A month of Training in the Peruvian Amazon
1st - 30th April 2020
This is a private invitation to join a select group of individuals for a month-long intensive retreat deep in the Amazonian Rainforest and to train under my beloved Maestro Enrique Parades Melendez and his brother Maestro Hegner Paredes Malendez.
The retreat will be tailor crafted for each person depending on what specifically you wish to heal, learn or work on and may consist of a deep cleanse, as many ceremonies as you could wish to attend as well as personal plant dietas and still have plenty of time to explore the jungle, optionally; to visit a neighbouring Shipibo village by boat, cook sacred plant medicines to swing in a hammock and of course to process.
It is important to know that there is not the same culture of support from helpers in jungle ceremonies. To attend this retreat you must be prepared to be largely self sufficient. That said: Lily and I will be there translating, guiding and supporting especially between ceremonies, and on the dietas for those who may need.
Welcome to Peru
We will meet you in Pucallpa on March 29th or 30th, take you to a hotel (cost: aprox £10 a night) to spend a couple of days to rest and acclimatise. We may have an opportunity visit some local artisans and maybe some students of the late, famed visionary artist Pablo Amaringo. We will also dine like vegetarian kings and queens at our friends restaurant where they prepare dieta friendly cuisine and superfood juices. We will shop in the local market for supplies before our voyage into the wilds of Amazonia which will include a two hour drive, a half hour boat ride and an hour trek into the jungle if the river is low or less if it's high.
Arrival at the retreat
We will be met by Enrique, his brothers and cousins who will help us to carry our kit to our paradise sanctuary home where we'll be greeted by a steaming hot river...
...So hot that if you want a cup of tea on arrival all you need do is dip your mug in the river and drop in a teabag. One great thing about Santuario is that the kettle is always on.
Our schedule will depend on everyone's individual needs so we will organise our time accordingly. We highly recommend staying a full month but if your situation won't allow you to stay that long you could come for a shorter stay but we would suggest not less than a week in the forest; (10 days including travel).
On arrival there will be an opportunity to rest and settle into our individual casitas (little houses) each with a comfy bed & the best quality mosquito net. Enrique will give us a tour of the sanctuary and we can enjoy some jungle cuisine.
Our schedule in the forest
We usually spend an entire day early on in the retreat working with a powerful cleansing plant either Wankawi Satcha or Mapacho which, like Kambo, will induce a deep purge. Unlike our froggie friend however, they are both much more gentle. The former will allow for breaks between the purges where we can allow our creativity to flow through art, music, dance and yoga. The latter will allow for the opening of a Tobacco dieta. Tobacco is a master teacher plant & will help us to open us to the energies of the Rainforest.
Santuario has a very impressive ceremony space called a maloka built entirely from planks cut from naturally fallen trees and a palm frond roof. Enrique has decades of experience working with the healing plants of the forest. He is also a powerful curandero (healer), a master of Ceremony and accompanied by his wife, brothers and disciples singing ikaros that they channel we will be transported to the deepest depths and the highest highs. In ceremony, each participant receives an individual 'limpia' which is a cleansing or healing during which the maestros will be able to observe your energy and prescribe a plant or tree medicine for you to diet.
Ceremonies mark not only the opening & closing of the retreat but also of dietas.
Other medicines and dietas
We can go on a jungle trek to see the healing plants, master trees and harvest our dieta medicines, bring them back where we will learn how to prepare them. Then, over the next days we will abstain from salt and sugar and consume very simple foods in the traditional way to allow our minds and bodies to fully commune with our plant healer/teacher. This process is called dieta. Our first one will most likely take place in the comfort of the inner sanctuary where the maestros, Lily & myself can be close at hand to take care of your needs.
There will be time during this period to be alone or in company, to walk in the forest, to enjoy the natural steam bath and hot pools or to simply relax in the hammocks. Salt, tobacco and fruit are used to mark the closing of our dieta. We can then go into another ceremony to integrate the healings we received and the lessons learned.
We'll have a few days off before the next ceremony to open the second dieta. During those days we will be able to eat some proper hearty meals & have a choice of activities.
We may cook some medicine, go on a boat ride to visit a neighbouring tribal village to have an insight into Shipibo life and to do some shamanic shopping for local handicrafts or perhaps engage in some environmental conservation like tree planting or eco building or helping with Enrique's new project: a turtle sanctuary.
Dieting in Tambo
We will each be offered the opportunity, perhaps for our second dieta to go deeper into the jungle, by a cool stream, to a tambo: There we will stay, alone and in silence, for a predetermined time, maybe several days, a week or two. Each day, someone will come check on and bring your food & plenty of drinking water.
