Frequently Asked Questions
What qualifications are required to teach at Esalen?
Esalen usually works with faculty who have a deep understanding and level of experience in their field.
Usually our faculty have teaching experience, or can demonstrate an ability to design curriculum and hold a group. Often, faculty have an existing student base and/or a wide appeal. Topics can be very general or specific but all need to be aligned with our mission and vision.
How long until I hear from Esalen about my workshop proposal?
We have the blessing of receiving many more proposals than we could possibly schedule. Please do not take it personally if we are unable to schedule yours. Unfortunately, because of the volume of proposals that we receive, we are not able to follow up with each individual to inform them of their status. If we would like to further explore your proposal and possibly schedule it, we will contact you. We schedule a year in advance, so it could take a year or more for us to have room to schedule your workshop if accepted.
How many hours of class time are in a typical Esalen workshop?
A weekend workshop consists of 10 hours of class time; a 5-day workshop consists of 26 hours; a 7-day workshop consists of a total of 36 hours.
What type of technology needs can Esalen accommodate?
Esalen does provide basic audio/visual equipment for our workshops and private conferences. Workshops with elaborate a/v set-ups would need to be discussed in advance on a case-by-case basis. Esalen has very limited internet bandwidth so no live streaming or extensive data downloading is possible. Additionally, most meeting rooms do not have internet accessibility.
Is Esalen Expensive? Can I Afford to Come?
To encourage people of all financial abilities to participate in the magic and mystery of Esalen, we offer a wide array of accommodation options as well as short- and longer-term programs to suit every need and budget. Participation in the 28-day Work Study Program is possible for as little as $41/day, and for those wishing to participate in weekend, 5-day or 7-day catalog workshops we additionally offer work exchange, need-based financial scholarship, and discounts for seniors.
Is there a Shuttle or Van Service to Esalen?
Shuttle van service is available from from San Francisco, San Jose, and Monterey airports on Fridays and Sundays. For shuttle schedules and pricing, please click here.
What is the Road Like? Where Do I Check Road Closures?
Highway 1 south of Esalen is currently closed due to a land slide. Read more about transportation options to Esalen.
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 Choose My Roommate?
We use an elaborate bed and room matching service that houses people of the same gender together unless they have identified themselves as a couple.
If you have saved your partner/couple as part of your online registration account, and indicated them during registration, we will make every attempt to house you together. In addition, there is a text field option later during the check-out process to allow you to specify a particular roommate. We can generally accommodate these requests up until the day of the workshop.
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.
Please note that Esalen does not have parking spaces for RV's and large vehicles. Large vehicles need to park on Highway 1 at the Esalen entrance.
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.
How Do I Tip my Massage Therapist?
Tips may be charged to your credit card if you stop by the Office following your session. We also provide tip envelopes where you can enclose cash or a check, and either leave this in the Office or hand it directly to your practitioner following your session.
What Time Should I Check Out?
Check-out time is 10:00 am on departure days, although you are welcome to stay for lunch and remain at Esalen until 2 pm. If you are participating in a workshop we ask that you have your belognings out of your room before the start of your final session.
What Time Can I Check In?
Feel free to arrive at Esalen any time after 2:00 pm. Room keys are available from the Gate or the Office/Bookstore by 3:00 pm. Room check-out is 10:00 am on the day of departure.
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.
Can I Bring my Child?
If you are interested in bringing children to Esalen, please speak directly with one of our reservations staff to register. Guests staying in Premium or Point House accommodations or two full-paying adults housed together in standard accommodations may have their children in the room for a meal fee of $25 per child per day ($10/day for children under 6), or for the workshop rate in the case of a family workshop (see below). Single-parent accommodations are limited. Children must be supervised at all times.
Children may only attend workshops with their care-givers that are specifically designated as family workshops. The fee for children 10 and under is $150 for a weekend family workshop, or $300 for a 5-day family workshop. Fees for youth 11-17 enrolled in Family workshops are $420 for weekend workshops and $675 for five-day workshops. Parents/Guardians pay regular rates.
