Wander Women Red Sea: A Dive + Yoga Retreat 2019
Wander Women Red Sea:
A Dive + Yoga Retreat
September 14-21 + September 21-28, 2019
Join me for an eight day women’s dive + yoga retreat in the remote desert paradise of Dahab, Egypt. This hidden gem, beloved by in-the-know travelers, is the Red Sea’s hippest beach town. Due to popular demand, we’ve added a second set of dates for this retreat!
For this retreat I’ve partnered with PADI, the world’s largest diving organization, and H2O Divers, a female owned and operated Dahab dive center, to showcase all the most incredible diving opportunities the north Red Sea offers. We’ll take in some of North Sinai’s most famous dive sites, including The Blue Hole; complete a continuing education course of your choice in topics ranging from photography to freediving; go for a surreal UV night dive; and dive from shore, by boat, and get this — by camel!
Yup, you read that right. For one of the final nights of the retreat, we’ll travel to the remote Bedouin settlement of Ras Abu Gallum by camel, and spend the night at a local beach camp there. We’ll spend the day diving sites we’re likely to have entirely to ourselves, the night stargazing next to a fire, and the next morning practicing yoga on the beach.
Speaking of yoga, daily classes are included. We’ll explore vinyasa, yin, and partner yoga classes, as well as play with SUP and aerial yoga, too! And all along the way, we’ll explore the connection between scuba diving and yoga, both of which hold conscious breathing at their core. Don’t be surprised if your buoyancy improves and your dive times increase as a result of this retreat!
This isn’t a crazy, four-dives-a-day-every-day diving trip. And it’s not a militant, up-before-sunrise-for-meditative-breathing yoga bootcamp, either. It’s a fun exploration of a bit of both. And that’s not all – we’ve got desert canyon tours, sunset spotting, and pool time all on the itinerary too. Plus, plenty of time to wander the bohemian streets of Dahab, with its colorful cafes, ramshackle beach clubs, and cute artisan boutiques. We’ll share meals, talk daydreams and swap travel stories, and become a little retreat family. I want you to leave feeling inspired and well-adventured.
I also want us all to give back. We’ll complete a Project Aware clean up dive and a local beach clean up, plus enjoy a little documentary film festival — and, as always with Wander Women Retreats, 5% of profits are donated to a local charity in the area (you’ll even get to vote on which!)
Bonus — new profile picture practically guaranteed. You’ll end the retreat with access to a drive of professional photos, including underwater portraits by an award-winning underwater photographer.
This retreat is available to all level of divers. We will match you to other divers at your experience level and have shared yet tailored experiences for all.
Optional Open Water or Advanced Open Water upgrade: For those who aren’t yet certified, we are offering a pre-retreat extension to fit your needs. Contact us for details! If you are not certified and are unable to extend your retreat, again, contact us to discuss your situation.
Because our original retreat dates sold out so quickly, we have added a second retreat: September 14th-21st. The cost, including literally just about everything, starts at $2,450USD.
• Six nights accommodation at a luxurious pool villa + one night accommodation in a Bedouin desert camp
• Two meals a day
• Ten to twelve dives
• One PADI continuing education course of your choice
• Daily yoga, including an aerial class and a SUP class
• A canyon desert jeep tour, a camel safari, an Egyptian cooking demo and an Arabic lesson
• Professional photos, above and below the surface
• A wow-able welcome bag
• All transportation, including transfers from Sharm El Sheik Airport or Taba Border
• 5% profit donation to local charities
What’s Not Included
• Transport to and from Egypt or Sinai
• Dive equipment rentals
• Optional nitrox upgrades
• Mandatory dive and travel insurance
Oh, The Places We’ll Go
Subject to change, and expect surprises, but here’s the general idea.
Day 1: Arrivals and a sunset poolside yoga class at our villas. Get to know each other over a group dinner with a basic Arabic lesson.
Day 2: After breakfast in the villa, head into town for some morning shore dives. Surface for an oceanfront lunch and sunbathing session at a local restaurant before an afternoon of sunset SUP yoga and dinner out on the town.
Day 3: After a morning poolside vinyasa class, head out for a day exploring the dive sites of Gabr El Bint by boat. Choose between an optional night dive or fluorescent dive dive, and then dig into a pizza party back at the villas.
