Casa Isabel – A Residency
January 15 – 20, 2018 – for those who wish to make serious headway on a writing project. Imagine waking in a peaceful palapa, open to the ocean air with waves crashing on the beach below. In this magical place, you will be joined by 9 fellow writers, plus your staff—Patricia Lee Lewis, Charles MacInerney and Jane Mortifee–and you might greet some of them as you wind your way through flower gardens to roof-top morning yoga. After breakfast, Patricia will ring the meditation bell, offer a prompt, and your writing day will begin. You’ll have encouragement and support, with time for sharing (without commenting) and to discuss craft. There will be optional adventures some afternoons, gatherings for drinks and dinners in town. But mostly this residential retreat is for writing/revising on your own – free from the distractions of work and home – consecrated time dedicated to your writing project.
At Casa Isabel, the cost is $1200 as the base price plus a supplement for the room upgrade you choose, single or double accommodations, in a variety of gorgeous fancy-camping palapas with good beds. Many of the palapas include kitchens, patios and views! Breakfast and lunch , plus the first and last dinners will be served on site. You will have the option of walking into the village for other dinners on your own, cooking in your palapa, or having a catered meal delivered.
Choose your room here: Casa Isabel Options
We will need a $500 non-refundable deposit to hold your spot. Your balance will be due by December 15th.
- 6 days, 5 nights, single or shared accommodations in thatched palapas;
- welcome dinner;
- vegetarian breakfast and lunch each day;
- farewell dinner;
- writing guidance;
- yoga sessions;
- transportation by boat from Puerto Vallarta for those able to travel with the group.
Los Naranjos Creative Writing & Yoga Retreat
January 20-27, 2018 – Come for creative Writing, Hatha Yoga, meditation, vegetarian cooking, and the renewing pleasures of Yelapa’s gentle bay, and lush, bird-filled mountains.
At Los Naranjos the cost is $2100/person, alums pay $1960 and, if combined with pre-retreat Writers’ Residency at Casa Isabel, you pay only $1750. Singles are available, first come/first served for a supplement of $250 for the week. We will need a $500 non-refundable deposit to hold your spot. Your balance will be due by December 20th.
All accommodations are unique and comfortable, with thatched roofs that harmonize with the surroundings and open walls to let in the jungle breezes. Most beds are suspended from the ceiling and have mosquito nettings. Fresh safe drinking water is provided at bedside. Bath facilities have rosewood countertops, ornate tile sinks and hot water. Rustic elegance!
- 8 days, 7 nights, single or shared accommodations in thatched palapas;
- all meals
- daily writing and yoga sessions;
- all instruction and materials;
- workshops on the craft of writing;
- manuscript critiques;
- transportation by boat from Puerto Vallarta for those able to travel with the group.
About Our Retreats
Our retreats include people with a wide range of yoga and writing experience, from beginners to professionals. We are all enriched by the diversity. While we will offer a daily schedule of suggested activities, writing and yoga sessions are optional: your time is your own. The yoga is practiced in the early morning in a safe, supportive environment with a deep respect for individual strengths as well as for areas of challenge or difficulty.
At both retreats, you will have opportunity to write in an encouraging, confidential and inspiring setting. At the Casa Isabel Residency, the day will begin with a guided writing period after breakfast and continue as you wish during afternoons and evenings.
At Los Naranjos, we write during the morning and on several evenings. The writing is done in structured groups in response to exercises we suggest. You will be invited to share what you have just written, and to respond to the writing of others with what is fresh, what you like, what you remember.
All activities are optional, and the entire retreat should be considered free time. Take as much time each day as you’d like to set off on your own or with others. Explore the peaceful little village of Yelapa. Meet the indigenous residents and artists who have chosen to live in this village. Venture on trails up into the valley seeking the high waterfalls. Swim in the ocean. Go snorkeling, kayaking, or bird-watching. Or simply nap in one of the many hammocks with a favorite book.
For a special retreat price, you can get a massage by our own Blake Walton.
