31 July 2014

Announcing the Next Detox Retreat in Ecuador: September 20-27


The post today makes me really happy.

So many people were interested in attending the detox retreat that we wrote about, so it just excites me to no end to officially announce the dates of the next retreat:

DATE: September 20-27 (Saturday to Saturday)

WHAT: An 8-Day Cleansing Retreat

WHO: All of you! Anyone who would like to heal their lives & live with more health, joy, & love. 

WHY: It just might be life changing. :) :)  I'm banking on it. 

LOCATION: Olón, Ecuador

HOW MANY: To allow for the most attention and care, the retreat is limited to 20 participants.

PRICE: $1,250* 
(This includes all meals & accommodations for 8 days on the beach + the most amazing therapies and activities each day to assist and support you like crazy in cleansing and healing your body.) *UPDATE: We have decided to offer a discounted rate for couples. Please email us for details.

SIGN UP: Click HERE to book your spot and register.  

Danny & I were so impressed with our retreat experience that we have decided to join forces with Tony and Alexandra for this retreat. We wouldn't be doing this if we didn't believe completely that this would be an AMAZING, INCREDIBLE experience for anyone who would be able to come. We'll be helping behind the scenes and teaching some workshops. You will even find Danny as a sous chef in the kitchen. :) :)



I've been trying to think about what someone might want to know before deciding to come, so here are some questions and answers:

Who is the retreat for?

This retreat is for anyone wanting to put a spark into their lives by spending a week taking care of themselves in the BEST WAY POSSIBLE!

Do you want to take a break from stress, worries, and hectic schedules and just BREATHE and have the time to rejuvenate your soul?

Do you feel the need to heal, to re-center yourself?

Do you want to head back into your life, your marriage or relationship, your family, or your endeavors feeling RENEWED and able to offer your love and good energy to the world?

Do you want to cleanse your body and be amazed by the rise in energy, health improvements, and glowing skin?

Do you want a jump start to help you free yourself of food and sugar addictions?

Do you want to lose some weight and begin a healthy lifestyle?

Do you want to explore the practices of yoga, meditation, reflexology?

Do you want to prepare your body for a future pregnancy?

Do you have some health issues that you want to work on healing in a natural way?

Do you want to learn how to be happy and whole in your life and in your relationships?

Do you want to feel cared for and loved and supported?

This retreat is for YOU!

Of course individuals of all ages, couples, single people, and friends are welcome. This retreat is for English speaking guests.

Tell me about the retreat staff.

The retreat is managed very professionally by two extremely experienced and loving individuals, Tony Spencer and Alexandra Molina. Tony is a raw food educator and cleansing consultant. He has studied and been immersed in nutritional healing practices in India where he saw first hand people being completely healed from "incurable" illnesses, such as cancer. He has spent the last ten years helping others in Canada, India, Mexico, and now Ecuador. Alexandra is a Gestalt psychologist, yoga teacher, and an Ayurveda educator. She has had specialized training in Argentina, India, New Mexico, and Ecuador and has ran many, many retreats for people wanting to change their lives. We felt very blessed to be under their care during our retreat and felt they were SO loving, full of light, and full of a desire to help people transform their lives. There will also be a yoga teacher, a masseuse, and some retreat helpers on board. Danny and I will also be there to help, teach, and support all of you during the week.

Where is the retreat located?

The retreat will take place in a very quiet little beach town called Olón, which is 3 hours from Guayaquil, a large city in Ecuador. Plan on seeing lots of fresh coconut vendors, beach towns, and hammock shops on your way to Olón. We found a CUTE property right on the beach that can sufficiently serve 20 participants. Think a beach summer camp with grass hatched roofs and hammocks a-plenty. We love that we'll be on the beach as the ocean and sounds are so ridiculously healing and calming and gorgeous. Our group and the staff will be the only ones at the property, so it will be an exclusive experience for us all.






What will we eat?

You will eat the most abundant gourmet raw food meals - all made with vegetables, fruit, and raw nuts/seeds from the fertile farmlands of Ecuador. There will also be 3 days of raw vegetable juices. The diet for the week is all raw/live food as it provides the BEST circumstances for your body to cleanse itself and free itself of all the addictions we normally have (especially to sugar, caffeine, processed foods, unhealthy fats, and chemically laden foods.) And the best part, the food will be prepared with a lot of LOVE.  :) :) I cannot even tell you what a difference that makes as we care and respect our bodies. There will be a raw food chef (he is currently training Danny as Danny will be working in the kitchen with him and the team.) And I'm telling you, you will be amazed by what comes out of the kitchen. The food is DELICIOUS and flavorful and is made with the loving intention to help you heal and nourish your body.

