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There are plenty of reasons why yoga and travel simply go hand-in-hand. The awakening experiences they both provide, the establishment of connections, the way both facilitate an open mind – these are just some reasons why many yogis are taking their mats abroad. These days, many people are opting to nix the traditional beach-and-cocktail vacation for a yoga or wellness retreat. Check out this comprehensive collection of the best yoga destinations around the world and start planning your next trip!
table of contents
- bali, indonesia
- big sur, usa
- cape town, south africa
- hawai’i, us
- kandy, sri lanka
- koh phangan, thailand
- kos island, greece
- lake atitlan, guatemala
- lisbon, portugal
- mindo, ecuador
- pokhara, nepal
- puerto viejo, costa rica
- rishikesh, india
- sayulita, mexico
- sedona, usa
- siargao, philippines
- tepoztlan, mexico
- tulum, mexico
- tuscany, italy
- varkala, india
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Contribution: Harshi & Aman, Trot World
Aruba is all about white-sand beaches, turquoise waters, warm sunshine, and good vibes all around. When you think of a Caribbean island, you probably imagine laying on soft sand, sipping piña coladas, and working on a tan. However, there are plenty of unique things to do in Aruba, including yoga.
Indulge in some open-air outdoor yoga sessions taking place on the world-class beaches of Aruba. Perform sun salutations while floating on the Caribbean sea through SUP yoga or partake in those magical full moon rituals. These take place on the beach under the light of the stars and moon. With the sound of the waves crashing behind you, you’ll be transported to a deeply spiritual state. There is no better place than this beautiful island to roll out your mat, breathe in the salty air and let yourself release.
Aruba is a food lover’s paradise, and after a rigorous practice you’ve earned yourself the right to indulge. Enjoy their local snack called Pastechi or devour fresh seafood while sipping on delicious Aribas.
Aruba is truly a perfect getaway, an enriching experience for your mind, body, and soul.
Photo & Contribution: Kriszti, She Wanders Abroad
Bali has a very strong spiritual culture and is renowned as one of the best yoga destinations in the world. You can find many amazing yoga studios and retreats in Bali but if you’re looking for the absolute best place to practice yoga, look no further than Ubud!
Ubud is one of the most popular places to visit in Bali. Despite its small size, it boasts many amazing yoga studios. The studios are well equipped and offer many different yoga styles. Most classes are held with a beautiful view over the rice terraces or the jungle. So even if you’re visiting Bali for the first time, attending a yoga class will be an unforgettable experience!
Besides practicing yoga, there are many other amazing things to do in Ubud. You can go for a stroll in the Campuhan Ridge Walk, visit the nearby rice terraces, get lost in the traditional art market or explore the Sacred Monkey Forest.
The food scene is also amazing in Ubud, where you can find many cute cafes and restaurants. You can try one of the many amazing Balinese dishes like nasi goreng or a chicken satay, but there are many healthy and vegan options to choose from as well.
big sur, usa
At one of the most epic congregations of land and sea, Big Sur is undoubtedly one of the best yoga destinations in the world. The abundance of natural beauty offers a truly magical place to connect with the earth, your mat, and yourself.
Big Sur extends over the Pacific Coast along the range of the Santa Lucia Mountains. Yogis and adventurers come to explore the deep woods and waterfalls, relax on the sandy shores, and experience the affluence of flora and fauna that inhabit this extraordinary land.
There are a number of studios and retreat centers in the area, the most renowned being Esalen. Plan a visit and delve deeper into mind, body, and spirit.
cape town, south africa
Photo & Contribution: Alya & Campbell, Stingy Nomads
In recent years, yoga has gained popularity in South Africa in general and in Cape Town in particular. Amazing weather makes Cape Town a perfect place for practicing yoga outdoors year-round. Many studios and yoga masters offer open-air weekend classes. These classes usually take place on one of the city’s beaches.
Full Moon Yoga is a new outdoor practice that takes place once a month in summer. The yoga class starts just before the sunset, after that participants wait for the moon to rise. It’s an open event anybody can join regardless of their experience.
There are many amazing things to do in Cape Town besides yoga. The city is a great place for outdoor lovers; rock climbing, hiking, surfing, diving, kitesurfing are just some of the popular activities here. Some surf schools offer yoga classes for their students before surfing sessions. For wine enthusiasts and food gourmets, the Cape Winelands offer a variety of great wine estates and fine dining restaurants.
