Gaia Sagrada Retreat Center
Frequently Asked Questions 2017-08-08T01:48:20+00:00

Registration can take place at any time. Housing choices are limited, book early if you want more than dormitory housing. Housing is reserved for retreat participants during retreat dates, but they are usually available between retreats.

Retreats: Day of arrival, beginning at 5 pm – Orientation. Day of departure, 1 – 3 pm.

Our outlets are USA type plugs here in Ecuador.

Retreat Paricipants: all is included during the stay, housing, food, utilities, workshops, everything! Prices are all inclusive for retreats, and the only differences in price depends on the housing you choose: dormitory, shared rooms, private rooms or apartments. To see pictures of the different rooms, Housing.

You can if you like, but here are the payment markers if you wish to make a deposit and pay in full later:

60 or more days before the event date, 50% due
30 days before the event date, payment in full due

How much do retreats cost?
Retreat prices depend on the housing you choose. Here is our Retreat Prices page.

Please see Cancellation, Transfers and Refund Policies for more information. If a person is so disruptive during a retreat that he/she must be removed for the good of the retreat group, there is no refund.

The Shamanic Ceremony Retreats are approximately 20 people per retreat sometimes a couple more, sometimes a couple less. At this time, Gaia Sagrada supports groups of 40 – 50 people if we include the residents and volunteers, but not all those people are in the ceremonies. More housing is on the way for Eco-Community living. Our Eco-Community is growing!

There is a 5% discount on retreats for UMS students and graduates.

We are not handicap accessible at this time. Given the terrain, gravel roads, and pathways, wheelchairs will not work. This is mountain country and a person must be able to move around on foot.

If you can get around on foot when you have assistance, and you are willing to provide this assistance yourself (pay for someone to come with you to the retreat and help you), that will be fine. Service animals are not permitted.

There are no age restrictions for elderly, but keep in mind this is a place where someone must be able to maneuver trails and dirt roads. Someone who cannot walk up hills will find it difficult to get around at Gaia Sagrada. We do not at this time have personnel for assisting elderly or handicapped participants. Also, reaching public transportation will be difficult for a person who has difficulty walking. That said, MANY elders come to our ceremonies and enjoy the retreats here. We are always honored when an elder comes to our ceremonies and retreats! In the shamanic traditions, elders are greatly respected.

  • The age of 18 is required for shamanic ceremonies.
  • We do not have daycare activities for children.
  • Several housing possibilities: dormitories, shared rooms, private rooms, apartments. To see pictures of the different rooms, Housing.
  • Do I have to share a bathroom? Yes, if you are in a shared room or the Casa Tranquilo private rooms, bathrooms are in the hallway. However if you are in the apartment you get a 1/2 bath, but shared shower for both apartments.
  • Bathrooms are close to rooms, and there is always more than one bathroom available. You don’t have to wait!
  • We have new private rooms being built that will have private bathrooms soon.

There is a $15 charge per day for food and you can cook your own food between retreats, help yourself to our pantry. Produce, grains and all necessary ingredients to make food are here. There is a kitchen for your use. We do not allow people to bring their own food because most people cannot resist the great cooking that is in our kitchen. The smell of cooking is too enticing! People eat our food anyway, and well, who can resist a mango? We cannot police our kitchen, so if everyone has paid it just makes things easier. You would pay about $5 per meal in town anyway and it won’t be nearly as high quality food as it is here!

However, during retreats you are NOT allowed to cook your own food. It would just be to complicated to have you in the kitchen while we are producing meals for the whole group. Simply tell the kitchen staff if you have special needs or special requests and you will be taken care of as you need it.

We have lots of vegan and gluten free options always served at every meal. For the most part everything is vegan and gluten free. Gaia Sagrada serves a very healthy menu, and once in a while we give you come comfort food and cheat a little! If you want eggs, dairy, or gluten bread, it’s always available.

  • Three vegetarian meals per day served during retreats
  • Snacks and beverages available at all times in the community center
  • Food included in housing fees on retreats
  • You can bring snacks to keep in your room if you like
  • If you are between retreats and food is served, $5 per meal or $15 per day
  • Vegetarian and vegan
  • Gluten free
  • Medicine space in refrigerator (diabetics)
  • NO meat can be cooked here, but you can buy cold or canned meats and keep them in the refrigerator. We do not purchase meat for you as part of our per/day food fee. You would have to purchase your own meat that doesn’t have to be cooked and you can keep it in the community center refrigerator. We discourage that though because, well, there seem to be little elves that always sneak some of your food if you keep something special in the community center kitchen! They come out of the woodwork at night!

