- Nauta, Peru
The Hummingbird Center offers a unique approach to the healing and transformative process that is resulting in excellent outcomes for our clients.
Dedicated to Healing- We are a healing center focused on what each individual needs to receive the healing they come for. The Hummingbird does not accept people for less than a seven day stay, as we want to minimize the change that comes to any group dynamic when a new person is introduced. We have a history of excellent results for our clients and over the past year have helped people with diabetes, asthma, chronic fatique syndrome, fibro myalgia,arthritis, depersonalization disorder, depression, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, drug addiction and others. There are many who do not have physical or emotional issues, but come to improve their personal and spiritual lives. All have left saying they received more than they thought was possible.
A Safe Environment- We provide a safe, caring environment for clients to open up and face their issues, to discuss them with others and be able to process them in whatever method is appropriate. This helps a person deal with what comes up from their ayahuasca ceremonies. Believing it is an integral part of healing, we encourage people to feel what ever comes up as deeply and completely as they can, and assure them they will be fully supported during their emotional release, however it manifests.
Master Shaman- Benigno our shaman has 52 years of experience with the medicine and began healing at the age of 13. He is exceptionally intuitive and quickly sees to the root of a person?s problem. He has the ability to cure a wide range of physical and emotional ailments, has a vast knowledge of medicinal plants and incorporates good nutruition into all of his treatments. He performs individual healing on every person in every ceremony working with the spirit of God as he understands it.
Healing as a Process- We see healing as a process, so we provide the support for people to do this process as easily and effectively as possible. It is not just about drinking ayahuasca. It is also about what happens for a person before and after ceremony. Support for a person at our center includes:
Lifestyle coaching to help people understand what they are going through and provide strategies to deal with it effectively and efficiently
Helping people to set clear intentions for ceremony to maximize the outcome from healing in ceremony.
Circle meetings each morning after ceremony where people share their experiences and have a chance to get feedback from the shaman about the healing going on in ceremony. This is a great opportunity for people to ask the shaman for clarification of things they experienced during ceremony, and lot of good information about how ayahuasca works is shared.
The openess and honesty we encourage and facilitate results in a positive and supportive group dynamic where people genuinely care for each other and their healing process. Many clients have commented on how important the group support has been to their journey.
We provide a range of natural cleansing processes such as plant baths, tobacco purges, vapor baths and mud baths to prepare the body for ceremony. Plant dietas and additional medicinal teas are prescribed as needed.
A variety of reading material is available, both books and articles, for people during their healing retreat to help them understand and better participate in their healing process.
Huachuma- We also offer huachuma ceremonies (aka san pedro) to help people connect to the physical world in a more harmonic way. We have found that for many people Huachuma has cleared certain blocks that subsequently opened up their ayahuasca ceremonies. Ayahuasca and Huachuma are very complementary and the combination has resulted in major shifts for some clients that may not have occurred with ayahuasca alone.
The variety of methods we use also makes healing an interesting journey. Our clients aquire a lot of knowledge about the spiritual and energetic realms and how to maintain their health moving forward. This process has been yielding excellent results ? people are leaving healed and very satisfied.
There are many great things about the hummingbird retreat center, the facilities are truly fantastic, beautifully constructed, spacious and very safe, the grounds are guarded by armed guards and all the people at hummingbird are loving and can be trusted.
Jim is a very caring, experienced and intelligent man, he has a lot of insight about the vast issues of life that many people carry with them to ayahuasca retreats, and he is always happy to sit down with you about those issues until a conclusion has been reached.
At times, it may feel as though he is intolerant and impatient and it can make people feel uncomfortable, but as your time there unfolds, it becomes evident that he cares very deeply for the well being of the people and is always there to provide support when it is truly needed, especially during ayahuasca ceremonies, and in those times when things can get overwhelming, you can depend on him to help you feel safe and looked after, and even if you feel like you are a burden or being a nuisance, he will reassure you that you are not.