Contribution: Noel, This Hawaii Life
If you are looking for a fantastic place to practice yoga, consider visiting the Big Island of Hawai’i. With so many wonderful yoga studios and instructors on the island, you’ll have plenty of options. Yoga is very popular in Hawai’i, boasting a wide variety of yoga centers and retreats. Many hotels also offer yoga classes.
If visiting with family, there are a number of things to do on a family friendly visit to the Big Island , including having a fantastic yoga-centered experience. Big Island offers an epic opportunity to practice yoga in an idyllic space while embracing Hawai’ian culture and spirit.
kandy, sri lanka
Photo & Contribution: Josh & Sarah, Veggie Vagabonds
If you’re looking to visit yoga destinations around the world, Sri Lanka should be high on your list. Not only is it home to a fantastic array of yoga retreats and ayurvedic medicine, but it’s also one of the most exciting countries to travel.
Though Sri Lanka is a small island with many yoga destinations, among the best is Kandy. There are dozens of renowned yoga centers in the city which offer everything from drop-in classes to retreats and courses. Around the city, you’ll also find famous meditation centers and lots of places to experience traditional ayurvedic medicines.
Aside from yoga, you’re spoiled in Kandy as there is so much more to experience. Sri Lankan culture is warm and vibrant, with locals that will take you in and charm you. The food is out of this world and the religious traditions are fascinating.
Kandy is one of the larger cities with all the amenities you’ll need but it still maintains its local charm. It’s well connected, so if you fancy travelling to the coastline to surf or even climb Adam’s Peak, you can do so easily. The climate is pretty mild so don’t worry about roasting during your practice!
koh phangan, thailand
Photo & Contribution: Veronika, Travel Geekery
Koh Phangan is a beautiful island in Thailand, just next to the larger Koh Samui. It became famous due to its Full Moon parties, but there’s a lot more to it – such as yoga!
Koh Phangan has always had a spiritual aspect, ever since monks started visiting hundreds of years ago. Nowadays it’s all about yoga, especially in Sri Thanu, the yoga hotspot on the island. You can find yoga studios and adjacent vegan restaurants on every corner. It’s possible to go to yoga classes of all kinds, and even take a teacher training course. Orion Healing Center is a popular local yoga & detox retreat center located in a small bay.
But there are many other things to do in Koh Phangan. You can explore its gorgeous beaches, go hiking in the lush forests, watch the prettiest sunsets and see a wide array of different temples. It’s a true paradise island that’s easy to fall in love with.
kos island, greece
Photo & Contribution: Amélie, Mostly Amelie
For a yoga holiday (and so much more), Greece has long been a favorite travel destination. Any Mediterranean country offers an amazingly relaxing holiday backdrop, but Greece ticks all the marks. Greece offers lush island vegetation, delicious healthy food, amazing olive oil to use as a body moisturizer. Not to mention, crystal waters, sandy beaches, and a myriad of cultural and historical sights to discover between yoga classes!
The island of Kos is perfect for a rejuvenating yoga holiday. Imagine meditating each morning at the healing temple of Asklepion – this is where Hippocrates once trained. Hike amid the beautiful nature between yoga sessions, soaking in thermal baths for those sore muscles, and beaches for days. The island of Kos offers so much to do in between yoga sessions, in a wonderful natural setting.
lake atitlan, guatemala
Photo & Contribution: Bailey, Destinationless Travel
Lake Atitlan is one of the top tourist destinations in Guatemala – and the best place to do yoga too! It’s located in central Guatemala, only a couple of hours from Antigua. The lake is surrounded by small villages just waiting to be explored. The gorgeous mountain scenery makes for an ideal place to practice yoga.
Around the lake there are many different yoga studios, retreats, and even hotels that offer yoga classes. The most popular village to visit for yoga though is San Marcos, where there is a large expat community. In this tiny village you’ll find organic cafes, boutique shops, and of course, lots of opportunities for yoga.
But there are lots of other things to do in Lake Atitlan too besides yoga. You can get out on the lake on a paddleboard or kayak, go hiking, visit markets, take cooking classes, go paragliding, or even take Spanish classes. It really is a beautiful destination offering unique experiences.
