From: Mykonos (JMK)
Price:$ 3,495
Duration: 8 days, 7 nights

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Duration:
8 days, 7 nights
Activities:
Yoga
Hiking
Sea Kayaking
Skill Rating:
1
Van Supported:
Yes
From:
Mykonos (JMK)
Price:
$ 3,495
Included: Guides, ground transportation, support vehicle, lodging, most meals (breakfasts and dinners).
Not Included: Air or ferry to Mykonos, lunches and drinks, personal clothing and accessories, entry fees into ruins, full medical, baggage and trip cancellation insurance, airport taxes and gratuities.

Unwind your body and mind with The Northwest Passage on our new Mykonos Yoga Retreat.  From our base on the golden sands of Panormos Beach, this trip embodies the concept of balance on every level; from our secluded location on a notorious party island, through the complementary movements of yoga and kayak paddling, to the fusion of cosmopolitan luxuries and ancient ruins.  Align your body, calm your mind and explore the playground of Mykonos, both on and off the water.


Itinerary:

Day 1:  Your Northwest Passage guides greet you at the airport and shuttle you across the island to our secluded base for the week, Panormos Beach.  Once we have settled into our accommodations we will hold a light session of yoga; realigning ourselves after a long day of travel.  After a rejuvenating session, we will head out into Panormos Bay to conduct our introductory sea kayaking clinic. Tonight we get to know one another and discuss the planned itinerary over sunset drinks and a delicious dinner on the coast. (D)

Day 2:  Each day we greet the morning with an optional meditation session, after which we hold our relaxing session of morning yoga.  As we step off our mats, we will be met with a delicious and traditional Greek breakfast.  Afterwards, we head to the south coast of the island and begin our week of paddling at Paranga Beach.  We spend the afternoon paddling past fishing towns, beautiful beaches and magnificent rock formations along the shoreline. We will enjoy a taverna lunch in Elia, as we continue on towards Cape Tarsanas. After returning to our hotel for the evening, we will hold another yoga session.  We’ll end the day with a beautiful sunset dinner on the coast.  (B, D)

Day 3:  Once again we will greet the morning with successive sessions of meditation and yoga.  After breakfast we will return to Cape Tarsanas and continue east along the south shore of Mykonos.  After paddling for a short while, we round the southeastern corner of the island and head north.  A favorite place to stop and enjoy a pack lunch is Kato Trigani, a beautiful beach that overlooks nearby island of Trigonisi.  After lunch, we continue to hug the shoreline as we turn our bows west, paddling in and out of marvelously sculpted coves and around sloping, rocky headlands.  Our destination for the evening is Panormos Beach, our tranquil base for this retreat.  Another yoga session in the afternoon, and a well earned dinner will round out the day.  (B, D)

Day 4:  Today will be a recovery day, after yesterday’s paddle.  Upon waking we continue our practice of meditation and yoga, and, as always, we are rewarded with a hearty Greek breakfast.  We launch our kayaks into the bay and paddle north, past a wildlife refuge, stopping for cappuccino at one of the many beautiful beaches. Once we exit the bay we continue our journey west along the north side of the island, stopping along the way to fuel up on a tasty pack lunch. After hopping back into our boats, we press on for Houlakia Bay. In the evening we explore the nearby ruins and hold an afternoon yoga session before tucking into another delicious dinner.  (B, D)

Day 5:  As usual we will wake to morning meditation and yoga sessions, followed by breakfast.  The morning and early afternoon will be spent kayaking to Kapari.  Once we have reached town we will enjoy a free evening.  Feel free to explore town on your own, and enjoy a private dinner.  Be sure to sample the famously happening Mykonos nightlife or take a stroll along the starlit shoreline. (B)

Day 6:  After our regular morning sessions, we set out into the open water as we make the crossing to the neighboring island of Delos, the birthplace of Artemis and Apollo.  We enjoy a pack lunch, and explore this storied island.  To the ancient Greeks, this island was extremely sacred, and as a result, there’s a wide variety of archaeological sites for us to visit.  We paddle around the southern point of Delos and then head back north as we complete our circumnavigation of this mysterious island.  Then we shoot back across the strait to Mykonos, where we will return to the comfort of our hotel and yoga mats, enjoying another well earned dinner along the way.  (B, D)

Day 7:  We greet our last full day on Mykonos with a yoga session overlooking the sea.  Today we complete our second circumnavigation of the week, rounding the southwestern corner of Mykonos  and returning Paranga Beach!  We will have plenty of time in the afternoon to relax in town and freshen up at the hotel.  We will enjoy our last afternoon yoga session back at our familiar Panarmos Beach.  Tonight we enjoy our celebratory dinner and reminisce on all our favorite memories from our adventure in the Cyclades.  (B, D)

Day 8:  If time allows we will hold our regular morning meditation and yoga sessions.  After breakfast we gather our belongings and say goodbye to this incredible island. We transfer you to the airport by 11:30 AM so that you can make any connecting flights.  (B)

* Note: This is our intended itinerary. As with any adventure travel, the forces of nature can be unpredictable, causing us to make adjustments and changes to the itinerary. Rest assured that our many years of exploring have provided us with numerous options if changes need to be made. If it is too windy to paddle, various hiking, cultural and historical options will make you glad for the winds.


