FAQs for Vilcabamba Retreats

Travel/Getting Here:

Most people fly from abroad into Quito, or Guayaquil… sometimes into Cuenca. A website such as www.kayak.com can help you to find the best airline/flights/pricing for your circumstances. Best ticket pricing is almost always found by booking in advance.

Then from any of those international arrival airports, you can take a domestic flight with the airline TAME (www.tame.com.ec) to Loja airport. The domestic flights from Quito, Guayaquil or Cuenca are all about an hour or less to Loja and cost around $100 round trip. Loja airport is about 90 minutes away from our ranch and we can arrange for a taxi to collect you from Loja airport and bring you to our place (taxi cost is $40, tip included and we can help to co-ordinate your taxi with other retreat participants to lower costs, if possible). (Further details of our exact location will naturally be supplied to all retreat participants.)

The TAME domestic flight webpage can be a little tricky to use, so if you have *any* issues with booking there, don’t hesitate to contact the wonderful Laurie Stalick, who is a travel agent and helps people all the time with these bookings at the same price as you’d pay on the web – arvida.travel@gmail.com. Also please note that the domestic flights use jets, not propeller planes, as people sometimes fear… ;)

Sometimes people also take buses all the way from Quito/Guayaquil etc to here, which is a lot longer and winding trip than taking a domestic plane.

Accommodation in Quito, Etc:

If you stay overnight in your arrival city, such as in Quito, there are of course many places to stay – again you might check a site such as www.kayak.com for deals and recommendations, though do be aware that the Quito airport moved recently and is significantly further away from the city now. The best place that we’ve been referred to lately to stay at near the new airport is the “Airport Hotel Quito.”

Visas/Entry:

People from most countries can enter Ecuador for 90 days each year with no visa… then if you want to be here longer, you can get a 90 day or 180 day visa in one of the big cities like Cuenca, Quito etc. Check online or with your own embassy for entry requirements for your country. We know of no vaccination requirements to enter Ecuador – again, research this for your own country and situation if you have any concerns.

Pre/Post-Retreat Accommodation in Vilcabamba:

If you’re looking for a place to stay for a night or two before or after the retreat, we have spaces on site that you can come and enjoy, for $20/per person per night. Just let us know if this applies to you and we can get you set up.

This site also has great info on places to stay in Vilca: http://www.seekvilcabamba.com/Projects/VGuide/VStay.aspx

Vilcabamba:

Small town in the southern Andes of Ecuador, with a population of around 7000 people in the entire locality. Known as the “Valley of Longevity,” Vilcabamba is famed for its year-round “spring-like” weather, fresh mountain air, stunning scenery and laid-back way of life. Most people find that there is no need for either indoor heating or air conditioning here – it’s a great day every day!

Banks/Money:

Ecuador uses the American Dollar as currency. It is definitely advisable to bring US$, rather than trying to change other currencies here. It is also best to bring SMALL notes/bills – $1, $5, $10, $20 notes/bills are easiest to work with… There is also a little ATM in Vilcabamba town, although it is not always very reliable.

Power Supply:

We use all of our appliances from the US here with no issue… this would not apply to standard European appliances.

Internet:

We have great internet service here. For the retreat, internet will be offered in one large central house space on the land. If you definitely want your own, private internet in your own house, that can be set up for a flat fee of $50 for the duration of the retreat.

Recommended Items to Bring:

Your own towels, swimming clothes, sun hat, layers of clothing are a good idea, with at least one warm jumper/sweater as it can be a little cold in the evenings/early mornings, light raincoat if you like, walking shoes, notepad and pens, tea tree or eucalyptus essential oil to stop any itching from bug bites, natural bug repellent, long tops and bottoms to protect arms/legs from insect bites, torch/flashlight (*essential*, as it can be very dark here at night), any natural personal products that you use and may not be able to easily find here (please note that we use grey water systems on the land that feed house water directly into the gardens/forests, so we do not welcome chemical products here), oh and of course don’t forget to bring your senses of humour, curiosity and fun!

Children:

This retreat is open to everyone: single people, couples, families, children, young and old, raw and non-raw. Please note that this does not infer that every activity every day will be aimed at or even necessarily appropriate for children, though there will certainly be many activities and things to do for children.

Speaking Spanish:

Most locals do not speak English, so the more you can communicate in Spanish, the easier things can be here for you… You can certainly also get by here with no Spanish though…

Volunteers/WWOOFers:

In general at our ranch, we don’t take on volunteers, however, there are other places in this area that you could contact, e.g. Sambuca Cafe – check them out at https://www.facebook.com/vilcabamba.sambuca – they have lots of raw options/equipment, plus a huge organic garden, yoga studio etc…

Also, our dear friend Yves has a permaculture farm out in the hills where he takes WWOOFers – see https://www.facebook.com/sacredsuenos – they are not super into raw food out there, they’re doing many great things though and welcome most help!

Duffle Bags:

We are always looking to bring more of our products down from our warehouse in California, here to Vilcabamba, as there are many things that are simply not that easy to find around here, such as goji berries, nori sheets and other raw foodie staples. If you are coming down for this retreat from the USA and would be willing to bring with you one or more 50lb duffle bags of product from our warehouse (or smaller amounts of product in your own luggage, if that’s all you feel willing/able to bring), we would be eternally grateful! Let us know if you are up for this and we can explain more details, including, of course that we will cover all excess baggage fees…

Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year:

If you are joining us for the December/January retreat, this retreat is due to run from the Winter Solstice, through Christmas/Hanukkah and New Year into January – a very auspicious time! We know that for some people this time of year feels like a very special time for holidays and celebration and you may be wondering what you’d be up to if you’re here rather than in your usual setting! So we want to just assure you that we’re definitely planning on some non-traditional party-time fun for all of those who want to participate… aside from the ongoing daily fun that is!

Got more questions?

Just email us at customerservice@therawfoodworld.com and we’ll do our best to help you. You can also call us on 866-729-3438.

To refer again to the newsletter post about this retreat, here is the URL for that page online: http://www.therawfoodworld.com/blog/?p=3958.