Carr. Iquitos-Nauta, Iquitos, Peru
It is with a heavy heart that I must write this review of Caya Shobo. I communicated with three of the four owners of this retreat and I believe that what transpired was mostly a result of them being a new center rather than maleficence. I truly wish to see Caya Shobo improve so that they can better accommodate the sick people who might seek their help. Still, I must state that rather than having the symptoms of my illness treated they were instead exploited for profit. I will explain this in greater detail later in my review. Let me start at the beginning.
My first issue was that I was left at the airport for an hour despite the center knowing when I would be arriving. It is pretty uncomfortable to be minority(in Peru AKA white) tourist with your belongings in a country you don’t know and no phone service or internet to contact anyone. What if I get into the wrong taxi and they take me somewhere and rob me of my belongings? These are some of the concerns that were passing though my mind at the moment, albeit exaggerated but when you are in a new place you cannot help but be precautious.
This was understandable still, issues may have popped up which was actually what happened verified by other sources and that would have been fine but upon arriving to the center I needed a SIM card so that I could communicate with loved ones and be connected to the internet as well. So, a plan was set up that I would go by Motokart to the city and get the SIM card and come back whenever. Phone number to Kati was provided. When I arrived to the phone store, I found out that I needed to have my passport with me. This was NOT communicated to me, as Kati asserted upon my return. I literally had my passport in my hand thinking about whether or not I needed it and decided to leave it at the center so that it would not get lost. Again, this is understandable perhaps she forgot this detail, was stressed, whatever have it, she is human like the rest of us, but this was not the end of it. The plan was that the driver would stay until I had the card so that if anything went wrong I would still be in contact with the center. This did not happen. Furthermore, the phone number I was provided was getting busy signals or no answer so I was stuck in a city where no one spoke my language.
Eventually, I found my way to Dawn on the Amazon where all the Western tourists meet and was able to organize a ride back to the center to speak with Kati. Upon returning and relaying what transpired I was laughed at. I told them that it was nothing to laugh about and that this was a serious problem and they basically blamed me saying that they told me I needed the passport, that the driver had other things to do, etc etc. No apology or anything. As you could imagine, this made me very uncomfortable. They asked why I had come to the center but after what transpired I felt that I could not open up to them. I went to the maloca to think and try to wifi call loved ones and figure out my next move and I was approached for the remaining balance of my account with Caya Shobo. At this point, I was very overtired and had been profusely sweating for hours and decided to go to a hotel(with AC) get some rest and decide on my next move in the morning.
I returned to Caya Shobo and took part in one ceremony, to which I experienced little effects. I must mention here that I myself have particularly high tolerance in regards to psychedelic medicines. I am what Shulgin refers to as a “hardhead”. Upon my second ceremony on Monday, I was asked again for the remaining balance. I asked that they keep my $305 and allow me to just partake in the ceremonies while staying at the hotel, effectively paying only for services rendered and then some for the inconvenience. I was told that this is not how they do things, and that leaving the center was my choice and that I booked the trip and that it was my obligation to pay. Rather than them understand that I was already in a lot of emotional pain and unable to endure the discomfort of profusely sweating for 12+ hours of the day, they were more concerned with securing the full payment that I agreed to. I expected this kind of behavior from the Holiday Inn I stayed at in Lima on the way. I did NOT expect this kind of treatment from an ayahuasca treatment center. Disorganization is a symptom of the illness I came to the center to treat(ADHD), and rather than them treating it, it was instead exploited for profit. I eventually talked with Beccy and she refunded me $100 but I was not allowed to take part in anymore ceremonies. I effectively paid $205 for one ceremony and couple pancakes. I am out 2k USD for my plane tickets and even more behind on work.