Extranjera Experience: Community and Connection in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (July 12-14)

Join us in beautiful Puerto Vallarta for a weekend of networking with other extranjeras, education, and fun. We’ll be learning more about ourselves, each other, and this beautiful country we call home while supporting local women-owned businesses and contributing to a deserving charitable organization. It’s a win-win-win-win!

The first-ever Extranjera Experience is over, but subscribe to stay updated about future expat retreats

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Why “Extranjera Experience”?

Extranjera Experience: Connection and Community in Puerto Vallarta, Expat Retreat in Puerto Vallarta July 12-14

Expat or immigrant? Visitor or a local?

These terms are debated throughout the international community, and many feel contain classist connotations. Instead of choosing sides, we’re opting to be inclusive. An extranjera simply means a foreign woman; we’re embracing that broad definition. Maybe she’s considering a move to Mexico, maybe she’s lived here 5 years, maybe she’s a Mexicana who has returned after years away. Wherever we come from, we are united in our desire to connect and grow, and we all have something to learn from each others’ unique backgrounds and stories.

Is this an expat retreat? Or an expat conference? A meetup? An expat networking event?

This weekend is honestly so much more than any of those words. Yes, we’ll have aspects of a retreat (spa treatments, yoga, and time away from our regular responsibilities), but we’ll also take advantage of conference-style educational sessions about topics that impact our lives as extranjeras. We’ll be meeting future friends with similar interests like in a meetup, and we’ll be forging connections that strengthen our social (and professional) networks. Transcending definitions, this is truly an Experience.


Hola Sign

Extranjera Experience will officially kick off Friday, July 12 at 6:30pm with an opening circle, followed by our welcome dinner.

Extranjera Experience will officially end Sunday, July 14 with a final session and closing lunch at 1:30pm, but we’ll have a pool party going until 6.

3pm onwards – Arrive (address to be provided to confirmed participants)
Casual mixer activities, complimentary massages, pool time
7pm – Opening circle and introduction
8pm – Dinner and cocktails/mocktails

*Speaker sessions are 45-50 minutes long with included opportunities for questions, with a 10-15 minute break in between to stretch your legs, grab a refreshment (provided), and network with your fellow extranjeras*
8am – Yoga
10am – Breakfast
11am – Legalities of Life in Mexico: Immigration and More with Amy
12pm – Expat Empowerment Via Mindfulness with Ally
1pm – Self Care and Healing for Extranjeras with Dawn
2pm – Lunch
3pm – Expat Mental Health 101 with Christine
4pm – “Off the Beaten Path” Travel in Mexico with Hillary
5pm – Sustainable Transitions (and Roundtable Discussion) with Cait
Networking Cocktails/Mocktails
8pm – Dinner

8am – Yoga
10am – Breakfast
11am – Interest group breakout sessions / optional group therapy session for expats (facilitated by mental health expert Christine, MSW)
1:30pm – Closing circle
2pm – Lunch
3pm to 6pm – Pool party

*Attendance to any session or activity is completely optional, but we’re putting together such a stellar lineup of speakers and panels that we think you’ll want to attend all of them!*


All-access tickets to the Extranjera Experience cost 3000 pesos.

This includes 6 delicious meals (2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners), all speakers, panels, and activities on the schedule (including special yoga sessions), networking, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, entry into a raffle for some awesome extranjera-specific prizes, and a 7% contribution to a local charity.

Food for retreat

If you’re unable to attend all days, we are also offering the following:
– Full-access Saturday-only tickets (which includes yoga, breakfast, sessions, lunch, networking cocktails/mocktails, and dinner) are 1800 pesos.
– Saturday partial-day tickets (11AM-8PM, includes sessions, lunch, and networking cocktails/mocktails) are 1000 pesos.
– Saturday session-only tickets (11AM-6:30PM) are 400 pesos without lunch, 550 pesos with lunch included.
– Friday-only OR Sunday-only tickets (including all meals and activities on each of the days) are 600 pesos per day.

If you need other financial arrangements: please contact me.

Raffle prizes come from local vendors, including Diamonds International (who is graciously providing a set of sparkling silver earrings and $100 gift certificate, and two water wallets with a certificate for free earrings and $100), and Sirena Reina Swimwear.


Space is limited, so a 1000 peso nonrefundable deposit is required. You can pay this in person (if you’re in Puerto Vallarta) or via PayPal.

The remainder of the ticket price is due on arrival to the Extranjera Experience, but all tickets are transferable. So if you can’t go, it is totally fine to sell your ticket or give it to a friend!

Extranjera Experience
Contact Email Address (for confirmation email and updates):


An extra special accommodation option for out-of-town visitors is to choose a homestay with a Puerto Vallarta extranjera, which provides a peek into how expat life feels here, and a further opportunity for connection (we work diligently to match up compatible hosts and guests). Prices for accommodation start at 800 pesos for the whole weekend. Accommodation is first-come, first-serve, so email me to see which rooms and homestays we still have available.

You’re also welcome to book your own – I would recommend the Romantic Zone or Fluvial areas to be most convenient to the Extranjera Experience locations.

Who You’ll Meet

We will continue to update this section as more amazing guest speakers and panelists are officially confirmed and their topics set. We are also still considering speaker and session facilitator applications, so if you have expertise and a topic that you think would benefit our incredible audience of extranjeras, email me to discuss.

Mexico Travel YouTuber: Hillary Kennon

Hillary is from Texas, where she worked as a public accountant. After visiting Puerto Vallarta in 2016, she knew she had to experience life outside the United States. Just four weeks later, Hillary and her husband, Greg, sold their belongings, packed their bags, and moved to PV. They haven’t looked back. 

