Directions, Transportation, and Lodging FAQs
What is the Campus Renewal Project?
Scheduled to begin in late Spring 2015, the Campus Renewal Project will involve renovations to our historic Lodge while most of Esalen’s campus remains untouched. We are committed to ensuring that your Esalen experience will continue to be as magical and deeply transformative as ever and have taken steps to minimize any impact on your visit. For more information, please see esalen.org/renewal.
Is there a Shuttle or Van Service to Esalen?
Beginning November 16, 2014, we will expand our shuttle van service and offer transportation from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and San Jose International Airport (SJC) as well as Monterey Peninsula Airport (MRY) on Fridays and Sundays. For van service schedules and pricing on or after November 16, 2014, please click here.
Prior to November 16, 2014,we have van service on Fridays and Sundays from the Monterey Airport at approximately 4 pm and also in Monterey at approximately 4:20 pm at 438 Calle Principal between Jefferson and Franklin.
Look for the Monterey AirBus Station sign. It is located in front of a parking garage near the Montrio Bistro Restaurant. There is also a pick up at the Monterey Transit Center at the corner of Pearl and Alvarado, next to Ordway Drugs.
If you plan to use this service, please inform the Esalen office by fax at 831-667-2724 at least 24 hours prior to your arrival.
The $65 one-way fee (subject to change) is payable to the Esalen office when you check in. Return reservations may be made at that time. The only departing van service from Esalen is on Fridays and Sundays at approximately 5:30 pm. If you plan to use this departure service, please make sure that your plane reservations are after 8 pm.
What is the Road Like? Where Do I Check Road Closures?
For the most up-to-date information about Highway 1 toward and through Big Sur from the north and south, please call the Caltrans Highway 1 Big Sur Hotline toll-free at (888) 836-0866.
Alternatively, you can check the Caltrans Website on their District 5 page at: http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist05/road_information.htm
We also recommend checking the Caltrans Facebook page for updates at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Caltrans-Central-Coast-District-5/1658706...
Can I Sleep in My Car, RV, or Tent?
To reduce our environmental impact, we do not offer camping (car or tent) on property. There is camping nearby both north and south on Highway 1.
See the Big Sur Camping Guide at http://www.bigsurcalifornia.org/camping.html for details.
Can I Come Take a Tour and Just Look Around?
Unfortunately, we do not offer guided public tours. To preserve the sanctity of the Esalen experience, self-guided tours and walkabouts are also prohibited.
What Time Can I Check In?
Feel free to arrive any time after 2 pm; room keys are available through the Office after 4 pm.
Can I Bring a Guest or my Spouse?
Unfortunately, no. We are small by design (with only 125 beds on property) and when you make the pilgrimage to Esalen you (and you only) become part of the community. For this reason, and to protect the privacy and experience of our other community members, we request that you not bring visitors or guests.
Will My Cell Phone Work at Esalen? Is there Internet Access?
Esalen is located approximately 45 miles from "civilization," and there is currently no cell coverage. This isolation and tranquility, while deepening the experience of your stay at Esalen, can also be a significant change. While there is no cell service, there are three pay phones and calling cards available in the bookstore.
We use a bulletin board for important messages and calls from home and offer a few wired Internet kiosks for limited use. Wireless internet is available in the lodge anytime but during mealtimes.
Is There a Pharmacy or a Doctor on Property?
Esalen does have an on-call doctor for emergencies, but there are no other medical services or pharmacy available on site. If you will require medical attention or supplies during your stay, please come prepared to administer to your own needs, or make advance arrangements with the Big Sur Health Center in Big Sur.
Can I Bring my Dog? Cat? Other Pet?
Sorry. Other than animals in service, pets are not allowed on the property.
How do I get to Esalen? How far is Esalen from the Nearest Airport?
Esalen is approximately three hours from SFO, 2 and a half hours from San Jose Airport (SJC), 2 hours from SLO, and an hour and 15 minutes from Monterey Airport (MRY).
From the north:
- If you are driving from San Francisco or points north, take Route 101 south.
- At Prunedale, take Exit 156 west to the Monterey Peninsula and Highway 1.
- Take Highway 1 south approximately 60 miles, passing Monterey, Carmel, and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Nepenthe, a popular restaurant located on the ocean side of Highway 1, is 11 miles north of Esalen.
From the south:
- Those driving from the south should take Route 101 north to San Luis Obispo and then Highway 1 to Esalen. We are approximately 100 miles north of San Luis Obispo.
- When you reach Lucia, a bend in the road where there is a restaurant, and motel, you are 10 miles south of Esalen.
From either direction, watch for the Esalen Institute sign on the west (ocean) side of the road.