Testimonials can be very illuminating; comforting and informing us as to what to expect from our travel destination. We are happy to share some of the testimonials we have collected over the years.  At Villa Sumaya, we listen to our guest’s feedback,  taking an active interest in improving our facilities, foodservice, ambiance and hospitality. We hope that the following testimonials from fellow travelers, bring clarity and inspiration to your decision to visit us. See Trip Advisor for more comments.

Guest Comments

I have never felt the power of Nature and Her healing qualities as much as I did when teaching and practicing at Villa Sumaya.  The land is sacred and magically healing.  The staff is amazingly helpful, meeting every need with a positive attitude.  We loved the food, the rooms, and all the services that were provided.  I will certainly be returning to teach and grow in this wonderful environment!  Thank you for being so unique and special! – Jeanne Heileman,  Yoga Instructor in Los Angeles, California

Merav group shot on dockIn Praise of Villa Sumaya: Every winter since 2006, Villa Sumaya has enfolded our groups of creative writers & yoginis in her beautiful arms. She has made sure we ate the most nourishing and delicious food, slept in divinely comfortable beds in rooms designed to delight the eye and soothe the body, and practice our crafts of writing and yoga in the most heavenly possible spaces. If this makes Villa Sumaya sound like the Queen Mother of Paradise, it’s perfectly true–thanks to the artistry and wisdom of founder, Wendy Stauffer, the sure guidance of manager, Lizzy Gerson, and the dedicated, enormously hard-working cooks, housekeepers, gardeners, front desk and maintenance staff. – Gracias y amor a todos por todo!  Patricia Lee Lewis

For both of us, the week at Villa Sumaya was a transformational experience, and I don’t often use that term.  It wasn’t any one thing, but everything that came together for Rhonda & myself…the setting, for sure, the food (compliments to your kitchen!), meeting you…Danielle and her inspired leadership of our group and our yoga sessions…and the Shamanic healing ceremony, which touched a very deep chord in me.  Altogether, it was quite magical.  Rhonda and Eric

I have been taking my groups to Villa Sumaya for the past 5 – 6 years and I can not think of a better place in the world where I can take my groups. The beauty and color, the folklore of what Guatemala has to offer is one of the best in the world. Villa Sumaya is a retreat nested in a paradise created by Wendy the beautiful owner and all of the people that help maintain the balance between nature and spirit. The Villa looks into Lake Atitlan with majestic views of the volcanos, the lake is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world, and it is!! the nickname for this lake is “the mirror of the Gods” to me is not only that but “the playground of the Gods”. You will be able to witness some of the most spectacular sunsets your eyes have ever seen.   The internal growth that will take place by you staying a while in Villa Sumaya is worth the journey there. You will not regret it.  – Om Shanti   Ernesto Ortiz

I stayed at Villa Sumaya almost two years ago and I just wanted to tell you how much it still lingers in my mind. As an avid traveller, I often don’t feel the desire to return to places once I’ve visited them but I think of Villa Sumaya often and fondly, as if looking forward to the day I will be there once again. I’ve had so many reminders this week of my time there – from glimpsing a night sky crowded with beautiful stars to hearing from people I met at Villa Sumaya but had not heard from since – that it compelled me to write to you simply to tell you that it still touches my heart two years later. Upon reflection I see that my time at Villa Sumaya was really a turning point in my life – like I stepped through into another stage of my journey. I’ve recently moved from Australia to the south of France and I’m so happy to say that I haven’t looked back for a moment. But I think that whole journey really began at Villa Sumaya, so thank you for creating such a wonderful space and for inspiring me to live the best life I can. – Micky

‘The most wonderful relaxing environment that restores your peace and helps you appreciate life, you’ll meet wonderful people and achieve a sense of calm not possible anywhere else.’  Claudia x

Ashley's group“My time at Villa Sumaya was the highlight of my trip to Guatemala. Although it was not my first time traveling alone, I never have felt more welcomed by staff and guest. When I feel my patience fading during times of stress, now I close my eyes, picture Villa Sumaya, and remember all that I learned while I was there.” -Angela Wisely

I brought a group of my yoga students from our home in Chico, California to Villa Sumaya. Without exception, everyone loved everything about it. The welcoming environment created by the staff, the excellent food, the accomodations, the yoga facilities, the Maya,  and the incredible surroundings made our experience one none of us will ever forget. We are coming back next year.  Rex Stromness

