Work Exchange Program at Gaia Sagrada: Volunteer with Us
Ayahuasca Work Exchange on The Angel Dream Team!
Volunteering at Gaia Sagrada Ayahuasca Retreat Center is a great ayahuasca work exchange experience, with magical shamanic ceremonies at the core of our program including both Ayahuasca and San Pedro ceremonies. This is a great way to experience plant medicine retreats at very low cost to you. You trade work exchange for housing and food, and only pay $150 per retreat, which covers your first ceremony of each retreat, laundry, your airport transfer to Gaia, and offsets our operations costs. If there is space, you would pay an additional $100 per ayahuasca ceremony or San Pedro ceremony to participate.
We save most of our volunteer roles for former guests who have been through a retreat with us, as we have found they make the best volunteers. However, we welcome applications from anyone who is interested in being a part of our spiritual family and who is called to be in service to the work we do here.
What We Offer
Comfortable beds in shared housing, healthy and unlimited food, magical shamanic ceremonies, the opportunity to be a part of our spiritual family, and to be in service supporting transformations in the lives of our participants – and also in your own life! Volunteering at Gaia Sagrada is more fun than you could have ever imagined, all while making lifelong friends in a beautiful, peaceful paradise in the Andes mountains of Ecuador. The work doesn’t really feel like work!
We work full throttle during our retreats, and for a few days before each retreat starts and after the retreat ends. Most of your work exchange hours are done during ayahuasca retreats. Our short breaks are five days long, so you have plenty of time off to rest and relax. Sometimes some of our work exchange team members go on travel excursions between retreats, and we generally have a special private ceremony held for the volunteers at the end of each three retreat cycle (not guaranteed). You are guaranteed to have the opportunity to be in at least one ceremony per retreat.
This is a RARE opportunity, as most ayahuasca centers charge you a lot of money to work on their ayahuasca work exchange team, and only give you perhaps one or two ceremonies per month. This is why Gaia Sagrada Ayahuasca Retreat Center is such a desired work exchange situation in the ayahuasca community. No other ayahuasca center offers this kind of deal!
Most of our work exchange members don’t want to leave when the three retreat commitment is up. They often say this is the most amazing experience they have ever had, and most definitely the best work exchange situation they have ever been in. We are a family here, and we pride ourselves on the quality of the experience we offer at Gaia Sagrada.
Work Exchange Commitments
- 3 retreat minimum commitment (4 retreats maximum)
- Arrive between retreats on the Tuesday (after long breaks) or Wednesday (after short breaks) before each retreat starts, and stay until the Saturday after each retreat, as there is preparation and cleanup before and after retreats. We have a MANDATORY staff meeting each Wednesday evening before we kick things off, and it is required that you attend. The available dates are listed on our Volunteer Application Form.
- 75 hours required per retreat – 5 hours per day of work hours x 15 days
- This is not just a punch the clock and check out kind of job. It is required that you interact with the guests, be there for them emotionally as they go through their processes, and love them up while they heal. If you have ever wanted to be a healer, counselor, and helper to others, this is a chance to hone your skills. You will be scheduled for most of your hours every day, but sometimes you will need to take initiative to get the hours you need by doing extra tasks. There is ALWAYS something to do!
- Pay a $200 deposit to secure your volunteer position upon being offered a role. You get the full deposit back at the end of your stay. We only keep the deposit if you don’t fulfill the requirements of the role while you are here.
- $150 per retreat fee ($450 for 3 retreats/$600 for 4 retreats) – This includes one ceremony per retreat, laundry, transfer from the airport to Gaia upon your arrival, and offsets our operational costs. Taxis to and from Cuenca at the end and beginning of subsequent retreats are shared and generally cost $5 – $7 per person. If there is space available and you are caught up on your hours, you may be able to join another ceremony during the retreat for $100 each extra ceremony. You can pay for these and any extra ayahuasca ceremonies when you are here.
Work Exchange Benefits
- Healthy, yummy vegetarian food
- Dormitory housing, comfy BIG beds in nice, modern housing
- Hot showers 24 hours a day
- Use of facilities, hot tubs, WiFi, and sauna
- Hiking on 55 acres of beautiful Andean mountain trails
- Experiencing medicine ceremonies and learning from the shamans
- A chance to have a more personal connection and relationship with ayahuasca and San Pedro shamans
- Discounts on ceremonies (work exchange members pay $100) Volunteers can participate in 1 ceremony, sometimes 2 ceremonies, per retreat, depending on space. 1 ceremony per retreat is guaranteed.
- Lots of love, laughter, and fun in paradise! The ayahuasca work exchange program is a truly beautiful spiritual family with the staff and shamans at Gaia Sagrada
Work Exchange Tasks
- Food prep and cooking for retreats
- Kitchen cleanup
- Housekeeping and cleaning
- Leading yoga sessions if you are a yoga teacher
- General work around the center
- Helping people during ceremonies
- Preparing ceremony spaces
- Being there emotionally for the retreat participants and assisting them with their needs
- Being available and willing to jump in wherever you are needed
Code of Ethics for Volunteers
- Conversation must be inspiring, not depressing. We require a positive, happy attitude to work here. That means no complaining, or talking endlessly about politics, conspiracy theories, or what is wrong with the world. We are here to uplift people and help them find joy. It is also important that you keep your language clean, no swearing.