This center is about serious healing, it cannot be treated otherwise, the experiences can be deeply traumatic if you are not prepared, and a lot of time is spent having discussions about the relationship between the mind and ayahuasca and how best to utilize your time there, any ideas that you are there to relax and have fun need to be dismissed, the 9 or 12 days you spend there require a passionate conviction and commitment to even hope to do the healing that you went there to do, there is a lot of down time involved with not much to do except think, which is a necessary part of the process, as you are there to heal yourself, which requires as little stimulation as possible, with that being said, you will be very well looked after, you will get your own cabin, each of which have their own toilets and are very hygienic, you will be fed clean, delicious food 3 times a day and the staff will make an effort to accommodate your individual needs in any way they can.
If you are looking to experience the intensity and potential benefits of the ayahuasca brew, this place will no doubt provide that, but when you get here, you will realize that the real healing needs to come from you.
If you are looking for a safe, professional and transformational healing experience, the Hummingbird is the place to go. Ayahuasca is a unique medicine that as to be taken seriously, this is exactly how Jim and Manaïn treat her, with respect. The center, the facilities, the food where perfect.
We also met great people from around the globe that added to the experience.
We are planning to go back for another 12 days, Nathalie and I highly recommend the The Hummingbird Ayahuasca Retreat Center, do not hesitate, this is the one!
I have been to the Hummingbird Ayahuasca Retreat Centre twice now, and even more than my first visit, I found the place magically suspended from normal time with Jim, the retreat facilitator, creating a sacred healing space for the magic of mother Aya to reveal herself to all visitors who have the eyes to see. In this space anything is possible, and transformative healing can soothe the soul of all seekers. I will again look to this charmed place whenever I hear the whispers of mother Aya, and recommend this center whole-heartedly with deep gratitude and love.
Leanne from Canada
Professional, Legitimate, Safe, and Life-changing
This center is safe and professional, the medicines are high quality, the Owner and the Shaman are experienced, and the ceremonies were incredibly meaningful.
Jim, the owner and guide, knows how make people feel welcome and comfortable. He cares about the people he meets, and is genuinely excited to share the gifts of plant and spirit medicine with others. He looks after everyone, guides excellent ceremonies, and has a wonderful singing voice. He has great knowledge, experience, and sensibility regarding plants and spirits. He has a plethora of effective psychological and behavioural tools for rapid and sustained personal transformation.
Manain, the Shaman and Ayahuascero, is the man. He is a good man. He puts his heart and soul into his work. He conducts ceremonies expertly and lovingly, and plays the flute like a rockstar. I have much love and respect for these two men, as they guided me through an unforgettable experience.
The books in the common area are FANTASTIC.
Absolutely loved it!!! I was there in September for 12 days retreat 🙂 beautiful place, caring staff very safe ( it was very important for me as I was a first timer) my experience was beautiful and nurturing through the whole time I was there. I did stay away a bit from the people as I have decided to go through the journey by myself and didn’t want to be affected by other people stories, I was grateful for being left along when I needed it and cared for when I was ready to communicate. I loved my experience at Humming Bird so much , I’m planing to go back in May, ( Jim if you are reading it, please have a place for me:) I know I can’t ask for hot water in the shower, but I don’t think you will say “No” to making those beautiful orange pancakes:) I loved them!!! I would like to say Thank You to all beautiful people who cared for me on every day basis, who made sure that my bed is clean and freshly made, clean towel is always on the side of my desk and of course whoever cooked for us, meals were delicious! Thanks to all of you for making my experience so great!!!! PS.. I’m very bad at writing, especially in English, hope this review will help to someone to make up their mind to where to experience Aya:) love to all, Yuliya
One year on from my stay at Hummingbird and my life has seen numerous positive changes,it would not be an overstatement to say I have been experiencing a transformation in my personality,
.I was stuck in a rut.The attempts I had made at healing from the decades of alcohol/drug abuse and depression/anxiety,though helpful,had not shifted my life in the direction I wanted to go in.I was still conforming to old patterns of behaviour and therefore coming up with similar results.The years of self abuse had left me chronically tense and fatigued.
The medicine acted as a magic mirror to my soul,revealing the depths of my inner shadow.It was challenging facing the darkness within but a necessary process to enable me in moving beyond the behaviours and thinking that had been holding me back for most of my life.As a result I was able to see what needed changing,both without and within,and to put that knowledge into practise.I have since remained clean/sober and feel a growing sense of integration after all these years of inner conflict,as the fragmented parts of my soul coalesce and my insight into life grows ever deeper.A sense of clarity and stability is expanding throughout the different facets of my being.
