I booked a 6 day retreat at DAS with a few other people from my hostel in Iquitos as we all agreed that it looked like a good place to go from online reviews and the fact that it was listed #4 on iPeru (a list of government approved/ verified shamans).
My stay at DAS was not exactly what I hoped for, and was by far the most expensive part of a 2 month trip to South america.
I want to say first of all that Percy is indeed a shaman (from what I can tell) and i met several people at the retreat that have been coming back for years due to their amazing experiences there and seemed to receive genuine healing from Percy and their Ayahuasca ceremonies.
My experience was not what i had hoped for because of several reason, here is a list:
1. The cost was very negotiable (I heard people paying $600 US for a week[3 ceremonies] and as low as $200 for 3 days [2 ceremonies] ). This seemed arbitrary and appeared like Percy(the Shaman) just wanted to try to get the maximum he could negotiate from each person, something that is very common in Peru but not very pleasant when you are trying to have a deep spiritual experience with the person. Many people at the retreat that were only in peru for Ayahuasca thought these prices were reasonable, but if you compare what can be achieved with $600 US in Peru to what DAS offered, it’s a ripoff.
2. There is nothing to do at DAS. other than to sit in a hammock and read/write/think there is nothing to do at DAS. I found this extremely boring, ive heard from people going to other retreat that they had among other things: tribes come in to trade, interpretive painting, 1 on 1 session with the shaman etc.. some activities could have been offered with very little cost to the center but weren’t.
3. I personally never felt comfortable with Percy, and it’s not that i had bad feelings from him, it’s that i never got positive ones either. He never showed the “infinite love” that i’ve heard that other shamans give out or positive vibes. He was only there to supply the ayahuasca (for me at least) and that was it.
4. Above I talked about not having 1 on 1 sessions. There actualy were 1 on 1 sessions with the shaman (with a translator) but these were not productive at all. When talking with percy I had to ask the questions, and he would try to answer them. Percy couldn’t answer any of my questions and would redirect the question to “what do you need/want”, he wouldn’t explain his views on other things and generally didn’t seem to care if i was satisfied with the answer. needless to say after 1 hour of talking I decided to leave the retreat. I no longer felt comfortable with Percy as my shaman. In the end i left after 3 days (2 ceremonies) instead of 6 days. without a refund.
In the end DAS felt more like a business with poor attention to customers. I would recommend it for people who just want to experience ayahuasca in a nice place (the infrastructure is actually quite nice, so is the food) but without much need for a shaman. Also i would advice people to “pay as you go” instead of paying for a whole week at once, it will likely be cheaper this way anyways.
If i had to do it again i would have waited a few days more in iquitos to find a better option, this is because once i returned to iquitos i met several other travelers who had gone to other shamans with great experiences that sounded more genuine.
I wish you luck in finding the right place for your Ayahuasca ceremonies. 🙂