Clothing & Equipment:

This is all you will need - anything else is unnecessary baggage and will only be extra weight to carry.

  • 3-7 t-shirts, some synthetic for paddling
  • 1 shirt, long sleeved
  • 2-3 pair shorts (some quick drying)
  • Sun/rain hat
  • Sneakers/cross trainers hiking; some prefer hiking in Tevas or other sandals with socks
  • Rain gear just in case! (Paddling jacket works well as an alternative or windbreaker jacket)
  • 1 pair sport sandals; Tevas, water socks, etc. (Paddling booties work great!)
  • Bathing suit(s)
  • Underwear, socks
  • Casual clothes for evenings (shorts/summer dresses are fine!)
  • Clean change of clothing for the trip home 

Miscellaneous

  • Passport (be sure to check expiration date (be sure to check expiration date - it should be at least six months after your intended date of return)
  • Toiletry kit- toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, sunscreen, face cream, nail clippers, moleskin, baby powder, soap, washcloth, etc.
  • Personal medication kit- ibuprofen, aspirin, vitamins, band-aids, Dramamine®, cold/sinus meds if prone to colds
  • Daypack/fanny pack for hiking options
  • Collapsible walking stick for optional hikes
  • Sunglasses Chums/Croakies® to keep glasses on your head are imperative
  • Water bottle (optional- bottled water is plentiful and cheap)
  • Small dry bag with carabiner clip (clear ones are very useful)
  • Headlamp (optional).
  • Camera, digital media (more expensive in Greece than in the U.S.), (traditional film is now hard to find in Greece), waterproof container
  • Paddling gloves (for the tender of palm- not neoprene but any open fingered glove can help; e.g. biking gloves etc)
  • Small towel (e.g. PackTowel® works well)
  • Small travel alarm clock
  • Yoga Mat
  • Yoga blocks and straps if you normally use them

Optional Equipment

  • Guidebooks
  • Mask and snorkel (can be purchased inexpensively)
  • Field glasses – binoculars
  • Your own Paddle/PFD- we will supply paddles and PFD’s for group but, if you prefer your own paddle and PFD, feel free to bring them along
  • Ziploc® storage bags (to keep stuff extra dry in dry bag)

What is special about this trip?

Mykonos is one of Greece's best-known islands, with an international reputation for sophistication, a vibrant nightlife, and renowned beaches. Like its sister islands in the Cyclades, it's a picturesque island with the classic white "sugar cube" architecture. But few get to explore its beautiful coastline the way we do - by kayak, admiring every cove, cave, and hidden sandy beach along the way, and with minds, bodies, and eyes refreshed by twice-daily sessions of yoga - with a few spontaneous ones added along the way.


How do I get there?
After flying to Athens, you can depart for Mykonos by plane or ferry. You can also fly to Crete or Santtorini and depart for Mykonos from there. If going to Mykonos by ferry from Athens, be aware that there are ferry options from both Piraeus and Rafina (also spelled Raphina  or Raphia) which are far apart from each other on opposite sides of the Attica peninsula - so make sure you make your way to the right port for your departure.

What papers do I need for travel?
All US citizens require a valid passport to enter Greece; it should be good for at least six months after your planned date of return. A visa is not required for citizens of the United States, Canada, and the European Union. If you are a citizen of another country, please check with your nearest Greek embassy for visa requirements.

Do I need to get any shots before traveling?
No inoculations are required for Greece.

How and where will you meet me?
We will have a copy of your travel itinerary so that we can meet you at the airport or ferry port on Mykonos upon your arrival. A guide carrying a Northwest Passage sign will greet you.

How long will it take me to get there?
The flight to Athens is usually an overnight flight, leaving the U.S. in the late afternoon and arriving mid-day to late afternoon in Athens. Depending on the carrier and connections, you may need to overnight in another city en-route or near Athens.

Where should I stay overnight around there?
If you plan to arrive early or stay late, give the office a call for a recommendation on a great place to stay.

