Internships, Retreats, Volunteering

Internships are great opportunities to learn and obtain hands-on experience in a particular area of study. They are also a great way to get to know existing Ardent Light ecovillage members and for members to get to know you if you are interested in the possibility of joining the Ardent Light ecovillage. We offer three types of internships: Self-Sufficiency internships, Holistic Healing internships (personal healing or self-discovery retreats), and Total FREEdom internships (combines both types of internships). All internships include enjoyment of the 20+ waterfalls and natural pools at the Ardent Light MotherlandArdent Light Healing Yoga classes, Wi-Fi access, accommodations, utilities, communal facilities, and any organic food grown on the Motherland for the duration of the internship.

Self-Sufficiency Internships

internshipSelf-sufficiency is all about freeing yourself from the monetary slave system, allowing you to transform yourself from the dependent role of a Consumer of goods and services to the independent role of a Producer of goods and services. Self-Sufficiency internships are a great way to get hands-on experience in a variety of sustainable self-sufficient practices, experience what it is like to live in a tribal community, and have ample opportunity to pick the brain of experts. Self-Sufficiency interns will work on whatever self-sufficiency projects are currently in progress at the Ardent Light Motherland. See Current Projects for more information.

The minimum recommended duration of the Self-Sufficiency internship is one month (30 days) and can be extended indefinitely. The hours of hands-on work/training ranges from 1 to 4 hours (e.g., 8am to 12:00pm) in a day for 5 days in a week (Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays–about 5 to 20 hours total in a week). The hours and days can be changed as needed to accommodate changing conditions (e.g., special event or project, trip or outing, sickness, weather, etc.). The cost of this internship is (payable on the first day of arrival):

  • $30 a month ($1/day if at least 30 days — 90% off discount) if the intern brings their own tent, mattress (and bed sheets if they need them), sleeping bag, and pillow and camp outside the yoga studio (no roof). If intern brings only a tent, they can rent a mattress with bed sheets and pillow for $10 extra for at least a 30 day stay, and rent a sleeping bag or blankets for $10 extra for at least 30 day stay.
  • The cost is $60 ($2/day if at least 30 days) a month if the intern wants us to provide the tent, mattress, bed sheets, pillow and sleeping bag or blankets.
  • The minimum duration required for an internship is 7 days. For 7-13 days, interns get 45% discount off the standard accommodations rate (see Accommodations page for details), 60% off for 14-20 days, 75% off for 21-29 days, and 90% off for 30+ days. If intern only brings their own tent, a mattress with bed sheets and pillow can be rented for an extra $1.00 per day and a sleeping bag or blankets can be rented for an extra $1.00 per day, minus the discount given for the duration of stay.

Holistic Healing Internships (Personal Retreats)

Holistic healing is all about freeing yourself from yourself (i.e., your own dis-eases/demons/slavery/prison/fears/pain/addictions) to become “whole” again (i.e., re-uniting your own Holy Trinity of Mind-Body-Spirit). Holistic Healing internships are for those who want to naturally heal medical or emotional health issues, or who are seeking answers to the big questions of Life and of Self such as “Who am I?“, “Where did we all come from?“, “Why are we here?“, “Is there a purpose to life? If so, what is my purpose in life?“, and many other questions commonly asked by spiritual seekers. Holistic healing internships focus on the experience and integration of your Higher/Larger/Complete Self so that you can heal yourself and others, answer your own questions, and discover who you really are (self-realization).

You can choose to work one-on-one with one or more of our Tribe members who specialize in various forms of holistic healing modalities and with whom you feel comfortable (see About Us page for learn more about each Tribe member). Holistic healing services available to you during this internship include but are not limited to: 40-Day Awareness of Reality spiritual practice, Ardent Light Healing Yoga, Holistic Health Consultation, and Life/Health/Spiritual Coaching. To help us prepare for your personal self-discovery and self-empowerment journey with us and tailor a comprehensive holistic healing plan/recommendation for you, please download and complete the Client Questionnaire and follow the instructions on it to send it to us.

The minimum recommended duration of the Holistic Healing internship is 42 days (6 weeks) and can be extended indefinitely. The Holistic Healing intern will need to pay for their accommodation of choice (will receive 40% off the cost of their accommodation of choice for the recommended minimum stay of 42 days, see Accommodations page for details), buy their own supplemental food (or opt for a per day fee to have meals prepared for them, also see Accommodations page for details), plus $798 ($19 per day x 42 days) for holistic healing services (specific and final plan and schedule to be mutually agreed upon on the second day after intern arrives).

