Frequently Asked Questions
To preserve the sanctity of the Esalen experience for our residents and guests, we do not offer guided or self-guided tours or walkabouts.
Our closest airports are Monterey (MRY), San Jose (SJC), and San Francisco (SFO). Learn more about transportation options for getting to Esalen.
For information about traveling to Esalen, including links for checking current road conditions, visit the Getting Here page.
To reduce our environmental impact, we do not offer camping (car or tent) on property.
Note: Esalen does not have parking spaces for RVs and large vehicles. Large vehicles need to park on Highway 1 at the Esalen entrance.
Feel free to arrive at Esalen any time after 2:00 pm. Room keys are available from the gate or the office/bookstore by 4:00 pm.
Check-out time is 10:00 a.m, but you’re welcome to stay for lunch and remain at Esalen until 2:00 p.m. If you’re participating in a workshop, we ask that you have your belongings out of your room before the start of your final session.
Please see this page for details about cancellations.
Although Esalen has a long history of permitting children on property, namely through partnership with the former Gazebo school and participation in family workshops, our adult-only policy was enacted during the COVID pandemic. Since the re-opening of the institute, Esalen will slowly roll out periodic family offerings as we adjust and adapt to the many changes and challenges that have presented since the closure.
Esalen Institute will continue to maintain an adult-only space for our regularly scheduled programming in 2023. Due to the remote nature of our property, we have families who live and work within the community and therefore there are a few children who permanently reside here.
We accept credit cards, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. Due to COVID-19 safety measures, we are not currently accepting cash. We cannot charge items to your room, so please have a form of payment with you to make purchases.
Esalen is located approximately 45 miles from "civilization," and there is currently no cell coverage. Should you need to get in touch with someone off campus, there are three pay phones that work with quarters, a calling card, or a prepaid minutes plan. We do not sell calling cards.
We use a bulletin board to share important messages and calls from home, and offer a few wired internet kiosks for limited use. Wireless internet is available in the lodge anytime other than mealtimes, when it automatically disables so we can enjoy the food and community mindfully.
We carry only basic sundries in the Conley Bookstore. The nearest pharmacy is 40 miles away in Carmel, so make sure to bring prescription medications and any other medically-necessary items 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.
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.
Cannabis is prohibited. Outside of homes, California state law allows cannabis consumption only in dispensaries or at special events held at county fairgrounds.
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, like 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.
The Esalen office has no facilities to safeguard your valuables. For peace of mind, it’s best to leave them either in the locked trunk of your car or at home. Esalen is not responsible for lost or stolen items.
Our property is dimly lit at night, allowing guests to fully enjoy and appreciate the night sky. Please bring a flashlight for walking on the grounds after dark.
Esalen is not responsible for lost or stolen items. If you've left an item behind after your stay at Esalen, please visit ileftmystuff.com and enter client ID 86773, then fill out the lost item report.
The hot springs at Esalen are clothing-optional. Nudity is common in the baths and the swimming pool but is 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.
Tips may be charged to your credit card — stop by the Office after your session to arrange it.
If you prefer to tip with cash or a check, we also provide tip envelopes. You can either leave the envelope with the office, or hand it directly to your practitioner after your session.
We are committed to accommodating guests who have physical impairments. If you think you might need assistance participating in a workshop or other Esalen activity, contact the office as far in advance as possible to discuss 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.
Likewise, please inform the office with as much advance notice as possible if you need to bring a service animal. Any animal that qualifies as a service animal under the Americans with Disabilities Act is welcome at Esalen.
Although we are in the process of increasing accessibility on our campus, parts of our property are still challenging. While many of our paths are paved, some are still very steep due to our cliffside setting, which is the most extreme meeting of land and sea in the continental United States.