What to Bring

In order to make sure your stay at Gaia Sagrada is perfect, here are some suggestions on what to bring and what not to bring.

  • Sunscreen

  • Sunglasses

  • Sun hat – to keep the strong Ecuadorian sun off your face and neck

  • T-shirts

  • Shorts

  • Pants

  • Sweaters

  • VERY warm jacket for chilly Andes mountain nights

  • 7 changes of clothes (laundry available once per week)

  • Flashlight – hand cranked or solar types are best, no battery-run flashlights please unless they are rechargeable batteries and you bring your own charger. We cannot charge batteries for you.

  • Rechargeable batteries & charger

  • Clip-on light or headlamp

  • Flip-flops or sandals to wear in shower, sauna and around hot tubs
  • Bathrobe for bathrooms, showers and spa facilities (optional)

  • Sarong or wrap for entering sweat lodge (optional)

  • Sturdy shoes with good tread for hiking & dirt walking paths

  • Medicines you need for as long as you need them. You might not be able to get everything here in Ecuador, and if it’s a prescription you would have to pay a doctor to prescribe it for you, IF he or she would be willing to without a full on physical check up process.  If you can’t get enough for your stay, try bringing your prescription, although it’s iffy as to whether it will work or not.

  • Vitamins & Supplements – there are very few places, if any, to get organic non-commercial vitamins or supplements in Ecuador. There is not the selection you might be used to. Occasionally there is something organic, but it is not dependable in any sense of the word.

  • Umbrella or raincoat – or you can buy that in Ecuador if you want to save room in your suitcase

  • Books if you like to read (there are not a lot of sources for English books in Ecuador)

  • Notebook and pen for exercises, journaling, and notes during workshops

  • Biodegradable  soap, shampoo and natural toothpaste

  • Camera – lots of cool stuff to take pictures or video of! Cameras and recording devices are not allowed in meetings though

  • Laptop or netbook – if you need to transfer documents for high speed access in the city, bring flash drive with you so you can transfer documents to the local computers in the city

  • Bandanna or hair bands – especially work exchangers who work in the kitchen, it is required

  • Bug spray – there are very few mosquitos, but once in a while it is needed, especially if you travel to the coastal or jungle parts of Ecuador. Lemon and eucalyptus oils are good natural choices

  • Spending money for day trips, excursions and shopping for souvenirs

  • Chair back or Back jack – for sitting on the floor comfortably with your back supported. Chair backs and back jacks are not available in Ecuador. (This is optional, as we have many available, however if you bring one, we would love to buy it from you when you leave – bring the receipt. We also accept donations!)

  • Ear plugs and sleep mask – for ensuring a quiet rest if you’re in shared accommodations

  • Day pack, backpack, or shoulder bag – for carrying around your notebook, raincoat, umbrella, water, or whatever else you might want to take from your room

  • Musical instrument – we have lots of spontaneous music by the campfires, so bring your guitar, drum, flute or other musical instruments if you want to have some campfire fun! We also have talent nights sometimes where people  share their songs and poetry. (We have a couple of inexpensive guitars you can play, but if you are attached to your favorite guitar, feel free to bring it! We also have some drums and percussion instruments if you want to play them. Enjoy!)

  • $500 for medical emergencies – no insurance will work here from your home country

Layers are the best strategy for clothing since the climate ranges in temperature from hot, sunny days to cold mountain evenings where you need a very warm jacket and long pants.

Bring Extra Money for…

  • Tourist attractions in Cuenca and Ecuador
  • Occasional specialty snacks or drinks at Gaia Sagrada
  • Health and healing services from massage therapists, spiritual counselors, and alternative healers
  • Souvenirs

ATM, Credit Cards, Travelers Checks and CASH

  • Your ATM card might not work here, so make sure you have enough money until you get it clear with your bank that it is you trying to withdraw money. Even telling your bank ahead of time that you are coming to Ecuador and will be using your ATM card doesn’t always work and you might have to work out some glitches with your bank.
  • Travelers checks don’t cash that easily without a 20-day wait if you can even find a place to cash them. It takes depositing them in an account to clear them, and it will be work to open a bank account just for that.
  • Credit cards don’t work in many places and have high overseas fees if they do work. Ecuador is mostly cash based, so don’t count on always being able to use cards.
  • Cash is King in Ecuador! You will need to have cash with you (called effectivo in Spanish). It is still a very cash driven society in this country.
  • Bring small bills with you because large bills above $10’s are hard to change. Do NOT bring $50’s or $100’s with you unless you are staying for a long time and need to bring a lot (you are limited to $10,000 at the airport), as they are hard to turn into smaller bills unless you are a customer at a bank. The banks are reluctant to accept $50’s and $100’s unless there is an account holder they can hold responsible if the bills turn out to be counterfeit. There has been trouble with that in Ecuador. If you have to bring large bills or a lot of money, no larger than $20’s is best.

What NOT to Bring

NO disposable batteries: Disposing of batteries properly in Ecuador is very difficult. Bring solar powered, hand cranked or rechargeable battery flashlights with you. We cannot charge batteries for you so if you bring rechargeable batteries  bring your charger that you can plug into the wall. Ecuador uses the same electricity that the USA does, so no adapters are needed if you are using USA electronics.

We must take care of our Mother Earth, and  supporting antiquated ways of doing things is something we must do our best to avoid. We must do the smaller things that we can do in order to change the world. Refraining from using disposable batteries in a country where they cannot be refurbished or recharged is a good start in changing the world! Let’s all do our part.

Cell Phone: Your cell phone plan is unlikely to work in Ecuador unless you have an international calling plan. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. It depends on the technology of the phone and if it matches the same technology as cell towers here. However, it can be as much as $3 a minute with your cell phone carrier in your home country, so you are better off using Ecuador’s cheaper methods of calling your home country.

If you want to have a cell phone for communicating with people in Ecuador, which many travelers do, you can buy a cheap cellular here for $40 – $50 and a phone number chip (SIM) for $20. Or, if you have an unlocked phone, you can insert a local SIM card. Then you buy minutes (saldo) and make your calls as you need them. You can even call overseas on these phones fairly inexpensively, and your loved ones will be able to call you too on an Ecuador cell phone. It will be cheaper for you than using your own phone from your country, most likely.

Phone calls to other countries are not expensive here in Ecuador. We  have internet available at Gaia Sagrada so you can keep in touch by email, and if there is enough bandwidth you can make a Skype call. If you want to call home to your country you can do so from the internet at Gaia Sagrada or telephone cafes which are all over Ecuador.

Pets: There is no accommodation for pets.

High heeled shoes or fancy clothes: There will be absolutely nowhere you can walk to in high heeled shoes at Gaia Sagrada! Fancy clothing that needs to be dry cleaned is impractical. Gaia Sagrada is not fine dining or elegant dressing. This is more like camp for adults. You are getting close to nature here!

Donating Your Books?

If you bring English language books, bring some you might want to donate and leave behind, as there are not many places to buy English  books in Ecuador, especially spiritually focused ones. Please feel free to bring a donation of a book or two for our library at Gaia Sagrada so that future visitors will have more choices in our reading room. Spanish language books are welcome as well. Unfortunately we cannot buy your books, but if you care to leave one or two, feel free. It would go to a good cause in our reading library  that retreat participants can enjoy.