A shaman holds something in his hand, gesturing in a specific direction

Gaia Sagrada Ayahuasca & San Pedro Retreat Center

239 reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars

Listed in Ayahuasca, San Pedro (Huachuma), Integration, Magic Mushrooms, Spotlight

Min. Cost: 185
Max. Cost: 1775
Room Features: A/C, Bug-Netting / Screens, Wifi, Heating, Private Rooms, Suites
Property Features: Hot Tub(s), Sauna(s), Massages, Yoga, Airport Shuttle Service
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Authentic Ecuadorian Shamans who speak both English and Spanish! Talk directly with the shamans, no translator needed. Rare opportunity indeed!

Gaia Sagrada is nestled in the Magical Andes Mountains on 55 acres (22 hectares) with hundreds of miles of beautiful country roads and trails to hike. Most centers are in cramped quarters on a small piece of land, but Gaia Sagrada is expansive, open and free.

Gaia = Mother Nature, Mother Earth
Sagrada = Sacred

This is a magical journey through consciousness that will change your life forever.

This is a chance to overhaul your system through shamanic healing and realize your full potential. Much healing will take place during these 12 days in mind, body and spirit during this Ayahuasca retreat and San Pedro retreat.

Why did we choose Ecuador instead of Peru?

We chose Ecuador because shamans have to be certified and authorized to practice their trade. It is important to us that everyone has a safe experience with skilled shamans who are approved by the government to practice their trade with integrity, skill and a proper education in this particular healing practice. Ecuador has more regulations for shamans.

Ecuador was also picked for the ease of entry for visitors (no shots or visas required, only your passport), and also for its gorgeous, magical, and natural settings (very lush and green!).

Ecuadorian people are very friendly and helpful, and we have become quite a part of the Ecuadorian community around us. Your money helps to support them.

Where is Gaia Sagrada?

Gaia Sagrada is nestled in a small community called Llayzhatan (Yah-zuh-tan) in the Andes Mountains on 55 acres, about 45 minutes outside of the city of Cuenca, Ecuador. We are very near to Jadan (Huh-don) which means “Close to Heaven.” What a perfect place for Gaia Sagrada!

Gaia Sagrada Ayahuasca & San Pedro is also offering Magic Mushroom Retreats in Jamaica. See our website for more information about our Magic Mushroom Retreats!

Why both Ayahuasca and San Pedro Ceremonies?

We feel that offering both is very important because one without the other is not a balanced experience. Some shamans say Ayahuasca shows you what you need to change or heal, and San Pedro gives you the power to do it.

We offer both Ayahuasca and San Pedro ceremonies because the Ayahuasca is considered the feminine aspect of the medicines; San Pedro is the masculine aspect of the medicines. In this era, it is all about balancing the masculine and feminine aspects in each of us to attain true wisdom. These two very different medicines help with that in every individual.

Modern, Comfortable Facilities

, sauna and modern housing with electric, hot water, and WiFi make it easier to concentrate on your inner journey, yet stay in touch with the outside world if you wish.

We are practically bug free, (NO mosquitoes!) the air is clean, never too hot or humid, and you can see the milky way at night in the sky with fireflies all around you. During the day is T-shirt weather, with sunny gardens to sit in, and hummingbirds to watch.

Description of Ceremonies

12-day Ayahuasca and San Pedro retreats are offered. During these 12-day retreats, 5 ceremonies are offered: 2 Ayahuaca, 2 San Pedro, and 1 mixed with a powerful sweat lodge experience.

7-day Ayahausca and San Pedro retreats entail coming for the first 7 days of a 12-day retreat. This includes 3 ceremonies – 1 Ayahuasca, 1 San Pedro and 1 mixed with the powerful sweat lodge experience.

Ayahuasca Ceremonies

During the Ayahuasca ceremonies we always have a few people standing by to help light your way to the bathroom, empty your purge bucket, and get you anything you need during the ceremony.

Some centers have people express loudly and be dramatic, but our ceremonies are quiet and inwardly focused, with our expert shamans holding space, using music and Icaros at the proper moments to carry the energy.