The ceremonies were truly magical,powerful and humbling experiences,the changes in my life subtler and working out over time.It was subsequently revealed to me that my underlying issue had been a fear of taking responsibility for myself and this had led to a lifetime of toxic dependencies and unhealthy co-dependent relationships.I had been seeking freedom by running from responsibility and,as a result,ended up utterly lost and thoroughly disempowered.I was mentally,physically and spiritually sick.Having built myself a prison for my soul and locking myself in,Ayahuasca handed me the key.It has been up to me to open the door.
I feel that I can finally say to the world ‘this is me,I am who I am and I am responsible for what I think,say and do,and even how I feel,’ and that is just wonderful.(I have tears welling up in my eyes typing these words).Jim is clearly devoted to his healing mission and Manain (the shaman) is a pure channel for those forces of healing.I was touched by the reverence shown to the Ayahuasca brew,and appreciated the disciplined nature in which the ceremonies were conducted.I felt that Jim was always looking out for our safety and offering one to one guidance where needed,alongside the group talks aimed at helping us get the most out of the experience.
One has to abide by a restricted diet whilst using Ayahuasca,but this was without detriment to the quality of the meals,which were very tasty,and healthy too.The rooms are comfortable but basic and are cleaned daily.Any washing that needs doing is taken daily also.The staff were helpful and friendly,managed by Jim’s wife,the delightful Gina.I enjoyed walking in the radiant forest,swimming in the pond (with the turtles) and relaxing in the well attended garden.The rainforest is an enchanted place,and the memories of Manain playing flute accompanied by a symphony of jungle creatures,whilst participating in an archaic ceremony,imparted a sense of timelessness,wonder and awe.
I felt well looked after the entire time and that the centre was a secure place to be,which was important to me,especially coming as an Aya virgin,as Ayahuasca experiences can be harrowing as well as beautiful.The centre’s focus is on healing,rather than catering to those who are after an exotic psychedelic experience.
If you feel the call to work with this remarkable medicine,then I cannot recommend The Hummingbird Centre enough.My only regret was that I could not stay longer,though i am set on returning next year.This kind of medicine is intensely personal,challenging and requires courage.It is not a universal panacea,neither is it everybody’s cup of tea(sorry,couldn’t help myself there)! Although profound healings are known to occur during one session,for most it involves some hard work.As for the taste,I rather liked it.Surely somebody,somewhere is having a laugh at my expense;the fabled brew was strongly reminiscent of Guinness,my former poison!
Beautiful and relaxing environment, staff very caring and professional, delicious food, very clean. It is a place where you feel safe which is very important when you drink Ayahuasca. Manain the Ayahuascero and Jim the owner are devoted to assure everybody has the best experience in a secure environment. They even have a comfortable king size bed for couples!
This is the place you want to go to if you’re seeking deep healing on an energetic, mental, emotional, spiritual level. This is my second ayahuasca retreat — I previously went to a different healing center — and I have to say, the level of deep healing one can experience here at Hummingbird is extraordinary in several ways:
(1) The quality and experience level of the ayahuasquero is masterful — Manaii and Jim truly were master manipulators of energy and the icaros and rattling were HIGHLY effective at beridding me of that which no longer served me. Literally my subconscious was so open and having such masters literally pull energies out of me — I am so grateful and in awe of the skill level and experience necessary to extract and perform such exorcisms. I felt energetically scrubbed clean. Raw even. The ayahuasquero also performs individualized healings during the ceremony, which I found extremely helpful in letting go and surrendering. This alone is an important reason as to why this retreat center is a good one — all curanderos are not at the same skill level, and the emphasis one stresses varies widely. This one is very focused on healing.
(2) Emphasis on reflection and quiet time. I really appreciated this. While it’s lovely to have excursions planned, I found it much more healing and helped me integrate what I learned on a deep level by NOT distracting myself with wifi, random excursions out to some adventure spot, all the things we would normally do in our day-to-day lives to stop ourselves from feeling whatever it is we’re feeling. Life is really simple, I’ve found, and I’ve decided to keep it simple. Experience the simple pleasures. The distractions don’t allow us the time and space to actually process what we’re feeling internally. Truly experience the simplicity of watching dogs play in the pond, feeling the breeze on your skin while rocking in a hammock, contemplating your existence.