The retreat is designed and facilitated by Patricia Lee Lewis and Charles MacInerney, with invaluable help from Jane Mortifee. Patricia will lead the writing and Charles will lead the yoga. Both will be assisted by Jane.
Combining Writing and Yoga
The practice of yoga, the joining of body and mind, can open pathways into the feelings, memories, stories and images embedded in the tissues. Writing workshops during the retreat are designed to help you shift your awareness and write from those deeper levels of consciousness.
Through Hatha Yoga, we will get in touch with our kinesthetic sense of self. We will use special meditation techniques to slow the mind and create a sense of the sacred. No writing or yoga experience is required – only a sense of adventure. Beginning and experienced writers will find a supportive, encouraging context in which to write from their deepest selves. We will write in response to exercises offered by Patricia Lee Lewis, MFA. In a small group, writers will be invited to read their work aloud, and the group will offer affirmations of what is strong and what stays in memory.
We have been coming to Yelapa, Mexico, a very special place, since 1998. Yelapa is a small fishing village on a bay of Mexico’s west coast and has a population of only 1500. There are no roads going into the village. The only way in or out is by a 45-minute boat ride from Puerto Vallarta (your air destination) or by mule back over the mountains. The village installed electricity in 2001. The residents speak Spanish and their primary industries are fishing in the blue waters and assisting adventurous travelers like us. We recommend that you come a day early and stay in Puerto Vallarta one night before catching the water taxi the next afternoon.
We will stay near the wide, white beach (the playa) that is at the heart of the village. Behind us rise lush, jungle-covered mountains; nearby are thatched outdoor cafes and shops; and across the bay, near private palapas (thatched cottages), food shops and busy pack mules, small, open boats offload visitors and all provisions for the tiny village.
Villagers live in the mountains and along a winding river that enters the bay near Los Naranjos. Transportation is by horse or mule, and you will have opportunity to see more remote parts of the enchanting village and its surroundings by horseback or on foot. You can choose to snorkel off a boulder-strewn beach, paraglide from a mountaintop, kayak along the shore, or relax in a hammock. And don’t forget bird watching — it’s the tropics!
Casa Isabel is on the point, with easy access to Isabel’s beach. It has been called “an artistic wonder,” with each space unique and customized for open-air, back to nature comfort. Many of the palapas are equipped with outdoor kitchens and showers. Beautiful views of Yelapa Bay are everywhere.
Meals at Casa Isabel: most of our meals are included in registration fee and will be catered on site except for 3 evening dinners, for which participants are encouraged to explore any of the wonderful restaurants in the village, the beach, or upriver. Of course, if anyone chooses to stay on site for one of these evenings, you will have a full kitchen to prepare a meal for yourself if you prefer.
Los Naranjos Retreat Center is a rustic, newly-refurbished, peaceful haven located along the Tuito River that runs through the jungle into Yelapa Bay. We will be housed in several thatched palapas. We will practice yoga on wide terraces, and write in circles indoors or among the flowering trees, according to our desires. There are hot showers and toilet facilities scattered on-site.
Meals at Los Naranjos: all meals are included in the registration fees and will be catered by retreat center staff, with much of the food grown at the retreat center in their organic gardens. You are always free to explore any of the local restaurants on your own, but would have to pay for any meals taken off site.
In both spots, we will have maid service daily, clean linens (except for beach towels) and drinking water specially filtered for us from pristine sources located on the property. [Note: we suggest for the boat trip to Yelapa, that you carry your own drinking water, which can be purchased in PV stores].
Bring $200-$500 US to spend on dinners in the village, and extras such as Huichol art, rosewood carvings, textiles, jewelry at thatched shops on the beach. Credit cards are not common.
If your travel timing works out to join the group on the day your retreat begins, you will be met in Puerto Vallarta. At 4 p.m. we all board a water taxi for the 45-minute boat ride down the beautiful Pacific coastline to the bay of Yelapa. If you choose to arrive earlier or later, we will instruct you in how to get to Yelapa on your own. The cost is approximately $25-$30. Your first evening will be spent enjoying a wonderful dinner and the tropics by candlelight. Much lighting is by candle. This peaceful atmosphere is further enhanced by the absence of cars.
