Let Your Heart Decide Retreat

Akumal, Mexico

Join us for a week of manifesting your deepest hopes and coming home to who you really are supported and witnessed by a like minded and like hearted community.

We all feel a little bit lost sometimes, like we are not sure of who we are anymore or which direction to turn to.

More often than not, we are simply afraid of making a big change. It feels like standing at the edge of a cliff and we are terrified that we might fall. But what if instead, we could fly?

When you listen to your heart it requires enormous courage, because you will be asked to confront your fears, insecurities, and the unknown.

But when you act from the wisdom of your heart, you will never regret it.

This is the terrain we will be exploring in our time together. This is a journey through the landscape of our hearts.

Before, during and after this retreat, the central focus of our work is to create a strong and safe container and build a community that can witness the vulnerable and brave transformation required as do this heart center work. You will not be alone in this journey; through the strength of community, magic becomes possible.

If your heart is calling you to come home to yourself, to come home to the beauty of who you are beyond the expectations of others, beyond the expectations of society, and beyond the expectations that you have placed upon yourself, this is the space for you.

This retreat might be right for you if

* You’re struggling to make a big decision.
* You’re feeling stuck in your life.
* You’re longing for a community of like-minded and like-hearted people.
* You’re having trouble honoring the voice of your heart or can’t hear it at all.
* You’re finding yourself overwhelmed with constant thinking.
* You’re feeling like you can’t slow down and there’s no time to relax.

About the Venue

Secluded in the Mayan jungle, Balam Ha is a true paradise that offers comfortable accommodations, with a gorgeous outdoor space for relaxing or gathering. Only 5 minutes away from Balam Ha is Akumal Bay, famous for its natural reserve of turtles.

Akumal is located in the heart of the Riviera Maya, between Cancún and Tulum. Balam Ha has its own private cenote, an underwater cave. For the Mayans, cenotes were much more than just bodies of water. They were considered gateways to the underworld, sacred places connected to the gods and the afterlife. Enjoy the beauty and the freshness of a private bath in these sacred and magical waters.

The venue also offers a wide shala for comfortable gatherings as well as a temazcal, where we will experience an ancestral and medicinal steam bath, with aromatic herbs and healing songs

macaw lodge retreat center
macaw lodge retreat grounds<br />
macaw lodge retreat room

Program Overview

Day 1

Retreat Arrival Costa Rica


Our first day is simply about GROUNDING, on arriving here in this present moment. Bringing hearts and minds together, we come to understand the nature of our journey.

Day 2

At the base of a tree at the retreat center


Our second day asks us to focus on SAFETY, a journey to establish the critical pre-condition for any journey of healing and transformation.

Day 3

Person spending time alone at the retreat center


Our third day is dedicated to finding your VOICE and the expression of your heart’s DESIRE. Through multiple modalities, this awakens a sense of direction in our journeys.

Day 4

Touching a leaf on a retreat


Our fourth day invites us into the exploration of what we must LET GO of in order to pursue our innermost desire.

Day 5

two people supporting one another on a nature retreat


Our last full day invites us to consider what it would be like to fully TRUST our hearts, and in doing so, explore how we might trust ourselves in the pursuit of its’ wisdom.

Day 6

tea under the trees on a retreat in costa rica


Our final day is focused on the PROMISE of our intentions, the healing, transformation and change that we are capable of creating in our lives

The Schedule Is Subject To Change: Ben and Manuela work spontaneously and we will adjust the program depending on what we feel serves the group.


Forest Bathing

Forest Bathing is a slow wander through a natural environment, where we use our senses to get to know nature in a different way than we usually do. It is not a hike with a certain destination in mind, forest Bathing is about being in the moment and not about getting anywhere: it is about the journey and not the destination. Being present in the moment has a lot of benefits on our health and stress response and opens up new perspectives in our lives.  

It is inspired in the Japanese practice of Shinrin Yoku, that started at the beginning of the 80´s in Japan, due to a health crisis. There was a shift in the economy and people were moving from rural areas into big cities and that lifestyle change caused a lot of stress and therefore an increas of autoimmune diseases and cancer. 

