- Vilcabamba, Ecuador
The name Chakapita comes from a beautiful healing song that is sung by the Shaman during ceremonies. These songs are known as Ikaros. Chakapita is also the name of a plant that is used for cleaning auras and removal of negative energies.
Our retreat, Chakapita is a beautiful spiritual place which has been created with the intention to help people and introduce them to the spirit of power plants such as ayahuasca, huachuma and wilka for healing. We offer the opportunity to participate in ceremonies or attend retreats at our home location or to practice true ancestral ceremonies at sacred sites and archaeological ruins of great importance and potential energy in the south of Ecuador. We pride ourselves on the service and healing that is provided to our clients. During the retreats the Shaman is at hand for questions and help throughout the entire stay.
The sacred plant ceremonies at Chakapita are really traditional of South America. Our Shamans have a lot of experience and have come a long way in the spiritual world. We offer the ability to participate in ceremonies with Ecuadorian Indians from the Andes Mountains called the Saraguros and the Indians of the jungle known as the Shuar.
We offer ceremonies of:
Ayahuasca is a teacher plant with a feminine spirit, known as ?Grandmother Ayahuasca?. Sometimes we can experience the vision of a young or old woman, depending on the age of the plant that has been prepared. The spirit is in direct relationship with the wisdom of the snake. Visions of the jaguar or anaconda are common, as these are the sacred spirits of the forest, known to the natives as the Arutam. Ayahuasca is like a big snake that carries the memories of life. It is known as the vine of souls and has been used for thousands of years by the people of the Amazon to cure physical, mental and emotional illnesses by taking the participants on a journey to altered states of consciousness for healing. Like all power plants, the healing depends on the willingness of the participant to make the changes shown by the medicine, commitment to healing and the severity of the disease. It is also very important that a clean diet is followed whilst using this traditional medicine, to detoxify the physical body for true healing of the soul.
Wilka is considered to be the most sacred of all power plants. During the times of the Incas, Wilka was used as their sacred medicine. It was used only by the privileged class of the Incas and was not accessible to all people.
This female spirit presents herself as a young mother and has the virtues of curing terminal diseases and very strong addictions. The journey with Wilka offers the chance of rebirth by showing changes that are necessary in the life to become a better people. During a journey with Wilka, it is very common to see geometric visions, typical of a mathematics lesson! Reason being, the spirit of the plant is very precise and strict! Mama Wilka proposes a commitment to improve all aspects of our lives and this we can experience when we know the essence of true love.
Huachuma is a masculine spirit plant, also known as ahuacoya and San Pedro. Some people say that this name is related to the Apostle Peter, because he holds the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. This plant has been used by the Indians of the Andes of South America for millennia. The active ingredient is mescaline. The spirit of the grandfather Huachuma is very generous. Like all power plants, the journey depends very much on the current lifestyle and state of mind of the people participating. It is also very important that a clean diet is followed whilst using this traditional medicine, to detoxify the physical body for true healing of the soul.
I spent about 3 weeks in this amazing place with beautiful spirited people…Of course, I will not forget crazy and lovable dogs.I missed 🙂
The safest and most peaceful place if you want to try something new. You already feel it at the entrance with its nature but you are even more confident when you communicate with Miguel and Katie .Thanks to these beautiful guides, I still had an experience that I felt in my soul.The experience was far better than I could have imagined it to be. Everything from the people, the setting, and the medicine were all beautiful…
Thanks to the trust of Miguel and Katie, I met Mama Wilca which I did not know about before and again I had an unforgettable experience.
I will always remember this peaceful place that they allowed me to stay voluntarily with good memories…I really had such an amazing and inspiring time here and I highly recommend it to anyone considering. I am also sure that we will meet again !
