Aya Madre Healing Center
- Iquitos, Peru
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Aya Madre is a shamanic healing center outside of Iquitos, Peru. It is owned and operated by master Shipibo shaman Estela Pangoza and her family. Maestra Estela is a renowned healer who works with the power of ayahuasca and mother nature as part of an ancient system of holistic treatment. Come heal your physical, emotional and/or spiritual illnesses, and connect more deeply to nature, yourself and higher states of well-being.
Maestra Estela has owned this property and been hosting a wide range of guests, clients and patients for over 5 years. In 2018 the center was officially founded as “Aya Madre.” Maestra Estela's vision is to open a space deep in the heart of the jungle for people from the around the world to experience the deep and profound healing of mother nature.
While “ayahuasca tourism” has boomed in the Amazon jungle, with tourists seeking the sometimes thrilling visions ayahuasca can offer, Maestra Estela practices a traditional form of Shipibo plant medicine. This tradition sees ayahuasca as one of many master plants which along with a range of other plant treatments, can act as a powerful diagnostic tool, purgative, and ultimately, help us connect more deeply with the healing power within ourselves and all around us. This form of Shipibo plant medicine has been practiced for thousands of years, and at Aya Madre guests will be immersed in the full system of healing under Maestra Estela's care and guidance.
Venue HighlightsAya Madre is located about an hour from the international airport in Iquitos, Peru. The center lies deep in the jungle, off Carretera Nauta (KM 22), down a dirt road just past the tiny village of Nueva Esperanza.
The center is fairly remote and secluded, and is currently composed of 5 individual tambos, a larger shared guesthouse, a kitchen, a large maloka, and 2 outdoor bathrooms (construction is under way for 2 additional bathrooms and 4 showers).
These simple, rustic, yet comfortable buildings are located in a large clearing filled with white sand, mysterious (and rare!) patches of soft jungle moss, and a nearby creek for swimming and bathing. As the center continues to grow and expand, we anticipate building several more individual and large tambos/guesthouses, a common area, a medicine & vegetable plant garden, a house of medicine, and more. The property contains approximately 22 acres of land, much of it pristine rain forest.
Come stay at Aya Madre and help us build a traditional yet innovative healing house and community for the 21st century!
Note: please be aware that the amenities at the center are quite basic (or “rustic” many would say). This is not a luxury retreat. It is more like a homestay with a family of healers and dreamers! The tambos are small huts made of simple, natural wood, the bathrooms are simple compost toilets, and the food and kitchen are also simple and minimal. We want to ensure your expectations meet the reality. It's kind of like camping, but with a little hut, a mattress, a mosquito net, served food, and a powerful shaman and lovely community looking after you :)
- Includes Meat
- Gluten Free
- Dairy Free
- Nut Free
Menu/CuisineThe center serves 3 meals per day (except days of ayahuasca ceremony where there is no dinner), and the meals are usually quite simple. They are a variation of the standard "Ayahuasca diet": rice, lentils, noodles, veggies, eggs, etc.
AccommodationsGuests stay in simple wood huts (tambos), either private or shared. They will have a mattress, mosquito net, sheets and pillow. It's fairly simple accommodations, but everything you need!
DirectionsGuests fly to Iquitos Airport in Iquitos, Peru. Flights are available from Lima, Peru (about 1 hour, and $125). They will be picked up at the airport by Aya Madre staff. The trip to the center is about 30 minutes on the highway (on a "mototaxi") and then another 30 minutes on a dirt road. From there guests will walk about 20 minutes, sometimes through some puddles and mud. But someone will carry their bag. It's a bit of an adventure!
ReviewsWrite a review - tell others about your experience.
