Cusco: Peru’s spiritual hub
Luscious green mountains, remains of a once invincible Incan empire and clear blue skies: just some of the reasons why Peru could be the ideal spot for your next yoga retreat. Although this far-flung country may not have previously popped up on your radar, it’s fast becoming one of the most popular Latin American destinations for the spiritually inclined.
Famed for being the home of Macchu Picchu, Peru boasts a lot more than just relics of its bold past. Today, it is an exquisite blend between tradition and the modern world, managing to uphold its heritage as a symbol of great pride, whilst welcoming modernity with open arms. Each region offers its own unique treasures, whether it be world-renowned ceviche, the western tip of the Amazon or the lush spiritual hub of Sacred Valley.
So why Cusco?
As the Earth’s ‘navel centre’, it’s unsurprising that the majority of Peru’s yoga retreats are situated in or around the city of Cusco. At over 4,000 metres above sea level, Cusco will quite literally take your breath away… with its altitude. Never mind the unrivalled backdrop of towering mountain tops and quaint cobbled streets with alpacas around every corner.
But what makes it the ideal location for your next yoga getaway? Well, if you’re looking for transition and self-discovery, there’s no better place on earth! In fact, the country is currently going through its very own transition. Peru’s mountains’ inhabitants are slowly descending from their peaks, bringing with them a wealth of understanding and connection to Mother Nature, known in their mother tongue as Pachamama.
With this descent comes a wealth of knowledge so often forgotten by those of us surrounded by concrete jungles in far off lands and a unique connection with nature. The good news is that they’re more than willing to share. Any curious traveller can completely immerse themselves into a newfound level of connection with the surrounding natural beauty here.
For one, the region is situated within Latin America’s most expansive and impressive mountain range, the Andes.
For the environmentally conscious
The connection between man and nature is of the utmost importance here, hence the yoga retreats on offer are largely eco-friendly. Paying respect to Mother Nature and her generosity to the lush region is a primary objective for local retreat centres. Hence Cusco’s yoga retreats can often be found in secluded locations atop Cusco’s surrounding mountains or nestled in the rich Sacred Valley. Giving guests the privilege of seclusion from city life and the rarity of silence aside from the sounds of nature.
For the foodie
There are plenty of locations for you to enjoy the fruits (and vegetables for that matter) of Mother Nature’s generosity to the Cusqueñian region. You’d be forgiven for fearing that South American food can pose some limitations to the vegetarians and vegans amongst us. That rule of thumb doesn’t apply to Cusco. Instead, the regions’ culinary offerings are varied and inclusive.
Green Point and Qura Bowls are among some of the finest vegan and vegetarian restaurants you’ll come across. Expect your diet here to consist of fresh fruit and vegetables whipped into the most delicious dishes and for a quarter of the price you’d pay back home.
The city offers fantastic vegan and vegetarian options, as do the local retreats. The Sacred Valley is ripe with organically grown produce directly supplying surrounding restaurants and yoga retreats alike.
A different kind of plant-based
Aside from offering a fantastic selection of dishes for those who have opted for a plant-based diet, Cusco is surrounded by opportunities to take your spiritual curiosity to the next level with plant-based medicine. If you’ve been itching to try ayahuasca or any other plant-based medicine for that matter, Peru is the place to be.
Shamans aplenty roam Cusco’s alleys, just make sure you opt for an authentic experience. Luckily for you, many retreat centres include the chance to experiment with plant-based medicine as part of their offering, saving you the legwork of finding the right one. What’s more, there’s no better time to do it as the retreat will both physically and mentally prepare you for the potentially life-altering experience.
Surrounded by ancient relics of an Incan empire, Cusco will gift travellers a unique shift in perspective. As you take in the insane vistas, the stresses of the modern-day will literally melt from your mind. It’s hard not to absorb the locals more simplistic way of life, so distant from the stresses of European cities.
The majority of Cusco’s yoga retreats pay homage to their incredible surroundings by intertwining excursions to sites of significance into their itineraries. Where else offers a morning practice followed by a visit to a vista so mind-blowing you’ll likely remember it forever?
A little known fact about Peru, particularly the lofty city of Cusco, is its spiritual significance to its people and the world. It’s this significance that makes Cusco such an ideal spot for any kind of yoga getaway.
The city’s spiritual draw has attracted yoga professionals aplenty from all around the globe. Accompanied by reiki masters, Thai massage therapists and plant medicine enthusiasts to name but a few, the region is busting with healers. So if you’re looking for a comprehensive yoga retreat, with the opportunity to enjoy not just one but many of the associated practices, Cusco’s yoga retreat offerings will not disappoint.
The best news is that Cusco is a small city with a tight community of practitioners, meaning that the surrounding retreats promise a handpicked selection of the best in the area for retreats guests.
So what are you waiting for? Find your retreat, book your flights and take a leap into this exotic region with the promise of an adventure to remember.