“I attended the Casa Wellness retreat at Aguacate September 9-12, 2022. Apparently I was just the second person! The first attended last month. Just before I arrived I was given a suggested schedule. If you prefer to receive the schedule further ahead of time send a message to Erin and ask if Natalia could send it - I bet she will! The schedule is flexible, and you can choose to attend the classes or not, leave the campus at any time or stay the entire time. I arrived by plane and Daney (Dah-nay) the owner, picked me up from the Miami airport.
In my head, I imagined a sprawling location with lots of spaces I would feel comfortable sitting outside. It was smaller than I imagined! But it still had several spaces I could feel comfortable without too many people around. I’m not really a people person, and wanted to be by myself when I wasn’t attending activities so I spent a lot of my time in the apartment, Casa Wellness. Other locations where you can be by yourself are the seating areas in front or behind the apartment and the Zen Garden.
The campus has a juice bar and a kitchen - you order everything from the juice bar and pick up the hot foods from the kitchen. They call out your name when items are ready. As the second retreat guest, I confused several employees who took my order at the juice bar. I’m sure they will get used to it soon since the retreats are once a month! Three meals a day, each with a drink and one wellness shot for the day are included in the retreat. If you do a detox day this day includes 6 juices you order and take to your room fridge and a wellness shot.
I had many items from the menu during my stay. I should note that I eat healthily but I’m not vegan and I loved the food, juices, and smoothies. My favorite foods were the gluten-free vegan pulled pork sandwich (made with jackfruit), the gluten-free breakfast sandwich with carrot bacon, and the eat the rainbow wrap. For drinks the happy mojito is fantastic! And I also loved Doremi and green power. Of the master shots please note the flew shot (lemon, lime, ginger) is super strong! It is spicy, burned my chest (not in a bad way!), and is not for the faint of heart.
The Zen Garden is lovely. I spent some time there for two meditations and also just to watch the koi and the trees, and listen to the flowing water and the birds. You can also hear the gentle sounds of cars driving past but it’s not bothersome. Lying with your back on the bridge looking up at the trees is a peaceful way to pass the time.
In addition to the meditations, also included in the retreat were several yoga classes, sessions with Natalia, an energy healing session, and a pottery class. I’m guessing that there will be variations to this based on which teachers are available at which times.
There’s an animal sanctuary where you can walk through and look at the animals inside their enclosures, or hanging out either between the enclosures or inside a fenced area. Several birds got upset with me during my stay (a silkie chicken, a duck, and a goose) but backing off mostly worked. I say mostly because it worked for the chicken and goose, but not the duck! On the plus side I was taught how to show dominance with a duck that has imprinted upon humans, and you also won’t have the same issue that I did as he is inside his enclosure now.
The animals include turkeys, peafowl, chickens, quail (I think that’s what they were!), pigs, cows, goats, rabbits, and a white bird I believe was a dove. I spent a couple of hours one of my retreat days in the animal area. This is likely to be different for each person, but I shoveled manure (it’s not as bad as it sounds, you get to hang out with the goats and get closer to the cows and pigs, one of the goats - he’s black and white - is super friendly and will watch you and may ask you to pet him), change out water bowls for the birds (make sure the chickens don’t get out, some of them will try!), and help Levi and another volunteer beautify the area.
I have attended a number of yoga classes but am still solidly a beginner. I took classes with several of their yoga teachers. The teachers are comfortable, particularly Carla and Mica, and I wasn’t overwhelmed at any point nor felt the need to do something my body couldn’t. Most of my yoga classes took place in the Shala, an air conditioned room, and one was outdoors in a space off to the side of the courtyard between the juice bar and kitchen. I felt that class should have been inside since it’s September and I personally ended up being too hot and sweaty. If you choose to take an outdoor summer yoga class here please pay attention to your body and consider taking breaks to drink water.
I also did an add-on of acroyoga. I couldn’t have asked for a better first-time acro teacher! Salim, thank you. Don’t worry if you aren’t great at yoga, Salim was still able to work with me just fine. I was pretty nervous several times because you have to have complete trust and to let go of the need to control. This is not easy! But I could tell that if I didn’t trust and allow I could potentially fall. Overall it was a combination of scary (you’re off the ground in weird positions and are not in control), fun, challenging, and also very comfortable in the feeling of connection you get with another person. Salim also seamlessly combined his other crafts into the session. After acro, he helped me to relax with bodywork and essential oils, and then played a rain stick, singing bowl, and his guitar.
Pottery was so cool! It was my first time using a wheel. The instructor moved slow, made sure everyone was able to keep up, and personally fixed any issues anyone may have had if they messed up and couldn’t get it back to being right. When you were done you could choose to air dry it at home or return to the instructor at a later time to get it fired or take another class to glaze the piece. I loved the class! And cannot wait to do pottery again. Since I had to travel I asked for instructions on how to get my piece home safe. I’m happy to say mine made it home safely with only a small crack that didn’t damage its integrity. (Packed it into a box surrounded by paper/bubble wrap and put into my carry-on. It may make it in a suitcase but that would have made me nervous.)
Most importantly! Natalia! Natalia is the retreat instructor and a beautiful human who will hold space for you whatever you are going through. She is skilled, present, attentive, and provides many tools to help you move forward to the next stage in your life. Whether you’re in a state of pain and confusion or just stuck in life muck and need to move forward she is your person. Just allow her to assist you, and write down the tools she gives you so you can continue when you get home. I also joined her online class when I got home which is helping me to practice what I learned and gain more tools.
The retreat offers many tools to work on personal healing, get away from life for a couple of days and reset, have fun going to yoga and taking classes, or even to learn more about a healthy lifestyle.”