Are you considering going on a transformative Ayahuasca journey in Iquitos, Peru? Great!
Known as the "capital of the Peruvian Amazon", the port city serves as a gateway to the tribal villages of the northern Amazon, and it is both an authentic and idyllic location to embark on your journey. After all, it was in the Amazon basin that the potent brew was first created.
Over the past decades, numerous amazon jungle ayahuasca retreats have sprung up in beautiful locations such as Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, and Costa Rica. But while ayahuasca’s momentum in the Western world is fairly recent, the powerful brew has been revered by Amazonian tribes for centuries, if not millennia. Ayahuasca consists of a combination of two components: the monoamine oxidase inhibiting (MAOI) Banisteriopsis caapi vine (or ‘ayahuasca vine’) and the dimethyltryptamine (DMT)-containing Psychotria viridis leaf (or chacruna).
While the original form of ayahuasca shamanism employed the B. caapi vine alone, it is said that the synergy between B. caapi and P. viridis was discovered in the region of present-day Iquitos thanks to the traditional practice of mixing medicinal plants with ayahuasca brew.
Today, plenty of people wish to partake in an authentic ayahuasca ceremony and it is easy to see why Peru would be at the top of their list. This increasing interest in ayahuasca is, of course, something to be celebrated. But there’s also a dark side. With so many visitors flocking to ayahuasca retreats in search of the powerful healing they are known to bring, some so-called “shamans” have started taking advantage of this ayahuasca tourism, reducing the powerful plant medicine to nothing more than a lucrative business.
Furthermore, ayahuasca is also known to evoke emotional and psychological distress. This distress is usually temporary and even beneficial in the long run, but to guarantee your safety and well-being, knowing how to distinguish a shaman from a sham artist, is an important requirement.
Finding trustworthy psychedelic retreat centers that are run by knowledgeable shamans and professional practitioners is time-consuming. So, to assist you in your transformative ayahuasca journey, we have compiled this list with the 10 best and most respectable ayahuasca retreats in Iquitos. We always recommend that you do your research, ask many questions, and speak with referrals before embarking on this journey.
For more information on how to chose your ayahuasca retreat in Peru check out our COMPLETE PERU GUIDE. and if you're open to looking beyond Iquitos in Peru, you can check out our Top 10 Ayahuasca Retreats in Peru. For the most in depth information on plant medicine you can register for our FREE WEBINAR.
Behold Retreats’ staff consists of expert healers and international facilitators who have decades of experience with leading transformative ayahuasca ceremonies. This specialized knowledge enables them to curate a healing ayahuasca journey that is specifically tailored to your needs and preferences.
Whether you want an immersive spiritual retreat with a traditional Shipibo maestro, a luxurious private ceremony, or perhaps a more modern approach with a Western touch, Behold Retreat’s expert staff knows which questions to ask to figure out which retreat would best suit you. Furthermore, additional healing modalities, such as yoga, guided meditation, energy-, body-, and breathwork, can all be guaranteed on request.
Truly unique is Behold Retreats’ one-of-a-kind, 7-week Ayahuasca retreat program. The program is tailored to meet the distinctive needs of leaders, executives, and aspirational entrepreneurs, and it is designed to heal, expand, and elevate your consciousness. To pluck all the plant medicine’s fruits, thorough preparation and integration are vital. So, to prepare you for your transformative ceremony, Behold Retreats include 3 weeks of remote personal coaching. And during the subsequent 3 weeks of post-retreat integration, you discover how to implement what you learned into your daily life, thus deepening your healing even further. Are you ready to let go of old limiting beliefs and begin embodying your future self? Apply for a consultation here.
Most ayahuasca ceremonies tend to be done in groups of five to thirty people. In some extreme cases, that number may even go up to one hundred participants and more. This can potentially be overwhelming, to say the least. Ayahuasca is already an intense experience in itself, add to that the uncertainties that group ceremonies entail, and it’s easy to see why a private session might be a good idea.
During an individual session, you are completely free to focus on your inner world, allowing you to delve even deeper than you usually would. Furthermore, without any external disturbances from other participants, letting the plant medicine gently guide you through your journey also becomes easier.
Finding a trustworthy shaman can be an arduous task. Even more so than finding the right retreat. However, arduous is not synonymous with impossible. And an organization like Behold Retreats can help you with finding the right shaman and/or practitioner that best fits your needs. This way, you can focus more on the other parts of your ayahuasca journey, such as the preparation and subsequent integration of the experience.
