Listed in Ayahuasca
- Manacamiri, Iquitos Peru
The Kapitari Center was founded in 1980, by the shaman Luis Culquiton, widely known as Don Lucho.
Don Lucho comes from a long line of natural healers, but he discovered the healing qualities of plants himself, at a very early age; he drank ayahuasca for the first time at age 16. He soon discovered the power of the plants and felt a calling, which he describes as “the legacy of my ancestors.”
In 1980, at age 30, Don Lucho was an established, self-educated shaman. This is when the spirit of ayahuasca called on him to work with the plants, to help protect the incredible biodiversity of the Peruvian Amazon and indeed to save the world; “Up until that moment, I had not been very concerned about the forest. Then I said; ‘How can I save the world? I have no education, I don’t know anything.’ But I started to learn from the plants. I was told by the plant spirits what their qualities were, whether it was for food, as medicine, or even as fertilizer to add nutrients to the soil.”
Don Lucho developed a new way of agriculture, which is very similar to what has become known as ‘permaculture’ in the West. Traditionally, Amazon farmers would burn down a part of the forest and plant only one or two crops on their fields. But the soil quality is poor in the Amazon and they would soon have to abandon their fields, repeating the process of ‘slash and burn’, slowly destroying the rainforest.
By planting up to a hundred different plant species on the land, Don Lucho recreates the balance of the rainforest, which sustains its own existence. This way, the farmers’ fields remain fertile indefinitely, removing the need to ‘slash and burn’ and even returning wasteland to the rainforest, where it can be reintegrated.
One of the main sources of funding for the Kapitari projects is through our Ayahuasca retreats. Unlike many of the Ayahuasca retreat centers in Peru, Kapitari is not owned or controlled by westerners, but by Peruvians for the benefit of Peruvians.
Don Lucho’s main objective is to share his knowledge, expertise and experience with whomever can benefit from it. He promotes the exchange of seeds and saplings, which he grows at Kapitari and invites people from throughout the Amazon and the world to come learn and share through his ‘Field School’.
I went 2 years ago, and things may have changed (Don Lucho mentioned they were building a second Maloca at the time..) but I thought I would give my 2c in the hopes it helps someone make the right decision for them.
Before considering Kapitari, I think you need to ask yourself a few questions – for you to have your ideal transformative spiritual experience, do you need to feel comfortable, secure, and have activities to keep yourself occupied? Do you need accommodations and food that are First or Second World level?
If you answered “Yes” to any of those, then Kapitari is DEFINITELY NOT for you.
If, on the other hand, you want an ascetic, brass tacks, balls-to-the-wall Aya experience in (an enclosed compound in) the Amazon jungle then this might be the place you belong.
– When I went, Don Lucho’s female assistants/translators were awesome. I felt like they had nothing but the best intentions, and they handled a couple of sticky situations (i.e. people having bad trips) very well, and with maximum compassion imo.
– The Aya they gave me was *ultra* strong. I happen to be a large, healthy-looking, relatively young guy, so your mileage may vary – but I went all around the cosmos, to Hell and the depths of my soul, to the Spirit World and back, and lived to tell the tale.
– During the week, they had a local Psychic named Ms. Mercedes come by to do readings on all of us. It was hands down the most shockingly accurate and informative experience I’ve ever had with a Psychic.
– There was an optional fourth ceremony, and I wanted to go – but Don Lucho’s assistant came to me privately and told me Don Lucho didn’t think it was a good idea since I’d experienced so much, and needed to reflect on all of it. I respect that integrity, and they were absolutely right.
– The Maloca was awesome, thin-ass mats and all.
– Lots of people with extremely questionable motivations for coming to an Ayahuasca Retreat in the group. For example, one guy wanted to “see aliens, and go into hyperspace”, etc. I politely told him he could have saved a lot of money just by learning how to make DMT from Joe Rogan, and done that at his house. Before coming, we had to fill out a questionnaire regarding our motives for coming, so it just makes me wonder if Don Lucho is down to let people in just to pay the bills on occasion.
– Borderline starvation during your time there. I literally lost ~12 lbs over the course of my stay. I had almost no energy during the day, and much of my time was spent sleeping in my tambo hut. And heaven help you if you’re a vegetarian.. the only substantial thing we had to eat was a small chicken wing and drumstick per person per day. Did this contribute to the extreme spirituality and ascetic aspect of the retreat? For sure. But I definitely wouldn’t look forward to it if I go back.
– I personally didn’t connect with Don Lucho. I felt like he has a lot of shit going on inside and outside the retreat, including community projects and such, and he seemed sort of bored at times when we’d have our morning “debrief” sessions in the Maloca and people would be describing some “far out, man” things they saw during the ceremony. I get that we could probably sit there all day and talk about just one person’s experiences, and that wouldn’t be fair to everyone else – and that Aya is a very personal experience, but I feel like he didn’t offer a lot of feedback, and what he did tell me didn’t really resonate with me as much as my interactions with his assistants and the Psychic.
– If you are awake during the day, prepare to be bored unless you: connect with people in your group and can schmooze all day, want to meditate and reflect on the stuff you experienced, come up with games like “find the cats” (hint: there are 2 that I saw on the compound) or “chase the chicken”.. because you’re basically stuck in the compound for the duration of the retreat.
All in all, it was a milestone experience and I think the “rawness” of it worked for me. I saw a lot, learned a lot, and felt a lot. I’m planning to check out a different retreat soon just for contrast, but I certainly wouldn’t say I *would never* go back to Kapitari – I would just say I want to see if I can find a place where the shaman(s) are a little more dialed-in to the guests, and where hopefully I can be at the kind of place that mainly attracts people who are looking for healing and knowledge, not “seeing them aliens”, or because they heard about it in a Vice video.
Recommendations if you choose Kaptari:
– Try and get on a diet (as close to the dieta as possible) beforehand, so your body doesn’t have to go into keto hyperdrive mode. The less salt and THC you have in your system will also make your experience(s) better.
