Authentic Ecuadorian Shamans, some who SPEAK BOTH ENGLISH AND SPANISH ! Talk directly with the shamans, no translator needed. Rare opportunity indeed!
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.
WHERE IS GAIA SAGRADA?
Gaia Sagrada is nestled in a small community called Llayzhatan (Yay-za-tan) in the Andes Mountains on 55 acres, about 45 minutes outside of the city of Cuenca, Ecuador. We are very near to Jadan (Ha-dan) which means “Close to Heaven.” What a perfect place for Gaia Sagrada!
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
Hot tubs, 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, 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 withe the powerful sweat lodge experience.
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 the 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.
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. While Ayahuasca takes you to your inner dimensions, San Pedro opens your heart 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.
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, each one a different kind of ceremony so you can experience all the ways that shamans work with people in ceremony. There are many ways to experience shamanic ceremonies and we offer them all!
12 DAY RETREAT includes everything – sauna, hot tubs, wifi, food, several workshops and meetings + 5 ceremonies with a day of rest between each ceremony, which is very important, not to rush through the medicines. Be careful with retreats that offer back to back ceremonies each day. 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 prices go up $200 in 2019)
$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.
(7 day prices go up $100 in 2019)
$1075 shared room
5 DAY RETREAT – come for the second half of the 12 day retreat, last 5 days, everything included.
(5 day prices go up $100 in 2019)
$675 each person – Dormitory
$875 each person – Shared Room
OUR RETREATS ARE AT COST, NON-PROFIT
We are NOT in this for money, we are in it for the awakening of humanity! Expenses cost 4-5 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.
Many people who have been to other centers tell us why they like ours most is because no translator is needed and our shamans are always around for people to talk to, spend time with 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 down and have lunch or tea with our shamans, or sit by the fire and enjoy their company! This is one of the things that makes our center unique.
One of 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.
SALVADOR is a shaman who practices in many places, Ecuador, Venezuela and Mexico, and he is known for his compassion and sweetness, as well as his exceptional skill in guiding the energies of the Ayahausca ceremony in an intuitive way. His healing sessions with each individual are life changing.
PAULINA is also a shaman who brings a beautiful feminine touch to the Ayahuasca Ceremonies. She is loved by everyone for her sweetness, strength and wisdom. Her Icaros (medicine songs) are otherworldly. She is a sparkly and beautiful person.
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).
CHRISTINE holds space in ceremony with a combination of strength, gentleness and kindness that is quite rare. She touches the hearts of those she works with in her ceremonies. She is a shaman who has a way of calming any person who needs it and can help each person take their power back from the places they lost it.
NASE is a 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 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 directs 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.
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, and ones that can also speak English was no easy task, and we bring the best of the best to you here in Ecuador!
Whenever there are problems with Ayahuasca or any other shamanic medicine ceremonies, it’s because the shamans mixed something into the medicine that shouldn’t be there. Sometimes shamans mix in Datura (Toe) or other ingredients to make the experience more intense. However, this 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. 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 quarter to a fifth 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 $340 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 or 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 7-12 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. Be ready to meet yourself at levels you never thought possible! Meet the master within you and explore the universe that you are.
Gaia holds a special place in my heart. The retreat has an extremely well thought out curriculum held in a safe and supportive environment. There is plenty of information and guidance provided for everyone to have a safe and healing journey in the realms of plant medicine.
Gaia thrives on feedback from guests and incorporates this into the very next group of guests. That’s how they’ve developed such a constructive and positive program.
You could spend a lot more and get a lot less. If you’re looking to do some deep exploring in a positive and caring environment, look no further.
Christine, the founder, has developed an extremely special place and I know that I will find my way back when I’m called again.
Keep up the amazing work Christine and staff!
Gaia Sagrada is a safe and beautiful place for first-time Ayahausca and San Pedro journeys. It fuses both contemporary and ancient Shamanic practices.
The Shaman are amazing, powerful and compassionate.
Accommodation was comfortable and food excellent (and Ayahausca and San Pedro safe.)
Peaceful mountain surroundings. And close enough to Cuenca if you want/need to go to town.
Good use of technology for maintaining retreat relationships afterwards.
My days at Gaia Sagrada where truly amazing. The most healing I have ever done. It was everything I could have hoped for and way more. Ayahuasca is so powerful, I am beyond grateful to get to know this medicine plant.
Also, very thankful to all the shamans, staff and the work exchangers at Gaia. Everybody made sure I felt safe an taken care of every second of the way. Food delicious! Would definitely come back here!
My partner and I attended the 12 Day retreat in October 2018. The retreat consisted of 2 Ayahuasca, 2 San Pedro and 1 Sweat Lodge ceremony. We were first timers in the use of these amazing plant medicines. The process of selecting the right retreat centre began over 6 months prior. I researched it to death on google, social media (you tube) and Blogs – in fact, at Aya advisors is was where I came across Gaia Sagrada . We wanted to this first experience to be safe, reliable and more importantly in English. The Gaia Sagrada won out because of excellent reviews from past participants and the fact they had English Speaking genuine govt. approved Shamans. I checked out their website, i and shaman experience before making the decision.
In summary – I cannot reccomend them more highly. It was THE MOST AMAZING EXPERIENCE of my life and if you are a FIRST TIMER like us, I would very highly recommend that GAIA SAGRADA be your first experience.
The location is magical – on a mountain just outside Cuenca, Equador. We were upgraded to an apartment (Thank You Jerry) during the stay. It was spacious, clean and had an attached separate bathroom and shower. The food was outstanding – i never knew vegetarian (a special thank you to all the volunteers in the kitchen who make this happen) could taste so good. We even had a Mexican food night – WOW.
The Shamans (Salvador – you are AMAZING and a very special man), Amaliya (you are just as amazing too). I will never forget the Icaros (songs) you guys sang during the ceremonies. Your voices were magical. I still remember them. To all you first timers and those who have experienced it elsewhere, I can guarantee you that Gaia Sagrada is not to be missed.
We were in a group of 28 but felt we were treated with individual care and love during and after the ceremonies – supported by an army of volunteers on this spiritual journey.
Christine, thank you for creating this amazing space (a bubble of love, caring and sharing) to heal and grow spiritually in an open and amazing environment. Your vision and passion has created this sanctuary for us to grow. Jerry (the manager), you are an amazing person doing some really good work in making sure Gaia Sagrad grows and function without a hitch.
PLEASE GO TO GAI SAGRADA if you want a profound, safe and meaning experience. We did. We are planning to go back again and again.
I spent 6 days at Gaia Sagrada and the only thing I would have done differently is to spend more time! The people and setting are truly perfect. It was my first experience with both San Pedro and Ayahuasca, and the shamans, staff, work exchangers, and other guests made me feel safe, accepted and supported. I would have learned a great deal about myself in that environment even without the medicines, although the medicines themselves were next level!
Can’t thank everyone involved with this beautiful place enough.
My experience at Gaia Sagrada was absolutely life changing. I was struggling with severe depression for most of my life, and the 12 days I spent there helped me tremendously. I really can’t overstate how great a place it is and how wonderful the people there are. All of the staff, volunteers, and guests are kind and caring. There’s always someone to share what you’re going through with or to share something with you. The owner Christine does everything in her power and then some to make sure everyone has a good experience. The housing and facilities are very comfortable, the food is great, and the property is beautiful. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to spend my first Ayahuasca/San Pedro retreat. If you’re thinking of doing something like this for the first time (or even a second+) I strongly recommend Gaia Sagrada. It’s a truly wonderful place.
My husband and I signed up for the 12 days retreat Ayahuasca and San Pedro and those 2 medicines are perfectly safe. You are guided through and through the whole time. The shamans working there are very knowledgeable and professional.
I had some childhood traumas I wanted to heal: I was very happy with my life but still struggled to stay away from fear and anger from time to time. Plus we were talking about starting a family, but I was simply terrify to bring a new life into this damaged world, full of people who can hurt you.
Well let me tell you: this place, these medicines, the other guests and people working there had the effect of 20 years of psychotherapy in 12 days. I cannot recommend this place enough! I am now at peace, full of energy, of love and sooooo ready to have babies
I can’t wait to put into practice all the things that I have learned from this retreat.
I have totally made peace with my past : the past is behind, learn from it – the present is here, live it !
The facilities are amazing (they even have hot tubes, awesome), very environment friendly, huge propriety, super clean, beds are very comfortable and the wifi works well. And the food… OMG just delicious, abundant and completely Ayahuasca friendly (you have to follow some diet guidelines to make sure you react well with these medicines). I know some retreat only offer rice and plantains, well here you will be nicely surprised at every meal.
In addition this is a Non Profit. At first, we considered their prices a bit high but after a lot of research, it’s actually the best deal we found! Anyway, I promise you, you won’t regret it. After all, what better investment could you do than in yourself?
I would totally recommend this place, go find yourself at Gaia Sagrada!
I attended the retreat from September 1-12, 2018. It was the best decision I have ever made!!! The retreat is well organized and the property is magical. The shamans were incredible and all the beautiful individuals working there were warm and genuine. Christine has created such an amazing place and I hope to return sometime. I experienced and witnessed healing unlike anything I have ever seen. I highly recommend Gaia Sagrada!
I went to Gaia Sagrada, primarily because I wanted to accompany my wife recover from past Trauma and expand my spirituality. But what I found was much more than that…
First, the property is very peaceful with everything that you would need, including hot tubes, sauna, hiking trails, fast wifi, etc.
The food is amazingly good and aplenty.
The community formed by the work exchangers and the guests is amazing. We came as strangers and left as a family.
The medicines are potent and unlimited.
The shamans are very skillful, kind and available.
Overall everything is very professionally run.
You don’t have to worry about anything but your self recovery.
As I said at the beginning, I came more as a support. But I gained immensely from this retreat.
I had some fear, some small anxiety, a small loss of purpose in life.
Every single things got fixed. I haven’t felt this peaceful in my mind and my heart for ages.
I can’t praise enough this little paradise on earth.
If I had more time, I would have definitely stayed here as a work exchanger.
I am very grateful that this place exist.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
My time at Gaia Sagrada was the most beautiful, difficult, healing, magical, and rewarding experience of my entire life. I can not recommend it enough. I let go of so many things that were no longer serving me. I found what I’ve been looking for my entire life. My heart is so open, and the gratitude I feel for every aspect of life is almost unbearable at time. I feel like if just one more beautiful leaf was in my world, it would be too much to handle and I would just float away on waves of love. I came there depressed, disconnected, fearful, stuck in my head, basically a mess. I left feeling grateful, blessed, so full of joy, full of love, and with such an open heart. I sorted out a lot of my life’s path, and feel like I found some direction. I received tools to help carry this new found life into the “real” world. I met lifelong friends. I had so much fun. The work on myself was hard, but it was the most worthwhile thing I’ve done for myself ever. All the staff and work exchangers were angels. The Shaman’s were masters of their craft. The food was the most delicious and healthy I’ve ever consistently eaten. The facilities were so clean. The buildings and artwork on them were so beautiful. I can’t wait to come back. If you’re thinking about going, do it. It will be among the nicest things you’ve ever done for yourself. You deserve it.
I attended a 12 day retreat at Gaia (April – May 2018) and wanted to wait till I write a review to see the changes that happened to me was real. I don’t even know where to start. I am 45 years old and I have lived and traveled around the world and been to other retreats and meditation centers. My Gaia Sagrada experience was by FAR the best experience of my LIFE. And I mean THE BEST. And the reason IS NOT just because of the Ayahuasca medicine, the San Pedro medicine, the ceremonies, the songs, the sweat-lodge (which kicked my butt LOL), the prayers, the location, the food and even the air. All the things I mentions were truly amazing BUT what separated Gaia Sagrada for me was the people. Christine, Salvador, Amalia, Paulina, Jerry, Amanda, Annie, Joe (thought me a life lesson: always hug to your left so the hug can be heart to heart) and all the work exchange students were just AMAZINGGGGGGGGGGGGG! They are truly the Medicine. The love, dedication and attention they give you is one of a kind. I came to Gaia by myself to clear my head and make a business decision. By the time I left, my heart was filled with joy, I started seeing the best version of myself, what I was created to do in this world became more defined and most of all I made friends for life. I can write a book about how great Gaia Sagrada was for me and still is. And when I write my book I will make sure to mention this Amazing place filled with amazing people. I highly recommend Gaia Sagrda. I plan to go back in 2018. Mike Makonnen
I have spent a couple of months as a work-exchanger at Gaia Sagrada. And I absolutely loved it! There is something special in there. What Christine and her team have created is fantastic. I’m very grateful and happy for the opportunity to be a part of the Gaia Sagrada family at least for those months!
Thank you very very much to everybody who I have met there, especially to Christine, Salvador, Jerry and Bruce.
(PS: when you are there, find a time to speak to the amazing man behind the scene, Bruce, and enjoy cheerful and wise conversation with him 🙂 )
Miss you x
I had the chance to live at Gaia for over 10 months as a work exchanger and every single day i woke up with so much gratitude! I absolutely love everything about Gaia Sagrada. This beautiful 55 acres of land attracts the most inspiring, positive, high vibrational, understanding and caring poeple on the planet. The Shamans (Salavador, Amalia, Wuaira, Sofia, Christine, Nase, Namur) are experienced, fluent in english and spanish and have so much wisdom to share. They are so pure in their purpose of helping each and every person. The ceremonies are beautiful. The food is healthy, fresh, delicious and always available ( however tipycally with the plant medecines it is suggested to fast sometimes before/during ceremonies ) The community type of living is a delight, the weather is great, the warm fire almost every night are amazing for ambiance, the library is full of fascinating books, each interactions feels like a blessing and there are so many little hikes to discover around the area or property. Each and every work exchanger is devoted and passionate about the healing and support that happens daily at Gaia. They really go out of their way to make sure everyone feels at home, welcome , at ease. If you are not used to feeling like you fit in, be ready to be part of a family of poeple that accept you and love you and support you completely. Christine and Bruce are very caring souls. There are also interesting workshops, yoga, meditation sessions and other things organised on a daily basis that complete the whole experience. I highly recommend Gaia Sagrada, it is one of the best kept secrets of Ecuador. <3
I attended a 12 day retreat at Gaia one month ago and am still feeling the effects of the transformative experiences that took place there. You are told on the first days that it will be life-changing and believe me it is – and only in positive ways. I came to the retreat to explore my consciousness, as far as I knew I didn’t have any major healing to be done, my life was pretty good before Gaia. However my life is immensely better now – not in the Snow White singing songs to the woodland creatures of the forest type of way, but in the way that my perspective on things in life that I deemed difficult or a burden are now welcomed as a chance to grow and to give back. So many teachings that I had learned mentally before Gaia were experienced and ‘felt’ when under the influence of Ayahuasca and San Pedro and I am now able to remember and return to those feelings when challenges come up.
These changes were only possible due to the safe and loving environment that Gaia provides. From the moment I got out of the taxi to see the happy welcoming faces of the work exchangers I felt completely comfortable.
Jerry, the main admin guy is a rock who preps you with loads of info for the ceremonies so you feel a lot less nervous and much more at ease with what may or may not happen. The shaman are incredible. Their wisdom and humility guide you through the ceremonies through music. Experiencing the power their music (voice and instruments) had over my experience was mind-blowing. I realised how important it was to trust the shaman with your journey and I 100% trusted Salvador, Omelia, Sophia and Christine. I cannot even put into words how powerful and generous these four are, I just feel so completely blessed to have met them and so honored to have sat in ceremony with them.
The fact that it was an English speaking retreat was a huge bonus as well.