(3) The ajo sacha dieta. I’m so glad I did this. Three days of drinking a garlic-flavored tea, in conjunction with no salt, no sugar, no fruit, no chemicals, no electronics, no touching other people, limited interaction with others, limit reading, etc. This allows the body to allow further access to ayahuasca’s healings, without having to work through other energies that might be obstructing. It was very challenging, but I had no idea how effective it would be until the 6th aya ceremony. It was only then that I realized how much extra purging my body was able to do during my 4th-6th ceremonies now that it was more able to release these energies. It’s hard but worth it.
(4) Your own room. Yes, you can share with a friend if you want to, but I don’t recommend it. We have no idea how much our circuitboards are overloaded with all different kinds of energy, particularly those that are not actually ours. It feels good to come back and have a private, safe space to feel all those feelings we’ve been avoiding. Have quiet space just to be without distractions. Fall apart if you need to. Not feel like you’re bothering anybody when you have to go back and forth to the toilet, which is very common on ayahuasca nights.
(5) Jungle surroundings + dogs. Healing nature, with healing animals. I can’t say how important this was to my personal journey at the retreat. The dogs were such amazing teachers, particularly this little boy puppy who taught me quite a lot while I was there. They taught me a lot about myself, what kind of love I had to give, my own capacity. There’s also a lovely symphony of jungle noises at night. There’s one bird or other unknown creature who sounds like he’s cackling or laughing at us. It was actually eerie how often it would laugh when I’m having some kind of realization or insight.
(6) You can stay for as long as necessary as long as there’s space. I was originally signed up for the 12-day retreat that included 6 aya ceremonies and 1 huachuma. I extended my stay by 2 days and included another huachuma ceremony. I LOVE that there’s no set retreat schedule that one needs to adhere to. Healing doesn’t occur by set schedules, and if one feels a month is necessary to work on themselves, then a month is what one needs. I love that this retreat center has the flexibility to do that. The next time I do ayahuasca, I will choose my own healing schedule as well.
Also, I have personally found for myself that 3 ceremonies was just scratching the surface for me. The deepest healing (also most challenging) I experienced was during my 4th-6th ceremonies, also hand-in-hand with the ajo sacha dieta which helped me release even more. I really do feel that more ceremonies is correlated with deeper levels of healing. Do participate in more ceremonies if your schedule permits. It REALLY makes a difference.
(7) Huachuma aka San Pedro. Very important master plant energy. Do not pass up on the opportunity to work with this spirit if you can. There are definitely different lessons and releases one experiences on Huachuma, and it is very clear to me that huachuma and ayahuasca work in conjunction with each other.
I am so very grateful of my experience at this center — from Jim’s extra coaching and insights, to Manaii’s protective prayers, to all the compassionate treatment from the retreat cooks, workers, ceremony helpers who assisted us to the toilets. What a safe container in which to work on ourselves, I felt extremely well-taken care of. Thank you so much, Hummingbird! Much love <3
I am glad that I landed at the right place. There are many unpleasant stories out there about the many centers that have sprung out from nowhere to feed the demands of the multitude seeking to heal from the personal and worldly struggles.
Hummingbird is the peaceful, beautiful and comfortable healing world that I was looking for to further my intimate journey.
There I have found in Jim-the owner- and in Manain – the maestro ayawaschero- all the care and kindness as well as the expertise that I needed for such a sensitive process. Jim has been very attentive to facilitate the experiences and to support every one of the guests anytime it was needed. his knowledge and openness made all the better for me. The people working there in maintaining the facilities clean and comfortable were also quite remarkable. The facilities are well maintained and the grounds well kept and well arranged while offering a great view of the forest that it is “just there” in front of you. The food was good and pleasant. Since I was on a “dieta” for most of the time, I had little experience of what was the regular menu, but for what I had and what I could see for the other guest it was quite good. I will not speak about my personal journey with the Mother because that may not be relevant here on this platform. All I will like to add here is my big thanks to Jim and Manain for all they did and for how well they did it. I am very grateful for the gift of meeting them and my fellow travelers that I have met on the journey. Thanks to you all and Namaste.
