search for good , small group Ayahuasca retreat near cusco , Peru. finding willkamayu spirit might be your answer.
After a while of reading about Ayahuasca I decided to take the plunge.
Step 1: Narrow Down the regions. I had about a month time in Peru. So I looked around 2 main regions . 1 being Jungle that most travellers were recommending . And other being Andes near Machu Pichu area.
Jungle region seem to have a lot of Ayahausca retreats as well as main town Iquitos filled with a lot of people selling shamanic items as well as trying to to draw tourists in Ayahuasca ceremonies that might not be as reputable as properly established retreats in deeper jungle. Over all vibe I got was not right for me . But I did not exclude location yet from options until later.
Other option were in Andes. Where from online I felt maybe experience will not be authentic , as its not in the jungle. Also weather being a lot cooler was thing to consider. But after a lots of research turns out that experience was as authentic as it can get. And cold.. What cold ?! Nothing to complain about. Blanket solves this problem .
Small groups – Maximum 6 people per group
After look at locations I looked at retreats and many seemed to be very pricey , but the same time well organised, but massive downside was big groups. Most places I seen were offering groups with 10 -25 people . To me any number higher than 10 seemed a lot of people , especially if everyone is experiencing brew for the first time. I mean , who knows how i`m gonna react ..
as authentic as it can get
Step 2: Narrow down retreat per group size : So I decided to narrow down retreats by simply looking at number per group . And pick from there.
And after browsing for a while I stumbled on this modest retreat in Andes. Seems their online presence was minimal. They were mentioned in a comment on a post in Reddit . And after a while of digging in to the web I found another comment again raving about how amazing experience was with small group setting .
Ok now I was convinced that there is something to them .Non flashy advertisements, if any at all. Small groups – Maximum 6 people per group . Simple setting.
I did look around more and found few other places that did offer to Ayahuasca private retreats, but mostly prices were insane and it was for like a groups of friends of family type thing. Not if you are alone and simply want to be in small group .
And also before accepting me for their resort ( Yes – they decide if they want you to come – its not only pay and go kind of thing )
Step 3: Contact retreat and see how communication goes.
So now it was time to see if they sound all legit. Website had some info, but over all very little social media presence made me wonder if its a great thing or very bad thing. I send an email with interest to Willkamayu Spirit . For a few days we had great communication with well answered questions in detail of all I was worried about . Now I was convinced that lack of social media presence was a good thing. And also before accepting me for their resort ( Yes – they decide if they want you to come – its not only pay and go kind of thing ) , they called me and had a phone interview about the reasons im coming to visit. After interview I received possible dates that I can join for ceremonies if I like.
I send deposit payment and was all sorted.
do Ayahuasca, but for real to heal
Step 4 : Arrive . And then months later I arrived in Peru .
I decided to take few days in Cuzco to walk around and acclimatise . Then moved closer to the Willkamayu Spirit retreat for few more night in Urubamba town. Taxi picked me up and I was on the way .
I arrived about 15 min out of town house. Simple setting 2 story house. Upstairs 2 rooms with 3 beds in each room . Downstairs Main room for Ayahuasca ceremonies , daytime Workshops or Wachuma ceremonies. outdoor kitchen with simple Peruvian setting and bathroom with shower. Building is gated so no one can wonder in at random hours. Or walk by the street and stare at you sitting in the garden . Its an oasis in its own way . Gated from the outside distractions .Retreat is owned by Jhon and Jenneke.
There in a river right in front of property and mountains to climb if feeling up to it.
And to disconnect there is no Wi-Fi, not that its needed. Most free time is spend reflecting on Ayahuasca experiences . Upstairs in lounge in front of rooms or in the garden with sounds of rivers in backgrounds and house dog and cat keeping company .
truly journey inwards
Step 5: Ceremonies take place after dark with shaman and a helper (Jhon in my case) with all the other participants. We were 5 girls. 4 of us doing ceremony for the first time .
I was happy to see that everyone really come to Willkamayu Spirit retreat for the healing and not just for fun . Everyone was focused on inner journeys and respected each other. It was hard work. 3 Ceremonies as well as inner child workshop with Janneke and her team was a lot. I felt I did incredible amount of work during ceremonies, but what I didn't truly realise is that real work starts only after ceremonies. I feel its difficult to explain how, but basically everything you have been hiding deep in yourself for all they years, now have surfaced and does not go down again until you deal with it . So month and month later you might still have dreams, feelings, visions ,changes in body and more. But all is there to help you !
I truly feel that this specific place was ideal for me. Small group made me feel safe during my ceremonies and I could truly journey inwards. Every time I felt my inner journey arrived at struggle I could feel Shaman helping me and Jhon always looking after me.
If you are thinking to do Ayahuasca, but for real to heal- this is a place for you.
PS.- II didn't take photos during my stay so i`m linking some in from ones I found online on their official website. You can see more of them here
All photo credits in this post go to Willkamayu Spirit . https://ayahuasca-spirit.com/gallery/
If you have been to the Willkamayu Spirit Or if you have been anywhere else and done Ayahuasca- leave a comment below! It might help others to find what they are looking for .