“Hearts are Ringing” Sep. 21-29: 9 Day Deep Immersion Ayahuasca Retreat
About This Event
Spirit Plant Journeys is a safe, experienced and transformative Ayahuasca Retreat nestled in the Peruvian Andes, created to help you open your heart, look within, and awaken to a new way. Drawing on 13 years experience with Shamanic Ayahuasca traditions, we are one of the original Ayahuasca Retreats in the Sacred Valley of The Incas. We work with only the most experienced facilitators and Shipibo maestros to create a safe, supported and transformative container for your plant medicine experience.
Ayahuasca is a powerful tool that can help us uplift ourselves, heal our wounds, and let go of anything that no longer serves us. In working with plant consciousness, we become open and sensitive to everything that we are in relationship with, and in this, gain awareness, perspective, and wisdom. Our highly-trained, experienced facilitators will closely guide you as you immerse yourself in this process. We believe that true healing is a beautiful process of opening up and awakening, and we feel strongly that this process can and should happen in a nurturing, loving way. As facilitators between cultures, and bridges between worlds, we provide a safe, open space in which we honor and respect every human being’s process in a gentle and kind way.
Every element of our retreat is designed to sustain real transformation. With a down to earth, heart-centered approach and kindred family spirit, we provide the opportunity for a life-changing healing experience. Our programs are held in the Sacred Valley, a safe haven from the noise of the city and the dangers of the jungle, and we limit our group size to a maximum of 12 people, allowing our Facilitators and Maestros to give you close, personalized guidance during your time with us. We are blessed to be working with a team of powerful Shipibo Maestros, the oldest lineage of Ayahuascueros in South America, and we bring in both men and women maestros on retreat to strike a crucial balance between the energies of the Divine Masculine and Feminine.
Our experienced and trained facilitators serve as a cultural bridge on your journey, providing a link between cultures and plant medicine realms. They walk alongside you on this journey, guiding and empowering you with the tools to truly engage with your healing process. We specialize in providing support through pre-retreat intention sessions, sharing circles and self-inquiry on site, and post-integration sessions. The healing process truly begins to take root when our guests go home, and as such, we believe strongly in checking in and providing support after the retreat. These are the keys to real transformation, to embody your healing experience in your daily life, enabling you to bring lasting change and growth into your life. After your last ceremony ends, the ceremony of life truly begins.
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When one experiences truth, the madness of finding fault with others disappears. ― S.N. Goenka
Venue HighlightsSpirit Plant Journeys is located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, a safe haven from the noise of the city and the dangers of the jungle.
The family-run farm and lodge where we are blessed to hold our retreats is a labor of love, closely tied to the local community, and has an organic garden that supplies much of the food that end up on our dinner plates.
The lodge is nestled between two mountain ranges, with stunning views of the Valley and nearby Apus, the guardian mountain spirits that look down upon the land. There are numerous hiking trails and hidden spots around the property, which provide a perfect refuge for moments of quiet seclusion and contemplation. A river flows through the land at the entrance of the property, and the walk over this river into the lodge, beneath a tree-lined canopy, feels like a mystic entrance into a hidden paradise.
AccommodationsWe offer different room types depending on budget.
Each room includes fresh towels, hot water bottles every night, and regular housekeeping. Though we strive to be as environmentally-friendly as possible, made easier by the year-round sunshine, we can provide electric heating if desired. All of the rooms have stunning views of the valley and mountains. Natural light pours through the windows onto the woodboard floors every morning, giving each room a cozy, warm glow to wake up to. The lodge itself has a rustic, authentic feeling, while still offering modern amenities.
We offer private and shared rooms, with either shared or private en-suite bathrooms. These rooms include either large twin beds, queen bed or double beds, depending on room selection.
For those traveling on a budget, we offer offer economy-rooms. Our economy rooms all have large twin beds, windows with views over the Sacred Valley, hot water, wood board floors, beautiful wooden balconies and shared showers/bathrooms downstairs.
- Free Parking
- Tour Assistance
- Gluten Free
- Dairy Free
- Nut Free
Menu/CuisineEvery meal that goes on our table is not only perfectly in line with a traditional Ayahuasca Diet, but also reflects the love and care we put into every aspect of our retreat. We use lots of vegetables and fresh herbs from the organic gardens on-site, and can accommodate a wide variety of dietary needs, allergies and restrictions, including Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, and Vegan diets. Though we strictly follow the guidelines of a traditional Ayahuasca Diet, we strive to integrate traditional Peruvian flavors into our meals. The meals serve not only as a cleansing, rejuvenating companion to your ayahuasca experience, but also as a flavorful connection you to the tastes and colors of the local culture. One of the retreat highlights is our "Pachamanca", a delightful outdoor luncheon in which potatoes and herbs are baked in an underground oven, and served in the round with herbs, guacamole and lots of delicious "aji", or herb-sauce.
DirectionsThe nearest airport to our retreat center is Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport, located in the city of Cusco, Peru.
Cuzco is a 1:15 hour flight away from Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima, the starting point in Peru for every international flight entering the country. We recommend that guests stay a night in Cuzco the day they arrive in order to rest and acclimate to the altitude in Cuzco. On the first day of our retreat we will meet guests at a central meeting point near the Plaza de Armas, in the City Center of Cuzco.
A 15 minute cab ride from the Airport will get you to the City Center, and should not cost you more than 20 soles ($7).
We will provide detailed instructions beforehand on how to get to the meeting point. Upon picking up the group at the meeting point, we will embark on a stunning hour and a half long journey through the mountains to our retreat center. We will also provide transport back to Cuzco on the day that the retreat ends.
ReviewsWrite a review - tell others about your experience.
Neil Lynch June 13, 2019
Before you can even book the process started with an in depth phone call with Sarah, from this call I new this was the place for me. Then from the moment Ryan greeted us we knew were were in safe hands. Safah, the facilitator, made the whole experience so easy, she was always on hand, guiding us through the the 10 day process and helping with our intentions to make sure we got what we needed out of the ceremonies. Orthalinda, the maestro, totally focused on us the whole time. As well as the 5 Ayahuasca Ceremonies we took part in yoga, meditation, massages and were given flower baths - extras which some retreats do not offer. During the ceremonies our safety was their number one priority, even well before the retreat this was the case. All medicine we are taking/had been taking were thoroughly checked/vetted to ensure there would be no clash with the plant medicine. The retreat was set in a beautiful location, the rooms were very comfortable though freezing cold, and the food was excellent. It was a truly life changing experience, I got to the route of my problems (though they were not deep rooted), and I have come out a different person - living more healthily and taking care of myself. The added bonus was our group (9 of us in total) were an amazing bunch and I feel lucky to have spent the 10 days with them. Alas the friend I journeyed with wasn’t so lucky, it wasn’t life changing for her, but her problems are much more deep rooted. That said she did have an amazing time. If you are thinking of embarking on an Ayahuasca journey then I would definitely recommend Spirit Plant Journeys.
Tadd Frye May 01, 2019
My experience with Spirt Plant Journeys was wonderful! From the moment I arrived until the day I left was everything that I could have hoped it would be. The facilitators and the Maestra were caring and handled all of our small group with respect, understanding and all of the individual attention that was wanted. The accommodations were very comfortable and well maintained. All of the activities that where planned and made available to us were enjoyable. The food was very good as was the overall service level provided by the entire staff of the retreat facility. All of the ceremonies (5 in total) were conducted in a spacious, safe and comfortable environment. Truly an exceptional experience that has made an indelible impact on me! I do not hesitate to recommend Spirt Plant Journeys to anyone who is interested in plant medicine as means to start profound changes in life.
Anne Ferris March 23, 2019
I went on my retreat with Spirit Plant Journeys over New Years 2019. I've taken a while to write this review because I find it hard to put into words just how powerful and amazing this experience was for me. Drinking Ayahuasca can be a very intense experience, as such, you want to be in a supportive and safe environment where you feel loved and cared for by those around you. My Ayahuasca journey was difficult because I had years of addiction and self harm that I was trying to let go of. Sarah, Ryan, Safah and Maestra Orphelinda could not have been more helpful. Sarah is there to support and help you when deciding whether or not to make the journey to Peru. She listened to my concerns and was never pushy. During the retreat she provided much needed comic relief! She is a true gem. The lodge, the food, everything was beautiful. When I had some dark nights during ceremony, Safah and Ryan and Orphelinda stayed with me, never leaving me for a second and helping to guide me on my journey with the medicine. Safah stayed with me one night until 4am and the following night Maestra Orphelinda slept in the Maloka to stay with me. During the days, they help you to understand what you are processing with the help of Ayahuasca. The massage, yoga, meditation and integration sessions were amazing. On the night of our last ceremony Orphelinda sang to me twice, and I literally felt her pull this ball of black energy out of me, freeing me from the weight of my past. This is a retreat center that is truly heart-centered. They all care about the guests and everyone is dedicated to caring for you and helping you get the most from your journey. There were 10 guests on my retreat and I saw EVERY SINGLE PERSON get what they needed from the retreat. Since coming home, I honestly feel free, open and happy for the first time in my life. Its like I was re-born into the person I have always wanted to be. I am so grateful to the team at Spirit Plant Journeys and I will probably go back this year. If you truly have some healing that you want to do, this is the place. I recommend SPJ 1000% and would never consider drinking Ayahuasca with anyone else.
Tanner Christensen February 18, 2019
This retreat has opened me back up to a way of life that I’ve forgotten, one full of love, self-acceptance, and a renewed sense of appreciation for the beauty of life that we become all too accustomed to as we grow older and lose our childlike wonder of the world. I decided to do this retreat after dealing with years of difficult depression and negative thought patterns that no modern medicine seemed to be able to address. Having exhausted western remedies to no avail, and with mixed feelings of nervousness, some skepticism, and hope, I finally decided to take the plunge and sign up for a retreat with Spirit Plant Journeys and I couldn’t be happier that I did. The results were life changing. The facilitators and Shamans at SPJ have an incredible capacity for love that made me feel at home and at ease. If you are like me you will be worrying about the intensity of an ayahuasca experience, but rest assured, this retreat creates the right set and setting to ensure that what you get from the experience is what you need for positive change in your life. From the delicious organic food to the yoga sessions, massages, and sharing circles, everything about this retreat creates an atmosphere for healing. Maestra Orfelinda is the real deal. She did a wonderful and awe inspiring job leading each of the ceremonies. She is extremely attentive and intune to the needs of the participants, and will be there for you when you need it. Paulette was the most genuine, caring, and loving person who did an amazing job working with the group to help integrate each of our experiences. The hosts, Ryan and Sarah, were very accommodating and added to the homey vibe, making me feel like part of their family. All in all, the ceremonies are what this retreat is about, and for me the ceremonies allowed me to see myself and my life from a new perspective. Ayahuasca showed me all the harmful habits I have developed in my patterns of thinking, and I’ll be honest, sometimes not in the most gentle way. But it also provided me a way to break free from these habits. The ceremonies reminded me of my value, and provided me with deep experiences of love, interconnectedness, and peace that I forgot were possible. I will never forget the feeling of going through this experience with a group of complete strangers who afterwards have become family. I already can’t help but reminisce on the communion I felt with those around me as the ceremonies came to a close, when Paulette would bring everyone fruit and tea, and she and Ryan would play guitar and sing the most beautiful music that brought tears to my eyes. A little over a month has passed since this retreat, and I can see that the experience has had immensely positive, lasting impact. If you are on the edge like I was, debating on whether something like this will help, I hope this review will encourage you to take the leap as I did. Come with a willingness and open mind and you will be amazed at the transformation you can create.
Monica Liedtke February 16, 2019
This is the place to go to if you want a safe, comfortable, supportive, loving and life changing experience. After spending lots of time searching and researching Ayahuasca retreats I came across Spirit Plant Journey. I instantly knew this was the right place after feeling very drawn towards it. I got in contact with Sarah and she was very quick to respond and answer the questions I had. We had an incredible conversation and connected instantly. Sarah truly cares about you and your experience. She is there for you at every step of the way. The location and accommodation is absolutely incredible. Without spoiling too much, you are surrounded by mountains. The rooms are very clean, comfortable and spacious. The food is delicious and you always have tea, water and fruits available to you. You get a nice balance of time for yourself but also yoga, mediation, massage, hike, one-on-one sessions with your facilitator (Paulette is incredible). You are very well taken care of and supported. My actual Ayahuasca experience was incredible and beyond what words can describe. I was drawn towards Ayahuasca to to explore spiritual connections and dive deeper into myself. I certainly received this. It was a gentle journey with lots of visions and feelings. I came out of it inspired and so full of love with new insights into myself and my whole journey. I am so grateful that I was surrounded by small loving group who supported each other along the way. Everyone became family. I will be returning in the future! So overall I highly highly recommend coming here. You will not be disappointed!
Karisa Redpath February 12, 2019
WHERE DO I BEGIN WITH THIS PLACE?!?! I’ll start off with the reason of my visit. The last half of 2018 was one of the hardest eras of my life. With going through a heavy breakup, being lost in my career path and needing my late mother more than ever before, I was completely broken. I was at the rockiest bottom I’d ever encountered. I didn’t know who I was or what purpose I had. I needed help! Early December a friend that I hadn’t heard from in almost a year messaged me, telling me about this Ayahuasca retreat she wanted to go to with Spirit Plant Journeys. I’d never heard of Ayahuasca before, but after doing some research on the company and medicine, I was so eager to go. It sounded like exactly what I needed at the time. Putting all my faith into the universe and ignoring my fears, I signed up. BEST DECISION OF MY LIFE!!! Minutes after arriving, I felt at home. The location of the retreat is heavenly. A beautiful, quaint setting - surrounded by organic veggie and fruit gardens and vegetation of all sorts. All within panoramic mountain views. Each day was filled with lovely activities; meditations, yoga, one-on-one chats with Pauline (the facilitator who is absolutely amazing), hikes, flower baths, and sharing circles (which I wasn’t a fan of in the beginning considering I didn’t like talking about my feelings… but after like a day, everyone was family and I didn’t mind the vulnerability). We also had daily free time to rest, journal, go for walks or simply just be with yourself - which was much needed after the ceremonies! Each ceremony was different and served its own purpose. My main goal after undergoing the 4 ceremonies was to rid of the negative energies that had been consuming my body for years. I’d grown tired of my negative thought patterns that had been belittling me and deteriorating my self worth and love. It’s been a month now since the retreat, and I’m so happy to say I’m a completely different person!! My heart is filled to the brim with love. Those evil, negative energies no longer occupy my body. Situations that caused me pain, resentment and anger in the past now don’t phase me. My reactions to people and unideal situations have changed immensely. I feel so much lighter and free. My life now feels like it has purpose. I wake up every morning feeling happiness, optimism and gratitude. Of course there are still moments where I feel defeat and sorrow, but I’m now able to handle these experiences better and release the associated feelings quickly. I couldn’t have felt this amazing without the help of Ayahuasca, Maestra Orfelinda and all of the beautiful souls I met during my retreat. We all began this journey as strangers and left as family. I would recommend this retreat a million times over for people who want to heal past wounds or gain enlightenment towards their life’s purpose. If you have the opportunity to work with Sarah and Ryan, jump on it!!! You won’t regret it.
gregory thompson February 08, 2019
My retreat was unbelievably transformative! Really words can not express the gratitude and love that I have for my fellow retreat members as well as all the staff during this journey. The care, compassion and wisdom was both nourishing and empowering!! Paulette is truly a gifted healer and coach! Paulettes insight and compassion allowed me to explore the psychological as well as the heart issues that I was facing. The Yoga and massage was simple amazing and helped tremendously with the Plant Medicine journey. The Shamans were so incredibly gentle yet powerful and were intuitive guides during the plant ceremonies. Ryan and Sarah were incredible and made everyone feel well cared for, safe, and part of their family. I would recommend this journey to anyone who is need of healing and looking for ways to reach their full human potential! Thank you so much Plant Journey team! Greg Thompson Houston TX
Tony Lopez January 25, 2019
when I choose to take medicine I take it from a trusted high quality source. Spirit Plant Journeys is the John Hopkins of ayahuasca. They source reverence, safety and a transformative space for people. I fell in love with the staff and I would refer my family to them. I love this group.