Marie K April 12, 2018
My experience at Aya Madre, which I will never forget, was a powerful mix of plant-based spirituality and cultural immersion. Over 1 week, Maestra Estela applied her lifelong understanding of plant medicines to help identify and heal emotional/physical issues I was struggling with, having to do with depression, anxiety, and relationships. ------ The process was gentle and holistic. Estela draws from a rich palette of plants, nearly all grown at Aya Madre or obtained nearby in the Amazon. The first few days were spent with plants (non-psychoactive) that gently relaxed me and promoted introspection. This approach helped me feel safe and relaxed, focus my intentions, and ask probing questions. All great preparation for the healing work of Ayahuasca and San Pedro cactus. ------ Estela's ceremonies are beautiful and intimate. They are very much about healing through song (icaros), safety, and openness. Estela is a very approachable healer and teacher. ------ I appreciated the safe, relaxing setting, especially as a young woman traveling solo. I am grateful for Chris's excellent translation and his all-round support of the guests and the Center. I feel that all who come here are connected in a very special way, like an extended family. Do be prepared for very basic accomodations and food; it can help to see the natural setting and diet as a huge part of the healing here. ------ It's been a week since I've returned to my home in the U.S., and I feel a quiet sense of extra strength. It's subtle, but definitely there. Aya Madre showed me that new ways of seeing and living are possible. This is medicine that's strong enough, I feel, to remove old knots and set new forces in motion towards health for years, if not a lifetime. ------ Estela's vision is special and sorely needed. It includes a school of medicine, giving access to healing plants to all people in need, and supporting the well-being of the Shipibo (indigenous) community. She encouraged the guests to take the plants' healing lessons wherever we go -- to share with our friends, families and communities. We are so fortunate to have Estela share her vast knowledge and healing powers with us. You must go and see for yourself!
Tom C April 11, 2018
I was fortunate enough to stumble upon Aya Madre following a review by Chris Kilham on medicinehunters.com. Words can't describe the experience I had. It was truly incredible. From the amazing welcome by another Chris (the guy helping with the set-up of the retreat) in Iquitos town center, to the unique plant medicines, to the truly beautiful ayahuasca ceremonies - it was truly an amazing experience. Estela, the Maestra Shaman is a true genius in every sense of the word. Seeing her operate during the ayahuasca ceremony is something I will never forget. She was able to take on the most incredible journey where I was able to connect with the entire universe. Her singing channels the most inedible energy and love. Her understanding of the different plants within the amazon and their healing powers is also incredible. She will assess your energy and intentions and create a plant based dieta to prepare you and help with healing. Her family are also so welcoming and loving. If anyone is searching for alternative medicines, incredible ayahuasca ceremonies, a truly genius shaman, to extend your family or to just have a nice retreat in the middle of the Amazon - then look no further.
Brian Reilly April 07, 2018
My experience at Aya Madre seems to have been among the most important and healing of my entire life! I had next to no experience with plant medicine before arriving to Aya Madre and was certainly not interested in jumping right into an ayahuasca ceremony. A big part of why I chose Aya Madre was because Estela's work is not about simply providing acute ayahuasca interventions. My first week consisted of no ayahuasca in fact but rather a diet of mild foods; lots of journaling and body work; plant medicine through baths, steams, and teas; and lots of talking with her, playing soccer with her kids, swimming in the creek, and other fun. I actually never had any remotely psychoactive experience even when taking ayahuasca (which is not unusual). Nonetheless, the environment, good vibes from her family/staff and other pasajeros, and non-psychoactive properties of the plants worked wonders on my four bodies. Just as important to me, as a cross-cultural educator and lifelong traveler, was the cultural experience. I felt practically like a member of Estela's family during my stay - she lived up to the Aya Madre name! What may have taught me the most was just observing their lifestyle, soaking up some of their cosmovision, and seeing how they treat family, friends, guests, neighbors, and the environment around them more broadly speaking. I'd go back just to continue asking her questions and goofing off with her kids. I caught a lot of wisdom in both of those activities. Anyways, I can't recommend Aya Madre highly enough. Aya Madre would have to change a lot from what it was during my visit for me to be able to imagine someone not having a good experience there.