The facilities were beautiful, so much care has been taken and continues to be taken to make sure the grounds and buildings are kept to a very high standard. I had a room in Tranquillo – a private room with shared bathrooms. It was perfect, the bed was super comfy and it was always serene and quiet. There are hot tubs with a gorgeous natural outlook that is perfect for the days after ceremonies.
The food is exceptional and at Gaia they make the most of the abundance of fresh organic fruit and veg that Ecuador excells in growing.
One of the best things about the retreat is the connection you make with your ‘Gaia family’. I was with the most amazing group of people from all over the world. I was slightly apprehensive before I got there that I may not fit in due to my age – a very ancient 44 🙂 – I assumed most other attendees would be very young – nope, this was not the case, there were younger people but thre were also olders ones and age was not a factor, just being human was. Everyone was accepted and appreciated for who they were and what they needed to go through. I witnessed so much healing taking place and people becoming more confident, relaxed and happier in the 12 days I was there. We are all still all in touch on a daily basis while we help each other integrate back into post-Gaia life. We have shared an experience that has bonded us forever and many of us are already planning to regroup at Gaia next year.
I could go on for pages about how much I loved my time at Gaia and truly cannot recommend this place enough. Oh and if you are wondering about the medicine – it was magical, strong and plenty was offered. The combination of both San Pedro and Ayahuasca creates a perfect duality of masculine and feminine, with the San Pedro often helping to clarify the messages received in the Ayahuasca ceremonies. Add in a sweatlodge and as they say… you will be reborn 🙂
When I arrived at Gaia, I immediately felt home. I had work with ayahuasca before my trip to Ecuador, but, arriving here, I knew right away that I was at the best place possible to continue my journey. I was suppose to stay only 3 months as a work exchanger and I finally decided to extend my stay for 3 more months. The nature on the property is incredibly beautiful and rich. The accomodation is very nice. The ceremonies are conducted with a lot of care, intelligence and wisdom, with a lot of respect for the traditions. I’ve learned so much here, about ayahuasca, about myself, about how it is to live in a loving and caring community. I’m forever grateful that I had the chance to be part of this incredible and magical adventure. Thank you Gaia!
Gaia Sagrada was one of the most important and transformatiomal experiences of my life. I am eternally grateful to Universe, Divine Source, for choosing me to experience this, to Gaia, its owners, the Shaman, the staff and work exchangers for be an integral part of my journey.
I cant say enough about this place, and this experience.
Extremely happy with my experience at Gaia Sagrada. I have come back a second time to volunteer due to the environment you are surrounded by and the richness of life that comes from all that happens at Gaia. You really do have to come and see for yourself but I can rest assure to you that if fear is in your corner right now, that will be swept away by the love and light that shines in this healing centre. Everything about it speaks on behalf of your safety and emotional well being.
I have not been to another retreat centre so I don’t have a comparison but I need not one to know how this place makes me feel and the countless people that come through it.
I am honoured to be able to help at such a place and to have received and continue to receive the many blessings that I get from all that happens here.
grateful forever for this place, the shamans, the medicine, the people and all that makes it a safe haven for people to come and do the inner work that they need to lift the veil of darkness that dampens their life or simply to ignite the curiousity of the mountains, culture and medicine into their experience.
Most incredible experience of my life. I have never experienced more love, patience, respect and healing than at my time at Gaia Sagrada. The shaman are incredible, so wise patient and passionate about what they do – I am beyond humbled and inspired to have had the honour to sit in ceremonys with Salvador, Paulina, Amalia and Huaira. Christine has the biggest heart and it reflects in the space she has created. The facilities, food and family were more than i could have dreamed and after three months at Gaia I truly transformed, I entered a shy shell of a person and left as me again. And over a year later im still learning.growing and evolving all as a result of my time in the mountains.
THANK YOU GAIA♥️
I was a work exchanger at Gaia Sagrada, and it was the best time of my life. I was only supposed to stay 3 months but ended up staying six months (and overstaying my visa oops), but it was the best decision I ever made! I fell in love with the beautiful location, the beautiful atmosphere and the beautiful people. Christine has the biggest heart of anyone I have ever met and really has poured her heart and soul into making Gaia the best it can be. Jerry the manager is a true soul brother and I couldn’t think of anyone else more capable of managing this healing space. The Shamans are of the highest quality, and I had tried the medicines before in both Costa Rica and Colombia so I had a lot to compare it to. They are so caring and genuinely feel it is their mission to help anyone to heal no matter what the circumstances. Also their English is excellent. The community of work exchangers was truly like a family and I have made true soul friends that I know will stick with me for life. If you are looking for a monumental life change in a beautiful location with people you will remember for life, this is the place for you.
Twelve days of profound healing processes, perfectly scheduled and framed. A living organism of beautiful forces that change your life.
Practically, the centre is very scenic and atmospheric, very well run, with great food and a series of additional services, basic but clean and functional accommodation that fits much better to the pupose than a luxurious resort. I can not praise the organisation that gives you all insurance during your somewhat irreal journey.
The location in the High Andes as such is beautiful (you could spend 12 days there even without the retreat), the proximity of Cuenca makes it accessible while keeping the secluded aspect.
Financially, it is a great value for your money, basically keeping it to 100€/day full board, accommodation and all the “services” (ceremonies, shamans, medicines).
The amazing bridge that is created there between the indigenous traditions and the Western world is unique.
I feel very lucky to have chosen Gaia Sagrada and I want to come back soon.
First, the retreat does deserve the glowing reviews for the medicine. I experienced the transformation of the plant medicines, but as a work-exchanger, I also experienced troubling, neglectful behind the scenes lapses that put all of our health at jeopardy.
The main issue I will review here is sanitation. During the first retreat, I noticed the main cook sick, coughing all over everything he prepared and that the dishes were washed in lukewarm water with no sanitizing procedure. Germs were not being killed and people (including myself) were getting sick with colds/flu/pneumonia from this major lapse in proper protocol.
I brought this up to the owner, Christine, by email and she replied back how thankful she was that I brought the issue up and to please be “the boss” and implement sanitizing the dishes. I tried to do so and was met with hostility and personal ridicule by management. “You act like your better than us” was the shockingly inappropriate response by the two on-site managers when I asked when we might start the simple 3-basin dishwashing system.
The next retreat people were getting diarrhea. I chose to sanitize my dishes and take them back to my room each time. I never got diarrhea.
Oh, and when they pass around the ayahuasca, only one cup is used unless you ask specially and even then it’s poured into the communal cup then into an individual cup. They say things like “mother ayahuasca” will take care of any germs. This issue was brought up by another. And, really mother ayahuasca has plenty to do so, again, people need to use common sense to avoid spreading illness.
The chef and management ostracized me for trying to make a simple yet extremely important improvement so, after informing them and Christine, I left early. Not what I had in mind for part of the transformation but important lesson nonetheless.
After a very rude email from Christine and her withholding my deposit, she said they have implemented the procedure. Hopefully, they have. But still it came at a high cost both to my health (took 1 1/2 months to recover from the flu bug), mental stress, cost of travelling Ecuador early rather than staying at an unfriendly retreat and the health of others.
The medicine, the shaman and the people other than the owner and management were all wonderful. If you go, just be sure your dishes are properly cleaned and trust your intution for anything else that seems “off.”
Wow! What an utterly profound, insightful and life changing experience I had at Gaia Sagrada. It was really hard to leave after after my retreat. The connections I had here with the other participants along with the shamans and helpers felt like ten year friendships compressed into a 12 day period. Gaia Sagrada literally thinks of everything to make your stay as profound and comfortable as possible. The food was wonderful, the shamans were fantastic, the scenery is beautiful, the accommodations were perfect. Just simply blown away by this place.
The sweat Lodge with the combination of both San pedro and Ayahausca was perhaps the most profound experience of my life. The final day San Pedro ceramony was one of the best and most enjoyable experiences of my life also.
Just an all round life changing experience. I am in deep gratitude for everything Gaia Sagrada has done for me and will be coming back in the future.
Ayahuasca is always going to be a tremendous journey in and of itself, however I’d like to call attention to Gaia Sagrada for the amazing set and setting that brought out the best possible experience for me.
Firstly, it’s in the mountains. This means cool but comfortable overnight, and warm but not too hot during the day. No mosquitoes. Beautiful pine woods, ponds, streams, waterfalls and views. The buildings are lovely – comfortable and homely with a lot of very beautiful artwork, mostly done by retreat participants.
The staff and work exchangers are there for you when you need them, for practical things (laundry, directions, snacks) or for emotional support and help processing or talking through and understanding your experiences. A special shout-out here to Christine (shaman/owner/manager) who spent a number of hours comforting, supporting and checking in on me during a big purge!
Also worth mentioning are the centre’s ‘shaman’ dogs. They often join the ceremonies and know when something is up with someone, and lie down next to them or put a paw on them for reassurance. This happened to a number of our family (retreat participants) and added a great feeling of being looked after and loved.
The ceremonies are conducted in a very ceremonial fashion (sounds obvious, but I get the impression this is not always the case). The work that the shamans do is marvellous; watching them work with other people particularly during the San Pedro ceremonies is fascinating and insightful (let alone your own time on the mat!). The respect and gratitude that the shamans show for water, life, family, food, fire, earth, and the other basic things of life definitely constituted a large part of the healing process for our ‘family’ – a demonstration of how to live life that isn’t despondent, anxious and removed. The singing truly guides you deeper, particularly Huaira: her voice is amazing and it flows with the medicine in an indescribable manner.The shamans are accessible; they stay after ceremonies for a bit to talk to people about their experiences and to answer questions if you have any.
Some advice – stay for a few days before and after the retreat. You get to meet everyone else in dribs and drabs (great for remembering names), explore the environment, and have some extra processing time in a peaceful environment at the end. Cuenca (local city) is also worth a few days, as is a trip to Chordeleg if you have an interest in silver jewellery (it is absolutely beautiful!).
What a Paradise to stay. Very professionaly organized. A unforgettable experience that gave me important insights. Thank you very much.
Where love, peace, and healing take place.
If you are looking for plant medicines in a good and safe environment, Gaia Sagrada has everything you need for your journey, all the staff and volunteers who work are very helpful, loving and caring, Salvador and Amelia ( The shamans ) are beautiful people , and I’m very grateful for the all the work they do to everyone.
The facilities are simple but super comfortable, pleasant beds, hot shower, and yummy tasty food and different activities every day, this is definitely a great option for sacred ceremonies. I’m definitely will be back!!!
Thank everyone, especially Cristine for creating Gaia Sagrada where love, peace, and healing take place.
Peace and Love <3
I spent a lot of time researching and reviewing ayahuasca ceremonies before I came to Gaia Sagrada. Gaia Sagrada’s retreat offered far more than I could have imagined: authentic, highly skilled and attuned shamans, beautiful and moving ceremonies, gorgeous food and surrorundings, and the most supportive, loving and amazing staff. Most importantly, even by the second ceremony, I felt huge shifts in healing, consciousness and understanding, and insight and transformation throughout the retreat, and beyond The attention to detail – comfort, relationship, care – was astonishing, given the size of the center and group. Our group of 30 came as strangers, and we left as family. If you are looking for healing in a beautiful and supportive environment, this is the place.
I did the 12 day retreat at Gaia Sagrada and could not have been more HAPPIER with my decision. I chose Gaia because it was in Andes as well as that they offer not just Ayahusaca ceremonies but also San Pedro and Sweat Lodge (my favourite!) that I had not seem many other places offer. This gave me the opportunity to grow with more than one plant medicine and ceremony.
Here is a summary of why I think Gaia Sagrada is a wonderful place for you to begin your journey:
* You are completely supported during your process. There are Work Exchangers who help you throughout the ceremonies and in between. You can always approach any of them for a chat, they are super friendly and compassionate.
* Shamans are warm and kind natured people.They speak English which is great and they stick to tradition so it’s not here you go here’s your Ayahuasca, they spend time in prayer and conduct rituals before handing out any plant medicine
* The food is great, you wont go hungry! They are pretty creative in there and can do lots of great healthy meals
* They do sharing circles too, so everyone can talk about their experiences as a “family”. Can be confronting at first but it’s kinda nice at the same time, something I imagine group therapy to be like.
* There is a cottage you can hang out it, it’s really cool with a seat swing and a fire place…you can connect to Wi-Fi and hang reading a book or writing a journal.
* They have GORGEOUS dogs on the property that love a good cuddle
* I didn’t stay in the Dorm but in the 2 bed private room and was very comfortable. Facilities were CLEANED EVERY DAY. Showers and toilets were always clean!
In summary, I HIGHLY recommend Gaia Sagrada. I would say that you are better off doing the 12 day retreat. Quite a few people who did the shorter retreat wished they had completed the 12 day.
Hope this post helps and all the best on your journey.
Fabulous compound in the great hills near Cuenca, Ecuador. Loving and helpful staff. Shamans’ skilled and artful guidance opened up attendees to deep experience. Food was soooo welcome and delicious! The time flowed by, and with deep gratitude and some sadness, my five day journey was over. I’d gladly go again.
Bonjour à tous les francophones,
Bon déjà, premier commentaire en français pour Gaia, et ça mérite clairement !! Je vous conseille d’y aller les yeux fermés, c’est pas pour rien si c’est la deuxième retraite spirituelle la mieux notée de ce site.
Les cérémonies sont menées en anglais. Il est donc fortement conseillé de parler anglais couramment. Les Shamans parlent évidemment espagnol mais la plupart des participants sont anglophones.
Les installations sont magnifiques, les photos ne rendent pas du tout justice à ce coin de paradis paumé dans la cordillère des Andes. Le centre dispose de tout le confort moderne, j’étais en dortoir et le lit était confortable, j’avais une couette et un oreiller, pépère quoi. Les parties communes sont aménagées et joliment décorées. Si vous voulez vous isoler, la taille du terrain vous le permet amplement.
Le gros avantage par rapport aux centres spirituels péruviens c’est que l’Équateur veille au grain et ne laisse pas n’importe qui ouvrir ce genre d’établissement. Par ailleurs Gaia Sagrada se trouvant à environ 2600 mètres d’altitude, il n’y a pas de moustiques !
Que dire des Shamans… Que j’ai aucune espèce d’envie d’en essayer d’autres !
-Christine, la taulière, la patronne, la madre, la fondatrice de Gaia Sagrada, sa spécialité c’est les cérémonies San Pedro. Tout comme avec Salvador, on sent son expérience, son style est particulier, il faut venir tester pour comprendre. On sent vraiment son instinct maternel avec nous, elle arrive toujours à trouver les mots justes, elle sait comment décoincer les nœuds sur le plan spirituel. Sa passion est palpable, elle est clairement pas dans le délire de prendre des sous en donnant deux ou trois visions à des gringos en mal de repères.
-Salvador (ce prénom prémonitoire s’il en est) a 20 ans de métier dans les pattes et ça se sent. Ses cérémonies Ayahuasca et San Pedro et ses Sweat lodge mêlent traditions et modernités, solennité et humour, rire et pleurs, réalisme et magie, les icaros (chants sacrés) vont vous transporter ailleurs. Il est en général assisté da sa femme (que je n’ai pas eu le privilège de rencontrer) ou d’une autre Shaman (Amalia, Sofia et Huaira quand j’y étais début juillet 2017).
En plus de ces deux experts, je tien à en placer une pour le General Manager, Jerry, cet homme s’occupe de gérer Gaia Sagrada au quotidien, et il exécute d’une main de maître, il mène aussi les réunions de lendemain de cérémonie.
La petite poignée de volontaires sera aussi là pour vous aider lors des cérémonies si vous voulez aller aux toilettes, parce qu’autant dire les choses, sous Ayahuasca c’est extrêmement dur de bouger ! Ils vous cuisineront aussi de bons petits plats à base de produits frais (Monsanto ils connaissent pas en Équateur ^^). Bref, vous apprendrez à les apprécier et à les remercier comme j’ai pu le faire.
