About This Event
This August 23-26 we will be hosting an ayahuasca retreat at our base in an indigenous community outside of Puyo, Ecuador. The retreat consists of 3 ayahuasca ceremonies (1 per night) and covers food and accommodation.
This is an opportunity to share with members of a Kichwa indigenous community, explore the trails and waterfalls in this lush area, and enter into the spiritual journey of Ayahuasca, with the safe and experienced guidance of Taita Alejandro, Director of Alma Healing Center.
Our retreats are modest, our accommodations and infrastructure is simple, but we are there to be with you, to sit with you and answer your questions. This is why we keep our groups small, with no more than 10 outside guests (note: community members sometimes join in the ceremonies). Spanish to English interpretation is available throughout the retreat and a significant percentage of profits goes toward the community members and improvements to community infrastructure.
Please note that we encourage participants to detox prior to and during the retreat, though this is not required. Since ceremonies are taking place each night, there is only one main meal per day in the morning between 10-11am, though participants can snack on food/fruit during the day until around 5pm. We're happy to provide more information on this, if needed.
We look forward to hearing from you!
The Alma team
One of my main concerns when searching for an ayahuasca retreat was safety and trust in those guiding me. I'm so grateful to have met Alejandro. During the retreat I learned how to take life, and myself, a little less seriously, and how to feel connected and revitalized through nature. The community where we stayed is lovely and I'm honored to have been welcomed to their "home in the forest". I would highly recommend this retreat for those that seek something simple, affordable, safe and authentic.
- The highlight of each retreat is, of course, the ceremonies. Each evening, we drink Ayahuasca together and meditate through the night, starting at around 9pm until 5am the next morning. During the ceremony, taita Alejandro is available and there to assist anyone that requests his help. He often performs cleanses and is there to connect with your spirit and the spirit of the plant, if needed. This is truly the most important part of any ayahuasca experiece: the spiritual guide with whom you are with. Proper guidance ensures a safe and life-changing experience.
- During the days we will normally only have 1 meal and fast until the next ceremony. We will go on hikes in the surrounding area and also have enough down time to rest and recharge for the following ayahuasca ceremony.
- On one of the mornings, Mama Marlene, a Kichwa medicine woman and elder of the community, will come and do individual limpias, or cleanses, to our new guests. This is truly an honor and a special service she offer our guests.
12:00 pm Arrive to retreat location (Distance Puyo to community = 45 minutes-1 hour)
(Note: guests should already have eaten lunch)
1:00 pm Settle in rooms
2:00 pm Welcome ceremony by indigenous community involving traditional dance and dartgun practice
6:00 pm Rest prior to Ayahuasca ceremony
8:00 pm Ayahuasca ceremony
11:00 am Breakfast/Brunch
11:00 am Hike through the forest to the Secret Waterfall while experiencing other Amazonian plants of power.
2:00 pm Healing therapy at waterfall
4:00 pm Last chance to snack (fasting is best)
5-8:00 pm Rest prior to Ayahuasca ceremony
8:00 pm Ayahuasca ceremony
11:00 Visit to community artesanal store
12:00 Thankfulness ritual, cleansings and closing
1:00 – 2:00 drive to Puyo for lunch
3:00 – 4:00 Lunch in Puyo, opportunity to try local delicacies like chontacurro (beetle larvae). Note: this meal is not included in retreat cost.
4:00 Drop off at Puyo bust terminal
*Schedule and activities may vary depending on weather
- Accompaniment prior to, during and following retreat
- 3 ceremonies of Ayahuasca
- 2 day hikes (weather permitting)
- Accommodation for 3 nights
- Breakfast/brunch 3 days (first day we arrive to community at noon and drink that evening - guests should ensure they have a meal prior to arrival))
- Interpretation (Spanish<>English)
What's Not IncludedTransport costs - including airfare
Venue HighlightsAlma Healing Center is based out of a small Kichwa indigenous community about an hour's drive from Puyo. It's an opportunity to observe and live among an authentic group of Kichwa families that continue to value, and nurture, their natural surroundings and live traditionally.
