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frequently asked questions

Please take a look over our Frequently Asked Questions before booking a retreat with us, or ask us directly is you have a concern that is not addressed here.

the hermitage

FAQ

Take a read over some of our most commonly asked questions

At The Hermitage we hold a free guided morning meditation for one hour each day (except Sundays), which is open to anyone who is staying on the property doing an individual retreat. We are not offering any daily classes open to the public.

Yes. If you would like to have a private yoga or meditation session guided by Emma or Severin it is no problem. The cost is $50 per class and each class will last around two hours and be tailored to suit your personal needs.

Guatemala is called “the land of eternal spring” as the climate here is always temperate. The temperature at the lake sits all year round at a comfortable 24 to 27 degrees Celsius (75 to 80 degrees Farenheit). The dry season lasts from December to May, and the rainy season is from May to December. During the rainy season you can expect bright sunny mornings and thunder storms with heavy rain most afternoons – a beautiful time for meditation.

We have created The Hermitage to be a space of silence and contemplation, for those who are really seeking to dive deeply into their practice on their own and who seek solitude and a break from the busy nature of the world. For this reason we prefer to offer our cabins and rooms to those who seek solitude and silence, rather than to those who are simply looking for a beautiful place to stay while they travel around and visit tourist sights.

Bring a notebook and pen for writing, a torch (flash light), bathing suit for swimming and some warm socks and a jumper for the evenings. Bring an umbrella for rainy season. You can bring a towel if you like, or use one of ours. You may like to bring some of your favourite teas to drink during your retreat as this is not provided by The Hermitage and also any snacks or health food supplements that you can´t go without.

The Hermitage provides sheets for your bed, meditation pillows, benches, chairs, yoga mats, and warm blankets. We can provide you with a towel if needed and we have some other essential items that you can buy from our reception – natural soap, toothpaste, shampoo, notebooks, etc. At The Hermitage we also grow and harvest our own organic coffee, and we make homemade kombucha and vegan treats which are available to buy during your stay.

We don´t have wifi here as we wish to consciously create a space for those who wish to go deeply into silence and contemplation without distraction. If you need to have a connection to let your family know you have arrived or for an emergency, we can create a hotspot for you for up to one hour for Q10 near our house.

There is electricity in all of our cabins. We are off the grid here at The Hermitage, so we ask that electricity is used consciously and that devices are not plugged in over night to charge. There is plenty of electricity for lights at night.

The Guatemala City airport is around four hours drive from Lake Atitlan, where The Hermitage is located. You can take either public transport or we can organise a private taxi to come and pick you up and bring you to our door (cost $100). Public transport involves taking first a shuttle from outside the airport doors to Antigua, a small colonial town forty-five minutes drive from Guatemala City, and then taking a tourist shuttle from there to the lake (total cost of both shuttles comes to around $25). The last shuttles leave from Antigua at 2pm, so if your flight arrives later than midday, you will need to stay one night in Antigua itself or in an airport hotel and make your way to us the next day.

The Hermitage asks for a full payment upfront to confirm all bookings for Solitary and Dark Retreats. For Group Retreats we ask for a deposit of 50%. All payments are fully refundable, minus a $50 processing fee, up to three months in advance. Three months or less before your retreat is due to begin, the payment is completely non-refundable. Once your retreat has begun, The Hermitage is not able to give a refund if you decide to leave early or skip meals that you ordered in advance. 

Yes. The Hermitage offers an option to have one, two or three meals per day delivered to your door so that you can better maintain a steady practice without needing to think about food. However, if you choose to cook for yourself, all of our cabins have fully equipped kitchens and The Hermitage can bring groceries to you once or twice per week for a charge of $5 per shopping list. If you are staying in one of our private rooms or the dormitory, there is not a kitchen available, though there is a simple gas stove for heating up water for tea or one-pot basic cooking.

We have a lovely local woman from the village who comes to wash clothes two days per week for a cost of Q30 per load (around $3). Alternatively we have a washing station where you can wash your clothes yourself (we sell eco washing powder in our reception).

The Hermitage does not belong to any particular religion or tradition, although the founders of it – Emma and Severin – have a background mostly in Advaita Vedanta (the Non Dual Teachings) and Self Enquiry. We welcome practitioners of all traditions here and are open to all (quiet) practices.

The Hermitage is built on a large property on the edge of Lake Atitlan where the birds are our neighbours and waves gently lap the shore. We are about five minutes walk from the nearest local Mayan village – San Pablo, and so occasionally there is some noise from the village on festival days (especially Easter and Christmas). And while it is mostly silent here, there is occasionally ambient noise nearby from boats passing, music from a town across the lake or a distant neighbour´s house, or fisherman laughing and talking in their wooden canoes as they fish. We also have two small children who do not yet understand how to whisper and allthough we endevour to keep them very quiet, you may here their shouts of joy or an ocassional ‘Mama!’ from the house.

