Iquitos and Urubamba in Peru
Wow, what a magical, healing adventure!
I began my retreat in the Sacred Valley for the first week, traveled to the jungle for the second week and back to the Valley to come in for a smooth landing before heading home. At the end of my 3 weeks, there was no doubt that I had just had the spiritual adventure of a lifetime and I take with me the friends of a lifetime to match!
Week #1: Upon arriving, I met Jose and the Sacred Valley staff. I was immediately blown away by the experience, passion and talent that I found in each staff member. From the effortless coordination by the reception office, to the tireless and friendly facilitators and ending with Shaman on a new level, I was honored to spending my time with people that I now call family. With day trips to Machu Picchu, local pre-Inca historical sites, markets and hikes in addition to all of the onsite activities, there is never a dull moment in between ceremonies. All of this was only week 1…
Week #2: To the jungle we went!
Our shuttles, air travel, boat travel and overnight accommodations from the valley to the jungle retreat was handled entirely by Arkana staff with this package. I found the entire trip well thought out, executed and comfortable. Beginning with a shuttle from the valley to the airport, we made our connections to Iquitos and arrived early afternoon with plenty or time to explore before our final leg to the jungle the following day. The accommodations were pleasant and clean located in the heart of Iquitos with plenty of Aya friendly restaurants and river front shopping to explore within walking distance. The next mornings shuttle ride to the river transportation went off without a hitch and we made it to the jungle retreat about lunch time. This place is amazing. Built a stones throw from river bank, the entire facility is raised off of the ground in preparations for the rivers annual swell. Built of traditional Amazonian construction techniques with added modern creature comforts, fully staffed kitchen and dinning facilities, and screened in lounging areas, Arkanas’ jungle retreat is amazing! I found all lodging areas are fully screened in with additional insect netting around the bed to ensure a comfortable rest every night. With the opportunity for massage each day, I found the down time in between ceremonies a great time to reflect and journal.
All 4 Aya ceremonies take place in a huge, round, traditional Maloka. When the darkness falls prior to the evenings ceremony, the magic of this location is revealed as the jungle comes to life right on time for the show! Looking back at my ceremonies in the Jungle, I know now that they will be difficult to top by any other mystical experience that I ever have. On my last day of the jungle portion of the retreat, we got a special opportunity to watch as Arkana staff prepared a large batch of medicine by the river. Perfect ending to a magical week!
Week #3: Back to the Sacred Valley!
Upon departing from the Jungle Saturday morning, I found the travel just as before. Perfectly planned and effortlessly executed by the Arkana staff. After sharing one last evening complete with an Aya approved dinner in Iquitos with my new jungle family, we were back in the Valley by early Sunday afternoon. In hindsight, I am very glad to end my journey in the Sacred Valley. With the intense magic of the jungle experience still fresh, I found it important to buffer my return to the “real world” with a nice, peaceful week in the valley before heading home. All of the comforts of home, relaxing atmosphere, breathtaking mountain surroundings, complete with a beautiful San Pedro ceremony to lighten the mood on our last day together.
All and all, a once in a lifetime spiritual opportunity that resulted in new friends and family that will last a lifetime. I could not be more humbled and thankful to Jose, the Maestras, Maestros, staff and guests from around the globe that made Arkana the only destination spiritual retreat that myself and my family will ever need!