Carr. Iquitos-Nauta, Iquitos, Peru
My time at Caya Shobo has left me feeling obliged to write this review in hopes that it can be of some inspiration to those feeling called to the jungle to participate in the deep magical workings which occur at this healing center.
I’ll start by saying that journeying to Iquitos to stay at an Ayahuasca center in the jungle is not going to be comfortable all the time. You will have to surrender to the flow of things in more ways than you can anticipate. Iquitos is a noisy chaotic place and Peruvians aren’t often on time for things. You will likely be pushed outside your comfort zone here and there, but that is just unavoidable for most people feeling called to the jungle. The friendly folks at Caya Shobo will pick you up from the airport in Iquitos if you wish and take you to the center. I recommend doing this if you don’t speak Spanish and it’s your first time in Peru unless you really want to get a taste for what the city of iquitos is like. Caya Shobo is about a 45 minute drive from iquitos. After arriving you will be placed in the room that you will be staying in. The rooms are exceptionally well kept with their own private bathrooms and moderately comfortable beds. The center itself is a very tranquil place to stay. The landscapes and fauna are beautiful and the master plants growing throughout the land help hold a dream like quality to the space. Imediately upon arriving I began to feel a powerful shift in my energy, as if anticipating some monumental experience that was about to take place.
I arrived in the beginning of December for a 10 day retreat. The maloka would be completely full most nights ( around 30 people ) and there were 4 shamans that would be simultaneously working their magic in the space. I would like to note here that the tradition of wisdom and healing practice which takes place at Caya Shobo is deeply rooted in the way of the shipibo, who likely carry the oldest tradition of Ayahuasca use on the planet today. The shipibo are the Masters of the plants, and the maestros and maestras who work at Caya Shobo are the highest carriers of medicine and wisdom of any humans being I have witnessed by far.
The day the retreat officially began everyone was asked to drink a tea of a plant which acts as a purgative. This was prepared in the humble little jungle pharmacy by the sweet medicine man who regularly works there to prepare the Ayahuasca, plant baths, dieta teas, and whatever else people needed to assist them on their path. We all sat under the jungle canopy puking together for perhaps a half hour. After that ordeal we relaxed before ceremony. The first night was rather mellow and allowed for the maestros to get an idea of where everyone was at and which plants would be most beneficial for each person to diet.
The following day everyone was called to participate in a meeting in the maloka to discuss the dieting process and which plants would be dieted. I knew very little about plant dietas prior to this experience. The maestros prescribed to me two master plants which I would diet during my stay at Caya Shobo. Later that afternoon I drank my first tea of the combined plants and that evening during ceremony the dieta was officially opened by the maestros. My experience with Ayahuasca and my understanding of the world of the plants and my relationship to them imediately underwent a radical transformation. I had experienced 6 Ayahuasca ceremony’s in the past, most of which were extremely powerful, beautiful, and painful. This was entirely different. This was on a level beyond anything I’d experienced by any entheogen in my entire life. It was like apprenticing with the spirits of master plants who’s intentions were to help me to heal, grow, refine, and evolve. The magic I experienced from these master plant teachers and the incredibly skilled and dedicated shipibo maestros and meastras at Caya Shobo was nothing short of miraculous and life changing. At times it was indescribably beautiful and I felt as if I was overflowing with teachings and radiating with the energy of my spirit, and at other times it was agonizingly painful and full of darkness and chaos. There is great teachings and healings to be found in the light and in the darkness. The shipibo utilize both to cultivate the deepest level of healing and insight.
I ended up continuing my dieta at Caya Shobo for an entire month. During this time many struggles presented themselves to me, as well as an endless stream of insights and breakthroughs. During my stay the other participants at Caya Shobo and the people running the center were extremely friendly, generous, and helpful to me. I could always ask if I had any questions or felt like I needed support in any way. The vibes were much like family and I feel extremely blessed to have had the opportunity to experience this miraculous place and the wonderful people and plants living there.
The only thing that comes to mind when I think of what I felt could be better was related to noise disturbance. There were several instances where I was feeling deprived of sleep but couldn’t rest because the employees were making too much noise doing maintenance work on the land. Luckily the maloka was always available to retreat to for an afternoon nap, so it wasn’t a big deal. It got frustrating here and there when I was deep in my process and wanted to be alone in my room but the people in the room next to me were talking loud and repeatedly slamming doors. I probably should have just respectfully asked for silence.. but it would have been nice if it was communicated to all the participants to be more mindful of their noise level because some people are going through a very deep process and are sensitive to the energy of others.
Thanks for reading, I hope this review is of services to others thinking of staying at Caya Shobo. I have so much gratitude and love for the amazing people who keep Caya Shobo alive. Julian, Katy, Beccy, Miguel, thank you!!