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’.
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.
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!