The shaman is there for your individual healing as you need it from beginning to end. Between ceremonies you are supported with experienced staff to talk with about your experiences if you need any help.

San Pedro Ceremonies

The San Pedro ceremonies give you a completely different experience. These ceremonies take place under our beautiful ceremonial gazebo patio (maloka), on the edge of a beautiful forest with a view overlooking the mountains, completely connected with nature in every way. Some San Pedro ceremonies are done walking through nature on Gaia’s incredibly beautiful land, with beautiful vistas in every direction.

While Ayahuasca takes you to your inner dimensions, San Pedro opens your and shows you how the dimensions intertwine and overlap with each other.

Sweat Lodge Ceremony

The sweat lodge ceremony, with both medicines mixed, takes place outdoors in a beautiful field, with the birds chirping all around you.

Connect with the Earth while you go through this deep, cleansing experience, a traditional shamanic offering as part of your healing and awakening. After the sweat lodge we sit under the stars and enjoy time around the fire, connecting with the shamans in a heart felt way with laughter, music and love!

In this ceremony, the San Pedro is given first, then if you want to take the Ayahausca you can later in the ceremony. It is optional, but don’t miss this exquisite experience of both the masculine and the feminine medicines together. It is like having both grandfather and grandmother holding your hand in this journey.

This is often everyone’s favorite ceremony, as it brings everything together, the male and female aspects of the medicines, and a balance to the experience. Places that tell you not to mix the medicines are usually ones that don’t offer one or the other, but we have found that this is the most healing experience of them all and there are always good results!

Each ceremony is different

In total, there are five ceremonies in a 12 day retreat with the option of 2 extras if you choose to partake, and the 6 and 7 day ceremonies also have 3 ceremonies each with extra ceremonies if you would like to partake as well.

Each one is a different kind of ceremony so you can experience all the ways that shamans work with these traditions. There are many ways to experience shamanic ceremonies and we offer them all!


12-Day, 6 Day and 7 Day Retreats includes everything – sauna, , wifi, food, several workshops and meetings + 5 – 7 ceremonies with a day of rest between each ceremony. It is very important, not to rush through the medicines.

Be careful with retreats that offer back to back ceremonies each day or squeeze too many into a retreat. It is important to process the changes happening for you, and get plenty of rest so you aren’t tired for the next ceremony. Better to spend a couple extra days in retreat than to rush through the medicines.

12 Day Retreats

$1375 dorm
$1575 shared room
$1775 private room
$2175 private 1 bedroom apartment (Single)
$1775 each 1 bedroom apartment (Couples)

7-Day Retreat: Come for the first 7 days of a 12 day retreat. There are limited spaces for the 7 day retreat option, as it is mostly filled by those who want to stay for the full 12 days. We encourage you to go for the 12 day retreat though because you will find that only 7 days is not enough! If all you have is 7 days though, we are here to accommodate your needs.

$875 dorm
$1075 shared room
$1275 private room

6-Day Retreat: Come for the second half of the 12 day retreat, last 6 days, everything included.

$850 dorm
$1050 shared room
$1250 private room

Our Retreats Are At-Cost, Non-Profit

We are not in this for money, we are in it for the awakening of humanity! Our expenses cost 5 – 6 times more in Ecuador than Peru, and yet our prices are even more affordable than most places in Peru. We operate at the edge of expenses because we care about everyone of all income levels to have the opportunity to have this experience.

Who are Gaia Sagrada’s shamans?

Our shamans are true Ecuadorian shamans, so you are getting the real thing! They also speak both English and Spanish, which gives you the chance to have a direct conversation with the shaman and experience the ceremonies in English, which is a rare opportunity indeed!

There is no other center we know of where there are authentic South American shamans who speak both English and Spanish. This is a rare opportunity and one of the things that makes Gaia Sagrada so special. A jungle shaman who knows nothing about Western culture will not be able to help with the problems most Westerners face. Our shamans bridge both the Ancient and Modern worlds so they understand the issues you are coming to heal or understand.

Why Gaia Sagrada Is Highest Rated Ayahuasca Center

People who have been to other Ayahuasca centers tell us all the time that Gaia Sagrada is the best place out of all the centers they have been to and that Gaia Sagrada sets the standard for what an Ayahuasca retreat center should be, even outshining the famous and super well known ones.