Je suis pas du genre hippy, bien au contraire, j’étais juste face à un problème que j’arrivais pas à résoudre et en 12 jours j’ai avancé comme jamais je ne l’aurais cru. Je savais pas dans quoi je mettais les pieds et c’était un truc de malade. En gros c’est tout ce que vous avez lu et plus encore. Si vous avez senti l’appel, c’est à Gaia que ça se passe.
Je finirai en disant MERCI MILLE FOIS pour cette expérience qui a changé ma vie.
Hello to all francophones,
Well already, first comment in French for Gaia, and it deserves clearly! I advise you to go there with your eyes closed, it is not for nothing if it is the second highest rated spiritual retreat of this site.
The ceremonies are conducted in English. It is therefore strongly advised to speak English fluently. Shamans obviously speak Spanish, but most of the participants are English speakers.
The facilities are beautiful, the photos do not do justice to this corner of paradise lost in the Andes. The center has all the modern comforts, I was in dormitory and the bed was comfortable, I had a duvet and a pillow, cushy what. The common areas are furnished and nicely decorated. If you want to isolate yourself, the size of the land allows you to do so.
The big advantage with regard to the Peruvian spiritual centers is that Ecuador keeps a watchful eye and does not let anyone open this kind of establishment. Besides Gaia Sagrada being at about 2600 meters above sea level, there are no mosquitoes!
What to say Shamans … I have no desire to try others!
-Christine, the taulière, the boss, the madre, the founder of Gaia Sagrada, her specialty is the ceremonies San Pedro. Just as with Salvador, we feel his experience, his style is particular, we must come to test to understand. We really feel her maternal instinct with us, she always manages to find the right words, she knows how to loosen the knots spiritually. Her passion is palpable, she is clearly not in the delirium of taking pennies by giving two or three visions to gringos in need of landmarks.
-Salvador (this premonitory name if it is) has 20 years of work in the legs and it feels. Its ceremonies Ayahuasca and San Pedro and its Sweat lodge mix traditions and modernities, solemnity and humor, laughter and tears, realism and magic, the icaros (sacred songs) will carry you elsewhere. He is usually assisted by his wife (whom I did not have the privilege to meet) or by another Shaman (Amalia, Sofia and Huaira when I was there in early July 2017).
In addition to these two experts, I want to place one for the General Manager, Jerry, this man deals with managing Gaia Sagrada on a daily basis, and he performs with a master hand, he also leads meetings the day after ceremony.
The small handful of volunteers will also be there to help you during the ceremonies if you want to go to the bathroom, because so much to say, under Ayahuasca it’s extremely hard to move! They will also cook good meals based on fresh produce (Monsanto they do not know in Ecuador ^^). In short, you will learn to appreciate and thank them as I was able to do.
I’m not the type hippy, on the contrary, I was just facing a problem that I could not solve and in 12 days I advanced as I never would have thought. I did not know what I was up to and it was a sick thing. Basically that’s all you’ve read and more. If you felt the call, it’s Gaia that happens.
I will end by saying THANK YOU THANKS for this experience that changed my life.
I arrived quite late, around 10:30pm, so it was dark but I could already feel like I was going to love exploring this place in the morning. What really warmed my heart was the Work Exchangers coming out to greet me and give me a hug. Something I definitely needed after a long 26 hours travelling.
I stayed in Casa Del Sol which was so cute and I had the room to myself the whole retreat which was an added bonus 🙂 Plus its near the showers so not too far to dash back to the room if you forget your towel 😉
The grounds are amazing and have a way of making you feel right at home. I swear this place is magic! The top pond is a lovely secluded place to go and meditate or chill out but failing that, there are hammocks everywhere! Everyone is so welcoming and treat you like family, its exactly the experience I wanted.
The shamans were unreal! absolutely God sent angels with such wisdom and humour which is always important. The ceremonies were just beautiful with all the love, care and attention you could ask for however, the songs and Icaros were completely enchanting and guided you along your journey. Makes my heart burst with sheer happiness thinking about those songs! The medicines were strong and the Grandmother and Grandfather spirits full of insights, wisdom and lots of self love advice. It was hard saying goodbye to the amazing Soul Family that we had bonded to become over the course of the 12 day retreat, but I know its not goodbye but see you all very soon.
This will trigger and inspire you to be a better you, show yourself some self love and book to go see Christine, Jerry, Salvador, Amalia and all the other wonderful light workers at this amazing retreat. It will be the best experience of your life x
Subjective as any review is, it would be rather incomprehensible that anyone would walk away from Gaia Sagrada empty-handed or disappointed. The staff makes one’s stay there just as comfortable as in a resort. The plant-medicines offered are as potent, genuine and com-passionate as all of the Shamans, namely Salvador, Amalia, Waira and Sophia. Gaia Sagrada is as unique and precious as each of the visitors that are called there. It is a place of community as well as letting be that which arises and dawns on the horizon of being here. Initially drawn there for the combination of Ayahuasca and San Pedro in the Sweat Lodge ceremony; not found anywhere else…
Far more was beholden and experienced at Gaia Sagrada than words can articulate. Thus, what remains is wordless gratitude and silent wonderment. Gaia Sagrada is a place where plant-medicines are held and ingested in the right way, with respect rather than make-believe and with humility rather than platitude. There is nothing to strive for other than to surrender to what is; that is sentient life’s wonderment and preciousness…
For those wanting to breathe
For those here
This is for you
The greatest gift you can give to anyone is that of the care of yourself
And undoubtedly this will be one of the hardest walks you will ever go on
The benefit of taking the journey of at Gaia is that you are shrouded in love
Individualized and uncanny support
There is something here for everyone
This is for you
Sure, If you need more convincing read the other reviews.
But lets be real…
If you’re here you already know – THIS IS FOR YOU.
Absolutely amazing people and place. I stayed here for the 12-day retreat and the experience was and will be one of the best of my life.
Thank you and kind regards
My 12 day Gaia Sagrada adventure far exceeded my expectations and was the best investment I’ve ever made in myself and in my life. I went there with an intent to heal from a very tragic event in my life that happened in 2014 (the death of my adult son at the hands of police in my presence), but far more than that one life event was healed by the plant medicines, and the healing is still going on! Grandmother Ayahausca was gentle and loving in her restorative healing at times, but very tough and lovingly adamant at others. She gave me just what I needed when I needed it. Father San Pedro taught me to love myself and that there really are people out there who love others and do so with an open and willing heart. I’ve never experienced such a feeling of loving acceptance anywhere else in my life from both the shamans/staff and from the other participants, and I’ve made many life-long friends/new family members that I plan to see again. Christine, each of the Shamans and the work exchangers are the type of people I always want to have in my life, and I hope to have the privilege of seeing many of them again. Salvador is a wise, gentle and loving soul who is also blessed with a great sense of humor and Amalia’s loving compassion and generous spirit touched me deeply. The music was beautiful and touching and there are several very talented singers/musicians who contribute to the ceremonies. In addition, each of the ceremonies was amazing, and I feel such a sense of honor and gratitude to have taken part in the communion with the plant medicines and the shamanic traditions – they were unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced!
On the practical side of things, if you prefer to sleep warm, get a regular room instead of staying in the dorm (I moved to a regular room from the dorm a few days into the retreat). My body temperature is two degrees lower than average, so even with three wool blankets, I froze most nights until my room change. Also, bring warmer clothing rather than shorts and t-shirts. A winter hat, warm coat, gloves and wool socks will help in a big way during the Ayahausca ceremonies, and I was very happy that I brought my eye mask to help me focus on my inner self without the distractions from outside sources.
Finally, if you are a single woman wondering if it is wise to be traveling alone to Ecuador to attend this retreat in Cuenca, rest easy that the trip will be safe, if not a bit challenging for those who do not speak Spanish, like myself. My friends and family members were concerned about my being kidnapped and human trafficked (lol), but they had nothing to be concerned about. Other than the tarantulas, the most frightening thing that happened was trying to find out whether my luggage had been sent through from Guayaquil to Cuenca (which it was, and I shouldn’t have worried). So, if Mother Aya is calling you like she called me, don’t hesitate – book your retreat and your flight today!
Gaia Sagrada is a beautiful place that welcomes you with rolling hills and mountains. The service is wonderful, the food is really great, and the staff take very good care of you.
The ceremonies were so special – authentic and full of love and appreciation for all that Mother Earth provides us with. The medicine is good and transported all of us in the ways we needed to be.
What a beautiful experience! I would highly recommend Gaia Sagrada to anyone who feels the calling.
Ill try to keep this short and sweet although i could write a book about this place. it was my first ever Ayahuasca retreat, I stayed here for the five day retreat Dec 2-7 2017 plus an extra day at the end, doing 3 ayahuasca ceremonies and one san pedro ceremony. No issues with getting from the airport to the center, they sent a driver to pick me up.
Once there everyone was very friendly and warm, the food was phenomenal, simple due to the recommended diet but they were very creative with making it tasty and not repetitive. The accommodations were also great, hot water in the showers, wifi for those who needed it, books to read, food available 24/7 and the place was very well kept.
The ceremonies are beyond words. I didn’t know exactly what to expect but i could not have asked for a better experience. It seemed to me while I was doing my research to find a good place, that the whole concept of this plant medicine is becoming very commercialized, however as soon as I found that this place is non-profit, believes in money “karma” and asks us to help out at the retreat center, I knew it was the right one and not only am I happy with the choice I made, I plan on returning in a year for the full 12 day retreat.
The shaman who led the ceremony (Salvador) is the most admirable man I have ever met. His presence in and out of ceremony is hard to believe and again is beyond words. The journeys can be very difficult and painful but his guidance really helped me through and allowed me to reap the full benefits of the medicine. The other shamans who accompanied him were equally amazing from their wisdom to their beautiful voices when singing during the ceremonies.
Christine, the owner, who is also now a shaman, completed the experience. I wasn’t sure what to expect from her as she was visiting her mother when I arrived and I did not meet her until three days after. I was unsure but very curious as to her intentions with starting Gaia Sagrada, but after meeting her, there wasn’t an ounce of impurity there. The simplistic living of all those even remotely involved with the center, especially Christine, was evidence that they cared not for materialistic gain and solely wanted to advance in their spiritual paths and help others to do so as well, which explains the power one feels from the moment they step inside.
The only thing I would have wanted to be different is to have done the 12 day retreat (which I plan on doing next year). I can only describe this place as perfect.
I left feeling spiritually open, emotionally healed, physically cleansed and mentally clear. I cannot thank Christine, Salvador, the other shamans and all those working there enough for the impact this journey has had on my life!
There really aren’t words to describe how amazing my experience at Gaia Sagrada was. I had previously visited two other ayahuasca retreat centers in Peru, and none of them came close to the power, authenticity, support, and healing of Gaia Sagrada. The shamans were legit and amazing. They spoke English and provided a deeper level of understanding and meaning behind the Ayahuasca and San Pedro ceremonies. Often times in Peru, you may have a great Shaman, but they don’t speak English or you don’t understand what’s happening during or after the ceremony. Other times, I’ve experienced very expensive retreats that have nice conditions and food, but the center lacked authenticity, didn’t hold a sacred space for healing, and seemed more commercial or money oriented. Gaia isn’t this way, Christine, Salvador and Jerry truly care about humanity and helping others heal so they can be more conscious, loving and peaceful. I attended the 12-day retreat and recommended spending the full 12 days if you can.
Gaia is in the Andes mountains and it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited in South America. No mosquitos and clean water was also a plus.
Gaia really does have it all . . . great support from staff, a peaceful and safe environment, healthy but tasty food, and authentic and powerful shamans who have a strong relationship with the medicine (which is pure, not mixed with other plants or trees which other retreat centers sometimes do).
For me personally, I receive a lot of healing and released some significant blocks and/or energies associated with older memories and abuse. I will be forever grateful to the staff of Gaia Sagrada for providing the space and support I needed to heal.
I’m writing this review because I remember debating on a few different Aya retreats when I made the decision to work with this medicine. I noticed that many centers have great reviews. I’ve now been to three centers and also spoken to many others who have been to multiple Aya retreat centers, including Gaia. Hands down we all agreed that Gaia was the best.
Hope this review helps in your selection process.
I attended the 12 day retreat at Gaia Sagrada & it was amazing. The land is absolutely gorgeous, the people are fantastic and the ceremonies are beautiful. Jerry and all the work-exchangers/staff are some of the best people I have ever met. Christine is a awesome and has created a truly wonderful space for healing. The Shamans are amazing especially Salvador – a wise master walking this Earth. The food is clean and yummy, and very creative to boot. This is truly a life-changing experience. So so so recommended!
I had the most wonderful 12 days at Gaia Sagrada and it was one of the best experiences of my life.
I have done ayahuasca before but was naturally quite nervous as I didn’t know what to expect for the duration. My brother did the 12 day retreat 6 months before and said it was the best decision he had made and I totally agree! Some people did 7 days during my stay therefore they did not do the last Ayahuasca and San Pedro ceremonies which were my (and a lot of other people’s) favourite and everyone had become so close by then.
Seeing as you’re flying to the other side of the world, you may as well make the most of it and learn as much as you can about yourself if it is feasible.
It is the most beautiful setting in the perfect surroundings and everyone here was so loving and caring, including the adorable dogs who sat next to you during ceremony if you were having a tough time. On 2 occasions, Yogi was there to help me 🙂
All of the ceremonies were very intense for me; physically and mentally extremely draining, it was like having a full on workout. On the other hand, some people just lay there calm and still with no visuals, everyone had such different experiences. The setting in the Moloka was wonderful each time with everyone positioned in a circle around the fire and it was very comfortable and warm with the blankets keeping you cosy.
I met the most amazing people including the staff, work exchangers and Shamans too. There are too many people to name but Jerry, Christine and the shaman Salvador were incredible, thank you for looking after us.
The experience has given me a different outlook on life and has enabled me to appreciate the things that matter, even though you may not necessarily know what path to take. Food and water is so precious and you will DEFINITELY find this out when you are there.
The food was so delicious! A massive shout out to Francesco and the rest of the kitchen team for being so creative with every meal! You will not go hungry here, well, apart from when you need to fast before ceremonies, hence why you will massively appreciate eating afterwards!
I can’t recommend Gaia Sagrada enough and don’t have anything negative to say. I will always remember the good times here, as well as the intense ones and also how we laughed so, so much! Things are still processing in my head and it’s up to me now to make the changes in my life that I want to address.
Gaia Sagrada has undeniably changed me. The experience has given me the courage and the confidence to do what I truly want with my life. I no longer fear failure, I no longer want to take the safe easy path through life. I’ve always been told that that I could do anything I want with my life. I was the only one that said I couldn’t. Now I know that I can and I will. It has also showed me that I don’t want to spend my life chasing money to advantage myself, I want to make the world a better place, to contribute meaningfully to our shared experience. I have nothing negative to say. Thank you Christine, thank you Jerry, thank you Salvador, thank you to all the staff, all the work exchangers, and all the beautiful people who embarked on the journey with me. ✌❤, until we meet again.
I went into my retreat at Gaia Sagrada nervous, wide-eyed, and with no real clear expectations. I only knew that based on my research and their webpage, I liked their mission statement and trusted their integrity.
Now that I’m back, I’m here to give the highest possible review I’ve ever given to any service in my life. I am a well-experienced traveler (I am 36 and I have visited more than thirty countries, both on and off the beaten path, as well as all fifty United States) and I have to say that what you will get from a stay, no matter the length, at Gaia Sagrada will be worth more than any amount of money they could charge.
