Wander Women Israel:
A Yoga + Adventure Retreat
Tel Aviv + Beyond
May 16-23, 2024
Join us on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to hike, bike, surf, and party your way around the land of milk + honey on a true retreat for the soul. Spend eight days and seven nights in tiny yet diverse Israel, taking in the highlights of Tel Aviv, The Negev Desert, The Dead Sea, and Jerusalem.
There’s something particularly captivating about this tiny country along the Middle East’s Mediterranean coast. Israel is home to incredible historical and religious sights, yes, but at Wander Women we show you modern Israel in an itinerary you won’t find anywhere else, highlighting vibrant cities, stunning landscapes, and fascinating people. Israel is teeming with creative energy and innovation, filled with delicious healthy food, blessed with easy access to nature and bursting with adrenaline-fueled adventure activities. And while we will learn first-hand about the realities and contradictions of this complicated country, we’ll also celebrate it as a relatively progressive oasis for women’s and queer rights in the Middle East.
Throughout the week, we’ll rest our heads in swoon-worthy accommodation, ranging from chic urban hotels in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to authentic Bedouin glamping tents deep in the desert and surrounding the Dead Sea. Israeli hospitality will be in full effect, as we break bread with locals at a traditional Shabbat dinner, share many a shot of arak with Alex’s local friends, and learn about the country’s culture firsthand.
Israel can be eye-opening, expensive and tricky to truly experience, especially without conversational Hebrew knowledge. There’s a term for native-born Israelis: sabres, a desert cactus fruit both thorny on the outside, and sweet on the inside. Enter Wander Women Retreats! We have dozens of close Israeli friends on speed dial and by the end of this trip, so will you. We’re working with Israeli guides, instructors, and other locals throughout the tour for a true insider experience, with a built-in group of new travel besties.
A local photographer, the fabulous Shai Hansav, will be behind the lens every step of the way, ensuring everyone leaves with profile-picture worthy shots of themselves. In addition to full access to the hundreds of photos our pro will take throughout the trip, she’ll send a daily selection of highlights for you to post on-the-go.
As with all Wander Women Retreats, we seek to be mindful travelers in our destination by partnering with small, locally owned businesses and traveling as low-waste as possible.
This eight day retreat will be held from May 16-23, 2024, and costs $4,500 for shared accommodation and $5,200 for private accommodation. Guests who book all three retreat portions (Wander Women Israel, Wander Women Jordan, and the Aqaba Extension) will receive a complimentary add-on activity of their choice! Update — This retreat has met the minimum booking number and is now a guaranteed departure!
• Seven nights of unique accommodation
• Two meals a day
• All local transport
• Daily yoga
• All outlined activities — see below!
• A custom welcome bag
• Tips for tour guides and drivers (we generously tip on your behalf, removing the stress and anxiety of when and how much to tip in a new culture!)
• Professional photos of the trip
• Donation to The Aguda, The Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel
• Airport transfers (optional upgrade available)
• Optional upgrade activities — see below!
• Additional meals, alcohol or activities not specified in the itinerary
• Mandatory travel insurance
Subject to change, but you’re going to have a magical time — here’s the general idea!
Day 1: Welcome to the pulsing urban energy of Tel Aviv! After an energizing beach yoga class to kick off the trip, we’ll toast to an exciting week ahead with sundowner drinks from our rooftop bar, a welcome cooking class with dinner, and a quick Hebrew lesson (most importantly: l’chaim!) Uniquely, Friday and Saturday are the weekend in Israel, which means the city’s iconic nightlife will be kicking off tonight!
Day 2: After breakfast together (not too early — Tel Aviv likes to party late!) we’ll greet the morning with a hangover-friendly restorative rooftop yin class overlooking the ocean. Next, Alex will take you on a tour of her favorite spots in the iconic Carmel Market and Nachalat Binyamin street fair, both of which are essentially lively street parties on a Friday! At sunset we will reconvene for a special surprise Shabbat experience — a beautiful Jewish tradition of a weekly dinner with loved ones — before we dance the night away.