Will I be starving?

Danny and I were a little scared going into our retreat thinking we would be STARVING and that we would be weak and miserable. But, it turns out the process was very gentle and we didn't feel hunger at all due to the abundant raw foods and juices. All the other participants reported the same experience. Though depending on how severely you are addicted to certain foods, you might feel some withdrawals. But it will be 100% worth it and doable!!! I promise!!! An entire staff of people will be there to offer you the love and gentle support you need to do it. And, it's incredibly empowering to eat this way as a group and in a setting other than in your own kitchen or work place. Cheers to green juice all around.

Will I lose weight?

You will almost definitely lose weight. At the last retreat, people lost from 4 to 12 lbs. The average weight loss was 7 lbs. You could physically see a difference in peoples' bodies and faces.

There will be several courses at the meals. Each person is able to eat the amount that makes them feel comfortable and full. The meals will include plant-based fats and proteins as well.

Note: If you are underweight and want to rebalance your body or return wellness and a healthy appetite to your body, this retreat could still be very effective for you. When you give your body the highest nutrition possible, your body will respond and begin to perform at it's best with greater energy and vitality than ever before. It is also hugely supportive to eat healthy food as a group and in an environment where you will receive all the support in the world.





What changes do people notice during/after the retreat?

Most people experience a noticeable rise in energy due to the nutrient rich foods, exercises on the beach, and the breathing techniques.

It's almost guaranteed that your skin and countenance will GLOW!! You may likely find that any skin issues (acne or rashes) clear up or improve. It was amazing to see the faces of all the people at the retreat. You will feel more beautiful than ever!

You may also notice any aches, pains, and stresses improving due to the meditation and yoga. Your body will feel stronger, more balanced and coordinated as the days go by.

You may feel a greater connection to your body, spirit, life, the world, nature, and those around you.

Your mind may feel clearer and sharper.

Your digestion will likely improve.

You will feel more capable of love and healing.

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Doing a cleanse can also bring on some withdrawal and detox symptoms in the beginning. You may experience fatigue, light headedness, constipation, emotional heaviness, etc. But it is likely these symptoms will only last for a short time and then you'll begin to feel better than ever.

What will we do each day?

We'll follow a similar schedule to this one I shared in a previous post, but there will even be a few upgrades.

EVERYTHING you will do the entire week is designed to cleanse your body.

The days will begin with at 6:00 am with Tibetan bells and the sunrise, followed by oil pulling and lemon juice cleansing.

The remainder of the days will include these activities (and many more):

-Yoga Daily
-Meditation Daily
-MASSAGE! (yes, a masseuse will be joining us the entire week to do lymphatic massage on us all.)
-Reflexology Classes
-Cleansing Breathing Exercises Daily
-Raw/Live Food Classes - Learn how to incorporate more live foods into your daily life
-Running & Walking Daily on the Beach
-Workshops on LOVE - Learn how to heal your soul and be happier in your life
-Optional Private Meetings with a Professional Psychologist
-Full Body Mud Masks on the Beach (!!) - This will feature a special mud from Vilcabamba, known for the most mineral rich soil in the world.
-Movie Nights - Watch some fascinating health-related documentaries each night
-Bonfire on the Beach!!

Do I need to be experienced with yoga or meditation or have a healthy lifestyle in order to attend this retreat?

Absolutely not! Do not feel out of place or worried about your current lifestyle. This retreat is a loving, non-judgmental environment and is designed for people at pretty much every level of health, weight, and experience. And you are welcome to participate in the activities as much as you are able. Things can be customized to meet your needs.







What about airfare & transportation?

There is a major airport in Guayaquil, 3 hours away from the retreat. We recommend that you arrive by 3 pm at the latest on Sept. 20, if possible. (If needed, you could take a red-eye arriving Saturday morning or you could arrive on Friday). There will be a welcome dinner the evening of Sept. 20 at 7 pm. When you arrive at the airport, our greeter will be there to meet you and help you get to the  transportation/private drivers that we will be arranging for you. Once we get everyone's flight info., our staff will be able to determine some departure times that make sense.