The staff isn’t friendly, they are like family. The food is delicious, nutritious, and cooked with love for the “clients” (although they would never think of us as clients) and best of all, the ceremonies aren’t watered down, westernized, or inauthentic…the Shamans and others who will attend you are the real deal: people practicing something that predates most western civilizations.
I can’t praise this center highly enough, for even with medicine and rituals, it’s still a five star experience based on the camaraderie, facilities, breath taking views, hiking, and amenities that are all included. Show up with clothes and an open mind, leave your cash at home, and relax and bliss out!!!
If you suffer from anxiety and are worried about “what will happen” to you, then you must go here, because they have done everything humanly possible to attend to any and all forms of anxiety that most of us first-timers carry into such an event.
I can’t wait to go back to Gaia Sagrada. Everything about the center surpassed my expectations. They need to get Salvador a shirt with a big “S” on it because he is a Superman. Major gifts were bestowed upon me during his ceremonies. Christine Breese is a very advanced person and quite frankly I’m not sure earthlings deserve to have her among us. She and the healers on staff helped me through a very difficult time in my life. I think going there, even just for the 5 day retreat– which was all I had time for– was probably the equivalent of 1 year of intensive therapy. And it would have to be an exceptional therapist to equal what Salvador and Christine and Jerry (and their guest shamans) did for me, and it’s almost impossible to find such a good therapist, so just go to Gaia Sagrada. They seem to know so much about the processes that humans go through, I think they could probably help anyone with anything. Many positives about the center and facilities: delicious food, magical surroundings, no mosquitoes, ample water and hot water, warm bed, decent wifi even, in the central area. I could go on and on, and yes there were some slight negatives, but they had to do with my feelings about the travel scene and also some quirks about Ecuador. Anyway it really was quite an adventure. Thank you to everyone at Gaia Sagrada. The permanent staff they have, and their m.o. for taking care of their guests, is exceptional and helped restore my faith in goodness. I hope to return very soon. If you are lucky enough to go, I hope you have a beautiful experience too.
My experience at Gaia was nothing short of Epic. The space is beautiful, nestled in the Andes, quiet, serene, peaceful, with various opportunities for you to settle in and relax. I’ve done a TON of inner work and yet I came with a profound intention. The circumstances of my life were demanding of me that I step up and be a me that could play this bigger game. I had just shut down my life on the east coast and was in route to California where my partner and I were going to resettle in California. I flew to Gaia and my partner continued into Cali to find us a place to settle into.
Gaia definitely met my expectations and helped me to fulfill my intention. The work was profound, the Shamans next level, the staff friendly, supportive, compassionate, and most importantly heart-centered. We were well cared for during ceremony as well as, and almost more importantly outside of ceremony. There was always someone to chat with, a fellow retreat participant on work-exchanger. I slept in the dorm and loved it, it was really nice to connect with the work-exchangers in that way, the men (in this case) who assist in the daily functions of keeping Gaia running smoothly.
Important for me was going to a center that would accept me, given I have type 1 diabetes. Gaia had no problem with that and was totally supportive and willing to meet whatever needs I had. It felt really comforting to know they could hold a container for me to work through the layers related to the diabetes. Salvador the shaman speaks english, knows what diabetes is, and knew how to assist me, expertly in navigating the layers that activated for me on the medicine.
I’d def. recommend Gaia, please, go. You won’t be disappointed. The work is not easy, but definitely fruitful. My life has changed since Gaia. I went in with a sense of what I wanted to achieve, and achieved so much more growth than I could have ever imagined. I was blown away by the end, filled with so much gratitude I could burst.
Honestly I don’t necessarily look forward to going back to Gaia, the work wasn’t easy as I said, but when the medicine calls me again, if it does, back to Gaia I will go. Such an amazing place filled with amazing people. Jerry operates form a place of pure service and open-heartedness and Christine is an ancient woman filled with so much wisdom and heart, that any moment you get to spend with her, will be a cherished memory for you.
And, please know, my world only touch the surface of the experience and what I gained from my two weeks at Gaia. Memories, breakthroughs, and friends for life!
So much love and gratitude,
This is an outstanding retreat! I could not recommend it enough!! Safe, comfortable, affordable and absolutely gorgeous. I had a truly life-changing experience here, when I arrived my heart was heavy with self-loathing, I was suffering from anxiety and was dealing with physical illness as well. The day I left I was the most beautiful, capable, flexible, strong and charismatic I had ever felt. I wondered why I felt so hurt in the first place! It was like dropping a rock filled backpack. And every day my calm blissfulness gets stronger and deeper. No exaggeration, it doesn’t stop building, it’s been one week and the energy in my heart keeps compounding exponentially. I can’t imagine going back to way I was living beforehand! If you are hurting in anyway, for any reason, this retreat will heal you. Christine and Bruce have built a sanctuary, they are knowledgable and passionate people who are committed to your experience. They have pulled together a team of extraordinary individuals, you’ll be inspired by everyone you meet! The Shamans!! OMG they were incredible people, it was a blessing to meet each of them, hear their songs and receive their advice. Absolutely authentic, each Shaman had their own speciality, their own magic. And the work exchangers, the people who cook your food and do your laundry, they are great people as well! They just want to learn about the medicines and how to facilitate healing. Really the community there is what sets this place apart. One dude played violin while we sat in comfy beds around the campfire under the stars, it was awe-inspiring! I will definitely go back! Choose Gaia Sagrada and you will thank yourself!
Very special place in a beautiful surrounding. Good food, great staff and above all a very good shaman. Must go!
What an amazing experience, I would advise anyone who is contemplating the meaning of their existence to go for it. I guarantee you will not be disappointed. I will be going next year and maybe many more after. I cannot express in words the love and compassion I felt while on retreat, needless to say it was an experience that not only changed the course of my life but is one I will never forget as long as I live.
Do I recommend Gaia Sagrada, HELL YEAH!!! You will never regret it, even if it wasn’t what you expected. GO FOR IT!!!
Gaia Sagrada is truly a magical healing center! Right away we were greeted with hugs and smiles by a large group of work exchangers who continued to take care of us throughout the retreat with pure and genuine kindness. The retreat is incredibly well-organized and the price is unbeatable for what you get. Jerry and Christine are wonderful guides throughout the journey and the shamans are all incredible. They create beautiful ceremonies and are very careful to pay attention to the needs of the individuals and the group. I love that there are both Ayahuasca and San Pedro ceremonies as this brings a very balanced healing energy. I would love 100% recommend this retreat. On days there aren’t ceremonies it is a beautiful setting to relax, have some much needed down time, (bug free!) and enjoy the delicious healthy food made with love, and there is an opportunity to visit the town of Cuenca.
A life-changing experience.
I learned a lot about myself and the world while having the time of my life.
This retreat is not only about Ayahuasca and San Pedro – it is also about the amazing people you meet here: the shamans (the wisest people you will ever meet!), the staff and work exchangers (many thanks to them for making this retreat such a great place!) and last but not least the retreat participants (you guys are an inspiration!).
I am very thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the Gaia Sagrada family. I will definitely come back soon!
I had an amazing time at Gaia Sagrada. Everyone, from the staff, to the work exchangers, to the other guests, to the shamans, were simply incredible people. The ceremonies themselves were beautiful and taught me a huge amount about myself and how I live my life – lessons that I can now take with me as I begin the biggest ceremony of all: life itself. The excellent shamans, too, in particular, made these experiences extra special. Jerry Rabas, the general manager, also personally provided an enormous of support to the participants. The food was delicious and always plentiful, and the grounds were bucolic and pretty. The only small critique that I have, is that the location of the retreat sometimes felt a bit isolated and even slightly claustrophobic given the general lack of views of the mountains (many of the buildings where you spend most of your time are surrounded by trees, although if you do some walking around the property, you can find a couple of nice vistas) and the lack of easy access to the surrounding areas/nearby towns as we were quite far down the side of a mountain. If the retreat were slightly shorter, this likely wouldn’t be an issue, however given that the retreat is nearly two weeks and it’s hard to leave the grounds at will given the location (we did have one organized day trip off the premises), it did affect my experience slightly. Ultimately, however, for me, this is a rather small “blemish” at an otherwise perfect retreat, and the positive aspects of the retreat outweighed this (I’d give the experience a 4.5/5 if possible). The equal balance of ayahuasca and San Pedro, too, make this place particularly special. I highly recommend Gaia Sagrada for people looking to work with these deeply profound and healing plant medicines. It’s not easy work, but it’s absolutely worth the journey.
This is a retreat center unlike any other. If you are considering participating in an Ayahuasca and San Pedro ceremony, look no further. The attention to detail and value of the retreat center in second to none. Why are you still reading this? Reserve your space today and meet your cosmic family!
I’ve been to Gaia twice. On the first visit, I was really just looking for the ayahuasca experience, without varmints. And there weren’t any varmints, except the cute ones, like fireflies and hummingbirds. It’s a nice place, beautiful, if that matters, and civilized. It’s also authentic. Sometimes I wished it was less authentic, but in the end I was grateful. I expected it to be infested with bliss-junkies, eco-Nazis and nutrition-trolls, but it wasn’t. I mean, as you know, enlightened people tend to be insufferable. That’s the thing; they were just lovely people, the crew included. The kind of people that you wish your friends, family and colleagues were like. All of the material attributes that get assigned to us, things like social rank, gender, age, appearance, education, etc., seem trivial and impertinent at Gaia. For me, that’s a big deal. Apart from the medicines, that’s why I went back. I wanted to see if that first group that I was with wasn’t just a fluke. It wasn’t. The second group was just as nice and just as fascinating. Probably not a coincidence.
Maybe it’s because Christine, the director, sets an example; it’s certainly not by edict or dogma. She has a massively impressive spiritual tool-belt. And maybe it’s the medicines; it’s a custom-fit for whatever you bring. Ayahuasca isn’t a joyride and no one understands what that even means without the experience of it. For me, it was an actual medical healing. For most people, it’s an emotional or, if you prefer, a neurological healing. Everybody gets a bump in consciousness. Everybody. The ceremonies and the shamans are devout, cool, reverential and caring. Also beautiful. A lot more than you would expect. You may come in feeling like you are living your life like an extra in somebody else’s movie but you leave as the star of your own movie. Even if you think of life as a mere amusement park, this is the one ride you don’t want to skip. I view Gaia Sagrada as a paradigm of social harmony. That would be a lot to live up to and at no time did I ever hear Christine refer to it as such, but for me at least, it’s a very bright light in a dimming world.
If you are reading this, then I am going to go ahead and assume that aya is calling to you. This means that you should just go ahead and plan your journey, and even if you don’t choose Gaia Sagrada, you should definitely choose to experience ayahuasca somewhere. So: why Gaia Sagrada?
1) You will be taken care of in the utmost way. You will be safe, feel loved all the way around, and it’s not just a hippie fest. Jerry will look after all the logistics and there will be plenty of interesting, nurturing helpers to see you through every aspect of your journey. The level of love, care, and non-judgement I experienced here was unprecedented by anything else in my life. I received more nurturing here in two weeks than I probably got in my entire childhood.
2) The Shamans! I foolishly believed I was going down to Ecuador to drink plant medicine in a circle with some other people, and that was about it. What I didn’t realize was that there were humans so full of wisdom (thousands of years worth) and giving and sharing that were going to impart all of their knowledge upon me. The ceremonies held just as much weight as the medicine, for me. My undying gratitude goes to Salvador, Paulina, Sofia, and Christine for all that they give. In my opinion, the Shamans alone are worth the trip.
3) Gaia is very easy to get to, the altitude is high enough to avoid some of the drama of the jungle, and it is a very comfortable place to stay. There will be people there to cook for you, do your laundry, and help you adjust to altitude. There is wi-fi if you need to stay connected, and some cool critters to lighten your mood if you have some rough going along the way.
Don’t be afraid of aya- she will give you exactly what you need- and Gaia Sagrada will help facilitate this the entire way. We will be back.
We went to Gaia Sagrada may 2017 retreat 12 day retreat and it was amazing! This place is in the mountains of Ecuador with a beautiful setting. One of the main reasons I decided to go to Ecuador was the ease of getting to the retreat center. I also did not want to fight off mosquitoes in the jungle and in the mountains you did not deal with that.
After experiencing this Amazing trip with my 2 boys, I am grateful to all the workers/ Shaman and Christine. They have designed a SAFE and comfortable place for people to do real healing. I also could not imagine if the Shaman did not speak English due to all the interactions that you have with them throughout the ceremonies.
This is a place that cares about you and your journey, whatever the purpose looks like.
Words can not express how much gratitude I have for Christine, Salvador, Amalia, Sophia, Paulina, Jerry, and the staff of Gaia Sagrada. My experience was magical, miraculous, again, no words can describe how amazing it was.
The Shaman/Shamana’s are truly the most beautiful souls you will ever meet, inside and out. So kind, gentle, humble and yet so VERY POWERFUL and FULL of WISDOM. They are all true examples of what being a human should be, they all carry such wisdom and grace. Their work is their passion and I could truly feel how much they love what they do and how much love they have for the universe and man kind. That in itself is worth making the trip to Gaia Sagrada.
The experience I had with the medicine in combination with the wisdom and love of the Shamans was beyond miraculous, again, their are no words in the human vocabulary to describe how incredible it was. I followed my intuition and it led me to Gaia Sagrada and now I know why. The combination of Ayahuasca, San Pedro and the wisdom of the shaman/Shamanas felt like the perfect balance of what I needed. I could truly feel the difference between the powerful healing feminine energy of ayahuasca and the powerful healing masculine energy of San Pedro. Aya gave me back my power and San Pedro showed me how to harness it.
The Sweat lodge was my FAVORITE ceremony, it truly opened me up to the feeling of being one with the universe. It gave me the sense that those who are called to do this medicine are not just called to heal themselves but also called to heal the universe.
Christine REALLY cares about the work done at Gaia Sagrada, she genuinely wants to heal the universe. She truly loves the people who come to the retreat, as well as the people that work for her and with her, she LOVES everyone. I could feel her deep desire to heal the planet, and change the world with the work she does at Gaia Sagrada and I truly believe she is making a huge difference with her wisdom and compassion.
Jerry is the manager and he too works magic, he truly has passion for what he does He is a hard working man who keeps the place running smoothly, and like an Olympian he makes it seem effortless.
The staff is mostly made up of volunteers, and they are all beautiful souls who truly care about what they do and why they are doing it. The food is excellent, the facilities are beautiful, clean and cozy. The setting is absolutely gorgeous, Ecuador is truly magical. I stayed in the dorm and really enjoyed it.
The participants are amazingly courageous people, the best people you will EVER meet! It is inspiring to meet people willing to travel so far to face so many fears. This work is NOT easy, but well WORTH it. I witnessed many people transform tremendously in such a short time period. It is so beautiful to see so many lights turn on with in the human soul. People literally look like different people after they take the medicine. When they smile now it is truly from their soul.
My time at Gaia Sagrada was truly transformative. I will probably come back to edit this review because words are failing me. But I wanted to express my gratitude TO Everyone especially Salvador, Amalia, Sophia, Paulina, Christine, Jerry, And all the fire keepers, Francesco, Chad and especially Nora and Jayson, two VERY talented beautiful souls. Also the Staff and ANYONE who is willing and courageous enough to travel to Ecuador to experience the miracles that Gaia Sagrada provides.
I want to give a special thanks to Paulina for coming to the sweat Lodge Ceremony, her presence really amped up the magic of the day. I was disappointed I wasn’t going to be able to work with her and experience her shamanic healing, so when she showed up It truly felt like a gift from God.
For anyone reading this contemplating taking the medicine, and it is leading you to Gaia Sagrada have faith that there is a beautiful reason for it. Gaia Sagrada is a a life changing experience.