Rose Harari December 27, 2018
I didn't know what to expect upon booking this Ayahuasca retreat. I had never done Ayahuasca or been to Peru before so I was pretty nervous the weeks/days leading up. It was a truly amazing experience. The accommodations were low key, rustic and felt right for the purpose. The hosts Ryan and Sarah were welcoming and very easy going. The retreat is pretty laid back, and you have a bunch of free time which was nice to just hang out with the group or do your own thing. The views are pretty nice, and its quiet. The food on the retreat is bland because of the diet but I still thought it was really good and always fresh. The people who work at the retreat did a great job with the meals. The facilitator on my retreat was Paulette Waltz who I think is just a great human, and truly made my experience special. I immediately connected with her and she took care of the group with lots of attention and compassion. If you get her, consider yourself very lucky! The shaman who lead the ceremonies was this sweet woman, who really wants to heal. Her ceremonies were powerful and you got a sense she really wanted to heal everyone personally with whatever they are going through. If you are looking for a down to earth, meaningful experience,Spirit Journeys is the place!
Bryan Summers October 27, 2018
In the words of Graham Hancock, “we feel a sickness in the West and we feel it because we have severed our connection with spirit. You must reconnect soon or everything else will come crashing down. Ayahuasca is the remedy for that sickness.” If you’re reading this, you’re already contemplating traveling to Peru for your own ayahuasca experience. Perhaps you want to “find yourself”; to heal some deeply set trauma; to understand the nature of the mind and the self; or as Graham suggests, you want to reconnect with spirit. Maybe you’re not even quite sure about why you want to drink but you feel the calling, nonetheless. Whatever your reason for wanting to drink ayahuasca, it is your own. What you absolutely need are experienced and loving people to guide you through the experience and provide a safe place to drink. Spirit Plant Journeys are those people and is that place. I visited Spirit Plant Journeys in early October 2018, having first made my enquiry through their website in early September. Obviously, in the beginning, even after enquiring I was still extremely nervous and debating whether I would even go through with traveling to Peru. However, after I received my pre-registration phone call from Sarah, I was set completely at ease and booked right away. Spirit Plant Journeys is Sarah’s creation and she is, without doubt, one of the most beautiful souls you will ever meet. With over ten years of experience working with traditional plant medicines and local Shamanistic healers, she is a wealth of invaluable wisdom that I greatly benefitted from during my trip. An open book, she will enable you to open up without fear or judgment and allow yourself to unearth truths you never realised you already had inside. A retreat such as this will be one of the most profound ten days of your life but it will take a lot of inner-work. I can’t stress how important it is to be able to feel comfortable whilst going on this journey and you are absolutely in good hands with Sarah for this. Free from dogmatic claims and prescriptive advice, Sarah is a natural counsellor and will empower you to seek out what you need to realise. With stoic levels of energy and a fantastic sense of humour I can safely say she is one of those people you meet in life that you will never forget. Once I arrived in Huaran in the Peruvian Andes, I saw that the ‘Mountain Lodge’ they describe on the website was a slice of paradise. Surrounded by lush green mountains, fields of naturally growing crops, and happy free-roaming farm animals, I thought the location itself was enough for a transformative experience! The rooms were very cute and comfortable supplied with extra blankets if required. There were flushing toilets, warm showers, and electricity so we were in no way ‘roughing it’. Upon arrival, the owners of the lodge, Tania and Bjorn provided a tour of the property which is a lot bigger than initially meets the eye. They were wonderful hosts, and together with their staff they served delicious and healthy food and were always willing to accommodate specific dietary preferences. They also offered to wash your clothes so you don’t need to pack too much! I also can’t speak highly enough of the rest of the staff that run the retreat and facilitate the ceremonies. Ryan met us in Cusco with the bus and I instantly saw that he was a genuine and loveable person that naturally settled any last minute nerves of the group. He was a great confidant during the retreat and was always available to talk, offer guidance and play some great Hendrix covers around the bonfire! Alan, who facilitated the ceremonies is a tall, lanky bundle of wisdom and good humour! He helped me through a slightly traumatic time and I will be forever grateful to him for it. And then there was Maestra Orfelinda, our Shipibo Shaman who ran every ceremony. When you meet her and undergo even just one of her ayahuasca ceremonies you will feel privileged to experience her hundreds of years of ritualistic practice and wisdom, passed down to her by her grandfather. She is a great spiritual healer and very in tune with everyone’s personal needs and experiences. The ceremonies, of which we did five (three for the first three nights, followed by a day’s break and two final ceremonies) felt very safe and comfortable. There is a great sense of respect for these powerful plant medicines and I firmly believe they should not be consumed anywhere other than under the supervision of an experienced Shaman in these incredible and ancient ceremonies. Like I said, your reasons to do this sort of thing are your own and your experience will be unique; but what did I take away from the retreat? I learned that I need to stop trying to control everything in my life. My mind is a useful tool but I had made it the King of my life; of my self. I realised that who I am, the love I feel for others, my drive and intuition is separate from my thoughts. It’s hard to articulate or understand this separation without experiencing it… after all, if we are not our mind or our thoughts then what the hell are we? But now that I have realised this nature, being back at home two weeks later I feel more at ease, more humble, less selfish, more aware of the things that really matter and less affected by those that don’t. I am more open to receiving and giving love and have already patched up some of my personal relationships. It feels like Bryan 2.0! The change feels slight but the results, I think are incredible. P.S. There will be an opportunity towards the end of the retreat to buy some Shaman’s handmade art pieces so I recommend that you also bring some cash to the lodge. P.P.S. Lastly, I recommend that you do the Machu Picchu tour at the end. Machu Picchu is a natural wonder and speaks for itself but it’s also the perfect way to close the retreat, especially if you visit the site with people from your group who will undoubtedly become your life-long friends. From a practical standpoint too, it will most likely be cheaper for you to book the tour with Spirit Plan Journeys so that you don’t end up paying extra for shuttle buses and taxis etc. They’ve run this tour so many times and it was just easier to let them arrange everything for you in this instance too!
Sheila Beck October 01, 2018
Spirit Plant Journeys brought all the right ingredients together for a very meaningful, spiritual experience. Sarah, Ryan & Marta are amazing … they are very genuine folks and live from the Heart ♥. And oh Maestro Walter … his songs (Icaros) were straight from his Heart ♥ ... at times, I felt like I was the one singing … it was my favorite part of the ceremonies … the Icaros helped me immensely. The Venue … Energetically, Casita Huaran, a sustainable, organic farm in Sacred Valley, hit all the right buttons for me. Beautiful Tania & her family ... live from the Heart ♥ ... the animals, plants, flowers, apus, trees, the sound and view of the Huaran River, the land ... all Pachamama! And the 🐕 dogs … they were our spirit animal mascots and protectors. I definitely chose the right venue for my 1st Aya experience. The program was very well planned & thoroughly thought out … the respect and sacredness of the ceremonies … meditation sessions, yoga, massages, flower baths, Despacho ceremony, Pachamanca Lunch with Tania’s family (Quechua, ‘Earth Food’) ... All from the Heart ♥! Many many thanks 🙏🏻 to Spirit Plant Journeys! I am truly grateful. You are a force & have created something truly beautiful... from the Heart ♥! Applause! Bravo! Yay! 👏🏻 👏🏻 👏🏻 ❌⭕️❌
Jace Power September 27, 2018
I am struggling to find the words to explain my experience so I will give the facilitators a shot out first up. Ryan and Marta went above and beyond their call of duty to ensure that our group felt safe. Marta is such a precious soul and a true example of a mentor. Her journey was a great source of inspiration. Her openness in sharing her vulnerabilities broke down barriers from the first day and gave me the confidence to open up and share with the group which was always received with acceptance and open hearts. Ryan was great also, from his greeting hug I felt a warmth and sense of trust in him. His songs by the campfire were beautiful and I have faith that we will be mates for a long time to come. Maestro walter was beautiful personified. The accommodation at Casa Huran was magical. Set amongst mountains and producing their own organic produce which ended up on our plates. Tanya and Bjorn were proud and welcoming hosts and the work they have done in the community is beautiful. To my experience.... It seemed like the ultimate paradox, a complex abstraction of a simple concept maybe the best fitting description. I learnt more about the totality of nothingness than can be put into words. If you want your life to change, make changes to your life, that is all on my journey. So as the 5 star rating suggest I can not recommend Spirit Plant Journey any more. A truly beautiful way to start the next chapter of my life, free from baggage and with an in-depth knowledge of who am I. Thank you to all involved, my gratitude is boundless xo
Mallory Stanton August 18, 2018
My time with Spirit Plant Journeys was a deeply, deeply fulfilling and healing experience. I’ve had severe anxiety and depression for most of my life, and after exhausting all the standard Western options (meds, therapy, etc.), I came to madre ayahuasca in the hopes of changing how I do life. From the moment I got on the phone with Sarah, I knew SPJ was the right fit. The wonderful team that runs SPJ are real, grounded, and loving people who care deeply about what they do. Every step of the journey, months before arriving in Cusco, I felt like my path and desire to heal was respected and cared for. The retreat itself was nothing short of the transformational experience I’d hoped for. Under the strong guidance of Maestro Walter (the power and beauty in his icaros were truly stunning), I had an utterly inexplicable experience. The closest I can come to describing it is that I felt like I was literally being born back into my own body. 5 months after, I still feel, for the first time in my life, not trapped by fear or worry. I know that this is thanks to madre ayahuasca and the open and loving environment created by Sarah and the team at Spirit Plant Journeys. Thank you so, so much for everything, you guys are amazing!
Mike Carrillo August 17, 2018
Hi first of all big thanks to everyone that put this retreat together, thanks to Sarah, Adam,Saffa, Walter, Orfelinda and of course the elegant and friendly staff. Thanks to us that participated we were all there for each other, in our strength and when we needed support so thanks to Lucy Deena Floyd Mira Matt & myself Much love to all of you. Well to start off it was a very positive experience although I had to go through some darkness, as I recall I was able to experience that dark part of me without fear but the fear was still there but I was OK with it. Meaning that fear has its usefulness in certain areas of life, I’ll just keep it short by saying that we cannot stay in fear mode all the time. I felt a lot of sadness in part of the ceremony, Somehow I was given visions on how humanity treats his fellow man through wars, greed, learning to hate and to be more separated than united poverty etc. But also I saw the beauty and the love that is right here and now and that if we go deep inside ourselves in there you will find everything, Mother ayahuasca shows us our true potential through nature Breaking down all barriers and showing us the connection with all lifeforms, it’s a new and beautiful way of looking at my own life , also knowing that there are so many possibilities that life offers to each and everyone of us, and it’s up to us to discover and develop this newfound awareness, to shine like diamonds and to carry on in this world that seems sometimes dark but also knowing the difference between Ilusion and reality much love ,Miguel C. Also I want to give a big thumbs up to the accommodations, very clean & down to earth facilities, The food was excellent we were on a strict diet but you wouldn’t know it because the food was delicious very well prepared it was great, the rooms and dining area very homelike and as I mentioned beautiful staff, Peaceful and friendly atmosphere and beautiful energy throughout I would highly recommend this retreat again thank you much love Miguel C.
Jeff Cohen July 24, 2018
The Curanderos (Shipibo Shamans) who lead the healing journeys that I participated in were wonderful. Maestro Walter Ramirez, and Maestra Orfelinda Sanancino are highly trained, competent and caring Shamans. I participated in the July 1 - 10, 2018 retreat. I had G.I. Tract issues since early childhood, but am problem-free now. My focus, concentration, memory and overall health are now enhanced. It is crucial to approach ceremonies with proper reverence and intention. SPJ provides the proper Set and Setting, and highly skilled Shamans and facilitators to promote the greatest efficacy for healing. Marta, Gina and Adam were excellent facilitators during the session that I attended. Sarah embodies the highest level of commitment to safety, support and authenticity for the retreats that she provides through SPJ. The site facilities were nice, it's a beautiful high-energy locale, and the food was excellent, healthful & vital.