Words could never picture the life changing experience The Hummingbird Retreat Center has been for me and others I witnessed during my time there. I’ve spent a month there and every second was a healing one, both figuratively and literally. The place is like a little piece of heaven, the staff is friendly and discreet, the food is delicious and most importantly healthy and the organization is impeccable. I felt comfortable and safe; this has become a new home away from home. Jim, the owner, is an exceptional soul, an amazing friend & confider, a tremendous healer and an excellent & competent professional. The Shaman and himself are doing such a hard, tremendous and sacred healing work on people every day that you can’t help but feel an infinite gratitude and respect for them and for what they accomplish. This sacred place is healing in so many ways and worth every penny and more. Besides the sacred medicines that will reset your mind, body and spirit to the healthy state you are born in (and should always be in), the fresh air your lungs breathe from the breathtaking jungle and the healthy foods you intake, this unique, magical & beautiful place enables you to meet the most beautiful, brave & wise souls out there, bond deeply & sincerely with brothers & sisters and make long lasting, life changing new connections with people you wouldn’t never have been able to otherwise.
That being said, it is very important to remember that this is a place for healing and learning; the process can be hard and needs your total commitment. It is important to remember that it is your openness, your humility and your attitude of sincere gratitude & respect that will define your experience and your outcomes. Don’t expect anything & just surrender. This is a life changing experience and change can be hard and scary, but like life, it is worth it all!
For those suffering from long lasting depression and anxiety; I was one of you, and for the first time in a very long time I can finally say that I am cured! I didn’t go there with the hopes of healing my depression because I just couldn’t face another failure and yet after a month I was healed; I am healed. And this is not one of those time when you think you’re finally free from it and weeks or months or even years after it comes back because it was never really gone; this is knowing without any doubt nor fear that I am cured from depression and anxiety. I’d forgot how freeing life without depression was and I am just now really fully understanding how strong people suffering from depression are. You are brave souls, please don’t give up and without expecting anything, give this sacred place a chance to do the same healing it did to me, to you.
Will I go back there? In a heart beat!
Do I recommend it? Absolutely, without any hesitation nor reservation!
If you are serious about your healing and learning journey, this is the ideal place to do it!
I wish you a great journey!
Jim, words can’t express the magnitude of my gratitude to you nor could I say it enough times; thank you again for being who you are and doing what you do. You are doing such a hard and tremendous healing work. People need you, the world needs you; please don’t ever stop. I am so grateful for you and this sacred place that has become a new home away from home. I feel like I’ll always have an enormous debt to you. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!
Jim and his Hummingbird centre provided everything necessary for me to journey deep into myself. I was taken care of perfectly by everybody during my 12 day stay, which gave me the chance to work and fully focus on myself. The program is set up well to achieve as much as one wants to achieve.
The ceremonies are sacred activities being led by Maestro Manain and his beautiful Icaros, Macaras and his magical flute. Even Jim participated with some beautiful icaros. During the ceremonies there were several people watching over us which gave a sincere feeling of safety. Fellow travelers who struggled were gently assisted. Equally valuable to the ceremonies were the next morning’s sharing circles where everybody could share his experience and Jim and Maestro really took the time to hear you out and help to understand your experiences. The medicin is really strong, and Jim let everybody start with a mild dose to ensure everybody had a good experience. After the first ceremony you could choose you dose with the advise and supervision of Maestro.
The locaties of the centre is beautiful and very well maintained. Breathtaking nature which contributed massively in my experience. Staff is extremely humble and friendly. Rooms cleaned everyday. And the food is amazing; never knew Aya dieet food could be this good!
Finally I would like to express my deepest grattitude towards Jim. A man with a lifelong experience and a sincere pure hearth. I learned so much from this friendly and loving man. His priority during our stay was to ensure everybody was okay and when somebody needed something, Jim would take care of everything.
What I was looking for was a safe, clean and proper environment where I could work on myself. Jim, Maestro Manain and tThe Hummingbird recreat centre provided me with that and so much more. I’m strongly considering to return here in the future, and can definitely recommend this place for anybody!
After 6 months I will write another review to share my experiences in my ‘new life’.
I have been there with my wife Feb 2017. We stayed for 9 days. I came here to face my fears and be a better person. By the end of the retreat, I felt like my life was transformed I got above and beyond of what I expected. I discovered myself, connected with nature, found God, my place in the world and so much more.