– Bring a journal, and write down your experiences as soon after the ceremonies as you can. You *will* forget even profound stuff you experienced, so your future self will thank you for making the most of your $700+ and experience by preserving it so you can reflect on it later.
– Consider bringing some playing cards, a musical instrument, a frisbee, or some other means of entertaining yourself during the day.
– If you found this review helpful, please pay it forward by bringing some cat treats for the super haggard shorthair white cat that roams the compound.
Don Lucho and the staff here are the real deal in terms of 1) TRUST. TRUST. TRUST. This man and his staff are so honest, genuince, consistent, trustworthy – all of us can learn something from how honest and sincere and genuinely altruistic these people are, 2) they care deeply about people, Earth, healing, health, 3) they know their ayahuasca so well (the medicine recipe itself but also the prep and recovery etc). after my 2nd or 3rd ceremony – I was laughing a bit inside thinking to myself that this staff are absolute masters as it relates to this medicine and the experience.
Last thing – the icaros! As someone who considers himself as having good taste in music (jazz, reggae, classic rock, etc) I was absolulety blown away by Don Lucho and Wagner’s icaros. I truly think these guys are masters at their art. I am absolutely coming back as soon as I get a chance. Such a special, warm, welcoming place!
Food = 10 out of 10
Location = 10 out of 10
Lodging = 10 out of 10 (you get your own small, private bunglaow, it’s super rustic but super clean. The staff will take care of anything you need / laundry / changing out sheets or whateve – they have solid bed nets and the jungle provides a welcome background soundtrack 24/7.
Ceremonies = 10 out of 10
Save your hard earned money, time, and nerves by reading this post.
This retreat is one of those you read about on the internet that is not about healin people but simply making money.
On the first meeting with the “shaman” you could say that something was out of sync, always looking at his watch like he just wanted to finish this as soon as possible and go with his bussines, and people calling him on his BIG smartphone.
He hosted the shipibo tribe TWICE during our one week retreat just to sell as much stuff as he could, which by the way are too f**king expensive for people that live in the jungle. I rembember a guy buying 2 paintings for over 600£!!! Not to mention his relatives in the Iquitos that won’t let you in peace if you don’t buy a necklance or bracelet..so it is all just one big bussines.
One day he offered us the OPTIONAL jungle tour. I was shocked because I thought that everything was included in price we payed in the beginning. Rip off!!!
Now about the ceremonies.
First night I was scared to death, drank 2 cups and nothing. Just noisia and vomiting. Next morning he said that the medicine was building up and our bodies were beeing “scanned’ for tomorrow. Ok I bought that.
Second ceremony 2 cups at once and NOTHING!!! Later on that night i drank one more..still nothing just vomiting, crazy noisia, and a lot of dissapointment..to the point I cried my soul out because I was thinking that even mother aya wouldn’t help me..worst feeling ever..so weak, so hopeless, not only me there was other people that felt the same way..imagine..you go there to get better and come home even worse!!
Next morning at the circle meeting in maloka, people started to realize that the medicine is not working and he would just repeat that we need to accept everything and expect nothing..LOL..isn’t that perfect way of manipulating? Why the f**k did we travel thousands of miles, followed the strict diet and in the end pay him that money?? To accept everything and expect nothing??
Third ceremony, I was already hungry from the night before but I wanted to really test this last time. I did a fast on couple of slices of watermellon. Drank 3 cups at once. I was sure that I would die. Never felt sick like that night ever in my life. Trying to vomit on empty stomach and just rolling on the floor in pain. I was then 1000% sure that Don Lucho was just a jungle bussinesman.
He forbided us to see how ayahuasca was beeing cooked..big red flag…
If you want to drink ayahuasca NEVER try to go cheap way, give 5 times more money if necessary to have a good experience rather than just suffer more.
Always read the negative comments first, and don’t ever give respect to someone that didn’t deserve it.
Participating in the ayahuasca retreat at Estacion Kapitari is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Don Lucho is extraordinary; he has such a solid spirit, impenetrable to negative energy but instead with so much love to share. As a female solo traveler, I always felt safe at Kapitari, and it was clear how well they were taking care of each of us. Don Lucho listened to us individually during the group circles, in which we shared and processed our experiences from the ayahuasca ceremonies the night before, and he provided the feedback that each of us needed to hear. The ceremonies themselves were simultaneously so peaceful and so powerful, and the Icaros came alive in a way that was breathtaking to behold. I left Kapitari feeling that each ceremony cleansed and renewed me, that I have a fresh sense of wonderment for this gift of life. On top of the ayahuasca ceremonies (for which, I should add, the ayahuasca was prepared fresh at Kapitari), the compound itself was beautiful, the food so fresh and delicious, the various baths revitalizing, and the staff so kind and openhearted. Don Lucho continues his research of plant medicine to this day, so you can rest assured that the money paid for the retreat is being reinvested in the local community, the preservation of mother nature, and the healing of this world. I definitely plan to return. The ayahuasca retreat at Estacion Kapitari is a beautiful, authentic experience, one that I would recommend to anyone. Thank you, Don Lucho; thank you, Kapitari, and gracias, Pachamama.
You’d have to currently be on about five litres of Ayahuasca in order to imagine a better place to spend time. The setting is simply breath taking, I was overwhelmed with the beauty and connection I felt to the rainforest, total immersion with nature. Don Locho is one of the best human beings I’ve ever been in the presence of, and every single member of staff made me feel more welcome than anywhere I think I’ve been in my life. The level of personal attention was second to none, there’s an onsite doctor as well as laundry service etc. I really cant do this place justice unless I’m allowed to write a 10,000 page essay. GO there and heal.