I would not recommend this place. I stayed at Miguel’s place for almost two weeks and even though the place itself is very beautiful, I didn’t feel safe there at all. Miguel was always absent and didn’t take care of the retreat participants in a way they deserve. He didn’t really explain anything about the plant or about the ceremonies and because of the bad guidance and general atmosphere half of the guests (!!) decided to quit the retreat. I believe that these numbers speak for themselves. Miguel was not interested in talking about the situation either, he didn’t understand why people didn’t feel save or supported by him and didn’t even give participants who paid for a whole week, but had to quit it after two days, any money back. Later I also learned that he took advantage of volunteers when they were on medicine after they refused him sober. On top of that, he betrayed his girlfriend when she was on vacation, what lead to a very weird atmosphere when she came back, since everybody knew about it. That is neither professional, nor fair for his girlfriend or the participants. Furthermore, Miguel owns around 6 big dogs, most of them are German Shepards. One of them is deeply traumatized, always chasing his tail, and just not Master if his senses. Even though I appreciate the fact that Miguel tries to heal this dog, I didn’t feel save at a place where a mental dog is running around. Later, after having some disagreements with volunteers, Miguel even threatened one of the volunteers to put the dogs on her. From my perspective she didn’t do anything wrong, but asked a lot of questions about medicine and how to become a shaman, which just shows her interest in the place and Miguel’s work and shouldn’t be a reason for kicking her out and threatening her. But maybe she hit a sore spot, since Miguel never finished his shaman training. I don’t want to be unfair in any way, so I need to mention that Miguel never told me that himself, but the volunteers that were around (some of them for over a month). Moreover, Miguel asks the volunteers to pay a weekly fee of 30 dollars. Everybody who went to Ecuador before knows that there is no way to spend 30 dollars per week on casual food like pasta, rice, lentils, vegetables and fruits. After asking him if the volunteers could do the groceries by themselves, he denied it. I suspect that he does not use the money only for the volunteers food, but also for the food for the guests. I believe that Chakapita could be a very beautiful place, since the surrounding is simply amazing. But I don’t think that Miguel will ever be able to give participants the comfort and the security they need. His reputation in vilcabamba is also very bad, especially when it comes to how he treats women. My advise to all future participants: don’t go to this place. There are so many nice retreat places around Ecuador and Peru, look for a saver, more renowned and professional place where you can enjoy the whole magic of plant medicine in a safe environment with positive vibes !
I have visited Chakapita 4 years ago. I decided to try aya medicine because I suffered from very strong headaches – migraines. My pain was so severe, that I was not able to go to work for two or three days.
I attended four ceremonies – three during the night and one early at the morning (my favourite one). Miguel, the shaman who led the ceremonies helped me „walked“ through them. I felt safe and comfortable. The medicine reacted strongly with me especially physically, which means, that I lost my painfull migrains. Miguel helped me a lot in improving of my health. During the one ceremony Miguel removed black circle which he saw and which occured around my stomach. I think due to the Miguel ´s guidance during the ceremonies I lost problems with my migrains. Miguel did a great job and after my arrival I never had migrain again.
Moreover, I loved the nature there and horse trip which Miguel organized for me and my friend.
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.
I spent in Miguels house one week and everything was great. I loved his dogs, mountain view and peace. Miguel showed us nice places in the local village, mountains around and we met nice people at the Vilcabamba swimming pool.
Wilca was for me new experience and showed me her endless love and opened my heart. Miguel was great guide and company on my San Pedro day. Just 2 of us spent all day together sitting aroud the fire, talking about the life and reality did not exist…for me really unforgettable experience.
Just bear in mind that everybody might have different experience. I recommend not to have expectations,just release your mind and let plants work.
I volunteered at Vilcabamba for about a month and I had the most powerful experiences of my life. The medicine reacted with me strongly and took me to my deepest fears. It was scary at many points but I have learned that what I experienced was necessary for me to grow. When I had troubling visions, Miguel and other guests comforted me and helped me through them. They made me feel like family there and I felt very safe and comforted by everyone.
Everything about Chakapita was incredible, as well as the local town of Vilcabamba. It‘s perfect, a rural oasis with the friendliest people you could ever meet and the most amazing food (and surprisingly the best pizza in the world). There’s so many local excursions to experience while you’re there too like hiking and horseback riding in the mountains.
I have traveled to many places all around the world, but this little spot in Ecuador has stolen my heart and has become my favorite place I’ve ever been, as there’s absolutely nothing like it anywhere else.
Miguel is so kind, respectful, funny, welcoming, accommodating, wonderful, and knowledgeable.
Chakapita is a place you can always feel safe at.
Everyone in Vilcabamba knows Miguel and what he does and it’s awesome to be able to talk so openly about it with people in the town. He had a great reputation and is loved by everyone and anyone who says otherwise isn’t being honest. People in the town are also very friendly and easy to get to know.
The groups of people during ceremonies are often small and sometimes only 2 other people are participating with you. This helps you feel more connected and safe, as you can be focused on during the ceremony if you ever need anything.
