Baja or Santa Fe?

February 8, 2024

Baja or Santa Fe?

May 29, 2023

MEA has chosen Baja and Santa Fe as the locations for our Academies and Regenerative Communities for a variety of reasons. There's a raw realness to both places where nature is a profound teacher. Both have communities of artists, makers, and creators, and both attract the modern elder crowd as a place to retire. Additionally, our two locations are magnets for seekers of all stripes—people curious about life's meaning. And they both have vibrant culinary communities, so we eat well!

They're also strategically remote. These are not commuter schools. They require a pilgrimage to a liminal place that feels a little foreign. As we believe at MEA, change your habitat and you're more likely to change your habits. But which campus should you visit to take a workshop? That's a question we're increasingly hearing, and I'll give you my brief thoughts. I apologize that today's blog is so MEA-focused, but many of you have asked for this.

Why (and when) to choose Baja?


  • With our four-acre campus on a three-mile remote beach (surrounded by desert, farmland, and tropical forests), this place is made for surfers, beachcombers, and anyone who feels rejuvenated by being near water. 
  • If you're attracted to Mexican culture, food, and hospitality and want to learn the language, you'll love our campus. You might also enjoy nearby Todos Santos, a designated "Pueblo Magico" with an excellent language school, Hablando Mexicano, and so many good restaurants.
  • Peak season runs from Thanksgiving to Easter, which is when it's cooler at night, the whales are migrating, and the sea turtles are hatching right in front of our campus. The slow season is summer, when it's hotter and more humid, but it's also when we offer our "Re*fresh" Wellness Retreat program of extended, all-inclusive stays at lower prices. My favorite months are October and November when the water is warm, the desert is green (from the summer rains), and there are fewer tourists. 
  • While we don't have a gym, we do have a movement studio (with yoga and meditation classes), three pools (including a 25-yard lap pool), two hot tubs, two steam rooms, mountain bikes, and running on the beach (and surf lessons). We also have our famous shaman, Saul, and our amazing head of Mind & Body, Teddi, is based here. Body, Mind + Spirit are alive and well here.
  • Our campus has 26 bedrooms and 31 beds and is available year-round for private buyouts of the whole campus, but typically with a 5-night minimum. Hence, Santa Fe has more flexibility for private groups.

Why (and when) to choose Santa Fe (which opens this spring)?

  • If I had a dollar for everyone who's told me, "Wow, I love Santa Fe, but I haven't been there in 20 years, so this gives me a reason to go back." Santa Fe is consistently voted the #1 or #2 most popular destination in the U.S. by Conde Nast Traveler readers. So, we expect a lot of Santa Fe workshop attendees will arrive early or stay later to experience the Land of Enchantment.
  • Baja has the ocean, and Santa Fe has the sky; both are constantly evolving pieces of natural art. Because our ranch has nearly 2,600 acres, more than 20 miles of stunningly beautiful hiking trails, horseback riding, equine-assisted learning, mountain biking, a lap pool, and a full gym (with yoga and meditation classes), it's a great campus for those who want to exercise and feel connected to their body. It’s also the wild, wild west and a place for deep contemplation. 
  • The Santa Fe campus is in a storied location - next door to a famed artist ranch which is next door to the Chi Center and the world-renowned Qigong master Mingtong Gu who is across the road from The Light Institute and Chris Griscom who is Shirley Maclaine’s guru. There may be more famous artists per capita in the 400-year-old Galisteo village nearby than anywhere in the world. The Galisteo Basin is a transformational epicenter. 
  • While Santa Fe is a year-round destination, and peak season is summer and fall, many people love coming in the winter due to the nearby ski resorts and hot springs. Plus, it's fun to sit by a kiva fire smelling like the piñon burning and sipping New Mexican hot chocolate. And it's easier to get into the world-renowned Ten Thousand Waves Japanese-style spa in the winter and spring. I personally love September through November on the ranch because of the trees changing colors and the combination of warm days and cool nights. Just be aware that we're at 6,500 feet elevation, which can take some physical adaptation in your first day or two (be careful about that second margarita - both campuses serve alcohol at night as part of the all-inclusive price). 
  • Our Santa Fe campus has two retreat centers within walking distance of each other - one (Juniper) with 21 bedrooms and 29 beds and the other (Cottonwood) with 22 bedrooms and 29 beds - so we can do larger workshops and groups here when combining the centers. In Cottonwood, we can also do smaller groups for shorter periods since we don't require buy-outs of the whole center, and we can do as short as a 3-night program, whether it's incorporating our MEA curriculum or not. You can learn more about our Private Groups programs.

MEA has been called Four Seasons meets Esalen Institute meets Blue Zones, a pretty apt description of our mix of luxury, personal growth, and wellness/longevity programs. Feel free to schedule a call with one of our Admissions specialists, as our workshops fill up quickly, and many of them have financial aid available. 


-Chip

Go deeper with a workshop, in person or online.

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Love's Journey: Transforming Our Relationships with Dené Logan

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 to 
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Learning to Love Midlife with Chip Conley

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 to 
Mar 17, 2024
Baja, Mexico
Mar 12, 2024
 to 
Mar 17, 2024
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Learning to Love Midlife with Chip Conley

March 12, 2024
 to 
March 17, 2024
Baja, Mexico
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 to 
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Baja, Mexico
wo-sfe-24-001

Spirituality + Health in Midlife and Beyond with Steve Kiesling and Chip Conley

April 8, 2024
 to 
April 13, 2024
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Love's Journey: Transforming Our Relationships with Dené Logan

March 4, 2024
 to 
March 9, 2024
Baja, Mexico

Learning to Love Midlife with Chip Conley

Mar 12, 2024
 to 
Mar 17, 2024
Baja, Mexico
Mar 12, 2024
 to 
Mar 17, 2024
Baja, Mexico

Learning to Love Midlife with Chip Conley

March 12, 2024
 to 
March 17, 2024
Baja, Mexico
Mar 12, 2024
 to 
Mar 17, 2024
Baja, Mexico

Coming Into Your Own: Reconnecting with Who You Are and What You Want with Christine Carter

March 18, 2024
 to 
March 23, 2024
Baja, Mexico