Nuestra experiencia en la Estacion Kapitari fue sencillamamnte indescriptible. Todos los detalles fueron bien cuidados. es un lugar con buena energia . Encontramas mas de lo que fuimos a buscar. Realmente es un lugar en donde vas a buscar tu sanacion interior. Volveria mil veces
I simply CANNOT say enough words to endorse Kapitari. This was my first experience with Ayahuasca, Peru, a shaman and a Retreat Center. I carefully selected the Center based upon the heart-centered intuitive “pull” I felt towards the center and Don Lucho. I made the absolute best decision EVER! Everyone on the grounds were unbelievably professional and equally kind. From the gorgeous group of human beings who came from around the world to attend, to the kitchen staff, to the beautiful young and older men alike, who work tirelessly around the clock to maintain the property, to our amazing facilitator, Jim Sax, and the sweetest nurse who walks the planet (Franko), to the Shaman, Don Lucho himself…and his son. Tears and tears of gratitude for such a Healing experience. My life will NEVER be the same. The ceremonies are conducted with integrity and deep honor for Mother Ayahuasca. Great care in the prep is taken…from the dieta to the plant medicines to educating those in attendance of the importance of sustainability and respect for the Amazon. I mean honestly, this review PALES in comparison to my experience. I am one week back in the states and I long for the jungle again. This was a deeply transformative experience and I WILL BE BACK WITHIN THE YEAR FOR ABSOLUE CERTAIN!!!!!
With Love & Heartfelt Gratitude,
El lugar es hermoso y Don lucho y la gente que trabaja con el son muy profesionales. Te cuidan en todo momento y hacen las ceremonias con gran esmero. Fueron unos dias de mucha sanacion. Tambien te dan otras medicionas y hierbas naturales para ayudarte a desintoxicar y profundizar mas en la experiencia. Los recomiendo ampliamente
The place is beautiful and Don Lucho and the people who work with him are very professional. They take care of you at all times and do the ceremonies with great care. It was a few days of a lot of healing. They also give you other medicines and natural herbs to help you detoxify and deepen more in the experience. I highly recommend them
“I went to the Kapitari Ayahuasca retreat on October 18. I have struggled with addiction and depression for the past 15 years, since losing my dad at a young age. Upon my arrival I was blown away by the beautiful lake, nature and wildlife that surrounded me. I felt at peace in the ceremonies. They were very sacred. Don Lucho, the Shaman, has a wonderful presence and has committed his life to helping people. I felt accepted and cared for. I enjoyed the food and hospitality. I will treasure my time there forever. I felt connected with myself again. The medicine has helped me through a dark stage of self-destruction. After the ceremonies I felt tremendous gratitude and love for myself that I’d been suppressing. I would recommend Don Lucho to anyone who feels drawn to this experience. They have an amazing team, including medic, translator and cooks. Jim translated everything perfectly. I had no trouble understanding. If anything I need to speak better. My accent is atrocious! All our experiences were different and we discussed them together each morning at the group circle meetings, presided over by Don Lucho and the facilitator. When I arrived I had a previous knee injury and my ankles had swollen from flying. The medic fixed me up in no time with natural plant remedies. My knee was better and I know this would have taken ages to heal normally! The people who come to this retreat are from all walks of life trying to better themselves. I seriously didn’t want to come home! After the last ceremony I had a realisation that I needed to put into practice what I have learned in my normal life, so by the last day I was ready. I was most apprehensive about the purging but it actually felt good to be cleansed. I now appreciate my life and everyone in it, good and bad.. everything happens for a reason. This is an awakening! A place of healing, great care and support is provided. The medicine works and healing happens here! I have ongoing support from them whenever I need it. I am truly blessed to have met such a wonderful group of inspiring people and cannot wait to to return to this place of paradise!”
Heaven on earth. Lovely people, sun, trees, lakes, good food and lots of add ons to keep you having fun.
The ayahuasca ceremonies were carried out safely and I genuily felt they were effective.
Don Lucho and his team are passionate and supportive.
I just finished my week long retreat at Kapitari and was certainly a life altering experience for me. I had suffered severe depression for over 30 years and tried anti depressant drugs and counseling. These never worked to the degree that I had hoped and felt like my issues were deeper. I first heard about Ayahuasca in 2017 and after having another serious bout of deep depression I looked into it further. Kapitari was the first Ayahuasca retreat centre that I came across. Right away it resonated with me because of Don Lucho’s commitment to bettering the community he lives in. Everything at Kapitari was wonderful, from the food, to the people and the centre itself. Ayahuasca and Don Lucho gave me the gift of gratitude that I couldn’t see before. It was like a reset button had been pushed and I was able to start my life over again. I would also like to point out, that since 2015 there has been some changes at Kapitari. One is the fact there is now a nurse on site for the retreat. Number two is the fact they no longer use tobacco to purge with and use something called Pinion Colarado. Lastly the Kapitari retreats are 100% under the control of Don Lucho and his family. I strongly suggest if you want to do a Ayahuasca retreat that you adhere to the stringent diet and guidelines set forth by the Kapitari staff. All of this is not only for a greater Ayahuasca experience but for your safety as well. if you choose Kapitari, you won’t be disappointed!
I went to Kapitari in November 2017. It was one of the best weeks of my life. I was very scared to go there as I am not a drinker or drug taker, but I accompanied a friend who suffers from PTSD, and having exhausted all options in America, was seeking treatment there. I am so incredibly happy I went to the retreat. It has changed my life, in all positive ways. The center felt like a place of acceptance, love and hope. I met the most incredible people from all over the world whom I have kept in touch with. I never saw anybody with a positive attitude and an open heart have a bad experience. I felt Don Lucho was very intelligent and experienced, and felt that he cared about each of our wellbeing. He truly helped my friend. With that said, the retreat is far from medical help. They aren’t Western medical doctors. I feel that there is a certain amount of danger in any sort of trip thousands
of miles away from home but the fact that hope is offered to people with severe PTSD and crippling drug addiction may be worth that risk.
I myself plan on returning again this November.