They also like ours most is because no translator is needed and our shamans are always around for people to talk to, spend time with people outside the ceremonies, and our shamans stay with the people from the beginning to the end of the ceremony.

At most centers the shaman sings for a little while and then disappears, never to be seen again until the next ceremony. If you see them around you are supposed to not talk to them or bother them. Our shamans are always available, approachable, and are happy to talk with you.

Our shamans spend time with everyone and give individual attention to each person not only during the ceremonies but also between the ceremonies. You can actually sit by the fire and enjoy their company! This is one of the things that makes our center unique.

Our Shamans

Sofia (sweat lodge, temezcal) is a woman who is a practicing psychologist in Cuenca. She is compassionate and motherly, full of gentle wisdom.

Amalia is a beautiful shaman who is very nurturing and wise, moving with the medicines in a very motherly and caring way. She holds a healing space with gentleness, and gives each person the care they need in a lovely way. She works with people one on one with powerful “limpias” (cleansings).

Nase is a Shuar shaman who has truly mastered the art of holding ceremony, and works with Ayahuasca in a way that brings clarity and self awareness to all the participants in his ceremonies. He is powerful and kind, a unique and beautiful person, with precision and intention that goes straight to the heart.

Namur is another Shuar shaman who is amazingly captivating with his Icaros and heart. He is a magical being with a kind and friendly way that is rare among humans. He is committed to his work with the medicines and does so with mastery. He can direct the energy in a beautiful way.

Male and Female Shamans At Each Ceremony

We have both a male and a female shaman at the Ayahausca ceremonies. At the San Pedro ceremonies there is a male shaman and a female firekeeper. At the Sweatlodge ceremonies, we have a male and a female shaman. This keeps everything in balance.

Women Are Truly Safe at Gaia Sagrada

Women are truly safe at Gaia Sagrada, particularly given that the founder of Gaia Sagrada is a woman and there are always male and female shamans in every ceremony.

You will love every single one of our shamans. Feel free to look on our shaman bio page for their history and photos.

We spent years looking for just the right shamans to offer ceremonies here. Shamans who can also speak English was no easy task to find, and we bring the best of the best to you here in Ecuador!

Safe Medicine!

Whenever there are problems with Ayahuasca or any other shamanic medicine ceremonies, it’s because the shamans mix something into the medicine that shouldn’t be there. Sometimes shamans mix in Datura (Toe), Nicotine, or other ingredients to make the experience more intense.

However, ingredients mixed in is not true Ayahuasca and can become a nightmarish experience rather than a healing experience. When people have a terrible experience with Ayahuasca, it is usually because ingredients are mixed into Ayahuasca that shouldn’t be there (or the person is taking pharmaceutical or recreational drugs that should not be mixed with Ayahuasca.)

We use only the vine and the leaves for Ayahuasca, nothing else!

For the San Pedro medicine, only the cactus. Nothing else.

Our shamans are under contract to make only the purest medicine with nothing else in it that could cause harm to anyone. Our medicine is the safest possible medicine that can be made, strong and pure.

Why Choose Gaia Sagrada?