Gaia Sagrada is a sacred place. I cannot write all of the praise that it deserves.
The staff and the shamans were kind, compassionate, patient, careful, honest, authentic, wise, and skillful. One can act quite silly while under the medicine, and never once was I met with anything other that absolute care and unconditional love and patience. The shamans are out of this world.
The site is beautiful and comfortable. The hot tubs in the rain with a backdrop of forest is my particular favorite. The delicious breakfasts. The comfortable facilities and reliable internet. Beautiful hikes. Wise dogs (who 100% help out during the ceremonies).
The ceremonies and beautiful, the icaros are beautiful.
this retreat is really a treat. I have been recommending it to EVERYONE since I went. If it calls to you, DO IT! You will not regret.
Learned how to love myself here. Looking forward to going back next month to learn more about myself. Life changing.
The medicine and support network to improve quality of life.
I attended this retreat twice: once a little over two years ago, and again in April 2017. Although it was terrific the first time I attended, it is now really at the next level under the new General Manager Jerry Rabas, with enhanced supplemental activities and support. All the below details refer specifically to the April 2017 retreat.
The ceremonies alone were enough to have a huge impact on my life, but when you throw in the opportunities to take group/private meditation and yoga classes, get massages, go on group hikes, attend a shamanic cleansing ceremony, and receive exceptional social support, the retreat was a truly transformative experience.
There are two equally vital components of this retreat that I think would be unlikely to both be matched at other retreats:
1) The Medicine (Ayahuasca; San Pedro): Ayahuasca seems to be the more well known of these two medicines, but after doing 4 Ayahuasca and 5 San Pedro ceremonies, it has without question actually been the San Pedro that has had the bigger impact on my quality of life. San Pedro does not seem to be offered at many retreats, and I don’t think I’d consider attending a retreat that did not have at least 1 San Pedro ceremony.
2) The Support Network: I would be very surprised if the support network at Gaia Sagrada is matched at any other retreat. I interacted with 4 shamans and found them all to be incredibly supportive, loving, engaged, and knowledgeable (and one is even a psychologist). On top of that, Christine and Jerry provided valuable wisdom and encouragement throughout the whole retreat. There are now 20 work interns at Gaia Sagrada with varying degrees of experience with the medicine, and I was totally blown away by their helpful insights and kindness. Finally, I found my fellow students in the retreat to all be incredibly inspirational and supportive.
The most significant differences I have noticed since returning to my daily life has been an increased sense of a) inner peace and ease in a human body, and b) security and confidence in myself.
A few particularly key takeaways from the most recent retreat that really got ingrained in me at a deep level during the ceremonies and will guide me moving forward include:
a) Being more authentic and willing to be vulnerable
b) Being present in the moment and having faith in the journey (resisting life less)
c) Letting go of my ego. Not be so judgemental of others
Some key changes to my daily life that I have implemented immediately upon return from the most recent retreat include:
a) Practicing two new meditation techniques daily
b) Starting a daily stretching routine to work on my flexibility (previously a huge weakness for me)
c) Committing to attend 1 social group event each week to connect with new people and expand my social network.
d) Implementing changes to my diet including eating more fruits and vegetables and reducing meat consumption.
I would highly recommend attending a retreat at Gaia Sagrada, and do not know of anything else out there that has a greater potential for improving well being and reducing suffering.
I attended Gaia Sagrada for the March 18 – 29 retreat with my girlfriend. We specifically chose here after much online research as it appeared to be the safest most reputable place to have our first ever ayahuasca ceremonies. With great facilities, English speaking shamans, lovely location, female shamans, sweat lodge and San Pedro ceremonies included this is indeed a fantastic choice for anyone seeking advancement mentally and spiritually, especially those on their first foray into these plant medicines. Christine runs the retreat with the best intentions and with all her love and desire to create a safe open non-judgemental environment in which to further her clients’ spiritual and physical well-being. With Jerry, Nora, Jayson, Jana and so many other beautiful people helping her she has created a splendid place to get into the work. The ceremonies are very well run with lovely music and often female energy, while some really cool dogs offer much-needed relief and support to those who need it most. The food is great with plenty of choices. Everyone who attends can be assured they will be looked after properly, with friendly assistants and helpers within reach at all times. Well worth considering!
This place is absolutely incredible! If people want the short version, then I can just say that my stay at Gaia Sagrada have been a life transforming experience in a comfortable, clean environment with beautiful people and some shamans who speak English.
Now the longer version…
I’m a pretty organized person, and before I came I would have liked to see a comprehensive review about different aspects of the experience at Gaia Sagrada. We have to be the change we want to see in the world, so now after my stay I’m going to be the one making that review I would have liked to see.
What I have learned/gained from my stay at Gaia Sagrada:
-I have finally learnt how to love myself and accept myself (Which have also given me more confidence).
-Even though it still can change, I got much more clarity about what I want to do with this amazing life.
-I know that I shouldn’t underestimate what’s possible for me.
-I’ve become much better at letting go and healing through these Sacred medicines, I still struggle with letting go sometimes, but now I’ve become much better. I really felt safe to let go and surrender to the dark things, because I feel so safe here.
-I need to open myself up and show my authentic self, and I have become better at it.
-I have finally accepted my relationship with my dad, and I got a completely different perspective on it, where I also see it from his side. As the owner Christine always says: “It’s not like you get a manual on how to raise a kid”, and I had to hear that a few times to really get it.
-Lot’s of emotional healing.
-A healthier body because of the fasting and the healthy food.
-I’ve had some victim mentality that has lessened a lot.
-Some of the best nights of my life. It truly is a party after some of the ceremonies. (No alcohol of course, but music, delicious food, fire, nice people and much).
There are 3 kinds of ceremonies here. Ayahuasca, San Pedro and Sweat Lodge where both medicines is combined, which is my favorite. All of my ceremonies have been wonderful, but especially the Sweat Lodge is something that has surprised me. Before I came I was a little afraid, because I didn’t know if it would be too hot or uncomfortable in such a Sweat Lodge, but to my surprise those were my favorite ceremonies. The heat made it comfortable and there is a surprising synergy between the two medicines. Both the San Pedro and the Ayahuasca is really strong at this place, but if you want you can just ask for a half cup.
Both the Ayahuasca ceremonies and San Pedro ceremonies are beautiful. The San Pedro medicine lasts at least twice as long as the ayahuasca, so the San Pedro ceremonies are longer, but they have structured the ceremonies in a way so you won’t get bored. In the Ayahuasca ceremonies I have travelled deep inside and experienced lots of crazy visuals and got lots of emotional healing, and I’ve got life changing insights from my San Pedro ceremonies. But everyone’s experience of the medicines is different.
There are more shamans than the ones I mention, but I’m briefly going to describe the ones I’ve had the most experience with.
Salvador is really an awesome shaman. He’s funny, good at English and knows just what to say whenever I have asked about anything. His wife Paulina also works here and her and the other girls lead beautiful ayahuasca ceremonies, where you can really feel the feminine energy in a good way. Really comforting. Sometimes Paulina and Salvador have had ceremonies together, which I have heard is magical. Sometimes Salvador brings his friend Johnny to San Pedro which is truly magical. I don’t know how Johnny does it, but he have done some cleaning on me, and it’s magical, it’s like he sees some things I do not see. I did a cleaning with Amalia in the start of the retreat which was really good. I’m always skeptical about those kinds of things, but I really did feel a difference afterwards. I felt more connected, centered, happy, grounded and relaxed. The Sweat Lodge shaman Sofia is also a really beautiful soul, where you can also just feel her deep compassion for everybody.
It’s on a beautiful mountain, only 1 hour away from Cuenca which has been enjoyable. The air is really clean and the energy is really good in this place, so I felt like I was on ecstasy when I came, it was really wonderful. There was 3 dogs walking around while I was here and they are all really friendly and nice. At other places on the big 50 acres land there are horses and cows.
It’s really comfortable. I lived in the dorm and it was nice, comfortable and silent, which I was worried about when choosing Dorm. It was also a nice way to meet some of the people I was here with. There’s hot tubs, hot showers, good kitchen facilities, tv room, yoga room indoors and outdoors, outside eating area, common room with fire, 2-3 guitar which was perfect for me since I play guitar and couldn’t bring my own. It is 50$ guitars, but you can actually get something pretty solid for that price here in Ecuador, so I was able to entertain the other people with good sound from the guitar (they also have capo for the guitar, bongo drums and other different percussion stuff).
I know that this is something I really was curious about before I came. I love food.
The food is delicious, healthy and change from day to day, so it is easy to stay healthy. I lost a lot of weight while I was here.
We get three meals a day. Breakfast from 8-10, lunch at 12:30 and dinner at 18:30. But if we are hungry before, after or inbetween meals we have 24 hour access to different fruits, bread and snacks.
The people, the work exchangers, and other staff:
The work exchangers are good at melting in with the guests and often good friendships comes as a result. In my experience everyone could talk to everyone and you really feel like a family after a few days together. I was lucky that other guests were musicians so I had people to jam with, and my guess would be that there often are musicians at these retreats since many people who are drawn to plant medicines are drawn to music and the other way around I believe. The manager Jerry is hard working but takes it all with a smile and has a warm, funny and friendly personality. The owner Christine is really like a mother for us all and has so much wisdom. I have had so much benefit from her talks and from when I’ve talked with her. We also did some Guitar Jamming which was pretty cool.
So overall a fantastic experience. If you have any questions about my experience at Gaia Sagrada, then feel free to message me.
The best decision I’ve ever made. I researched quite a bit before choosing Gaia Sagrada. Everything about the experience was 110% – the ceremonies, the shamans, the accommodation, the healty & tasty food, the level of care, attention and integrity, the sense of connection.
The results – I received everything I asked for, and more. The medicines were profound and appropriate and I always felt well-cared for during the ceremonies, which were beautifully conducted.
I’d recommend this experience to anyone.
The first of many rules at Gaia Sagrada is to not say anything negative about Gaia Sagrada, and to not leave a negative review. If you’re wondering why there’s very little honest reviews about the place, it is because everyone is under a gag order to not express themselves if they disagree with what happens there. It is a beautiful place with great facilities, comfortable beds, hot showers, beautiful animals, awesome people, breathtaking landscapes….but it also has its downside. It is run with a top-down authoritarian approach with a lot of rules that can make it feel a lot like a strict school. The people in charge posit themselves as “all-knowing” experts and if you disagree with them then you are doing something wrong or do not understand their superior knowledge. If you are looking for somewhere to heal yourself and want to be in charge of your healing, then this is probably not the place for you. During the san pedro ceremonies they offer a pseudo-psychological therapy session for everyone involved that all participants must sit through whether you like it or not. If you were hoping to commune with the universe and the natural world during your san pedro experience you are out of luck because you must sit in the one position for over 20 hours and listen to the traumatic experiences of over 30 people at the retreat and the sometimes questionable advice that is doled out in a slow and often condescending manner. If you are tempted to leave the ceremony and appreciate the natural world, then this is some kind of demon leading you astray or you are considered to be someone who is not supportive of the rest of the participants. This is one of the many cultish control mechanisms that they employ to get you to do as they want. If you leave the ceremony early, they threaten to kick you out of the retreat and not return your money. The ayahuasca is watery and not very strong, and the majority of people were not having the experiences that they had hoped for. This again was blamed on the participants either having too high expectations or that they were resisting the medicine. Christine is a well meaning person but can get carried away with controlling the ceremonies and it is clear that this can cause frustrations with the shamans. She makes it clear that she enjoys extremely long ceremonies and spends hours repeating the same prayers in a slow and drawn out manner. There are people who haven’t eaten for long periods, are tired or in physical pain, but she wants to be there so everyone has to stay. It wasn’t all together a terrible experience and some people really appreciate the way that it is run and gain a lot out of being there. If you are someone who wants to take some autonomy over their own healing and believes that they can make the best decisions about what they need, then this isn’t the place for you.
What a beautiful experience! I participated in two retreats. During this time, I came to know the other participants and work exchangers as family, as part of a loving and fun community.
The flow of the retreat is well thought-out; starting with ayahuasca, then san pedro, then a sweat lodge, another ayahuasca, and a final san pedro ceremony. I was initially nervous about the sweat lodge (in which you drink both san pedro and ayahuasca), but it ended up being one of the most profound ceremonies I’ve done.
The shamans are excellent – they hold the space with love and bring their wealth of experience to every ceremony. They are gentle and kind and funny. The process of becoming a shaman in Ecuador is incredibly long and intensive, and all the shamans bring their years of hard work to the table.
The work exchangers of Gaia are the wheels that keep the place going, and their hard work is evident. They are incredibly supportive and friendly and enthusiastic about plant medicine and being of assistance to participants in every way.
I have a lot of experience with plant medicine (having done retreats in multiple places in Peru, Costa Rica, and Ecuador), and I can say with confidence that the plant medicine experience at Gaia is top notch.
Wonderful and very insightful! The setting and accommodations was very conducive to inner reflection and soul searching. The staff was outstanding and very attentive! I highly recommend Gia Sagrada. You won’t be disappointed. Stew
Gaia Sagrada is a wonderful place to heal and/or expand as a person. I came to Gaia as part of my quest to grow and explore what this life is all about. I also came to get clarity about my future and heal anything that needed to get healed so I could move forward in this life with more ease and purpose. I got all that and more! First of all Gaia Sagrada is breathtakingly beautiful. Even before we took the medicine, the energy of the land the retreat is one went to work on my spirit. The weather is next perfect year round and there are no mosquitos to deal with. There are friendly dogs running around giving and receiving love too! The food is awesome, healthy and fits the diet recommended for a plant medicine experience. The staff and work exchangers are full of love and are non-judgmental and friendly. The beds are super comfortable so sleep was easy and restorative. There are great hikes and activities to do and they even schedule a trip to beautiful Cuenca or surrounding sights so you get a vacation during the healing!
The plant medicine part is nothing short of PROFOUND. Trying to explain it in words is hard but let me just say that in my group we had some seriously heavy and tough work that people had to do. We bonded right off the bat and people really opened up about their pain and I think that’s when the healing really took hold. This is a place you can let it all go, open up and KNOW that people are there with you, going through it too and wanting you to get better in your own way. After our two weeks together I saw completely new people! I’m not just saying that they were smiling more or more friendly. They had an entirely new spirit and energy, stood a different way, voice changes, eyes sparkling. It was incredible. The Shamans are so knowledgable and caring, you can’t help but give thanks for the opportunity to be a part of this ancient tradition and receive the fruit of so many years of their training. The owner Christine Breese has the tools and expertise to empower people to transcend and move on from their past pain, she’s an integral part of the ceremony and a wonderful healer. Her partner Bruce is the kindest dude around and keep the wheels of the retreat turning. This isn’t a mill just churning out people and not caring about what happens after or if they are really getting to the root of why they came. If you come with an intention and the will to weather the entire journey and transform, you most certainly will!!!
The best shamans in South America work here! I was blown away by the instant connection I had to the staff and shamans here. Nothing but open hearts and any closed heart that arrives on retreat is quickly opened. Nothing but love lives on this mountainside which is such a beautiful location for healing. I loved my time here and look forward to returning anxiously.
I was blessed with the opportunity to arrive here in this beautiful place for a 12-day retreat. It’s really magical place with serenity and glitter (yup, you’ll be getting some)! 🙂
If you’ve properly done some research and feel it’s right for you, I would HIGHLY recommend Gaia Sagrada. It was my first experience working with plant medicine and I really enjoyed Ayahuasca, San Pedro, and Sweat Lodge as they all work in synergy to help whatever intentions you put forth. I did not partake in the special Peyote teepee ceremony nor private Ayahuasca session but you might get a chance to on your retreat! I really enjoyed how the shamans held the maloka space during ceremonies and I’ll always remember the hauntingly beautiful icaros that Salvadore sang. All I can say is that plant medicines are something beautiful to be experienced and has been the most profound experience of my life thus far!