What money should I take?
The trip fee covers most of your costs. The only things you will be responsible for are lunches, drinks, one dinner, personal purchases, and gratuities. Lunches generally range 7-10 Euro. Dinner ranges 12-20 Euro. Personal purchases again vary- one can buy unique souvenirs made of olive wood for 5 Euro or get fine jewelry for significantly more… it’s up to you. Mykonos offers sophisticated shopping opportunities in the main town so there may be some temptations.

What's the currency? Exchange rate? Where can I exchange money?
The Euro is the currency of Greece, and while some predict they could return to the drachma, this is unlikely and, in any case, Euros would continue to be accepted. For the most current exchange rate, there are several helpful websites. Oanda (www.oanda.com) will give you a handy conversion cheat sheet to take with you. You can exchange money at the airport (either Athens or Mykonos). Exchange rates at the airport may not be the most favorable and they often have higher commission rates and/or minimum commissions, but the actual difference is rarely substantial enough to worry much about. There are ATMs at the airports which can be handy as there is no commission, just the ATM service charge. Some of the hotels where we stay may also exchange money. Some shops do exchange money but their rates are often high. In the main town of Mykonos there will be ATMs.

Do they take plastic there? Are there cash stations?
Most of the larger restaurants and shops accept major credit cards, but some do not. ATMs are available in the larger towns. But for small impulse purchases and market stops, you will want to have Euros with you in smaller denominations.

What's the weather like?
The weather in fall and spring is generally around 80° with lots of sunshine. Be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen, including lip protection. A broad-brimmed hat that secures on your head can also be very helpful. Water temperatures in fall tend to be in the mid to upper 70s. Spring water temperatures are significantly cooler (high 60s). Air temperatures cool off at night to the point you may want a light jacket. Rain is unusual but does sometimes occur. A light rain jacket can be handy.

What are the accommodations like?
We choose to stay in the nicest family-owned inns, usually close to the sea where we launch our kayaks or with outstanding views or other special amenities.  On the yoga trip, we also look for accommodations with class spaces, either indoor or outdoor.

What do I need to bring?
Upon registering, we will provide you with a detailed clothing and equipment list to guide you in your packing and you can also check the on-line planning information. Casual clothes are the order of the day- no need for anything fancy, though some enjoy dressing up a bit for dinner, this is by no means required. While paddling, your needs in the boat will be minimal. A small dry bag with a carabiner clip to keep it attached to the boat is very handy. Clear bags are helpful to be able to find what you need. During the day, you will want to have sunscreen, some Euros for lunch and the cappuccino stop, sunglasses with something to keep them tied on with (Croakies®, Chums®, etc.), water bottle (most folks will buy cold bottled water in the morning, eliminating the need to bring a water bottle), camera, mask and snorkel (if you enjoy snorkeling), small binoculars if you already have some, and a small pack towel. A pair of gloves can be helpful to prevent blisters. You do not need neoprene paddling gloves- these can be too warm. Any open fingered glove (including bike gloves, sailing gloves, golfing gloves) can work well (just figure that they will get quite wet). The key is to protect your palm between your thumb and index finger as that tends to receive the most friction. If you bring any items requiring electricity, be sure to bring both a converter and adapter plugs. These can be purchased at Radio Shack®, other electronics stores, travel stores etc. Let the salesperson know you are traveling to Greece and they can help you select the appropriate converter and adapter plugs for your equipment. Note that hair dryers, irons, and any other heat producing devices require a stronger converter than other devices. It is helpful to know the wattage of your particular equipment when purchasing the appropriate converter.

Can I drink the water?
The running water is potable and bottled water is available everywhere we stop. On Mykonos, much of the water is brought in by boat.

What's the food like?
Breakfast generally consists of fresh Greek yogurt with honey, bread, cheese, juice, coffee or tea, with eggs as an occasional option. Lunches and dinners are ordered off the menu which typically consists of Greek specialties such as moussaka, pastitsio, grilled meats and fish, spaghetti (doesn’t sound Greek but very popular), stifada (generally beef stew), etc.  Greece is a meat- and fish-loving culture,  but previous vegetarian clients have not gone hungry, enjoying dolmades (grape leaves), eggplant, zucchini, tzatziki (yogurt/cucumber/garlic dip), saganaki (fried feta), briam (similar to lasagna but all vegetables), Greek salads etc. There are also many gluten-free options.

What time zone will I be in?
For most of the time of year we travel, Greece is two hours ahead of Greenwich Time, which makes it 7 hours ahead of US Eastern Time, 8 hours ahead of Central Time, 9 hours ahead of Mountain time, and 10 hours ahead of Pacific Time.  The time difference changes in March and September.