What Payment Methods/Credit Cards do you Accept?
We accept cash and checks and all credit cards except Discover.
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?
We carry only basic sundries in our Bookstore. The nearest pharmacy is 40 miles away in Carmel, so you will want to make sure to bring your prescription medications with you.
Esalen does not have an on-call doctor, and there are no other medical services 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.
Is There an ATM on Property?
Please bring sufficient funds for incidentals, as Esalen does not have an ATM, nor are we able to cash checks. We do accept cash, checks and credit cards as payment, however.
Can I Smoke? Is Smoking Allowed?
Smoking is permitted in designated outdoor areas only. It is not permitted in accommodations or meeting areas or near the lodge and outdoor deck during mealtimes.
What if my Roommate Snores?
All of our accommodations are shared. Please come prepared (nose strips, earplugs, etc.) as you or your roommate may snore.
Can I Bring my Dog? Cat? Other Pet?
Sorry. Other than animals in service, pets are not allowed on the property.
In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability.
Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.
Do You Have a Safe or a Place to Keep my Valuables?
Unfortunately, the Esalen office has no facilities to safeguard your valuables. For peace of mind, it is best to leave them in either the locked trunk of your car or at home.
Will I need a flashlight?
Our property is dimly lit at night, allowing guests to fully enjoy and appreciate the night sky. Please bring a flashlight for use while walking on the grounds after dark.
Can I bring my stash?
In accordance with state and federal laws, the possession or use of illegal drugs on Esalen grounds is strictly prohibited.
What if I lose something? Is there a lost and found?
To inquire about items left behind from your Esalen visit, please send an email including your name, the date you checked out, and a description of the missing item/s to firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a message at 831-667-3019.
Must I Get Naked? Is Esalen a Nudist Colony?
The hot springs at Esalen have been in use for over 6,000 years and are clothing-optional. Nudity is common in the baths and the swimming pool but by no means mandatory.
We encourage each individual to find their own edge between comfort and growth, either wearing a swimsuit or not, knowing that the environment we strive for at Esalen is one of personal sanctuary and respect for the human body.
For those who do choose to use the springs, in a bathing suit or without, daily or once in a lifetime — the hot springs experience embodies much of what continues to make Esalen a singular place of adventure, contemplation, and community.
What is your Cancellation Policy?
Workshops including A Time To Reflect
If you cancel or change your reservation with less than 14 days notice before the start of your workshop, you will forfeit your entire deposit.
If you cancel or change your reservation with at least 14 full days notice, you will pay a processing fee of $75 for a weekend workshop and $150 for a weeklong, and the rest of your deposit or full payment will be refunded to you.
Donations to the Friends of Esalen are nonrefundable.
See this page for more details about cancellations.
If you cancel a personal retreat reservation with less than fourteen days notice, you will forfeit the price of one night's lodging (per person) and any remaining balance will be refunded.
If you cancel your personal retreat reservation at least fourteen full days before your date of arrival, a $75-per-person processing fee will be charged and the remaining balance will be refunded.
Do You Offer Assistance/Accessiblity for Disabled Persons?
We are committed to accommodating guests who have disabilities. If you have a disability and think you might need assistance participating in a workshop or other Esalen activity, please give the office as much advance notice as possible about your needs. We require a minimum of 72 hours' notice to arrange for accessible accommodations. If you will need sign language interpretation at an Esalen workshop, we require at least two weeks' notice to arrange for interpreter services. In all cases, we will do our best to assist you with your needs.
Although we are in the process of increasing our disability access, access to some parts of our property continues to be difficult. While many of our paths are paved, they are still extremely steep due to our cliff-side setting, which is the steepest meeting of land and sea in the continental United States.
Likewise, please inform the office with as much advance notice as possible if you need to bring a service animal. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.
How do I get to Esalen? How far is Esalen from the Nearest Airport?
Our closest airports are Monterey (MRY), San Jose (SJC), and San Francisco (SFO). Learn more about transportation options to Esalen.