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HERMITAGE

FAQ

Take a read over some of our most commonly asked questions

DO YOU OFFER DAILY CLASSES AT THE HERMITAGE?

At The Hermitage we hold a free guided dynamic morning practice every morning at 6:30 AM (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.

CAN I HAVE SOMEBODY GUIDE ME IN A PRIVATE YOGA OR MEDITATION CLASS?

 

Yes. If you would like to have a private yoga or meditation session guided by  Severin it is no problem. The cost is $80 per class and each class will last around one hour and a half and be tailored to suit your personal needs.

WHAT IS PROVIDED BY THE HERMITAGE?

 

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. There is also a Tea station available for every day with fresh herbs from our own garden.

WHAT ELSE DOES THE HERMITAGE OFFER?

 

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 (1.15hrs) for $120.

IS THERE SUPPORT AVAILABLE DURING MY RETREAT?

 

Severin is available to support you during your retreat whenever it is needed. You can write him questions or contemplations and he will reply to you with a letter as swiftly as possible. There are also other Healers available to support your emotional, mental and physical process. Severin offers individual Astrology Readings that can help when a deep process is taking place. Come and allow stillness to be your teacher, but know that whenever it is needed, help is always there.

CAN I STAY AT THE HERMITAGE WHILE TRAVELLING AROUND THE LAKE AND VISITING DIFFERENT PLACES?

 

We have created The Hermitage to be a space of stillness 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, rather than to those who are simply looking for a beautiful place to stay while they travel around and visit tourist sights.

WHAT IS THE HERMITAGE´S CANCELLATION POLICY FOR A BOOKING?

 

The Hermitage asks for a full payment upfront to confirm all bookings for Solitary and Dark Retreats. If its further than three months in advance you can confirm your booking with a 50% deposit.
For Group Retreats we ask for a deposit of 50%. The Full payment has to be done 2 Months in advance.

 

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. 

Corona Virus Update:

We understand & are compassionate for the additional difficulties of travelling at this time. There are often changes in COVID regulations and the rules set by the Guatemalan Government seem to be under constant reconsideration. So we, as the Hermitage must keep our focus on the space we offer and allow those travelling here to take ownership to inform themselves on how to get here. If you are travelling from overseas to the Hermitage please be up to date with the latest travel restrictions and requirements. We know that it can more challenging & risky to travel at this time. At the same time the circumstances are making us grow by facing the unknown and trusting that there are always solutions. We at the Hermitage experience a high interest in what we are offering and this makes us trust that our services are in more need than ever before and doing our best to make this place a refuge for who wants to come here.


Making sure we are able to operate during these conditions The Hermitage accepts no cancellation but does allow a rescheduling of date. No money paid, partial or total, will be reimbursed, in any situation including force majeure.

 

In the exceptional situation of travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a guest prevented to travel may request to cancel the reservation and convert the payment made into a credit to be used in a future reservation of a room at the prevailing price. This credit will be valid for 12 months counting from the check-in date of the canceled reservation. The request must be made more than 30 days before the check-in date.

 

Staying Informed:

 

We will continue monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) updates, and will respond based on the advice of governments, public health authorities, and medical professionals.

For further information of the COVID-19 in Guatemala please inform yourself here:

Here you can find the current requirement to enter Guatemala:
https://gt.usembassy.gov/health-alert-updated-requirements-for-travel-to-guatemala-23-december-2021/

And here you can get a PCR test done which is close from the airport and 24h open.
https://mibluemedical.com/pruebas-covid-19/

DOES THE HERMITAGE BELONG TO A PARTICULAR RELIGION OR TRADITION?

 

The Hermitage does not belong to any particular religion or tradition. We welcome practitioners of all traditions here and are open to all (quiet) practices.

IS THE HERMITAGE COMPLETELY REMOTE AND SILENT?

 

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.

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!).

IS IT POSSIBLE TO TAKE WALKS AROUND THE LAKE FROM THE HERMITAGE?

 

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.

WHAT SHOULD I BRING FOR MY RETREAT?

 

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.

IS THERE ELECTRICITY IN THE CABINS?

 

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. None of the cabins at The Hermitage have fridges.

CAN I HAVE VEGAN OR GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS IF I STAY AT THE HERMITAGE FOR A RETREAT?

 

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.

CAN I COOK FOR MYSELF DURING MY RETREAT?

 

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.

HOW CAN I WASH MY CLOTHES AT THE HERMITAGE?

 

We have a lovely local woman from the village who comes to wash clothes two days per week for a cost of Q35 per load (around $4). Alternatively we have a washing station where you can wash your clothes yourself (we sell eco washing powder in our reception).

DO YOU HAVE WIFI?

 

We don´t have wifi here as we wish to consciously create a space for those who wish to go deeply within 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.

ANY RECOMMENDATIONS ON HOW TO PREPARE FOR MY RETREAT OR WHAT TO EXPECT?

 

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.

WHAT IS THE TEMPERATURE LIKE AT THE LAKE?

 

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.

HOW DO I GET TO THE HERMITAGE FROM THE AIRPORT?

 

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 $110). 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 $40). 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.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT A VISA FOR GUATEMALA?

 

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.

SHOULD I BE CONCERNED ABOUT SAFETY IN GUATEMALA?

 

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.

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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.

ABOUT THE HERMITAGE

The Hermitage is a family owned retreat center founded by Severin and Emma Geser, who are both commited meditation practitioners and qualified meditation and yoga retreat leaders. They live with their children on the shores of Lake Atitlan and offer their beautiful property up for all those looking for solitude and peace.

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