Forest Bathing has proven to lower our stress hormones, inrease our Immune system function, increase focus and creativity and give us a sense of general wellbeing. Something we hear very often from participants after a forest bathing walk is that sensation of belonging to nature, to feel at home.

“If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you’ll come to understand that you’re connected with everything.” -Alan Watts


Drum Circle

Find your inner rhythm, trust your own beat. Drum circles are not about knowing how to drum, you don’t have to be a professional percussionist. It is about connecting to yourself, your natural inner rhythm, your heart, connecting to others in the circle and communicating beyond words, creating unique, spontaneous music. Drumming has proven to reduce stress, anxiety and depression, create a sense of self-confidence, self-esteem and empowerment, increase tolerance and increase a sense of belonging to a community.

“Whenever people  gather to play the drum, the world is a better place” – Babtunde Olatunji



The three intentions of ceremony are intention, attention and attitude. In this aspect, everything can be a ceremony if we intend it to be. Ceremonies mark essential moments in our lives and create bonds of commitment we make with ourselves and with our communities. Whatever is done during a ceremony, be it poetry, a procession, something symbolic, becomes emotionally embedded and imprinted into our memories and our hearts. Ceremonies act as a threshold that allows us to move from one phase of our lives to the next with ease, grace and steadfast commitment.

“Everything is ceremony in the wild garden of childhood” – Pablo Neruda


Story Weaving

Story Weaving is a community building practice wherein people learn to harvest and incorporate the wisdom found in the stories of others. Story Weaving represents an interwoven inward and outward journey: connecting us more deeply to ourselves by helping us recognize our fundamental interconnectedness.

“We are the weavers, we are the woven ones. We are the dreamers, we are the dream.” – Lorna Kohler


Heart Math

The Heart coherence meditation is a simple, short and very effective way to bring heart and brain into coherence. It is an easy-to-learn and powerful tool that you can do anywhere. When we are in a coherent state, there is a sense of stillness and harmony. Benefits of this practice include improved decisión-making and clarity of thought, reduced stress levels and improved sleep quality.

“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the heartbeat of the Universe, to match your nature with Nature.” – Joseph Campbell


Way of Council

To speak our stories is to offer our medicine to the world and to listen deeply is perhaps the greatest act of love we can offer to another being. Council is a listening practice that invites us to listen from the heart and make space to simply receive without the need for response, judgment or agreement. It is a space of radical hospitality, where each person has a chance to share in a spontaneous, heartfelt way. Within this circle, there is no right or wrong; together, our stories come to represent a way of seeing the world beyond the limitations of our subjective perspectives.

“We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.” – Maya Angelou


Expressive Arts

Create in partnership with nature, leaves, sticks, flowers, seeds, rocks, sand…. Create freely with not specific outcome in mind – without the burden of having it to be a certain way. Engage your senses with the diversity of textures and colors of natural elements. Creating art with natural elements. It helps foster a relationship with nature whilst improving knowledge and understanding of natural features and processes and supports participants relaxation by being in the present moment.

“Beauty lies in nature and reveals, once the artist has perceived it, its own expressive power” – Gustave Courbet



Nature holds all of life’s processes. Birth, death, change, resilience, strength, collaboration, competition, obstacles, flow, the list is endless. Nature holds up a mirror and helps us see our own processes clearer. This supports us in making better decisions and widening our perspectives.

“Nature often holds up a mirror, so we can see more clearly the ongoing processes of growth, renewal and transformation in our lives” – Mary Ann Brussart



Nature holds all of life’s processes. Birth, death, change, resilience, strength, collaboration, competition, obstacles, flow, the list is endless. Nature holds up a mirror and helps us see our own processes clearer. This supports us in making better decisions and widening our perspectives.

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart” – William Wordsworth



Breathwork brings together the Mind, Body and Heart. Remembering how to breathe has powerful effects on our overall wellbeing. 