“Villa Sumaya was an awesome experience.  I have a traveling spirit, and this retreat location had a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.  At Villa Sumaya, you can make your retreat exactly what you want, you just get the added benefit  of great people, great yoga, great food, and great scenery!  It’s a place for beginners and experienced alike.  This was my first yoga trip!  Whether on a personal journey, a spiritual journey, or a journey with a group, you will leave with some peace of mind and great set of new friends if your heart is open to it!”  Kelly Berrall

Villa Sumaya is one of those few places that you can go and finally let go of trying to get more of what you don’t need.  It is in this oasis of calm that I find I can use all the surrendered energy  to make a difference with what I do have and with what I am.  I find that there is a moment when I can just get a glimpse of Lake Atitlan as you head toward Panajchel that I start to get really excited, joy-full, like a little kid!!!  The whole time there is an experience that you’ll never forget or regret…. Karen Keresturi

“The experience more than exceeded my expectations. The personal attention from the instructors was outstanding and way beyond exemplary.  The spa healers were absolutely wonderful.  The food and ambiance delicious.  I truly felt I had discovered Shangri-la!” (from the 1933 novel, Lost Horizon!).   Margie, University Administrative Coordinator, Toronto, Canada

I have led retreats at Villa Sumaya for five years, when I am there my body is relaxed, my heart is open, and my spirit is connected with its source.  For myself and the participants in my groups, each visit is a transformative experience.  The beauty of the setting, the warmth of the staff, and the energies of the lake, the volcanoes and the Mayan culture combine to make Villa Sumaya one of the most magical places I know.    Laura Hansen  – Art & Soul Studio

Experiencing the ancient healing power of the Land of Guatemala and Lake Atitlan, within the loving container of Villa Sumaya was transformative. Wendy has such a refined taste and created beauty all around for us to enjoy. Comfortable space to rest and to feel the spirit while nurturing the senses. Wonderful services, staff and treatments. A gem to add in the heart of your spiritual journeys. Nubia Teixeira and Jai Uttal

Yogacalm group photo“Villa Sumaya is both a sensual delight and a place for real work; a supportive environment where your inner work is held in a space of incomparable natural beauty. Remarkable!”  Dave Adair

“This is now my 2nd time visiting Villa Sumaya in one year. Many thanks for always making me feel at home.  This is my Guatemalan home and I am filled with love and gratitude for all the love and care each and every one of the Villa Sumaya family takes to make me feel that way!    I’ll see you soon!  – Laurie Searle

Villa Sumaya is magical. They have managed to capture the beauty of the lake and surroundings in their gardens and architecture providing you a wonderful space to relax and recharge. The food is yummy and the staff are sweet and supportive going out of their way to make your stay amazing. The rooms are comfortable and feel like home. 
The yoga room has a panoramic view of the lake and volcano’s that is breathtaking. I would highly recommend visiting Villa Sumaya it is truly a special place to experience.  – Akasha Ellis

My wife and I have been coming to Villa Sumaya with yoga groups for the past four years and find it to be a magical place. It provides a quiet and deeply restful environment with panoramic views of three volcanoes on the far side of the lake. The place has a wonderful aesthetic.The grounds have been thoughtfully landscaped with flowers, rock paths and cascading waterfalls. The staff is warm and attentive. The food is fabulous. Each room has a stunning view of the lake and volcanoes. The yoga/meditation temple is world class with full panoramic views, a vaulted thatched ceiling and a glass pyramid skylight. The quiet village of Santa Cruz is a 20 minute walk. The only access to Villa Sumay and the town is by boat and this preserved the beauty and tranquility of the area.  – Surya Chandra Das

Excellent in every way setting, quality of food, very friendly staff ~ room 12 guest

This was a purely magical week.  The space here is truly mystical and utterly beautiful.  I had an absolutely exquisite time.  I want to take this opportunity to RAVE about the staff – EVERYONE so kind, so friendly, good souls, really good-hearted people who made me feel at home.  ` guest room 6

A Few Trip Advisor reviews

Ruben's group 2014Incredible Experience - August 2014 -We went with my partner to celebrate my birthday and we had an amazing time. The rooms are very cozy, the service is great! The 1.5 hours massage with Marcelo was out if this world!! The food was fresh, healthy and delicious... And if you practice yoga they have 2 shalas with beautiful views from the lake... Worth visiting for yoga, relax and to do something entirely different.  Anna M

Heaven on Earth - August 2014 -It was love at 1st sight. When the lancha left my daughter and I off at the dock we were elated. My daughter said to me, ". Mami can you feel it? Is this real or is this a dream? I responded, it's our dream come true. As we stepped on property everything was nothing short of perfect. Sheila L.

