Participant Frequently Asked Questions

Coming as a Guest on a Retreat and have questions?

TRAVEL & TRANSPORTATION

Is my international flight included?

No. You are responsible for your flight from your home airport to SJO airport. 

How does transportation work? How do I get to Imiloa?

We will guide you to the private plane on your day of check-in at the Domestic Terminal at SJO. The domestic terminal is next to the international terminal. If you arrive on the same day of your retreat our team will meet you outside of the International Terminal and walk you to the domestic terminal. If you arrive in Costa Rica, please arrive at the Domestic Terminal no later than 3 pm on your retreat start date. 

Once you arrive in Quepos, where our landing strip is, you’ll be escorted to Imiloa in private SUVs. Transportation is available during free time. Please email your request to: welcomehome@imiloainstitute.com 

Where do I fly into in Costa Rica?

San Jose Juan Santamaria International Airport. The airport code is “SJO.” Please plan for your flight to arrive by 1p.m. local time if you plan to fly in on the same day as the start date of the retreat.

What time do I have to land in SJO on arrival day?

On arrival day for your retreat, we recommend that your flight land at the international airport no later than 1:00 PM local Costa Rica time. This is because you must be at the domestic terminal by 3:00 PM. Be prepared for immigration lines running as fast as 45 minutes or as long as 2.5 hours to get through. 

The local charter flight will depart from the domestic terminal at SJO. It is a 5-10 minute walk from the international terminal to the domestic terminal at SJO. The local charter flight will leave at 3:30 PM local time. 

How long is the flight to Imiloa?

About 25 minutes long from wheels up to wheels down.

Do we have to take the small airplane to Imiloa?

Included in your retreat experience at Imiloa is the small plane which we charter privately for just your retreat group. This is already included in your stay with us. However, if you prefer ground transportation, this can be set up as an alternative, however, there will be an additional cost. Please inquire at welcomehome@imiloainstitute.com for more information. 

Can I take a private shuttle to Imiloa?

Yes, we can help coordinate private shuttles.

Should I fly in a day before my retreat, and where do I stay if I do?

Resort Hotel in San Jose, Costa Rica | Costa Rica Marriott Hotel Hacienda Belen

Hampton by Hilton San Jose Airport, Costa Rica Airport Hotel

Holiday Inn Express San Jose Costa Rica Airport – San Jose, Costa Rica (ihg.com)

95% of guests arrive on the first day of their retreat, but if you have the time in your schedule, we would definitely recommend coming in a day early.  There are plenty of hotels near SJO and our Concierge Team can make recommendations for you.  

Alternatively, you can contact us to inquire about availability here at Imiloa for the day/days prior to the retreat. Standard rates will apply and would be in addition to your ticket price.

We would fly in the day before, yes, depending on where you’re flying from and depending on how much time you have. Generally, flights are 6-8 hours from the US, and direct flights are 11 hours from Europe. From California, Texas, Florida, New York/New Jersey and Illinois there are direct flights. 

What happens if I miss the flight to Imiloa?

If you arrive to the domestic terminal at SJO after 3 PM, you will not arrive in time to travel on the charter flight. We can still assist with coordinating transport, but you will be responsible for your own transportation to Imiloa and any cost incurred. 

If you choose not to utilize the method of transportation provided for your retreat to/from Imiloa, you are responsible for the cost of alternate/ground transportation. For example, if you choose not to fly on the charter plane, you will be responsible for the cost of your ground transportation.

What are the entry requirements for Costa Rica?

Entry requirements are subject to change at any moment so we encourage you to check this link for updated info: Entry Requirements.

Do I need to rent a car?

No, outside cars are not able to be brought to the Institute. If you have questions, please chat with us.

GENERAL

Where exactly is Imiloa located?

We are located on the Southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica.  We are 3KM North of Dominical and approximately 25KM (30 mins) south of Quepos. We are on a mountain, overlooking the Pacific, at about 1200 feet in elevation.

How big is Imiloa’s property?

Our property is 22 acres

How far is the closest town? Hospital?

The closest hospital is 30 mins away. But local clinics and/or concierge doctors are within 15-20 minutes away. The closest town (Dominical) is 15 minutes away.

Is there a lot of walking on campus? Are the pathways steep?

Staying at the domes, you do the most walking, which is 5 minutes to the Heart of Imiloa or to where classes are held. Other accommodations are closer together. One steep pathway from the bungalows to the dining area is about 1 minute’s walk.