If you arrive on Friday, by chance, we will have some hotel recommendations for you. There are several within minutes of the airport. Or, depending on the time of day, we could also whisk you straight to the retreat a day early where you could settle in.

Price for the arranged transportation to & from the airport: $50 each way. We have made this a separate fee in case some of our participants will be arriving from different locations in Ecuador.

Flights are surprisingly inexpensive from some big cities and often times those flights can be direct. Some flights also have common layovers in Miami, Dallas, or Panama. With the flights we've booked to Ecuador, we've also noticed that prices don't fluctuate a ton. That's why we've been able to fly without a lot of notice. We know that buying a ticket will be an added expense, but there is nothing better you could do for yourself than to care for your body. This retreat is definitely a really, really great way to do that in a huge way. :)

Is it worth the money?

We sure think so. Going into our retreat, we were actually quite hesitant to spend the money. But after meeting Tony and Alexandra, we really resonated with them and felt like this would be an amazing experience. On the first day there, we looked at each other amazed and felt that it was TOTALLY worth every penny to be there. We were SO glad we spent the time to care for ourselves in such a powerful way and feel it is one of the best things we've ever done.



Can I talk to you on the phone to ask questions prior to booking the retreat?

Yes!! If you would like to speak with us or if you have more questions, we'd be delighted to speak with you. Let's schedule a Skype or phone call ASAP. Please write us at mara@ablogaboutlove.com. We are flexible and could speak morning, afternoon, or night. Tony and Alexandra are also available to speak with you if you'd like. Also, feel free to ask any questions in the comments.

Do you recommend extending my stay to see more of Ecuador?

Yes! If that is something you are able to do, that would be incredible. Here are our top  recommendations:

-Galapagos, of course.
-Isla de la Plata. This is a tiny island Ecuadorians affectionately call "Poor Man's Galapagos" as it has many of the same animals and experiences, but it is closer to the mainland and costs less money to get there. It's actually only a few hours away from Olón.
-Cuenca or Quito. These are colonial cities with lots of churches, markets, museums, and colonial architecture.
-Otavalo/Cotacachi. Otavalo is world famous for it's indigenous market. Cotacachi is a nearby leather town nestled between two green, gorgeous volcanoes.
-Hiking in the Andes. There is a famous 3-4 day hike called the Quilotoa Loop, which takes you through small indigenous villages and also a stunning crater lake. Also, Cajas National Park is incredible and has loads of hiking & fishing options. We also went on a shorter hike near Cotacachi around Lake Cuicocha, which was gorgeous. You can also hike the famous Cotapaxi Volcano or Chimborazo, near Riobamba.
-Stay in a Hacienda. I absolutely love doing this. We highly, HIGHLY recommend Hacienda Ruma Loma in Quito and La Mirage in Cotacachi. We have gotten to know both the owners and they'd be delighted to hear we referred you.
-Baños. Visit a town full of several hot springs. There are also incredible hiking opportunities nearby.
-Cloud Forest in Mindo. Think bird watching, butterfly reserves, and amazing flora. If you want to totally splurge, you can also stay at the nearby Mashpi Lodge. This place is absolutely off the charts.
-Eco Lodge in the Amazon Jungle. This is on our bucket list.
-Train Ride. Tren Crucero offers several train routes. One is supposedly over the top luxurious and has received awards.
-Visit Indigenous Craft Towns. There are entire towns that specialize in leather making, baskets, guitar making, hat making (Panama hats!), pottery, embroidery, shoe making, jewelry, weaving of textiles and rugs, and wood furniture.

You can travel through Ecuador easily by bus, plane, or train. Buses are extremely common, extremely cheap, and readily available. Flights are quick and rather inexpensive within the country. Trains would be more expensive, but would offer the scenic, train experience. You can also hire a driver, which is common and very convenient, though this would not be an economical option if you were traveling long distances.



For more details about the retreat, I wrote two other posts about our experience as retreat participants:

1. The Best Vacation We Can Think Of
2. Retreating

Friends, let's do this!!! It will be an experience of a lifetime. We'd love to have you. And we'd be so appreciative if you'd share this post with others. 

Book your space now.