Don Lucho has changed my life. I was there in 2015 for the first time. I prepared and followed the strict “dieta” for a month before and a month after. Ayahuasca, as a plant teacher has to be treated with respect. I highly suggest everyone to honor the dieta. Those people who don’t honor it, do soul searching work before and set an intention might not have a pleasant experience or might not be prepared for what Ayahuasca will tell them. Do Lucho has assisted with my tobacco purge- I have never felt more alive, energized and cleansed than after my tobacco purge. His family is wonderful and loving, the food exceptional. I returned in 2016 for another week of learning from the plant under Don Lucho’s guidance.I have done another tobacco purge, gained some more wisdom and released years of faulty conditioning. I love Don Lucho, his kindness and his ability to see into ones soul. His Ikaros is by far to most beautiful thing I have ever heard. I can’t wait to return.
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Please be aware that there are people out there who , for whatever reason, sometimes just don’t care enough about your wellbeing and if push comes to shove you may not actually come out alive. My boy went there with all the best intentions, backed by Kapitari’s stated attention to caring for paying guests , sadly in our case this was NOT the case.
Watch the attached youtube clip , watch and listen carefully to what the shaman has to say halfway thru if youre too busy to watch the whole thing and THEN become informed and make your own call.
Be safe and be warned coz you don’t get a second chance , from a sad Dad.
Admin Note: Stuart later added “Most importantly we are NOT anti Aya at all, just anti people not giving a shit…”
I’ll start with the good. Kapitari is absolutely gorgeous – the grounds are beautiful, with several ponds and pretty secluded tambos. It was great to be able to have so much time to sit and think about things, while being so deep in nature.
The food was very good too. I’ve been to other retreat centers, and the food at Kapitari is much much better than the others that I’ve been to. Don Lucho has a permaculture project going where he grows all sorts of fruits and vegetables, so there was a nice variety of food.
Now to the bad – the medicine there is very weak – like almost zero chacruna. I understand that they emphasize healing over visuals, and I get that – I wasn’t going just to trip out, but I did want to feel something. Most nights, I was just sitting on the mat, feeling absolutely nothing. Most of the people in our group felt the same way and were very disappointed to have saved all of the money and traveled so far to not really experience Ayahuasca. I had requested more when I went up to drink, but Don Lucho would not let us have more than a “grande” shot. I would take the second shot when it was offered which is really hard to do because of how sick the first drink made me, but even with the first “grande” and second shot – nothing. I’m fairly experienced with Aya (20 times) so I don’t think that I was expecting anything unrealistic – their brew there is just really weak.
Long overdue gratitude- Don Lucho and his wonderful family are some of the most esoterically intelligent, genuine and kind people you will ever have the pleasure of connecting with. This experience changed my life in more ways than I can ever be aware of.
Kapitari is a friendly, humble, supportive and family run rustic environment. I had expected staying in the depths of the jungle in basic lodgings would add to the challenge of working with the medicine, but it actually positively contributed to it – perfect for connecting with nature and immersing yourself in the experience.
The land is beautifully and cleverly landscaped by Don Lucho who is very passionate about sustainability and made the most of the lands natural resources. There are currently around 15 basic wooden huts for guests scattered around the beautiful man-made lakes that the Kapitari team built to support the surrounding wildlife. It is a calming and natural environment with caring staff including a permanent on-site nurse to take daily check-ups to ensure guests’ well-being. The Kapitari team also planned our activities, cooked delicious meals and maintained a safe environment. It is a truly magical place where you can remove yourself from the stress of the western world and reconnect with nature to fully immerse yourself in spiritual transformation.
It was great to experience an ayahuasca center run directly by an indigenous Peruvian who is also passionate about organic farming and medicinal plants beyond ayahuasca. The ayahuasca brew at the center is very good, as are the freshly extracted other medicinal juices provided at the center.
However, this is probably not the best place for people with asthma/bronchial conditions. Not only do the two shamans and two facilitators constantly smoke mapacho (jungle tobacco 12 times stronger than regular cigarettes) throughout the ceremonies, they encourage participants to smoke as well, and leave a bag of mapacho and lighters inside the ceremonial hut. I found it hard to breathe at times, and came down with a terrible cough from all the smoke exposure.
Also, vomiting is highly encouraged at this center, and other forms of purging (crying, yawning, burping, etc.) are not given discussion or importance, though oftentimes its crying that is most healing for people, especially men.
Not only did the Ayahuasca sessions provide a great chance to learn and evolve, the people was a very important part of it, from Don Lucho and his family (most people working in Kapitari are related); to Andy and Carolina, the always supportive and loving facilitators; to the other guests. I’m sure that my experience wouldn’t have been so good with out them.
I also found that the “discomfort” of life away from the city helped me concentrate my attention on the healing process. I found the food delicious and plentiful and even though I’d have loved to have a thicker mattress, it wasn’t really a big concern.
I can honestly say that I would love to go back to Kapitari soon.
Underwhelming! the website promised a lot but very little of the $ you spend are invested into making your experience comfortable (I have never seen such a thin mattresses as the ones in the malocka) Also didn’t learn much about how money is invested in local community – the sustainable agriculture tour was about 2 sentences long. Many people on the retreat felt incredibly underfed and weak as a result. Understand dieta restrictions but the quantity of available food was ridiculous (considering you are very weakened by vomiting etc). If you needed a second helping you got scowled at. There wasn’t a strong ethic about conservation – a beautiful non poisonous snake was trapped, badly handled & bleeding and taken to a ‘farm’- we couldn’t work out why it couldn’t just stay in the forest. We were told the medicine was more of a body healing medicine than a visionary one – certainly we have had much strong medicine back at home and had very few insights on the retreat. one night the brew was so toxic and heavy that many people couldn’t move and everyone was incredibly sick- never had weird medicine like that before! Finally i think the thing that was most disappointing was there was absolutely no invitation for feedback at all- no questionnaire no follow up etc. This place seems like a cash cow for someone and really needs a spruce up.
There are no words for how amazing my experience at Kapitari was!
Don Lucho and Wagner are fantastic Shamans who are so connected with nature and everything around them!
Andy and Carolina are also some of the nicest people you’ll meet.