Day 3: Time to hit Tel Aviv’s famed stretch of Mediterranean sand — the summer weekend beach scene in Tel Aviv is something not to miss! We’ll kick off the day by hanging ten — we’re taking surf lessons at an all-female surf school in Port of Jaffa, with incredible skyline views of the Old City as a backdrop. Enjoy a seaside lunch and give a nod to the day of rest with a relaxing upside down slow flow at Alex’s favorite local go-to aerial studio. We’ll break bread over dinner at one of the city’s best traditional Arabic restaurants, where we’ll dine on healthy salads and dips and warm fresh-out-of-the-oven pita. At night, cozy up for a screening at Jaffa Cinema, a hip independent theater with a wine bar inside.
Day 4: We’re off to the Negev Desert! Wave goodbye to Tel Aviv as we head towards Mitzpe Ramon, Alex and Shai’s favorite hippie desert town, where you can get a feel for life outside of Israel’s superstar cities. We’ll explore the town’s unique Spice Quarter with a local craft workshop and cafe lunch before heading to our accommodation for the night: bedouin tents! Relax by the pool, explore the town or opt to upgrade to either a camel ride for a classic levantine thrill or rappelling down the crater walls for a true adrenaline jolt. Later, wind down with a yin yoga class back at camp.
Day 5: We’ll start the morning with a yoga class and a beautiful Bedouin breakfast spread. We’re headed for the Judean Hills! Did you know Israel has around four hundred wineries within its tiny borders? Discover some of Alex’s favorites on this unique day of winery hopping! We’ll enjoy lunch, tours and tastings as we frolic vineyards and learn about wine production in the Middle East. We’ll end the day pulling into Jerusalem, one of the oldest and holiest cities in the world, where the party can continue, if you’re up for it, at a wine bar inside the walls of the Old City! Bathrobes and the local Uber Eats-style app are available, for those who need a recharge 😉
Day 6: Today, we’ll dive headfirst into learning about the culture and conflicts that surround Jerusalem in a private Two Perspective Tour led by two guides — one Israeli and one Palestinian, giving you a unique insight to better understand the complex political conflict and realities of daily life in one of the world’s most impactful cities. After that truly unique mind-opening experience, enjoy late lunch in the lively Machne Yehuda market. The afternoon is yours to rest and recharge at our rooftop pool. Later, join us for a yoga class at a beautiful local studio.
Day 7: Rise and shine for what we call our “Dead Sea taster flight” day! We’ll spend the day getting salty, starting at the South Dead Sea, the area known for its crystal-like salt formations. After, we’re headed towards the oasis of Ein Gedi for lunch at a hippie hideaway before we take a light hike to the Ein Gedi Oasis waterfall. Finally, we’ll arrive at the mineral-rich beaches of the North Dead Sea, where you can slather yourself in Dead Sea mud. We’ve reached our home for the night, our second glamping ground of the trip — this one, in chic lotus tents overlooking the sea to Jordan.
Day 8: Want to end your trip on a high? (Or, technically a low — the Dead Sea is the furthest-below-sea-level place on Earth!) Join the optional sunrise Dead Sea kayaking tour for a totally unique experience. Return to camp for breakfast, closing circle, and fond farewells — unless you’re stickin around for more!
Joining Wander Women Jordan? Yalla, let’s go!
Why sightsee when you can sight do! We’re going to enjoy Israel the way the locals do — in motion. Here’s what’s included, but of course, expect some surprises.
Cooking class in Tel Aviv
Market tour in Tel Aviv
Craft workshop in Mitzpe Ramon
Optional camel riding or crater rappelling in Mitzpe Ramon
Surfing lessons at Jaffa Beach
Insider nightlife experiences in Tel Aviv
Tour and tasting at local wineries outside Jerusalem
Hike in Ein Gedi
Two perspective private tour of Jerusalem
Optional kayaking in the Dead Sea
We get that you don’t want to end your trip needing a vacation from a vacation — while we’re offering a lot of fun and activity, always feel free to opt out to rest and recharge.
For those craving more, there are optional add-ons of particularly adventurous activities that might not appeal to all, to make the most of every moment!
The Food + Accommodation
We’ll spend three nights at chic beachside accommodation in Tel Aviv before setting off on a whirlwind tour of Southern Israel including a night glamping in the hippie town of Mitzpe Ramon, two nights at a boutique hotel in Jerusalem, and finally one more night of glamping in chic lotus tents by the Dead Sea.