Total FREEdom Internships

holistic-healingTotal FREEdom is all about freeing yourself from the monetary slave system as well as freeing yourself from yourself. The ultimate expression of total FREEdom is Unconditional Love for yourself and for others. We are considered healed, whole, perfect, and enlightened when we can do this. The major reason why we lost our purity or capacity for Unconditional Love as we became adults is that we were forced to live in a monetary system where everything you need to survive you have to work hard for to earn money so you can then pay a price for the things you need and things you do not need. This daily stress and programming has trained us to only give with the condition of expecting something in return which is the exact opposite of Unconditional Love. The monetary system is very successful at creating stress and we know that stress is a significant contributor to disease and emotional imbalances. Stress is the only thing that can bring out the worst in people. A truly happy and peaceful person could never say or do something negative or hurtful to themselves or others. Living in a monetary system or even in a trade or barter system will not allow us to give and receive unconditionally (Love is not about buying and selling, but about giving and receiving) and therefore will not allow us to experience Unconditional Love with our self or with each other. This inability to experience or express Unconditional Love in all aspects of our life is the root cause of all of our problems.

The Total FREEdom internship combines both the Self-Sufficiency and the Holistic Healing internship into one and therefore a minimum 42 days (6-week) commitment is recommended and can be extended indefinitely. The work/training hours and schedule will be the same as the Self-Sufficiency internship (see above). To help us prepare for your personal self-discovery and self-empowerment journey with us and tailor a comprehensive holistic healing plan/recommendation for you, please download and complete the Client Questionnaire and follow the instructions on it to send it to us.

The cost of the Total FREEdom internship is the same as the Self-Sufficiency internship per day rate for accommodations (multiply by 42 days instead of 30 days), plus the cost of any supplemental food the intern purchases, and $378 ($9 per day x 42 days) for holistic healing services (specific and final plan and schedule to be mutually agreed upon on the second day after intern arrives).

Accommodations & Amenities

Accommodation type is based on availability (see Accommodations page for details). The internship fee will help cover the cost of:

  • Maintenance, repair, and/or replacement of accommodations or amenities
  • Utilities (i.e., electricity, propane cooking and heating gas, Internet, maintenance or repair of our water aqueduct system)
  • Materials and production of organic food
  • Materials and maintenance/repair of roads, hiking trails, facilities, and farm grounds


Interns are welcome to harvest and eat the food produced on the farm. We can also share our delicious homemade banana vinegar, homemade hot sauce, and sea salt (sourced from the Osa Peninsula). However, since we are not producing all our own food yet and to allow each person to eat what they like and minimize the cost of this internship for both parties, interns will be responsible for buying their own supplemental food from the weekly farmer’s market in San Isidro de El General. Interns can carpool with JAL (if there is capacity in the car, the cost of gas will be split evenly among the passengers) to the farmer’s market on Thursday mornings. Otherwise, they will need to provide or obtain their own transportation to the farmer’s market or wherever else they choose to buy their supplemental food. For those who want to share communal meal preparation, you can share the cost of purchased supplemental food with other interns instead of buying and preparing your own food separately.

Payment & Refund Policy

coins-grow-plantYou can submit payment by credit card or debit card via phone or via PayPal directly (see the Terms & Conditions page for instructions) anytime before your arrival to reserve your accommodations or if you do not care to reserve a spot or a particular accommodation, you can pay upon your arrival and pay for whatever accommodation is available. We prefer payment in USD cash (see the Terms & Conditions page for more payment options). If you end up leaving earlier than planned for whatever reason, we will not be able to give you a refund as we have a lot of expenses now and the money will most likely be used up.

Why Are We Charging?

eliminate-expensesWe are just in the beginning stages of our path to self-sufficiency. Since we are not 100% self-sufficient yet, we will have expenses. Our goal is bring our prices down and to eventually share and offer as much as we can for FREE. That can only happen when our expenses are zero. Zero expenses means zero need for money. We are doing our best to eliminate all unnecessary expenses (e.g., no longer using toilet paper, just using our hand to wipe and washing our hands with water and soap), and becoming fully self-sufficient, and inspiring others to be self-sufficient, will enable us to eventually eliminate all other expenses.

All proceeds are greatly appreciated and will be responsibly directed to:

  • Self-sufficiency projects, including greenhouses and food forests to provide fresh organic food for guests/interns, guest/intern cabins with shared and private bathrooms, communal kitchen, dining, and living areas for guests/interns, educational hands-on workshops, etc.
  • Community outreach projects such as a scholarship fund for internship programs for those who cannot afford them and adoption of orphans by the tribe

Work Exchange Programs

work-exchangeSince we are not yet mostly self-sufficient (i.e., we still have to pay for food, electricity, fuel, etc.), we cannot offer work exchange programs where labor is exchanged for accommodations and food as it will not make us financially responsible. We do hope to offer this in the future when our expenses are significantly reduced. Another factor to consider is that unskilled and skilled labor in Costa Rica are significantly cheaper than labor in the U.S., which also does not make it cost effective for labor exchange. Organic food in Costa Rica is about 0% to 30% cheaper depending on what you buy, but electricity and fuel is significantly more expensive than in the U.S. In addition, internships in the U.S. may be paid/unpaid, but the intern is usually responsible for their own accommodations and food. The labor from the intern is being exchanged for training from an expert, like how a student pays for their education and room and board.

