Patagonia, Argentina

January  17 -23, 2015

Patagonia Retreat:  Yoga, Farm-to-Table Meals, Cooking & the Outdoors!

“In South America’s southern frontier, nature, long left to its own devices, grows wild, barren and beautiful.  Spaces are large, as are the silences that fill them.  For those who come here, an encounter with such emptiness can be as awesome as the sight of jagged peaks, pristine rivers and dusty backwater oases.”  ~  Lonely Planet

Join me in Patagonia, Argentina where the snow-capped mountains, lush green native forests, and crystal clear rivers will be our backdrop as we dive deep into the practice of more refined internal aspects of Hatha Yoga.

Our sanctuary for the week will be La Confluencia, an organic farm and eco-lodge in the heart of the Patagonian Andes nestled in a fertile valley carved over millennia by the Azul and Encanto Blanco Rivers.  The point at which these two rivers meet gives name to our sanctuary - The Confluence.  What an apt name for a place where we will deepen our yoga and set potent intentions for the new year.  On 700 private acres located within the 150,000 acre Rio Azul Protected Wilderness Area, it is the perfect place to retreat, relax and immerse in “spaces that are large... silences that fill them.... and encounter such emptiness...” in both our inner and outer landscapes.

We will be picked up from the San Carlos de Bariloche Airport for an hour and a half drive through the Nahuel Huapi National Park, the northern lakes district of Patagonia renowned for its snow-capped peaks bordering turquoise lakes rimmed in dense forest for miles on end.  The final 2 kilometers drive to La Confluencia is an exciting 4WD adventure across the Encanto Blanco River.  An unforgettable way to begin our journey.  

With direct access from the lodge to the mountains, forests, rivers and lakes of the Rio Azul wilderness, natural playground awaits you during your free time in the afternoon - trekking (La Confluencia is the gateway to one of Patagonia’s most stunning trekking areas), horseback riding, mountain biking, kayaking, rafting, and canyoning.

For the less adventuresome, you never have to leave the immediate grounds of La Confluencia.  Its organic farm surrounds the lodge with biodynamic vegetable gardens and fields of rye, wheat and hay.  Scottish Blackface sheep and Jersey milk cows dot the hillsides, and Pampa cattle grace and browse the higher mountains.  There is a small private beach next to a deep swimming hole on the Azul River.  From a deck with breathtaking views of the Azul River gorge 200 feet directly below, you can enjoy a wood-fired log sauna, a cold plunge pool, and two outdoor cedar hot tubs - a perfect way to unwind the day whether you’ve been relaxing or actively exploring the great outdoors.

La Confluencia’s open kitchen features our private chef Guillermina who will cook delicious meals for us and encourage a good old-fashioned kitchen hangout.  She will also offer a cooking class of Argentine specialties.  All meals are prepared with organic products from La Confluencia farm:  vegetables, fresh milk, eggs, optional meats if requested, and hearty breads from whole grains harvested and stone-ground at the farm.  A traditional Argentine Asado (an open fire barbecue) can be optionally arranged depending on the group’s dietary preference.

Remember that our winters are Argentina’s summers.  And January is the best time to visit Patagonia with mild weather, nature in full splendor, and good light until 9:30 pm.  You will not regret planning ahead to take a break from the long and cold winter in the northern hemisphere (remember our last winter?) to recharge in the richness of the Patagonian summer.

The retreat pricing includes all yoga sessions, brunch and dinner each day, one cooking class with our private chef Guillermina, exclusive enjoyment of the property including private swimming hole, wood-fired log sauna, outdoor hot tubs, organic farm, lush forests, and land transfers to and from the airport (one pickup for the group, so flights must be coordinated; otherwise private transfers can be arranged at additional expense).  Rentals of mountain bikes, kayaks, and rafts, horseback riding, and other guided outdoor activities are not included in the pricing and arranged on your own at the lodge.

Since you have to fly through Buenos Aires to get to San Carlos de Bariloche (closest city to the lodge) the retreat can be optionally combined with a few days stay - on your own or with interested retreat participants - in Buenos Aires, a cosmopolitan metropolis with European-style architecture, rich cultural life, gourmet cuisine, vibrant nightlife, and yes, Argentine Tango.  The Lonely Planet describes Buenos Aires as “strangely familiar, but unlike any other city in the world.... an elegant, seductive place with ragged edge, laced with old-world languor and yet full of contemporary attitude.”  Having been there twice in the past, I would agree.