The dorm accommodations were comfortable, food was yummy after being on dieta for 2 weeks prior, yoga sessions were relaxing, and WiFi was great to keep in touch with loved ones! The surrounding area is a beautiful 55-acre space for you to roam free and there is an opportunity to go hiking to the waterfall too. Karma yoga wasn’t too bad either as I did dishes, weeding, and gardening the San Pedro Garden (it’s beautiful too).
Thank you so much for Salvadore, Santiago, Sofia, Christine, Jerry, and many of the volunteers and attendees. I’m grateful that such an enchanted space exists for those who need healing. I will remember all the friends I’ve made during the retreat and how much of a bond we came home with, enough to come visit them on my travels next year. I’ve taken much from my experiences and still integrating what I’ve learned weeks after as well as trying out new practices for spiritual growth. Much love and good vibrations to everyone. Hope you are able to find your way to this magical place.
I recently attended a 12 day retreat at the Gaia Sagrada which finished about 2 weeks ago , and all i can tell you is if your looking for a retreat do yourself a favor and book here……….i did my research before i went and this place had the by far the best feedback compared to all other retreats even in Peru and after attending the retreat i could see why……..all the positive feedback’s are well deserved as the shamans Santiago and Salvador and Christine the person in charge of the place all know exactly what their doing and if its your first time this is where you want to be…
I had a amazing experience and after all my negative emotional blockages, negative mind chatter etc were gone and i was in bliss…..It was totally worth it and i will probably go back again for a different purpose 🙂
Came to Gaia Sagrada dazed, confused, and not knowing what to do with the rest of my life. From day one, I experienced: Beautiful place. Beautiful space. Beautiful people. Beautiful ceremonies. Beautiful medicine. Felt so good being there. My heart was aching when it was time to leave. I know that I will never be the same. I know that if I continue my spiritual homework and stay connected, I can change the world–starting with me.
You should come and see.
I came to Gaia Sagrada from Israel and felt at home from the first moment. Everything is so supportive: The clean rooms, the bathrooms, the amazing landscape, the stuff, the professional Shamans and Christine her self, making sure we are safe and supported at all times. I healed from cancer and I am so grateful fro Christine for building this amazing place and creating an energy field that matches the light workers to bloom.
I am so impressed from the organisation and the conditions offered, that I recommend my children to come only to Gaia Sagrada, where I know that they are guided and safe.
I just got home from a wonderful journey! As a next step on my spiritual journey, I want to meet Madre Aya, but Gaia also works with San Pedro, and I now know what a powerful combination this is. The shamans (Salvador & Santiago) are professional, very wise and always carry the beautiful ceremonies with much grace and lots of humour, although they are very serious about it as they genuinely are there to help heal people. The location in the mountain with its amazing nature is just perfect. The staff are very kind and helpful, their welcome hug makes you at ease the very moment you arrive. The other guests are now my family and longtime friends. I am sure I will some day return to Gaia as I already miss it. Whatever your purpose is, you will get more out of it than expected, I sure did!
Grtz Bart H
The psychedelic experience is influenced greatly by set and setting. What you bring to the experience, your purpose and mindset are factors of great importance in determining what transpires. This is why they talk of diet and cleansing to create a vessel ready to accept the plant teaching. Only you know the set you bring. If you believe you are ready, then the setting at Gaia Sagrada is no problem at all. It is an oasis of incredibly beautiful gardens high in the Andes with amble space for solitude or communion with others on the journey. There is a lot of positive energy generated by their lovely staff and work exchangers that creates an atmosphere of tranquility, joy and love. The amenities and meals are very good. Having tried both, I found the mountain venue a much more tranquil setting for the psychonaut than the jungle. I also liked the opportunity to experience both ayahuasca and san pedro from an english speaking shaman. We all are different, but for me the jungle/Peruvian ayahuasca was more visionary while the mountain san pedro of Santiago was top shelf medicine as were his transdimensional healing skills demonstrated in ceremonies that were intense and transformative. To survival in ordinary reality all these retreat centers have to be sensitive to these web reviews; Christine seems to be able to keep this reality in perspective and not let it encroach on the experience. It was a peak adventure for me and I highly recommend it for your consideration. Don’t miss the spa in Cuenca on the rest day and give regards to Yogi for me!
I’ve experienced a Shipibo Amazon Jungle Peru retreat and now Gaia Sagrada. I will say that much more healing and learning occurred here at Gaia than in the jungle. The English speaking Shamans and the love with which each ceremony is conducted is truly amazing to experience. One definitely gets plenty of individual attention even when we are reluctant to bring things up. The sweat lodge was to my surprise a tremendous tool in my transformation. The San Pedro ceremonies help create a bond among everyone and they are superb. The Aya ceremonies were conducted equally well and each person has his/her own personal experience. Very professional leaders and great supporting staff, location, ease of travel, peaceful loving environment – all made this the best experience I could have imagined. Five stars for certain.
Gaia Sagrada truly is heaven on Earth. I couldn’t flaw it even if I tried. I stayed for one retreat and then volunteered for 2 months after – about 3 months at Gaia in total. I have never in my life known so much beauty, love and light from a place and all its people. The Shamans have selfless, dedicated and beautiful souls. As they say in ceremonies that they put their lives into the ceremony and the work they do and this truly comes across in the best way. They keep it light and funny, they know how to make it a good time, but also when to be serious. And the Icaros will blow your mind and maybe even reduce you to tears, with or without the medicine to influence it. Truly their music alone is medicine. I have seen people come and go with all sorts of different reasons, traumas, illnesses, addictions, and the healing they all receive is just beautiful to watch. Every person who comes is filled with love the minute they arrive, right until they end, both through the medicines, the place and the people. I have made friends and family for life, my soul family. I went there as a depressed, burdened heavy soul, and in my healing I felt love like never before, and healed myself in ways I cannot fully describe. I now feel free, i know who I am and I know that I am love, and that everyone is love. After every ceremony I was not the same but for me the most powerful ceremony was the Sweat Lodge, I truly was reborn after I left the ceremony. The person I was before Gaia is not the person I am today – as other reviews say, there is a life before and after Gaia, and it will change your life in the BEST way. But don’t be afraid, you will be completely looked after and any issue you think is unresolvable, is resolvable. The medicines are hard work and not a quick fix, and its never a walk in the park, but so so so worth it, I promise you. The food is amazing and the organization of Gaia Sagrada by the volunteers and the Ecuadorian workers is incredible, everything always looks so beautiful and there is always so much love, you can feel it in the air <3 I have never tried any other retreat centre but I would recommend this place to absolutely everyone I know. Thank so dearly sweet Christine, sweet Paulina and Sophia, Brucingtons, firey Cythia, and thank you Salvador and Santiago for changing my life and healing the world. There are no words that can express my profound gratitude <3 <3 <3
ps. if anyone wants to ask me anything feel free – email@example.com or facebook Zoë Houghton, love and blessings to you all x x x x
The Saia Sagrada is a breathtaking beautiful retreat with loving and supportive staff that take you through the ceremonial process with care and expertise. I do not exaggerate when I say that hands down this was the most incredible, transformative spiritual experience I have had in my entire life (and I’ve been around for more than 60 years). I encourage anyone who is interested in spiritual growth and choosing to walk a life of love, peace, joy, clarity and happiness to give this tremendous learning experience. I am personally sending my 29 year old son in January. Can’t think of a better gift to give a young person starting in life.
I went there as a first timer in the whole ayahuasca experience. I was blown away soon as I get there. Awesome, lovely people and work exchange workers where the best!! The lodges and rooms where amazing as well. The reason I went is because I was suffering from depression and addiction for over 17yrs. I’ve been to rehab, NA and psychology. None of that ever worked for me. I didn’t have high expectations going there but wow I was blown away. Did 5 ceremonies and the old me died there and a new me was reborn. Love this place definitely going back. I would recommend this place to anyone that is suffering from addiction ando depression well worth it.
This is the retreat you’re looking for.
* Powerful, clean medicines.
* Caring and experienced shamen, who speak wonderful English as a bonus!
* Amazing grounds high in the Andes, under the stars, crisp air, without any hint of dankness you might encounter in the jungle. The property is beautifully integrated with local population who’ll always greet you with a hello and smile.
* Plentiful food that will help your body replenish before and after ceremony, usually prepared and waiting for you three times a day.
* Excellent accommodations that you’ll always look forward to coming back to after your journeys.
The pictures on their web site really don’t do the place justice and I’ve heard they are updating it.
I’ll be returning again..and again to realign with the universe.
I loved the Shamans but honestly my retreat at Gaia was a mess. I hope Christine is doing better but she was not in a good emotional place and I question her stability. The staff and shamans were all wonderful and so I did get a lot out of the experience. But, the general sense from my group was that we wouldn’t go back. I’ve also heard that this website doesn’t post negative reviews. If you’re seeing this then thats a very good sign. I certainly encourage you to go on a retreat if you’re considering it – but I would go elsewhere. I’m very curious about Lotus Vine which incorporates meditation into the retreat which I think would be enormously beneficial. I’m 100% sure they’re are good cheaper retreats around but would probably not risk it myself and would spend more next time – unless I had a very good reference or did more solid research.
I had been to three other centers in Iquitos, Peru to drink ayahuasca. I had done mushrooms in Amsterdam twice. I sought out G-S primarily for san pedro which I had never done before. I wanted to see what the cactus had to teach. First the setting is literally breathtaking, +9000 feet on the mountainside among farms, cows, horses, lamas, overlooking a stunning valley. Wow. So peaceful. The only drawback was it took my body a day or two to adjust to the altitude but then I was fine. Thus, at G-S I got to do ayahuasca again as the first ceremony. It was gentle, instructive, and beautiful for the icaros, beautiful music Salvador, Polina, and Christene made, and the fire was definitely unique. The second ceremony with san pedro was mind blowing for the novel and unusual way it was conducted, part theater, part group psychotherapy, part pyrotechnics, part council. The tag-team of Santiago, the hat, jacket, face paint, decorated belt, leopard skin, fire, and Christene, her experience and wisdom and motherly concern, it was the most and usual beautiful thing I had every seen. A knockout. The third ceremony with sweat lodge was by far the most difficult. Native peoples say the sweat lodge teaches through claustrophobia and anxiety–and although I experienced neither of these, I still wouldn’t want to do it again. The fourth ceremony with ayahausca was by far the most powerful and over-the-top. The medicine came on fast and strong. The final san pedro ceremony was held outdoors and while it was not as stunning at the first san pedro–I knew what to expect this time–it was probably it was best that way as a send off. The food was unique and very well prepared, bland but delicious. They gave us a day off and my group (7-9 of us) went to the ruins at Ingapirca which was set on this stunning (I’m running out of adjectives!) plateau in a valley. From there we went to Cuenca where we had lunch, sat in the park and talked, and subsequently ate dinner at this cool open-air restaurant called Goza on Calle Larga, if you go that way. In conclusion, Christine attended and participated in every ceremony which is mind boggling how she does it. She sat right up front with the hot stone and was taking the heat full on. She’s a talented musician, a caring and resourceful person, and an inspiration, particularly for women trying to find their way as healers in what remains largely a “man’s world.” She has an original point of view and something important to say. Overall, I’m still integrating everything I learned which I expect to take years. Ecuador is a must see, especially if you make the Guayaquil-Cuenca trip by van or bus: the Andes are truly amazing. In fact, I’m glad I came this way (while the Cuenca airport was closed) and consequently I would recommend this 4 hour journey through the mountains; I got to see more of Ecuador, the people, the culture. If I had any advice it would be to bring a notebook and take plenty of notes; it helps to a matter of discipline, to put matters in their place, to remember, to make sense of things. G-S is a good place to start, that is, if you want a taste of ayahuasca, san pedro, and the sweat lodge. If you want to go further into the different medicines, you can then branch out to other places.
I chose Gaia Sagrada as a retreat center because I kept coming back to their website and the vibes I got from it where simply vibes of caring for humanity, love and integrity. And that’s exactly what Gaia Sagrada is. Having done a few Ayahuasca ceremonies before, I am impressed with their powerful shamans, who not only speak english but also understand the Western world to a certain degree and the baggage we bring along with us when heading down to South America for healing. A shaman speaking our language was especially helpful during the San Pedro with it being a very interactive ceremony, there was a real exchange happening.
Aside from the shamans, Gaia Sagrada is truly a healing place, once I entered the gate of the property I could feel the energy shifting and it felt like leaving anything negative at the gate. Everything that is done and prepared at Gaia Sagrada is of integrity, the food is just unbelievable even though it is Aya-food. The fact that Christine, the founder, took part in all the ceremonies, shows how much she cares about the people that come there and made the ceremonies even more powerful.
I would and will return there anytime again and would recommend it to anyone looking for a retreat. Namaste!
This place is absolutely remarkable and the family of people behind it are some of the best people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. It is the perfect manifestation of what a plant medicine center should be and should be an example for all to aspire to. The shamans are exceptional and are masters in what they do. The medicine they prepare is made with love and respect and that goes a long way with those who take it. The grounds are incredibly beautiful and constitute medicine in their own right. Each ceremony is orchestrated with so much respect and beauty and with so much consideration to the true ancestral traditions. Christine, the founder, and all the staff and crew are some of the kindest people I have met and approach guests with so much compassion and wisdom. These people are in it for the advancement of human consciousness and our healing and not for any monetary reason. I’m so grateful to have experienced Gaia and will certainly be back! If you’re looking for a place to experience These plant medicines in a safe and trustworthy environment, look no further. Thank you all for all that you do and I hope that you’re able to keep on this good path always! Much love to all of you.
This is a magical place, anyone that is interested in experiencing ayahuasca or San Pedro medicines should come here. The shamans are incredible, you will be treated with so much compassion. You will have support and have the confidence that you are drinking the medicines in a really safe environment. I saw lots of healing take place and all participants became a family. While there is a diet to adhere to, the food is really great and there is lots of it, so no need to starve yourself all the time. I find it hard to believe that there would be other retreat centres as good as this, it really is a special place.
At this retreat, the shamans’ (Paulina, Salvador, and Santiago) singing in beautiful tones/ harmonies and performing with various musical and shamanic tools/drumming during the ceremonies were very intense but well balanced, quite powerful, and definitely soul touching and healing/cleansing, connecting.
Each ceremony experience felt soo different.
And I liked the required one day rest in between the ceremonies, just perfect for a whole healing experience. The medicine was very safe and powerful. Profound wisdom is well offered during my entire experience over there.
I almost never write a review unless something exceeds my expectations! Just completed a 12- day retreat with a lifetime’s memory of beautiful nature setting, fresh wind, beautiful people and angels/healers and plentiful of nourishing healthy food everyday in this wonderful, rare and magical place in Ecuador. Words cannot describe the experience!
From my arrival/ day one, I could tell that this place was right for me.
Everyone works there approaches everyone with a smile and open heart genuinely.
Much gratitude to Christine who is a beautiful earth angel who built this place to make healing available for others! She works with amazing shamans who are truly genuine! I’ve met many many healers before, and the shamans work there are absolutely genuine shamans/ healers/beautiful angels!
I would definitely come back with more friends!
This has to be the best Ayahuasca/San Pedro retreat. There were people here from many different countries. The shamans speak English which contributes so much more to the ceremonies. Then there is Pauline who added so much more to the ceremonies with her beautiful voice.
