Two years ago I spent my university Easter break doing a work exchange at Casa de Carrasco – a budget yoga camp nestled high in the mountains of the Serra de Cardo National Park on the Spanish Costa Daurada, less than two hours away from Barcelona. I had an awesome time in my three weeks there, and can now wholeheartedly recommend Casa de Carrasco for all of the following reasons:
1. The View
The camp is set in a 10 acre olive grove in the middle of the mountains. Yoga classes are held outside every morning on the sun deck, so it’s one heck of a view to take in during your sun salutations. The hiking is incredible, with lots of nature trails just waiting to be explored and mountain bikes for hire.
2. The Price
Most yoga retreats are way beyond a backpacker’s budget – not so this yoga camp. Prices range from €25 per night if you’re pitching your own tent to €85 if you want an ensuite room in the converted farmhouse ‘Stables’. I was particularly taken with the safari tents (€35-€55 per person per night), which come complete with real beds – talk about glamping! When you consider that the costs include accommodation, breakfast and a 90-minute yoga class each morning, the value is really incredible, and it’s lovely to see the dedication that’s been put into keeping yoga accessible for everyone.
If you’d like the stay longer – usually a three or four week minimum – then you can also contact Sarah, the retreat’s owner, about the possibility of staying for free in exchange for working in the mornings. This is what I did and I can vouch that the system was fair and fun. Tasks include preparing the breakfast and laying out the yoga mats, then some light cleaning, gardening or DIY so all fairly standard. I now know how to clean a swimming pool!
3. The Company
Sarah is a truly inspirational Go! Girl – she’s got some amazing stories to tell, and a fantastic attitude to life and yoga. A British expat in Spain by way of Hawaii, she now lives the dream running the retreat over the summer months before spending the winter in India. She’s also the proud owner of several rescue cats and dogs who really are just too adorable – one is a Siamese mix called Mitsy who’d climb into my tent at night and nibble my ear! If you’re a pet lover, you won’t be disappointed.
4. The Location
The retreat is remote. Really remote. As in ‘forget about walking to the nearest shop or having signal on your cell phone’ remote. What is lacks in amenities, however, is more than made up for by the landscape. If you want to get away from it all, this is certainly the place to do it in style.
That said, you can always cycle, drive or catch a ride down to one of the nearby beach towns or beaches if you’re feeling a little stir crazy. Best of all, Barcelona is less than two hours away – an easy train ride – meaning that you can tag a city break onto the start or end of your holiday with relative ease.
5. The Pace
Perhaps the best thing about staying at Casa de Carrasco is the pace. Time passes slowly there. You can spend your time whiling away the sunny hours after your morning yoga by going for long, meandering hikes, or lazing by the pool. You can make olive tea using the leaves all around, or pick your own rosemary to cook with. You can mix things up with a massage, or sign up for one of the courses on Ayurveda, meditation or simply paella cooking. You can also rent bikes, go cat fishing, try kayaking or strike out on a day trip – or simply sit by the pool sipping some homemade sangria.
To clarify, we are in no way being paid to promote this camp. I just really enjoyed my time there and want to spread the word! It’s not just me though – check out all the happy campers over at Trip Advisor (although ignore the reviews from the not-so-happy campers who were not so happy camping!).
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