Copal, Lily and the Maestros will also visit for consultations and to bring you your medicine.
Dieting in tambo is a very powerful process indeed and if you feel up for it, it's highly recommended to really get the most out of your time in the Rainforest. In my experience, the days are very chilled and each night can be like a ceremony where your dieta-plant spirit shares his or her teachings in the most vivid dreams that contain the songs, messages and guidance we need to evolve. We will of course help you to prepare fully for this journey and you will be in the safest of hands.
In order to afford a range of experience, the tambos vary considerably in style and distance from the inner sanctuary. The most basic tambos are often also the deepest in the forest: a palm-frond roof on legs under which is a bed with a mosquito net would provide the most traditional dieta experience.
Some participants have had the opportunity to build or help build their own tambo. This is a wonderful way to connect more deeply with the part of the forest in which you wish to make your dieta.
No less authentic though would be to enjoy a more plush tambo that more closely resembles a house. Some tambos are covered entirely in mosquito proof netting and some are much less remote in order to provide a more comfortable experience for someone who was perhaps a little more nervous or simply wanted to feel more protected.
Salt and tobacco are again used to mark the closing of our second dieta before a closing ceremony.
We'll have a few days off before the final ceremony which closes the retreat.
Down to basics:
Amazon living is basic & this is by no means a 5 star resort. That said over the years, Enrique has made numerous improvements to the place making it considerably more comfortable to our "Western" taste.
There are flushing toilets, running water & proper showers. Some rooms even have en-suite facilities.
Personally, I prefer to bathe al-fresco in the old bathroom which is where you can find the traditional plant bath. We also have a natural outdoor steam bath & pools of water at varying temperatures from cool to very hot.
Bugs & wildlife:
There is more life in the Amazon Rainforest than on all the rest of the land on Earth & much of that is very small. I also read that there is a greater mass of ants on Earth than there is of humans!!! There are bugs here but very little that will bite you much less cause you pain or harm. You may see large spiders, they are pretty harmless & actually quite beautiful. You may see a scorpion though they are very shy & will usually run away from you before you see them. There are mosquitos here. They mostly come out at dusk. I find the easiest way to avoid being bitten is to wear long trousers, sleeves & socks. We wear rubber boots when walking in the forest (We'll buy them in Pucallpa) & we can use some natural mozzie repellent. If you are concerned about being bitten, you can dose up on B vitamins for a month before we go. That will help. also avoiding sugar is said to be helpful as they prefer sweet blood.
The hot river is a massive help as most flying, biting things don't like the steam
There are lots of very beautiful creatures here from butterflies, birds, geckos, small mammals, monkeys. theres nothing big in our part of the forest & nothing dangerous.
After the retreat, if possible we may be able to have a final drink at a small retreat centre of another friend much closer to Pucallpa where we can experience a different style of ceremony with Shipibo or other tribal Shamans. In 2019 the Kaxinawa were there. Did you see the video???
If you decide to join us for that ceremony or not, it would be wise to spend a couple of days in Pucullpa to decompress before heading to Lima or flying home.
The investment for this retreat is £2000 for the entire month. This includes transport from and back to Pucallpa and everything in between: food, accommodation, ceremonies and medicines.
If you are not be able to join us for a whole month the price for 2 weeks would be £1100 or a week, £600.
(You may wish to bring some spending money as artisans from the local villages who we will either visit or who will occasionally come to the Sanctuary to display their arts and crafts for us.)
Send your deposits via Paypal to
Use the transfers to friends & family option to avoid charges (which would be passed onto you)
Include the note with your payment "PERU RETREAT" to make record keeping easy.
Your first £350 (however long you wish to stay) will be counted as a non refundable deposit which is required to book your place.
Please do not invite people to this retreat without first consulting with Copal.
Lily & I usually buy flights to Lima & from there transfer via an internal flight (1 hour) without staying over but if you decide to stay in Lima I recommend Hostel Espana. It's a quirky place near the Plaza de Almas in the centre of the city that's as much an art gallery as a hotel. It has a range of rooms and dorms to suit all budgets. They offer breakfast and have WiFi. if you prefer to take the rather long (18 hour) bus ride to Pucallpa you'll get to see stunning views of the three zones of Peru namely the Coast, the Andes Mountains (at sunset) and the rainforest. Their address is: Jirón Azangaro 105, Distrito de Lima 15001, Peru. Phone: +51 1 4285546