Frequently Asked Questions

Santiago and Ximena are both certified as a shamans by the Ecuadorian government. This certification follows the legal requirements and ethical guidelines for organizing medicinal ceremonies to give you peace of mind during our retreats.

The purpose of the work we do is to enable a profound experience of self awareness and connection with your divine nature. Our retreats are designed in a way that we can allow for variable approaches towards your own self, through the different kind of ceremonies we offer (daytime, nighttime, hikes, offerings, sweat lodge, traditional ceremony) and the nature of each plant medicine we use (Grandmother Ayahuasca, Grandfather San Pedro, Rapé, Kambo, Tobacco, Coca Leaves). The variety of all of these experiences enrich your healing process in an integral and holistic way. Therefore, the retreat turns out to be a life-changing experience.

No. The ceremonies we offer are focused on just one type of plant medicine, and the take of a different type of medicine happens after 2 days, with a proper integration accompaniment. The plant medicines of power are master spirits and all have the same intention of healing and conscious enlightenment, but each one of them has their own way and teachings, so they are complementary.

Our retreats are limited to 13 participants to give each retreat participant the personal attention needed to integrate their healing experience. We also offer small group ceremonies.

Mattresses, blankets, and pillows are provided to keep warm during ceremonies. A sacred fire is also kept burning by our Keeper of Fire during all ceremonies.

Ceremonies are held in a temple called a “Maloka”, an outside bungalow and sacred prayer space. Our San Pedro Maloka sits on the backbone of the San Pedro Valley mountain with breathtaking views. Our Ayahuasca Maloka sits beside the beautiful rushing sounds of the river.

The duration of the ceremonies varies according to the situation, the participants, the medicine. The approximate time is 7 – 10 hours.

Nighttime ceremonies begin between 9 and 12 at night and end with the sunrise. Daytime ceremonies begin at 9 in the morning and end at approximately 6 in the afternoon

We start all ceremonies by sharing group intentions for taking ancient medicine. During the ceremony, our family will share songs to call the spirits of medicine, distribute the plant medicine and transmit their teachings.

Grandmother Ayahuasca ceremonies last all night with accompaniment of prayers and traditional live music from our medicine givers. The entire group remains together until the end of the ceremony to hold sacred space for this beautiful journey inward.

Grandfather San Pedro ceremonies last all day. As a ritual, we sing traditional songs, pray to the water, our shamans perform an individual healing cleanse, and at the end we close the ceremony by making an offering to the Sacred Mother Pachamama (flower, fruits, sweets, corn, etc). This journey into our interior reflects the essentials of life, love and beauty within our own true essence.

Every experience is related with the honesty in which you are embracing your intention, as well as the respect and humbleness to open yourself to receive from the wise spirit coming from Mother Nature and the Divinity and leaving your mind’s limiting beliefs aside. There is always the possibility that you could transition through profound and difficult spaces within yourself, if the plant medicines require them to be visible in order to move on. Everything we do in ceremony is thought to support this process, all the Universe is orchestrated to support consciousness evolution.

Though speaking can be a therapeutic part of the process, it is not mandatory and we respect the word as well as silence.

Our shamans guide the course of the ceremony, but we gather to listen to the unique teachings the sacred plant medicine has for each of us.

Ceremony is intended to be understood and felt through the heart, though most of our participants speak English. We speak english or have a translator for the beginning and ending of the ceremony. Speaking is limited during ceremony aside from sharing teachings. Most songs (called Ícaros) are in Spanish and Native Languages.

Everyone starts with a single dose of medicine that varies according to each person. All participants are free to ask for and receive more medicine assuming composure and respect of the medicine and ceremony purpose is maintained.

All our medicine is processed while praying and putting the highest intention in this act.

  • San Pedro – In the case of San Pedro, this is collected and prepared by Santiago in the sacred forest of San Pedro on the property of Casa del Sol.
  • Ceremonial Mushrooms – Ceremonial mushrooms are collected with much love and respect by Mateo the son of Santiago and Ximena in the beautiful fields of Vilcabamba.
  • Ayahuasca – Ayahuasca is harvested in the Ecuadorian jungle by a very dear Shaman friend who cooks medicine with devotion.
  • Rapé – The Rapé is prepared by Titi, a Brazilian healer with many years of experience.
  • Kambo – The Kambo comes from reliable sources of the Amazon of Peru

The medicine is administered orally in the case of San Pedro, Ayahuasca and Ceremonial Mushrooms. The Kambo through the skin and the Rapé medicine by nasal route. The person who administers the medicine is Santiago or the rest of the facilitators always under the consent of Santiago and under his supervision.

All the weather variables are gentle as we are located in the Valley of Vilcabamba, known worldwide as the Valley of Longevity precisely for its good weather :). Conditions are not extreme as we are not in the jungle (not mosquitoes here), but mostly you can find:

November – April: Rainy season, sunny days, ocasional rain and cold nights.
May – October: Summer season, sunny days, dry landscapes and ocasional windy days.

We have put together a detailed list of what to bring in our Preparation page.