Chakapita is in a great location right out of the rural Vilcabamba only a short taxi away. It is truly a beautiful and peaceful paradise within itself and it’s the perfect place to have experiences with Ayahuasca, San Pedro, and Wilka.
It’s a dream to be here and I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking into ceremonies.
I had a wonderful time with Miguel and Katie in Chakapita. They are considerate and attentive to the well-being of residents.
Miguel shows amazing sensitivity in his great ability to guide a ceremony. And outside of the ceremony, he has an impressive intuition. He guessed without me even talking to him about the questions I was asking myself at this period of my life.
The ayahuasca of Miguel is not intended to provoke strong sensations, the curative side is privileged.
Those looking for a psychedelic experience will be a little disappointed, but this place is perfect for those who want to have a real shamanic experience.
Miguel is not a Shaman, nor does he claim to be. Just a local with some basic knowledge of the medicine trying to organize ceremonies based on his experience.
What you need to be aware of is that there is no guarantee for Ayahuasca to have any effects on you. You may end up paying over $450 for two nights of diarrhea and sickness. So if you are looking for an authentic Ayahuasca experience with some real Shaman with spiritual supervision and guidance and certain outcome, Chakapita may not be for you. Real ones usually don’t have a profile on the internet!
The construct of Chakapita is beautiful, however a bit far from everywhere. There are retreats with the same price and better facilities that are closer to the town. For a one-week or 10-day retreat it is fine, however, if you are planning to stay there longer or use it as a hostel this might be problematic.
The facilities are basics, so don’t expect nets on windows, hot shower or fast internet.
Based on my own experience, if you are lucky and the group you are doing the retreat is right, you will have a great experience. We were lucky to have a fun and caring volunteers, so we could ignore the fact that some of us didn’t feel the Ayahuasca at all and the lack of real spiritual supervision.
For San Pedro, you will be fine to do it with your friends, since the medicine is easy to make and does the job on its own. 😉
Admin’s note: AyaAdvisors does not condone taking San Pedro without an experienced sitter. It is a powerful medicine that can take even the most experienced person by surprise (ask me how I know).
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.
Miguel and Katie are adorables and take good care of their residents and off the all being. I spend 3 weeks their wich seemed like few days. They gave me help and opportunities to experiment what I was looking for.
Muchas gracias and many blessings to Chakapita.
It was my first experience with sacred plant medicine and I was nervous and anxious (especially with Ayahuasca) but both Miguel and Katie had a calming effect. Had a really nice experience with everything that comes with Chakapita; from the beloved dogs, the surroundings, the medicines, the pool and facilities. Would recommend anyone seeking a deeper consciousness to come here.
Along with three other friends, we stayed at Chakapita for an 8 day retreat, though we all felt like we wanted to stay indefinitely! Chakapita is a magical land located at the base of the mountain, El Mascaron, which I personally felt protected by (along with the little pony watching over us!) throughout our time at the retreat. Miguel and Katie are literal angels, so welcoming, generous and compassionate. I participated in 3 ayahuasca ceremonies, 1 san pedro and 1 vilca ceremony. All were profoundly healing in their own respects, at times very challenging, but very enlightening as well. I felt as though I entrusted Katie and Miguel with my life, only knowing them for a day or two and felt completely seen, safe and cared for. They were both available to talk after ceremonies, as I believe talking about the experience is very important for integration, and they were very open and understanding. Having trusted friends along for the trip was important for me as well, though we all bonded and felt like family. Especially with the lovely volunteers Georg and Franzi, who prepared amazingly delicious vegetarian meals throughout our stay. And the dogs! They really held me up when I was having a tough moment, and I was so grateful for their presence as protectors and friends. Accommodations are simple, comfortable and clean. This was a life-changing experience and I left with a newfound sense of freedom and love. I most certainly recommend Chakapita retreats, and hope very much we will all get to see each other again very soon.<3
I stayed at Chakapita for two weeks with Miguel and Katie. They were both welcoming hosts, who are kind and personable. They are accommodating to everyone’s needs and extremely generous people. The resort is safe and beautiful, with clean and comfortable rooms to stay in. It is peaceful and calm, with a river flowing nearby that you can easily access. The food was prepared on-site by volunteers and was healthy and delicious. I met a few wonderful travelers during my stay as well, who were also visiting the retreat. I participated in two Ayahuasca ceremonies, two Huilka ceremonies, and two San Pedro ceremonies. All experiences were enlightening and empowering. I am grateful for the medicine that these two people provide for everyone who comes to the retreat. They are well-intended people with special gifts to share. I highly recommend visiting, and I will certainly be back.