Vladimir Matic January 22, 2018
I consider the beginning of my journey with Ayahuasca a few years ago, when I had first learned of the medicine. It wasn’t until recently, however, that I felt a strong calling to go and work with her. I was depressed and anxious, often alternating between the two in the same day. Unhappy with myself and what this life has to offer I decided to make some changes. If you’re thinking about working with Ayahuasca you won’t regret a single thing about booking with Spirit Plant Journeys. The real journey begins the moment you get in touch with them. The day trips, daily yoga and massage were just details that enhanced the experience. Coming to Spirit Plant Journeys was one of the best decisions I have ever made. To begin, the amazing facilities nestled in mother nature beneath a mountain at Petra were the perfect locale for healing. Birds, bees, doggies, trees, geese, (grumpy) sheep, waterfalls. Pure magic. The accommodations were the perfect mix of modern and rustic; chopping wood and building fires to heat the cottages was an amazing way to connect with your surroundings, your new friends and yourself. Although Niels was always around, chopping wood and making sure fires were going in your cottages whenever you wanted it the most - after ceremony. I’m sure, however, that all that I just mentioned would not have been as magical as it would have been without the infusion of love from Niels and Sarah. Not at all what I was expecting, they are quite young, but oh the wisdom, joy and love that beams so bright from these two souls. The dedication and self-sacrifice with which they run Spirit Plant Journeys is an inspiration in this world. Always available to help with anything that you might need and always there to translate. What a treat to work San Pedro before Ayahuasca. Bernard really knows how to hold space for healing and letting yourself and the medicine work together. The focus was really to sharpen your intentions for the upcoming work with Ayahusaca. Thank you thank you Bernard! And then there’s Gume. I often think back and am overwhelmed by the amount of gratitude I feel towards this kind, loving and POWERFUL man. Gume is an intuitive healer who upon first glance at your eyes knows exactly what you’re here for and is able to help you navigate all those spirit realms expertly. The work that Gume does in ceremony (and outside as well…) is mind boggling. Not only is he casting protection for the group, he is calling spirits, banishing them, and who knows what else is going on that I could not understand. And doing all of this with grace, beauty and style! I still tear up thinking about the icaros and healing songs. Beyond the ceremonies, I believe that the sharing circles were instrumental in integrating the experiences into our souls, really allowing us to bring those experiences with us to everyday life. And even beyond the sharing circles, the insights provided by everyone whenever you needed them helped harmonize our beings even further. I’d also like to thank Dani, the kindest spirit, for her work as a facilitator, but more importantly, dance partner. Your own journey is inspirational and I often think of you and hope you are doing well. And this is the beginning! I haven’t even mentioned all the other souls that make this place possible, the lovely staff that clean and cook and make Petra homey, the drivers that get us to all the amazing sites we visit as a group, Mark, who prepares soul nourishing meals every damn day… There’s something to be said about a place, people and medicine that can melt the assumptions and judgements you make about complete strangers. Quite quickly, you begin to form bonds of love and acceptance towards all the people in your group. I was fortunate enough to attend the retreat with a fantastic group of individuals who I think about almost daily. Everyone has something to bring to the table and we were all there for one another throughout. Some had it harder than others, but you soon learn to hold space for everyone’s journey, as you are all going through it together. I will never forget the absolute massacre of fruit (granadillas, not apples though), the roaring laughter, the tears, the quiet demonstrations of compassion and support, and quite frankly the pure spiritual gong show that we all navigated in solidarity. Thank you, Kaleidoscope Panic Attack! Keep up the fantastic work you guys! SO MUCH LOVE!
GoldenJaw January 12, 2018
I attended a retreat in August 2017. It was slap bang in the middle of a 6 months travel sabbatical I had embarked on in South America and it was the perfect half way mark for me in so many ways. What I love about these ceremonies and retreats is on day 1 you meet with the group for the first time, you make your assumptions and judgement as we humans do and you start out as a bunch of strangers. The trip to the Valley from Cusco via the weavers with a very enthusiastic and bubbly Dani was a good start to what would be a wonderful adventure. From the moment we arrived at the most exquisite setting of Petra and after meeting Neils and Bernhard, I knew I was in the right place at the right time. One of the things I noticed was the attention to detail. The small little things to aid us on our not always so easy and pleasant journeys. The beautiful grounds, relaxation areas and quiet areas we could retreat to were scattered around aplenty. There was always someone to talk to or a little nook you could hideaway in to gather yourself. The kitchen wizards and their healthy and hearty Aya style food were perfectly suited to keep us nourished for our 10 days. I will never forget the delicious morning banana pancakes! The ceremonies were a wonderful balance of solemnity, reverence, lightness, and fun. There is a beautiful freedom to be yourself within the temple and the after ceremony fruit, nuts and yucca stick chats is one of the best things I can remember. Gume is an incredibly powerful magician, so humble, so wise beyond his years yet he retains his childlike youthfulness. He is very caring for each and every person in the room, nothing is too much trouble for him and before, during and after each of the 4 ceremonies, the one on one "counselling" is hugely beneficial and always incredibly accurate. Cool Neils and the beautiful Sara were not what I was expecting at all and in saying so, they were so much more than I could have ever asked for. Both so grounded, so human, so talented in various ways, so fun and so caring and compassionate. These are the kind of folks you want to be spiritual with. I was lucky enough to share a home with a couple who were staying there on a more long term basis, Sharmaine and Jin and they were incredibly gracious hosts, adding to the fun and family feel to the retreat. I felt like I was among good friends and I could be free and myself at all times. The group I was privileged enough to be a part of, was a perfect mix of all I needed to mirror that which I had to heal within myself. These gatherings never turn out to be by chance and I hold each and every one of them close to my heart. All initial judgement and assumptions fly out the window, leaving only a deep sense of love, understanding and compassion. The feelings you share after true and deep connection. Something I feel we have lost as a species, especially in the West. How wonderful to find a place where we can come together as a community and share these experiences. What we shared and saw and felt together was pure magic. Even the head bumping, crying, laughing, freaking out, purging and whatever else happened was just perfect for each of our healing. The added extras Spirit Plant Journeys offers are just the sprinkled nuts on top of the ice-cream. The trips to the ruins, walks to the waterfall, the daily yoga classes, the massage and even for those who wanted, a trip to the famed Machu Picchu, was a wonderful way to really immerse oneself in the group dynamic, the culture and to deeply feel and connect with the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The way it was setup for the 10 days with 1 San Pedro and 4 Aya ceremonies, with much needed breaks in between was the perfect container for full and complete healing. I trusted Dani, Neils, Sara and Gume with my whole heart and soul and even though it was tough at times, it was worth every shudder at the thought of swallowing that potent brew, the food sacrifices, the money, the time and the difficulties faced within the journeys. I arrived at the retreat on the 1 Aug with a bunch of strangers and whole lot to heal and I left on the 10th August feeling part of an extraordinary family with my head, heart, body, mind and soul all in alignment. It was the most free and at peace I have ever felt in all my waking adult life, and boy was it a wondrous feeling. I am inspired, deeply touched and in awe of these individuals who would go out of their way, make enormous and selfless sacrifices, putting themselves physically, mentally and spiritual on the line for us, a bunch of strangers, so that we can heal and transform so that we may be the best versions of ourselves. The only ulterior motive I feel they could possibly have, is that we take the joy, light and peace we were shown we had forgotten we had within us, out into the world, for others to see and feel. So I thank the team at SPJ for allowing me to find my peace, joy and true happiness and for bringing the GRANADILLA into our lives every night. The fruit of a 1000 eyes, which brought us so much joy. I shall forever be grateful and hope 1 day I can return to again experience the KALEIDOSCOPE PANIC ATTACK!
Stephanie Nightingale January 10, 2018
My husband and I attended a retreat with Spirit Plant Journeys, in late 2014. It exceeded our expectations and was the perfect container for us to explore Ayahuasca and San Pedro in a comfortable, calm, and respectful environment. Gumercindo led powerful and focused ceremonies, and Neils and Sarah helped us feel cared for and looked after in the most nurturing way. Bernhard’s San Pedro ceremonies were the highlight for both me and my husband. We came primarily to work with Ayahuasca but were taken by the profound beauty and rapture that San Pedro offered. We really appreciated Neils’ and Sarah’s extensive experience with Plant medicines. Their dedication was a reminder to us that this work is a journey, a process and not a panacea. Three years later, I still have dreams about our time there, and my husband and I are hoping to returning soon to the Sacred Valley. If you are looking for a balanced and genuine experience of working with Plant medicines, in a beautiful and sacred place, then we can’t recommend Spirit Plant Journeys enough.
Kristina Wong January 06, 2018
Come alone or with a friend or loved one, and you'll magically create a new family through the ayahuasca experience, nestled in the womb of Mother Earth, Sacred Valley, Peru. Physical review-- Safe, clean, well-managed, personal chef, cleaning provided daily, yoga + massage offered, hikes, group visits to Incan sites, Veg-friendly Cafe 5 minute walk away Spiritual review-- It was my first time to Peru as well with working with plant medicines in August 2017. The care and attention from Neils' prior to the retreat was incredible. The year leading up to my trip, I was able to email with Neils' regarding any questions, he was there guiding even before any of the medicine healing happened! Spirit Plant Journeys is a genuine, kind and supportive retreat. Neils and Sarah built the retreat through love and trust. They are the most down to earth duo! Any topic of interest you'd like to discuss or if you wanna laugh and see humour around you or if you need to slow down and get serious, these two offer the most versatile support, company and conversations. (including the 10 other wonderful people on my retreat) 4 Ayahuasca ceremonies and 1 San Pedro. Gume is a powerful shaman, within him is so much love surrounded by strength. He guides every person in ceremony to understand the resistance in our lives and to let the medicine clean/clear/heal. Sharing circles were provided through the journey to help us integrate and process, as well guide intention for our inner-work. If you're looking for an intimate, genuine and safe experience Spirit Plant Journeys is the one! Words honestly cannot fit in this review how grateful I am to have done this retreat!!
Jane Kodros December 25, 2017
This retreat is in a wonderfully tranquil setting in a peaceful enclave, enhanced by a small, calming water feature. The shared houses are the perfect blend of communal and private cohabitation. The food was healthful and delicious, served in a family style that allowed for personal interaction in a informal setting.This made for a relaxed atmosphere and more comfortable experience. The medicine was ceremoniously and respectfully shared in a small group. There was ample time devoted to post ceremonial discussions about the experience with Gume, the medicine man there to answer questions and provide feedback, Yoga and message sessions were provided at no additional cost which added to the resort feeling of the journey. Hikes and day trips to local sites were also included in the package. This 10 day journey was well worth the money. The tranquil setting, the fresh, nutritious foods, the mind-opening medicine and a few extra perks make Spirit Plant the best journey you can possibly take. I cannot wait to book my return visit! Thank you very much! 💜
Harry Willemsen December 11, 2017
If you are reading this, you are reviewing where to go for an Ayahuasca ceremony. That is to be applauded because attending any Ayahuasca ceremony is a brave move. So where will you go? To me, it was important to be in Peru, not somewhere else. But a comfortable environment is also important to me. And a sense of confidence for the facilitators and most importantly finding the best sjaman was on top of the priority list. Important because your experience with ayahuasca must be guided and protected by the best. Ayahuasca is a starting point to heal and find a better equilibrium. Healing of physical, mental or emotional issues can bring you in dark places and that is . . good! The most darkest moments will enable the most enlightened moments. The more dark you can heal, the more light will reveal itself to you and the middle point, the equilibrium is found. That is the path to wisdom. Stay in either the light or the dark and you have lost. You must face and know the dark and do the shadow work to become sovereign. But in those dark moments you want to be in the accompany of people that care for you, that love but foremost, that know their business. Well Gume is the sjaman and he knows his business coming from a long line of shamans and . . . his brew is strong. Bernard is a wonderfull sjaman with his San Pedro, checking on everyone, knowing exactly where you are so to assist you. Neil is great and I love him for bringing everything together, a sensitive guy but also practical and a fine musician. And Sarah . . . what can I say, such a funny and beautifull being. Love them all. And apart from the trips to Pisac, Ollantaytambo and Machu Piccha you will lodge in Petra, in the sacred valley and that is an absolutely superb place to relax. Between giant mountains and waving eucalyptus trees I myself experienced a religious encounter with nature and the grid that holds it. But not only that, you have no mosquito’s here! Not too warm or too cold so no distractions except beauty in nature and in people and thus perfect to concentrate on your San Pedro and Ayahuasca. The experience itself will be up to you and your intent. And that will be different for all of you seekers but if you ask me, I say: “Seek no more . . . sign up with Neils and go to Petra. You will love love love it”. Harry, Haarlem, Netherlands
Lars Eriko December 11, 2017
Two years ago I did my first retreat at Spirit Plant Journeys. The choice fell on this place after having done research for many months in order to find a center that was safe, gave value for money and had a serious approach towards the medicine. No need to give you too many details, but I've just finished my third retreat at Spirit Plant Journeys. That should say a lot on its own. For me it was important also that I got the opportunity to work with San Pedro along with the Ayahuasca medicine, not many retreat centers offers both. I feel now what I've felt every time after a retreat, that I did a very good choice and there is no need to look for any other place. Neils is a fantastic leader, with vast knowledge and experience. He is also very helpful if any problems occur, for instance with natural remedies if your stomach goes bad (which often happens in Peru). The Shamans, Bernhard and Gume, are both pure hearted and powerful. And from what I've learned, Gume is one of the absolute best ayahuasceros there is. The food is fantastic. Yoga, massages is awesome. The hikes to see old inca ruins gives a nice break from the work, and another dimension to the whole experience. The whole team at the place deserves praise. No need to look further, this place will stay in your heart forever.
Paul Beauchamp December 08, 2017
I attended spirit plant journeys in September of this year, 2017. Admittedly very apprehensive but as I'm a medium I knew fully it was part of my journey through life. I was guided here by spirit. It was truly the most rewarding and enlightening experience I have ever had. The team here are truly exceptional, from start to finish. The passion that they put into this retreat is beyond and above anything I could have ever expected. Neils is honestly the most loving nurturing man I've come across in my life and puts all others needs before his. Gume the shaman is truly a spiritual master of his craft and I felt fully safe and secure with both of them. The rest of the team here offer so much help and support, from the excellent meals provided, the massage and yoga offered, the cleaning and all other support staff. The cost of the retreat is a mere fraction of what is achieved and obtained from it, the people you are with become family, a pure spiritual connection, a bond forever. Thank you for it being truly perfect. 😘
Progress December 01, 2017
This is my third consecutive year returning to Neils, Sarah, Gume, and Bernhard at Spirit Plant Journeys. If that does not speak powerfully for the work this beautiful unorthodox family of people do here I don't know what will. Ayahuasca is powerful all on her own. With the right attitude, with enough bravery, you can find what you're in need of in other retreats. But, SPJ has a unique quality that has me coming back year after year. They are a family here, an unorthodox one, yes, but a family nonetheless. The most important thing I have learned in the last several years working with Aya is that love is at the root of everything, and here at SPJ there is love in abundance. Surrounding yourself if this element when on retreat gives you the safety and the space to dig deep within to find the healing and understanding you are looking for. This is not some money making outfit as is common in the flowering Aya tourism industry. Sarah and Neils run SPJ as a labor of love because they genuinely want to bring Aya to as many people as possible in as ideal a setting as possible. In finding Gume and the venue Petra, they lucked into something magical. He is a powerful shaman of an ancient lineage, but unlike many medicine workers he along with the retreat organizers have a profound love for everyone they work with. You can feel it radiating from them all in the care they give everyone and in the absolutely beautiful music they all play. This is the core, the theme of SPJ; love, music, and healing. Each group at SPJ arrives as strangers but leaves as family. The first retreat I intended three years ago I told Sarah and Neils that so long as funds and life allowed I would be returning every year. Three years later, I hold strong to this commitment. There is no other group I would rather drink with, and to this day there is no other way I can think of spending 10 days in a year that is more profoundly beneficial to my life and to my soul. Much love to all of you at SPJ, and to any of you who upon reading this decide to join the family :)
Sara Z November 28, 2017
No words can describe my experience with Spirit Plant Journeys. It was a life changing experience that taught me so much and most notably i was shown the importance of drinking the plant medicines (both San Pedro and Ayahuasca) - for personal reasons, to improve relationships and to make this world a better place. Neils and Adam and the whole staff are amazing human beings who were always available to assist with any requests and made us feel at home. Their approach was very friendly, humorous and genuine. You will instantly feel like you can talk to them about anything and everything! I didn´t get the chance to meet Sarah but most of the people who were on the same retreat as I have more than once - spoke highly of her. She was with us in spirit. Everything was very well organised and well thought of. The food was very delicious (Thank you MARC) and Petra is a beautiful place where you can feel completely safe to let go of everything and be vulnerable and open about your previous experiences as well as your journey with the plan medicines. The ceremonies were beautiful and guidance was provided every step of the way. Gume and Bernhard have extensive experience with the plant medicines and are very trust-worthy. Neils and Gume also play music that lightens the soul (listening to music can make a tremendous difference when you are having a rough experience) I really can't think of a better place to start or deepen your journey with the plan medicines I plan on returning. Thank you thank you thank you for everything. All the love, Sara
Mozelle Spencer November 27, 2017
Spirit Plant Journeys was an epic and life changing experience. The staff holds such a beautiful, safe and heart centered space in order to facilitate deep healing. The retreat center is beautiful, very clean and the food is Amazing! We had arrived after spending 16 days in the jungle at a very rustic retreat. So to arrive at this retreat was such a welcomed gift and blessing. The staff, the location, the Incredible shaman, the powerful and transformative medicine, the beautiful Icaros sung made for an unforgetable experience I will always cherish.