There are options for both shared and private accommodation. In some locations, one large bed may be used for shared accommodation, though in most there will be an option for two single 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. Rooms vary slightly by layout and view, and will be assigned based on booking order.
Every day, two meals will be included; typically breakfast and either lunch or dinner. Israeli cuisine is beloved worldwide, not only for being delicious but healthy and balanced. We’ll eat well and feel great — and yes, there will be plenty of hummus along the way. For the non-included meal of the day, we’ll bring you to a favorite spot where you can order at your own expense or branch off and do your own thing. All diets can be accommodated. Israel is, in fact, one of the vegan capitals of the world!
Extend Your Adventure
Can’t imagine going all the way to Israel and not heading next door? Join us for Wander Women Jordan! We will be staying in a colorful + sleek city hotel in Amman, getting cozy in a 250 year old village in Petra, spending the night at a high-end spa on Jordan’s side of the Dead Sea, and sleeping under the stars in a martian tent in the desert of Wadi Rum.
Exhilarated but exhausted from all that travel? End with our Aqaba Extension along the shores of Jordan’s Red Sea, where you can dive or snorkel, chill out at a beach club, and toast goodbye to this incredible corner of the Middle East with Wander Women Retreats. Seamless connections between all portions are included!
Don’t Just Take It From Us…
We are bursting with pride that the 2022 release of Wander Women Retreats Israel was one of our most highly reviewed retreats of all time. Our guests (slash besties!) shared these testimonials we can’t wait live up to again!
“Yes – If you are hesitating to go on a Wander Women retreat, I will tell you now to JUST DO IT!! We went to the coolest places all around Israel and truly got to experience all of the beauty, cuisine, and adventures this country has to offer. It was like a summer camp, getting to meet amazing woman from all across the states/world that immediately become your best friends. It is worth every penny! Thank you so much Alex. I love you!!!” — Wander Women Israel 2022 guest
“I would come on another wander women retreats in a heartbeat, no matter the destination or what’s planned on the agenda. I think Alex plays a huge part in also bringing the group together and Shai was also amazing in this.” — Wander Women Israel 2022 guest
“This trip lived up to all of my high expectations, the reason I’m a repeat customer!! Alex has such a gift for curating the best experiences and groups. I left this trip with incredible memories and a new group of travel buddies!!” — Wander Women Israel 2022 guest
“Wander women Israel was not only a multi-faceted adventure exploring all Israel has on offer as a traveller, from the Med to the Dead Sea, the food, the desert, the culture & history and the nightlife, but it also really gave a taste of what life is like as a local living in the wild, cosmopolitan city of Tel Aviv. I can’t wait to go back for more!” — Wander Women Israel 2022 guest
“Experiencing Israel with Alex is such a special experience! You can tell that it is a place that has captured her heart and her joy there is infectious! Israel has everything I love when traveling; history, adventure, great food, friendly people, and vibrant city life and with Wander Women Retreats you get to interact with a local community that helped make everything magical! I had so many “pinch me” moments on this trip, it was just incredible.” — Wander Women Israel 2022 guest
Travel With Us
On this trip you’ll be traveling with Wander Women Retreats founder Alexandra Baackes as your host, hummus hype girl and yoga instructor.
Alex fell in love with Israel’s hospitality, culture, and adventures immediately upon her first trip in 2018 and loved it so much she’s been back countless times since! She is a PADI Divemaster and Ambassadiver, as well as a RYT 200 Registered Yoga Teacher, a Buti Bands and Sculpt instructor, an aerial vinyasa and yin instructor, and a regular yoga practitioner for over a decade. She can’t wait to travel with you!
Shai Hansav is one of Israel’s most sought-after studio and lifestyle photographers who comes out of event retirement exclusively for Wander Women Retreats! She is an avid international traveler who loves meeting and hosting travelers from abroad. She also acts as one of our incredible local hosts, sharing her home and culture along the way while she captures you behind the lens. New profile picture guaranteed!
Health + Safety
Israel has no COVID entry requirements. Yalla!
Getting There and Away
Most international flights to Israel arrive and depart from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV).
