Bunny Does Yoga at Ki-Ra Holistic Living
Bunny was in a perfect frame of mind when she stayed at Ki-Ra Holistic Living in the Dominican Republic. She had just spent 10 food, drink and fun-filled days at an indulgent all-inclusive resort in the Punta Cana area, and was totally ready for a detox. Enter Ki-Ra Holistic Living.
Bunny originally stumbled on Ki-Ra while researching accommodation options in the Bayahibe area. She was blown away by Ki-Ra’s amazing (albeit few) reviews on TripAdvisor. So she reserved a five-night stay and hoped to emerge a new, improved and healthy Bunny. Read below what happened.
Ki-Ra is a beautiful 25-acre ocean front property close to Parque Nacional del Este in the South-East corner of the Dominican Republic. Access to the secluded property is via dirt road but a four-wheel vehicle is not needed. The closest airport, La Romana, is a short (15 minutes) taxi drive away.
Two other airports, Punta Cana (1-hour drive) and Santo Domingo (1,5-hour drive) are also within striking distance.
Ki-Ra offers three different rooms to choose from. Bunny opted for the beautiful Blue Room. It is located in one of the towers on the property and has a lovely rooftop terrace with sea views.
The room itself is spacious and beautifully decorated. There is a comfy bed with a balcony just steps away, a sofa, desk, wardrobe space and a big bathroom. The color scheme, like elsewhere at Ki-Ra, is mostly crisp white with some delightful splashes of striking colours.
The Blue Room is the only room at Ki-Ra with air-conditioning. Bunny never used it but occasionally turned on the handy ceiling fan. The shower was powered by solar water heating which did take a little time to kick in.
By coincidence, Bunny’s room also had the strongest Wi-Fi signal on the property, a fact that the work-obsessed Mr. Bunny was most pleased about.
Ki-Ra also offers a glamping option - with lovely oceanfront Indian tents. Bunny was able to poke around the tents for a bit and decided that next time she would stay in one of those. They are all elegantly furnished and have full bathrooms inside.
The most economical tent, the Bell Tent, is smaller and you’ll have to rely on the site’s shared bathroom and shower facilities if you stay in it.
In all the tents, you can fall asleep listening to the sound of crashing waves right next to you. It must be a very soothing feeling, Bunny thinks.
Ki-Ra offers scheduled holistic retreats year-round, but Bunny’s visit did not coincide with any of those dates. She was partly happy about that - as it was blissfully quiet at Ki-Ra - but on the other hand she missed out on some world-class yoga opportunities.
Outside the scheduled retreats, yoga is available according to the owner’s availability. The owner’s name is Kyra, and she is a busy lady with a business and a big family to care for but Bunny was lucky to have one yoga session with her. In the beginning of the class, Bunny enquired what kind of yoga Kyra practiced, and the answer was “her own type”. Bunny soon learned that this was the best type.
The class started very gently with breathing exercises, but slowly progressed into more dynamic yoga. By the end of the nearly two-hour class, Bunny had even made (a paltry) attempt at a headstand. Afterwards, she felt both relaxed and accomplished, just as you should after a good yoga class.
During her stay at Ki-Ra, Bunny returned to the yoga bale many times, enjoying her self-practice yoga in the gorgeous environment and surroundings. Once, she even managed to drag super reluctant Mr. Bunny along with her…
Gorgeous, Healthy Food
Ki-Ra’s guiding principle is to use food as medicine. All the food served at the property is vegetarian, mostly vegan, and prepared according to Ayurvedic principles, with a touch of Caribbean flavour.
And everything is delicious! It was easily the best food Bunny ate in the Dominican Republic, perhaps even in the whole of the Caribbean. Bunny’s particular favourite was the spicy Mexican soup posole but she enjoyed literally everything she ate at Ki-Ra, even the fruit tasted somehow fresher than she had ever tasted before.
The Ki-Ra cuisine is, first and foremost, good for you, but also very fresh, tasty and beautifully presented. The best thing about eating three meals a day at Ki-Ra was feeling great and energetic all the time. Bunny was never stuffed or hungry but was always looking forward to the next meal.
Lunches and dinners were mostly served on the patio next to the kitchen but sometimes the staff surprised you by setting them in the garden. One evening, the Bunnies enjoyed a wonderfully romantic dinner by the sea with the stars above and the setting adorned with candles and colourful paper lanterns.
For breakfast, the Bunnies loved having it served up on the rooftop patio of their tower, with a sea view, lovely breeze, and lots of birds chirping in the trees around them.