Founded in 2016 and located in the Yarapa River rainforest reserve near the jungle city of Iquitos, Gaia Tree Center provides ayahuasca retreats aimed at holistic, deep healing, and cleansing.
The center offers immersive retreats that are supported by modern therapeutic practices as well as Eastern psycho-spiritual meditative modalities. And instead of merely addressing symptoms, they provide healing that goes straight to the core of an imbalance and/or disease. To ensure that the insights that are granted to you during your journey end up provoking long-lasting, positive changes, extensive attention is also paid to body-mind integration.
Surrounded by luscious virgin Amazon rainforest, the site provides an immersive jungle experience, and offers you the space you need to expand your consciousness while being in complete harmony with nature and the site’s beautiful surroundings.
With over 40 years of healing plant medicine practice, Segundo Pangoza Chani is the main shaman. And as an authentic Shipibo healer with decades of ayahuasca experience under his belt, he provides a safe, supportive space, allowing you to completely let go and immerse yourself in this ancient healing path.
Located in the heart of the Western Amazonian Basin (just a 20 minutes’ drive from Iquitos airport), Caya Shobo offers intensive ayahuasca healing retreats in a beautiful, green oasis.
The minimum stay is 12 days, and all ceremonies are created and conducted per traditional Shipibo healing methods. Keeping in mind individual differences, each participant receives a unique treatment program that fits their personal healing needs and intentions. And each treatment is carefully curated and based on the visionary insights and guidance from the Shipibo Onánya healers.
A personally prescribed master medicinal plant diet helps prepare you for the transformative journey that lies ahead. And as integration is just as crucial as preparation, integration support is also available during and after the retreat.
Another thing that makes this retreat center so unique, is that it offers a women ayahuasca retreat that is led solely by Shipiba Maestras and female facilitators. By giving women a chance to safely come together and share such a vulnerable experience, this female retreat offers tremendous healing. And guests who have participated often refer to it as the retreat that delivered the most profound effects.
Qhispikay Kawsay Ayahuasca Retreat is an ayahuasca healing and educational retreat that offers a harmonious fusion of two shamanic plant medicines, namely Ayahuasca and Huachuma (or San Pedro cactus).
Each retreat is guided by authentic and experienced shamans (Trunco Don Romulo Ayahuasquero, Maestro Ayahuasquero Don Winister, and/or Huachumero William Menech). Combined, they have gathered over 100 years of plant medicine knowledge and practice, and during ceremonies, they offer personal shamanic treatments.
They offer 7-, 8-, and 15-day retreats, and if you want to bring a family member or friend for support, this is possible at a discounted rate (as long as they don’t partake in the ayahuasca ceremonies). The comfortable bedrooms are spacious and include electricity and lighting as well as a private bathroom with a shower.
A unique feature of this retreat is that they offer the admixture plant bobinsana. Bobinsana is an Amazon Basin-native plant that is known for its gentle stimulating effects. It is considered a master plant teacher in the Shipibo traditions, and it is revered for its ability to open the heart and give space for it to heal from intense sadness and grief. Experiencing greater compassion and strength are also often-cited effects.
Good to know! Revered for its consciousness-expanding effects, San Pedro is known to engender journeys of deep introspection. The visionary South American cactus is complementary to ayahuasca’s healing.
Founded in 2008, the Ayahuasca Foundation is more than just a retreat center. The foundation dedicates itself to the preservation and continuation of the ancient science of plant spirit medicine. And they offer a holistic approach to healing the body, mind, and spirit, with ancestral traditions, respect for nature, and plant spirit wisdom as their main focal points.
The Ayahuasca Foundation currently works with four curanderos from the Mahua-Lopez family lineage, including don Enrique and don Ronor. The four brothers are regarded as true maestros of ayahuasca, and they come from a long lineage of Shipibo plant doctors.
Retreats take place at the Foundation’s Riosbo Ayahuasca Retreat & Research Center, in the heart of the Allpahuayo-Mishana national reserve. It takes approximately two and a half hours to get to the center from Iquitos, and transportation is included and taken care of by the foundation.
The retreat center features comfortable accommodations with private rooms, ensuite bathrooms with hot water, a river-view balcony, and solar-powered electricity. They take a maximum of 12 participants. And to enhance the healing effect of mother ayahuasca, integrative techniques and numerous treatments with other plant medicines are included.