Jean-Daniel Montreuil August 05, 2017
My experience at Spirit Plant Journeys was incredible. The location of the retreat center is simply amazing and beautiful. You will quickly feel at home, Neils and Sarah are always there to make sure you are comfortable. They are always there to help you set your intention and integrate your experience. Going to Spirit Plant Journey was the best decision of my life. I was a little scared to go there alone as I am only 18 years old and my parents were against me going there but I quickly realised that there's nothing to fear and I felt really safe at Spirit Plant Journeys. My experience with ayahuasca was challenging by times but certainly life changing. But, even during the most difficult times of my trips, I felt safe and under good hands. Gume is a very powerful shaman and he will help you process your experience. The food was also very good. The San Pedro ceremony was amazing and Bernard is also a very good shaman. He can really connect with you and help you process your experience. I can't imagine a better set and setting than what Spirit Plant Journeys offers you. Be prepare for an intensive retreat that may change your life! Jean-Daniel Montreuil, 18 years old, Quebec, Canada
Sybil Ottenstein July 28, 2017
I had the privilege of participating in the July 2017 retreat at Spirit Plant Journeys. As I left the warm embrace of Niels, Sarah, Gume and Seb only a couple of weeks ago, I am still finding it hard to put my experience into words. But perhaps that's the whole point. Working with the medicine, with these magical souls in one of the most beautiful settings on earth was the ultimate journey from HEAD to HEART. The team creates a safe and light-hearted space to allow for some of the most deep, sometimes painful, but always incredibly beautiful work of your life. Unlike other centers which may carry with them an air of spiritual pretension, a sort of 'I am more conscious than thou' feel, Spirit Plant Journeys is all about bringing out your inner child. The atmosphere is casual, carefree and downright FUN. And honestly, it is the necessary antidote to the oftentimes heaviness of the medicine. The experience felt so grounding, so powerful, so right. I am deeply grateful and I already look forward to my next visit!
Roland Berard June 13, 2017
Hi Neils and Sarah Here is my testimonial of my experience at Petra! I had a wonderful and profound experience in the retreat with Neils, Sandra and their team in June 2017. I had been curious about Ayawaska for several years but had never really felt drawn to experience it. In the last year or so, I became more intrigued after having heard testimonials from some of my students. Since I was coming to Peru and had received a recommendation from one of my students just prior to leaving, I decided that if I was going to experience it, Peru was the place to do so. I contacted Neils when I felt the pull and lo and behold, there was a retreat happening within a week and a half. So many things came together with Grace and Ease that I knew I was meant to participate. From the onset, I could tell that Neils was sincere and interested in my well-being and very generous and forthcoming with information and answers to my questions. I looked forward to the retreat as I carefully followed the preparation protocol and diet. When I arrived In Huaran I was blown away by the space, the mountains and the accommodations at Petra. Neils and his team - Sarah, Seb, Ana, Chase, Jenny and Bernhard (and puppy Saltero) were all extremely welcoming with hospitality and warmth. I was greatly impressed by everyone’s genuine heart and emotional and spiritual intelligence and maturity. The food prepared by Mark and his staff was ever so delicious and plentiful. Mark graciously and deliciously met the challenge of cooking without salt - we were all so very pleased and satiated with every meal. Huaran is of course in the Sacred Valley of Peru. The mountains and the countryside are well suited for the very sacred journey we were about to undertake. I did not know what to expect from the ceremonies, but our San Pedro ceremony led by Bernhard was the perfect opening for the week retreat. Personally, the San Pedro experience was very profound for me, putting me in touch with things I had not known were still so entrenched in my body and psyche. With Bernhard's help I was able to navigate the tumultuous day and gain more insight into my intentions for the remaining ceremonies. The Ayawaska ceremonies led by Gume and assisted with loving presence by Neils, were also very powerful. They were more physical for me that anything else - not what I was expecting. Guess I got what I needed and not what I wanted! I had dived in to the whole experience whole-heartedly and it was what it was. Of course, it is still integrating as I speak so I do not know yet the full depth of the experience which will play itself out in the next few months. Part of my intention in the ceremonies was to come closer to and to open my heart, and as I was walking in Cusco the day after returning, I could feel my heart more open than I had felt it in the previous weeks... I loved how we had so much free and relaxing time between ceremonies, some of which was spent visiting sacred sites, some in hiking around Huaran and a lot just hanging out playing music, journaling, reading and getting to know each other around the evening fires. We all so much enjoyed Saltaro, the happy puppy who was very therapeutic for all of us, the butting ram grazing in the grass near his ewe, and the elder goose that sometimes got a bit impatient and chased us. In this kind of experience, the group dynamic is very important and ebbs and flows as we let down our guards, risk some vulnerability and share our experiences. Thank you to everyone that dived in and did so. I am so very grateful to life for putting this experience on my path and for following my intuition. I would recommend it to anyone thinking of exploring the sacred plant medicine. It is so important that this be experienced accompanied by the right people and SacredPlantJourneys is definitely the right group. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart. Who knows, I may be back sooner that I think… To be continued... Roland Bérard, Montréal, Québec, Canada June 2017
Rob Thomas May 28, 2017
I would like to thank Sarah, Neils, Gume, Bernhard, and Sebastian--I don't have the words to express how grateful I am. For those who are considering Spirit Plant Journeys, I can say with all confidence that you are in great hands. While their website was what swayed me to choose them, I soon found that the service they provided was only partially represented. It would difficult to confine my experience into a review. The best I can say is that it was one incredible surprise after another. I feel I was given so much more than I had bargained for. Everything they do is with profound humility, kindness, limitless humor, and all without any hint of pretentiousness. They are exactly the type of people you want around you in a time like that. It was a gift to be there this last April, and I recommend Spirit Plant Journeys without hesitation.
Walter Hipgrave February 26, 2017
My retreat at Spirit Plant Journeys exceeded all my expectations. It was a professional and well organised 10 days with great attention to safety, comfort and spiritual growth. I couldn't imagine doing ayahuasca with anyone other than Spiritplantjourneys and I am already planning my return. The incredible experience was made possible by the caring team of Neils, Sarah, Sebastian, Bernard and Gume, who did everything possible to ensure people were prepared to make the most of the ayahuasca ceremony. I was relieved by the lack of dreadlocks and tie-dye and the straight forward but deeply spiritual approach to plant medicine that was promoted by Neils and Sarah. The ceremonies themselves are deeply personal and difficult to explain. Gume, the shaman, was like a big brother who led the ceremonies by singing his powerful and mystical icaros. I felt a genuine connection to all the other participants and it felt like we had become a family by the end of the retreat. Of course they were supported by a host of cooks, cleaners and drivers. The food we ate was delicious- you barely noticed the lack of salt or chilli! The accommodation was luxurious with some of the softest beds I've ever slept in and the showers flowed strong and warm! The other great aspect to Spirit Pant Journeys was being able to do some sight-seeing and hiking in between ceremonies. I would highly recommend Spirit Plant Journeys to anyone interested in plant medicine, shamanism or personal growth; You won't be disappointed.
Marie-A February 26, 2017
I lived the experience of A Spirit Plant Journeys this February 2017. Going there was the better gift to myself ever. Neils and Sarah brings together the best of everything and it will make your journey through yourself an overwhelming experience. They are dedicated to your well-being. The retreat start with a ceremony of San Pedro guided by a generous shaman named Bernard. This ceremony made me feel connected with my environment, with nature and people. It helped me find balance between my heart and mind. It opened my heart for the cleaning made by Ayahuasca. The Ayahuasca ceremonies were conducted by a powerful shaman, Gumercindo Galindo. His signings are divine and powerful. La Medicina rising with the rhythms of the icaros plunge me deep down inside my heart and released the sadness, anger and frustrations that I had bury since a long time. The frustrations that didn't even belong to myself since I've learned them from my mother while I was a child. I've seek for years to get rid of those negatives emotions. I've find some relief but I never to the core. I always felt that something was not right inside me but, since I didn't had a big trauma, I couldn't find what it was and how to name it. Ayahuasca took me through an exorcist. I could see the emotions flowing out of myself while I was physically purging in many ways all that sadness blocked inside me. After this tough but relieving experience, I deeply felt love. Unconditional love of the universe. Back into "normal" life, I can now see beauty of life. I can feel love for me and for people around me. I would also like to add to this experience the contribution of Paulette and her Thetahealing session. Ayahuasca helped me to get rid of old blockages, but her healing helped me cut the cells memory of not being allowed to exist. She helped me find self-love which is for me an astonishing experience.
urator February 21, 2017
I just came back from this retreat and I just cannot recommended enough. The place is amazing, the Shamans are powerful and help heal and change your life. The food is amazing and healthy . The people are so generous and help in any way they can. It is not always easy to work with this medicine but the results are amazing . The San Pedro helped me see what I have to change and what I need to do in my life to change. The Ayahuasca helped change or remove the blockages I had. Overall I give this retreat a 10 out of 10 with no hesitation. I got exactly what I needed from this retreat
Ashton Tippin February 14, 2017
This is truly an amazing retreat! Neils, Sara and Sebastian are some of the most wonderful people I've ever met, and really make you feel at home throughout the journey. I didn't know what to expect when I first left my home in the Florida, but once I arrived I instantly knew I was in great hands. The Shamans, Gume and Berhnard, are so very knowledgeable and helpful, are great guides, and have amazing energies. All in all, the retreat was fantastic and I feel like I have taken something out of it that will remain with me for the rest of my life. I couldn't imagine having gone anywhere but Spirit Plant Journeys, and would highly recommend it if you are interested.
Kyle January 18, 2017
Even in my darkest moments with Ayahuasca I always felt safe in the space that he, Neils and Sebastian had created. Each one of them were always there throughout the entire ceremony to help each and every person through their journey and that kind of support is very reassuring when entering the often challenging realm of Ayahuasca. The post-ceremony music after working with Aya I’ll treasure for the rest of my life. Both Neils and Sebastian are gifted musicians with big hearts. It was perfect working with Bernhard and San Pedro as it helped focus my intention on the upcoming work with Ayahuasca. Both Ayahuasca and San Pedro helped me see that we’re creators of our realities and not the victims we sometimes like to think we are. This review does not even do justice to what I experienced in those 10 days. I will never forget the amount of love I felt and received from each and every person. Since returning home I’ve seen a total shift in my behavior - yes, the old habits return some days, darkness creeps up, but it doesn’t linger for days on end like it would before my trip down to Peru. I can’t thank Neils, Sebastian, Gume, Bernhard, and Paulette enough for what they’ve done but I hope this review can help as they’re all true healers doing a great service for this planet. Rest assured, you are in very, very good hands with Spirit Plant Journeys.
Kieran Emery January 08, 2017
Something wasn't right. I had been feeling it for months and every passing day felt like life was literally ebbing out of me. I had heard about ayahuasca many years previously and while doing some soul searching as to what might get me out of the spiral downwards I heard her calling. I searched the internet, including this site, and the feel of Spirit Plant Journeys when I came across it, just seemed right- warm and welcoming. Something about Spirit Plant Journeys was speaking volumes to me, the more I read about this retreat and the facilitators, I sensed authenticity- very quickly I decided that this would be the place I responded to the call of Mother Aya. Niels,Sarah and Sebastian are incredible souls, filled to the brim with genuine compassion, empathy and understanding of the weight life can bear down on all of us. Immediately you feel a bond with them as they discuss the process of the ceremonies and the power of the plant medicines- it is surreal to be surrounded by the mountains at the retreat and hear these human beings talk,free of ego,pretence or agenda. Bernhard is the shaman who undertakes the first ceremony using San Pedro. In the presence of Bernhard, you will marvel at the depth of understanding,compassion and truth that radiates from him. He has the ability to view whatever your issue maybe and help you approach it from a completely different perspective. The San Pedro itself is a very potent medicine. During the ceremony my experience was profound, I experienced a vision that humbled and grounded me. Bernhard was able to help me better understand this vision during the sharing after the ceremony. The prospect of the ayahuasca ceremonies gave me butterflies, this was truely a step into an unknown for me. With Gumé undertaking the ceremonies, I distinctly remember the sitting in the molokai during the first ceremony wondering if this was actually the right thing for me, did I belong here...? The first ayahuasca ceremony for me will stay etched in my mind for the rest of my days and I would like to share it; We drank the ayahuasca one by one and received a blessing from Gumé. After 45 minutes or so, I aware it was working on the group but I felt completely unaffected. I asked Niels if I could have some more. I was brought in front of Gumé who preformed another blessing on me and I took the second cup. I returned to my spot and half laid back / half sat up. In this position focused on my breathing and kept my eyes open. The aya came on slowly, I had the most intricate geometric shapes rapidly moving past in my peripheral vision. Suddenly, my body moved on its own and sat bolt up right. My eyes were wide open but I wasn't in the molokai anymore. I was sitting in front of a pyramid shaped alter covered in the geometric shapes that had been moving past me. Behind the alter descended down our creator- the mother. I was completely coherent and remember the experience vividly- as the creator descend down, peace washed over me and I felt that my soul was home. The mother reached forward and took me out of my physical body and placed me behind the alter with her- I was looking back at myself ! I have never been religious but my physical body was sitting bolt upright with my hands clasped together in praise of the divine mother. The look of awe and happiness on my face was incredible- I didn't know I could smile like that ! She started to communicate with me, explaining that all of the things I was holding on to; the sadness, the anger, the ego, the negativity, it was all temporary, just a human experience and that we all come from this place of infinite love. She then went on to explain the my wife and I had been chosen. She reached into the etherial swirling universe above her and placed a soul in my arms. She explained that my wife and I had been chosen by this little soul to give love and guidance to during her time during this life. ( My wife and I don't have children and she wasn't pregnant). The divine placed me back in my physical body where I spent the next hour or so in awe, cradling and staring at the soul of my un-born, un-conceived daughter. I have shared this experience with you in the hope it emphasises the power of these plant medicines- 4 weeks after the retreat, my wife became pregnant !! Gumé is truly a gifted and powerful shaman, his icaros and blessings are phenomenally healing. His ability to connect with spirit, see energies and bring about transformative healing is beyond belief. If you are wanting to answer the call of ayahuasca like me, Spirit Plant Journeys offers authentic, safe and powerful healing. Remember, fortune favours the brave - step into the unknown !!