I spent 2 wonderful weeks at Chakapita. The peaceful land is nestled within the stunning Andean Mountains by a riverbed; the rooms are super cozy and the dogs are like family, I couldn’t have been more happy there. Most importantly, during my stay I had beautiful experiences with the Ayahuasca and San Pedro Ceremonies the Shaman put on; for my first ever experiences with plant medicine, I felt incredibly safe and comfortable with Miguel and Katie. I am eternally grateful for Miguel and Katie at Chakapita, and everyone that was there with me on the journey! I love you all
My boyfriend had a desire to attend an Ayahuasca retreat. We were searching for deeper Spiritiual knowledge and healing. We spend hours reseaching, looking for a special spot to experience the sacred plant medicines. We had read about the life changing effects and transformations we would encounter by partaking in these types of ceremonies. We felt this was what we needed for our growth individually and as a couple. We chose Chakapita and it did, in fact, give us the spiritual expansion and emtional healing we sought.
As soon as we arrived at the faciltiy, we were warmly greeted by the facilitor, Katie, and the Shaman, Miguel. The campus was located in a lush green valley, Andes mountains on all sides, and vast gardens of flowers in full bloom. It was beauitful and a perfect representation of nature that added to the effect of the retreat. We had a personal tour, overview of each day’s activities, and a chance to discuss our intentions for this visit. We felt welcomed and excited to be a part of their community.
There were several experienced volunteers on site and we were able to ask the additional questions we needed to ensure a full expereince working with the plant medicines. They shared their personal experiences with Ayahuasca. We felt comfortable and ready to start this adventure.
The night ceremonies brought us to Mother Aya in a very safe and loving way. We felt our souls open as we traveled into other dimensions. My boyfriend was able to connect with all of the energies this world and other worlds offer. Our desires to reach into our unconscious and explore other realms were laid in front of us. I was able to tap into deep emotions, explore my hurts and defects, and come out with new perspectives. The medicines took us on spiritual journeys that awakened us to a sensation of a higher power. We felt transformed and we would carry these new energies with us as we moved forward in our lives.
The week was a sacred event. We felt emotions and had experiences that are almost undescribable, except to others who have done Ayahuasca and San Pedro.
Chakapita allowed us to fully engage in the positive effects of the plant medicines. We had the spiritual awakening we sought. We believe the next time will continue to heal us and we look forward to joining Katie, Miguel, and the other guests agin very soon.
Chakapita is an amazing place, I stayed there for two weeks and truly enjoyed the whole experience. It is located in a very peaceful area, surrounded by mountains, so you can go for hikes if you wish. But the property has a lot of space, swimming pool, hammocks, big kitchen and cute cabins, so it was always a pleasure to just chill and relax.
Miguel and Katie are wonderful and welcoming people. They have a great energy and are very down to earth.
I took part in two Ayahuascas and two San Pedro ceremonies. Throughout all of them I felt safe and taken care of. Miguel is a great shaman, has a lot of experience and managed the ceremonies nicely. I was also able to talk to them about my experience freely and get their insights.
They have six dogs, but all of them are very adorable and well-behaved.
I would definitely recommend Chakapita if you are seeking good medicine ceremonies.
The retreat was my first experience with plant medicine. Chakapita offers three of them (Ayahuasca, Huilka, and San Pedro) – I tried them all and had profound experiences with each one.
Miguel is down-to-earth and un-intimidating, and he and Katie made me feel very safe and comfortable in unfamiliar situations.
The retreat is in a quiet area surrounded by beautiful nature – we went for an invigorating hike that finished with a view of the resort far below.
The room was airy and clean and the bed comfortable; and the freshly prepared vegetarian food was delicious – a highlight of my stay!
I am happy I chose Ecuador as a destination, since I enjoyed immensely visiting other parts of the country before and after the retreat. I would recommend Chakapita to anyone looking to experience plant medicine in a safe and comfortable setting.
I had a very special and transforming experience during my 6 day retreat at Chakapita. The staff was super friendly, English (and of course Spanish) speaking and very accommodating. The location is beautiful, in between mountains. The property has nice cabanas in a beautiful and well maintained garden with a pool.