There is plenty to do while staying at Kapitari, you’d be silly to go anywhere else!
Cannot wait to go back.
Kapitari is a great place to experience and enjoy Ayahuasca in a authentic and safe environment. The shaman Don Lucho is powerful and trustworthy. During the week there were very good extra activities together with enough free time to integrate the experience and enjoy the great surroundings. I would like to thank Andy and all other staff for an unforgettable time, it was perfect in every way.
Pretty rough but wonderful life-changing experience, in a perfect place to rediscover yourself.
The staff is very nice, making you feel at peace with yourself being outside of your comfort zone.
I think this type of authentic retreat is best suited for the medicine you are going to work with.
No one leaves unimpressed.
Keep the diet as much as possible in advance and you will be fine.
I have just completed a week long retreat at Kapitari and I can honestly say it has to be the best thing I have ever done. My life had become stagnant, filled with frustration, anger, depression and fear. I found myself unhappy, isolated and without any enthusiasm. Kapitari was a last ditch effort to try and invigorate what at one time was a lively, caring, loving and excited spirit within which I felt had succumbed to all of the hardships of modern living and traumas of past experience.
For the first time in 7/8 years I feel completely relaxed and re energised! My passion for life and new experience have returned and now I am positive and excited about my future!
I really cannot say enough good things about Kapitari.
-The surroundings are breathtakingly beautiful!
-The accommodation is so authentic and suprisingly comfortable, private yet connected! (absolutely loved the hamoc in my tambo!)
-The food was outstandingly good, varied, nutritious and about as organic as you can get!
-The local people and staff were all very helpful and constantly smiling!
-Don Lucho and his son Wagner (Shamans/Curanderos) were really engaging, caring and wise souls.
-The other paticipants who I met at Kapitari were such lovely and geuine people who really helped me to reconnect with people and I think we all have made friends for life!
-I think most notably the facilitators Andy and Debs surpassed all of my expectations for guidance, warmth, support and love and I will be forever greatfull to them.
I would say to anyone considering taking part in an ayahuasca retreat that Kapitari is a wonderful almost magical place where you will feel safe, loved and at peace. It truly is an amazing gem in a troubled world where you can gather thoughts and listen to your inner guide uninterrupted. It has changed my life and I believe it can change the world.
I wish you all the best in your quest for life and love, from a crazy 31 year old Irish man, ha ha, Peace!
Enjoyed my stay at Kapitari. Was surrounded by very caring people. Made some new friends. Always felt safe. Definitly worth it, so glad that I picked Kapitari for my first time experience with Ayahuasca. Really connected with Don Lucho and learned a lot from the whole experience. Kapitari is definitly a place to visit at any point, and they are very accomodating and welcoming.
This retreat absolutely changed my life. i put everything mind, body and soul and got everything I was looking for in return. Andy has a great program of cleansing the body and soul, they’ve put a lot into making it a perfect balance. Don Lucho is an amazing Shaman who truly cares about giving back to the environment. I can’t say enough about my experience there I will be going back next year….
I will never forget my time at Kapitari. As affordable as it is, I never once felt like I was in danger. I always felt like I was taken care of even if the worst situation were to arise. And sometimes the only thing you need to hear is that you’ll be completely safe at Kapitari.
I needed to be taken out of my element and gain a new perspective on everything in my life. Mission accomplished.
If your looking for a rustic authentic experience with ayahuasca then this is your retreat, I’ve just been there for one week and I can honestly say it was perfect in every way possible from the facilitators, the shaman and the staff. It’s a very friendly and safe environment and don and his family where extremely welcoming. There’s no glam here so if that’s your bag then go elsewhere as you’ll be washing in a pond although they where installing a shower system whilst we where there.i had the privilege of the company of some of the nicest people I have ever met whilst on the retreat it was brilliant and couldn’t have asked for anything more 5* from me
GazNorris 2/2/15 – 8/2/15 x :-))
The people, the jungle, the place, the shaman – it’s all a very sacred place and when mother ayahuasca calls me again, I’ll definitely come back to kapitari. I can recommend that place to everybody!
The ayahuasca retreat at kapitari was a really great, genuine experience. Don Lucho and the people at kapitari are very friendly and we had a nice group to share and discuss our insights.
I can recommend kapitari to everyone who seeks help from the ayahuasca spirit or wants to explore conciousness.
Amazing experience. It gave me everything I wanted from an authentic retreat and more than I could have expected. This is an extremely affordable retreat with great hosts, beautiful atmosphere, good food, and two amazing shamans (Don Lucho and his son). These are authentically happy people that give off wonderful vibes. The people I met in the retreat really helped change who I am and how I think. The ceremonies opened up a new sense of happiness that I didn’t know was inside me.
I spent over 4 months searching forums, review sites, youtube videos, and asking anyone I could about picking the right retreat. I’m so happy I chose Kapitari. I look forward to returning. A fun fact and warning: two people attending with my group were actually booked at other retreats not associated with Kapitari that never picked them up from the airport!!! Luckily, they were able to join last minute in the Kapitari retreat, but be warned there are some real disorganized/shady retreats that could leave you ditched.
Side notes that may help some people: there are a lot of cool animals around the retreat including birds, turtles, monkeys, chickens, ducks, dogs, and cats. There were A LOT less bugs than I expected (I went in August) – I only got bit up by really small bugs (mostly ants) around the ankles one day walking. There were no showers available, so you have to keep it real with the available pond – I had no problem with it, but I suppose some might dislike it. Jeremiah and Debs accommodated and guided our stay and translated when necessary to the retreat staff. I haven’t had any other guides, but try to book your time with one or both of these people if you can.
I can’t wait to go back and hope they don’t change a thing, because the whole experience was magic. Thanks to Andy for spreading the good word!