Mehdi Nasseri January 04, 2017
My wife and I attended the Nov 2016 ceremonies and it was a great experience. I have nothing but praise for the whole event. Sara and Neils are gracious hosts and really care about the comfort of their guests. They make you feel at home and offer their genuine friendship and hospitality freely. There was also Seb, the new addition to Sara and Neils team. He is such a great man with a gentle soul offering support and helping to take care of the guests. Bernard, leading the San Pedro ceremony is wonderful. He is so gentle and compassionate, offering help and support during the ceremony. Gume, leading the Ayahuasca ceremonies is simply amazing. He is a powerful shaman and I was grateful for his help during the times of difficulty with the medicin. His Icaros were great help particularly towards the end with their soothing words. He is a great human being. The venue where we stayed was like a little heaven on earth. Being surrounded with mountains it really lifted the spirit. The accommodation was first class. The food was delicious and healthy. I would not dream of experiencing the medicine again anywhere but at Spirit Plant Journeys. It feels like home. Thank you Neils, Sara, Gume, Seb and Bernard. Thank you. Mehdi
Maxime Lauzon November 05, 2016
This retreat center for plant medicine is the only one i wish to go. It is everything someone needs when he is looking for answers in life. I came to the retreat for many different reason including PTSD, depressions and now i keep coming for life lessons. The people that work there are all angels. From Berhnard who has is unique but so powerful way to work his medicine. Gume who works directly with God and is so humble in the hole process. His teaching is a revelation to all. Sarah and Neils and all other staff are so kind and attentive. They sing during through out the retreat and it make it such a place charge of love and it feelings good to be there and to partake in this adventure. I would suggest this retreat to everyone!
Antonio November 05, 2016
I'm writing this review about two months since I first arrived at Spirit Plant Journeys (SPJ). I can confidently say without a doubt that making the choice to work the plant medicines at SPJ was one of the best choices of my life. I feel renewed in a way that's difficult to describe other than I'm really happy to be alive. I am much more comfortable being open, honest, and vulnerable with others. And it's much easier for me to love myself and others than ever before. The plant medicine experiences are unique to each individual that attends because we reach this point for different reasons. I'll keep my review short and focus on the essentials. The up front payment can feel risky or cumbersome but rest easy and trust that Neils and Sarah, who operate the retreat, are honest people; your private information is in safe hands. The retreat center itself is absolutely stunning. The accommodations are cozy and comfy, and the property is gorgeous. I couldn't imagine working with the plant medicines anywhere else. The food is delicious too. I never felt hungry and I always felt comfortable. The shamans themselves are top notch. Bernard helps set the stage of the retreat with San Pedro, a gentle glide so to speak, at least for me. And Gume's four Ayahuasca ceremonies were intense, emotional, and have changed my view of myself and the world. He leads the ceremonies with an unmatched passion, and he's a gentle soul that knows when you need help. Lastly, the facilitators, Neils and Sarah, are truly wonderful people. They are the right kind of people for these experiences. Warm, loving, open-minded, and a goofy bunch. They act selflessly to help each participant have a positive experience of personal growth and healing. I can't thank them enough. The musical sessions they lead, along with Gume, after the Ayahuasca ceremonies are memories I'll carry until my last days. San Pedro and Ayahuasca are truly powerful and sacred medicines. It's a priveledge to partake in the medicine and an honor to guide others through it. SPJ is more than worthy of the honor to guide participants through these ceremonies. The world needs loving people like Neils, Sarah, Bernard, and Gume. If you are searching for answers, feel like you have unfinished business, or have emotional trauma, be brave enough to visit SPJ. They'll help you work with the medicines in an honest, safe, and loving environment.
Mariell Næss October 27, 2016
I didn't know what to expect when it came to plantmedicine, but trusted my heart and went for it. The ceremonies were alot tougher and challenging than I had thought, but I always felt safe and cared for by Neils, Sarah and the lovely two shamans. It's amazing how the medicine works, and years with therapy couldn't have done the same thing for me! I know for sure that I'll be going back for another retreat some day, with Neils, Sarah, Gume and Bernhard - thank you so much for doing what you're doing for people <3
Sam Palmer October 08, 2016
I went on their 10 day retreat early on this year and was very disappointed with the whole thing. There were around 14 of us and I think all of us got incredibly sick, all of us had to send stool samples to the clinic and several people were really sick and ended up on drips. I don't wish to sounds dramatic but it's only fair that potential guests understand that it's not as rosy as it sounds, at least half of us ended up leaving before the retreat was over as we were too ill to carry on. We were constantly told that this was part of the purging process but I think the ayahuasca itself was suspect as despite getting incredibly sick, no-one had any positive experiences, visions, or insights. I felt that it was very much run as a business rather than something created for the pursuit of a mind and heart-opening experience for those who came. Out of the people who worked there I only felt that Neils and Bernard (the San Pedro healer) were truly genuine in their approach. I really hope that things there improve as the setting is beautiful and had so much potential...
M. O'Connor July 18, 2016
It's hard, really, to put into words an experience that is so truly life changing. The depth and power of this experience made possible through the work of Spirit Plant Journeys led by Neils and Sarah, who are exceptional in so many ways, Bernhard, who masterfully facilitated our San Pedro journey, and Gumercindo Galindo, who is clearly a maestro of the highest order. Gume (as he is affectionately known), carries the ancestral lineage from the jungles of the Amazon of Ayahuasca curanderos. His intuitive, spiritual, psychic, kind, powerfully shamanic approach, protects the space and where appropriate, enables him to intervene to help participants to go through healing, cleansing, and the removal of negative energies. Undergoing the journey through both San Pedro and Ayahuasca is exceptionally challenging, at least it is for me. And it is clear that what is vital is to have safety, support, and qualified guides. All of this was provided by SPJ's. At the beginning of the journey, it is suggested we make clear our intention, which for me came down to three areas of focus: 1. Personal healing for a medical issue and for trauma carried in my system, and for stress-related anxiety, which has been producing very difficult energetic processes and sensations in my body. 2. To be open to, and accept, whatever La Medicina (the plants), wished to show me. 3. To better understand how I, as someone who is a healer, teacher, and social activist could better be of service. At the culmination of the 10 days, it was clear that all three dimensions had been addressed, and of course, much more. I should backtrack and say, actually, this was my second retreat with SPJ's and both flowed together in a seamless whole, in that some of the knowledge and insights revealed in the first retreat, continued into the second. Ayahuasca is a deep and ancient intelligence, and to be opened into 'her' realm, is to meet this intelligence that knows you so intimately, knows your body, (gave you your body), and the various realms of the living, dead, the cosmos, plants, the processes of karma, the ways of healing, absolutely directly, without any priestly intervention, theology, or spiritual interpretation. It is a direct meeting with consciousness that is deeply embodied in each of us at a cellular level. To enter the flow of this knowledge, with its healing dynamic and revelatory processes, entails a death of sorts - at least that's how I experienced it. I experience the process as getting in a Shamans boat, in order to travel through the realms of disintegration, (where fear arises), and into transformational process (where ultimately deep peace is possible and tasted.) The journey also involves cleansing - called purging (puking, shitting, shaking) - all of which happened to me. But also a deep 'surgery' of sorts, where healing took place at a profound energetic level, shifting blocked energy creating dis-eases that emerge sometimes with life experiences, thought forms, beliefs and so on. I received advice from La Medicina about diet, and plants that were shown to me that can heal my condition. Beside the physical level, much was revealed around healing the emotional and psychic planes, as well as an understanding that we live in a sacred hologram of energetic interface with other dimensions (including the 'dead' who were very alive to me, with messages), hierarchies of knowledge, light beings, earth spirits, plant intelligence. The evolutionary unfolding was glimpsed, with our task at this time to continue our (humanity) awakening process at speed at this few seconds before midnight. (We are headed toward mega storms - ecological, political, social upheaval.) I understood that there will be much collapse of the systems we have been under for centuries (patriarchy, capitalist, white supremacy), etc, and that the best way to prepare is through prayer, strengthening the heart through spiritual practice, and through nourishing community. Basically, there was a lot to take in, and make relevant for new ways of being in my life. I was given guidance as to how best, with my skills and capacities, to contribute to this extreme time we are collectively living through. All of this was carried by the Icaros, (shamanic songs) of Gume, and music of Neils, Sarah and Gume, which were so healing, like the wings of angels in the midst of stormy weather. Exquisite. If you come on this journey, prepare yourself to be opened, made vulnerable, cleansed, to share your beauty, trials, your heart and soul with your fellow travellers. Prepare your body by eating cleanly before you come, and prepare your heart to let go of the walls you have created, prepare you mind to be opened. Thank you Gume, Neils and Sarah for making such profound journeys possible. Also for the mini tours to various interesting local Inca sites, and for helping us negotiate all realms, from the ordinary and practical to the non-ordinary, and for your love, humor, stories, and support. I'll be back.
Holly Phillips July 09, 2016
My stay with Spirit Plant Journeys was hands down one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. I was a little nervous signing up and arriving but within a few hours of arriving I felt completely at home. Niels, Gume, Carlos and the team made us all feel so welcome and comfortable that all the initial worries soon fell away. The group of people were also very friendly, open and by the end we were like family, I have without a doubt made friends for life. The ceremonies were beautiful, well organised and everything was thought of and accounted for. The accomodation was also beautiful which made such a difference, going back to a lovely clean and warm room after the ceremonies, not to mention the amazing surroundings we were in. This retreat has changed my life for the better and I don't think I will ever be the same again, and I am so happy and grateful for that. For anyone considering a retreat I would say, choose Spirit Plant Journeys - I can't imagine a safer, more friendly and more beautiful setting and group of people to experience plant medicine with. It was perfect.
Zgondea Paul May 30, 2016
Being able to connect to Mother Nature, trying something new for the first time and feeling safe, guided and loved by Neils, Sarah, Gume and Bernhard - this is what Spirit Plant Journeys is all about. I absolutely recommend going there and trying it for yourself!
Ernie Poole May 04, 2016
The retreat was professionally run and the experience was life changing. A traumatic event from the distant past came to the forefront of my conciousness and I experienced an enormous emotional release. Thanks to Spirit Plant Journeys from the bottom of my heart. Keep on running your wonderful retreats, for you have truly found your calling in life.
Leigh May 03, 2016
SPJ was my first time ever ingesting any kind of entheogen and I suggest that if you are called to work with the medicine, trust your heart and go forward. The process may be uncomfortable, difficult, and challenging but it will absolutely be worth it. I really can't recommend the SPJ team enough - not all shamans are created equal and they have one the absolute best (Gume) - incredibly good hearted, well-intended, and a true master of his calling. Neils and Sarah are there constantly and provide you with everything you need to help you on your journey - whether it's an extra towel or you'd like to discuss what you are going through and need someone to talk with - they are there for you, always and throughout your time with them . This retreat is in a wonderful environment, with great people... all you have to do is show up with an open heart and mind and allow the medicine to work it's magic with you. I feel fortunate I was lead to these amazing people and I whole-heartily recommend them if you are also being called to work these magical medicinal plants :)
Damian Healy May 01, 2016
A friend and I where interested in taking Ayahuasca and decided to take the trip to Peru and experience it there. Based on the reviews on a number of different Plant Medicine sites, the info we gathered off of their site (http://spiritplantjourneys.org) and the fact that we wanted to incorporate Machu Picchu into our trip we decided on Spirit Plant Journeys. Both of us are glad we did. Neils and Sara have worked very hard to set up a place for people looking to heal and grow. From when you meet up with them in Cusco till when they drop you off back in Cusco eleven days later they are there to help guide you through the sacred valley and beyond. Las Chullpas is the eco lodge they have chosen for the retreat is located in Urabamba, which is in the sacred valley on the way to Machu Picchu. It is a beautiful little town nestled in the Andes. Located at the edge of town and at the base of the mountain it gives you the feeling of being removed from the world with out actually leaving. The grounds are very beautiful with lots of little areas to sit, relax and reflect. The rooms that you stay in are basic yet comfortable. No TV’s, no real internet in the rooms (this proves to be a good thing) but the beds are soft and sheets are clean and the plumbing works (by South American standards anyway). All of the buildings are made out of clay and real wood. No sheetrock, no treated wood. My room reminded me of a room that the lost boys from Peter Pan would live in. The whole experience is kind of like adult sleep away camp in the Shire. There is wifi by the reception area if you need to check in with the rest of the world, but I loved the fact that I did not have easy access to wifi in your rooms. The only time I used my phone was to take a picture or look at the pictures I took. I had no cell service, checked my email every few days… it was like being in the 90’s again. On days when there is no ceremony you have the option to go and check out some of the many famous Incan ruins in the area. Sara and Neils do a very good job at taking the rains logistically and making sure all transportation, tickets etc. are taken care of. They also do a nice job as tour guides and tying the Incan history in with the experience you are having at the retreat. The program itself is a very challenging. If you are looking for a fun light psychedelic experience this is not your retreat. If you are looking to really work on yourself and have a truly personal, interstellar experience this may well be the place you are looking for. There is a diet what consists of a lot of no’s. No pork, no red meat, no booze, no drugs, no sexual release at all, (among other) things before, during and after the retreat. Do not let this deter you, I was very skeptical about this when I started my journey but it is very much worth it. It’s all part of the healing process. The food served at Las Chullpas is all within the diet so you don’t need to worry about that when your there. The Journey starts with San Padro, the ceremony starts in the outside in morning and lasts through the afternoon. Bernard is the San Padro Shaman and is there to help guide you through this experience that is a very introspective and personal as you are asked not to talk (except to Bernard) during the ceremony. Guma is the Ayahuasca Shaman. This is a much different experience all together. This ceremony is done at night in a yoga studio type setting. Everyone sits in a circle and has a matt, husband, blanket and bucket. Once everyone drinks the candles are blown out and the rest of the ceremony is completely in the dark. Through energy and chants Guma creates an atmosphere for you to take this journey. He truly is a master at what he does. He does not speak a lick of English but it does not matter as the work he does is far beyond words. Neils and Sara do not drink and are there to translate, facilitate and help out in any way that you need during the ceremony. Since it is pitch black in the room they will help you get to and from the bathroom, to the blessing or will just be a soothing voice in a time of need. Guma is also there to help with any energy blockages or rough patches. You can be assured that there is a lot of love in the room and you are well taken care of while you are there. The programs itinerary has you taking San Padro twice (the very first and very last ceremonies you have at the retreat) and Ayahuasca four times over the 10 days you are at the retreat. There are a few days off sprinkled in so you have time to process rest between ceremonies. The medicines are working inside you the whole time you are there so these days off are often filled with insight and personal breakthroughs. I wont go into the details of the ceremony and its journey etc. There are plenty of places you can research that, including this site. I will say however, that Ayahuasca should not be feared but should absolutely be respected. The thing I took away from this experience that was most surprising to me was the healing properties of these plants both psychologically and physically. Physical aliments that plagued me before I got there, (bad hips, bad teeth, heart burn) all stopped bothering my while I was there. I am sure the diet and the release of stress has a lot to do with it as the Ayahuasca and San Padro work in concert with the clean living you are doing while you are there. Not to mention all the negative energy you purge and no longer have to carry around with you. I am not saying these things wont come back if you go back to living the lifestyle that you lived which gave you those burdens, but it can give you a clear glimpse of what life can feel like if you live it as a healthier person. The feeling of serenity after Ayahuasca is unlike any I have felt as an adult. Then after a week and a half of ceremonies that take you across the universe and back you go to Machu Picchu. One of the most amazing places on earth and again, Neils and Sara take care of all the logistics, hotel etc. including a guided tour so you can just enjoy the experience with the new friends that you have make over the week and a half prior. If you are looking for answers that are within yourself and are not afraid to work for it, I highly recommend Spirit Plant Journeys. They are upfront about your experience. They are not claiming to cure cancer or something grandioso like that. They are very clear from the get go that you will be doing most of the work on this journey and it will be one of the hardest things you will ever do (it certainly was for me), however they are there to create a place where you can do this work in a safe, relaxing environment so you can focus on healing and growing. I believe you will find that all of the work you do will be more then worth it. It was for me. Damian Healy
Bob Chase April 24, 2016
This was the highlight of our trip to South America. The accommodations were fantastic. the food excellent, the people and retreat participants wonderful. The Shaman and the ceremonies were outstanding with much compassion and helps with much understanding of the issues and results. I believe that I received the intention I went for as well as other intentions which came along with new results. For me it was not an easy time but with the help of staff, participants, and Shaman the results were well received. My wife and I were at least twice the age of the others and we were treated with the highest respect and grace by all. The Shaman was very understanding of each one of us and was aware of each individual and their needs and circumstances. I feel it is important to go with an open mind and determination to work through every issue. The schedule was very busy with a couple days of sight seeing, 5 different ceremonies and a sweat lodge experience. I was exhausted when we ended but excited for my future. It takes guts to show up and participate but it was well worth the experience.
