Brian Dunham November 15, 2019
I chose to attend Casa del Sol due to the recommendation of a friend of a friend, and my trust in taking another journey into the magical world of South American plant medicine was rewarded by one of the most meaningful experiences in my entire life. Having attended three retreats over the last few years in Peru, Colombia, and Bolivia, I had some experience with the shamanic path and exposure to a variety of different indigenous traditions and healing styles. While my time at the other retreats was positive, the 12 days I spent at Casa del Sol took the experience to a whole other level in terms of the loving community, beautiful environment, and overall heart-centered healing. I’ve found that the most important factor at any retreat is the quality of the healers and how well you can connect with them. The husband and wife team who run Casa del Sol, Santiago and Ximena, are true warriors of the light, and some of the most humble yet powerful, sacred yet funny, disciplined yet compassionate people I have ever met. They offer an ideal blend of masculine and femine energies, and their work with both the fire and water elements at times made me gasp with its beauty and purity of intention. A huge advantage is that Santiago and Ximena, as well as their older son Mateo, are bilingual. This meant that all participants could fully share their reasons for attending and experiences as the retreat unfolded, as well as be supported without something being lost in translation. Compared to other retreats, I felt like the shamans understood the challenges of Western society and this helped provide a valuable perspective for integration and healing. Santiago and Ximena have a beautiful family and most importantly, they made all of us truly feel like part of their extended family. I look forward to going back next year with my partner and consider them my spiritual teachers. Two other healers were very important to the overall experience: Mateo - their eldest son who is a shaman in training and one of the most mature and gifted young men I’ve ever met, as well as Titi - their Brazilian neighbor who shared the medicines of kambo and rape. He has a huge heart and a depth of knowledge that helped us learn important lessons during the retreat. The ceremonies were varied and extremely powerful. I initially was looking to do more ayahuasca ceremonies but came to discover a deep appreciation for the medicine of San Pedro, and how the San Pedro, Temezcal, and Kambo ceremonies all provided an integrated way of healing, with each medicine offering balancing and cleansing for the other ceremonies. I celebrated my birthday on the first San Pedro hike and after bathing in a sacred mountain waterfall, I literally felt reborn! The ensuing ceremonies were each magical, aided by the beautiful songs of the healers, their heartfelt prayers, and a series of offerings that we provided to the various spirits that make up the shamanic cosmovision. I was deeply touched by how much they care for the natural world and their teachers, who are true guardians of the last sacred places on this planet, and their medicine is exactly what the world needs during this time of ecological crisis. Due to the family environment and intimate size, our group bonded within a few days and I left with friends who I will cherish for life. This sense of community was also even more pronounced than any retreat I attended before. And they get results - I witnessed deep healings for a variety of issues (parental estrangement, ancestral trauma, reconnection to purpose, etc) and after the final sweat lodge ceremony we emerged to bathe in the river on their property and reenter the world with a new perspective and lightness of being. If your heart is calling you, give yourself the gift of deep healing and a new perspective on life by attending Casa del Sol.
annette diaz kardonski November 14, 2019
Through the whole process, from the first contact to the weeks after the experience, the retreat leaders demonstrated full commitment to delivering the best possible experience. at all times they were supportive, they gave guidance and provided a safe space to let go and explore. I felt cared for and at ease because I also notice the rest of the participants being cared for. They were very candid and at the same time showed a high level of expertise in navigating the different experiences of the ceremonies. I also appreciate the ingredient of the traditional shamanic elements they brought to the whole experience. I look forward to attending another retreat in the near future!
Gayla Cavicchioni Valle November 14, 2019
This was my guidance when seeking out a spiritual refresh. Opportunity manifested in the form of the Buena Vida retreat. I rather suddenly and unexpectedly gave myself this rare gift in my older years (I’m 69) reawakening some magic I’ve held within me, waiting 40 years to express itself again. In the company of wonderful people, none of them “like me,” I experienced joy, trust, and acceptance that was a safe and sturdy platform for my own explorations. The results twinkle and spark on within me. Each person collaborating to provide and guide our path to the light within was well-equipped and devoted to their chosen mission of supporting us as individuals and as a group. We couldn’t have been more different from each other, yet a bond and trust was forged that was safe, genuine, and extends beyond the actual time we spent in each other’s company. A week in paradise with “best friends” was so good for my soul. I’m so happy I took the leap into the Buena Vida.
Aleksandra Tarka November 14, 2019
Bianca is a Beautiful Soul with the ability to calm fears in anybody. The welcome hug I have received from her brought me to tears. During my 3 days with Bianca and Jose, I had wonderful Universe exploration. I was anxious and nervous before smoking Bufo but I felt very comfortable with these beings. They are very genuine with what they do and I am glad I found their place. I am looking forward to doing it again with them. I had an absolutely loving time and I have learn a lot from them. Love you both and thank you!