My experience with Kapitari, I feel, couldn’t have been more perfect. I chose the retreat initially because of the transparency of their website in regards to where the money went and what other testimonials I had read on other forums about their retreat. I received everything and more from what I expected to get out of the whole experience. The location itself and amenities were 100% authentic and yet surprisingly luxurious and comfortable. The facilitators who helped run the week were amazing and played a pivotal part in everyone’s self development throughout the whole time and I couldn’t thank them enough. They held consultations/debriefs the next day after each ceremony which were just as important as the ceremonies themselves. Our shaman, Don Lucho, his son and whole family were so accommodating and took great care of us the whole week, let alone during the actual ceremonies. The ceremonies themselves were incredible. Personally I couldn’t have felt more prepared and ready to dive into the retreat head first and it’s all thanks to everyone involved with Kapitari. In regards to the aya itself, all I can say is that you just have to make the step and do it. Don’t take anyone’s experience for your own, the fact that your reading this, I feel it means your ready to experience it for yourself. Peace and love ?
For several years I felt lead to travel to the rainforest and experience ayahuasca. When I was prompted to go I attempted to register with another group several times but it wouldn’t go through. I finally realized that I needed to recast my net wider. After doing Google searches and feeling not lead to attend several other retreats I discovered Kapitari. When I arrived as a westerner I was pleased that the experience felt very authentic, while at the same time having access to facilitators who could bridge the gap between western world and rainforest shaman experience. The facilities are very rustic, family style meals, your own personal wooden hut with mosquito netting for personal reflection. It has been a year since my time there and my thoughts travel back to that land and my journeys often.
One of the things that I appreciate about Kapitari in relation to other ayahuasca retreats is that Don Lucho directs much of the financial proceeds into local permaculture efforts to grow organically sustainable foods.
I have visited Kapitari twice. Short Version: This is a very good place and I have lots of respect for the Shaman “Don Lucho”. To the inquirer: 1) You will be safe. 2) You will not be ripped off. 3) You will be respected and cared for. There you go!
Kapitari is a rustic location staffed by truly kind and knowledgeable people who are dedicated to healing. I will definitely be returning, and would recommend it as a great place for anyone feeling called to experience ayahuasca. Also, because I know I was hungry to hear accounts of peoples ayahuasca experiences when I was researching it, I include below an account of my most significant ceremony:
I was completely sick of my job, suffered an entirely unexpected break up, and was for the first time in my life realizing how extremely fucked up my childhood and family were, and how much it impacted my life now. I was in an absolute shit place, and so I traveled to Peru for ayahuasca, desperate for healing.
I had 4 ceremonies in total, but the 2nd ceremony was the big one. I doubled my ayahuasca dose to 1.5, and I didn’t fuck around with my intention either. I asked ayahuasca to heal the trauma of my childhood. No bigs. I knew from the previous nights session that the peak was intense, and at double the dose I felt it come on stronger and quicker. At the same time, the amazon jungle decided to go apeshit. The noise of the insects, always present, ramped up, cycling quicker and quicker to match the intensifying rainfall. The high pitched keen of the insects, combined with the now torrential rain, thunder, and lightning, was completely overwhelming. I felt like I was suddenly privy to the alien communications of nature, like I had developed new senses that could take in this other world. It was too much, and I understood why humans were meant to be deaf to this cacophony. At the same time the ayahuasca continued to ramp up within me, and in my mind every thought I’d had, could have, and am yet to have screamed through my consciousness, a fucking typhoon of ideas and awareness, cycling faster and faster, linked to the chaos outside in a vicious feedback loop. The terror was beyond comprehension. It felt like my body was emptied out except for my heart, and around it was packed ice through which a sharp wind blew. Each and every second of this was an agonizing eternity, and I thought of how I would be peaking, like this, for hours to come. I was freaking the fuck out, on the razors edge of completely losing it. I wanted to call out to the facilitators for help, but even in the midst of my terror, the fear of embarrassment stopped me, along with the knowledge that I had come to this place of my own free will, and despite my fear, it was where I needed to be. Plus what could they do, really? The ride had started, and there was no getting off. I begged the ayahuasca to be gentle, telling her I was only human. Even in the midst of this I had faith that she understood my limits, but I needed her to know I was terrified.
I was hanging on by a thread, on the edge of my sanity, when something bumped me. I put my hand out and felt it, it was real, and I realized it was the sweet old dog that lived at the centre. She had snuck into the maloca for shelter from the storm, and was bumping her nose into me, asking if she could join me. Holy shit thank you mother ayahuasca. I pet her and let her know that fuck yes she could join me, which she did, curling up at my side. I let my right hand lay lightly on her, and thanked ayahuasca approximately 1 billion times for sending me this comfort, this protection, this touchstone to reality. Dear god I love that dog still, and will always be grateful to her.
Around the same time, the pounding, hammering rain found its way through the roof and a steady drip pinged on my knee. Something about this drip was as soothing as the dogs presence, and while I was still afraid and disoriented, these two things brought me desperately needed comfort. It was at this point that I had a realization, that all this chaos, fear, and madness of the storm outside, as well as the storm of racing thoughts and terror in my mind, WAS my childhood trauma. The ayahuasca was in my mind, working to repair the damage caused by all the anger, fear, and unhappiness.
At this same time I was continuing to peak (fucking 1.5 dose). The pinnacle of this was the pinnacle of my terror, confusion, and disorientation. I can only recount how my mind interpreted things, the images and the sense of things I had: I had a vision/sense that I was in something akin to a hangar bay, surrounded by “support personnel” (entities), and I heard words that chilled me: “You are a pilot. Your vessel was damaged.” But these words weren’t meant for “me” per se. Rather, they were directed at the “pilot” within me, who had become so integrated and immersed in the “me” we formed, it had forgotten that it existed as a distinct entity. It/me were terrified to be separated, and terrified its “vessel”, which I take to be my body, had been damaged, because that’s it’s life support system in this existence. This sounds fucking nuts, and kinda cool, as I write it, but I can only tell the experience as I experienced it. I was also given to understand that my pilot, which others might consider the soul, essence, etc, had volunteered for this “mission”, this life and existence as a human, and that all other humans were volunteer pilots as well, here to carry out some important and unknowable duty. We are all of us brave pilots. The damage to my vessel was caused by my childhood trauma, and it was in this “hangar bay” that it would be repaired.
