My stay at Nihue Rao was one of the best things that I’ve ever done for myself. I would HIGHLY recommend this center to anyone, and am hoping to come back soon with friends and stay for 10 or 14 days. The ceremonies are incredibly powerful, as three or four shamans are often singing at once. The brew is stong, and the grounds are tranquil and beautiful. This center draws a wonderful group of people who are kind, mature and deeply focused on healing. Great conversations had be had in the common areas, or you can simply lounge in a hammock and read a book or write in your journal. You will have a lot think think about, so its nice to not have too many things to do.
Before coming here, I was a bit apprehensive. It seemed that Nihue Rao was focused on people with medical issues (which I don’t really have), and the fact that they only accept cash payment seemed difficult. I found that it is true that Nihue Rao accepts “tough cases”, people with serious illnesses that Western medicine has given up on, but that does not mean that people who are simply looking to grow spiritually will not get just as much out of the experience. I learned so much about myself, and saw many incredible things in my visions. I have come back to the US feeling light, refreshed, and motivated to do my “homework” on myself.
On thing that sets Nihue Rao apart from other retreat centers is that it’s owned and operated by the Shipibo people. I saw very clearly in my visions how much colonialism has damaged the Amazon and its people, and how structures of colonialism continue to be perpetuated, even at Ayahuasca retreat centers. It is so incredibly important to start dismantling colonialism, and Nihua Rao provides a model. The Shipibo are sharing their culture and healing traditions with the Western world, and we desperately need to heal ourselves if we are going to save the earth. The least we, as westerners, can do is to support indigenous owned centers, where the money stays local instead of being sent back to America or Europe. This is why they only accept cash, because things don’t run on credit cards in the Amazon.
If mama Ayahuasca is calling you, this center would be a perfect place to answer that call. Ricardo, the head Shaman, is great in ceremony and is able to focus his songs on those who need them. There is a general atmosphere of love and kindness that pervades the space. I was lucky enough to be there while Joe, one of the original founders, was there. As a doctor, he bring a deep knowledge of medicine and ability to translate some of the indigenous knowledge into more western concepts. I’d highly recommend reading his book “The Fellowship of the River”, especially for those who are more rational minded. The book talks about his experience co-founding the center, and some of their more difficult cases over the years. He is no longer a part owner, but continues to be involved and help with the center.
Overall, I’m so happy that I came here, and so happy to have been able to learn from the Shipibo people and mother Ayahuasca. If you get the chance, go!