It nourishes our physical body by oxygenating our cells, promoting healing, and boosting our immune system. Simultaneously, it calms our minds, quieting the incessant chatter and allowing us to tap into a state of deep relaxation and peace. 

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky, conscious breathing is my anchor. ”  – Thich Nhat Hanh


Sound Healing

Unwind, relax and let the vibration of different sound healing instruments, like handmade tibetan bowls, gong, koshi, and drums do their job while you listen to the different sounds and let go into a Deep inner journey.  

The sound vibrations penetrate deep into the tissue. This improves blood circulation and metabolism, regulates muscle tension and deeply stimulates the tissue. Moreover, regeneration and repair mechanisms are stimulated.  Sound healing is both activating and relaxing – so it also has a refreshing effect.

Some of the benefits of Sound Healing include less chronic pain, better sleep patterns, reduced anger and reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression as well as an overall sense of relaxation and wellbeing.

“Everything in Life is Vibration” – Albert Einstein


Tier 1 – US $2390 per person
Retreat price per person in single



Tier 2 – US $2090 per person
Retreat price per person in shared room


What is included?

Transportation to/from airport (arrival no later than 4:00 pm)

5 nights of Lodging

All meals starting with dinner on day 1 and ending with lunch on day 6 

Temazcal Ceremony

Tour with the Turtles

Pre Retreat reading materials and workbook

Special dietary restrictions will be accommodated.

All the described activities in the program

What is not included?

Airfare, food and beverage outside the meal times, insurance, tips.

Refund Policy

We understand that sometimes life happens and we want to be as flexible as we can be.

Cancellation up to 90 days before the event start: 100% refund Cancellation between 89 and 60 days before the event starts: 50% Cancellation between 59 and 30 days before the event starts: 25% Cancellation 29 days or less before the event: No refund


Can I pay in installments?

Yes, we want to make the retreat as accessible as possible. Reach out and we can find a plan that works for you and us

What should I pack?

Comfortable clothing (for Costa Rica we recommend fast drying clothes), closed toed shoes, flip flops, bathing suit, hat, sunglasses, rain jacket, sunscreen, bugspray.
Notebook, situpon, any medications and or prescriptions you are taking, anything else you need to be comfortable. We will share any updates prior to the retreat.

How big will the group be?

The group will be maximum 20-22 people.

Do I need any prior experience?

No, not at all. All you need is to come with an open heart and an open mind. All life experiences are welcome and will enrich the journey for everyone. 

What is included and what not?

Please click HERE for a detailed list of what is included and what not.

Will you be able to assist with airport transfers?

Yes, and we will also share a document where you might be able to share rides with other retreat participants

What is the weather like?

In the Yucatan Peninsula, where Akumal is located, February is dry season. There is a small chance for some rain, it is mosly sunny and warm We will update you prior to the retreat.

Will I share my room? Are there any single accommodations available?

Some of the rooms are private single rooms, others are shared. Please reach out to us and we will work with you to get you the most suitable accommodation type for you.

The private (single) accommodations are limited and are on a first come – first serve basis.

I have special dietary restrictions. Are you able to accommodate them?

Yes, absolutely. We have been working with the caterer and he is very knowledgeable about dietary restrictions and ingredients. Please reach out to us and let us know what you can and what you cant eat and we will offer you delicious meals that are in compliance with your restrictions.

Can I travel with my partner if they don't take part of the retreat?

It depends on the availability of the venue. Please reach out directly to us to discuss options.

Is there wi-fi?

Yes, there is free wi-fi available in least the common areas of the venue.

Can I extend my stay after the retreat?

It depends on the retreats availability. Please contact us. 

The Energy between Manuela and Ben is contagious– They hold a space for their participants that is open, Heartfelt, fluid, and harmonious.  As seasoned Guides, they have finely honed their abilities to invite participants into the present moment, and into interconnection with all of the Life that surrounds us.  It is Truly a relief to share a forest journey with Manuela and Ben; as they guide participants via the somatic and the sensory, in cooperation with the thriving World we live in.
Ryan Redmond

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