At the heart of my trauma was all the pain and hurt I’d suffered. My father enraged, hissing “bastard, son of a bitch” at me through clenched teeth, face red, eyes bulging. My brother, taking all his frustration out on me, assaulting and terrorizing me. My mom, standing by in confusion and fear, letting it all happen. I had already recognized that they hurt me, and each other, and themselves, because THEY had all suffered trauma in their own lives. I knew this because I had hurt people I’d loved as well, because there were times I was made crazy with anger, fear, and shame myself. But the ayahuasca let me literally FEEL this pain in my family, to know it; it showed me that it was the great pain they were in that made them hurt others and themselves when they were overwhelmed by it.
As the night went on and I started coming down the other side of the peak, the ceremony ended, and I found the strength to do the wobbly “ayahuasca shuffle” back to my hut. I grabbed my fleecy blanket and pillow, and collapsed with a sigh of relief into my hammock, gently swaying back and forth while I waited for the sun to come up. I thought about what the ayahuasca had shown me about my family, and I thought about what I wanted to say to them in light of my new awareness of their pain. I said aloud “I forgive you”. Up until then I hadn’t realized that I had, and I cried with the relief and the surprise of it.
I attended Kapitari in June of this year; after doing research prior to the journey to Peru I decided to attend this retreat. Upon arriving into Iquitos it’s hard not to hear the word ayahuasca floating in the air everywhere you go. After talking to fellow medicine seekers I heard positive first hand accounts about Kapitari’s retreats and how magnificent and healing Don Lucho is. As a solo female traveller I had trepidation in choosing the right retreat but feel like Kapitari was the best choice. Monika and Jeremiah were our facilitators and I couldn’t have asked for more supportive, informative and encouraging individuals. I loved the location, immersed in the jungle with the sites and sounds brings you right to the source of it all. I felt comfortable and safe the entire time I was there and have no hesitation in recommending this retreat for all seekers of mother ayahuasca. My life has been changed and I will attend this retreat again when the time is right. Many many thanks Kapitari!
The very experienced Ayahuascero Don Lucho, assisted by his caring family and the very knowledgeable head facilitator Andy, make Kapitari one of the best places to heal. The ayahusaca experience was a good chance to open wide the door to a greater experience of connection with Life and its unending beautiful creative force – less fear (which was something I’ve always dealt with) has definitely marked my return. I was graced with direct experience of unlimited kindness of the gift of life – and it has definitely been easier to connect and stay grounded in that awareness as ‘normal’ life washes over me again. Don’t get me wrong, fear and doubt are still here. But now there also shines the clear memory of having been directly shown a deeper, stronger truth. I touch that memory like a talisman to remind me that when all is said and done, “There is nothing to fear” (Ayahuasca’s words not mine)
Having spent much time researching my ayahuasca journey, I am delighted that I chose Kapitari as the retreat centre during my time in Peru.
The location is breath taking and is the perfect place for connecting with nature. There are a range of animals living on the grounds to keep you entertained, from parrots and macaws to cats and dogs.
The shaman, Don Lucho, is a true inspiration with all the projects he is working on (which you can see first hand with a tour of his farm). He and his son are fantastic in the ceremonies and have a real presence and power to assist your ayahuasca journeys. Their Icaros are beautiful.
The facilitators for the week, Andy and Gart, did a great job in organising a week full of activities and also provided patience and care for the group as we all went through our own deeply personal experiences with the medicine. If your intention is in the right place you will most likely find yourself with a group of like minded people which is alone, very powerful.
Readers should be in no doubt that Kapitari is a place of the highest integrity. I hope I will return one day.
I love Kapitari and hope to go back soon. I did a lot of research before choosing Kapitari and also went by gut feeling that it would be the best choice for me. It was my second retreat in Peru so I knew a little what to expect, but Kapitari was so much better than the first time. It is a beautiful place, the lake is perfect for swimming, and personally I am not interested in yoga or art therapy that is done at some other places. Don Lucho and staff take perfect care of you when needed and otherwise you are in your own healing discovery experience, or sharing time with awesome like-minded people. My personal healing was incredible after I experienced higher love with the Madre. I can’t recommend Kapitari highly enough for anyone drawn to ayahuasca. And it is so cool meeting the Bora and Shipibo people. Just go.
When you are called to Ayahuasca it is so important to choose the right setting in which to truly experience this other Worldly spiritual adventure. I couldn’t imagine doing this anywhere other than Kapitari. Unlike most other white linen and white smile retreats, Kapitari is a place for real people, run by real people and in the most idyllic setting, all for a very fair and affordable price. What also sets it aside from most other retreats is the fact that the money also goes into helping a permaculture project in the Amazon which in turn helps the local villages. It is a true haven away from the ratrace. The facilitators there were so warm and welcoming, making you feel truly at home and comfortable enough to share you deepest darkest secrets with them and the group of wonderful strangers whom you feel like you have known your whole lives. People are drawn to that place for a reason and every person there contributes to the magical energy, you feel so proud of each individual you meet there for partaking in such a huge and often difficult journey. Out of a group of 13 there was not one person leaving feeling disappointed at the end of the week, everyone had a life changing experience they will never forget. My own was more intense than I could have ever imagined. It began with ticking off a check list of
my lifes issues and playing it all out like a film in front of me, offering puzzles for me to solve and patting me on the back once I had done in true mocking style. The vine has a sense of humour. It can also completely wipe the floor with you and show you your worst nightmares. You have to go with it and know that all of this is for a reason, if your a control freak think again – you have to be prepared to let go of any control or ego in order to go further with it. I ended up having a ‘break through’ and going to another dimension on the last session. No words can really describe what I experienced other than true Equilibrium. I saw where we go when we die and its an incredible place. I got operated on by entities and mechanical fish creatures. I wasn’t the only one in the group who went there, we both saw the same visions. Others in the group had some of the most incredible journeys imagineable but there are not my stories to tell. I would highly recommend this place for anyone who is even slightly tempted to try Ayahuasca for the first time. Do it in a place as well run as Kapitari with a a proper shaman like Don Lucho. Thank you Kapitari for elevating me onto a higher plane of consciousness and in turn improving my life on every level.
