Via a Llayzhatan Bajo, Ecuador
I had an amazing time at Gaia Sagrada. Everyone, from the staff, to the work exchangers, to the other guests, to the shamans, were simply incredible people. The ceremonies themselves were beautiful and taught me a huge amount about myself and how I live my life – lessons that I can now take with me as I begin the biggest ceremony of all: life itself. The excellent shamans, too, in particular, made these experiences extra special. Jerry Rabas, the general manager, also personally provided an enormous of support to the participants. The food was delicious and always plentiful, and the grounds were bucolic and pretty. The only small critique that I have, is that the location of the retreat sometimes felt a bit isolated and even slightly claustrophobic given the general lack of views of the mountains (many of the buildings where you spend most of your time are surrounded by trees, although if you do some walking around the property, you can find a couple of nice vistas) and the lack of easy access to the surrounding areas/nearby towns as we were quite far down the side of a mountain. If the retreat were slightly shorter, this likely wouldn’t be an issue, however given that the retreat is nearly two weeks and it’s hard to leave the grounds at will given the location (we did have one organized day trip off the premises), it did affect my experience slightly. Ultimately, however, for me, this is a rather small “blemish” at an otherwise perfect retreat, and the positive aspects of the retreat outweighed this (I’d give the experience a 4.5/5 if possible). The equal balance of ayahuasca and San Pedro, too, make this place particularly special. I highly recommend Gaia Sagrada for people looking to work with these deeply profound and healing plant medicines. It’s not easy work, but it’s absolutely worth the journey.