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.
What time is check in and check out?
Retreats: Day of arrival, beginning at 5 pm – Orientation. Day of departure, 1 – 3 pm.
What kind of plugs, USA or European?
Our outlets are USA type plugs here in Ecuador.
Are accommodations, activities, food, workshops, priced separately?
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.
Do I have to pay the whole thing in advance?
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.
What if I am unable to attend? Refunds?
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.
How many people does the center support? How large are retreats?
The Shamanic Ceremony Retreats are approximately 20-25 people per retreat. At this time, Gaia Sagrada supports groups of 40 – 50 people if we include residency and work exchange. More housing is on the way for Eco-Community living.
Are there any discounts?
There is a 5% discount on retreats for UMS students and graduates.
Is the facility handicap accessible? Deaf or blind? Service animals?
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.
Age restrictions for the elderly?
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.
Can I bring children?
The age of 18 is required for shamanic ceremonies.
We do not have daycare activities for children.
What are the accommodations like?
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, however if you are in the apartment you get a 1/2 bath, but shared shower for both apts.
Bathrooms are close to rooms, always more than one bathroom available.
Are there cooking facilities I can use?
There is a $15 charge per day for food and you 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!
If you are a retreat participant, just let yourself be served! All is included in your retreat price:
Three vegetarian meals per day served during retreats
Snacks and beverages available at all times
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
What types of dietary restrictions will you accommodate?
Vegetarian and vegan
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.
What clothes should I bring?
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.
Will there be wireless internet access? Can I bring my laptop and access internet from my room?
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 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
How long can I stay?
3 months on passport alone, no visa needed.
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!
What is the staff like?
Staff at Gaia Sagrada is mixed, both Ecuadorian and “Gringo.” Most staff speaks English. Some speak Spanish as well.
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!
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!
What kind of activities / recreation are available?
Hiking, sauna, hot tub, campfires, dances, activities too numerous to list here. See Facilities to get an idea of what activities and recreation are available at Gaia Sagrada and around the Cuenca area.
Are the facilities available for outside groups to rent (i.e. yoga retreat)? Are there Group Rates?
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 need to reserve space for and for what dates. Twenty people is the minimum amount.
Travel? How do I get to Gaia Sagrada?
We spell it all out here on our Travel to Gaia Sagrada page.
Will we be transported to / from the airport?
Meet with 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 Traveling to Gaia Sagrada.
What kind of documentation is required to enter Ecuador?
All you need is your passport!
Do I need shots or immunizations? Vaccines?
NO vaccination shots or medical records are required. If you are going to the jungle we suggest you consult your medical doctor about shots you might need. There can be malaria and yellow fever.
Are there modern hospital facilities in Ecuador? Is there access to emergency medical services?
Excellent, modern hospitals in Cuenca. Many doctors in Ecuador trained in USA or Europe.
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 not widely accepted. You can retrieve cash through ATM machines here or bring it with you.
We do not facilitate any of that, so you will need to do your own research!
What if I have a Medical Emergency?
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 in Ecuador.
Emergency medical services: Gaia Sagrada is considerable distance from any emergency room. It takes 1 hour for the driver to get here and 1 hour to get to the emergency room, IF the driver is available to drop everything and start driving here. The time it could take for you to get to the hospital is between 2-3 hours.
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 are not close to the hospital, nor do we have emergency transportation nearby.
We keep things safe at Gaia Sagrada, and nothing more has happened here except a dog bite if people go off the property and walk around in the mountains in the small towns nearby.
Is there any medical personnel on staff?
Can I get medicines I need in Ecuador?
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.
How much money should I bring?
If you plan to stay at Gaia Sagrada you won’t need much. We would 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 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 things.
What is your policy on alcohol on the grounds?
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.
What about recreational or illegal drugs?
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.
Can I smoke cigarettes at Gaia Sagrada?
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.