January 19 – January 26, 2019

Puerto Escondido, Mexico

with Bill Schafer and Alice Mixer

Alice and I will host the Ninth Annual Reflective Practice Retreat from Saturday January 19 to Saturday January 26, 2019 at Villas Carrizalillo, Puerto Escondido, Mexico. Villas Carrizalillo are twelve private 5 star villas set on a cliff over a beautiful bay on Mexico’s southernmost Pacific coast. They are quiet, comfortable, and safe. Each villa is individually designed. There is a very good restaurant on the site, a private stairway to the beach, and a sleepy little fishing village to explore just a short walk away.

We meet each morning at nine o'clock on the shaded veranda of Bill and Alice's villa, overlooking the ocean. It is a secluded space, quiet yet filled with the sound of sea and birds.  Each morning includes two meditation periods of about twenty minutes each, one guided by Alice and the other on your own. There will be time to talk and share.  There is a short break half way through, and the morning exercise ends at about eleven. The theme of this year's retreat is "Interpretations of Orpheus and Eurydice". Bill will arrive with varying interpretations of the timeless myth: poems of Rainer Maria Rilke, a 19th-20th century romantic poet; stories by Martin Prechtl, a modern Mayan shaman, and essays by Anne Dufourmantelle, a 20th century French philosopher and psychoanalyst. 

After each morning's session you are free to spend the rest of the day swimming, exploring or shopping. Most evenings, many of us join up again on the veranda to watch the sun set over the Pacific Ocean before dining on fresh seafood by the ocean side. At the end of the day you get to sleep in air-conditioned comfort, and rise again the next morning for more of the same. Each person receives credit for 12 hours of reflective practice, which makes the trip tax deductible for many. More importantly, everyone takes home greater skill in finding their deep wellspring of inner life.  

Villas Carrizalillo can be reached either through Huatulco (call letters HUX) or through the regional airport of Puerto Escondido (PXM). You can fly to Huatulco on United from Houston, or on Delta's code-share partner Aeromexico from Mexico City. If you fly into Huatulco, we will arrange for a van to transport you to the Villas, 90 minutes away. Puerto Escondido can only be accessed by Aeromar, a regional airline operated by Aeromexico much as United Express is operated by United. (Normally you have to book travel to PXM through Orbitz or Expedia.) If you are unsure how to arrange air passage, please call us (734-769-3134) or email us ( and we will be glad to help.

To learn more about Villas Carrizalillo, visit and you can look over the accommodations in order to choose the villa you prefer. You will receive a 15% discount from the listed price for staying a full week, and an additional 10% off if you pay in cash. Our fee for the week is $400 per person, ($350 if you have attended a previous retreat). Most participants come with spouses or partners, and a few villas can even accommodate two families.  If you register as a single we will help you find someone with whom to share a villa.  Depending on which villa you choose and how many people share it, you can expect the entire trip to cost between $1500 and $1800 per person, plus food (cheap in Mexico.)

To register for the retreat, mail a deposit of $200 per person to Bill Schafer, 618 Miner, Ann Arbor MI 48103. Include your first and second choice of villas, and we will make the reservation for you on a first-come first-served basis. (You cannot reserve through the Villas' website, since for the time being all villas are held in our name.) Then consider purchasing airfare rather soon, as prices are expected to rise over the summer. 

We will again feature several optional half-day activities: bird watching at Manialtepec Lagoon, whale dolphin-turtle-manta ray sightings from small boats (in January whales are transiting the Mexican coast during their semi-annual migration between Arctic and Antarctic waters), visits to the local sea turtle hatchery or the iguana sanctuary, etc. You could also set up your own activities, such as deep sea fishing or a trip to a coffee plantation. There are many interesting restaurants in Puerto Escondido, some within easy walking distance from the Villas. The five-minute cab ride into town costs only 20 pesos (less than $2 US). There is high surf along all beaches except for those on protected bays like Carrizalillo, and you will see many surfers whenever the waves are up. Puerto Escondido is an informal and laid back town. It is quite safe. (Mercifully for us, the Oaxaca coast has been spared the drug wars that have plagued northern Mexico and the capital city.)   There are no crowds and you can walk many beaches for an hour and see only a handful of people.

If you wish, you can add to the retreat a trip to the fascinating city of Oaxaca. It lies in a large valley 5,000 feet above sea level. It is arguably the most beautiful city in Mexico. The historic center features excellent museums, world class restaurants, an opera house, and an extraordinary botanical garden. Oaxaca also boasts the most colorful and the liveliest zócalo (central plaza) in all of Mexico. Twenty minutes outside of the city is Monte Albán, a major pre-Columbian ruin well worth a day’s visit. Each of the surrounding pueblos in the valley features its own special handicraft—weaving, pottery, silver, woodworking, etc. Truly, Oaxaca and its surrounding valley is a diner's or a shopper’s paradise!

Oaxaca City can be reached from Puerto Escondido either by bus or by a small propeller plane. The bus costs only a few dollars and carries you over two beautiful mountain ranges, but it takes half a day. The plane costs $110 and gets you there in 45 minutes. You can make reservations for either, but only once you are in Mexico. Should you choose the Oaxaca add-on, it is easy to arrange your international air transportation so that you fly into either Huatulco or Puerto, and return to the United States from Oaxaca.

If you wish to know more about the retreat or how to make flight reservations, please contact us.  We will be happy to answer any questions you have. We have room for only about 20 people, so be sure to reserve early. 

(Click on the photos below to enlarge)