The Esalen InstituteCurrently Closed
- Address: 55000 Highway 1, Big Sur, California 93920, United States
- Timings: 09:00 am - 08:00 pm Details
- Phone: +1-8888372536
- Ticket Price: Free
- Time Required: 01:00 Hrs
- Tags: Outdoors, Educational Site, Entertainment, Spa, Family And Kids, Nature
The Esalen Institute - Review
Covering around 25 acres of land, the Esalen Institute is a popular non-profitable organization that aims at educating tourists on spiritual studies, martial arts, yoga and various aspects of dance. If you are not interested in taking part in any of these programs, you can at least stop by to see the breathtaking view of Santa Lucia Mountains from this location. Else, you can enjoy a nice healthy lunch or can pamper yourself with a relaxing spa session or get yourself soaked in the hot tub, filled with water collected from natural hot spring, which is located nearby.
The Esalen Institute Ticket Prices
- Workshops has different price quote. Visit their official website for details.
How To reach The Esalen Institute by Public Transport
- By Car.
Love this? Explore the entire list of things to do in Big Sur before you plan your trip.
Fancy a good night's sleep after a tiring day? Check out where to stay in Big Sur and book an accommodation of your choice.
Things to Know Before Visiting The Esalen Institute
53.91% of people who visit Big Sur include The Esalen Institute in their plan
10 AM - 11 AM
78.2% of people start their The Esalen Institute visit around 10 AM - 11 AM
People usually take around 1 Hr to see The Esalen Institute
95% of people prefer to travel by car while visiting The Esalen Institute
The Esalen Institute Trips
The Esalen Institute, Big Sur Reviews
I went to eselan last night for the late night bathing and it was a wonderful experience. I was worried that I would be able to see the ocean from the tubs, but they do a great job lighting up the ocean so that you can watch the waves crash on the rocks down below. Clothing is optional. Most people seemed to naked. There is something magical about being so calm in the hot springs water and listening to the chaos of the ocean below. Totally worth the middle of the night drive.
Signed up to take a week-long program here, was put on the waiting list for sleeping bag quarters, and if nothing opened up, was told I would have a bunk bed reserved. Called to confirm prior to the course and was told they had lost my reservation and that there were no longer any (affordable) accommodations left. I was told the Director would call me to figure something out, but was never called back. The woman taking the reservations is extremely rude, seemed not to care one bit about what had happened. I looked in to staying off-site, but you still have to pay almost $600 in "facility fees" even if you stay off-site, so I had to cancel my trip to Esalen and the training course I was registered in (I was coming from Canada).Will never register for a course here again or visit the site. For the "birthplace of the human potential movement" I was expecting a lot more. Would not recommend!
For such a revered, healing-centered entity, there is a glaring disconnect between Esalen's stated mission and history, and the attitude of the staff we encountered there. Another reviewer commented on their experience of the staff here as: "extremely rude; seemed not to care one bit about what had happened." Accurately describes the experience I had as a "night bather" at Esalen just a couple of weeks ago. Bear in mind that the night bathing takes place from 1 - 3 am. We (including my partner and her cousin) showed up early, as we were camping not far from Esalen. When it was time to walk down, we asked the gentleman leading us down the hill where we could get towels. He said they prefer not to give out towels, but that we could ask at the entrance kiosk. Hmm. Once we got down to the kiosk, we asked the woman there, named Tony I believe, if we could have towels. She refused, responding with a pedantic and dismissive, "we don't give towels to night bathers," in a tone that indicated we were somehow both undeserving and foolish for even asking. As if she was doing us a favor. As if it were already charity to let us use the facility, and not $35 per person, and that giving us a towel was just going above and beyond. Yes, you read that right: An establishment that charges $35 a person for two hours for the express purpose of *being in water* refused paying customers towels. I suppose we could have just left at that point, but we had paid our money, waited around to walk down, and gotten our hopes up...so, we decided to brave it without towels. What else were we supposed to do? After making a reservation online, by the way, this is *verbatim* the text regarding towels on Esalen's website: "Please support Esalen's sustainable practices and if possible bring your own towel and consider towel usage on the planet, thank you." Note the words, "IF POSSIBLE." I have attached a photo and circled this statement on their towel policy from their website. One would infer from this that Esalen has towels for those who forgot to bring one, or in our case, for those who came from camping and don't necessarily have all of the amenities of someone staying at a hotel or coming from a home. The next phase of our experience is truly mind-blowing. To our absolute shock and dismay, we discovered a couple had brought AN INFANT along with them. Tony was all smiles and sunshine with them, though, as we waited to walk down to the baths. It gets worse. There are two areas of tubs: one marked, "Silent Room" (an actual room) and another "Quiet Room" (which is outdoors). After changing, we made our way into the Silent Room. Guess who's in there? The couple and their crying infant. In the Silent Room. At 1 am. WITH A CRYING INFANT. This meant everyone else (probably around 20 - 25 people) were forced to crowd into the Quiet Room while the couple and their infant held the so-called Silent Room hostage. When we were done (and we made sure to get out by 3 am since they were adamant that we "get off the property," in their words, promptly by then) we put on our clothes, and walked back up the hill dripping wet. Ever put dry clothes on after a shower without toweling off? Lovely. I'm still scratching my head wondering what we did to deserve such awful treatment. God forbid we ask for a towel for an experience that revolves around water and that we paid $35 each for. To add insult to injury, we were celebrating a birthday, and though we had never been to Esalen, were excited and talked the place up to our visiting guest. Perhaps it goes without saying that we will never return.
We tried the public bathing from 1am-3am on a weekday, definitely an unusual experience but worth trying if you have an open mind. The facilities are basic but clean. The best baths are those on the cliffside, overlooking the ocean!
Went with friends several times doing a "personal retreat". Extremely unique beautiful place to do that and only about 90 minutes from my house. The one friend had done full workshops in the past and so led us to do personal retreats along with him. The site takes your breath away with its beauty. The food was copious and delicious though definitely not conventional. Esalen has a half-century history as the arguable starting point of the human potential movement. You can do a personal retreat for however many desired days without doing workshops. A whole mix of people. Clothing optional hot springs.