SKYMIND November 14, 2019
Failed relationships. Brokenness. Bitterness. Baffled. Confused. Angry. This life had me by the neck, and I just could not fathom that this is how it's supposed to go? I mean REALLY? Having dabbled in many spiritual pursuits I had reached the conclusion that its almost impossible to reach understanding around what this life is from someone else living in it as well. Blind leading the blind. You cant get "there" from "here". And I tried almost all of them- conventional therapy to spiritual pursuits in the human realm. To say I was at my wits end would be appropriate. As a going human concern I was surrendering to the absolute truth that we just grind it out in misery until our number comes up. Bleak. Plant medicine intrigued me, but the idea was extremely intimidating to me. I had been "high" before, and was not looking to repeat that experience. I wanted and desperately needed answers. That intense desperation led me to Demian, and the Peaceful mountain Way. After jumping through some small hoops, I began a dialogue with Demian around where I was, what I hoped for, and if this was the right path for me. I gained confidence in my inner guidance through our talks, and booked a solo ayahuasca retreat. They give very specific guidance around preparing for the journey, and I took those suggestions extremely seriously. The diet. Etc. Demian and his staff are not shamans. They do not pretend to be, nor attempt to replicate that experience. What they do have is a very broad conventional education background in metaphysics, psychology, divinity, and the use of plant medicine. They are the real deal, and they will do everything in their power to ensure you get the answers you desire. BUT- it's your work! You must meet the medicine more than half way. If you are called to do this- take it very seriously. Do as you are told for preparations. Treat this sacred journey with reverence and respect. I did, and the results were beyond anything I ever imagined. Glorious. Love. Peace. Honesty. Infinity. Astonishing. If Mother Aya is calling you- I believe in my heart she doesn't care where you meet. If you want to go to Peru - go! She'll meet you there. Kentucky, Arizona, Hawaii? GO. She will meet you there too. My own meeting was decided a thousand years ago. It didn't matter where I was when we met- it was only that we DID meet. THAT is what mattered. I find it quite funny the dialogue I read regarding "good" shamans, and bad ones and so on and so forth. My experience is that these opinions do not matter to this intelligent , incredible, perceptive , all knowing plant. My own retreat experience was between me, and the plant. Demian and his staff were there for every minute of my journey, and held me through some of it. But the work was mine, and mine alone. And it is WORK. I also knew that even though they were there- that this work had nothing to do with them. This was between me and God. They were there to witness, encourage, and protect. I asked nothing else from them. They delivered in spades, and they have my eternal gratitude and allegiance. Seeing this work done in others IS their life work. What was crystal clear to me was that surrendering to this experience, and the surrender does not end, didn't depend on who was there, or if they wore a funny hat and smoked cigarettes and blew smoke on me. The only thing that mattered was that it was time for this to happen. It had been waiting for me for eons. And I was ready to surrender, to trust, to let go and go and go, and to be shown everything I needed to see. To hold this world in my palm. The weight of the sadness of the entire world in a single tear drop. The joy of the universe in a laughter that bellowed out from me that I had not heard in years. I thought I forgot how. I could go on and on about my experience. What I have now is an intense gratitude , reverence, and respect for this sacrament. Ahhhhhhhh. This life is sacred to me now. Integration with this experience is ongoing, but Demian and the staff are there for me as long as I need them. We are family. They are my brothers and sisters. They have been for thousands of years. I hope this review is helpful to you. Wherever you decide to go- please remember it's between you and the plant. The only Zen you find on the top of a mountain is the Zen you take with you. Wherever you go- there you are. Either way this plant will take you where IT knows you need to go. It knows. It's always known. Respect it. Good luck, and God Bless
Wendy Harrison November 14, 2019
The yoga retreat in Domenical at Danyasa was everything I had hoped it would be. Beautiful country, delicious food, comfortable and lovely accommodations, great yoga classes, and wonderful excursions to play in the natural wonders of Costa Rica. Mike and Stacey were wonderful hosts and worked hard to make our time there special, relaxing and healing. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone who wants to spend time in magical Costa Rica while taking part in a restorative retreat.