Sophia Cardenas April 22, 2016
Spirit plant journey has been one of the most enlightening and awakening experiences of my life. From good and healthy food to good company and reassurance on everything, I highly recommend them.
Suzanne Johnson April 22, 2016
I travelled to Peru with my son & met 10 other people as strangers and throughout the process of the sharing and ceremonies, we left as lifelong friends. Neils & Carl provided a supportive, caring environment in which to explore our spirit plant journey. They were there for us the whole way. The Shaman (Bernhard & Gume) were amazing & inspiring! The location is beautiful and the locals are friendly. The whole trip from start to finish was self actualising and humbling & through the spirit plant work, my journey of self healing began. Now home, I can say that it is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Spending time with myself, with my Son & like minded people all wanting, needing to heal you really cannot afford to to do this in your life. I will return one day to continue.....
Mairym Sarah February 08, 2016
Gume, Bernhard, Neils, and Sarah were out of this world! These wonderful people lead Spirit Plant Journeys and their 10-day program using very special Peruvian plant medicines. The excursions were all gorgeous, the food was delicious, and the accommodations were cozy. Each part of the experience was carefully and lovingly prepared and carried out. Neils and Sarah are there every step of the way - and they do everything in their power to ensure that each person is getting the most healing they can out of this retreat. Gume's ayahuasca ceremonies were without a doubt extraordinary - they were cleansing and detoxifying, yet also so full of love, light, and deeply healing. Neils and Gume create the most beautiful music which seems to bring out even more intensity and love from ayahuasca. I feel so blessed that Melissa joined us all to work with Gume in our ayahuasca ceremonies - she really helped me with integration and helped answer important questions I had about the past, present, and future. Bernhard's powerful San Pedro ceremonies were our first and our last - and they were both unforgettable and amazing - his last ceremony felt like real magic.. it gave me so much encouragement, acceptance, empowerment, and hope. Bernhard and Gume truly possess formidable healing talents. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to come to Peru and share this experience with them all and with each one of the very special souls in our group. With much love to you all, M.Sarah P.S. If you haven't already - sign up for this retreat!
Sara Hussain December 15, 2015
I'm so glad that I went with spirit plant journeys for my first ayahuasca experience. I did the deep immersion jungle retreat, and I was pleasantly suprised at how comftorable it was. It took a bus ride and a two hour really beautfiul boat ride to arrive at the retreat center.The jungle by the ucayli river is absolutley magical, the plants and palms looked like they were straight out of the jungle book. The mosquitos weren't bad and we had netting around our beds and screened windows to prevent critters from getting in. I did request vegan/vegetarian food and the retreat chef went above and beyond by making me a personal fruit salad every morning and making sure all my meals were animal product free. I felt well taken care of. During my first ceremony the medicine hit me hard and I panicked.In that moment Sarah was like a godsend. She sat by me and helped talk me through some difficult moments.I had a hard time the day after the first ceremony, Neils sat down and talked with me and helped encourage me and remind me of why I was doing this.It was great to have that type of support.I 100% do not regret going to this retreat and drinking ayahuasca. Before I left Peru I was worried that I might have to resign myself to a life of taking anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications, but now I doubt that I'll ever need to even consider that as an option.I still feel sad and experience anxiety sometimes, but for some reason it's just not that bad anymore.I was really able to connect with the other retreat participants, and meet some really awesome people.This retreat helped me see and feel so much more deeply, life is more beautiful.The post-ceremony music sessions were really beautiful as well.We also had a seemingly limitless supply of fresh coconut water, which was great after ceremonies. Thanks SPJ!
Strom Thrombson December 08, 2015
I wish I had time to write about all of the amazing things I experienced on this retreat. I cannot say enough about Neils and the Las Chullpas Lodge that we stayed at. They couldnt have been friendlier. The two shamans that we worked with had so much knowledge. Every time I spoke to them, or heard them during a group sharing, I learned something that applied to me. Although one of the Shaman did not speak any english, Neils was there to translate. The Yoga instructor Valentine was also very profound with the things he said to us before, during and after yoga. The environment and staff were very accomodating for the ceremonies. I was very very comfortable the whole time and never felt unequipped. Everyone on the retreat with me stated that they also had a very good trip and spiritual experience. The Food was AMAZING. It was so good I probably ate too much. The only bad thing I could even mention were the few large spiders I saw. It was the middle of Peru, so i was actually expecting much worse. A+
Jeff S December 03, 2015
I spent lots of time considering various retreats and reading reviews, and Spirit Plant Journeys initially stood out, as they offered San Pedro ceremonies (2) in addition to Ayahuasca ceremonies (4). Also, taking such a long trip to Peru, I was interested in seeing the Sacred Valley and ancient Inca ruins rather than staying in a jungle the entire time. More importantly, I noticed unanimous praise for the facilitators (Neils and Sarah) and the shamans (Gume and Bernhard). All this praise turned out to be much deserved – they are all really outstanding people. The rustic, peaceful Las Chullpas was an ideal setting for the ceremonies and relaxation, with an ideal number of participants (12 maximum per retreat, I believe). All in all, it was a wonderful trip. As for the medicine, it's potent stuff. Everyone has a different experience (for me it was challenging). One thing is certain, though: you couldn't be in better hands.
ed chesnavich December 01, 2015
Very happy with the whole experience : wondrous Peruvian people and atmosphere.Great Las Chullpas staff(Nancy, Eduardo,etc.)...Personable and wise folks in Neils, Sara and Bernie,and shaman Gume.....my companion and i are still feeling the plants working within us.I , for one, glad to have again a constant calm meditative state of being.Something which i've had at varied times in the past(due to plant intervention)......The world/time has slowed ,and so view the world anew ....with more child like awe and an uncluttered mind....feels great ! Oh, would be remiss to add that our fellow seekers were a joyous group ......a joy to have met each and every one .Truly one of those experiences long and fondly remembered..........ed chesnavich
Malcolm Smart November 24, 2015
Wow! Where does one even begin in describing the wonderful people associated with Spirit Plant Journeys? I spent almost three years researching Ayahuasca and the myriad of retreats all over South America before deciding on SPJ. So why SPJ, you ask? Well, as much as I would love to visit the Amazon jungle someday, I really didn't want to be too uncomfortable for the two weeks I'd be taking these fantastic plant medicines. If I were younger I might not have minded the bugs, heat and other inconveniences of a jungle setting, but for my first experience with Ayahuasca I was looking for a little less challenging setting and SPJ’s location in the Sacred Valley met all of my requirements. Neils and Sarah, the facilitators of SPJ, absolutely exceeded everyones expectations in making our retreat as safe, loving and as comfortable as possible. Their wisdom and wonderful personalities helped in making us feel like we were in good hands. I personally am grateful to Neils for the friendship and counseling he gave me after my first Ayahuasca session. The session took a whole lot out of me physically and I didn't know if I was going to be able to do any other sessions. I suffer from a bone disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis and it can be very painful for me to sit in certain positions for a long time. Neils and Sarah made sure that for the subsequent sessions I was always provided with extra support so that I could benefit from the medicines without being in pain. That may not sound like a big deal, but to me it was very touching and showed me that these were people who weren't just trying to make a quick buck off of Ayahuasca. They really care about their visitors and wanted us to get the most out of the medicines. I'd be remiss if I didn't also mention our two shamans, Gume and Bernhard. Gume was our Ayahuasca shaman and he is the real deal. He flies in for these retreats from his home in the Amazon jungle where he brews the Ayahuasca for the ceremonies. He had a wonderful singing voice and kept us all safe while we were under the influence of the medicine. He even performed a special healing ceremony for my spinal condition and I very was impressed with his ability to know what was wrong with me. I had never mentioned the specifics of my disease to anyone, but by just using his shamanic powers Gume was able to make as accurate of a diagnosis as any of my doctors back home. For a rational, western medicine kind of guy that really floored me and made me appreciate the knowledge that these shaman possess. Bernhard was our San Pedro shaman and I'll always share a special place in my heart for the wisdom and friendship he imparted to me. The San Pedro was a special treat and seemed to have a much more emotional effect on me than the Ayahuasca. The San Pedro worked on my heart and allowed me to get past some emotional barriers I had put up years ago. I made more progress after two session with San Pedro than I had in 25 years of therapy. I could write pages and pages praising SPJ. The location in the Sacred Valley made for an excellent venue and the entire experience was second to none. In addition to the Ayahuasca and San Pedro ceremonies we also visited several Inca ruins with Machu Picchu being the final destination of our two week retreat. I would give SPJ the highest rating available and think it was an excellent value for the money. I hope to return again someday and would only recommend SPJ to my friends and family if they were considering such an adventure. Btw, Spirit Plant Journeys also offers a similar retreat located in the jungle, if you’re so inclined. I’ve seen pictures of their new facilities and I must say that it looks very comfortable. I might consider trying this jungle location when I eventually return to work again with these medicines.
Progress November 19, 2015
I can not praise Spirit Plant Journeys enough. The venue is a beautiful ecolodge tucked in the Andes where the rooms are comfortable and meals are provided. Being able to introduce onself to working with plant medicines in such a comfortable environment is a very good thing for any of those who might find the thought of traveling across the world to stay in the jungle intimidating. This is precisely Sarah and Niels’ aim. To provide a safe environment where everything is taken care of in the interest of bringing as many people to the wonderful experience that is Ayahuasca. The most important quality that Spirit Plant Journeys has going for it is that both the organizers and the shamans they work with genuinely care about the people they are working with. People can feel that sort of thing immediately and it puts everyone at ease. I can’t stress how important this is when one is attempting to do serious psychological and emotional work in a context that for most people will be very foreign. The whole team at SPJ, Niels, Sarah, Gume, and Bernhard are like an extended family working hard to bring as many people into the fold as possible. Having people around that you can trust really matters, not only because it puts one’s mind at ease so you can better focus on your purpose for being here, but also because it helps the other members of the retreat to bond with each other. If you attend one of SPJ retreats, you will come away with a second family. The ceremonies themselves are powerful, and both Bernhard and Gume are masters at their craft. I still hear Gume’s ikaros rolling around in my head from time to time, like a call back to the jungle. The idea to bookend the ayahuasca ceremonies with san pedro ceremonies is a wonderful idea as the plants work beautifully together. The experience itself may be hard, but, if you show up ready to work on yourself it is ultimately profoundly rewarding. Discussing the details of the experiences themselves is pointless as they will be very different for each person. Niels and Sarah provide good advice beforehand however. It may not mean much to you at the time, but listen to them and it will serve you well in ceremony. They are both themselves very experienced in the use of these medicines, as they should be as organizers. I have since learned about about the seedy underbelly that exists in the Aya tourism community, and many retreats are enterprises meant simply to profit. They care little for the success of the individuals they work with and in some cases even disregard their safety. SPJ creates relaxed but vibrant environment full of music, love, friendship. You will always feel taken care of. It is place where anyone, no matter how adventurous, can experience the beauty of other people and of these plant medicines. I have since recommended Ayahuasca to all my closest friends and family. I would not entrust those I care most about to any other group than Sarah and Niels at Spirit Plant Journeys.
John K October 06, 2015
I came to Spirit Plant Journey's for an Ayahuasca and San Pedro Retreat at the end of July for 10 days. We were 5 people for many different reasons. The lodge we stayed at was very beautiful and in tune with nature. The faciilities were very nice and food was good. There were some dogs to play with and a cat. You would never run out of water or hot tea. The facilitators did a good job keeping everyone comfortable and were fun to hang out with. You also get to go sight seeing in different cities around the sacred valley area. At the end there is an option to see Machu Picchu which is a really nice way to top off your Peruvian adventure. My reason for coming to the retreat was the let go of past events and regrets that have haunted me. The shaman, Gumi was very good at his craft and sung beautiful icaros. He also knew what was happening with each of us and helped us when necessary. Through Ayahuasca I was able to let my anger out, forgive others who wronged me, forgive myself, become a better man, and find out who I was in a past life. The San Pedro ceremony was headed by Bernhard and I was able to learn to love myself and reflect upon my life to take the next steps. If you want the medicine to work, you have to surrender to it and let it help you. If you are skeptical, you might want to do some research first. Overall I achieved what I came for and it was worth more than what I paid. I highly recommend Spirit Plant Journey's whether it's your first time doing Ayahuasca or second or more.