  1. At Cost, Low, Non-Profit Prices, good karmic use of your money. This center is not about commercialism or making money and that is why we offer everything AT COST. Things in Peru cost a fifth or sixth of what things cost in Ecuador, so this truly is our rock bottom cost! No one is getting rich at Gaia Sagrada. Even the directors make only $380 per month, and get housing and food. This is about service to humanity, NO Ayahuasca commercialism here!
  2. Modern Housing And Facilities. Comfort allows you to focus more on your inner journey. Electric, hot water, modern toilets and hot showers, wifi internet… LUXURIOUS HOT TUBS and SAUNA. No mosquitoes or bugs. Big thick, comfy mattresses in a real bed in a modern room. No other Ayahuasca center has this level of comfort and amenities. Be comfortable while you journey into the universe within!
  3. Shamans Are Registered, Trained, Skilled, And Evaluated. Shamans are examined by Ecuadorian government agencies for their ability to practice their trade, instead of countries where anyone can call themselves a shaman.
  4. We use Stainless Steel instead of aluminum pots to cook our medicines, as aluminum is very toxic for your body. Most centers use aluminum cookware.
  5. Ease Of Access for travelers, no vaccines or shots required, Cuenca airport only 45 minutes away. There have never been any medical emergencies, but if there was one, a fully equipped modern hospital is only 35 minutes away by car. No walking through bogs, hiking, motorcyles or boats required to reach help if needed. Even a clinic is only 15 minutes away, yet you are in a pristine 55 acre country setting under the stars with no lights or buildings interfering with the view. You would never know you were close to civilization. This makes our center one of the safest to experience these medicine journeys.
  6. Not Hot Or Humid, pleasant weather all year round. No screeching animals or insects all night long, like in the jungle!
  7. Medicine Is Safe, Strong, Pure And Unadulterated. NO additives or mixtures that could be dangerous to your health. We only use pure traditional ingredients, only the vine and the leaves for Ayahuasca, and only the Cactus for San Pedro. Nothing else! Period! Our medicine is safer than places where they mix things that shouldn’t be included.
  8. Sponsored By University Of Metaphysical Sciences, a leader in metaphysics and spiritual teachings, with credibility and tens of thousands of students all over the world.
  9. Instead of large, overpriced and commercial, we keep ceremonies Small And Intimate so each participant gets individual attention.
  10. We Offer Both Medicines, Ayahuasca (feminine) and San Pedro (masculine) medicines in order to provide a balanced experience. One without the other is not balanced.
  11. Our Shamans Stay With You From Beginning To End, never leaving prematurely before the medicines are finished doing their work with you. At a lot of centers the shamans sing for just an hour or so, and then they end the ceremony and leave you on your own just when you are needing their guidance the most. It is not good if the shamans leave when the medicine is at its strongest heights! Our shamans stay with you for every part of your journey, until the medicine is finished doing its work with you. They are with you to guide you every step of the way.
  12. 55 Acres To Hike On, plus miles and miles and miles of country roads to wander in wilderness and small, authentic, indigenous Ecuadorian villages, with the women wearing their normal indigenous clothing, walking sheep, cows and goats. You will never run out of beautiful vistas and places to explore. Here you will get a taste of what the REAL Andes Mountains of Ecuador are like, far from tourist traps.

Transformation with love!

You are supported in your Ayahuasca healing journey with love and kindness. You will have a true adventure in consciousness during these days of Ayahuasca ceremonies and San Pedro ceremonies.

This is a life-changing event – a healing retreat that will change how you see yourself and life. You will see the evidence of this in our more than 500+ reviews on Ayaadvisors.org and Tripadvisor.org

Be ready to meet yourself at levels you never thought possible! Meet the master within you and explore the universe that you are.


239 reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars

Showing only 4-star reviews, click here to view all reviews.

  • Member Since: December 24, 2019

February 11, 2020

Having attended 12-day retreats twice at Gaia, this review is overdue. Gaia Sagrada and the shamans (especially Salvador and Paulina) will hold a special place in my heart because it was where I first participated in ancestral medicine. I highly recommend this retreat center , especially for first-timers, as they are uniquely equipped to support the transformations people experience here. The volunteers work tirelessly to ensure all guests feel equally supported, and support/encouragement comes from other fellow attendees as well. Please don’t underestimate the center’s advice to bring warm clothing for night ceremonies (you will thank me), as the altitude can make you wish you had layers. Accommodations are nice, as described. The only reason I give 4 instead of 5 stars is because, for me, there were a lot of people attending the retreats I participated in. The shamans and support staff are fully capable of supporting each and every guest, so it is very safe, but I just personally prefer smaller groups.

  • Member Since: January 26, 2019

January 26, 2019

I had a wonderfully transformative experience for my first time using South American plant medicines. From the very moment I arrived, I felt safe, comfortable and at ease due to the exellent facilities and volunteers/staff/Shamans who are nurturing, kind, and open. This created a peaceful and high vibrating setting in which I was able to work on healing myself from past traumas and present worries. I have left this 12 day retreat feeling inspired, confident and healed from my anxieties and worries and have connected with many beautiful souls during my time there. I would highly recommend Gaia Sagrada to any newcomers to plant medicines, as you will undoubtedly have a safe and comfortable experience in the care of some of the most incredible and knowledgeable Shamans. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to experience Gaia Sagrada.


