De La Sol's Reviews
They are doing amazing things at Los Cielos. I was recently both a retreat participant and an apprentice. My journey with the medicine started a few years back at another retreat center in Peru, and I knew that when I returned I would go wherever Sylvie was. There’s so many retreat centers to choose from now and I’m sure most people go off of recommendations from people they know. This review is geared towards those who don’t know anyone to ask and who are researching on their own (I know it can be a daunting task).
Traveling all the way to the jungles of Peru in itself can be a challenging experience, and when you add the medicine aspect (especially first timers) it can make for a stressful transition. Being able to enjoy some of the comforts of home can make that transition so much easier. From the warm initial greeting/pickup in Pucallpa, all the way to getting settled into the casitas (which were super clean on arrival and had the towels all folded up on the bed like in a hotel) I felt well taken care of and this hospitality continued throughout my stay. Yes there’s tons of insects and various other creatures (frogs, small lizards, etc.). If you can’t learn to embrace it then you’ll be just fine staying inside. The casitas all have outlets to charge devices (which you really won’t be using much), comfortable beds, and are a close distance to shower/bathroom facilities (if you’re not in a casita that have attached bathroom/shower). With the exception of the few composting outhouses, all the toilets are flushing and have a sink right in the same room. I really don’t understand bathrooms that don’t have sinks in the same room. How are you supposed to get clean without water? I brought a commercial sized pack of wet wipes for that reason alone just in case and they ended up not getting used. There’s clean drinking water in every casita and the showers all have nice water pressure. There’s also high pressure spouts scattered throughout in case you need to power wash the bottoms of your shoes or whatever else. An awesome hammock hut sits near the kitchen, which is also a popular place to just chill. If you have any issue such as needing more toilet paper, or something for your headache, or clean sheets etc. everyone is quick to accommodate.
The food is really amazing. While there is fish and chicken (and occasionally armadillo) available I find I didn’t miss meat much with all the delicious vegetables prepared at every meal. Again, working with the medicine already is intense enough. Going on a strict, just-enough-to-sustain-you diet may work for some, but for people like me it seems unnecessary. All meals stayed within the guidelines of dieta and were tasty enough to require second or third helpings. Many fruits, vegetables, and herbs are grown right on the property. Some sample meals: banana jungle pancakes, chicken stew, spinach and veggie frittata, veggie burgers, quinoa salad, and mixed fruit bowls.
The maloca (the open air hut where all the ceremonies take place) is a well-cared-for spaceship of love. I can’t stress enough how safe of a container it is. With all the intense healing going on in there, it’s important that the physical space that is being occupied keeps you feeling secure. There’s an attached bathroom with a flushing toilet and sink as well.
The brew itself is unlike any I’ve had as well (in Peru and in other parts of the world). You can really feel the love that went into every drop. It was with this brew where I had a major breakthrough with Madre. The combination of the brew (and the labor of love that went into making it), the dosage, and the people (shaman, facilitators) holding space, allowed me to finally work with the medicine in a way I was never able to before. I’ve always either had way too strong medicine that just left me feeling confused and shell shocked, to really watered down brew that left me wanting to go deeper (which I never could because I knew I would never be able to keep down a second cup). The medicine at Los Cielos hits that sweet spot right in the middle, where I was able to go deep but in a manner that allowed me to interface/work with Madre. I was the type of person to always go into ceremony scared out of my mind, but with the help of the shamans and facilitators I was finally able to climb this hurdle and receive deep healing while letting go of fear. Rocio, the resident shaman, is so dedicated. She really wants to help and it shows. She would always give extra attention to those having especially difficult times. And not to mention she has an amazing, healing laugh. Sylvie and Tyler, the main facilitators also share Rocio’s infinite capacity for compassion. The
dedication they showed throughout my retreats really inspired me. They would stay up all night in ceremony, singing and smudging and helping those in need, doing whatever needed to get done, only to get up in the wee morning hours to help start the agenda for that day. And then repeat again. Their love for everything was apparent, and it shows in the type of people the center attracts as well.
If you’re lucky enough you may even be able to participate in the brewing of the medicine. This will really open your eyes to how much work is involved in getting you that single cup. In addition, they really go the extra mile to help you appreciate the medicine and all of the accompanying plants that act as “helpers” (there’s a staggering amount). You can have a consultation with Rocio to determine which of these plants you can dieta with, which is something I’ve never even heard of before coming to Los Cielos. It really makes a world of difference. My ceremonies before and after starting a dieta were so different, it really changed the game for me. You will be taken on a walk throughout the property where each plant is shown and its properties explained. You can also take a guided walk right into the deep jungle as well, which is also a very healing experience. And of course once you’re back in town they’ll make sure you are shown around and taken care of in just the same manner as well.
The hardest part in my opinion of this work is what comes after, the integration. And they really emphasize this point as well. Between the shamans and facilitators, they must have thousands of ceremonies between them. So they really have the experience to lend their guidance before, during, and after ceremony. They make sure to let it be known that they are always available, and that is so appreciated. It would be cruel to take someone on such a soul-shifting journey, and then like a hitchhiker who has come to their destination, just cut cords and be like “well, good luck!” Instead, continuing with the analogy, they stay with you until you genuinely feel that you’re ready to go.
So many other things also really struck me about Los Cielos. For example, having locals sit in during ceremony was another first for me. I thought it was awesome how they’ve extended invitations for the locals to partake in the medicine (locals
and indigenous are given scholarships/work exchange in addition to free work). It seems obvious; it’s their culture, their traditions. But I’ve never come across it until I came here. The locals that make up the majority of the staff were also all amazing human beings with quick humor, and I was always delighted to be in their company.
And I must mention the animals. Los Cielos is also an animal sanctuary as well. There’s 4 monkeys, 4 dogs, a whole bunch of cats, a sloth/raccoon type animal which I forgot the name of but gives awesome hugs, and many more being added. I was never someone who would call themselves an animal lover (I’m allergic to both cats and dogs which may have something to do with it) but the healing that animals can provide was so apparent here. Whether it was cuddling up with a monkey
or feeling safe as the dogs kept watch at the maloca door, I felt nothing but pure love from them . In fact, I developed a deep connection with both plants and animals during my stay that was never there before. And for that I’m grateful.
I’m usually skeptical of gushing reviews but if you’re reading this and still unsure, go with your gut. I can say I’m usually the type to not want to visit the same place twice (with all the amazing places to see in the world why?) but I’m already planning my return. For more healing sure, but what I think it really is is that Los Cielos has shown me what it means to be of service, and I feel so called to step into that role. Wishing you much love and healing on your adventures!