Sohee April 06, 2018
As a solo female traveler who’s been on the road for some time, I feel so so grateful for this space filled with incredibly kind and caring people. I’ve found that it is rare to find a place so honest and intimate, and at Aya Madre, I felt that I could open up and share any of my emotions without being judged. //// Before, I was only vaguely entertaining the idea of trying ayahuasca, mostly out of curiosity and a desire for some insight on this transitional phase of my life. I was having a difficult time choosing a center that didn’t feel so commercial and curated for tourists, until I heard about Aya Madre per a friend’s enthusiastic recommendation after he spent two weeks there. I first had meant to stay at Aya Madre for 6 days, which I extended to 7, then finally 10. The coordinator/translator Chris was very lenient, and he made it clear that everyone could stay as long as they wished. //// Aya Madre is not the type of center that just gives ayahuasca to its pasajeros and sends them on their way. I found that my favorite part of the ceremonies was at the very end of the night. Estela would ask each of us how we were doing, how our experiences were and what we saw, and she would provide insight on whatever we’d experienced, as well as share her own visions with us. I’ve learned so much from asking Estela questions and hearing what she has to say, and I feel incredibly lucky to have found a place that fosters such an intimate relationship with its curandera (healer). From the start, Estela stresses that she is here as our second mother and as our guide, to teach us how to immerse ourselves in the vast world of plant medicine that is so engrained in the Shipibo way of life—after all, the healing doesn’t just come from ayahuasca or San Pedro. Aya Madre is truly a unique gem, and my time spent there was a deeply healing experience that I will always hold dear to me. I am writing this testimonial on only my first night after my stay, and I miss everyone so much already. Until our paths cross again ...
vanni mangoni March 16, 2018
THE LAND: Prepare for an adventure! Ayamadre is located at km22 from the Iquitos airport. After a jumpy motor-car ride and a jungle walk, we finally reached the hill on top of which Ayamadre is situated. The land is beautiful, far away from the noises of the city, the forest alive, clean and healthy, there's even a small river that flows through the property just meters away from the first tambo in which we can bath and often (when it has rained enough) swim! THE CENTER: Rustic, an authentic Shipibo style retreat. Though I feel like Estela's will shortly attract more and more "passejeros", the center as of today is more like a family village: the experience is super-intimate, ideal for those who seek a connection with Shipibo culture and curanderismo. The fact that Ayamadre just opened gives us "passengers" the quite unique opportuinty to establish an up-close and personal relation with the shamans and their family - very different from other centers where the shamans are not easy to approach. MAESTRA ESTELA: She is the mother of Ayamadre, a powerful and caring medicine woman. Her mission seems to be more about sharing her knowledge and guide us into finding our own connection with the healing plants of the jungle than to "content us" with mystical journeys only; at the same time her shamanic skills are incredible - her icaros accompanied me straight to the heart of the issue that led me to seek healing in the jungle, and found it. She is a true maestra/master. The team - which at the moment counts the help of Clementina (a shaman herself and good friend of Estela) and Chris (a lovely New Yorker who translates for those who don't speak Spanish and helps with logistics and organization) and Estela's family - is friendly and always ready to help. I will DEFINITELY and JOYOUSLY go back to Ayamadre. Truly grateful to have been there in its first days. I recommend this place to all those who seek more than just an ayahusca experience but a whole immersion into the heart of Shipibo Shamanism and tradition.
Christopher Casuccio February 14, 2018
Amazing and totally unique experience. Deeply healing. I spent a month working with Estela, and now I am actually helping her with her website and intake process. She is a true curandera in the old-fashioned sense. I stayed with her and her family for a month in her amazing and beautiful center. It is rustic and simple and certainly not a luxury center. What I loved about working with Estela as my shaman is that she didn't just have me take Ayahuasca over and over again. After a few ceremonies, we both realized it wasn't healing me, and she laid out a treatment plan for the next month. This included a whole host of plant remedies, massages, steam baths, etc. She sat with me time and time again to explain what she saw in my body, what she thinks I need, how the healing works, etc. I felt so loved and cared for, and the plants have really helped me work through some much-needed psychological problems. Estela seems to understand the issues us "Northerners" have, which are both mental, energetic and physical all at the same time. What a powerful, loving and healing soul. I can't recommend enough working with Estela. Go to Aya Madre!!