Kapitari is a wonderful retreat center. The facilitators are genuine, the location is beautiful, and the staff truly make you feel like family. Most importantly Don Lucho and his son Wagner, the shamans, where amazing! So in touch with the medicine and great at guiding you through the ayahuasca experience. I am forever grateful for my life changing time spent at Kapitari and can’t recommend this center enough, especially for first time aya drinkers. I really love Lucho’s dedication to saving the amazon through sustainable agriculture, and felt so good to contribute to his cause.
Don Lucho and his family are all amazing and make you feel completely safe during ceremonies. The facilitators make everyone feel comfortable and answer any questions, they just feel like they are part of the group.
Kapitari itself is beautiful with animals running around everywhere, a lake to swim in, jungle surrounding, good food. Etc. Accomodation is basic but it is all you need, it helps you get closer to nature.
I recommend kapitari to anyone! I know I will be returning one day!
The spirit of the ayahuasca is a formidable one – she is a powerful teacher and poses a spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical challenge. I couldn’t imagine reliving the experience at any other place than Kapitari. The setting is perfect in its simplicity, friendly staff, and intimate relationship with its jungle environment. Andy was a wonderful guide and my group were some of the most intelligent, well-rounded individuals I’ve ever met. I highly recommend this experience.
Simply life changing. Kapitari is a place that is so imprinted in my heart that i actually feel a homesick sensation when I think of the place.
When I set out to do ayahuasca i wanted to work on my fear of loss, I always had this fear I wasnt good enough. I was infact blessed with so much more than that. Don lucho is an amazing shaman who held the space so well and he absolutely beams light and love. When I received one of his cuddles I felt as though I was in the presence of a real enlightened being. I never wanted to let go of the cuddle, and even now I find myself with a tear in my eye of happiness when I think of him.
My whole life has changed, i feel so much empathy and love for people I dont even know and all this is possible because of kapitari. I feel open and alive in a way that i couldnt comprehend before. My life is really blessed 🙂
The ‘helpers’ at the centre Nick and Franzesca are 2 of the nicest people I have ever met and they became really close friends. The idea of not seeing the two of them again actually makes me hurt, they had that much of an impact. Along with the life long friends I made at the retreat I miss them all more than I cant describe in a review. Every single one of the 18 people in our group came so far and I am so proud to have them as friends who I will always know and love.
In short, Kapitari is mind blowing, the energy strong and positive, the people genuine kind and loving, and the setting safe, comfortable and ALIVE!
I will most definitely be going back, my life will always be blessed because of Don Lucho and the spirit of Ayahuasca and I feel like i am now on the road to internal peace and happiness. Much love 🙂 xx
Truly a life changing retreat and very well organized. My experience at Kapitari with Andy, Jeannie and Don Lucho was by far the most valuable trip I have ever taken in my life. Like most people, I don’t have an issue enjoying all the amenities of a 5 star hotel. But for this retreat, don’t expect this to the the case. Instead, expect to be surrounded by the natural comforts of the Amazon Jungle and the Kapitari tribal community. Their hospitality was pure and compassionate the food was of the healthiest caliber. Upon leaving, my body felt light as a feather, my mind seemed to be clearer than its ever been before, and I had been introduced to my soul in a way that is simply unforgettable. If you’re someone who is serious about exploring deep realities and discovering yourself in a different way, then this retreat is awaiting your arrival for an important purpose.
Don Lucho was my first ayahuasca experience and thus I will always be grateful for everything he and his family did for me and my boyfriend during our stay. His center is truly for those whose intentions are for self healing and discovery. For those who want to awake from their life long sleep. It took me at least a year to decipher and realize the important foundation that was created at Kapitari through Don lucho’s guidance, his son Wagner, and Apprentice Ivan Schuls. Don Lucho’s ayahuasca was very potent and his icaros were ancient and deep rooted. Kapitari center is a great place to start one’s journey as is safe and affordable.
The only draw back is that Don Lucho is a very busy man because he is also the mayor of his town. While there he did not have much time for one to ones’. However, he provided a space where like-minded people came to search. Deep bonds were formed at Kapitari as its a magical place that dissolves one’s ego!
Loads of people have been asking me about my experience with ayahuasca in Peru last week, and to be honest it?s been kind of hard to know where to start. Even though I spend most days wrapping words around observations and feelings, there?s something tough about trying to describe what?s essentially an out-of-body, sometimes out-of-mind experience!
I?ve written almost five thousand words for the book (Latinalicious) so technically, I shouldn?t really give away too much here, but it?s such a fascinating topic that I?ll share a bit on this blog? and then in December next year you can all go read the rest. Deal?
I did a lot of research before deciding on the Kapitari Centre, located a few miles outside of Iquitos. One of the area?s most basic retreats, it was founded in 1980 by the shaman Don Lucho, who spends the majority of time in his ?garden?, otherwise known as the Amazon Rainforest, working out ways to protect the biodiversity and fragile ecosystems of the region by implementing sustainable farming practices.
It?s important, if you?re planning to play with ?the spirit of the vine? to hand your hard-earned money over to someone who?s a) going to spend it wisely, and b) knows what the hell they?re doing by encouraging tourists to drink what?s essentially, potent, hallucinogenic tree sap. I found Don Lucho via expat Andy Metcalf, who?s written a blog on this very topic, but the best thing to do in my opinion is head to Iquitos and ask around. Most soul-searching hippies can be found sipping carrot juice, over-analysing their existential new existences and smoking profusely in the Karma Caf