31 comments:

  1. Oh, my, land. I would SO LOVE to do this--I'm due right around that time, though, so hopefully I can make the next one??? What a genius, fantastic idea. Thanks for sharing your love and your lives with so many in such a gentle and genuine way. Love you both!

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    1. ah, thanks Nora. How exciting. Good luck with that baby!! xo

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  2. Wow! This looks absolutely wonderful. And you just radiate positivity! I would love to come, and I am going to see if my work schedule would allow me to get away for a week in September.

    I wonder if you could provide a bit of information about the sleeping arrangements?

    Also, in my experience, I can become a bit sickened by water and raw vegetables/fruits in developing countries. Can you tell us a bit about what steps the team would take to prepare the food in a way that isn't too hard on North American stomachs (maybe they chlorinate, boil, use bottled water, etc.). If it's easier, I can email you directly, but I thought others may be interested in these questions as well. Thanks so much!!

    Elizabeth

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    1. SOO thrilled to hear there's a chance you can come. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you that your work schedule will allow for it.

      I'm so glad you asked about the food as I meant to write something about that. I am one of the most cautious people on earth when it comes to eating foods and vegetables in foreign countries. We *always* soak the produce in vinegar and water or Kilol, which is an all natural vegetable wash that disinfects produce. And they do the same thing at the retreat. At the last retreat, half of the group was from the U.S. (they were all new to Ecuador) and half were Ecuadorians. Nobody got sick at all. In fact, I haven't gotten sick once since we've been here and we are eating raw food and produce like crazy. There will also be an abundance of bottled/filtered water provided for you at the retreat as it is recommended to not drink the tap water. Bottled water will also be used for preparing the foods.

      There will be roommates set up for the rooms. For this retreat, we wanted to keep costs as low as possible. We may consider a higher end retreat in the future that would include private rooms for each person.

      K, hope to see you in Ecuador!!! xx

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    2. Thanks so much! This all sounds great. I really appreciate the additional information. I'd love to be able to come and am going to try to make it work.

      Elizabeth

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  3. Hi Mara, I recently discovered your blog. This retreat sounds beautiful. For those of us who cannot attend this retreat in Ecuador, do you have any recommendations for something very similar in the U.S.? The things I've seen online are more facial / massage spa type things which might be great for some people, but your detox retreat is something that's calling me. If you have any recommendations, that would be great. Otherwise, perhaps in the future I'll see you in Ecuador. Thanks, Jen.

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    1. Hi Jen, I personally don't know of any cleansing retreats in the U.S., though I know they exist and I'm sure you could find one. I think it's just a matter of finding one that seems to resonate with you. Of course, if you end up in Ecuador - we'd be delighted! :)

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  4. My husband and I would absolutely love to be a part of this retreat. Any chance you'd ever have one that is "baby friendly"...? We have a 16 month old we could not leave for a week, nor would we want to. :-) I guess it would be a different sort of retreat if children were involved but I bet it would be amazing as well.

    Love you both so much for the light and love you share with the world. Hope to meet you one day. :-)

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    1. Rebecca, oh how we wish you and your husband could come! Though it sounds like you're in a wonderful phase of life. We haven't thought of doing a baby friendly retreat yet. We'll think about that. Though I think it would also be more difficult to fully focus on the cleanse and solitude the week is designed to bring with little ones there. As much as they are so lovely to have around. :)

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    2. Hey Rebecca, Mara and I have been talking together, and also with our other partners, and we're trying to figure out how we could make this work for you guys.

      First of all, we'd absolutely LOVE to have a couple come. Mara and I did it together and are so glad we did because you learn a lot, and it is so great to be on the same page once you finish up.

      So, we've got a few ideas and thought that maybe you and your hubby would be interested in skyping for a little bit to figure out how/if it would work. Send me or Mara and email so we can set up a time to chat if you are still interested.

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  5. Oh. This sounds like it would be lovely for my anxiety and depression and PTSD. I can't afford the $2000, and I don't know if I could leave the country by myself, but I do wish I could be there. Maybe some day I will find a way to do something like this. :)

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  6. You guys. This sounds amazing. (Not to my husband but definitely to me). But with a wee one around these days there's no way I could do it now. But in the future, I hope you'l have more.

    PS--are you guys still planning on going to Chicago soon? If so we've relocated to Cincinnati (4 hours from Chicago) and would love to see you all here.