Think layers as far as bringing clothes. The climate in the Andes Mountains moves between 45 – 80 degrees all in one day! Don’t forget to bring your sunscreen, a water bottle, and your hiking shoes. There are many wonderful places to walk and hike at Gaia Sagrada. If you would like to know more about what to bring (and what not to bring!) click here on our What To Bring page.

  • Wireless access available for laptops in community area (internet is not available in rooms)
  • Facilitates checking emails, facebook, blogs, or any other low bandwidth activities
  • Does not support videos, games, music, downloading large files or other high bandwidth activities
  • We ask that no one “hogs” the bandwidth. It must be shared by several people at the same time with wireless access.
  • Sound and listening to music or movies on your hard drive must be on headphones
  • You can take online exams at UMS while at Gaia Sagrada
  • Please go to Internet Services at Gaia Sagrada for details
  • 3 months on passport alone, no visa needed
  • There is an application process in the city of Cuenca and Azogues for a 3 month extension that costs about $400-500 and you have to prove to immigration that you have $2500 in the bank with a printed bank statement that is in the same name as your name on your passport. We can put you in touch with an immigration assistant in the city when you are here who charges a fee of about $175 to help you with the process. You would want to apply for the visa extension while you are here instead of before you come.

Hot tubs and sauna are included in the room prices. Bathing suits, tank tops, and / or shorts are required in the hot tub and sauna. No skinny dipping!

There are almost always massage therapists at Gaia Sagrada on our volunteer team who provide massages for about $25-35, so when you are here ask who is doing massages and we will set you up with a massage. We have a wonderful massage room where you will be comfortable and have privacy. Enjoy!

Staff at Gaia Sagrada is mixed, both Ecuadorian and “Gringo.” Most staff speaks English. Some speak Spanish as well. The staff you would be most connected with are the English speaking staff members and volunteers who work closely with our retreats and guests.

We employ our neighbors in the surrounding communities of Llazhatyan and Jadan, but none of them speak English, only Spanish. They are very friendly and we encourage you to practice your Spanish with them! These staff members mostly work in our construction and agricultural areas.

ALL staff members are sweet and kind. We pick people who resonate with Gaia Sagrada’s principles and goals to serve our guests as gently and kindly as possible. All staff is here to create an atmosphere of support and stability so you can blossom in your endeavors and simply relax during your stay!

Hiking, sauna, hot tub, campfires, dances, activities too numerous to list here. We have hand drums, guitars and rattles, so you never know when a music jam is going to break out at any moment! People love to do sunbathing as well in the grass, but be careful. The Ecuadorian sun is very strong and we are closer to the sky than at sea level! See Facilities to get an idea of what activities and recreation are available at Gaia Sagrada and Things to Do Nearby in the Cuenca area.

We can only facilitate a short weekend retreat with outside groups at this time. Our schedule is very full with the 12 day retreats so we only have a little time in between retreats to facilitate anything else. Please contact us directly and explain how many people you would like to bring and for what dates. Twenty people is the minimum amount.

Another thing we do to facilitate groups is give them many spaces in one of our already scheduled retreats, and if you can fill it, it’s all yours! If not, you can partially fill a retreat and we will bring others in to join you who will resonate with you all. For instance, we had a regular retreat for medicine ceremonies dedicated solely to female participants and we filled the other seats that the group could not fill and it was wonderful!

We will do our best to work with you to facilitate what your needs are, just email us at gaiasagrada@umsonline.org and we can talk about it and make arrangements. Someone who brings a group gets a nice discount! Their group members can get a 5% discount as well.

We spell it all out here on our Getting to Gaia Sagrada page.

  • Yes! You will be picked up at the Cuenca airport, so make sure you book your flight all the way to Cuenca.
  • Meet with the driver near baggage claim exit area at one end of Cuenca’s small airport
  • Driver will hold a sign saying Gaia Sagrada
  • If you would like more info about transportation options for booking your own flights, or getting from Guayaquil, Quito and Cuenca to Gaia Sagrada, please see Getting to Gaia Sagrada
  • We also arrange your ride back to the airport after your visit
  • No worries! We take care of all of it!

All you need is your passport! No vaccinations are required.