The meals at Ki-Ra were not only delicious, but also excellent value at 15 USD per person per meal. Bunny is tempted to return to the Dominican Republic just to enjoy the cuisine at Ki-Ra again! Alternatively, she is seriously thinking about learning to cook Ayurvedic food herself…
Ki-Ra is surrounded by beautiful gardens, with a lovely salt water swimming pool and numerous colourful hammocks strung around the property. There are plenty of secluded places for relaxation or meditation if you are so inclined. The yoga bale is particularly attractive for self-practice or quiet contemplation and is also the first one Bunny has seen with a hammock. What a great idea!
There is no sandy beach at Ki-Ra but there is a lovely, rugged coastline, perfect for observing gorgeous sunsets. There are some sun loungers by the sea and a natural set of stairs with a ladder going down to the water.
Bunny went swimming a couple of times and loved it. The sea was rough but still easy for swimming as the water isn’t too deep. The water was amazingly clear, but snorkeling is best left for other places. The bottom was sandy and Bunny enjoyed splashing around just as much as in any of the gorgeous sandy beaches she had visited around the Dominican Republic.
For a dog lover such as Bunny, another incentive to stay at Ki-Ra are the lovely doggies roaming around the grounds. One of them, George, even liked to join the yoga classes, lying majestically on his yoga mat while the humans around him engaged in different yoga poses. Yet another dog would often go for short swims in the pool. Quite a character!
At night, Ki-Ra is lit up by colourful paper lanterns scattered around the trees in the garden. There are also lit candles on the porch and along the garden’s pathways. This, along with the sound of cicadas and frogs around you, makes Ki-Ra incredibly atmospheric at night. Not to mention the many stars visible in the clear dark sky above you…
Plenty of Activities to Enjoy
At Ki-Ra, you can take it easy (as Bunny did) or you can engage in various activities on offer.
You can rent bicycles, go horseback riding, try paddle boarding or get pampered with a spa treatment or a massage. There is also a beach bonfire and a cooking class to choose from. Bunny is sure that every one of the activities would have been great, but the beauty of Ki-Ra is that you don’t need any of those things. Just being at Ki-Ra is enough to put your soul at rest, Bunny says.
Perfect Day Trip
Bunny enjoyed Ki-Ra so much that she did not want to leave the property during her entire stay, with one notable exception.
Ki-Ra offers private boat tours with a local fisherman who takes guests to Parque Nacional del Este and the famous Isla Saona for a day. This is a pricy, but fabulous day trip!
The small boat was very comfortable and the sea amazingly calm. The Bunnies enjoyed four different stops in gorgeous, secluded beaches and explored the beautiful national park around them.
Ki-Ra kitchen staff had prepared a delicious picnic basket for the Bunnies’ outing. This was a perfect solution as the Bunnies didn’t have to miss out on the delicious Ki-Ra cuisine on their day out. Bunny is sure they ate the best food on the Saona Island as they munched on yummy hummus, fresh veggies, homemade bread and fresh fruit on the beach. Just fab!
Isla Saona is a very special place, one of the highlights of Bunny’s ten weeks in the Dominican Republic. The trick is, you will need to know how to visit Isla Saona. Do not join one of the cheap and cheerful group tours offered in Punta Cana. If you do, instead of gorgeous beaches and tranquility, you will suffer long bus transfers, loud music and selfie-obsessed tourists crowding your boat and possibly a subpar beach and lunch experience on Isla Saona itself. If you cannot do it right (private tour), best not to do it at all, Bunny says.
At the start of Bunny’s visit, there were a lot of kids running around at Ki-Ra, oftentimes loud and once also very late into the evening. Kyra and her staff were very apologetic when Bunny gently mentioned that she had some difficulties sleeping on the first night because of the noise. Apparently, it was a one-off kids’ party with some visiting family friends that was not repeated during Bunny’s stay.
Although Bunny’s attitude to children is well known among her readers, she was not otherwise bothered by the children. It is all part of the Ki-Ra experience and atmosphere, which is very bohemian. Kids and pets roam free and happy, not everything is strictly scheduled, and the timing of meals and other activities can fluctuate a bit. Who cares!
Ki-Ra is also not overly strict about the holistic aspect of the place. For example, alcohol (beer and wine) is available at dinner should you wish to partake. Bunny is not exactly known for her aversion to alcohol, but at Ki-Ra, she stayed totally sober.
She was happy to have the choice though. Most yoga retreats take themselves too seriously and enforce strict rules about food and drink and sometimes even caffeine (Mr. Bunny would die). It is all about balance, Kyra said when Bunny asked her about it. This is definitely the right attitude to life, Bunny thinks.
When it was time to depart, Bunny absolutely didn’t want to leave Ki-Ra! She felt healthy, happy and relaxed. Why leave?
Ki-Ra is such a lovely, dreamy and soothing place that you probably won’t want to leave either. If you are planning to do any yoga in the Dominican Republic, this is the place to visit. In fact, you should visit even if you have zero interest in yoga. Ki-Ra is good for your mind, body and soul, Bunny says.