Hillary and Greg began the “Kinetic Kennons” YouTube channel to share their experiences in Mexico with people back home. The videos’ views took off, along with interest in Mexico, and they now work full-time on sharing the beauty of Mexico with one simple message: “Have Less. Do More. Be More.”

Mindfulness Educator: Allison Dundovich

Allison is a San Diego native turned extranjera and founder of BLOOM Mindfulness, a meditation brand that creates beautifully printed zafus and down-to-earth, practical mindfulness resources.

She is on track to become certified with the IMTA and plans to use her training to provide people with tools to love themselves and create their happiest, most fulfilling lives.

“No person, no place, and no thing has any power over us, for “we” are the only thinkers in our mind. When we create peace and harmony and balance in our minds, we will find it in our lives.” Louise L. Hay

Sustainability Facilitator: Cait Barnum

Cait is a North Carolina native, avid conservationist, and specializes in environmental education and sustainable transitions.

She is currently the Coordinator of Environmental Education for a local Non-profit, Bahia Unida, and will soon be transitioning to the academic world as the Sustainability and Community Outreach Coordinator for a local private school. 

Long time nature lover and traveler, Cait makes it her mission to lead others towards a more sustainable lifestyle. 

Self-Care Expert: Dawn Nichol

Dawn is originally from Montreal and has been coming to Puerto Vallarta for 12 years (3 as a full-time resident). She works with professional ballet companies, Cirque de Soleil artists, and musicians, with over 35 years of experience.

After realizing that everyone asks the same questions, she wrote a handbook to address simple, easy, “tricks of the trade” for taking care of one’s body.

“Dawn Nichol has fashioned an indispensable handbook for dancers of all ages – or any athlete for that matter!” Lawrence Rhodes, Artistic Director of the Juilliard Dance Division

Mental Health Advocate: Christine Smith, MSW

Christine is originally from Texas with a background is in acute mental health. She combined her love for emotional growth with travel, and spent the last 3 years working around the world on different psychologically-focused philanthropy projects.

She is currently assisting a local orphanage in the development of a trauma-informed program, as well as working with expats providing therapy online. Her practice focuses on empowerment, mindfulness, and is goal-oriented. There are so many ways to grow, and Christine works with each client to figure out what works best for them!

Yoga Instructor: Natalie Perez, the Roaming Yogi

Natalie Perez Roaming Yogi Yoga Instructor Mexico Expat Retreat

Natalie has lived all around the world, including in Puerto Vallarta, and her YouTube channel, community, and website are all incredible resources for incorporating yoga into your life, no matter where you’re living or how much you’re traveling.

She focuses “on bridging the gap between what happens on the mat and life off the mat” in order to “utilize the practices of yoga as tools for living our best lives and being our best selves.”

She shares yoga on- and off-line for a simple reason: “Because it works.”

Immigration Expert: Amy Brooks Triplett

Amy is originally from Polkton, North Carolina and now lives in Puerto Vallarta full-time. She opened the immigration consultation company GreenGo with her husband with the purpose of assisting extranjeras (and extranjeros) with the legalities of life in Mexico after personally experiencing the stress and difficulty of the immigration and marriage certificate process first-hand.

Amy offers expertise in all kinds of legal matters involving life in Mexico including residency, work permits, business licenses, marriage certificates, drivers licenses, and car registration.

Experience Organizer: Stephanie Kempker

Steph calls herself a “serial expat”, and has lived in Thailand, Brazil, and Mexico (including Mexico City, Puebla, and Puerto Vallarta) over the course of the past 7 years.

She is an expat coach and blogger, and is almost finished with her master’s in psychology.

Experiencing varying levels of loneliness and friend-making made her realize the incredible importance, joy, and power of positive female community, especially when living internationally. That’s what the Extranjera Experience is all about.

*while the Extranjera Experience was designed for expats, immigrants, and any other self-defined extranjeras in Mexico, many of the topics are relevant to anyone living in Mexico. Friendship, especially, is universally relevant.

If you’re living in your home country (or another country) and thinking of moving to Mexico, this retreat will likely be very beneficial for you.

If you’re an expat living in a country other than Mexico, please contact me so we can figure out if it would be a good fit for you. We will be having future Experiences more broadly focused, with more advance notice, and for a longer duration that will be designed for all female foreigners (expats, immigrants, and other).

If you are Mexicana and you’d like to attend, we would love and value your presence, friendship, and input.*


A short vacation in Thailand turned into a life abroad with a canceled ticket home. Nearly a decade later and after living in Bangkok, Rio de Janeiro, Puebla, and Puerto Vallarta, Steph is on to her next adventure and living back in beautiful, cosmopolitan Mexico City. She is living, traveling, and working (both as an expat therapist and an international health insurance representative) around the world to find the beautiful, inspirational, and interesting while sharing it with you!

Find me on: Web | Instagram | Facebook


  1. Anonymous
    May 19, 2019 / 11:16 pm

    As an older American woman who lives in Vallarta part of the year it is so exciting to see young women wanting to experience the joys of Mexico.

    • JoyAndJourney
      May 20, 2019 / 9:49 am

      Aw, thank you so much for this sweet comment! I have found such a supportive, inspiring community of women in PV.

  2. Jean Martin
    June 3, 2019 / 5:44 pm

    Hi, I am a Psychotherapist working and living here for the past nine years, in fact I am in a group of therapists that Christine belongs to. I am interested in attending but unfortunately have work so will be coming in and out of the group, is that ok? I would also like to offer a dance/movement session for the group. Maybe as an exchange for a discount? Check out my Facebook page under Jean Martin PV Psychoterapy

    • JoyAndJourney
      June 5, 2019 / 9:44 am

      Thanks Jean, I’ve emailed you.

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