Once you’ve visited for yourself, you’ll understand why so many travelers decide to settle in Lake Atitlan as expats.
Contribution: Maria, Europe Up Close
Lisbon is the perfect yoga destination in Portugal. There are quite a few yoga retreats to choose from in Lisbon and nearby. The city in the heart of Portugal has so much to offer and will keep visitors entertained for weeks. The food, the atmosphere, and even the stunning sidewalks make Lisbon a true gem to visit.
Visit the winding narrow streets of the Alfama, Lisboa’s old town or take the iconic yellow street tram up and down the hills of the city. Indulge in a Pasteis de Nata, a custardy pie that is crumbly, creamy, delightful. Another must is a visit to the sea-side town of Sintra, home to several fairytale castles and beautiful beaches.
If you like historic sites, add a visit to Belem to see the famous massive tower, a UNESCO World Heritage site, standing tall in the ocean. Nearby, you will also find the Jeronimos Monastery, built in the 15th century and another UNESCO site.
A yoga vacation in Lisbon is a great way to deepen your practice AND experience an amazing city.
If you’re staying in Portugal a little longer, be sure to head north and check out some of the prettiest places in Porto!
Mindo Valley is a small village situated in the Andes Mountains where two of the world’s most biodiverse regions meet. It’s renowned for bird watching, butterflies, chocolate, and the stunning cloud forest in which it is situated.
There are a few yoga studios in the village, the most popular being Yoga Mindo at Casa Verde. Despite not having a huge selection of yoga studios or retreats to choose from, what makes Mindo truly special is the environment.
In addition to yoga, you’ll find vegetarian and vegan restaurants, a thriving ex-pat community, night walks through the cloud forest, zip lining, river rafting, and more.
Mindo is located a (scary) bus ride outside of Quito, Ecuador’s capital city. Insider tip: If you’re afraid of heights, sit on the left side of the bus on the way to Mindo. The ride takes about two and a half hours.
If you’re up for some hardcore self-development, try an ayahuasca experience. This is not found in Mindo, but rather, outside Quito in the opposite direction, in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Check out the Alma Healing Center to book your ayahuasca experience.
If it’s your first time visiting, be sure to read up on all you need to know before you go to Ecuador.
Contribution: Thea, Zen Travellers
It’s rare to find a destination that features the chance to languish lakeside, take in views of the stunning Himalaya, observe mountain culture, eat delicious food, and practice yoga in a beautiful place. Pokhara, Nepal has all that and more.
Among the many adventures you can have, a yoga retreat is one of the best things to do in Pokhara. There endless options for yoga retreats to choose from, including those offered in local people’s homes. There are also schools to complete your teacher training, ashrams for daily practice, or you can practice outdoors by the lake or mountains.
To refuel after your practice, there are plenty of cafes. These offer locally-grown coffee, regenerative teas, and a delicious mix of local and international foods. You can always find healthy vegetarian and vegan options.
Should you need a break from yoga, there are plenty of other things to do. You can go paragliding, plan a trek in the Himalaya, paddle on Lake Phewa, or visit the International Mountain Museum. If you’re searching for a yoga destination that offers the opportunity for countless adventures, delicious dining options, and warm Nepalese hospitality, Pokhara has it all!
puerto viejo, costa rica
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a coastal town in southeast Costa Rica neighboring the Panama border. Known for its black sand beaches like Playa Negra, Puerto Viejo is a veritable paradise for yogis.
A little off the beaten path, you can reach Puerto Viejo in about five hours from the capital of San Juan. Samasati Nature Retreat is a great option for anyone visiting Puerto Viejo. They offer two yoga and meditation centers, juice bar, and spa services.
In addition to a picture-perfect yoga vacation, you can enjoy a ton of other activities in Puerto Viejo. Check out Cahuita National Park, Costa’s only FREE National Park. Or, head to the Jaguar Rescue Center to visit animals in rehabilitation before they are re-released into the wild.
There are plenty of beach options, vibrant nightlife, and an abundance of biodiversity to admire. For the adventurous types, try your hand at white water rafting or zip lining through the jungle.