How can people reach me in an emergency? Can I call home?
We will provide you with a list of our hotels including phone and fax numbers. You should also provide family/friends with The Northwest Passage number (800-RECREATE, 732-7328) as NWP staff will always be notified of any changes in the itinerary. You can call home using a calling card. Many of the hotels will have phones in the rooms. Keep in mind the time difference listed above. It can be helpful to remind family and friends about this also. Greek cell phones can be purchased with some minutes for local calls for about $50. Please check with your cell phone company in the U.S. if you intend to use your usual phone in Europe - rates can be unexpectedly high if you don't have an international calling/data plan. 

How much time do we spend traveling each day? How many miles? Do I have free time?
We will generally kayak 4-6 hours per day, though this may be adjusted to accommodate the yoga class schedule and paddling skill level of the group. The paddling is broken into multiple sections with plenty of time to explore the coastline, paddle in and out of sea caves and jump in and out of the water to cool off. We generally begin paddling at 8:30 each morning, then take a cappuccino break at a seaside taverna after an hour or so. We stop again for lunch after another hour or so and generally reach our next hotel between 3:30 and 4:30 in the afternoon. Distance traveled varies each day. Once we reach our destination, you will have some free time to shower, relax, and/or explore the town. We may offer some additional skill training for folks who are interested at the end of the day. Some participants have wanted to work on Eskimo rolling, paddling techniques, etc. Each day, the van will be following our route, meeting us at the cappuccino stops and lunch stops, offering multiple options. You can paddle to the cappuccino break, then hop in the van to the lunch stop, then paddle again in the afternoon. Or start with a van ride and paddle later in the day.

What kind of equipment do you use?
We have a combination of hard shell plastic doubles, singles and folding doubles. Some participants prefer to paddle in the doubles the whole time (paddling is a bit easier with two people powering the boat and the doubles tend to be more stable) and some prefer to trade on and off with the singles. We will provide kayaks, paddles, spray skirts and PFD’s (personal flotation devices) for all participants. If you prefer to bring your own paddle and/or PFD, you are most welcome to. Please let us know in advance so that we can pack the appropriate gear, especially if you have a particular need or unusual size.

While we include excellent basic equipment suitable for most paddlers, you can also upgrade your paddle for a higher-performance model for a small rental fee.

How many people are on this trip? How many guides? Who are the guides / what are their qualifications?
Our group sizes for this trip range from 6 to 16 participants. We generally have two guides on the water and one or two additional staff members as van drivers. Your guides will be knowledgeable Northwest Passage staff members who are highly skilled in all aspects of sea kayaking and wilderness travel and have years of experience leading groups. They all have training and/or certification in Wilderness First Aid. Your Yoga Teacher is a certified instructor. Each trip offers different opportunities and yoga styles, so please feel free to inquire about the teacher who will be on your trip.

How can I prepare physically for the trip? How much prior experience is needed?


Our Yoga Instructors are highly experienced and  can adapt to any skill level, from novice to advanced practitioners.

In regard to the kayaking, we have had participants on this trip who have never been in a kayak before and others who have been paddling for years. We have found that all levels of kayakers have enjoyed this adventure. A good level of personal fitness makes the journey more enjoyable. For kayaking, upper body exercises that strengthen your shoulders, back and arms are recommended. Strengthening exercises with free weights can be very beneficial. Upper body stretches and exercises such as rowing are also useful. Keep in mind that we have had folks at all different levels of physical conditioning thoroughly enjoy this trip and the van is always an option! It is extremely important that you know how to swim and are comfortable in the water. Please don’t hesitate to contact our office if you have any questions or concerns about your physical capabilities for this trip.


History:

Mykonos and Delos

The island of Mykonos is part of what is called the Cycladic island group, named for the ring of islands that circle around the sister island of Mykonos, Delos. Mykonos has been inhabited since very early times, and was first active as part of the Cycladic civilization when obsidian was the cutting-edge of new technology and its trade invigorated the Greek islands. Iconic carved-marble abstract figurines which appear startlingly modern to our eyes characterize this early culture, and many have been found on Mykonos and surrounding islands.

Later, Mykonos was a trading partner with the ancient Minoans based on the island of Crete. In the Bronze Age, Mykonos was relatively quiet. Theseus was said to have stopped at Delos on his way home to Athens, leading his followers in a labyrinthine Crane Dance he had learned in Crete at the palace of Minos.  

In early Greek times, the nearby island of Delos became more and more important, enjoying a heyday in the Roman period. At this time, the island became a vast complex of temples, consulates, trading posts, and luxurious villas, the remains of which can be visited today.