The two Ayahuasca experiences were totally different for me. The first was mellow and relaxing. The second was more detoxing and quite the experience. The San Pedro brought forth a spiritual healing and the next day I was full of energy. At age 76 this was a very rewarding and spiritual experience for me. If you are past 60 and in very good health, then go for it. Although the participants were much younger, I felt very much accepted and loved by all. If you are ready for a spiritual awakening then GAIA SAGRADA is the place to go.
It has been a number of months since my trip to Gaia Sagrada. I made the decision to go as I had exhausted all other options. Ordinarily I would be quite cautious about such retreats so I came with a fair amount of uncertainty about it all. What I experienced there was an amazing experience, not an easy one for me by any means but one which I would never undo.
At Gaia I found a group of people ready and willing to provide love and a huge amount of support for my journey.
Christine who was present throughout all the ceremonies. I was so grateful to have her there. Some of the ceremonies were a challenge for me but having her there meant I got through the hard times by just feeling reassured and safe by her presence. All of the shamans were amazing. Salvador and his wife and Santiago. Having had no prior experience of plant medicine and having read negative stories online I felt confident in their ability and their intentions toward the group were nothing but full of warmth and sincerity. The amount of energy they put into the ceremonies is tremendous. I am very privileged to have met them and also very grateful for Christine and the shamans to have come to together at Gaia to provide people with such an experience.
Not to be forgotten are the volunteers. Whether they were assisting in the ceremonies, cooking delicious food in the kitchen, tending to the beautiful grounds at Gaia or simply sitting having a chat. Amazing generosity and support from all of them. thank you!
Lastly the place itself is a little bubble of calm on the side of a hill top. The accommodation is modern, very comfortable and well maintained. There are a variety of spaces on the grounds from which one can choose to sit, chat, meditate, practice yoga or just be. Its hard to leave.
Overall I couldn’t have asked for more from this place I am very thankful for this place and experience. I will be forever grateful.
From the moment I arrived at Gaia (May 2016), I knew I had made the right decision; the vision and love with which Gaia Sagrada was built was evident immediately. The grounds are beautiful, the facilities are modern and well-maintained, the meals are hearty, the communal kitchen is fully stocked, and the work exchangers are so warm and welcoming. In addition to the wealth of information on the website (which addressed most of my concerns), once registering, it was easy to contact staff with additional queries, and the meetings during the retreat are comprehensive in addressing remaining questions. During the ceremonies themselves, which can be uncomfortable and intense, the kindness and attention of the workers on hand to help made me feel utterly safe and well cared for. All this being said, nothing can fully prepare you for Ayahuasca and San Pedro; it has to be experienced to be understood. What I received was far more than I ever could have imagined. My experience at Gaia gave me a way of making peace – with myself, my past, and with the world. While every person will have a different experience based on their needs and their journey, I can assure you that Gaia Sagrada is a secure and nurturing place to have that experience. What’s more, you’ll come away with a new family with whom you can continue sharing your journey, beyond the retreat… because the learning and insights don’t end when you leave Gaia. Safe travels.
I can only echo all of the incredibly positive things others have shared about the different elements of their experiences at Gaia. The one thing I would add is that if you listen closely and pay attention to Christine, the founder, and the shamans, you come to see that what is offered at Gaia comes with a big vision. The work they do there is intended to benefit the entire world and to bring about a more beautiful and loving reality. This is a retreat center that can provide a wonderful introduction for those just setting out on the path of spirit. But it can also provide an extraordinary opportunity for those already doing their spiritual work in any tradition. They seek to support deep awakening for individuals and also for the entire world. This is not just your average, everyday retreat center – they are doing deep, important and visionary work.
Under the direction of Christine Breese, Gaia Sagrada facilitates an outstanding twelve-day Ayahuasca/San Pedro retreat. I appreciated the timely, detailed, and helpful communication from the staff before, during and after the retreat. At Gaia Sagrada support, kindness, and respect are expectations and it’s beautiful to see how the community–from first-time participants to experienced exchange workers–exceed these expectations at every turn. Getting to and from the facility was straight-forward, the accommodations were comfortable, and participant access to exceptional shamans and a beautiful setting, made for an experience, which has profoundly impacted my life.
While other opportunities to attend an earlier retreat at another center arose, I waited 2 years until I could fit in my schedule a retreat at Gaia. It was worth the wait! Gaia is such an amazing place. So much love and filled with people who truly care and treat the plants as medicine. This is the place to go if you seek healing and transformation. I cant imagine going any where else. Everything was perfect: the food, accommodations, location, and people. The shamans are passionate and loving professionals and the owner, Christine is truly a special human being with a big heart. I will definitely be going back again one day!
Peace for the heart, body, mind and spirit, I felt uniquely at home at Gaia Sagrada, inside and out. The staff were more supportive during this retreat than anything I previously experienced as an adult. The shamans, Salvador, Amalia, Sofia, and Santiago each offer genuine guidance for relating deeply with the planet and are intelligent, profoundly compassionate, funny, and highly skilled. The food is superb, and fellow adventurers within the Gaia Sagrada environment were all readily supportive. The Andes provides a strong backbone for exploration, for knowing a land lush with rivers and peaks. Frogs at Gaia Sagrada pulse acoustically like contact between two sticks — it sounds like the trees are talking. Christine sings beautifully, and her good counsel and omnipresent love is the cornerstone for retreatants’ intentions to live authentically and from the heart — values which persist after departing the land.
Gaia Sagrada is one of those places which you miss already when still being there. When I was going to visit this beautiful places in Andes mountains I didn’t really know what to expect and I received more than I could ever imagine: breathtaking views, deep, amazing ceremonies, beautiful people and… mystic dogs! From the first minute, when I got out of the car, I knew this is the right place – you can just feel it in the air without doubts! This is definitely the right place for people who have never tried Ayahuasca or San Pedro before, because you can feel completely safe in Gaia Sagrada. You will never be left alone if you are going through a hard time, there is lots of people to help you (including beautiful and caring Christine). Every ceremony is really special, the shamans are amazing and they are true masters of the ceremonies. They are so wise and approachable at the same time. And they speak English so you can chat with them about everything! Don’t think that you are going there only to drink Ayahuasca, because San Pedro is an integral and really important part of the retreat. I didn’t know about it before but now I can’t imagine the whole experience without it! It is hard to describe how those two plants work together to heal you. But it is not only about taking medicine… It is also about amazing people you meet there (other participants, shamans, work exchangers and of course Christine and Bruce), about love and respect, about finding the way if you feel lost, about remembering yourself if you forgot, about feeling simple joy again, and beside all of this is about having fun! 🙂 I could write and write and write about this place, there is so many things to say, you just have to go there and see it with your own eyes.
I simply love Gaia Sagrada, I would love to come back there and I am happy for of all of you people who will choose this place for your experience. That is gonna be the right decision! So don’t think about this anymore, just go there and let the magic happen…
This place is not only about the medicine. It is the whole experience. The location, the people, the exchange workers, the Shamans, the weather, the workshops, and the founder Christine, she is an amazing person.
Firstly the location is safe, it is beautiful and green, and the air is clean. Coming from somewhere like London which is a busy and polluted city, the clean atmosphere in Gaia is healing enough just on it’s own. The land is big so you can take walks and have alone time in a completely safe setting if you wish. You can do some hiking, pick a good location to meditate or do yoga or even exercise. Nothing will beat the magical scenery of the clouds meeting the mountains, and the green view. It looks like a beautiful painting everywhere you look. Almost surreal. I traveled as a solo female and at no point did I feel unsafe. This is a very safe place to be, and remember that the director is a female who makes this place extremely safe for all women. You will see how women are appreciated and treated with respect here. So have no worries if you do as I traveled as a solo female.
The staff and exchange workers around are totally amazing, passionate and caring individuals. They are there to always help with a smile or just to have a great conversation with as all of them have experience with the plant medicine. From the moment you touch down in Gaia and until you leave they are all there for you.
Christine the director of the place is an amazing soul, teacher, and mother. Her vision, and purpose for building this retreat is for the bettering of humanity and this is reflected through everything at Gaia. She is at every ceremony, and is there to help with anything you are going through. Her talks, insights, lessons and workshops are mind blowing.
Now lets get to the medicine. The medicine is pure and the Shamans do no mix anything else into the medicine like other places may do. You meet the medicine at its purest form. It is powerful. Just remember to have your intentions ready to why you are taking this journey into consciousness in the first place and the medicine will give you the answers you need. All you need to do is have an open heart and don’t resist what it shows you. These medicines are amazing and powerful, presented to you with the old traditions. Remember to pay attention and pay the respect in preparation for the medicine in following the correct diet and be in a humble state before you meet the medicine. Life is way beyond what you think it is and the medicine will show you this.
Have you ever met anyone who balances professionalism, power, wisdom, humbleness, kindness, knowledge, and who can move you dimensions by singing? Well, you will do once you meet the shamans, and that is the least to describe them. They also have a great sense of humor too. When it comes to helping you, directing you, advising you and leading a great ceremony they do an amazing job. They also speak English too and they are so welcoming to have a conversation. They are willing to share some wisdom with you at any time you want.
Lastly, I have to add this as an animal lover; The dogs at the property are just beautiful and you will fall in love with them. You will make a ton of soul mates as you will experience this journey together. So keep an open mind and an open heart, be ready to learn, and to grow and you are in for the safest and most powerful journey of your life. My life is split into two: Before and After Gaia Sagrada.
Gaia Sagrada is truely a magical place. Seems silly to say but ive never been to a place like it in my life. I choose Gaia on pure instinct and I was right. The experience was transformative in many ways.
I completely agree with the other reviews left by my fellow May brothers Brad, Thompi, Alex and Ufi with regards to the medicine and the quality and the human nature of the shamens, the comfort of the place and ofcourse Christine who is so reasuring to have in ceremony. The geniune love and compassion she has for everyone is so touching. I recommend reading their reviews for more of the nitty gritty.
As for me I would summise the following:
1. You might get just as much from Grand father San Pedro as Mother Ayahausca.
2. You might come alone and realise after 1 hour that you came with about 30 deeply connected friends from all over the world
3. You will have a new found love and respect for both Water and … Watermelon
4. You might find that other group members or soon to be known brothers and sisters provide the insights into yourself and the healing for you
5. You might find you provide healing for each other
6. You may be blessed with others singing in ceremony or blessed with words from a elder in the group.
7. You might find the hills, trees and lights around the property are not all what they seem
8. You might find your having the most real conversations you have had in years in a hot tub in the dark woods
9. You might find that you hug people everyday and are saying the word Aho as much as any other 🙂
10. You might find yourself wanting to return one day
11. You might find out that ‘Yogi’ is not a dog 😉
Gaia Sagrada is a magical place. If Ayahuasca is calling you then look no further than this place. Christine has created a place of beauty and I honestly don’t know how she could make it any better. As soon as you arrive you are greeted with hugs from everyone and you’re immediately made to feel comfortable. The work exchangers are wonderful and will always be there with anything you need. Expect plenty of hugs whilst staying at Gaia! Before I went to Gaia I was told my retreat members would become my new family and this couldn’t have been more true. Get ready to meet likeminded people and create a new family who will always be there for you.
It is hard to find English speaking Shamans but Gaia has found some! The Shamans are wonderful and they are always willing to talk to you and answer any questions you may have. I always felt safe, looked after and I am still in awe of their knowledge and wisdom.
It is so important to have a rest day between ceremonies so that you can process and rest. You will have a family meeting the day after a ceremony which really helps you process everything that has happened. You will find that you’ll learn SO much from your fellow retreat participants and their experiences with the medicines.
The Andes Mountains are absolutely stunning, the air is pure and fresh and there are plenty of places to take a time-out and simply sit in nature and ground yourself. You can go on hikes, go for a run or simply take a 5/10 minute stroll and find a spot to meditate or just relax. Everywhere you look you will be mesmerised by how breathtaking the views are.
The food at Gaia is delicious. If you are a meat eater do not worry! The food is magnificent, full of flavour and there is plenty of it. As for accommodation, I stayed in Casa Tranquilo and I couldn’t have been happier with my room.
At night there is usually a fire going where you can chill & sit and talk to your new friends. There are plenty of places to sit and chill, there are benches scattered throughout the grounds as well as hammocks & chairs. The community centre has wifi, its own kitchen and they even have Netflix! There are also a few guitars and musical instruments which are great fun especially when everyone has a good jam session!
There is usually someone teaching Yoga every morning and some people offer their own services such as massage, reiki etc.
They say Mother’s know best and I feel Mother Ayahuasca was calling to me because she believed I needed San Pedro too! A lot of people come to Gaia as they are drawn to Ayahuasca but let me tell you that San Pedro is a beautiful plant medicine. Imagine your heart being cracked open so you can receive endless amounts of love, clarity and wisdom. I am so thankful I got to work with San Pedro and I believe I actually got more out of this medicine. I had so many questions and they were all answered.
My experience at Gaia was truly life changing and I witnessed countless transformations in my fellow retreat members. I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity and it is an experience I will never forget.
Thank you Christine for creating such an incredible place of healing and love. You are giving people the tools to transform their lives and make this world a better place.
Thank you Christine, Bruce, Salvador, Santiago, Paulina, Sofia, the work exchangers and everyone involved at Gaia Sagrada, and of course, thank you to my new family, I love you guys.
PS. I am going back to volunteer in August so to anyone reading this review and thinking about going to Gaia, I hope to see you there, you will not regret it 🙂
Stayed May 2016, Travelled Solo
Aho (Amen) to everything that Thompi, Ufi and everyone else has said positively about Gaia Sagrada Retreat Center, Christine, the Shamans, the food, the experiences, the enlightenments, the life altering medicine provided, the participants & work exchange family, the lodging, the daily schedule to keep things moving forwared, the dogs, the water ceremonies, relationships created, love spread, city of Cuenca. All of these people, places, and things made this a once in a lifetime unicorn of an experience! I found out who I am and what my highest potential is; I also found solutions to several of my hangups, and my observation of other participants revealed that they, too, were being helped in ways unique to their personal needs.
I had felt much despair and hopelessness in my daily life, for about 1-2 years prior to attending May 2016. I left Gaia Sagrada feeling love for myself and every single person I had spent my two weeks with at the retreat center. To sum up my trip, I’ll put it this way.. I cried leaving, as I rode away for my last day there leaving everyone and everything behind that I had just come to love. Thankfully I had Jud a little longer to share some time with on the ride to the airport. I miss each and every one of you, and simply know I’ll be back in due season again, hopefully within the next year. I pray that these beautiful memories created as a Maybird 2016, will remain in our minds for all of our lifetimes to come. Aho!
I’ve already rewritten this review a few times because I feel like it will never do Gaia Sagrada justice.
The place alone is so beautiful. There’s flowers everywhere, a beautiful view of the mountains and every detail just feels right. The rooms were more than I expected. It wasnt over the top, it was perfect. I felt so comfortable there. I was never for one second worried that something would be stolen or I’d get lost or anything bad would happen. I would knowingly leave my phone and other belongings some where and know they’d be there when I came back.
The wonderful people who worked there were more than happy to help you with anything! If you needed to know where something was, had a question about how things worked or if you just wanted to talk, they were there. And the food they make is amazing!! I’ve been a vegetarian for 10 years and I’ve never had that wide variety of foods before. Everything was mind blowing.
Christine is like no one I’ve ever met before. She has this beautiful energy and amazing gift to know how to make everything OK. You just feel so comfortable when she’s around. I was having a hard time in a couple of the ceremonies and she was there. Making jokes, comforting me, and making me understand what was going on. I’m so grateful she was there.
Now the ceremonies… I can’t even begin to describe how beautiful and powerful they were. Each and every shaman fit perfectly in the ceremonies. If it were anyone else I don’t think it would have been the same. Their musical instruments, their voices, their prayers, their jokes! Being able to experience these ceremonies and rituals alone, even without the medicine, was worth every penny.