JK October 05, 2015
Loved the whole experience, from beginning to end. Great people, good guidance, amazing music, excellent drink (personally - didn't feel sick) and beautiful setting. Also nice to have some sightseeing in between. Totally recommend this to anyone interested in a life changing experience.
Lauren Cooper October 05, 2015
If you are reading this and are even slightly curious about participating in this retreat - I urge you to follow your heart and go for it! You will be in VERY good hands with Neils, Sarah, and the two amazing shamans who lead the ceremonies. The ceremonies are authentic, thoughtful, beautiful...but challenging. The plant medicine is pure, and you will likely get exactly what you need and probably a little more :) And - even during the difficult moments, you will have two loving, caring, knowledgeable guides (Neils and Sarah) who will be by your side when you need them. This is an amazing retreat, and I would recommend it with 10 stars instead of 5 if I could!
Melanie B September 11, 2015
I went to this retreat a nervous wreck. I had anxiety daily. I was stressed out from work, alienated from family and friends, and felt completely lost. Its been a little over two months and these days I experience very minimal stress, no anxiety, and I am reconnecting with people again. I feel for the first time in a long time like I have a direction and meaning in life. I have Ayahuasca, San Pedro and Spirit Plant Journeys to thank for this. The medicine was great. Some days, most days, were pretty rough for me. I was shown a lot about myself that was hard to accept but I was also shown a way through it. I am so thankful for the guidance of Bernhard who spent time with me talking me through the pain I was releasing. He always knew the right things to say and shared many helpful insights. The Shaman Gumercindo held powerful ceremonies and I felt safe in his care. During one ceremony I felt the medicine really strongly and didn't feel I could cope. I am not sure what he did, I could hear him singing over me, and I could feel him holding my head. I just followed the sound of his voice and found myself back in the room. Each ceremony with Aya was powerfully healing and insightful. Neils and Sarah were wonderful guides and took us on day trips around Peru. I went to the retreat for healing & inner exploration and also experienced the leisure of travel & exploration of ancient ruins. It was quite symbolic . The facility was a hidden and private gem with the cutest adobes, & plenty of pets to hang out with! The whole experience was life changing.
Teresa Shore September 06, 2015
My husband & I went on this tour after obsessive on-line research (ad nauseum). Why did we seek a specific "spirit plant" experience? We are are in our 50's, and after achieving "success" (as defined by western culture), and after having been kicked in the gut by "life," we were seeking answers to questions we couldn't even articulate. Another bout of online research ad nauseum, I arrived at ayahuasca as the answer to our journey's next step. The San Pedro experiences also offered at Spirit Plant Journeys was a rare serendipity. Most venues don't offer this. Why Spirit Plant versus other venues? 1) Neils. His online persona/vibe screamed "this is a positive, decent soul." First time I ever wired $ via Western Union to an unknown entity. Yikes. This is counter to my nature. I don't do this! Neils is responsible for that. His "real self" is even better than his online vibe. 2) They offer a Machu Picchu add-on (most venues don't). Let's face it, if we were going to Peru for the first time -- how could we NOT see MP?? Do not hesitate -- you MUST see MP if you do this tour. It is a perfect supplement to the journeys you will have had prior to this add-on at the end of the tour. (Once you do it, you will understand exactly what I'm talking about). 3) We weren't ready for the more solitary, less varied (in food and site seeing) experiences more characteristic of the remote jungle venues. I might be ready for that experience now -- after having had my initial foray with Spirit Plant Journeys. The living quarters, food variety and flavorfulness, and access to local sites (markets, local digs, ruins, etc...) are far more abundant -- and nicer -- than characteristic "jungle" venues. Again, if I was going to Peru -- I wanted to see as much as I possibly could while I was there. Spirit Plant Journeys provides that (most venues don't). I didn't realize -- because I hadn't met them yet -- that Neils, Sarah, Bernard and Gume -- were the fundamental reason why our lives have -- and will continue to change -- since our experience -- in February 2015. Why did it take me so long to write this review? Quite simply, my life has changed so profoundly since this experience -- I kept waiting -- so I could capture the specific things that have happened. As we make plans to move to Peru (in early Jan/Feb 2016), I realized that this bold step says enough -- about the impact that this trip had on 2 outwardly successful people who on the surface, "have everything." What was so special about them? I struggle to describe this (because part of my learning with the plants is that words are limited and limiting. This was difficult for someone who realized -- that despite her love of words, learned that words are part of the armor that kept her limited). They create, as a team, an environment that allows everyone to have the unique experience that one needs to have -- to allow the life changing power of this experience to happen. They are humble, human, self-deprecating, real, evolved, approachable, kind, genuine, interested, interesting. I recall Sarah telling me it was "ok to puke" on her -- that it "happens all the time." How humble -- and kind -- is that? And her voice gives insight into the true angel that is the core of who she is. Gume knew things about me that still haunts me to this day. My corporate power brain cannot logically explain how he knew things. I cannot explain how the "concoction" he made for me (some type of tree bark) -- that I used as prescribed (2x/day both orally and vaginally) -- I know -- gross, right? .... I cannot explain how something that was on an ultrasound -- was no longer there -- 3 months after taking Gume's treatment. That one spooks me too. Bernard single handedly guided me through what could have been a very hellacious experience. He is an under-stated gifted, truly gifted healer. He is slight of body, and possess a soft voice -- yet his presence and long-lasting impact --- are truly life changing for us. He speaks of duality in the most provocative and yet profoundly simple of ways. And it is Neils who makes it all happen. Neils... the quintessential Aussie ... whose blue eyes, quick laugh, truly good nature, don't hide the oldness of his soul. He is definitely on some different evolutionary vibration than most of us. (I can't believe I'm talking like this). He is gifted at making everything look easy -- nothing is a problem -- a thoughtful, pragmatic optimist (is that an oxy-moron?) Give yourself -- your soul -- this gift. It is a must have experience for anyone who has ever asked the questions -- what is my purpose? what is life about? does God exist? Skip the beach vacation -- or trip to Europe -- or new whatever.... This is truly the gift to yourself of a lifetime.
Sunda Fereti August 11, 2015
Its been a month now since my journey to Peru and a 10 day retreat with Neils and Sarah on Spirit Plant Journeys...The retreat was absolutely beautiful, challenging, life affirming, magical and just what my spirit and body needed...all set in a most lushes and relaxing environment...Neils and Sarah held space so naturally and relaxed yet with an integrity so deep allowing freedom yet safety for exploration... Bernard and Gume.. amazing and committed Shamans...love you both!!! has really helped heal my sick body!!! and release old useless thinking patterns and memories that were blocking my full potential experience of this life and now back in Oz.. back to my normal life..work..kids etc.. I am an upgraded being! I could not ask for more... except for every one to go in one of these retreats and give themselves this most amazing refreshing gift to themselves! Thanks eternally Neils and Sarah to bring this retreat to life..x Sunda
Jonathan Ruhl August 09, 2015
This was such a rewarding and enlightening experience for me. It's impossible to sum up in words the closure and peace I felt after working with plant medicine with Neils and Sarah. As an Afghanistan combat veteran, I was quickly losing hope that I could return to a positive world outlook. Several years of medications and therapy did very little for me, but the depth of my ayahuasca experiences brought me a much-needed respite, and gave me hope for the future. I plan to return to Peru very soon to work more with the plant medicine and Neils, Sarah, and Gumercindo.
Rachael Sorensen August 07, 2015
It’s hard to find the words to describe my Spirit Plant Journeys experience this just past July mucho gracias to the unforgettable Sarah & Neils. In any case, I’ll breathe, go deep; here’s my best shot… Sarah and Neils provided a sanctuary at the foothills of the mountains that became, not only my home for 12 amazing days, but the place in which I re-discovered the true nature of the world, my place within it, and ultimately experienced my first ancient medicine healing which has changed my life, forever. I can honestly say that without the nurturing, support and incredibly considered programme that Sarah and Neils provide, my experience wouldn’t have been as rich nor profound. Sarah is a beauty-plus-some with a knowledge of the medicines surpassing her years. She is accepting, kind, open-hearted, broad-minded and loaded with wisdom – everything you’d ever want from a facilitator or mentor throughout the daunting plant medicine experience! Neils, likewise, is the sweetest, gentlest and most intelligible man. He was always there to answer every one of our questions or requests no matter how small, big, outrageous – and regardless of the time of night! [Matt… I’m thinking of you ;)] The potency of the combined talents of these two really shone through in the ceremonies. Sarah & Neils have definitely found their vocation! Plus, as both talented musicians, we were entertained, lullabied and serenaded at the closing of each of our ceremonies – a magical addition to the retreat and definite point of difference you’d find hard pressed to experience anywhere else. Our medicine men, Gume and Bernard, are something else. Gume is a machine of a man – I won’t wax on about his credentials as you can read these at Spirt Plant’s website. However, throughout the course of the ceremonies I began to understand the immense power of this man and his ability to hold the ceremonial space. Bernard – our San Pedro healer – will forever hold a special place in my heart. He assisted me with digging up and resolving extremely ancient pain – exactly why I came to the retreat in the first place. Bernard is extremely gifted at his craft and is kind, humble and generally a good time. (P.S. wait till you try his soup! Delicious!) In short, I cannot bang on enough about Spirit Plant Journey’s. If you are thinking of going, just go. Don’t hesitate. Don't wait. Don't do it later. Do it now. This will change your life.
Jerry Gibson August 02, 2015
-Although this is the only Ayhuasca retreat I have ever experienced, I cannot imagine another one being much better. The plant medicine ceremonies were amazing. The tours of ancient ruins filled the remaining downtime very well creating a very free, relaxing atmosphere, but never with a feeling of boredom. The retreat had 4 Ayhuasca ceremonies "sandwiched" in between 2 San Pedro ceremonies (with necessary breaks for recovery in between). -I was originally hesitant about taking the San Pedro medicine because I had never heard of it; after all, Ayhuasca was the reason I was seeking this type of experience in the first place. Now I am so glad I was able to receive the San Pedro experience as it is much gentler providing a perfect introduction and absolutely beautiful exit from the retreat experience. Bernhard, the San Pedro shaman, speaks English, and provides one-on-one counseling throughout the ceremony; helping direct your focus towards your intentions and allowing you to achieve what you came for. San Pedro is Ayhuasca's perfect companion. -Still, the Ayhuasca experience is still the "main event" of the retreat and it does not disappoint! The Shaman, Gumercindo, has a caring heart and keeps you safe throughout the ceremonies, allowing you to open up fully to the medicine to get the greatest benefit. I have read that Shamans sometimes sing well, and sometimes not, during their icaros. Well, this is not a worry because he has a beautiful voice. His songs still remain in my mind as I try to recapture moments I experienced while in-ceremony. -Neils and Sarah are beautiful people. They are the ideal example of those you hope to have at a retreat like this. Trust is very important with these experiences. They understand this and set the example for the entire retreat. It is about love of each other, respecting the experiences of others, and ultimately about the love of one's self. They have created a retreat which allows the personal freedom to discover a new perspective on life without limitations, and they demonstrate this themselves by living it. They are young, energetic, and fun to be around, but they never lose their focus on the overall goal, which is to provide us the best situation possible to achieve what we intended. -I believe everyone can benefit from this medicine. All it takes is the willingness to plan the trip, and then open up to the medicine to allow it to do its work. Although, I have never been to another retreat, I believe this is the one that does it right. I achieved what I intended and I have absolutely no regrets. Everything was beautiful. It was perfect!
Beth B. August 02, 2015
I attended the Spirit Plant Journeys retreat in May, 2015. As a 46-year old woman who doesn't speak Spanish, traveling alone and venturing into my first-ever experience with the plant medicines (and, for that matter, psychedelics), you can probably imagine I had some anxieties over whether I was making the right decision, choosing the best venue, and so on. I am pleased to report that this was one of the best trips of my life and without a doubt, working with the plant medicines was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It really is a game changer, and I could not be happier that I chose Spirit Plant Journeys to do this with. It's going to be impossible to cover everything in this review, but I'll attempt to highlight a few major points. Originally, I had hoped to go into the Amazon, but the dates for that retreat were booked. I'm now relieved that I was directed to SPJ by Sara. Thank you Sara! It was ideal to not deal with the challenges of the jungle in addition to my first experience with the medicines. The Las Chullpas eco lodge in Urubamba is a quiet, beautiful, safe venue for the retreat (and no doubt less buggy) that includes comfortable rooms/beds, daily room service, running showers, electricity, a lovely dining room and staff that serves healthy meals, and plenty of space to wander around and reflect on the experience. I also loved the resident cat, dogs, and alpacas! A quick word on logistics pre-trip: The system for collecting deposits may seem awkward to you as it did for me. I experienced much hassle with this, and advise that you go directly into a Western Union location to pay your deposit. Do not attempt to send money using the online systems, regardless of how "easy" they claim it is. On arrival, it is okay to drink the Coca tea! I wasn't sure and didn't want to chance interfering with the medicines, so I turned down the kind offer from hotel staff only to find out later that the tea helps tremendously with altitude sickness. When offered to me on the day I arrived at my hotel in Cusco, I felt fine; however, shortly after getting to the room, it came over me like an avalanche. I've never actually been hit by an avalanche, so perhaps I'm exaggerating, but you get the point: it was pretty awful. I had planned to walk around and do some shopping after checking in, and instead spent the entire day in bed, miserable. Please don't make the same mistake that I made. That tea is your friend. On the first official day, everyone met at the Starbuck's in Cusco, which faces the town square. Yes, it is located upstairs but is easily identifiable by the Starbucks Siren/logo that you are used to seeing. In a nutshell, Neils and Sara put together a fantastic retreat. They are kind, generous individuals with beautiful spirits who went out of their way to make sure that everyone was comfortable and had everything they needed. I was continually impressed by how hard they worked to make it all happen. We had laundry service twice; our own yoga instructor; a generous, continuous supply of fresh fruit; and they even brought in a massage therapist! I felt that our group of 12 was perfect--not too many--and ranged in age from mid-20s to mid-50s. I love them all. They seem like family to me now, and I look forward to seeing everyone again. Some of the best shopping can be found in Pisac, so be sure to take advantage of that day if you're interested in bringing back some good deals from the trip. Among other things, you can expect to find great prices on silver, crystals, scarves, and sweaters. The hike is also absolutely gorgeous! One thing that initially attracted me to SPJ was the combination of the ayahuasca and san pedro ceremonies. My instincts were correct, as this turned out to be a perfect blend, with the san pedro ceremonies at the beginning and end of the retreat, and the ayahuasca ceremonies in the middle. I really enjoyed working with Bernhard and Gume, who are wise, genuine, wonderful teachers and shamans. I am deeply grateful to them both. The Machu Picchu trip is a great way to end the retreat, and I highly recommend going if you can swing it. Aguas Calientes is a strange little village, but the Machu Picchu tour is very good and who knows when you'll have another opportunity; it's also a nice way, albeit bittersweet, to spend time a bit more time with your group. It's now been a month since the retreat, and the medicines have stayed with me and continue to teach and guide and heal. There have been ups and downs since returning to everyday life, and it can be tricky navigating old routines while integrating new insights from the medicines. But even the downs are good. They are a pre-sent moment to remind me there's an opportunity to change my mind about something I previously decided was a down moment. That simple. One of my favorite lines from the movie Avatar: "Everything is backwards now. Out there is the true world and in here is the dream." That will only make sense if you've worked with ayahuasca, I think. Overall, I'm still in awe, and just overwhelmed with gratitude and love for this moment, and looking forward to every moment that is to come. The medicines show you very clearly just how magical life really is, and how we create it all. From my spirit to yours, thank you Neils, Sara, Bernhard, Gume, and our amazing group for each perfect moment you shared with me.