Upon arrival, we recommend taking a private taxi, Uber, or Gett (Israel’s own, much more affordable Uber!) from the airport to our retreat starting point in Tel Aviv. Insider tip! — this is by far the cheapest and most convenient way to get around Israel and the options are safe and simple! However, if you’d prefer a private transfer we can absolutely arrange that too, we will send additional information on upgrades once you’ve booked.
The trip will end at the Dead Sea, convenient to the border for those continuing on with us to Wander Women Jordan! For those concluding their travels with us at the end of this retreat, there will be one transfer available back to Jerusalem, or Ben Gurion Airport. Those departing to other locations or at times not convenient to the transfer will have the option to book a private one.
Please feel free to reach out to us for help with flight recommendations — we’re always available at firstname.lastname@example.org. We offer an hour of complimentary consultation on booking your trip, after which we will offer our hourly consulting at a special retreat guest rate.
This retreat has extremely limited space remaining — book soon to avoid disappointment! Your deposit will be the first of five total payments for this trip, spread into convenient monthly installments.
This trip requires a minimum number of guests to run. We will notify you when it is a guaranteed departure! Until then, please do not book non-refundable airfare.
Can’t make this one? Don’t sweat — sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know when enrollment opens on future retreats. Don’t hesitate to email us at email@example.com with any and all questions or concerns over if this is the right retreat for you. We’d love to chat!
So does non-refundable really mean non-refundable?
Yes, all payments are non-refundable. If the trip must be postponed or cancelled due to events beyond our control, you will be offered the choice between a full refund and applying your payments to a future trip.
The reason payments are non-refundable is that we start incurring costs from the moment someone presses “book” — from credit card fees to high hourly wages for our team who correspond with guests, manage trip inventory and our e-commerce platform, analyze forms to create room assignments, coordinate with our local vendors, and beyond.
There’s nothing we want more than for our guests to take and enjoy the travel they have worked hard and paid for. Thank you so much for your understanding and respect of our need to enforce this policy strictly. We want to be here to travel with you for years to come!
Will I need travel insurance?
Yes, it is mandatory for all Wander Women Retreat guests to have personal travel insurance for the duration of the trip. Our affiliate, World Nomads offers coverage at affordable rates. We recommend you book your travel insurance as soon as you make your trip deposit to protect your investment.
Do I need to be good at yoga?
Absolutely not. (And frankly, we don’t believe in the idea of being “good” at yoga!) We have a range of yogis from brand-new beginners to talented instructors join us on our trips. You’ll get the opportunity to sample a wide range of yoga styles, and you can opt in or out of as many classes as you wish.
Will I have time to do my own thing?
This is your retreat and we want you to make it exactly what you want! There’s a lot to see and experience, so we’ve tried to design an itinerary that balances the best of activity and downtime. But any time you want to bow out to have some “me-time” or do your own thing, we’re going to cheer you on.
How much money will I need to bring?
Israel is one of the most expensive countries in the world! For meals at the local spots we’ll bring you to, you can expect to spend an absolute minimum 50NIS ($15USD) for lunch or 100NIS ($30USD) for dinner, depending on where you go and what you order.
I want to extend my trip to explore more of Israel. Any suggestions?
Check out our destination page for our posts about the Dead Sea, Eilat, Jerusalem, Negev Desert, Tel Aviv — and feel free to email us for more info and ideas! Alex has traveled Israel extensively. We offer an hour of complimentary consultation on expanding your trip, after which we will offer our hourly consulting at a special retreat guest rate.
What about visas?
Visas are not required for travel to Israel from the US, Canada, The UK, and many other countries. Traveling to Israel can be slightly intimidating given the more complicated restrictions, but we’re here to help!
As you might have heard, security at the airport can be comprehensive. We will provide a wealth of information on the Israeli airport + visa experience and welcome any follow up questions and concerns! Israel no longer stamps passports, but if you have any worries about future travel plans, we have extensive background and knowledge in this area — please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or check with your embassy for current visa information.
Is there an age requirement?
You must be 18 years old or older.
Is there a waiting list?
There will be a waiting list on a first-come, first-served basis in case spaces open up. If the retreat is full and you’re still interested, email us at email@example.com to be added to the waiting list.
I still have questions, or cute photos of my dog. Can I contact you?
Um, yes please! Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org.