I would not recommend this retreat center to others. I don’t consider it ideal or safe for women.
The shaman and manager of the site was disrespectful towards female volunteers and predatory towards me.
The dieta surrounding sex is not followed by Miguel. He had sex with me during a ceremony heavily under the influence after I refused him sober, and it was a terrible experience. He asked me to lie about this so that his girlfriend was not surprised or angered.
When I told Miguel I didn’t want that with him at first, I really thought he understood and would respect it. I also felt some sense of safety in numbers since there was a small, caring group participating in the ceremonies together. Ultimately, he got me away from the group during ceremony to grope and have sex with me.
I was really surprised by the experience because of positive reviews I read about this place.
Besides these gross boundary violations, there is other evidence of financial exploitation. He asks volunteers at the center to pay money for “their food” each week which actually covers food for an entire household or retreat for the whole week. He told me he lost a lot of his money and is trying to make it back. He does this by selling retreats to foreigners and by taking foreign volunteers who pay. Whereas, it would be more appropriate to have reliable people in the local economy cook and clean.
The only positive is the physical site itself–picturesque, beautiful and everything you could hope for regarding a natural environment.
After going through all this, I learned that Miguel has a *very* poor reputation in the surrounding community for the way that he interacts with women and other reasons. I wish I would have known this before turning up there.
I feel obligated to write this review to protect other unsuspecting people who would go here for any reason, especially women who might have unwanted advances and experiences as I did.