Travel, Visas & Extensions for Longer Stays At Gaia Sagrada
Have At Least 6 Months Left On Your Passport
First, make sure you have plenty of time left on your passport before you leave. Renew it if you need to. You MUST have at least 6 months left on your passport before coming to Ecuador. If you even have one day less than 6 full months on your passport, the airlines won’t let you board the plane.
For more information see our page Getting To Gaia Sagrada
Round Trip Ticket Required
You cannot fly one way to Ecuador. You must have a round trip ticket or at least another ticket that goes to another country from Ecuador. Ecuador does not allow anyone to enter without an exit flight as well. Try to get a flexible or refundable return ticket if you are not sure how long you want to stay.
How Long You Can Stay In Ecuador Without Visa?
Passports from most countries in the world get an automatic 3 months to be in Ecuador. No visas needed. Just come!
You should check with your closest Ecuadorian Consulate (look on Google) to see if you need a visa or not, particularly if you are from a small or more obscure country. Most of the western countries are included in this 3-months-n0-visa deal.
If you DO need a visa, you an get one from the nearest Ecuadorian Consulate.
You can be in Ecuador for a total of 6 months per year by getting a 3 month extension to the already automatic three months you get when you enter on your passport.
3 Month Extension – Total of 6 Months
It is a very simple process, and doesn’t cost much (about $150-200). You do it right at the airport in Cuenca only an hour away from Gaia Sagrada. Lot’s of people do it!
What you will need to get a 3 month extension is:
- a visa picture (there is a place in town you can get a picture made),
- a printout of your bank statement while here in Ecuador (make sure your bank statement has your name on it as it appears on your passport, and you much have at least $2500 in your account to get the extension)
- your passport
We know facilitators in Cuenca who can help you for a small fee if you need help.
2 Year Residency Visa
Not many people are literally ready to move to Ecuador permanently, but the first step for that would be to get the 2 year residency visa. This is pricey and much more complicated ($1500-$2000).
You will need all kinds of documentation from your home country such as state police and federal crime reports, fingerprints, birth certificate, diplomas, wedding and divorce papers, and much more. Proof through bank deposits will be needed as evidence that you have some sort of dependable income ($800 or more per month). It’s time consuming but it’s worth it for someone who wants to make Ecuador a permanent home.
Most people will want to come to Gaia for 6 months or less. It will be easier to be a snowbird!
Travel On Airlines
Travel during the pandemic
Please ensure you check your government’s travel advice before travelling to Ecuador and Gaia Sagrada. At this time, travel advice varies from country to country and can change day to day. Because this information differs greatly and is ever changing, it’s not possible for us to list travel advice for all countries and keep it up to date. Your government will have its own webpage on international travel (US Citizens can view specific advice on travel to Ecuador here) and we strongly advise that you check regularly for updates and understand and comply with any advice given by your government before travelling.
Please visit our newly created page for further information on Travel & Retreats During the Pandemic
We recommend you bring everything you think you will need, including all your medications, as many of the items you may want are not available in Ecuador. Check with your airline how many bags you are allowed to bring and what the charges are.
Flights to Guayaquil Only (Not Cuenca or Quito)
At this time, due to the complicated nature and limited availability of domestic air travel in Ecuador, the easiest and fastest way for you to get to Gaia Sagrada is to arrive at Guayaquil International Airport (Aeropuerto Internacional José Joaquín De Olmedo). Our driver will collect you directly from the airport and bring you straight to Gaia Sagrada (approx 4 hour drive) and return you back to the airport at the end of your retreat.
We currently advise against booking a connecting flight from Guayaquil to Cuenca due to the long layover period in which you will need to stay overnight in the airport or at an airport hotel in Guayaquil. With our drivers collecting you straight from Guayaquil airport, not only will we create a safer environment at Gaia, reducing the amount of time you will spend in airports or on flights, but you will save time and money too!
There is an additional $85 per person fee for the roundtrip airport transfer on top of the existing transfer fee of $38 to cover the longer journey from Guayaquil airport to Gaia Sagrada. Bringing the total cost of your roundtrip airport transfer to $123.
This creates a time and cost saving for you as you will no longer need a return flight ticket to/from Cuenca (currently over $140 USD) or an overnight layover stay at an airport hotel (approximately $50 plus taxi fees).
Please do not arrange to arrive at Quito International Airport (Mariscal Sucre International Airport) as it is over a 12 hour drive to Gaia Sagrada and we cannot provide a transfer service from Quito.
Safety in Ecuador
It is perfectly safe to travel in Ecuador! You will be on the beaten track if you are in airports and use a taxi to go back and forth to hotels or Gaia Sagrada. You won’t be vulnerable since you won’t be traveling in obscure places or situations. Relax! You will be fine! Also, there have been no cases of COVID-19 in our community here in the mountains and the number of cases in our nearest city, Cuenca, remain low. Ecuador appears to be over the worst with the virus already.