6 of the best yoga retreats on the planet (with great surf)

Over the last decade, it seems there are more and more vacation options featuring yoga and surfing. The two passions are perfectly matched with each exercise strengthening the other.

So it isn’t surprising that extended yoga retreats have sprung up at many locations known for having great surf.

From France to Morocco, you can’t go wrong vacationing in these locales.

Les Passeroses: Angoulême, France

Guests relax around the pool at Les Passeroles. Photo: Les Passeroles
Guests relax around the pool at Les Passeroles. Photo: Courtesy of Les Passeroles

In its 10th year of operation, Les Passeroses near Angoulême is a stone-built farmhouse set in the glorious rolling countryside of southwest France. A typical retreat consists of two yoga sessions a day plus a two-hour meditation session.

Spare time can be spent hunting waves around the great beaches near La Rochelle and Royan, lounging round the pool by or taking long walks in the rural hills. All the yoga and surfing is fueled by delicious home cooked vegetarian meals and, of course, washed down with Bordeaux wines.

The Yoga Farm: Pavones, Costa Rica

The Yoga Farm's beachside studio. Photo by The Yoga Farm
The Yoga Farm’s beachside studio. Photo: Courtesy of The Yoga Farm

The Yoga Farm, near Pavones in Costa Rica, divides it’s focus neatly between yoga and surfing. Yoga classes are available daily on a deck overlooking the beach with surfing lessons following soon after.

Located at the southern tip of the Gulfo Dulce, looking out both across the gulf to the Osa Peninsula and south to open Pacific waters, the waves are consistent and great for surfers of all levels. And instead of crowds of surfers you’ll be sharing the waves with sea turtles, dolphins and whales.

The farm is also off-the-grid: Solar panels provide electricity, rain fills water tanks and the garden provides two vegetarian meals a day. It’s rustic, sure, but for a clean living experience, it’s hard to beat.

The Tides: Zihuatanejo, Mexico

Looks relaxing, no? Photo by The Tides
Looks relaxing, no? Photo: Courtesy of The Tides

One of the more high-end options, The Tides, is opulently tucked away in a small Mexican fishing village on a beautiful stretch of beach.

If that’s not enough, world-class waves, such as Playa Las Gatas, are a short drive away. And you can get your yoga on oceanfront palapas with mountain views and the Pacific lapping just meters away.

Between yoga and surfing, you’ll find your days fairly full, but if you need a break from the downward dogs, take your pick from tennis, snorkeling, SCUBA diving, wind surfing, horseback riding, waterskiing, sailing, fishing and kayaking. It’s not cheap, but when it’s this good, it shouldn’t be.

The Island Experience: Ilha Grande, Brazil

The white sandy beaches of Ilde Grande. Photo by Shutterstock
The white sandy beaches of Ilda Grande. Photo: Courtesy of Shutterstock

Located 100 miles south of Rio de Janeiro, the Ilha Grande is known as the “Caribbean of Brazil” with its 350 different islands boasting 106 beaches, 56 waterfalls, caves and rivers. The Island Experience takes advantage of its stunning location. Yoga is at the core of its seven-day program. There are classes every morning and one in the evenings, which focuses on relaxation and stretching. Massages and nutrition advice are also mixed in. For surfers, the water is warm, the beaches are white and the waves are perfect for all levels.

White Lotus Foundation Retreat Center: Santa Barbara, California

The campsite accommodation at White Lotus. Photo by White Lotus
The campsite accommodation at White Lotus. Photo: Courtesy of White Lotus

One of the best known yoga retreats in the world, the White Lotus, started at the height of the “flower power” movement in 1967 and has been forging on ever since.

Founder Ganga White is one of the U.S.’s most well-known yogis. The yurt and campsite accommodation sits in a steep canyon on 40 acres in the San Marcos Pass.

Views extend all the way to the Channel Islands and take in Santa Barbara’s famous point breaks including Rincon, known as The Queen of the Coast. Yoga retreats are held year round and range from long weekends to extended stays.

Ganga promises to, “let clarity, meditation and understanding flow spontaneously.” If you can do that and get great waves, it’s a no brainer.

Surf Maroc Yoga Retreat: Tamraght, Morocco

The green-watered righthand points of Morocco are justifiably famous. Photo: Surf Maroc
The green-watered righthand points of Morocco are justifiably famous. Photo: Courtesy of Surf Maroc

With Morocco offering a tantalizing package of warm weather, great sandy point breaks and a surfing and hippy heritage going back to the ’60s, it’s no surprise there is a great yoga and surf resort there.

Surf Maroc Yoga Retreat is one of the benchmarks in the area. Each room at the beach front villa comes with a view of either mountains or the ocean, and there’s a spacious yoga studio right on the water’s edge.

The learner-friendly wave of Banana Point is a stone’s throw away, while the famous points of Anchors and Killers is only a five-minute drive. Owners Ollie and Ben aim to nourish the body and mind through a daily diet of vitalizing yoga, serene surf and wholesome food.

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