The place itself is really nice, a jam in the jungle. Gina the co-owner Jims wife is responsible for the logistics.The staff is very very nice, Polite, attentive, always greeting and smiling. The food was great, fresh and delicious. It’s nice to see how it all comes down from the top and reflects from the ownership to the staff.
The accommodation was better than I expected, very clean spacious rooms. Your laundry is taken care of daily by hand, fresh towels every day, sheets changed every other day I believe.
I enjoyed the isolation very much, having no cell phone, computer, the internet. I could focus on myself, be present in the moment and focus on healing. The place has a very nice library with many different books of various subjects. I read 5 books in 9 days!
What’s truly unique about this place is the owner Jim. He has an incredible life story, he is very intelligent and has very high emotional intelligence as well. Very intellectual, easy going, very hands off yet very attentive. You can always reach out to him and talk about anything in the world, whether you have a problem or need an advice or just to ask a question.The real surprise for me was when I first heard him sing during the ceremony, it’s like the gate of heaven open up! Tears were coming down my eyes every single ceremony when he was singing!
I’m forever grateful for a life changing experience!
Really happy I chose the Hummingbird center.
For 12 days, we had absolutely nothing to worry about and could fully enjoy all the lessons from the Ayahuasca and the San Pedro.
Jim provided us with all the information needed to feel safe, very professionnal, available and friendly.
That was a life changing experience, and it happened in the best possible environnment.
I stayed here in April of 2014 for a 12 day retreat and I have to say that everything went above and beyond my expecatations. Jim and Gina run an amazing retreat. Their property is calm and peaceful and perfect for clearing your mind and preparing yourself for the healings. I highly reccomend Hummingbird.
I visited the Hummingbird Center in April of 2013. It was by far the most transformational experience of my life. I came to the center stressed out, horribly depressed, and desperate to change. I left a new person, and almost a year later I continue to be free of the depression and anxiety that so burdened me my whole life. I got so much more out from my visit then I could have ever imagined, and I will always be immensely grateful to Jim, Gina, and the shaman.
The center itself is beautiful, and the food is amazing. During my time there I always felt safe, supported, and cared for. The Jim and Gina work closely with you during your stay and are always available if any issues come up. Everyone at the center is incredibly kind and genuine, and you can tell that they are truly invested in your healing journey.
I can’t recommend the Hummingbird Center enough! It was the best investment I have ever made in myself. I am so profoundly grateful.
I had a great experience in my time there. Very safe environment for ceremonies along with great food and accommodations. Staff and shaman went above and beyond and the location was amazing as well. Jim went out of his way to make every person feel at home. Could not recommend it enough.
My trip to the Hummingbird Retreat was truly life changing. It is a place where real healing takes place.
If you are thinking about a trip to the Hummingbird, I highly recommend arriving a day early and staying at a hotel in Iquitos. I made the mistake of flying overnight and arriving a couple of
hours early prior to the designated meeting time. This was a mistake for a couple of reasons.
First, my flight from Lima to Iquitos almost had to return to Lima due to thick fog over the Iquitos airport. Thankfully, my flight did make it but it was a close call. If my flight had turned
around and went back, I’m not sure how I would’ve found my way to the Hummingbird since you can’t contact them by phone. Second, I regret not getting there a day earlier because flying all through the night like I did was exhausting. You kind of need to be on your toes in Iquitos and I was dead tired when I got there.
The city of Iquitos is the most surreal place I’ve ever seen. It reminded me a lot of some of the
cities in southeast Asia. It is commonly referred to as the “Capital of the Amazon.” It is also the
largest city in the world that is not accessible by car. You can’t drive to it because there are no
roads going to it. The only way to get there is either by boat (on the Amazon River) or by plane.
The primary mode of transportation there is either motor scooter, motorcycle, or a three-wheeled motorcycle taxi contraption. They call them tuk tuks in Asia. There are a few cars but they are the exception. Because of all of the motorcycles (thousands of them), the entire city is extremely loud. It’s really difficult to hold a conversation with someone on the street. Apparently, mufflers are optional here. I found out after returning that Iquitos is considered the loudest city in all of Latin America. The decibel level on the streets is around 115.
