Transparency with our community has been our mantra since we started Soltara Healing Center here in Costa Rica. We knew venturing out from our first home in Peru would be difficult but our dreams of bringing the sea, mountains, and jungle together with the medicine were something we all diligently worked to create. Our dedication was worth every second because the work that we are doing at the center truly makes a positive impact on so many people’s lives, including our own. Here at Soltara we are consistently balancing accessibility for those who authentically do not have the means to be able to pay for their services while also running a center with 30+ staff members. This is why we have decided to give back to our community by opening up a scholarship program for those who genuinely do not have the means to participate in a retreat but need the healing. Having dedicated scholarship spots allows us to make medicine a bit more accessible while remaining in good financial health and sustainability to continue to share this medicine with others; If you are interested in donating to the scholarship program to facilitate a retreat for someone please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Soltara has received some inquiries about finances and questions about our costs and since our mantra is transparency with our community we decided to write this blog post breaking down our operations and costs with you! Soltara has been open for two years, and when we first started there we delved into educating ourselves about procedures, costs and business customs of Costa Rica, which are quite different than in Peru. During this learning phase, we’ve had to raise our prices to accommodate for increasing service levels and the quality and number of staff, along with staff health insurance. As our second fiscal year and post-six-figure losses come to a close we have had to revisit our pricing structure and change prices to a level that not only supports our growing costs for operations but also reflects the value of the services that we’re delivering!
Now that we have intimate knowledge of our operational expenses with two years of learning, experimentation, and experience, we now know the limits of our optimal guest capacity and how much revenue we need to generate with that capacity in order to keep our heads above water. We’d like to break down our pricing system so that interested parties can understand where their money goes and how our expenses are broken down. In the interest of doing this, we have broken our pricing into two parts; the professional and medicine services, plus the typical hotel services.
The hotel services are your typical check-in, housekeeping, concierge services and a price per room which reflects comparably what other beachfront hotels at a similar tier of quality in the area, or really in any developed country, are charging. We charge market value for the style and quality of accommodations, and that price is apart from our professional and medicine services. Our price per hotel room is $500 per night, shared between the number of occupants similarly to other hotels (i.e. for our double shared suites, each person would pay $250 per night).
In addition to the $500 per night hotel fee, we charge a flat rate of $2000 per person (for the 5 and 7 night retreats; $3750 for the 12 night retreat) for our professional and medicine services that come in addition to the hotel services. Those professional and medicine services include:
- The communication department which performs all guest communication and spends a large amount of time answering questions, coaching, and processing concerns.
- The intake process which requires individual analysis of each guest intake questionnaire and passing them on to psychological and medical professionals in the event of any potential conflicts or contraindications.
- Our integration and aftercare program which supports guests after their retreat, including a free individual integration session per person as well as resources and monthly virtual integration circles
- The sourcing and preparation of all meals for guests, crafted specifically for working with ayahuasca, including the costs of organic, locally sourced food services – we always purchase from local farmers before thinking about purchasing from chain stores.
- The logistical coordination which goes into helping guests plan their process, including the preparatory information which has been carefully created to help guests prepare adequately for the process.
- Logistics of getting medicine from the Amazon to our center
- Logistics of getting staff and healers from the Amazon to our center
- Some of the highest wages in the field of ayahuasca retreat centers for our on-site staff as we wish to have the most professional, talented and experienced staff available, whose time and work we appreciate and value so we compensate them accordingly. We have approximately 15 staff who are responsible for some part of the medicine process not including hotel services.
- 15 local staff to support our programming including their health insurance, holiday pay, and vacation pay
- The cost of medicine.
- Professional advisory board which supports and guides our programming, mission, ethos, and contributions to the global movement of holistic healing taking place
- Various conferences and sponsorships that are important to the field each year.
- Our advertising and promotion budgets, social media management, donations, executive staff salaries.
- Four on-site vehicles with repairs and fuel.
- Legal fees, taxes, and bank fees.
- Professional guest transportation to and from the center
We hope this breakdown helps you to understand our costs to sustain Soltara Healing Center, while also understanding our high degree of care and attention to detail, done by professional and experienced people! None of us here at Soltara are bringing in six-figure salaries that you may see in corporate America. All of us are here because we deeply and unquestionably believe in the healing that this medicine has brought to our lives, the lives of those we care about, and whom we have met along the way. Although many of us live hundreds of miles away from our family and take a significant pay reduction compared to what could be made working for large corporate businesses, we all do this work because we love it, and we put our hearts first! This is our small business and we work diligently to not only sustain our center and our employees, but also the community in which we live.
If you have any further questions, please let us know!
The Soltara Team