How and when will I get my specific agenda for the retreat I’m coming on?

Some hosts decide not to share the schedule beforehand with their participants and provide this information daily, when the schedule is meant to be shared we provide it on arrival day.

What should I bring with me for the retreat?

Don’t forget to pack: camera/batteries/charger, sneakers/hiking shoes, pants, water bottle, organic sunscreen and bug repellent (not a lot of bugs, but it’s nice to have), water ball, shoes and flip flops, comfortable clothes.

How can my family contact me?

For phone service, there is WIFI on campus, and we recommend WhatsApp as the best way to communicate.

What happens if I smoke in your rooms or bring my own alcohol?

We are a dry campus. If you are consuming alcohol at Imiloa or alcohol is visible in your accommodations or you smoke cigarettes or marijiuana or anything in your accommodations, that is not aligned with our core values, we will directly let you know. You will be asked to leave the property and secure accommodations and coordinate your travel back to SJO at your own cost.

What if I don’t want to do every single activity?

For retreats this question gets forwarded to the host for specific answers. If it is an Imiloa Signature Retreat, activities are optional, and you can select what you most want to participate in or attend. 

I have an emotional support dog/pet and it travels everywhere with me. Can they come to Imiloa?

Please email your request to welcomehome@imiloainstitute.com and include the breed of dog, weight, and supporting documentation. While Imiloa will consider your request, we respectfully reserve the right to refuse entry to anyone with an emotional support animal unless they have received approval in writing from our team. 

We take these requests seriously and have to evaluate several factors before making a decision including the charter flight, allergies of other guests and team members, impact on the wildlife, and impact on the accommodations and our property. 

If you have a certified service animal, please email welcomehome@imiloainstitute.com so that we can work with you on accommodating your accessibility needs. 

I want to host my retreat here! Can I?

Yes, thank you for your interest in hosting at Imiloa!  We have a fantastic host application process.   Here is how it works:

  1. Fill out our host application form.  After you submit you will receive access to a link to our live Hosting Webinar.  We highly recommend you watch the discovery webinar to get all the key details about hosting at Imiloa. 
  2. Our global development team will review your application
  3. All accepted applicants will receive an email from the team with next steps.  This will include scheduling a 1:1 meeting with the head of our global development team. 

AMENITIES

Do you offer laundry services?

Yes, $25 per load to pick up, wash, dry, fold and deliver back to you. Allow 24 hours.

Are there safety boxes for personal belongings?

Yes, we have safety boxes in all accommodations.

Is there Wi-Fi?

Yes, we have fiber optic high speed. Certain parts of the campus like House of Masters you’ll find intentionally without WiFi.

Do you provide beach towels?

Yes, we provide beach and pool towels. Anything you may have forgotten, such as essentials, we always have on hand for our guests. Depending on the item, there may be a fee.

Are there any walks or hikes nearby?

The entire jungle is yours! The private road is great for hiking and there are adjacent acres to ours that you can explore endlessly.

Do you have mosquito nets and A/C's?

We have mosquito nets in the Bali suites and Bali Villas only. A/C’s are in all domes and in the bali suites, not the Bali Villas or bungalows.

How far is Imiloa from the beach?

Approximately a ten minute drive to a private beach, 12 minutes to Dominical and 25 minutes to Uvita beaches. If you’re hosting a retreat here, you should ask us about our super lush private all night beach parties that we put on for our VIPs.

Can we go to the beach? Can I go to the beach when I want to?

We provide transportation to the beach during the free times of a retreat. We do not run individual transportation, and we ask guests to group together so we run more efficiently and consciously of the earth and its impact to it.

Where is my massage located, and where and when can I book spa appointments?

Massages are done at each participant’s accommodation or in a dedicated space, depending on desire of the participant and the availability of spaces on the campus.

Does Imiloa have a gym on-site?

Not yet, but it’s something we’re working on. Meanwhile, we’re on a mountain with excellent hiking and nature trails, and yoga equipment (all the props you need).

FOOD

I know you’re a vegan campus, but what if I want animal products or some alcohol?