About the Staff
Patricia Lee Lewis, a native Texan, lives and works at Patchwork Farm Retreat in Western Massachusetts, where she shares the world with trees and stones, chickadees, writers and bears. A prize-winning poet, she is currently writing a novel set in West Texas in the 1930’s. For over 20 years, she has led weekend writing retreats and weekly workshops at Patchwork Farm and throughout the United States, and yoga and writing retreats at sacred sites around the world – in Guatemala, Mexico, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Spain, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Zimbabwe and New Zealand.
Patricia holds an MFA degree in Creative Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and completed her undergraduate degree at Smith College, Phi Beta Kappa, in 1970. She is a prize-winning poet, whose poetry books include A Kind of Yellow and High Lonesome. Patricia is a founder and past president of Straw Dog Writers Guild and a member of the Texas Writers League, the Berkshire Writers Room, and the American Poetry Society. You can contact Patricia at email@example.com
Charles F. MacInerney, E-RYT-500, C-IAYT-1000, has been a full-time teacher of yoga, meditation and mind/body skills since 1989. He holds the highest level of accreditation from both the Yoga Alliance and the International Association of Yoga Therapists. He teaches ongoing yoga classes in Austin, Texas, offers yoga workshops at studios around the country, and leads Yoga & Meditation Retreats as well as Yoga & Writing Retreats throughout the US, Mexico, Costa Rica and Guatemala. He is founder of Expanding Paradigms through which he regularly presents at National and International Conferences, and offers training for businesses, hospitals, education and government. He has written articles for numerous magazines including the Yoga Journal. Charles has created and run two Cardiac Yoga programs, for Seton Hospital and for the Austin Heart Hospital, and been keynote speaker for two Cardiac conferences sponsored by Seton Hospital, along with numerous other conferences around the country, most recently, the International Association of Yoga Therapy conference in 2014.
Jane has the RYT500 certification and has been practicing and studying yoga and various forms of meditation for some forty years. Her approach to yoga is gentle and accommodating to all levels of practitioners. She has been delighted to lead the yoga for Patricia’s Creative Writing retreats in Guatemala, Puerto Rico, and New Zealand. Jane is also certified in the AWA method of leading creative writing retreats. She has been active in the music industry, theatre, film and television for over forty years and was inducted into the B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2002. She has recorded 3 CDs and is in the midst of trying to get her first novel published. Find out more at www.janemortifee.com
What Writers Have Said About Our Retreats
“Can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this year’s retreat. Was very apprehensive about going back — how could it ever live up to that first magical experience? But miraculously it was an altogether deeper, more substantial adventure. It was earthed this time. I felt connected and recharged at such a profound level. My earlier memories have been supplanted! The impossible has happened! And that’s the beginning, middle and end of it.” Therese C., Ireland
“If you need a life transformation, this might very well do it for you. If you are seeking reconnection to your innermost feelings and creative ideals, go for it. If all you want is some good times in a garden of Eden with wonderful, supportive and generous people, then this is where you want to be.” Valentine L., Memphis, TN
“The Yelapa Writing and Yoga retreat was unique in my experience. The quality of the writing and instruction, plus the generosity and presence of the teachers, combined with a rustic, wild, and evocative jungle setting made this a week of pure pleasure. The fascinating and diverse group of participants added to the fun!” – Marcy J., Bainbridge Island, WA
“As a novice writer, taking my first baby steps, I felt very supported in a beautiful, safe environment. In such a vulnerable process it was very freeing to have the emphasis on what works in the writing as opposed to what doesn’t work (that I can work on later!) and to have the freedom to just explore, assisted by the exercises and prompts that helped to unlock the creative flow…it was an eye opener! I now have some wonderful tools to use when I am stopped by my own insecurities. It was truly a life transforming week.” – Jane M., Vancouver, Canada
“The experiences in Yelapa were remarkable, everything about our week in the jungle. The writing, the good people, the yoga could not have been better.” – Susan S., River Forest, IL