If you haven't heard, our Baja EcoWarrior Retreat is coming up again this September and we still have a few spots available.
This year's retreat will really focus on connection.
Connecting with yourself and with nature. Nurturing your whole self, body and mind, in a way that can only be done in nature, to connect with your values, your roots, your personal mission, and our planet.
I know that choosing to join a retreat like this isn't usually something that's done on a whim. So today I want to answer a few of the most common questions about it, and as always if you have any questions at all, just shoot us an email and your emails will come straight to me 😄
Where is the retreat?
Our Baja EcoWarrior Retreat is hosted by our ocean conservation partner, Vermilion Sea Institute, at the Vermilion Sea Field Station, in Bahia de los Angeles, Mexico. Bahia sits on the Gulf of California, towards the southern end of the Baja California Peninsula.
We're staying at the Vermilion Sea Field Station for the entirety of the retreat, which is first and foremost a field facility for researchers and educators in the environmental sciences.
It's rustic but oh so enjoyable and relaxing - the perfect combo for a retreat like ours.
The adobe and stone building itself has 12 multi-purpose rooms, a large kitchen, an indoor shower and changing room, outdoor bucket-flush bathrooms, and an additional family house.
How do we get to the field station?
The morning of September 7, we will all meet in the lobby of the Holiday Inn Old Town in San Diego, California. We'll do some brief introductions and then we'll all hop into the van, driven by VSI staff, and head south.
We'll have a few stops along the way to stretch, explore, and eat, and we will arrive at the field station around dinnertime.
What's included with registration?
Everything you'll need from the time we meet in the hotel lobby on September 7th to the time we return to the hotel in San Diego on September 12th is included:
- All transportation
- Lodging at the Vermilion Sea Field Station
- 3 chef-prepared meals every day
- Visas and island permits
- Boat rentals with trusted and experienced captains
- Emergency medical insurance
- Snorkel gear, including mask, snorkel, fins, and wetsuit
- Unlimited use of kayaks and stand-up paddleboards
- Daily yoga classes with a certified instructor
- Coffee, tea, water, and snacks
You will be responsible for: airfare/transportation to and from San Diego, hotel stays in San Diego on September 6th and 12th, your passport, and any additional snacks or alcoholic beverages you choose to purchase in Bahia.
And if you would like to share a room with another EcoWarrior in San Diego, I can help connect you with other potential attendees who would also like to share!
Fun fact: While I was planning this year's retreat, I did some math (because as you may know by now, I love doing maths.) If an individual person wanted to create their own experience like this, with a hotel stay, rental car, a boat rental and guide for finding whale sharks, and yoga classes every day, it would average about $395 per day - not including any meals, visas, insurance, gas, water, snorkeling equipment, kayak and paddleboard rentals, or any of the sustainability discussions and personal access to marine scientists every day.
Our retreat is just $416.50 per day 🤯
Do we have to stay at the Holiday Inn before the retreat?
You will need to arrive in San Diego no later than September 6th, as we will be departing from the hotel before 7am on the 7th. We will have a block of rooms reserved for retreat attendees before and after the retreat, and you will receive all of those details once you submit your registration.
However, you are not required to stay at the Holiday Inn.
If you choose to stay at another hotel or an Airbnb, you are welcome to do so, but I can tell you from personal experience it's a MUCH better experience on your part if you do.
My first time visiting the station I chose to stay at an Airbnb down the road, and because Lyfts were so difficult to get that early in the morning I ended up holding up the entire group because I was late.
Just a little insider pro-tip for ya 😉
I'm vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free/dairy free/etc. What will I eat?
VSI's chef, Brent, is simply incredible, and will take every person's dietary needs and preferences into account for every meal.
The second part of the registration process includes letting us know any dietary restrictions, preferences, and allergies you may have so we can plan ahead when making the meal schedule. The more detailed you can be in this step, the better Brent can accommodate.
(And the food is phenomenal. VSI even released their own cookbook a couple of years ago and it's earned a permanent home in my kitchen!)
I've never snorkeled before. Is that a problem?
Not at all!
The first time I visited the station I was absolutely ~terrified~ of open water and snorkeling.
One of the first things we'll do on the first day at the station is free exploration and snorkeling lessons for anyone who may need it. Meghann is the best teacher you could ask for and you'll feel right at home in the water in no time.
I've never done yoga before. Is that a problem?
I've only practiced yoga a handful of times in my life, and basically none of our past retreat attendees were experienced yoga practitioners.
Our yoga leader, Erica, plans our seaside practices with all skill levels in mind, and is a great teacher if you have any questions or concerns.
Is there WiFi?
We encourage you to take the rare and special opportunity to embrace being “unplugged" on this retreat.
Most retreat attendees and visitors to the field station find they connect more deeply with the incredible local environment because of it.
Personally, the second we cross the border into Mexico, my phone is in my bag in airplane mode until we arrive back in San Diego. I look forward to this time of "disconnecting to reconnect" every year. It is one of my favorite parts of the entire year - every year.
However, if totally disconnecting isn’t possible, there are a handful of internet cafes in town. There is no cell service in town, but there are usually pay phones available at the internet cafes.
Where do we sleep?
At night, we'll set up our cots along the waterfront of the station. If you'd rather be inside the station, you can set up in there instead, although most visitors to the station do choose to sleep under the stars.
But again - as with everything else on this retreat - take what you need and leave the rest.
As for the cots themselves, although they look simple, they're actually surprisingly comfortable! I always sleep soooo well at the station.
You're also welcome to bring a sleeping pad if you'd like some extra cushion!
Falling asleep under the stars to the quiet lapping of the waves and waking to the sunrise over the mountain horizon... It doesn't get much better than that.
Holy moly! The itinerary is so full... What if I need a break?
You're absolutely right! We have a lot going on.
Snorkeling with whale sharks.
Discussions on our connection with water.
Morning yoga on the sand.
There's no denying it's a lot.
But ya wanna know something really cool? You can do literally ✨ none of it. ✨
If you want to spend your whole week reading a book in the sun - you can do that! If you want to sleep in instead of hiking a mountain - you can do that!
I'll even let you in on a little secret... I've been to the station four times and I've never been on the morning hike everyone raves about. Because as you may know, I really like sleep.
There will always be more things to do than there is time. What you do with the time at the station is yours to choose. Do we encourage you to make the most of your time in Bahia? Yeah. Of course. But will we shame or judge you for taking a nap? Absolutely never. Take what you need; leave the rest.
Are there payment plans available?
Absolutely! When you're on the checkout page you'll see an option to pay once or pay over time. Just choose the pay over time option and choose whichever length of time works best for you - anywhere from 2 to 12 months.
This sounds amazing. Where can I learn more about the retreat and register
Yay! You can find all the details and registration on our website here. And if you have any questions at all just hit "reply" and I'll get back to you asap!
When does registration close?
Registration closes on June 1, 2023.
If we do not have 3 more EcoWarriors sign up by June 1, we will have to cancel this year's retreat and all registered attendees will be refunded.
So if you wanna join us, you're gonna wanna reserve your spot asap!
📸: Courtney Baxter, Meghann McDonald, Vanessa Baez