ll have delicious smoothie bowls delivered waste-free from local favorite Gratitude Cafe. Lunch and dinner will be at various local restaurants, or catered beachside at our hotel. For meals that are not included, we’ll typically dine as a group, though of course you are welcome to go elsewhere as you please. Vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and other diets can easily be accommodated, and we’d be happy to provide you with menus ahead of time if you have any concerns.
Come to Key Largo!
Have some questions about Key Largo, or just want to get a feel for if this trip is right for you? Schedule a 15 minute Skype chat with me! Otherwise, don’t hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information, including an extensive FAQ, information on getting to and from this retreat, payment plans and beyond, plus more about me if you’re new around here, check out the Wander Women Key Largo retreat sales page.
Believe it or not, we’re already starting to plan out our 2021 trips! So if you’re excited about more short and close-to-home adventures, super pumped about sustainable travel, or excited to see more dive trips — we want to hear about it.
Alright eco-loving ladies! Who’s coming to Florida with me?