However, documentation of a round trip ticket or some other form of transportation out of the country to show Ecuador that you are planning to leave, that IS required. Make sure you book an exit ticket or you will be stopped at the airport and not allowed to board the plane. You MUST have a round trip ticket or at least a ticket that shows you have a departure date from Ecuador. Even if you plan to stay and apply for a visa, you must have this documentation to enter Ecuador.

If you are going to visit the coast or the jungle, we recommend getting the Dengue Fever vaccination and bring Malaria pills with you, but if you are only visiting Gaia Sagrada and then returning home, there are no diseases here, you are fine if you don’t get a vaccination.

If you have asthma, bring your inhaler.
If you have diabetes, bring your insulin.
If you have heart medicine or high blood pressure medicine, bring the medicine you need.

NO vaccination shots or medical records are required. If you are going to the jungle or the coast we suggest you consult your medical doctor about shots you might need. There can be malaria and dengue fever, also yellow fever.

Excellent, modern hospitals in Cuenca. Many doctors in Ecuador trained in USA or Europe. A modern hospital is only a 35 minute drive by car from Gaia Sagrada. While some people find it romantic to trek for an hour through the jungle, wade into a boat and travel by boat for another hour, go by motorcycle for another hour to an isolated jungle lodge for medicine ceremonies, we like to err on the side of safety and be close to modern facilities of civilization if needed.

This is why Gaia Sagrada is one of the safest and best ayahuasca retreat centers in the world. We take safety and the responsibility for your health and well-being seriously.

Medical Tourism: Many medical procedures can be done in Cuenca. In fact, many come to Ecuador for medical procedures and dental work that costs a fraction of what it costs in the USA or Europe. You must pay in cash. No foreign insurance applies. Credit cards and traveler’s checks are not widely accepted. You can retrieve cash through ATM machines here or bring it with you.

We do not facilitate any medical tourism, so you will need to do your own research before you come if that is something you plan on doing. We don’t have recommendations of doctors either, as we don’t get those things done, but there are many resources you will find online.

We recommend an extra $500-$1000 for medical emergencies. Medical expenses are paid in cash in Ecuador. Your insurance is not accepted (nor are credit cards) for medical treatment in Ecuador.

Emergency medical services: Gaia Sagrada is 35 minutes away from an emergency room.

If you have a serious medical condition and think you might need to be rushed to the emergency room, and waiting for a driver is too long to get to the emergency room, then Gaia Sagrada might be too rural for you.

We keep things safe at Gaia Sagrada, and nothing serious has happened here. We have a first aid kit if anything minor comes up. Anything serious, we are not that far away from modern facilities and civilization.

No, we do not have medical personnel on staff.

Bring ALL medicine you are going to need. Not all medicines are available, and we cannot take the time to check on this for you. If you are staying in Ecuador for a long time, simply explain this to your doctor and get your prescription filled for the amount of time you will be here.

If you decide to stay longer than you planned originally, you can make an appointment with doctors in Ecuador to discuss your prescriptions. You may need to hire a translator. Bring your prescriptions with you so they know the names of your medicines.

If you plan to stay at Gaia Sagrada you won’t need much. We suggest you bring about $200-300 per month extra if you stay at Gaia Sagrada and you are on a budget. You may want to buy things or go to town for a day trip occasionally. This will cover your toiletries and a few days out on the town. If you are coming for work exchange volunteering, you might want to bring more if you plan to attend the shamanic ceremonies.

If traveling outside of Gaia Sagrada, bring about $1500 – $2000 per month if you are a frugal traveler. If your tastes are expensive, you will need more. Please consult the travel guides for more accurate information.

We recommend an extra $500-$1000 for medical emergencies. Medical expenses are paid in cash in Ecuador. Your insurance is not accepted, nor are credit cards. For medical situations you will need to pay for those things in cash at the hospitals and doctors. Fortunately it’s never expensive.

There are some celebrations where beer and wine are appropriate, but only between retreats. No hard liquors are allowed. It is not permitted to bring alcohol to the rooms. Drunkenness will not be tolerated and is grounds for immediate dismissal.

At no time are recreational or illegal drugs allowed on Gaia Sagrada grounds. You will be asked to leave without a refund if you bring them. It is very important that all Ecuadorian laws are obeyed. The drugs that are illegal in USA and many other countries are also illegal in Ecuador.

Yes, you can smoke in designated areas where we have seats and proper dispensing containers. No smoking is allowed in rooms or near the rooms.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column]

Monthly Newsletter

[/vc_row]

Leave A Comment