I hope you can join me.  This truly promises to be an exceptional retreat!

A tentative itinerary, subject to change, is as follows:

Saturday:
2:00 pm:                                Check-in anytime after 2pm at La Confluencia
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm:                Welcome Dinner
8:45 pm - 10:45 pm:              Spa Enjoyment (hot tubs and wood-fired sauna)

Sunday – Thursday:
8:00 am - 11:00 pm               Yoga
11:30 pm - 12:30 pm:            Brunch
12:30 pm - 7:00 pm:              Free time to enjoy the great outdoors/excursions
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm:                Dinner
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm               Spa Enjoyment (hot tubs and wood-fired sauna)/Meditation

Friday:
8:30 - 9:30:                            Breakfast
10:00 am:                                Check-out

PLEASE BRING YOUR OWN YOGA MAT, 2 BLOCKS AND 1 LONG YOGA BELT


Accommodation
La Confluencia is an eco-friendly lodge built from local/recycled materials and uses renewable energy sources.  Accommodations are divided among six bedrooms, which share bath facilities in order to maximize environmental efficiency, and one suite with private bath.  Two triple rooms and the dormitory (accommodating up to 6) are located near the spa outside the main lodge.  All rooms are simple, clean, small yet comfortable.

The lodge:
Suite: queen bed and private en-suite with bath and shower
Bedroom 2: queen bed
Bedroom 3: twin beds
Bedroom 4: twin beds
Bedroom 5: queen bed
Bedroom 6: twin beds
Bedroom 7: twin beds
Womens washroom: 3 vanities, 2 showers and 2 toilets
Mens washroom: 3 vanities, 2 showers and 2 toilets
Upper Level -
Library
Office
Reading room
Lower Level-
Country kitchen with wood burning stove
Fireplace room with numerous sofas
Dining room with numerous tables - accommodates small and large parties
Two powder rooms
Large terrace/porch
Outdoor wood-burning fireplace/BBQ

Spa:
2 cedar hot tubs
Wood-burning sauna
Cold plunge pool
Hardwood deck
Massage rooms
Yoga/ Relaxation room
Showers and toilets
Dressing rooms

Additional amenities:
Working farm
Organic garden
Stairway to private beach with swimming hole
Kayaks and white water rafting
Horseback riding
Guided excursions
WiFi included


Travel Information
Fly into San Carlos de Bariloche Airport (BRC) via Buenos Aires.  Flights have to be coordinated in order to receive land transfers included in the retreat pricing.   Otherwise, private pickup can be arranged at your own expense.


Weather
Patagonia's seasons are the reverse of the Northern Hemisphere. This means that the warmest months are December, January and February.  Weather in Patagonia is unpredictable.  Patagonia summer (this is when we will be there) offers warm, sunny days and cool nights.  Patagonia days are long, the sun rises at about 4:30am and sets near 10:30pm.   

Activities and Excursions
Recreational activities, such as, trekking, mountain biking, and horseback riding are available directly from the lodge.  In this way, the lodge serves as a base for visits to six nearby mountain refuges and for white water kayaking and rafting excursions that depart from La Confluencia’s private beach on the Rio Azul.  After a day of adventure, relax and unwind in the lodge’s spa area.  A short walk through the woods brings guests to this calm and restful area, complete with a wood-fired log sauna, cold plunge pool and two outdoor cedar hot tubs with impressive views of the Azul River gorge roughly 200 feet below.  Massage rooms, a yoga/relaxation room with radiant floor heating, dressing rooms and showers ensure that a visit to the spa is absolutely delightful.

Pricing
If registered with a non-refundable deposit of $500 by September 15st:

$1099/person; triple occupancy (bunk plus twin) with communal bath; $1299 after 9/15/14.  
$1299/person; double occupancy with communal bath; $1499 after 9/15/14.
$1899/person; single occupancy with communal bath; $2099 after 9/15/14. (only 1 room available)
$1699/person; shared bed for couple with private bath; $1899 after 9/15/14 (only 1 room available)
$2399 per person; single occupancy with private bath; $2599 after 9/15/14 (only 1 room available)  
 
Balance is due by December 1st, 2014.
 
Once the main lodge is filled, a dormitory option will become available at the following pricing:
$999/person; dormitory (6 in a room) with communal bath; $1199 after 9/15/14.   
 
Space is limited.  Take advantage of significant savings by registering early!


Contact
Please email me at danielle.lee.mf@gmail.com with any questions you may have.
Go to www.laconfluencia.com for more information on the lodge.