As the locals say, ayubowan! Welcome to the beautiful oasis that is Camp Poe. I was so thrilled to be invited to stay here for a few days to glamp in the dense jungle, practice yoga twice a day, and relax in the gorgeous pool. The pristine local beach is a mere 2 minutes away beckoning with sparkling crystal waters, white sand, and looming palm trees.
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If you guessed that Camp Poe is an ode to Edgar Allen Poe, you are correct! Poe also stands for, “people of earth” and “protect our earth.” I was initially drawn to the accommodation because of its obvious beauty but what made me really want to stay here is the founder’s commitment to social sustainability.
They fixed up the home on the property and gave it to a lovely family who had previously been living in a makeshift shack on the beach. Some of the family members are now employed by Camp Poe. They cook a delicious, donation based, traditional lunch for guests upon request. Mamma is the official host of Camp Poe; she helps maintain the property and teaches cooking classes in her kitchen. Her son-in-law is one of the many local surf instructors Camp Poe deploys to teach guests how to catch a wave.
The grounds beautiful pool is used occasionally to teach local children how to swim for free and Sinhala language lessons are available from a local woman. If you’ve been following Miss Filatelista for a while you’ll know that I do my best to be a responsible traveler and seek out experiences that benefit the local community and I feel confident that Camp Poe is making a lasting impact.
The surf and yoga retreat is located off-the-beaten-path in Ahangama between Galle and Weligama in the golden south coast of Sri Lanka. The site is surrounded by traditional Sri Lankan villages and the world-famous palm tree-lined train tracks. The facilities are adorned with beachy murals that have been left behind by past travelers, cozy seating areas, a pool table, and a family-style dining area. The ambiance transcends a creative and soothing vibe.
The idyllic retreat was bustling with international travelers despite the monsoon season which in reality only meant a few evening thunderstorms and morning bouts of liquid sunshine.
We gathered together each morning for a buffet breakfast of local fresh fruits, personally prepared eggs, and Sri Lankan tea. Evening meals are also shared communally with decadent curries made with love and farm fresh vegetables.
Yoga sessions are held each morning at 8 AM and afternoon at 4 PM in the beautiful outdoor yoga shala surrounded by lush greenery. The practice here consists of Quantum Yoga, a holistic practice that merges ancient Indian Ayurvedic healing with Quantum Physics. The combination is meant to sooth the body where it is needed and strengthen manifestation.
The lessons are built around the three doshas. Vata is the elements of space and air, Pitta is fire and water, and Kapha is water and earth. I had a feeling that my dominant dosha was Kapha and headed off to visit a local Ayurvedic doctor to see if my hunch was correct. You can test what your dosha is with this free online tool.
Turns out I was correct. I like to think I am pretty in touch with my body. It is something that comes with the turf of living with a chronic illness your entire life. The doctor took my pulse for nearly a minute and then began to tell me about some of my ailments. A few other guests who had been before told me the doctor had correctly guessed their ages. Knowing this I decided to play a little trick. As he took my pulse I was consciously telling myself that I was 31 years old (I am actually 28). Lo and behold, what do you think the doctor wrote down? 31!
He confirmed that I am indeed of water and earth and explained that my breathing problems, which I did not tell him about, stem from the imbalance between Pitta and Vata in my body. Interestingly enough he mentioned that they are more balanced than they’ve been in the past. I confessed and told him that I suffered from asthma but that as I’ve gotten older it’s become less of a daily nuisance. He prescribed some herbal Ayurvedic pills to take (4 a day!) which he promised after 1 month would balance my doshas and regulate my breathing.
Ben, one of the founders of Camp Poe, is also the resident yoga instructor. He helped ease me into all the inverted yoga poses I usually shy away from. He took his time to make sure I felt safe and comfortable and encouraged me to push through the fear and toss my legs overhead (with control, of course).
It felt amazing to get into asanas I’ve never tried before, even if just momentarily. I am currently working on perfecting my shoulder stand and crow pose which are big steps for me. Make sure to buy an eco-friendly cotton yoga mat before you visit the retreat!
Enough about the down dogs and the up dogs, you’re probably wondering, what about the mongoose? Camp Poe was my second time camping in an exotic locale. Last year I had the opportunity to sleep in a tent in the Moroccan Sahara Desert for two weeks. But it was the first time that I shared my tent. My first night the monsoon rolled in to make an appearance with a ferocious storm. Lightning cracked above as rain plummeted the roof of my tent. The tents are incredibly durable and cozy.
The rain was soothing and the scent of the damp jungle were lulling me to sleep when suddenly I felt something furry on my arm. I was certain it was just the wind pushing the tent into my body and fell back asleep. But it wasn’t the tent, it was a massive mongoose (at least two feet long, I swear) that had managed to weasel it’s way into the tent. I probably didn’t secure the zipper tightly at the bottom. We had a starring and screaming contest for what felt like 30 minutes as we dodged each other as we both looked for a way to escape. Finally, Ben came to my rescue and released the critter front the tent. I was completely fine, just a bit panicked, but I can already look back and laugh at the experience.
I was a guest at Camp Poe. All opinions and photos are my own. This post contains affiliate links. Please read the Miss Filatelista disclosure policy for more information.