I know that Tonya is the best Pilates teacher around, but I had no idea what to expect on the Tropical Pilates Retreat. It was one of the most amazing trips I have ever taken. Haramara is divine. The cabanas are open so that you hear the wave crashing against the rocks at night. There were butterflies everywhere as I walked along the path leading to the beach. I needed to unplug and this is what I got.
I shared a room and had a great time with my roomie. If you are short on funds don't be afraid to give that a try. I did not know my cabana-mate except to see her every so often at Tonya's Aspire Pilates Studio, but at the end of the trip I felt that I had made a lifelong friend.
It was so amazing to wake up and take a Pilates class watching the sun rise in the sky while the Chachalaca birds woke up and started chattering. One morning as class was ending we watched whales breaching in the ocean. The evening began with another Pilates class. Two Pilates classes a day? Yes! I saw results immediately with my body's flexibility and strength. I can't say enough about what an amazing teacher Tonya is. She is everything - kind, patient, skilled and fun.
One of the many highlights of the retreat was the bonding experience with other women over food, food and more food - and a couple of nights where we indulged in margaritas. It was so nice to just sit ad tell stories, listen to stories, compare life notes all under the light of glowing oil lamps. Men are welcome too, but we just happened to be all ladies on this trip and it was like a grown-up slumber party.
The only unfortunate part of the trip was having to say goodbye...
Haramara, tú siempre estás en mi corazon!
- Mary Ann S., Concord, CA
∼This retreat is AWESOME and you should go. But only if you are interested in feeling great, making wonderful friends, eating delicious food (and healthy but not so you know it by the taste! It is yummy yummy healthy), getting stronger and really relaxing all at the same time. Only then.
Tonya is amazing; I have never been able to say enough about what an amazing, warm, and brilliant person she is. There is no one better to teach Pilates and just generally show you how to get stronger while treating your body right. She can look at you and tell you if you are using the right muscles or not, and how to correct! The body awareness she's helped me develop is something I carry with me everywhere, even now that I live in Boston and attend classes in another studio. And it's completely true that the Pilates on this trip is appropriate for all levels. We had years-long students working out alongside first-timers, and the way Tonya tailors the exercises meant that everyone was getting challenged plenty. You could tell from the complaints. All good-natured of course!
The retreat location is just like the other reviews say - beautiful beyond belief, and luxurious too! Yes the casitas are open air, but they are beautifully maintained too - it's not like a hiking hut or anything like that. Trust me - I'm not a camping girl and I loved this. I even came to love hearing our little gecko friends chirping as they wandered across our room at night! (Though I did keep my mosquito net closed so they wouldn't wander across my face.)
After a week of twice daily pilates classes, excellent food, plenty of exercise hiking up and down the paths to our casitas and the spa (oh and don't even get me started on the top-quality massage therapists here!), I felt so thoroughly good. This retreat is an escape from all your daily stresses, a place to feel comfortable in your own skin and a way to get really healthy while still feeling only like a beautiful vacation. Thanks Tonya for setting the perfect tone!
- Lorin L., Brookline, MA
Haramara and Tonya are the BEST!!! This was the first vacation I have been on where I was completely able to disconnect and not think about work or home. It was the most relaxing week of my life. When your only decision of the day is whether you go to the beach or the pool first, you know you have it made. The food was absolutely amazing and there were times where you just didn't think you could eat anymore and then it was time for lunch and some how you packed away three more courses. I was never hungry, which was amazing since it's pescaterian based. The staff at Haramara are the best and really go above and beyond to make you as comfortable as possible. I can't wait to go again next year just for a week of amazing food, pilates and great company.
Tonya is the best pilates teacher I know. The attentions she is able to give you in class is great and having two classes a day it couldn't be better. I know at the end of the week I was much stronger than at the beginning.
- Debbie G., Concord, CA
My wife dragged me to this retreat. I thought, "Not a bunch of women doing fru fru exercise and drinking drinks with little umbrellas". I knew I married my wife for a reason, she is smart. This was one of the most relaxing weeks of my life. We had lots of "just us" time, tried Pilates (which helped my back feel better), ate food that I never thought I'd eat but was really good, swam and chilled. I'll be back.
- Marlon F, Clayton, CA
I traveled to Sayulita, Mexico to experience the Aspire Pilates Haramara Retreat in March 2015 and had an absolutely wonderful time. Two pilates classes daily in an open-air environment, overlooking the tropical jungle and ocean in the company of Tonya, a beautiful, nurturing and accomplished Pilates master, and a group of ladies and gentlemen whom I grew to adore and now consider friends.
I worried that I would go hungry because of the pescatarian based diet, so I packed a half-dozen protein bars - I didn't touch them. Haramara has a talented chef - there was so much delicious food, prepared with fresh local ingredients, that I never went hungry. The staff is very caring and attentive and the casitas are lovely.
I did not have an opportunity to experience the world class spa, but heard rave reviews from my friends, and intend to partake on my next visit.
You must treat yourself to a retreat with Aspire Pilates at Haramara Resort.
- Mabel N., Pleasant Hill, CA
My husband and I went on the retreat with Tonya and we both thought this was the best vacation we have ever been on!!!! So many incredible things about Haramara, but one of the best is because Tonya taught two Pilates classes a day and I had almost no back pain the entire vacation!!! As a person who has chronic back pain, it was so awesome to be pain free most of the trip! Haramara is absolutely beautiful, set on 12 acres of jungle and right next the beach, you fall in love with the place! The food is so incredible, three meals a day and every meal is fantastic!!! We all miss the food so much! The trip was extremely relaxing and just simply amazing, we can't wait to go back and I would highly recommend the trip!!!