Besides retreats and healing empowerment courses, the Ayahuasca Foundation also offers Shipibo shamanic training courses in its Plant Medicine School.
Arkana Spiritual Center is an international retreat center that offers ayahuasca and ancestral medicine retreats. They operate 3 holistic healing ayahuasca centers in beautiful locations in Peru and Mexico. One in the Amazon Jungle, another in the Andes Mountains of The Sacred Valley, and finally, a third in Yucatan in the heart of the Mayan Jungle in Mexico.
As they work with ancient shamanic plant medicine in conjunction with Shipibo masters and Andean shamans, their program is deeply rooted in traditional practices.
The retreats are structured around sacred plant medicine ceremonies. And during most retreats, they work with 4 different medicines: Rapé, Kambo (cleansing frog venom), Ayahuasca, and the Sonoran Desert Toad (5-MeO-DMT) as an optional add-on for those who wish to take their physical cleanse even further.
To cleanse your energetic fields and deepen your connection to the medicinal plants, floral baths are offered before every ayahuasca ceremony. And through a personal discussion, your intentions and your (perceived) ideal outcomes are brought to the surface, which in turn facilitates a more profound experience during your ceremony.
For over one decade, The Hummingbird Healing Center has provided intense, deep healing journeys in a beautiful, safe, and supportive environment. Located near Iquitos, on 42 acres of luscious rainforest, the center offers an idyllic environment for personal transformation.
Ceremonies are led by Don Fernando Laiche, a traditionally trained ayahuasquero with nearly four decades of experience with the medicine. They offer ayahuasca retreats of different lengths and all the retreats include at least one San Pedro ceremony.
For those who are dealing with treatment-resistant issues, they also offer longer personalized retreats. And over the years, the center has evolved into an expert on treating depression, anxiety, PTSD, and OCD through its ayahuasca-assisted therapy. These personalized retreats are also a good choice for people who wish to deepen their transformative healing journey or who are curious to see whether committing to working with the medicine is the right choice. Focused on growth and healing, ‘empowering people’ is their main focal point.
Dreamglade is a beautiful, lake-side Shamanic healing center and Ayahuasca retreat that offers traditional ayahuasca ceremonies and other healing methods. And thanks to its picturesque location right in the heart of the Peruvian Amazonian rainforest, participants are given the chance to truly connect with nature on a deep level.
The retreat center is the brainchild of Stacy Stephen Povey. He has been living and working in Peru for the last 12 years, and besides being the founder, he is currently also active as one of the facilitators at the center. Through working closely together with two authentic Shipibo shamans (Raul Buenapico Ramirez and Lidia Huayta Ramirez), the retreat offers authentic healing journeys in a relaxed setting.
Although their ceremonial hut is big enough to accommodate many more, they limit the number of participants to a maximum of 9-10 to ensure that everyone has plenty of space and receives adequate care and attention.
Over the years, their beautiful sauna/sweat lodge has become a vital addition to the healing work, and it is generally used right before each ceremony.
El Purguero is an Ayahuasca Healing Retreat Center that has been serving the ayahuasca community for over two decades. Situated 23 km from Iquitos, it is owned and operated by Ayahuasquero Ronald Joe Wheelock, affectionately known as The Gringo Shaman of the Amazon.
The center offers 7-day retreats, which include 3 ayahuasca ceremonies with Don Ron. The first ceremony includes Don Ron’s medicine which is prepared using ayahuasca and huambisa (instead of chacruna); the 2nd ceremony uses ayahuasca and huambisa with chirisanango, tobacco, and sometimes flowers of bobinsana. And for the 3rd ceremony, the group prepares traditional ayahuasca. Offering a true jungle-like experience, lodging consists of a communal bunkhouse or jungle hut that sleeps one or two people. And besides the ayahuasca ceremonies, the retreat also includes circle meetings, an Oje purge, and plant baths.
Interesting to know! An Oje purge involves drinking the tree resin of oje (Ficus insipida willdenow). Due to its powerful purgative effects, the resin has many medicinal uses and throughout history, its primary function was for the treatment of intestinal parasites.
From Iquitos to Pucallpa, Peru boasts many impressive ayahuasca retreats. Are you ready to begin your transformative journey?
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