August 4, 2015

my husband and I are on a one year “time out” this year and started with a 4 month trip traveling in South America to learn Spanish. We have heard about Ayahuasca before and always wanted to try. Originally we were planning to do it in the Amazon but somehow we were not convinced about places we read and it didn’t work out until I found Gaia on the internet. That was totally more what I was looking for: instead of heat and mosquitoes – nature and peace in the Andes PLUS we could not only experience Aya but San Pedro too. While reading about it I knew that was the right choice to book and we got in contact with Gaia. Already by e-mail contact we felt welcome. As I am claustrophobic I wasn’t sure if sleeping in a dorm would work for me but everything was handled and worked out the way it should. I don’t want to get in too much detail about my own personal experience with the plants because I think that it works different for everyone and there is always a different journey and story behind it but rest assured that you are always guided and save at all times. The Shamans are just amazing, so is Christine and everyone else at Gaia I met. I would not say that all me fears and else are totally gone just by joining this retreat but I can definitely say that it helped in many ways and to see things differently. It’s a journey worthwhile taking but most of all it’s the people at Gaia who make this trip unforgettable for me. Keep on doing what you are doing! Have a good day – have a good life 🙂

  • Member Since: February 18, 2015

February 19, 2015

I had a great two weeks at Gaia.. it was my first time doing any kind of medicines or any kind of hallucinogens, and I felt very supported and safe.. the shamens were fantastic very friendly very approachable. Facilities were really good too.. very relaxing place .. just watch out fir the dogs if you go for a walk to the shops.. take a stick!


September 23, 2014

This is an excellent choice for those with little or no experience with the medicines. A beautiful natural setting with good accommodations and amenities, and the food is excellent. The San Pedro shaman, in particular, is skilled and excellent. I also found the sweat lodge experience in combination with the mild San Pedro medicine to be a powerful experience – cleansing, strengthening, challenging & uplifting. This retreat will be of benefit to any serious seeker or to any seeking healing from emotional or traumatic hurt.

  • Member Since: July 17, 2014

July 17, 2014

Gaia Sagrada in the spectacular and picturesque Andes, located just an hour outside of Cuenca. The buildings and grounds are beautiful. The landscaping is a spectacular floral display that has been orchestrated by a lovely Australian woman, Edith, who tends to others as much as she does to the gardens. Gaia Sagrada provides a space for the promotion of a new community and a unique venue for self exploration through ritualistic ingestion of the sacred medicines, Ayahuasca and San Pedro. The medicines are administered under the expert supervision of authentic shamans. Perhaps the most unique aspect of the venue is that the participants are deeply invested in the healing of one another. There are several meetings in which Christine, the co-owner and facilitator, assists the participants in divulging the issues that they have come here to heal. This process creates a transparency and authenticity among participants.
We were here on a work exchange and our primary duty was to prepare food for the retreat. We worked in a well-appointed kitchen cooking up tasty vegan and vegetarian cuisine. We were supplied with what was needed often by co-owner Bruce. His buoyant,efficient and friendly presence was a welcome visitation to the kitchen. The kitchen became a hub of activity once the retreat began. One of the primary activities there was the processing of the participant?s sacred journeys. Friendships deepened as participants candidly exposed their experience and aided one another in unravelling the deep meanings brought forth by their journeys. The ambience in the space was one of intense yet light hearted inquiry. We found ourselves involved in many lively and psychologically profound dialogues. It became obvious that conversing over food deepened friendships, spiritual awareness and healing. We also assisted during some of the ceremonies, witnessing the experiences that the sacred medicines were providing.
I noticed progressive changes in all of the participants as the retreat continued. By the end of it some people seemed totally transformed and everyone reported positive progress in their healing. I highly recommend this venue for anyone who is seeking self realization, a new community, or a place to rest from the crazy world.

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