Day 4: Choose your own adventure — head out to the PADI Continuing Education course of your choice. End the day with a relaxing aerial yoga class and an Egyptian cooking demo.
Day 5: Start the day with another poolside yoga class before a beach cleanup and a Project Aware cleanup dive. After, we’ll reward ourselves with dives at the world famous Blue Hole and Canyon dive sites. At night, we’ll screen underwater documentaries at our own little Wanderland Film Festival.
Day 6: Pack your bags, we’re heading to the desert! After a camel ride along the coast, we’ll arrive at our home for the night, the remote bedouin settlement of Ras Abu Galum. After two sendoff dives exploring the area, you’re free to snorkel, make friends with camels, join our partner yoga class, or enjoy being lost in the middle of nowhere. At night, we’ll settle in for a traditional bedouin dinner.
Day 7: After a final yoga class on the beach in Ras Abu Galum, we’ll pack up to head back to Dahab. For a day of decompression adventures, we’ll head out the canyons with a local adventure tour company before a final farewell dinner.
Day 8: Breakfast at the villa followed by personal time + departure at your leisure. Not ready to say goodbye? Join us for our post-retreat Pyramid Plus Package to Cairo!
Where We’ll Stay and What We’ll Eat
We’ll be staying at a gorgeous seaside villa complex in north Dahab. With Arabic-inspired architecture, a luscious pool, and an onsite sauna, it will be a luxurious place to recharge between dives and desert adventures!
Shared rooms have two twin beds and private rooms have one double bed. Superior privates are larger and with a king sized bed. 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 morning we’ll have delicious healthy breakfasts and dinners at the villa and at favorite local spots. For lunch, which is not included in order to give you some freedom, we’ll typically dine as a group at local Egyptian restaurants where you can order as you please, though of course you are welcome to go elsewhere. Vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and other diets can easily be accommodated.
The Red Sea is hailed as one of the greatest dive destinations in the world. With relaxed dive conditions, abundant marine life, and a diverse array of dive sites, Dahab is the perfect place to explore it. We’ll dive Dahab’s famous shore dive sites like Lighthouse, Blue Hole and Canyon, as well as visit the sites of Gabr El Bint by boat, and Ras Abu Galum by camel. We’ll do a Project Aware cleanup dive, and give you the opportunity to sign up for an optional night dive or a UV night dive.
You’ll also get to take home a fresh new continuing education certification! For the Choose Your Own Adventure day, choose between the following courses. Each are one day PADI dive courses that include two scuba dives (with the exception of freediving, of course). Courses are first come, first serve.
Underwater Naturalist: Play Marine Biologist for a day! Learn about the Red Sea’s local ecosystem as well as the underwater ecology of the world at large. Dive into aquatic life groupings, interactions and information and discuss how to maintain responsible interactions with aquatic life.
Digital Underwater Photographer: Ace the shot! Learn about underwater photography techniques, how to interact with marine life, and editing tips. An underwater camera or a camera rental (which we can help facilitate) is required for this course. Read my review of a longer version of this course here.
DPV: Learn to fly underwater! Spend a day learning to dive with Diver Propulsion Vehicles, personal motors that allow you to scoot through the sea, gliding over reefs and around schools of fish. There is a $100USD surcharge for this course.
Basic Freediver: Try it without a tank! The “DSD” of freediving, Basic Freediver teaches basic freediving principles, practices breathhold techniques, and gets your fins wet in the introductory skills.
Enriched Air: Dive safer and stay down longer! An Enriched Air certification is good for life and will allow you to dive on nitrox around the world. Plus, it feels great. If you need a break from diving for any reason, this course can be conducted as a dry course. Read my review of a longer version of this course here.
Dive and Downward Dog With Us
Hi! My name is Alexandra Baackes, and I fell in love with Dahab from my first trip there as part of three weeks in Egypt in April of 2018. I knew almost instantaneously that this would be the sight of a future Wander Women Retreat.
I’m a PADI Divemaster and AmbassaDiver and I’ve worked in the dive industry as an underwater videographer, a writer for publications like Sport Diver and Scuba Diver magazines, and as the founder of Wander Women Retreats. I’m also a RYT 200 Registered Yoga Teacher, a Buti Bands and Sculpt instructor, and a regular yoga practitioner for over a decade.