We do not police our guests — we are sharing our values and why they’re important to us. If you are seen with alcohol on campus, you will be reminded of why we have an alcohol-free campus once, and if we observe it again publicly, we will respectfully ask you to leave. Our pans and utensils have never touched animal products and therefore, no animal products can be prepared or consumed at our dining facility. We invite you to email our Chef directly and share any concerns, and we’re certain — as we have for thousands of guests before you — that we can accommodate any dietary request or restriction. chef@imiloainstitute.com

Folks can go to the local beach town of Dominical to explore restaurants and have meat or a drink. Alternatively, the hotel LapAzul 10 min walk from Imiloa has a restaurant that serves animal products and alcohol.

I’ve got health issues or very specific food allergies. How am I going to communicate my needs to the team?

You are sent a form to include all of your information before arrival. Upon arrival to Imiloa, you will receive a special wristband indicating your food allergies or modified food needs.  This will alert staff to check with you before each meal to ensure you are served food that meets your dietary requirements.

Is the water safe to drink?

Yes! Our water is triple-filtered UV from our mountain’s well and perfectly healthy and safe to drink from all faucets on the property. 

I’m hungry often, especially with a plant-based diet. Can I have food on demand? How about to my room?

We serve 3 big meals daily, typically structured with breakfast at 8:30 AM, lunch at 12:30 PM and dinner at 6:30 PM. We also serve fruits, snacks, nuts, juice etc., between meals, and coffee and tea is available at all times throughout the day. If you get hungry between meals and snacks are not sufficient, please let our kitchen staff know, and they will be happy to provide extra food for you. 

I like to prepare my own smoothie or afternoon snack. Can I bring the ingredients to things I want and prepare it in your kitchen?

No, we cannot prepare individual smoothies for people. If our hosts have a request for a smoothie or food item for the retreat experience, we of course will provide.

Can I have dinner delivered to my room?

Only in the cases of sickness and/or Injuries do we provide room service, otherwise, the answer is no.

STAFF

What kind of staff do you have?

We have a full operations and executive team available throughout your stay.

Can I / Should I tip the team?

Staff gratuities are pooled together and distributed equally amongst the property team members once a month. This includes everyone you see or may not see during your stay, such as kitchen staff, gardeners, housekeepers, the maintenance team, etc. 

It is not shared with massage therapists. $30 per guest per day is the recommended amount. Please make adjustments based on your financial means and comfort. 

If there’s a bug in my room, how will I contact someone to get it out?

You will receive communication via Whatsapp with our team, who will assist with all requests.

Is the team legally hired?

All team members are legally hired in Costa Rica.

FINANCIAL

What is average ticket pricing?

Each retreat is priced separately by the host. 

In general, all-inclusive rates (excluding airfare to Costa Rica) are between $2,900 to $4,900. It depends on the host of the event, their qualifications and expertise, your accommodation choice, and number of people attending. 

Please visit our retreats page here. Alternatively, start planning your retreat experience here where you can specify when you want to travel and number of travelers. 

If I’m on a payment plan for a retreat, and the payments are non-refundable, and I can’t make payments any longer, do I lose my money? Can I transfer to another retreat?

Our tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable, which is why we always recommend purchasing ‘cancel for any reason’ travel insurance to protect your investment. We recommend Global Rescue who are specialists in this field. If you choose not to use Global Rescue as your CFAR provider, please select an alternate provider so that your retreat purchase is insured in case of cancellation for any reason. 

ACCOMMODATIONS

Are the domes like tents?

A geodesic dome is a spherical space-frame structure composed of a complex network of triangles. The linked triangles create a self-bracing framework that is structurally strong yet elegantly delicate. The geodesic dome could be called the manifestation of the phrase “less is more,” as a minimum of building materials geometrically arranged ensures a design both strong and lightweight.

Checkout A history of geodesic domes

Are the showers outside?

The showers are indoors, but some have an amazing view of the jungle. Accessing the shower requires you to leave your main room and walk to the shower/bathroom area in your accommodations.

What are the amenities in the room?

Body wash, Shampoo, Conditioner. Essential oils and diffuser. Hair dryer. And for some room soaking salts for the bathtub.

Is it handicap-accessible at Imiloa?

One bungalow accommodation is accessible as well as our dining hall. Please contact welcomhome@imiloainstitute.com for more details so that we can discuss your specific needs.  We are not currently fully ADA compliant, but are working on acquiring this certification.  

I know someone who’s coming on the same retreat. Can I choose my roommate?

You can email welcomehome@imiloainstitute.com and make the request. We can’t make any guarantees on being able to choose your roommate but we certainly will try to accommodate every request we receive.