Emily Zalitis August 02, 2015
I had the most beautiful and profound experience during the 10 day course. Sarah and Neils are both beautiful people with big hearts and I will be forever grateful for their support during my time at Las Chullpas. If you have any anxieties about the whole ayahuasca experience your worries will quickly be removed as Sarah and Neils will make you feel at ease, as will the other people in the program. Everyone that I attended the course with were just beautiful human beings and I hope to remain in touch with them. Everything about this course far exceeded my expectations. The setting at Las Chullpas is especially beautiful and it was so nice to have the gorgeous animals among us. The dogs are especially very friendly and loving creatures. There are so many ayahuasca retreats out there now and I am so grateful to have found something that just completely exceeded any expectations that I came in with. Bernhard and Gumercindo are both very experienced and powerful healers and I would just like to thank them both so much for their time, energy, and teachings. I have gained more than I had ever imagined! Sarah and Neils, thank you so, so much for one of the most beautiful experiences of my life! Lots of love.
Kori Zornes July 22, 2015
I can't begin to explain how amazing the experience was with Spirit Plant Journeys. Everything was better than imagined, and Sara and Neils were the most caring and attentive hosts. The retreat center was beautiful, food was delicious, Shamans were so powerful and I was really able to connect with them- it was all perfect and I plan to head back one day. I am forever grateful for the life changing experience and for the connections I made!
John Dee June 16, 2015
Unless you have seen the film 'field of dreams' it wont make sense, but what I mean is, if you are looking for a retreat and you are sincere in your desire to become better acquainted with yourself by way of the plant medicine, then the guides Neils and Sarah will help you get there.. They will come.. In your time of need they will instinctively know where to be, what to do and what to say...As I write this and recall such moments, im again profoundly moved with tears in my eyes ...This seems to be happening more easily now, which is good, I think.... Thank you so much Neil's, Sarah, needless to say but the experience and you both, as part of that experience, will remain with me always.., always x
Shelby Magalis June 15, 2015
Awesome people, awesome place. There couldn't be better people running this retreat. Gume, Bernard, Sarah and Neils are amazing people doing something that opens people up to incredible things. These ceremonies were so powerful and beautiful. I thank you all greatly for everything! Lots of Love, Shelby
Noel Castaneda June 15, 2015
I had the great privilege of attending Spirit Plant Journeys' 10 day San Pedro and Ayahuasca retreat at the Sacred Valley near the town of Urubamba on May 2015 and the experience had profoundly changed my life. As a complete novice with sacred plant medicines, I did extensive research in choosing the right retreat that would work for me. I am very glad that I chose Spirit Plant Journeys for the following reasons: - The facilitators, Sarah and Neils did an outstanding job in organizing and running the retreat. Sarah and Neils worked incredibly hard to ensure that every participants' needs were met. I felt safe and comfortable throughout the whole experience knowing that the group is under the care of such capable and responsible hands. - Gumercindo, the shaman who conducted the four ayahuasca ceremonies is a powerful healer who has extensive experience and vast knowledge of plant medicines and their healing powers. He is a gentle soul who is quite friendly and approachable. While he speaks limited English, talking to him is never a problem as Sarah and Neils are excellent interpreters. - Bernhard, the Huachumero was our guide for the two San Pedro ceremonies. His calm presence and deep knowledge of the healing powers of San Pedro helped me understand and challenge some of my long standing beliefs and behavior patterns that undermine and block my personal growth. Bernhard is one of those rare souls, wise beyond his years, who is genuinely passionate about helping others. - Las Chullpas Eco Lodge is the incredible setting of the retreat. It is a secluded property at the foot of Pumahuanca mountain near the town of Urubamba. The lodge is home to 3 wonderful and very friendly dogs, 3 alpacas and a very cuddly cat. Nancy, the manager of the Lodge and her staff did an amazing job taking care of of all of us. The food was plentiful, healthy and nourishing. The rooms are comfortable, immaculately clean and come with a wood-burning fireplace. - Finally, I chose Spirit Plant Journeys because it offered the unique experience of combining Ayahuasca and San Pedro as part of the healing experience. More than two weeks after I came back home from the retreat, I continue to experience the powerful and positive effects of the medicinal plants which I have grown to respect. Thank you Neils, Sarah, Gume, Bernhard, Nancy and the wonderful staff at Las Chullpas Eco Lodge. My gratitude also goes to the dear friends I met- my fellow retreat participants who shared this great experience with me. Till we meet again!
Joseph Kim June 13, 2015
My experience with spirit plant journeys was so ecstatic and joyful it couldn't be contained within my body. It was a life changing experience and I will never forget it. I am eternally grateful to these wonderful facilitators.
Tony Ruiz June 04, 2015
I have to say that this was a life changing stay I had with this group. Neil's and Sarah are friends forever in my heart. They really knew how to get a lot of work done with out making this atmosphere too heavy. They were incredibly understanding and accomadating while I was on my stay in Peru. I believe they are a unique breed of people, the kind that know how to give and guide genuinely. I'm embarking on a knew chapter in my life and have even jump started a knew approach in my work. Being an actor I need that. To always be refining. Spirit Plant Journeys allowed me to see that I can operate without fear and focus more purely on my process and work by understanding myself more than I have ever before. I will definitely be back soon for continued growth and healing.
Rachel Durchslag March 23, 2015
I spent 10 days with Spirit Plant journeys in March of 2015, and I could not have chosen a better group to go with. I had so many questions before attending the retreat, and Neils was wonderful with answering all of my emails and walking me through the process of what I could expect. The result is that I arrived at the trip feeling incredibly well prepared. The photos on the website made the retreat center look nice, but I honestly had no idea how absolutely gorgeous it would be. It's like a paradise there, tucked into the side of the mountain. Flowers fill every part of the grounds, and there are the most lovely dogs that greet you every day and even a baby llama. Neils and Sarah are extraordinary people who helped us with ever detail and really inspired us to be brave with the process of using plant medicine. The two shamans we worked with were so caring and supportive. Bernhard is a light energy worker who knew the exact ways to guide us through our use of San Pedro. And Gomae is an unbelievable shaman. The work was hard, but the payoffs incredible. When not in ceremony the retreat provided yoga and massage and wonderful field trips. I am deeply grateful for my experience with this group, and could not recommend them more.
Shaun Mader February 10, 2015
I really can't express my gratitude to these guys enough. It would be an understatement to say that I have been around the block a time or two. I did not show up as a naive tourist with wide eyes and foggy notions. I have experienced a lot of modalities and have a pretty discerning eye for the real deal. I came to Spirit Plant Journeys with an objective and focus. I say all of this knowing full well it may sound arrogant and I say this to highlight the true pleasure it was to have found this place. Not only were the accommodations charming and warm, the people who run and facilitate it were exceptional in their kindness, generosity and willingness to share whatever knowledge they had. One key factor that stood out was the complete lack of superiority or "know it all-ness" by the shamans and facilitators. They made it clear from the the moment we met that they hold no special powers, are not here to fix or change us. They have, however invested their lives in making themselves effective facilitators so that the participants can be engaged in their own self discovery and transformation so that they leave the center with something powerful and applicable without the need to be dependent on some shaman or guru. That being said, it was also clear that we were being supported by some highly evolved individuals. There was a particular clarity and authenticity they had that allowed our entire group to let our guard down and have a profound evolution together. We walked in as strangers and out as family. The mix of rigor and relaxation was a great blend for me (even though I tend to ere in thinking that harder = better). Mixing the day trips in with the ceremonies was a great balance and did not disrupt our progress. I am sure there are many great centers who offer ceremonies and I can not speak for them. All I can say is that I am forever grateful for this experience and plan on returning next year ready to see what's next.
Michael Finke January 29, 2015
My experience with Spirit Plant Journeys is something that I'm not really sure I can put into words.. Actually, I know there is a great portion of the experience that I cannot put into words, but the rest I will attempt to articulate. Overall, it was nothing short of amazing! Through and through, it was a deeply profound, beautiful and life changing experience. The insights I've gained here are priceless, and I can easily say this is one of, if not, THE most meaningful experience I've ever had in my life. Having such awesome facilitators and shamans to guide me through the experience was definitely key, big thanks to Neils, Sarah, Bernard, and Gume! They are always there for you and whatever you may need, so you can relax knowing you're in good care, and of course, the gorgeous, lush and cozy lodging area sure doesn't hurt either.. Basically, if you're looking for a safe, comfortable and powerfully transformative retreat, then look no further!!
Ashley Buckner January 19, 2015
Sarah and Neils put together an amazing retreat. It far exceeded my expectations and I can really say that this was a truly life changing experience. The ceremonies led by the shamans were always an amazing experience. They create a space where you can truly connect with the medicine and the people who will eventually become your closest friends. The excursions were an awesome addition to the San Pedro and Ayahuasca ceremonies they picked amazing ruins to visit and I highly suggest going on the Machu Picchu excursion at the end. If you want a retreat that includes amazing facilitators, loving, friendly shamans and a BEAUTIFUL venue. Spirit Plant Journeys is the place to go. Real people, real experiences, amazing friendships. You will not be disappointed. Ashley Buckner
Ariel Arias Molina December 16, 2014
Quiero expresar mis más profundos agradecimientos a Neils Y Zara por ser parte de una vivencia única, quiero agradecer por toda la buena energía que tuve en el Sagrado Valle. Es difícil expresar la energía pura y limpia que me transmitieron durante toda mi estadía, es difícil sentirme más vivo que el presente del ahora. Este no fue un viaje más como cualquier otro, fue un viaje que me gustaría repetir una y otra vez y millones de veces más, no importa si sea un viaje difícil a la larga es un viaje sagrado que me llevo a lo más profundo de mí. La atención que recibí fue única, me sentí como si estuviera junto a mis amigos más cercanos, pude aprecia que el mundo es brillante y hermoso. Estar en el medio del Perú y sentirme querido no es una sensación que se de tan fácil en cualquier parte del mundo, en Perú no conocía a nadie no conocía del idioma y de la cultura que existe pero gracias a ustedes me sentí genial y vivo!!!! Ariel
BrandO November 19, 2014
I have just returned from quite the epic adventure with Neils and Sara from Spiritplant Journeys. Landing in Peru I was unsure what to expect; but was blown away from the start. Spiritplant Journeys facilitates an itinerary packed with exploration of the self and the environment around you. We were treated to treks through the wonders of Peru, amazing food and accommodations, and oh yes, the magic of the medicine. Ayahuasca is in itself an observation of the unseen. The real treat, however, is its coupling with the San Pedro cactus, whose legend began in the same Sacred Valley in which you will be staying. The combination of feminine and masculine plants enables you to have a complex and complete exploration of your relationship with existence. This coupling is incredibly important and is what really separates Spiritplant Journeys from the rest! We love Neils and Sara for the absolute care they took of us, and their unwavering love. Just go-you will never regret it!
Fabian Fitzgerald November 19, 2014
I reckon that if more people could fully experience Gumersindu's ayahuasca ceremony, the world would be a better place. How's that for a recommendation! He comes from a long line of Amazonian plant medicine shamans so you know he's fair dinkum. And thanks to the kindness, tireless work and warmth of our Spirit Plant Journeys hosts, Neils and Sarah, you are guaranteed a welcoming, loving and supportive –but most importantly– life changing experience. Much love and thanks also to Nancy and her wonderful Las Chullpas staff for providing such a magical location and delicious food and for making our stay so comfortable. Fabian Fitzgerald. Melbourne, AUSTRALIA.
Bryon Stolle November 17, 2014
The Spiritplant Journeys organization facilitated the most personally expansive, eye opening and liberating experiences of my life. From hospitality and accommodation to understanding and gentle guidance through what memorable adventure followed, the facility and its loving caretakers weaved a beautiful tapestry for me to witness upon my own becoming. I was personally certain, once laying eyes on pictures of the two guides' warming smiles and confident, knowledgeable energies, Neils and Sarah, that I wanted to behold such an awakening in their company. Literally one of the best decisions of my life. The Shaman they invited to spear-head our ceremonies are the most powerful and comforting beings I have yet to encounter a parallel to. The food provided (according to the supplemental diet) is gourmet and quite incongruent to anything my imagination "cooked up" for an experience as such, complimented by always stocking fresh native fruit in a nearby bowl just at arm's reach. The cottage environment I stayed in is star quality and slightly exotic over its rustic foundation. The grounds are gorgeous to walk through and lounge about in, be it a nearby hammock, stone bench or plush turf grass which beds the entire area. Everything was adeptly organized, from train rides and bus passes to exciting hikes around the Incan plain's ancient ruins and ever-pleasant bartering in adjacent town's markets. I am forever thankful of my experience held and of those wonderful faces who walked with me along the way. Much love. Bryon Stolle II
NP October 11, 2014
What a beautiful experience this trip was. I attended this trip in September 2014 and it was simply incredible. Beautiful location, great accommodations and an amazing group of people hosting this event. The way the two San Pedro ceremonies and the four Ayahuasca ceremonies worked in conjunction with each other to provide a very well balanced experience with connections to the heart and soul was simply amazing. The opportunity to experience both medicines while also working in some time to explore the Sacred Valley was simply too good of an opportunity to pass up. My soul called to me to attend this retreat and it definitely did not miss. If I knew I would get 1/10th of what I experienced on this trip I would have been ecstatic. As it stands now I have left this place reborn. Life is now so much different through my eyes and I have to thank the entire SpiritPlantJourneys team for making this experience possible and sharing your knowledge and hearts with a group of inquisitive and open minded souls from around the world.
Gerald Hoffmann October 07, 2014
I visited the spiritplantjourney.org retreat in september 2014 and had a wonderful experience with Ayahuasca and San Pedro there. It was truly eye- and heart-opening. The venue is very safe, the food very good. The shaman, Gumercindo, led some outstanding ceremonies, making the medicine talk and teach and the positive energies work within. Adding to that, we were able to visit such amazing places like Macchu Pichu, Ollantaytambo, Pisac and Sachsayhuaman in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Altogether a journey that truly can start something new in your life.