- Tracy S., Benicia, CA
Tonya is my big (little) sister. She has been trying to get me to attend one of her classes forever! I have a child with severe special needs that leaves me with no time to ever care for myself. My body has gotten so very old and weak over the years... This retreat was the only way to get me to STOP and breath. BREATH amazing fresh sea air, EAT scrumptious all organic fresh full course meals, stretch, strengthen and inspire my body to learn, regroup and heal. I am truly grateful my sister persuaded me to go, that persuasion will not at all be necessary next year! I will definitely be going again!!! This time I will be bringing along 4 friends. We have pledged to make this magical retreat our yearly desperately needed mind, body and spirit jump start! Thank you Tonya for not giving up on me! I had a blast!!!!
- Naima A., Berkeley, CA
Harmara and the Tropical Pilates Retreat are like living in the movie "Enchanted April" only in Spanish and with more exercise. A short three and a half hour plane ride from the Bay Area on a dreary February day and I found myself in paradise. We were greeted in Puerto Vallarta by Harmara's driver who whisked us away to an enchanted hillside. The sun was getting low and cast a gorgeous orange glow over the treetop terrace with the sound of the waves at the beach below. The staff carried our bags to our casitas while the house manager offered us cool drinks and gathered information about our dietary preferences. Arriving at my casita I literally gasped at the beauty and grace of the place; soft white bedding, graceful gauzy curtains, an abundance of candles and oil lamps, beautiful dark wood flooring, stone terrazzo floor in the bathroom open air shower, and my own private terrace where I could meditate, star gaze, and sun myself in my small clothes. Our meals were events in themselves; leisurely, creative, luscious, abundant, and guilt free. Every little detail was seen to; one day it got a bit cool and the house manager personally brought a blanket to my casita where I was napping because she thought I might be cold. I have never been so pampered, not even at the most luxurious five star resort. Morning Pilates sessions were devoted to strength and afternoons to stretching and release work. We had people at all levels from those with mobility limitations to fitness junkies. My gains in strength were downright shocking; I was thrilled with the progress I made over the course of the week. I came home with a new perspective on how good life can be and how well my body can be if I give it a bit of rest, good food, and a bit of exercise. It was inspiring. Not to be missed - massages by Harumi, best massage of my life. Practical notes - the hillside is steep and some stairs are uneven, but if you can walk a couple of blocks on city streets you'll be fine. The beach is not great for swimming, but a nice swimming beach is a 20 minute walk through a cool jungle that looks like something out of Jurassic park. Mossies were not a problem in dry February. Bring your headlamp because it gets dark, dark, dark at night (good for stargazing). As a female alone I felt very safe here. This is a generally safe area of Mexico and the resort is set far enough away from town to be off the path of those looking for easy pickings. The retreat also employs men who patrol the property at night keeping an eye on things. More than once I ran into them on my way back to my casita at night and they personally escorted me, lighting the path.
- Sharon A., Martinez, CA
I absolutely loved, loved, loved this retreat! Where to start? I would go back for the food alone. Every single meal without exception was so fresh, so full of flavor, just incredible. And each meal was as healthy as it is delicious. The grounds of Haramara are breathtaking. Ocean views or mountain views, or both, no matter which direction you turn. And you can walk to the ocean. Or chill in the infinity pool. The optional services are top notch. I had an abdominal massage (which I had never even heard of before) that helped with my digestion issues and also seemed to help me release pent up energy/emotional pain. I have never experienced a massage that compares. I have never been to a place where the staff is so accommodating and gracious. The open living quarters are delightful. And then, Tonya's twice daily Pilates classes are fabulous! This retreat is an extraordinary opportunity to unplug, rejuvenate, and feel yourself getting healthier, all at the same time. I consider the Aspire Tropical Pilates Retreat a special opportunity to invest in your own wellness and self-care.
- Lori R., Detroit, MI
The Tropical Pilates Retreat at Haramara in Mexico is a wonderful way to "unplug" from the world and really take care of yourself - surrounded by beautiful surroundings, wonderful people, magnificent food, and an inspiring teacher, Tonya Amos, who helps you through her skillful, nurturing, and hands on approach, maximize your physical well-being and renewal with amazing Pilates exercises.
The retreat offers wonderful accommodations - sounds of the waves in the bay gently lull you to sleep at night; so soothing.
The retreat offers a delicious variety of foods at each meal (three meals a day are included) and caters to any food allergies you may have with ease.
There are two Pilates classes a day, a perfect mix of gaining skills, strength, and overall great exercise for yourself in a beautiful setting - watching the ocean or looking at the mountains. The skills build each day...it was amazing to see how much I'd grown in my Pilates in just a week!
In my downtime, I enjoyed sitting by the infinity pool looking at the bay and talking with the new friends I'd made. The city of Sayulita is a short walk away and offers the opportunity to do further sightseeing, mingling with locals, and shopping.
And you can further pamper yourself by getting a massage or two:) and by walking down to the beach to enjoy the splendor of the waves and wonderfully peaceful and serene setting.
I had a wonderful time and hope to return again for another opportunity to just take care of me; escape from the busy world for awhile - relax, recharge, and re-energize.
Thanks Tonya for offering this outstanding retreat to help me renew my mind, body, and spirit!
- Ardis M., Colorado Springs, CO