Prepare for your retreat
How do I get there?
Your international flight should arrive in either Quito or Guayaquil. There are several daily nonstop flights from cities in the U.S., South America and Europe. You’d then connect on a domestic flight to our closest city Loja (LOH), sometimes overnighting in Quito or Guayaquil. All other things being about equal, we prefer Quito: the road and flight connections are better, and it’s generally safer downtown. Quito has an interesting historic area and is nestled in a scenic green Andean valley. The altitude is 9200 ft. (2,800 meters), so we suggest taking it easy if you’re sensitive to altitude (see travel tips at #6 below). It’s a bit cooler in Quito than here, with no indoor heating – so we recommend you bring a sweater, jacket and long pants, which will be useful at the resort as well.
Prices for hotels and taxis are reasonable. The flights from Quito are on comfortable jets operated by Tame airlines. Reservations can be made on www.tame.com.ec.
On weekdays, Tame has two flights from Quito or Guayaquil to Loja: one in the early morning and the other around 4:00pm. Holidays and weekends have a variable schedule.
When you’ve purchased your domestic air tickets, let us at The Shala know and we will arrange for your transportation to and from the airport/resort. It is about a 90 minute scenic ride to Madre Tierra through the Andean foothills. The driver will be holding a Madre Tierra sign, probably with your name on it.
You do not need a Visa or any vaccinations to enter Ecuador, simply a passport. Entering Ecuador is easy, and immigration andcustoms are typically a rapid welcome. They will issue a 90-‐day visitor visa and stamp your passport.
Dress is casual for almost everyone in Vilcabamba. We recommend you bring lightweight, long pants and walking shoes for during the day; a sweater, jacket, flashlight and warmer pants for evenings. You will need the usual toiletries, health products, and any snacks you may wish to enjoy after our restaurant is closed.
Life is simple here, so it is not necessary to bring an exhaustive wardrobe. There is a laundry service provided at the resort.
Suggested packing list:
Light sweater, jacket or sweatshirt for cooler evenings/mornings
Shoes suitable for walking/hiking
Flashlights & cameras. Flashlights for walking at night are a great idea. (The sun sets every evening at around 7pm)
Umbrella or rain poncho
Binoculars (you can consider these mandatory if you’re excited about bird watching and spotting wildlife)
A refillable water bottle with some type of carbon filtration is ideal. However, inexpensive bottled water is readily available.
Yoga clothes and mat of course!
Money: You will need cash for souvenir shopping and any spa therapies you might wish to have. Ecuador's official currency is the US dollar. ATMs are available in the cities, and there are four in Vilcabamba itself (though these sometimes run out of cash). Bring bills of $20 and under for use throughout Ecuador as $50 and $100 bills are sometimes not accepted, or the vendor will not have change. Large bills are accepted at Madre Tierra. (If you bring with you a bunch of $5s we’ll gladly buy these from you at the hotel front desk)