When I first met Miguel at the Chakapita retreat center, I felt surprised not very comfortable. I had already booked a week long retreat and thought it would be hard to recoup my investment. I had some questions about the schedule and things we would be doing. He was displeased to receive these questions, annoyed and didn’t answer all of them. I was hesitant to continue on with the retreat. After a couple days and one ayahuasca evening session or ceremony, I left early. It did not feel like a safe space for me to be doing this work.
Gratefully, I have worked with plant medicine before and I know what it feels like to be in a respectful and safe environment where the space is well held. I wish that for everybody.
The grounds are very pretty. There are 5-7 dogs there. The dogs are loud and they bit someone. Unstable guard dogs don’t seem like a great fit for a healing retreat center. One runs in circles almost nonstop and seems traumatized. I don’t know what happened to them.
The volunteers who were to help throughout the week that I met there were very kind. I only felt disappointed that they were extremely new and did not know anything about the overall schedule or the plants or the surrounding area.
As I was leaving, I noticed Miguel smelled strongly of alcohol and his eyes were red. This made me feel like I made the right decision to exit the situation. He seems to be struggling with life in some ways and I wish him the best in his own healing journey. I don’t feel he is stable enough to be running a retreat center for other people necessarily.
The surrounding area of Vilcabamba is amazing! Chakapita is about a 30 minute drive away from there and it is not always easy to get transportation but it is possible at certain times.
There are many places to explore plant medicine around the world. I am so grateful that I have found other places that have helped on this path. I don’t recommend Chakapita or Miguel as a place or guide to my friends or family, but I wish them all peace in their journey towards wholeness.