A perfect place to lead a retreat -July 2014 This is my third year bringing groups to Villa Sumaya for Yoga, meditation, and personal renewal retreats. Once again we were blown away by the beauty, personal attention and fantastic food. From the moment we walked off the boat we were deeply cared for by Wendy and her crew. The rooms were ready with flowers, fresh water and fruit. Wendy has created an astounding center of beauty. Everything is intentional and you immediately begin to immerse yourself in the beauty of the land and people. I highly recommend Villa Sumaya. Staff made it very easy to host a retreat and took great care of all of us. Kathy F.

It's great even if you aren't there for yoga! March 2014 -I stayed at Villa Sumaya for three days in March as part of a non-profit organization from the US which provides nutritional programs to the indigenous women and children in the surrounding mountainside areas. It was lovely to come "home" to an awesome smoothie, hang time in a hammock, a spa treatment, or just to listen to the waves lapping against the shore. The food was great and the hospitality warm and friendly. Can't wait to go back again!  CindyJchicago


“Simply , Paradise!” – March 2012 – I stayed at this place and it is beautiful!! The view is amazing, the staff very welcoming, the food is DELICIOUS (even for non-vegetarian people, I guarantee you won’t miss meat) The terrace where they serve every meal is AMAZING! The dock where I sat and read was beautiful. Very worth it to check it out!  Jimena G.

tracey sharon's group 2014Great place to visit and recharge yourself! – March 2012 -Owner, Wendy, is loving and has a lot to share with others. Staff were friendly and the views are amazing. There are plenty of places to relax outside of your room. The hikes around the resort are beautiful. I was thrilled to visit!  Shellpyle single traveler

February 2012 -I recently participated in a retreat at Villa Sumaya. The location is extraordinarily magical. I stayed in #9, at the top of the hill and had a view of the lake and the 2 volcanoes that envelope it. The staff were professional, the vegetarian cuisine superb, the facility clean and inviting. Thank you for a wonderful stay. I completely recommend spending some Mother Earth time at this beautiful retreat centre.  Marh137


February 2012 – I found this retreat center online and scheduled to facilitate a retreat there. The photos I’d seen were beautiful, but did not compare to this wonderful place which is truly a place to retreat from the stresses of life. The physical surroundings are breathtaking, the sleeping accomodations are comfortable and soothing. There are 2 different options. There is an older one story building closer to the lake and each room has an outdoor seating area, some with hammocks but all with chairs or small sofas.. a great place to sit and read or meditate or whatever. The newer building is beautiful and each room has a balcony with great views. Either location is great, just different and all with great views. The staff is wonderful and very attentive. The food is vegetarian and well prepared and delicious. The only mistake we made was to schedule outings away from the Villa… a couple would have been fine but many women did too much and probably just sitting still would have been more restorative, but there is much to see around the lake so it is tempting… The yoga rooms are amazing and the energy of the lake is powerful and soothing. The healers that the VS uses are very talented and all of our particants had massages or energy healings or other services and all were very satisfied and grateful. We felt very well taken care of in this wonderful place.  Travelover11

Easter Group 2012 croppedIt’s been awhile, but worth a review -Written 2012, stayed 2009 – My boyfriend and I stayed at Villa Samaya in March 2009. This review is long overdue, but I had made a New Year’s resolution to start reviewing on Tripadvisor since I use it (and totally rely on it) all the time. And I want to put in a good word about any place I’ve stayed in the past that has left a positive or memorable impression on me and Villa Sumaya was that type of place. 

We stayed in Lotus House which had its own balcony and an amazing view of the lake. I think the room was probably newly constructed. It was immaculately clean, tastefully decorated and the bed was super comfortable. The yoga studio was beautiful and open with a great view of the volcano, the dining areas cozy (internet access, too if I remember correctly), etc…

We did not go for a retreat, but took several yoga classes. I wish I could remember the name of the yoga instructor because she was wonderful, especially since it was my bf’s first time doing yoga and I’m really glad it was a positive experience for him.

When I originally made my plans, I was going to be traveling alone so I was a little nervous and had a ton of questions, which Lizzie so patiently and promptly replied to, which I really appreciated. 