The ceremonies were very good. The group is small (8 persons max, often less) and the shaman Miguel was very much in touch with all participants, able to comfort people and sensing who needs personal attention at certain moments. Miguel is also very approachable during the day between ceremonies, as he lives on the property and eats with the group. The other staff, Katie and the volunteers were super friendly and fun to be around with between sessions. All in all a very welcoming experience with nice people, good food and truly transforming ceremonies.
I had a beautiful, transformational time during my 12 day retreat with Miguel in April. The setting is stunning, the grounds are beautiful, the dogs are wonderful and the journeys are very powerful and healing. Every day I enjoyed freshly made organic meals and had plenty of time to myself to rest and reflect. The healing power of the mountains alone is enough to make your head spin! When you add the Aya and Miguel’s guidance, you are sure to find that which you seek.
My experience at Chakapita was life changing to say the least… Miguel and Sarita where such beautiful and loving souls who facilitated and explained the Ceremonies perfectly… I had a healing for myself my family and was shown my life’s path … I will definitely be going back to that magical place ..Maybe as a volunteer one day … God bless you Miguel, Sarah and the wonderful volunteers there ..you know who you are… xo
Miguel and the entire family at Chakapita makes you feel at home the second you arrive. The ceremonies are curated with such care and beauty. From using traditional instruments to freash rose petals from the breathtaking land, a comfortable and cosy place to sleep and beautiful farm to table food. I had such breakthroughs here that I decided to stay! If you are looking for a safe and knowledgeable place to help you change your life, this IS the spot.
I had the most wonderful experience here a week ago! I liked that there was so much flexibility with the retreat dates and the ceremonies. The retreat centre was serene and peaceful. Thank you so much to Miguel and Ariane. I learned so much about myself that I feel I was reborn again! I will never forget my experience here and have recommended to many of my friends.
This experience changed my life around and my beliefs and my thoughts. Ir healed my hear &helped me be reborn and regain my power!
Miguel & Ari made an amazing team, holding a safe peaceful space for medicine journey work and keeping us nourished with all natural deliciosas homecooked meals. We cleansed and prayed to the river and got to hike in the majestic Andes mountains. Miguel is very intuitive, humble and powerful shaman, he has a strong connection with the plants & 20 years of experience. It was easy to trust him. Our little group had a beautiful heart opening and transformative time in Chakapita. It was so good to come home to truth & what is real.
This is the second place I’ve been to work with Ayahausca and San Pedro, and we also had Wilca. Yowza!! My life has NOT been the same since! Miguel is so kind and centered. Whatever you’re going through, he is there with his grounded presence to help you through it. Rest assured, you will feel safe and taken care of at Chakapita. I had some very eye-opening experiences (third-eye-opening?? if you will?) at Chakapita, and the medicine is strong and it changed me physically and mentally. There are certain things about my life that have truly been transformed by the medicine and by working alongside such good people, and the lessons I’m learning continue to unfold months later. Also, small detail, but I loved all of the dogs on the property! Miguel’s family was also there, and it just felt very home-y and safe. He’s an experienced, benevolent, safe shaman who you can trust and the property is absolutely beautiful! The town of Vilcabamba is fun if you get the chance to hang out there, and we also went on a hike on San Pedro that was such a great journey and we got some beautiful views. Miguel definitely has a fine-tuned process and the order in which everything goes is perfect and I had to let go and just trust the process, and man I’m glad I did! Thank you thank you thank you, Miguel and everyone else who was there at Chakapita. This is a beautiful thing you are doing for the world.
This was incredible. I was guided with such love, patience, and calmness that it truly amazed me. I trust Miguel and Hana with any future ceremony I partake in. The experience left such an impression on me not only because of the sacred medicine, but because of these two leaders and their beautiful presence. The center was beautiful too, nestled in between the mountains. Their 3 dogs, who Miguel called “the facilitators” helped me see the humor of life that weekend. The traditional ceremonies were led with such care I felt they came from a long line of shamanic tradition and I felt truly blessed to be a part of it all.
I stayed in Chakapita for 8 days. This is a magical place in the mountains. Spirit there is strong. I will be back.
I had an amazing healing journey at Chakapita, I felt secure and safe the entire retreat. The house is in paradise and it is the perfect place to heal. It was magic and I am very grateful. Madeleine
Just i can say thank you for this magic experience, this days change my life, just in chakapita i find Wilka, for sure im back the next year. Thanks again for the wonderful time you spend with us!! We really enjoyed it!, Carly and Peter