If you are staying in one of our upper cabins (Casa Blanca and Tree House), please be aware that this part of the property is closer to a nearby road, school and you may hear cars passing (though it is not a particularly busy road and certainly not a highway!).

Yes. It is no problem for us to make the meals to suit your dietary requirements. We mostly provide vegan food although we offer an option to have eggs sometimes if you wish as we have chickens producing delicious organic free range eggs each day. We also have local honey from the neighbouring beekeepers. We use all organic and locally grown produce.

The Hermitage is holding space for anyone who wishes to find a place to be completely silent within, however it is not a requirement that retreaters maintain a vow of silence during their retreat. Silence must be respected in all public areas – such as the meditation hall, dock, gardens, beach and eating areas – but if you are wishing to speak quietly to the hosts, Emma and Severin, at any point this is welcome also.

Apart from the spaces that are available for all retreaters to use such as the permaculture gardens, the lake front beach and dock, the meditation hall and the outdoor dining area, The Hermitage also has an excellent library of spiritual books which you are welcome to borrow from, a small shop in the reception that sells essentials such as organic toothpaste and shampoo, notebooks, homegrown coffee and kombucha, coconut oil and homemade vegan treats and chutneys. Severin also offers free Astrology Readings to retreaters at The Hermitage (30 minutes) and also longer personal Birth Chart Readings (1.5hrs) for $80, and Emma offers Deep Healing Massage ($50) and one-on-one Retreat Counselling (by donation).

Emma and Severin are available to support you during your retreat whenever it is needed. You can write to them with questions or contemplations and they will reply to you with a letter as swiftly as possible. They are available to speak to at any point during the day also if necessary. Emma offers one-on-one Retreat Counselling (booked with appointment) and Severin offers individual Astrology Readings that can sometimes help when a deep process is taking place. Come and allow silence to be your teacher, but know that whenever it is needed, help is always there.

We recommend that before arriving for your retreat you take time to consider your intentions for the retreat and that you get some good rest. Come with an open mind and an open heart and everything that is needed will certainly unfold for you here, perhaps in ways that you don´t expect. Be ready to learn lessons that are not always easy, gain insights that are deeply needed, and to watch the beauty of nature awaken the beauty of your real nature within in a myriad different ways. Emma and Severin are available to support you during your retreat however it is needed. You can write to them with questions or contemplations and they will reply to you with a letter as swiftly as possible. They are available to speak to at any point during the day also if necessary. Emma offers one-on-one Retreat Counselling (booked with appointment) and Severin offers individual Astrology Readings that can sometimes help when a deep process is taking place. Come and allow silence to be your teacher, but know that whenever it is needed, help is always there.

Yes, there are several beautiful walks to take around the lake front from The Hermitage gate. Stroll to the left, or to the right around the lake and enjoy gardens, local fishermen and farmers planting their fields, and (to the right) a white sand beach to swim from. We can give you more instructions, or other recommendations once you are here.

Yes, it is possible to do a retreat as a couple at The Hermitage. You can either share one of our retreat cabins (with double beds) or a private twin room, or take two dormitory beds. If you take the private cabin, we charge $15 per night for an extra person. You can also do a couple Dark Retreat, as we have two single beds inside the Dark Retreat.

Guatemala offers instant three month visitor visas for travellers on all passports upon arrival by land or air. If you want to do a retreat for longer than three months, we can either take your passport for you to the Visa Office in Panajachel on the lake and renew the visa for you ($50 for another three months) or you can simply overstay, and pay a fee of $1 per day when you do leave the country – no questions asked. If you have more questions about this, send us an email.

The online information on Guatemala unfortunately does not paint a pretty picture. The reality is that Guatemala City is notoriously dangerous in certain areas (there are some neighbourhoods that are better to avoid), but when you arrive, if you stay in a good tourist hotel near to the airport you should have no problems at all – all these areas are very safe.

The tourist shuttles from the airport to the lake (via Antigua) are very safe, as is our personal driver Tony. He has been driving to the City from the Lake for many years and has an excellent American-standard car and is a great driver. He is extremely trustworthy and a really lovely friendly man who speaks a bit of English too. There are no problems at all on the road regarding safety between the City and the lake. As above, there are just a few neighbourhoods in Guatemala City central where the crime is concentrated and where it is better to avoid.

Here at the lake and at our property it is very safe and there are few reports of crime apart from opportunistic petty theft. So as long as you are careful with your belongings, you should have no problems here.

Instead of asking "what do I want from life", a more powerful question is, "what does life want from me?"

¬Eckhart Tolle

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contact us

+502 4816 1361
info@thehermitageretreats.com

We respond to all emails personally so please expect up to 24hrs before receiving a reply .
We do not answer emails on Sundays. Thank you for your understanding.

San Pablo La Laguna
Lake Atitlan – Guatemala