- No drinking, smoking marijuana, or recreational use of drugs of any sort are permitted on or off the property while you are on our Angel Dream Team. Use of these substances is grounds for immediate dismissal. WE HAVE A ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY FOR DRUG USE. We mean it! Between breaks, if you leave for an excursion to see parts of Ecuador, we are ok with it if you have some beer or wine, but you cannot get drunk or smoke marijuana and represent Gaia Sagrada in this way. If you are a person who needs to use alcohol, marijuana, or any other drug on a regular basis, this is not the place for you. Gaia Sagrada is not a place where we can have volunteers who are in an active addiction. We must keep the energy clean here and preserve our reputation as a safe place to experience these medicines and stoners are not who we want handling these retreats. This is not a party zone! This is serious work we are doing with inter-dimensional and spiritual healing, so let’s focus on the purpose. If you are battling an addiction, we suggest you visit Gaia Sagrada as a guest to work through this issue before applying to volunteer. While you will have the opportunity to work on yourself and your healing here, we need our work exchange team to be stable, healthy, and sober. We gladly accept applications from those who are in active recovery or have overcome this issue already.
- Be respectful of people’s need for privacy. Ask before you take pictures, ask for consent if you want to post a picture of someone on social media. Some people like to keep their lives private, and it is important that is honored. Do not post anything online about others without the person’s explicit permission.
- No overt displays of sexuality (couples) or “hound dogging” (trying to get a guest or work exchange volunteer to become romantically or sexually involved with you). Many people come here to heal sexual and relationship issues, and this is required to be a safe place. This includes no nudity in the hot tubs or anywhere else on the grounds, or on hikes to the waterfall. If you like someone, be friends while you are here at Gaia Sagrada and get to know each other, and if a romance blossoms, pursue it when you have both finished your commitments at Gaia Sagrada and you are ready to leave. 2-3 months of volunteering goes by fast! You can wait. That is a good amount of time to get to know each other first.
- Honor the rules at Gaia Sagrada. They are for the good of everyone. Please do not argue with a rule or schedules, particularly during retreats. If you have an issue with something, please bring it up quietly with management and we will see what we can do if there is something that needs to change. We do things a certain way here, and if you have a problem with how we do things, we may not be able to work together. In our experience, we have found systems that work and we need everyone to abide by the rules.
- Show up for shifts on time, and do your work with a smile. It’s important that you are enjoying your work here. We try to make it as fun as possible! Please don’t ask for special treatment or do your work in an unhappy way. 75 hours is a fair trade for what you are getting here, this is a real opportunity, and no other medicine retreat center offers this incredible deal. Please be honest with the hours you have agreed to and do honest work.
- Remember you are a representative of Gaia Sagrada while you are here on our Angel Dream Team, both on and off the property. Please act in a way a member of the Angel Dream Team should. Be sensitive to guests needs. Be a helping heart and hand, or someone they can talk to while they are here if the need comes up. Volunteering here is not just about putting in hours. It is about being there for people in a loving way. Always treat guests with kindness and be helpful to them, as an inspiration. Conduct yourself in a professional manner.
- No talking about what happens in ceremonies in an inappropriate way. Be respectful of other people’s processes. What happens in ceremony stays in ceremony. No telling stories about people’s experiences at the retreat or otherwise violating people’s trust. If the person is present and feels like talking about it, even joking about it, that is only that person’s prerogative.
- Resolve Conflict: No “red dogging” which means no talking behind other people’s backs, including talking bad about guests, other volunteers, staff, shamans, or even management. If you have an issue, go directly to the person you are having the issue with and work it out, or go to management. Do not talk about it with everyone else first, particularly guests. The guests did not come here to hear high school dramas!
- No watching of violent movies, sexual videos, or otherwise controversial material. We have a movie room and it is to be used to view inspirational, educational, or funny material. Never play inappropriate material at Gaia Sagrada.
- Stay clean physically (shower regularly), emotionally (no drama), and mentally (be intelligent). Don’t take on other people’s stuff and don’t display your own “stuff” for all to see. Handle yourself gracefully. We are all here to heal, but let’s not make it harder than it has to be!
Gaia Sagrada Family
There are miles of country roads in the mountains to walk or run, amazing views, and peace and quiet in the real countryside of Ecuador, amongst indigenous communities in the mountains. Come and experience the magical Andes of Ecuador, with a friendly Ecuadorian community all around us who you will meet as you walk the roads, and participate in transformational, life changing shamanic ceremony retreats.
Gaia Sagrada is about bringing like-minded people together to share a reality, even if they just come for visits. Members of our Gaia Sagrada Family keep coming back because Gaia Sagrada is part of their travels whenever they pass through. It is a truly magical place, and an adventure you will remember for a lifetime.
Please fill out our VOLUNTEER APPLICATION if you would like to apply. We would love to meet you!