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.
$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.
$1075 shared room
5 DAY RETREAT – come for the second half of the 12 day retreat, last 5 days, everything included.
$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.
Thank you for your feedback. We did accommodate a few extra people for this retreat as they were part of a larger group coming from another country. They begged us to let them come together even though there weren’t enough seats. There were some rowdy ones that we did our best to keep in line with the ceremony. It was a difficult situation. We are sorry that this affected your retreat. We have learned a great lesson and are making changes. It was the first time this has ever happened so we know now not to allow it again.
As for the length of ceremonies, Ayahuasca is usually somewhere between 6-8 hours in places that do this well. We are aware of some places where the shamans end the ceremony between 3-5 hours and leave everyone journeying in the dark by themselves. This is not a safe practice nor taking care of people in a good way if the ceremony is that short. We take care of people by being with them through the entire process and giving them the time that is needed for them to fully go through the processes of their journey with support.
The San Pedro ceremony is normally 10-12 hours but the language barriers and translation for so many people who did not speak English caused the extension of time. We have learned not to let so many people who need translation come at the same time. This was a difficult situation as well. We learned a great lesson. Again, this is the first time this has happened in all the years we have been doing this. We are so very sorry it happened.
Thank you for your feedback. We wish you many blessings on your journey.
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.”
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.
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.