Since it isn't very far into the Amazon, access is convenient and doesn't require long journeys (trips farther into the Amazon often require a day to get there and a day to get back). Many visitors will continue on to Baños or Tena and Quito after the retreats, which helps them make the most of their time in Ecuador.
The community is located within 50 hectares (123 acres) of primary and secondary Amazon rainforest and there are many trails nearby that take you to beautiful lagoons and waterfalls (local guides/community members are required). Canoeing is also possible, given interest by participants and planning in advance.
AccommodationsGuests stay in basic huts made from local materials; the same huts members of the community live in and which they have built themselves to accommodate visitors. There are a number of huts available, but since we like to keep our groups small, the available configurations include:
**All beds have mosquito nets.**
- River hut (pictured): Room 1 - double bed, Room 2 - 3 twin beds
- Cocina hut: 2 twin beds, closer to kitchen and volleyball court
- Cocina hut 2: 1 double bed between kitchen and Jesus's house
- Cancha hut: double bed facing soccer field
In terms of bathrooms, these are also basic. There are three toilets available and 1 shower. Please be warned that when it rains heavily pipes sometimes get clogged. Our team does its best to keep bathrooms clean and working and are currently raising funds to improve these facilities for the community and its guests.
Our accommodations may be simple, but it lends for a more authentic experience with the community and does not take away from the spiritual component of our retreats.
- Tour Assistance
Menu/CuisineDuring our retreats, we will usually be drinking ayahuasca in the evenings and because of that we only have one real meal a day, at around 11am (more like brunch).
While many retreat centers focus heavily on diet prior to and during the retreat, we take a much more relaxed stance, insisting instead that guests don't eat past 5pm if they plan to partake in the night's ayahuasca ceremony. We believe Ayahuasca takes you as you are, and drastically changing your diet two weeks prior to the retreat won't change the essence of who you are. That said, if guests choose to follow a stricter diet prior to the retreat, we are happy to offer suggestions. Fasting during the diet has a greater effect on ensuring that the medicine takes effect, in our experience.
For our 11am meal:
- We'll start with local fruit, yogurt, honey and granola with horchata or guayusa tea, and coffee for those that so desire (again, we're not strict when it comes to diet!).
- This will be followed by a wholesome meal of rice prepared with mushrooms, eggs (scrambled, fried, as you desire), a filling side of legumes or beans for protein intake and a fresh salad.
- On one day of the retreat we offer guests to the opportunity to eat maito, a local dish, made of fresh water fish steamed in leaves, with a side of yucca and salad. This is usually served with lime, but we try to avoid acidic foods in case they come back to haunt us during the ceremony.
While we have fresh fruit available, if leaving from Puyo, we often stop by a local fruit market and encourage guests to buy additional fruit if they tend to get snacky on hikes and throughout the day, always considering fasting for the evening's ritual.
Please keep in mind that once we are in the community, it is difficult to buy additional supplies as there aren't many stores or restaurants nearby. Everything must be brought in by foot, thought sometimes we can use a canoe to help move supplies across the river.
*If you have strict dietary restrictions, please let us know far in advance to adequately plan. We will do our best to accommodate your health needs!
DirectionsFrom Quito, it's a 5 hour drive to Puyo. One of our team members, Sandra, tends to drive from Tumbaco (a valley right outside of Quito) and can offer spots in her car only asking that the cost of gas be shared.
- Private transport from Quito (by car) can also be organized at around $30 per person. Buses are much cheaper ($7) but less convenient as you may have to first get to one of the Quito bus terminals in the north (Carcelén) or south (Quitumbe).
From Baños, Puyo is only 1.5 hours away by bus and the cost is low at around $4.
If arriving in Guayaquil, the drive takes around 8 hours by bus and costs about $15.
Domestic flights aren't available to Puyo or Baños, unfortunately. If comfort and convenience are a factor, we suggest having a private car organized.