No list of the best yoga destinations around the world would be complete without including the Yoga Capital of the World, Rishikesh. Rishikesh has been among the holiest and most spiritual epicenters in India for eons. Situated on the banks of the holy Ganga river and just beneath the watchful eye of the Himalaya, Rishikesh is a deeply powerful and sacred city.
Rishikesh came to be known throughout the west when the Beatles met and studied with their spiritual leader here in the 1960’s. You can visit the famous Beatles Ashram in Ram Jula to explore where they lived and began their spiritual studies.
Outside the city, you can take time exploring emerald jungles, secret waterfalls, untouched nature, and ancient temples.
There is no shortage of yoga centers, ashrams, retreats, teacher trainings, and classes to fulfill the needs of any yogi who visits. If you’re visiting during the first week of March, check out the International Yoga Festival. Here, teachers and students from countries all over the world assemble in Rishikesh to observe the universal essence of yoga.
Rishikesh is the perfect yoga destination for the spiritually inclined and for those seeking to dive deeper internally.
Photo & Contribution: Isabella, Boundless Roads
A former tiny fishing village, Sayulita was ‘discovered’ by a group of American hippie surfers back in the 70’s while road-tripping in search of the perfect wave. They found everything they were looking for in Sayulita and never left.
It didn’t take long for the yoga community to expand. Today, more and more luxury resorts offer yoga individual classes and weekly programs. The surrounding lush jungle and the soothing crushing sound of the waves make it the perfect setting for yoga and wellness retreats.
Whether you are looking for a full immersion yoga vacation or take an occasional class, Sayulita is the place to be. Health-conscious travelers will also find delicious vegan and vegetarian restaurants to please their palate and diet. And party lovers also can enjoy the famous Sayulita nightlife.
Sayulita has become a town suitable for all kinds of tourists. Still, among all the fantastic things to do in Sayulita, yoga is definitely one of the most popular activities.
Sedona, Arizona has gained international recognition in recent years as a destination of deep spirituality and healing. This is due in part to its expansive natural beauty, but also for the fact that Sedona is said to be a veritable vortex hot-spot. Healers and spiritual practitioners from all over the world come to Sedona to experience its vortices.
So, what is a vortex? A vortex (pl. vortices) is essentially a whirl of energy that is said to facilitate healing, transcendence, and self-inquiry. A place that vibrates with energy. All of Sedona is said to be a vortex, however there are some places that give off stronger healing vibes than others.
The four best known Sedona vortexes are found at Airport Mesa, Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock and Boynton Canyon.
Different vortices are said to produce energy in different ways. Some are flowing upward (Udana & Vyana Vayus) while at others the energy spirals downward, in and toward the earth (Apana Vayu). What are you in greater need of? Centering, groundedness, stability? Or expansion, openness, awareness?
Check out the annual Sedona Yoga Festival. Here, you’ll experience classes, music and kirtan, ecstatic dance, meditation and mindfulness workshops, plus much, much more.
Aside from yoga and meditation, you can expect an abundance of hiking, camping, spa services, and bird watching.
Photo & Contribution: Milene & Paul, Surf and Unwind
Siargao is known as the surfing mecca of the Philippines. It’s been attracting surfers for decades thanks to its all-year-round good waves, laid-back atmosphere and stunning landscapes.
With the practice of yoga growing within the surfing community, it’s not surprising that the island is making a name for itself as an awesome yoga destination. So even if surfing isn’t your thing, you’re in for a treat!
There are more and more schools offering yoga drop-in classes or retreats. Or, combine them with surfing lessons if you wish to improve your skills in the water as well as on your mat.
Most of these schools are located around General Luna/Cloud, with Lotus Shores being definitely the yogis favorite one-stop-shop. On top of running excellent yoga classes, Lotus Shores is a superb farm accommodation with a plant-based café onsite. The café serves deliciously healthy meals minutes away from the beach.
Photo & Contribution: Shelley, Travel Mexico Solo
Located just about an hour from Mexico City, you’ll find the spiritual mecca of Tepoztlan.
Tepoztlan is one of Mexico’s 120 or so pueblos magicos (magic towns). This prestigious title is awarded to certain pueblos in the country with exceptional qualities such as unparalleled natural beauty or unique folkloric traditions.
The magic town of Tepoztlan is a popular day or weekend trip from Mexico City for spiritual or wellness getaways. There are numerous yoga studios in the town, as well as teacher trainings year-round.