Skilled volunteers get an additional 50% off the internship accommodation rental rates listed above and will have free access to all our guest/volunteer amenities (i.e., kitchen, bathroom, laundry, Wi-Fi, waterfall tours), utilities (i.e., electricity and propane gas for cooking and clothes drying), and are welcome to freely harvest and eat the food we currently produce on the land. However, they will need to buy their own supplemental food from the farmer’s market or local supermarkets because our food production has been put on hold due to the construction projects taking priority so we are not producing a large variety of food now.

Optional Day Trips/Outings

For an extra fee of $150, we can personally take you on a day trip to tour and enjoy the popular Dominical beach which has a large estuary (a river that flows to the sea) where you can swim in as well as catch some good surfing or body boarding waves in the ocean. We can provide up to three body boards for free (to use at your own risk) but you can also rent additional body boards or rent surf boards there at the beach. You can purchase food from an organic natural food store (Mama Toucan’s) there or from a very good vegan and vegetarian café (Café Mono Congo) that has free Wi-Fi along with several other dining options.

For an extra fee of $75, we can personally take you on a day trip to the popular all organic farmer’s market in Tinamaste on a Tuesday (open 8am to 1pm). Most vendors there speak English and cater to tourists and expatriates. This particular market is much smaller than the San Isidro de El General farmer’s market but it is all-organic and specializes in prepackaged or already prepared foods that are hard to find in stores or supermarkets in Costa Rica. They also have a selection of fresh produce and exotic fruits though not in abundant amounts so it is advisable to get there when they open to get them before they are gone.

Example Intern/Volunteer Day

The first day (the day of your arrival) will typically be focused on introductions, getting you settled in and acquainted with the basic facilities (i.e., accommodations, bathroom, kitchen, Wi-Fi), and receiving your payment in full for the internship program). If you arrive here early enough, we may be able to give you a complete infrastructure tour in which we show you food you can harvest and eat from our land, other existing facilities, planned future infrastructure and amenities, and potential building sites. Otherwise, we can complete the infrastructure tour the next day. If the next day is a farm or project work day (this does not apply to Holistic Healing Interns), we will ask for your participation (varies from 1 hour up to 4 hours on a work day, depending on what is needed) and then complete or do the infrastructure tour after that. After the infrastructure tour, we will meet to discuss in detail and come to an agreement on an initial holistic healing plan and schedule for you (this does not apply to Self-Sufficiency Interns). The initial holistic healing plan will include a series of Holistic Health Consultations to review and discuss your written Holistic Health Recommendation which Ngoc will write up for you once you are here and have paid in full for the internship program as it takes Ngoc about 3-8 hours to complete a written recommendation depending on how many issues a person has. Upon completion of the Holistic Health Consultations, we should have a very specific and comprehensive mutually agreed upon plan for the rest of your internship stay which usually includes a variety of therapies and other activities to support your holistic healing journey. These therapies and activities are usually done before and after the farm project work is complete on work days (this does not apply to Self-Sufficiency Interns), and anytime on non-work days. All interns have the option of getting free waterfall tours so they can know where the waterfalls, natural pools, and freshwater rivers are, and enjoy them during their free time.

If the Holistic Healing or Total FREEdom intern is recommended and agrees to do the 40-day Awareness of Reality spiritual practice, then they would do this first thing in the early morning (usually around 5am because the practice takes 1.5 to 3 hours to complete depending on how many issues need to be processed through the practice which includes Ardent Light Healing Yoga, Qigong, martial arts, pranayama, meditation, and emotional recapitulation). To prepare oneself for the 40-day Awareness of Reality practice, it is required that the intern purchase and read the Spirituality: The Awareness of Reality – How to ‘See’ the Unseen and Break Free From the Suffering Caused By a Narrow Perception of Reality book, which has the instructions for the 40-Day Awareness of Reality practice in the Appendix of the book, prior to coming here (click the previous link to learn more about the book and how to purchase it before coming here). After doing the Awareness of Reality practice, the intern prepares and eats their breakfast. If it is a work day (usually Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays), then about 1-4 hours would be dedicated to work on farm projects after breakfast. After that, the intern prepares and eats their lunch and then can do the therapies or activities agreed upon for their internship and whatever else they wish to do during their free time.