I could go on forever and not find one negative thing to say about Gaia Sagrada. The second you step out of that taxi your life is beginning to change. The strangers become family. You have this bond, this love, respect and compassion for every single person there. It’s amazing.
I would never go any where else to take these medicines.
Just got home from the May 14th 2016 12-day retreat. I arrived with very high hopes for the medicine, and terrified of all the new people I would have to meet and interract with without alcohol.About 4 seconds after I got out of the provided ride from the airport to the retreat, I was jumped by ten strangers(now my soul brothers and sisters) who all gave me a hug and welcomed me in a heartfelt manner I was very unaccustomed to. And those 4 seconds were the last apprehensive ones I had during the entire retreat. The social climate is just perfect. Everyone there understands why you feel you need the medicine, and everybody respects you for taking the step to do something about your problems. I was as apprehensive to discuss my personal problems as much as anyone is, but it wasn’t even an hour before I felt that nobody would judge me, and I believe this was a huge part of the healing process aswell. It really helped me open up.
The shamans, Salvador, Santiago, Paulina and Sophia are all amazing. Their wisdom is too great to have accumulated during only one life time, and not only do they speak excellent english, they’re also freakin’ hilarious! Before and after the ceremonies they’re happy to chat with you, even for hours, and they discuss everything from ancient architecture, pop culture, plant medicine, the spirit world and everything in between. And now and then they throw in a statement or a choice of word that completely catches you off guard, and laughter ensues.
The medicine sure did it’s part, and what I realized, and hadn’t prepared for, was how the ceremony with the shaman’s wisdom, constituted a whole-package-deal, where the response of the shaman to any of your co-participant’s issues could just as well be applied to your battle with your own demons and problems.
After each ceremony I had an unshakeable sense that every single thought and worry had been anticipated by the extremely experienced shamans.
Regarding the medicine, it’s extremely potent, and all of it is prepared, blessed and served by the shaman who holds the ceremony. These are very serious and competent people who puts alot of faith and love in their concoctions. This lets them run the ceremonies with complete confidence and understanding, and let them focus whole-heartedly on your specific journey.
Christine has created a haven for people who are serious about defining their life purpose, rid themselves of emotional bagage and heal their souls, and she’s present at all ceremonies, always have a smile and a listening ear available, and is a wonderful, down to earth person. I have nothing but love and admiration for this remarkable woman, and apart from my wish that everyone in the world should go through these ceremonies, I pray that you decide to try Gaia Sagrada first.
All you need to feel part of the group, is to have a healthy sense of respect for others. That’s it. What made me decide on Gaia Sagrada was the emphasis on personal responsibility, and the fact that it’s purpose is to heal the world, not make money, Therefore there are plenty of options available for those who hasn’t got a fat wallet. For example, you can do work, such as kitchen duty, prepare for ceremonies, gardening and cleaning to name a few, and in that way reduce your cost for the retreat.
My room at Tranquilo(one of the housing units in the complex) was a single person one, with nice furniture, mosquito net windows blankets, towels and next door to the toilets. There are tanks with filtrated drinking water positioned all over the area, the facilities gets cleaned daily and the food is made from scratch, worthy of a Michelin Star and perfectly synchronized with whatever ceremony you’re preparing for.
I can’t think of any reason why anyone would want to go anywhere else, and I personally emphasize that people should consider Gaia Sagrada as their firsthand choice, as I do that they should consider taking Ayahuasca.
Thank you for reading, thank you Christine, Salvador, Santiago, Paulina, Sophia, my co-participants and the work exchangers for greatly helping me become the best person I can be. Can’t wait until next time!
Warmest and sincerest blessings,
Gaia Sagrada and the work carried out by it’s visionary creator and wonderful (English speaking) Shamans surpassed all my expectations. If you are curious about exploring and expanding your own consciousness, then look no further than this magical retreat in beautiful Ecuador.
The entire experience was a revelation, and I couldn’t possibly recommend it enough to anyone seeking true personal growth in a safe and loving environment (where wisdom, integrity and professionalism was exercised by each and every one of the passionate souls involved throughout each step of an incredible journey).
My love and gratitude to Christine, Bruce, Santiago, Salvador, Paulina and Sofia (not to mention all you awesome work exchangers and my fellow 2016 Maybirds!!).
Gaia Sagrada is undoubtedly one of the most precious gifts ever to grace the face of God’s green Earth.
Whether or not you are looking for deep healing, wisdom of the ages, or a clear path of what to do next in your life, let this be the sanctuary of your unfoldment.
I was blessed in my two weeks’ stay to come across some of the most beautiful souls I have ever met. Christine is a true angel. Her mission and purpose are pure in intent and powerful in scope—let her gardens of peace nurture your heart.
All of the shamans, work exchangers and staff working for and with Gaia Sagrada are true gems of a higher order—their work is heavy and lighthearted at the same time. They are dancers, musicians and artists of the spirit realm. I am so humbled to have been blessed by their presence and company.
The Andes Mountains was the perfect location for my ayahuasca experience. Instead of dense, thick jungle, my spirit was able to soar through the landscape and across the rolling hills of Ecuador. I am so glad that I chose this retreat as my place of centering. Gaia Sagrada is a blessed community.
Additionally, the San Pedro experience has been a monumental supplement to my renewed heart consciousness—not often will you find a center such where more than a few plant medicines are offered as a tool to unlocking potential. I am so blessed to have engaged these medicines separately, together, as well as in the sweat lodge setting. Speaking of—the plant medicines are indeed strong and profound.
The amenities and food were all so wonderful—you could truly not have asked for more. If you are looking to do deep inner work and really go the extra mile in excavating your love and purpose in life…look no further!
Thank you, Gaia Sagrada!
Stayed Spring 2016, travelled solo.
The staff is friendly. The shamans, Salvador, Paulina, Santiago, and Sofia were all amazing. The fact that Salvador and Santiago speak English makes all the difference. Christine, who runs the place is full of love and advice. You definitely feel safe there. If you get a chance, go.
I have visited the retrait 14.-25. May 2016 and I am fully satisfied. From the beginning when I arrived in the retrait center when the people there gave me a hug, during the retrait with all the ceremonies and the day off’s and all the possibilities everyone had there (eating in the kitchen fruits and further food whenever we wanted to, relaxing and chilling on the very nice big place with a lot of beautiful nature, playing music, doing yoga or just enjoying to talk with the people there, till the last day when I left the retrait center, I always felt much much deeply love there, especially from Christine who built the retrait center and made all this possible. I am very happy about my experience and appreciate it so much, words cant describe it and I still did not tell every nice thing I experienced. There were too many!
Thank you Christine, thank you to the Shamans Salvador and Paulina + thank you Santiago! You all were so special and helpful and I definitifely recommend this retrait center to anyone who just want to relax in the nature or who wants to participate in Ayahuasca and San Pedro ceremonies with very experienced shamans and a lot of experienced helpers with the perfect environment. I also appreciate the great work of all the helpers there in the ceremonies and all other days you were there for us all!
I must say, firstly I was not sure and just found this retrait center trough http://www.ayaadvisors.org but now afterwards, I am so happy to have chosen the right retrait center with the right people and the right location.
I will remember my retreat at Gaia Sagrada as one of the pivotal turning points in my life. The insights I gained and the relationships I developed with others and with my inner self have durably enriched my sense of peace and joy in daily life.
The shamans are amazing, the medicines are truly potent, and the ceremonies were challenging in all the right ways, but the unique gift that Gaia Sagrada has to offer is the absolute serenity and comfort of the environment Christine has created on the mountainside. The staff, the facilities, and even the ground itself all seem to radiate peace and tranquility. Everything seemed to be perfectly attuned to maximize the power of the medicines and promote a perfect balance of reflection, healing, and interpersonal growth.
I look forward to returning regularly!
My two weeks at Gaia Sacrada were arguably two of the most challenging, inspiring and profound weeks of my life. The Shamans at the center (Salvador, Paulina, Sofia, Santiago and Cynthia) are absolutely incredible. They are experienced, kind, caring, talented, and enthusiastic to share their tradition with others. It’s clear that they have the best intentions for healing in mind at all times. I felt so safe, supported and encouraged by them. Christine, the owner of the center, is also an incredible woman. She has dedicated her life to the healing and consciousness training of others, and is so good at it! As a female staying at Gaia alone, I felt extremely safe and that I was treated with respect at all times. The center itself is beautiful, tucked away in the forest about a 45 minute drive from Cuenca. The facilities are modern, comfortable and clean. The food (almost entirely vegan) is awesome! I cannot recommend Gaia Sagrada highly enough!!
This place is truly wonderful. When stepping into the world of plant medicines and making a large investment (both time, money, and, most importantly, emotional and physical well-being) into getting the best experience possible, one cannot go wrong with Gaia Sagrada. In fact, I will say that is a massive understatement; I cannot think of a better location or group people that could do this any better than they do at Gaia Sagrada. Although the location is absolutely beautiful (mountain setting in Ecuador) with lots of green space and quite country side to explore, what really makes Gaia Sagrada special are the people that work there. The owner of the establishment, Chrinstine, shows her dedication to her work every day in the way she runs her retreat center and how she handles her staff and customers. The happiness in this place is overwhelming and I believe that is due to the safe and open atmosphere that has been created here. Christine really shines during the ceremonies where her natural intuition and compassion regarding the people she is healing comes to the forefront in an unprecedented way, in my experience. The Ceremonies themselves are evenly spaced apart for ample physical and emotional recovery time (this is a very good thing, the ceremonies can be very draining and the body/soul needs time to rest). They are run by excellent shamans who can communicate very well in English and are willing to share their knowledge and culture for the good of healing (this is truly a treat and blessing to be able to experience this type of setting as a foreigner and should not be taken lightly). The plant medicines are powerful, however the space created during the ceremonies are very safe and all of the participants are there to help each other. One of my favorite parts of this entire experience is the level of catering that is given by the staff. First off, the food is EXCELLENT; it is fresh cooked every day and never failed to disappoint (on the contrary, it was expertly made and there was plenty of it, also the fresh platters of tropical fruit after ceremonies are to out of this world (forgive the play on words)). The staff themselves are always friendly and will hug you and give you a smile whenever you need it. I think one of the things that stuck out most in my mind was that they are on duty during the Ayahuasca Ceremony to help participants walk to and from the bathrooms to insure no-one falls down ( the medicine makes you a bit wobbly on your feet). It is the little things like this that make Gaia Sagrada so great. They welcome you into the space with openness and love and I immediately felt like part of the big family they have created.
I could go on, but I will stop here. This place is truly magical in more ways than one and worth every penny, minute, and emotional investment spent. Cannot say enough good things about this place.
Peace and Love
I chose Gaia to try out plant medicines for the first time and couldn’t be happier. The 12 days are organizes perfectly and everything worked out good. Everything was beyond my expectations. The people you meet, and the experience was definitely life changing.
I had completed an Ayahuasca and San Pedro retreat near Iquitos, Peru one year ago (2015). My issues were depression and PTSD, and although I loved the experience, I did not feel the healing I had been hoping for. I had no idea what to expect from Gaia Sagrada. Basically I was blown away. There was a perfect balance between the two medicines.
The accommodation at Gaia was comfortable, although it being April, next time I would pack warmer clothing. My only complaint is that I was feeling cold most evenings! Should’ve brought more wooly socks! The food was vegetarian and ayahuasca friendly and was prepared with much thought and love. I think even the meat eaters were satisfied.
There was a lot to do. In Peru we spent our off time just melting in hammocks. At Gaia Sagrada you can opt to do the “karma yoga” chores: we washed dishes, weeded the flowers, cleaned up the ceremony Maloka, and painted. We seemed to chat a lot more to the other participants, but also had ample opportunity to be off by ourselves if we wished.
The ceremonies themselves cannot be described as they are different for each person and morph with each ceremony. In Peru I worked with a wonderful Shaman named Mani, but I did not have the option of connecting with him on a personal level – we were not really permitted access to speak with him outside of the ceremony and also he did not speak English and most of us did not speak Spanish. At Gaia Sagrada the Shamans speak English and are very approachable. If you choose to get a personal cleansing with Salvador, you will not be disappointed. He is one of the kindest, most gentle people I’ve ever met. He gives so much of himself to each participant. Santiago gives each person one on one time during the ceremonies and the insights that came forth were life changing. Christine and the Shamans that she has painstakingly searched out share their own life experiences freely. This helps you to see where the medicines can take you when you open up to them.
At Gaia Sagrada I felt my mental health issues lift off of me finally. They no longer felt like protection for me, and were no longer welcome. I feel healed from my most serious barriers to life.
Ultimately we heal ourselves. My advice? Speak during the group sessions after ceremony. Say things aloud that need saying. Then open your heart without pressure and the medicines will do their work. Be patient. Sometimes it seems like it’s “not working”. It is, the medicines know better than we do what we need. Go to Gaia Sagrada and let them look after you in a gentle way and then take what you learned home with you. They can be tough too. Sometimes we need that. But always with love!
I needed my experience in Peru in order to be open to what the teachers and healers had waiting for me at Gaia Sagrada. Going forward I will be recommending only Gaia to the people who are interested in this kind of awakening.
To Christine, Salvador and Santiago, to Paulina, Cynthia and Sophia, to Yogi, Shanti and Raja (the dogs), God bless each of you from the depths of my heart. Xoxox
The whole experience was amazing! great fun-loving staff, comfortable amenities, and profound spiritual experiences with the medicine! will definitely be recommending Gaia Sagrada to all my friends!
Gaia Sagrada is beautiful, peaceful, scenic retreat. Perfect spot to reset mind, soul and body accompanied by lovely, caring and supportive people.
Christine and all Shamans are ” wizards” with endless energy and love. Ceremonies are cleverly planned and scheduled in orded to maximize experience, learning and healing.
I highly recommend Gaia Sagrada as a place for your spiritual journey!
Gaia Sagrada is a world class retreat center. Without hesitation, I rate it five stars in every criteria. Christine and the Shamans are some of the world’s best with decades of experience working with plant medicines and metaphysical sciences.
Want to cure a dis-ease, end an addiction or become free from illness? Want a life-time of healing in 12 days? Come to Gaia Sagrada!
You won’t find a more safe, secure, loving and supporting environment to heal. Hands down, Gaia Sagrada is the best place to experience the plant teachers and learn of the ancient traditions which put the responsibility for our lives, health and thought processes back into the hands of the individual.
I’m eternally grateful to Gaia. It quite literally gave me my life back. I’ve been there for two retreats, and yes, I’m totally going back.
I felt well supported here, and had some incredible transformative experiences. The land and people are beautiful, and I made lots of friends- especially with the volunteers who were very loving and friendly, and sometimes absolutely hilarious. In the ceremonies I got answers and leads into virtually all of my questions that had been causing me tremendous anxiety before coming down here, and if I hadn’t felt so safe with the structure and the shamans at Gaia Sagrada, I don’t know if I would be so happy and feel so much lighter now that I’m back in the states. This place is very well set up, so there’s very little to worry about while you’re in the retreat, which frees up a lot of space to relax and meditate and process the changes you want to make in your life. I hope you find what you are looking for! Perhaps Gaia Sagrada is that place 🙂
Ok so, Gaia sagrada is a wonderful place that has been organized with the right ideals for combining the ayahuasca experience with a comfortable stay and more then adequate support. I went down there for a 2 week retreat and I am glad I chose this place. Everyone there is incredibly friendly, welcoming you with a hug from the moment you show up on the property. The shamans are available and introduce themselves to you, they enjoy talking with you and getting to know you. After all, it is their job to help you out and heal you.
Accommodations are quite nice and were more than I was exp