Your Hummingbird journey begins when everyone in the group meets at the Yellow Rose of Texas restaurant. You’ll meet everyone in the group and the retreat owners, Jim and Gina. You’ll also have plenty of time to get something to eat. The restaurant has a crocodile sandwich on the menu; I regret not trying it.
From there the group will take a bus to the retreat, which is about a one hour drive. You’ll drive
by the Amazon River and get a chance to take in a lot of the local scenery. You’ll also see how
many people in the area live, which is poorly. This is one of the poorest places I’ve ever seen in my life and most people live in shanties beside the road. It is truly heartbreaking to see the
grinding poverty that people live in here.
After arriving at the retreat you’ll have some time to get comfortable in your room and rest and
relax for awhile. The tobacco ceremony will happen later that evening.
Okay, let’s talk about the retreat a bit. First, if you are considering a trip here, it’s important to realize that there is no electricity, phone, or internet here. Jim does have a Blackberry and will make it available to you if you really need to send an e-mail. If you need to make a phone call or do anything more on the internet, you’ll have to take a taxi back to Iquitos. Making a phone call on Jim’s Blackberry usually isn’t possible because the reception is very spotty.
There are internet cafes available in Iquitos but they are shockingly slow. The one I went to was so slow I thought my computer was broken. After about five minutes it finally went to the home page. Also, there are public phones available but the reception is extremely poor. I tried two different places and finally found one that was “good enough.”
Back to the retreat… The retreat is absolutely beautiful. The grounds are nicely landscaped and there was staff doing grounds maintenance almost on a daily basis. You can really tell that a lot of work has been put into keeping the place up.
The showers are very nice. They are beautifully tiled. There is no heated water though. I tried to take a shower a couple of times early in the morning and the water was very cold. If you wait until the afternoon, however, it warms up nicely. It kind of feels like swimming pool water.
The retreat uses composting toilets. Basically, these consist of a wooden box with a regular toilet seat on it. Inside the box is a five gallon bucket with sawdust. Surprisingly, this system works extremely well and there was no smell. After you take care of your business, you simply put more sawdust in the bucket to cover everything up. The buckets were changed regularly by the staff.
You will need a good pair of sandals for your trip. I made the mistake of bringing sandals with
several velcro straps on them. This was a mistake because I was frequently putting them on and taking them off. All you really need is a good pair of flip flops. Some people call them slippers. Don’t bring anything with straps on them. You’ll regret it later.
The food at the retreat was simple but well-prepared. And there’s plenty of it, too. Jim and Gina won’t let you go hungry. For supper one evening they served some kind of fish from the Amazon River. I don’t know what it was but it was absolutely DELICIOUS! And that’s a lot coming from me, because I’m not a fish person at all.
The accommodations are simple but clean. And really, since you’re staying in the Amazon jungle, would you really expect anything fancy? I think anything more would just ruin the Amazon experience. The simple accommodations are perfect.
The staff is warm and friendly. They seem to be genuinely happy people and were constantly smiling. The retreat has people doing the cooking, grounds maintenance people, and there’s even a night security guy, so you can know you’re safe while sleeping.
Oh, there’s also a girl on staff who washes your laundry for you. You DO NOT have to pack a lot of clothes for this trip. Each room has a little bag you can put your dirty laundry in. When it fills up, it magically disappears and a couple of days later you get your clothes back cleaned. It’s not a fast process. All of the laundry is done by hand and it takes a couple of days for them to be washed and dried.
And of course, the main reason for coming here was the ayahuasca and San Pedro. I read where another reviewer said they had “weak brew.” I strongly disagree with this. I can assure you it had plenty of kick. There was nothing weak about it. The ayahuasca is powerful and effective but my favorite was the San Pedro. Simple amazing.
Jim and Gina really go above and beyond to make sure everyone is taken care of. I got a little
under the weather one night and they both stayed up with me for awhile to make sure I was okay. Also, I needed to make a trip to Iquitos once to deal with a problem I was having with my return flight. Jim went with me to make sure I could get around Iquitos okay and to make sure the problem was resolved. Like I said… above and beyond.
Jim, if you read this I want to say “thank you” for all of your help and for making my trip to the
Amazon Jungle one that I will never forget.
If you are considering a trip to the Hummingbird Centre, just do it! My visit to this amazing place was life changing. it is a place where real healing happens on a daily basis.