All interns can enjoy the waterfalls, natural pools, rivers, and hikes; access the Internet; watch movies, sing karaoke, or listen to music offline on their mobile devices or computer (we have over 2,000 movies including popular top-rated movies, more than 1,000 popular karaoke song videos, and more than 1,500 music files or songs in digital file format the intern can copy onto their device if their device has a USB port/cable and has enough space); and anything else they would like to do or can do during their free time. Interns are free to suggest any other activities at any time. If there is space available for yoga (this depends on how many interns are using the current yoga facility for camping), then interns may participate in Ardent Light Healing Yoga classes led by JAL, or if JAL is not available, then a yoga class led by Ngoc. On Sundays, if everyone agrees, we can do a potluck dinner at 5pm together and then do an optional agreed upon activity together after that (e.g., dance, singing, fire pits, playing instruments, etc.). Interns are free to bring any instruments they know how to play to share their music with us. We currently only have a keyboard (i.e., digital piano) and a plastic 5-gallon jug we use as a drum. Every Thursday, interns have the option to carpool with JAL (if there is enough room for everyone and the food they will buy and if they agree to split the cost of gasoline evenly among each person in the car) for a day trip to the San Isidro de El General farmer’s market. JAL typically leaves for the farmer’s market at 6:30am and returns around 3:00pm though this can vary depending on how many errands and shopping needs to be done in San Isidro de El General and Pejibaye. For an extra fee, we can personally take you on other day trips or outings listed in the Optional Day Trips/Outings section above.

Our Teaching & Learning Style & Philosophy

Our end goal is to put ourselves out of the healing business meaning that we do not want anyone to have to need healing services because this implies suffering and problems still exists in the world. We want the student or client to get to the point where they can successfully be their own healer/teacher and therefore help heal/teach others. For this reason, we will teach you “how to fish” rather than “fish for you,” as the old saying goes. What we mean by teaching you “how to fish” is that we will try to show you how you can heal yourself instead of us doing the healing work for you. For example, in a Life Coaching session, instead of us giving you all the answers, we would instead ask you the right questions so that you can arrive at the right answers on your own. This is a lot more empowering and will get you independent of us more quickly. We believe in an open, dynamic and sincere communication between client/healer, student/teacher. We happen to have a level of awareness and knowledge that we have achieved because of our particular life circumstances and humbly realize that sharing this awareness and knowledge is also a part of our own learning and healing. Therefore, we do not subscribe to or apply the concept of a Guru, mystic, wise, or enlightened figure to worship or follow. What we know is not a secret (i.e., it is ancient knowledge that is already deeply embedded within each and every one of us) and we apply it to the extent of our current level of awareness. We are informal in our approach, but we are very serious in our commitment.

Availability of Internships/Retreats

The availability of internships or retreats is dependent upon the availability of desired accommodations, number of guests or interns we have concurrently, availability of ecovillage members with the skills or expertise needed for the internship, and the availability of the intern. We deliberately do not actively advertise our internship programs because we cannot accommodate comfortably many interns yet. The only reason why we have this Internships, Retreats, Volunteering page on our web site is because people were really interested in interning with us to check us out so we were forced to put together something to meet the demand. We currently have a wait list of 26 people now and are coordinating our schedules with them to see when we can accommodate them so please feel free to add yourself to the wait list by completing the Intern Questionnaire below. To be practical, the intern wait list cannot be on a first-come-first-serve basis because it highly depends on the intern’s desired dates and our availability. If our schedules match up, then we will be able to host the intern.

Intern Questionnaire & Interview

Before either party commits to an internship, the intern applicant must first complete and submit the Intern Questionnaire form so our questions we have of the internship candidate are answered and the applicant has the opportunity to submit questions to us. Please allow up to three days for us to review the questionnaire and contact you to schedule an interview via Skype for video conferencing so both parties can get all their follow-up questions answered and get to know each other better before deciding to do the internship.

Waiver & Assumption of Risk

As a condition of the internship, all interns must read and electronically sign and submit the Waiver and Assumption of Risk form before the internship starts or before their arrival. To access the form, the intern will be required to create a user account on the Ardent Light website (if they do not already have an Ardent Light user account).

Becoming a Member of Our Ecovillage

If both parties agree, the internship or retreat can be extended indefinitely at the same rates stated above. A person is not considered a member of the ecovillage until both parties agree to the membership and the person chooses a mutually agreed upon site on the Ardent Light Motherland and completes the building of their home. Once the person moves into the home they built, they no longer need to pay for accommodations and officially becomes a member of the ecovillage. Please see Our Experiment in Tribal Living for more information.