I was talking to the founder of a social good business about complaints that her fairly raised, local, organic, fresh, delicious, top-quality food products are too expensive. I thought back to when I recently visited a steakhouse that serves conventional chicken parmesan and charges $36 for it. And people pay it and are grateful for the opportunity to do so!

“Why is it,” I mused, “that when something is a purely luxurious, selfish product, everyone doesn’t question the price? You’re supposed to make a profit, and if you do you’re applauded for being a good businessperson. But as soon as that product benefits the community in some way, you’re supposed to give it away for free or cheap?”

That question floated to mind again this past week, as I started telling people about the transformative Peruvian retreat I’m going on at the end of July. I’m hoping to gather up some readers and friends to go with me. I know it’s a lot to ask. And if it’s not in your budget, well, it’s not in your budget! But, I know there are plenty of people who think nothing of picking up and flying to Tulum for some $300 Mayan spa treatments, going to Mykonos and hitting the club, shelling out for weekly life coaching sessions with a self-described Shamanic healer, or signing up for an intense yoga teacher training.

This retreat is selfish in a way – you’ll be self-caring to the extreme. But it’s also altruistic, because the money is going to preserve the world of indigenous wisdom and protect the local environment.

Put on by Reviveolution, a collective of conscious leaders, native wisdom-keepers, and creative pioneers committed to a socially and ecologically sustainable world, this trip in the Sacred Valley of Peru goes deep into authentic indigenous Peruvian culture, including meeting native baby alpaca weavers, daily yoga, a coca reading, massage, ceremonies, organic meals, and a visit to Machu Picchu with an indigenous elder.

Let me give you all the details, and if you’re interested, you can apply to attend here.*

As I told my friends about this trip, a couple of them asked me why it cost so much. That’s actually a great question! For most people, committing to a week of vacation time and almost $4,000 is a big ask. So I asked Caroline that question. Obviously, she’s hesitant to provide a detailed, monetary budget breakdown – no businessperson should be expected to do that. And, “I believe… individuals recognize the value they will gain by investing in themselves,” she said by email. “This being said, I understand the question.” She decided to offer a breakdown that lists all the costs associated with putting on a retreat of this caliber, so you can better understand.

  • Renting out an entire retreat center for one week
  • On-site, private chef 24-hours a day
  • All organic food
  • Train, bus, and entrance tickets to Machu Picchu, and food and second accommodations (this alone costs over $700 a person)
  • Covering the weavers to come down from their community for one day of travel, to teach weaving techniques
  • All the supplies, fur, and dyes so you can each make your own weaving piece
  • Covering the two Q’ero wisdom keepers transport, time, ceremony, and coca readings for each person
  • Covering the herbal teachers transport, time, mountain walk, and teachings for the herbal plant class
  • Private herbal infusion massages for each guests
  • Items needed for everyone to make a medicine of their own
  • Each guest’s entry to the UNNO spa
  • Daily morning breathwork practice and yoga
  • Ancestral teachings (that took more than 5 years to study) delivered effectively for daily integration
  • An international plane ticket to fly an assistant down from the U.S. to help gracefully coordinate the entire retreat
  • Additional little goodies and treats for participants
  • All ground transportation, private taxis and private vans to locations
  • All tips for services along the way
  • Promotion and marketing of the retreat*
  • Any additional profits after all these costs go to help Reviveolution raise the other half of funds to buy land to set up their own retreat center

Ah. So it’s like a vacation, yoga retreat, all-inclusive eco resort, artisan indigenous wisdom conference, and therapy all rolled into one week. No wonder it costs $3,899. That is so much to pack into a week, and could definitely cover you for a full year of experiences.

I’ve heard people say you should do yoga teacher training even if you don’t want to be a teacher so you can deepen your practice. And I think this retreat is sort of like that. If you are drawn to crystals, if you have a love affair with the healing properties of tea, if you’ve participated in a ceremony or two, if you love a good sound bath, if you’ve ever been tempted to do an event put on by someone calling themselves a shaman, if you like visiting spas that draw on local traditions, or you have bought Fair Trade fashion before, this retreat will take all of that to the next level.

*This includes fees paid to me for spreading the word and having like minded people apply, get accepted, and sign up for the retreat. I am definitely going on this retreat and very much believe in it. The fees are to compensate me for my time and work writing about it and sharing it with you before I go.