Joining us as the local dive leaders on this retreat will be Alex Heyes, owner and head instructor at H2O Dahab, and Jenny Lord, an accomplished underwater photographer and record-breaking tech diver.
How to Get to Dahab
Transfers are included from either the Sharm El Sheikh Airport or the Cairo bus station.
If you’re feeling adventurous, there are buses between Cairo and Dahab. However, considering it’s a twelve hour journey, most travelers chose to fly into Sharm El Sheikh Airport. From there, it’s an easy one hour transfer to Dahab.
How to get to Sharm El Sheikh? There are very affordable direct flights from Cairo and Hurghada on both EgyptAir or Nile Air. You can also check for flights into Eilat, Israel, a two hour journey from Dahab, where we can fetch you from the Egyptian side of the border.
Can’t fathom flying to Egypt and not seeing the pyramids? Me neither! Join our three day, two night Cairo post-retreat extension and visit the pyramids, watch a bellydance performance in a local bar, take a sunset Nile cruise, and browse a market straight out of Aladdin. Learn more here.
This retreat has limited space and extremely high interest is likely to sell out quickly. Book soon to avoid disappointment! A $500 non-refundable deposit is required to reserve your spot. Can’t make this one? Don’t sweat — bookings for my next Wander Women: Koh Tao dive retreat in March 2020 will open soon. Guests attending multiple retreats receive 10% off all of them. Sign up for my newsletter to be the first to know when enrollment opens on future retreats. 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’d love to chat! $2,450.00 – $2,850.00
Wander Women: Red Sea // September 14-21
$2,450.00 – $2,850.00
Why women only?
Girls just wanna have fun! Guys, I love you, and I promise that future retreats I have in mind will be open to you, too. But diving is still a male-dominated industry, and I wanted to take a week to celebrate the sisterhood of scuba. (Please don’t judge me that I say phrases like, “sisterhood of scuba.”)
Will I have time to do my own thing?
This is your retreat and I want you to make it exactly what you want! There’s a lot to see and experience in Dahab, so we’ve tried to design an itinerary that balances the best of that with some time to wander around town or relax poolside. Any time you want to bow out to have some “me-time” or do your own thing, that’s totally cool.
How much money will I need to bring?
For lunches at the local spots we’ll bring you to, you can expect to spend 50-150LE (about $6-10USD) per meal, depending on where you go and what you order.
You can pre-pay for the optional night dive for $50USD or the UV night dive for $75USD. For rental gear, a full set of the below is available for the week for $150USD, or you can rent by the piece:
• BCD: $40USD
• Regulator: $40USD
• Wetsuit: $20USD
• Mask set: $10USD
• Fins: $10USD
• Dive computer: $60USD
I want to extend my trip to explore more of Egypt. Any suggestions?
Absolutely! First of all, I highly recommend joining our Cairo add-on to explore more of Egypt’s capital city. You might also consider joining a group tour to take in the wonders of Luxor and Aswan, and perhaps sail down the Nile. Want a few more days by the sea? Consider posting up in Sharm El Sheikh, or booking a mini-liveaboard.
Can I do a payment plan and pay in installments?
Absolutely. I want to make this happen for you. Email me at email@example.com.
Is it possible to have a private room?
Yes it is, for an extra cost. Contact me for details.
Will I need travel insurance?
Yes, everyone will be required to have travel + diving insurance for the duration of the trip. World Nomads offers both at incredibly affordable rates — I recommend their scuba dive insurance and their travel insurance, which will reimburse you in the case of flight delay, medical issues, and more.
Is there an age requirement?
You must be 18 years old or older.
What about visas?
Visas are available upon arrival for Americans, Canadians, Brits, and citizens of about forty other countries. They cost $25, are valid for visits up to 30 days, and can be obtained at Cairo International Airport. For those traveling overland from Israel, visas can be obtained at the border. I and my partners in Egypt are happy to help you navigate your specific situation.
What is the refund policy?
The $500 deposit to secure your space is non-refundable. Beyond that, if you cancel at least 60 days before departure, you’ll receive 100% of your remaining retreat fee back. If you cancel between 30-60 days before departure, you’ll receive a 50% refund. Cancellation less than 30 days before departure will result in a 0% refund.
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 me at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the waiting list.
I still have questions, or cute photos of my dog. Can I contact you?
Um, yes please! My email is email@example.com.