Beyond yoga, many visit Tepoztlan to do temazcal (sweat lodge) ceremonies, and climb the Tepozteco pyramid. This mysterious Aztec pyramid is located high atop the town. The pyramid is dedicated to Tepoztēcatl, the Aztec god of the prehispanic adult beverage, pulque.
When visiting Tepoztlan, make sure to try pulque, a fermented drink made from the agave plant. You can find it from street vendors, or at the City Market of Tepoztlan.
This colorful mercado also has stands selling all kinds of unique prehispanic foods, many of which are vegan. While there, sample itacates (fried corn cakes), quelites and alaches, two dark green veggies. If you eat meat, opt for the most famous food in Morelos state, cecina.
Contribution: Daria, The Discovery Nut
Tulum has become one of the most popular yoga destinations in the world in recent years.
Located in the heart of the Riviera Maya, Tulum is a hippie town with a Zen-like atmosphere. There is an abundance of greenery and tons of healthy vegan and vegetarian restaurants featuring locally grown produce.
Besides offering retreats year-round, Tulum has a bounty of things to do. Enjoy gorgeous turquoise waters along the Caribbean Coast, explore ancient Mayan Ruins and cenotes, or snorkel in caverns filled with crystal clear water.
There are thousands of cenotes all of the Yucatán Peninsula, and some of the most popular are near Tulum.
If you come to Tulum for a yoga retreat, don’t forget to visit Tulum Ruins. Here you’ll find the remains of the Mayan fortification around the strategic port that Tulum once was. The site is located against the jaw-dropping backdrop of the Caribbean Sea. Below the ruins, you’ll also find an incredible white-sand beach.
Another popular activity in Tulum is snorkeling. Visitors can choose from a multitude of snorkeling tours such as Akumal, Isla Mujeres and others.
Or tour the nearby ruins such as Chichen Itza, one of the Seven Wonders Of The World. There are plenty of things to do in Tulum when you need a (small) break from yoga!
Contribution: Gabi, Under Flowery Sky
Tuscany is an ideal, dreamy place that expands spiritual dimensions and thus becomes a conduit for pure transformation. Tuscany offers immersion in every kind of landscape. You can enjoy the rolling hills, the quaint seaside, or epic mountains. The dramatic soul of the land will facilitate an otherworldly healing experience.
Villa Vrindavan in fairy-tale Chianti region is known for its epic vineyards. Peacocks, olive fields, history and devotion make it a perfect place to visit even if only with touristic purpose or volunteering opportunity. It’s possible to book a tour here with included culinary specialties, yoga sessions and Museum of Sacred Art.
Vipassana centre in Tuscany offers basic 2-weeks retreats which are based on learning and silence. Vipassana meditation is focusing on observation, self-discipline and discovery.
Yoga retreats in Tuscany at one of the villas can be organized on your own to create a fulfilling experience. Taking your yoga practice to the hills of Tuscany would certainly make for a unique and unforgettable experience to have in Italy!
Contribution: Ellis, Backpack Adventures
Varkala in India is one of the best yoga destinations in the world. This small beach town in Kerala has a wide choice of high quality yoga courses, retreats and drop in classes.
Kerala is an obvious choice for yoga, because the state is famous for Ayurveda. This traditional healing system originated in India and continues to thrive in Kerala. It is here that you will find the largest number of ayurvedic colleges and hospitals in the world. Ayurveda is not only about healing illness though, it is about the wellness of mind, body and soul. Yoga is an important part of Ayurveda and developed alongside it as a way to develop balance in your life.
Kerala is therefore a great destination to find authentic yoga and Ayurveda experiences. What makes Varkala a good option is that it also offers foreigner friendly services with courses and retreats in English. Varkala is a popular tourist destination on the coast of Kerala and it’s easy to meet other yoga enthusiasts. In the early morning you will see others practice yoga on the beach.
There are also lots of things to do in Varkala other than yoga. Varkala is perched high on a red sandstone cliff with sweeping views over the ocean. The town has some great restaurants where you can try Keralan cuisine and seafood. The main beach is also a popular pilgrimage site for locals. Away from the busy cliff you can find secluded palm fringed beaches, lush spice gardens and serene backwaters.
Some of the photos in this post were sourced from Pixabay stock images.