Anyway, after looking at all of our pictures to spark my memory I have a sudden desire to book another trip to Villa Sumaya.  Monicakd

Transformative Yoga and Healing Experience – January 2012 – If you’re looking to get away and reset your mind and body, I recommend two things, first go to Villa Sumaya in Guatemala and second participate in a yoga retreat with Elizabeth Neuse and John Ford. Whether you go for a personal retreat or a led yoga retreat, you’ll be in good hands in front a volcano on Lake Atitlan. Friendly atmosphere and loving staff help acclimate you to an amazing experience. There are lots of detox services and healing specialists who can come help you with bodywork or chakra clearing. Get reset for 2012=Go to Villa Sumaya! EsenciaPolitika

Ashley 2 guests with volcanoAn incredible space for introspection and relaxation – I was at Villa Sumaya for a week with a yoga retreat, and it was a wonderful experience. Aside from the natural beauty of Lake Atitlan and the surrounding area, the resort itself is lovely. The grounds are filled with gorgeous gardens, plenty of spots to lounge, and gathering spaces for those in a group. The rooms themselves are clean, comfortable, and thoughtfully decorated. The staff is amazing– always willing to answer questions or accommodate people as needed. Whether you’re a vegetarian or not, you’ll find something delicious to devour at every meal. If you’re looking for relaxation, there’s plenty to be found, but you can also fill your days with everything from local hikes to kayaking to massage. If you’re into spiritual introspection, there are body workers (for massage, acupuncture) and energy workers (healers, intuitives) available for appointments at an additional charge. If you’re not into spiritual introspection, you won’t feel out of place. There’s something at Villa Sumaya to suit every taste, so long as you can appreciate the relaxed vibe and the beautiful, natural surroundings! ntstn55

“An Enchanting And Abundant Place” -February 2011 – Villa Sumaya is a the perfect place to experience a meditation and yoga retreat. Villa Sumaya rests on the shore of Lake Atitlan and looks out directly to one of the three magnificent volcanos. The staff is warm and incredibly helpful. The food is fabulous and healthy. The lodging is unique, earthy, and beautifully embellished. The actual temple where the group practices yoga and mediation has a thatched roof and is enclosed with glass walls overlooking the lake and volcano. It is the ultimate yoga, meditation, and spiritual exploration venue. The body work employees are gifted. I love Villa Sumaya :) Jennmay

Carla - group 2010 cropped“One of the most peaceful places around” -My wife and I spent just under a week at Villa Sumaya and we’re already dying to go back. Sumaya is more of a Yoga Retreat than a Hotel, and I can only imagine that for folks who like their Yoga, this must be heaven on earth. We ended up staying here almost by accident, but we’d definitely go out of our way to come back here again. Sumaya itself is set in a small bay in Lake Atitlan, about 1km away from the village of Santa Cruz, and approx. a 15 min boat ride from the lake’s main hub, Panajachel. Waking up and seeing nothing but the lake and a few volcanos really is pretty special, and the entire setup of the place is designed to let you simply relax and get back in touch with yourself. Sumaya spreads out across the hillside into which it is (very organically) built, and so whether you feel like swinging in the hammock outside of your room, or relaxing by the lakeside on a chaise lounge, or even having a dip in the hot tub, you’re able to wander around as if you’re the only people around. The staff are all extremely polite and helpful, food is excellent (funnily enough, the salad dressing was to die for), there’s plenty of teas, homemade treats, and other goodies just waiting to be sampled. Wendy, the owner, has done an amazing job with the place and you can feel the love that everyone, from those who work here to those who stay here, have for the place. 

Being as isolated as it is, be ready to deal with nature – although most of it is simply hearing the birds wake you up, and listening to the waves splashing against the lakeshore. This is certainly not a concrete block of a Westin.

One final note – be sure to take in a massage while you’re there. The villa is connected to several local massage therapists, and having both had one or two massages, we can highly recommend them as a little cherry on top for your relaxation. Ito and Alicia were both amazing and we’ve come back to snowy Chicago feeling as relaxed as we possibly could be.  Serge Ozbek

Best food and staff ever!- November 2010 – As a frequent traveler, I have never felt moved to write a review before now. My Nov 2010 stay at Villa Sumaya was extraordinary not for the gorgeous tropical locale or the many amenities offered, but for the outstanding graciousness and hospitality of the entire staff. Even the resident dog and cats seemed to go out of their way to make me feel welcomed and cared for. As a visitor with dietary restrictions, I was amazed at the creative endeavors of the kitchen. I have never eaten better at home or abroad. By the end of my stay I had serious fantasies about how I could stay on as a permanent resident. Villa Sumaya is one of those truly great finds, a small but brillant jewel. Robbgag

Big thanks to all our esteemed guests for their kind testimonials! We hope to share our paradise with you again, some day!