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    1. (Danny here)

      Glad you like the idea Miggy....and tell your hubby that much to my surprise, I was totally sold. I know I don't post a ton of recipes or anything, but I am a total foodie, and had major reservations about being able to truly enjoy my meals if it was a week of raw food. But it only took one day for all those fears to be wiped away. That stuff was delicious, and Mara and I had a lot of fun finding recipes as we tried to keep it up for 30 full days.

      And yes, perhaps one day there will be a future Chicago meetup (though no travel plans there yet).

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  7. Ahhhh I've been dying to do this retreat ever since your last post about it!!! And I'm about to put off taking the LSAT so I can make this… but before I do, I thought I'd ask if you guys might be considering doing this again?? Any chance??

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    1. Hey Heidi, it would be wonderful to have you along, and to finally get to meet you.

      There is a chance that we might do it again, but to be honest it is a total unknown. It depends on so many things (like how long we stay in Ecuador, the availability of the team of people we need to host it, and a bunch of other business variables).

      Right now, it felt like all the stars aligned for us to be able to do this, and so we are working and planning and doing everything to make it happen and to make it awesome.

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  8. this is just so enticing!!! I wish I could do this!!

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  9. Is the price per person or couple?

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  10. How dreamy! I hope to attend one of these retreats in the future.

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  11. Megan Lamb MartinezAugust 05, 2014 10:44 PM

    Hi Mara and Danny,
    I am thrilled you have decided to do this retreat again, I loved reading about your experiences the first time. I am about 90% sure I will be able to attend this once in a lifetime travel opportunity but had a couple of questions. I will be traveling alone and have never been to Ecuador before. Will it be safe for me to travel from the airport to the retreat location or was your staff going to coordinate a shuttle for attendees to the location? I look forward to hearing from you and hope to book this week. All the best!

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    1. Hello Megan,

      So excited that you're planning on coming. As for traveling...we've decided that we'll be coordinating travel. We plan to arrange a greeter to help all guests as soon as they arrive, and the greeter will help escort you to vans or car services that we will help arrange. As such, there really isn't much you should have to worry about on that end.

      If you have other questions, please feel free to email me or Mara and we'll try to help you as soon as possible.

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    2. Megan - YAY!! So very excited! I just wanted to chime in, too :) In the original post I know it mentioned that our staff greeter would help you get to taxis or the bus. We decided to arrange private drivers to get everyone to and from the retreat. I changed the post slightly to reflect that and will let all our participants know. Our goal is to help everyone feel as comfortable and as safe as possible. Our greeter will be fluent in English & Spanish and we'll have good drivers arranged. With all of this taken care, we hope that everyone will feel at ease! Also, depending on flight times, we hope that several participants will be able to take the car ride together. And if needed, we could arrange a greeter to travel with someone who was alone. Anything is possible. :)

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    3. Megan Lamb MartinezAugust 07, 2014 11:41 AM

      Hi Danny and Mara,
      I just registered last night and beyond thrilled. Can't wait to meet you too and experience Ecuador!

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    4. YAY!!!!! Megan, we are SO excited for you! This is going to be incredible. Not only a week of paradise and nurturing yourself but an awesome adventure in Ecuador!! Cannot wait to meet you!

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  12. This sounds incredible!! My wife and I would love to do this. I do have a few questions, though. Are there any retreats scheduled for 2015? And because there are 20 spots available (did I get that right?) would it be at a first come, first serve basis? And what is the pricing for couples?

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    1. Scott, we would LOVE to have you and your wife attend! Yes, it is first come, first served. There are still some spaces left, though we are very close to being fully booked (we are waiting on a few to send payment for those remaining slots so anything could happen.) We have not announced a retreat for 2015 yet, but if all stars align again we'd love to schedule something possibly mid-January.

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    2. Scott, I should add, too, that if we do have another retreat in 2015, the price will be going up a little.

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    4. Oh shoot! The both of us are starting another semester of school on the 12th of January. I don't think we are going to make it. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and this information with us. I hope someday we will have the same opportunity!

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  13. I wish I would have seen this post earlier. My husband and I would also like to join you in 2015. I just heard about your blog from listening to Mormon Stories. I can relate to so many aspects of your story. We also did IVF...

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  14. Just wondering if there are still spots available?

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