Marcello Cicchini November 13, 2019
I followed Eckhart Tolle for more than a decade and he helped me focus on what I could find beyond my mental patterns (and filters) from where I see my "normal" life. I have never saw the light though, except for a few glimpses. It is not that Eckhart didn't succeed with me... what happened is that my mind made a lot of "noise" and I found myself pulled into unconsciousness by rumination and judgmental thoughts. “If you are in front of an angel but you only see a stone statue, you don’t have to look somewhere else to find the angel… just continue looking at the stone statue…” Eckhart explained something like that in The Power of Now, to describe how witnessing “what meets the eye” could do for you. I kept looing at the stone statue… I found about Psychedelic substances nearly two months before I showed up in Treasure Beach, knowing exactly what I wanted. Knowing that I found what I was looking for (without actually knowing that I was looking for it…) What I wanted was to shot down, at lease for a few hours, that area in my brain which is responsible for all the useless chattering, rumination, my personality based on possessions, achievements, failures, neediness and so on. I found it… Psilocybin opened a breach in my heavy, thick, conceptual operating mode, and for the first time in my whole entire life, I saw ineffable peace and wonder, connection with all creatures and things as all “equal.” I saw innocence and respect between creatures and things to one another. I saw beauty, unconditional love… nobody was more or less important, or special. I felt I knew exactly what to say at the right moment and for the first time I felt every thought with overwhelming clarity. I have lost the compulsion to describe what I was seeing as if everybody already knew what was going on. I could not stop crying out of happiness when I first saw all this. I used to talk and write about all things Eckhart described as if I knew what I was talking/writing about but I didn’t know what I was doing. I thought I knew UNTIL I experienced it. Eric and all the facilitators were a key factor to make this possible. All amazing people! I felt, support and understanding in some of my difficult transitions within the dosed sessions. I found simplicity and connection that is not coming from normal human interaction. I am especially grateful to the people of the Blue Marlin (cooks and maintenance) Their love and dedication for what they do was, and still is, alive as part of my immense gratitude. The effects of the mushroom are long gone, but almost all rumination disappeared, and when some “voices” want to take over, I feel their energy and I just smile. My neediness of recognition, affection, consideration and such are history now. And same, when emotions related to that arise, I am there… looing at them with a sense of peace. When I feel discomfort (and I still do) I don’t try to change it. I just look at the discomfort without rejecting anything. I remember things from my past and I still have a role in society. Nothing changed in the external, but now I feel I have a choice to how to react to events in life. What was fundamental was the complete acceptance of the frightening of the unknown. If you believe that mushroom will make you feel good, you’re just wrong. What mushrooms gave me was the opportunity to enhance all perceptions and see clearly all feelings I carried all my life with me. I just didn’t fight to change them or to understand them. I didn’t come to Treasure Beach to make “peace with my past” or to understand my parents or to find out what was wrong in my childhood. I went there to abandon all of that because I understood that all memories (and emotions attached to them) have the compulsion to keep running inside myself. By conversing with them, they continue to reinforce themselves, and if you do it under your mushroom trips, you will probably end up getting stuck even more with them, and wasting this amazing opportunity to be really free. If you try to understand your past, there’s always more… and more. It’s just not worthy. Just be determined to let the past go. Your past is not what you really are and it’s only purpose is to tell you “who you are” and wanting for you to believe it. You’ll probably feel nausea during your trips… just be with it. You’ll probably feel that you’re somehow delusional or stupid in the middle of the trip… just know that it won’t last, and be with it. You’ll probably also face confusion and regret for having come all the way to Jamaica for “this…” just know that it won’t last either, and be with it. Just trust. Don’t try to change, understand, fix or interact with your own feelings during your sessions. They just want to get stuck with them to keep going. Just let them be. If it’s possible, don’t socialize or try to fix someone else during sessions, unless you’re moved by that “love that doesn’t have opposites,” and in that case, you will exactly know what to do or say. Try not to mix alcohol or other substances before or during your trips. Be as present as you can. Your inner being knows what I mean within these lines. ONE LOVE… Marcello.
Jenny Phillips Schroeder November 13, 2019
Everything was wonderful and unforgettable. Hats off to the organizers for fabulous food, top-notch accommodations, meaningful sessions, and enjoyable excursions. All this combined with new friends and a gorgeous setting made for an experience I hope to repeat again soon. Much love to the retreat crew!
McKenzie Freeman November 13, 2019
Wow, so much love for everyone at Mai Niti ❤️. It was such an incredible experience spending a month with Lucilla and her amazing family. They treated me with so much love while I going through my journey. The plant medicine gave me so much more than I could have ever imagined it could. Things I didn’t know could happen, unfolded right there in front of me and changed so much about my beliefs. It was humbling to see how little I understood and am sure I still don’t understand about reality. Truly life changing experiences all around. I can’t wait to spend more time with this amazing family again in the future to continue on the path of healing and personal growth.
Paulo Torrao November 13, 2019
Kavi is a real unique treat of grounded spiirituality. Successful in many areas of his Life, he's the "real thing". I recommend any of his works or just a hug and chat with him. Both will be of great worth to you for sure.
Jeffrey Patrick Gold November 13, 2019
What a life-changing experience- I feel like a different person!! I l left with a new understanding, of myself, and a completely positive outlook on life. My perspective has shifted, 180 degrees. From the Maestros to the Facilitators, Staff and Property... simply the best! I highly recommend Soltara and hope to be back, very soon!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!
We asked people why they go on retreat, here's what they said:
This sounds like a dream! I am an education student and I have spent way too much time working all summer to pay for school. My boyfriend of 5 years is a government firefighter and has been away working most of the summer. His 30th Birthday and our 6th anniversary is coming up this winter, we would love to celebrate with a yoga retreat! We both love yoga but have barley had time to practice in the past few months. Keeping our fingers crossed! Jaimee and Dan
We believe human beings are innately wise, strong and kind. This wisdom, although not always experienced, is always present. Going on retreat is a beautiful way to reconnect to our basic sanity and health. Our aspiration at Retreat Guru is to inspire people to experience authentic retreats and reconnect with their innate wisdom, strength and kindness.