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AMAZON RAINFOREST RETREAT

   

 

 

Destination: Amazon Rainforest

Country and Region: Peru, Loreto

Arrival/Departure City: Iquitos

Main Objective: To Connect with the Teachings of the Earth, Sacred Plants, Indigenous World-View, Ancestral Ways of Living, and Teachings of Zen Buddhism in Order to Discover the Unity, Wisdom, and Love Residing at Our Core

 

Retreat Phases: Indigenous Cultural Immersion (week 1),  Master Plants (Week 2), and Sesshin-Zen Style Meditation (Week 3)

Others Events: Wildlife Sighting, and Humanitarian Assistance to Villages

Early Booking Conditions: 1 Year

Last Minute Booking Conditions: 2 Months

Booking Deposit Amount Required: 50%

Booking Payment Method: Credit/Debit Cards

Remaining Balance Payment Method: Cash at Arrival

Retreat Dates in 2024:  July 9th - July 31st

AMAZON RAINFOREST RETREAT 3 WEEKS"A Spiritual and Cultural Immersion Into the Depths of Sacred Amazonian Lands in Search of Peace, Harmony, Self-Healing, and Connection to Mother Earth."

This is a 21-day rustic retreat, removed from the comforts, complexities, and stress of modern civilization. This retreat is for travelers seeking to have a profound educational, cultural, traditional, spiritual, meditative, mentally and physically challenging experience in the depths of the Amazon jungle. This expedition is an off-grid Amazon Rainforest Immersion coupled with a Plant Medicine Intensive and a Zen-style Meditation Retreat. The main objective of this expedition-retreat is, "To connect with the teachings of the Earth, Sacred plants, Indigenous world-view, Ancestral ways of living, and teachings of Zen Buddhism in order to discover the Unity, Wisdom, and Love residing at our core".

This very well-organized trip will be divided into three essential phases with some overlap, each lasting 1 week. (Week 1) "Indigenous Customs and Traditions", (Week 2) "Traditional Amazonian Master Plants", and (Week 3) "Sesshin-Zen Style Meditation".

If this sounds like a very interesting fit for you, then we think it is definitely the expedition/retreat you are looking for!

Our journey will begin in the city of Iquitos, with a beautiful and relaxing day along the Amazon River, and then down other tributary rivers to reach the deepest part of its lands. While this navigation lasts we will appreciate the current local lifestyle of several riverine indigenous peoples. As we advance in our immersion into more remote jungle areas, we will witness how gradually the ways of life begin to resemble more ancestral Amazonian lifestyles.

Next, we settle at our base camp, an isolated piece of land with rustic structures we call "EL CENTRO" (in english translation meaning "THE CENTER"). This will become "OUR CENTER", our base camp and home. El Centro is where most of our initial activities will be learned and performed, collecting and processing plants, learning basic survival skills, and imbibing the ways of traditional and modern-day Amazonian sustenance living. Here we will loosen our ties with mainstream modern culture and develop a simple, direct, and genuine connection with the raw elements, returning to the basics, to the origins of who we are and how it is that we truly belong to this beautiful Earth. Participants will experience ancient customs and traditions that little by little are being forgotten by the new generations, but still are preserved by a small group of Amazonian ethnic people in the area. From this first week onward, we will also begin to incorporate Zen meditation into our daily schedule. 

Our second week in the Amazon will center around Master Plants. During this week there will be short and long segments of preparatory diets and meditation. This will include rest days in which we will fast, reduce sun exposure, and will not take part in any physically strenuous activities. This middle week of spiritual self-encounter, guided by Shaman Master Healers, and Jungle Survival Instructors, will be an intense concentration showing us the correct use of various Amazonian Master Plants and other traditional medicinal plants popular in the Peruvian Amazon. These are powerful and effective ancient native plants that cleanse, treat, heal, and harmonize our bodies, hearts, and minds. 

Finally, during the last week of our retreat, we will do a multi-day Sesshin (Zen Style Meditation Retreat) led by two American Zen Priests and dear friends at our base camp. This will be a silent meditation intensive with up to 8 hours of seated meditation per day. All participants are asked to participate in the entirety of the meditation retreat. Towards the end of the sesshin, as a final celebration and test of rewiring and reconnecting with our origins, our team will immerse each traveler in the depths of the Amazon rainforest, exploring it like nomads, letting ourselves be embraced by the purest of nature that surrounds us. Hiking and sitting by night and day, we will also have the opportunity to encounter nocturnal wildlife.

This is a very unique and special opportunity to combine deep meditation practice with wilderness immersion, master plants, and indigenous ways of living. This time is ripe for us to connect our spirituality with the Earth. Space is limited. We hope you will join us!

Note: The majority of the instruction and teaching will be offered in English, however, the majority of the crew and indigenous peoples only speak Spanish and native Amazonian languages. English and/or Spanish translation will be provided when needed.

AMAZON TERRITORY TO BE VISITED: 

The Ampiyacu-Apayacu Regional Conservation Area (ACRAA) is a protected area in Peru, and covers an area of 434,129.54 hectares in the provinces of Maynas and Ramón Castilla, in the Loreto region.

The path towards the designation of the Ampiyacu-Apayacu zone, in the provinces of Maynas and Ramón Castilla, in Loreto, as an area of Regional Conservation (ACR) has been long and intense. It started in 1998, when the population of the area, composed mainly of boras, huitotos and ocainas, gave the alert about the conservation of their forests before the entrance to the area of a mining company.

Starting in 1998, work began on preserve this area. According to the National Service of Natural Areas Protected by the State (Sernanp), which named the area as ACR in December 23, 2010, it is one of the most biodiverse areas in terms of plant species in the world: it is home to 1,500 types of plants. In addition, in this ecosystem there are 207 species of fish, 64 amphibians, 40 reptiles, 362 birds and 60 mammals.

Another important feature of this new ACR is that the upper parts of the Ampiyacu and Apayacu basins are a permanent source of water to maintain the habitat of aquatic fauna, which constitutes the main source of food resources for the 16 native communities settled in its basins.

ETHNIC GROUPS IN THIS TERRITORY: 

The Bora Ethnic Group; are an indigenous tribe of the Peruvian, Colombian, and Brazilian Amazon, located between the Putumayo and Napo rivers. The Bora speak a Hitotan language and comprise approximately 2,000 people. In the last forty years, they have become largely settled people living mostly in permanent forest settlements. In the animist Bora worldview, there is no distinction between the physical and spiritual worlds and spirits are present throughout the world. Bora families practice exogamy. The Bora has an elaborate knowledge of the plant life of the surrounding rainforest. Like other indigenous peoples of the Peruvian Amazon, such as the Urarina plants, especially trees, hold a complex and important interest for the Bora. The Bora have guarded their lands against both indigenous foes and outsider colonials. Around the time of the 20th century, the rubber boom had a devastating impact on the Boras. A book that recorded the mistreatment of the Boras during that time period is "The Putumayo; The Devil's Paradise" which was published in 1912 and written by W.E. Hardenburg. The tribe's ancestral lands are currently threatened by illegal logging practices. The Bora has no indigenous reserves.

 

The Huitoto Ethnic Group; were once composed of 100 villages or 31 tribes, but disease and conflict have reduced their numbers. In the early 20th century, the Witoto population was 50,000. The rubber boom in the mid-20th century brought diseases and displacement to the Witotos, causing their numbers to plummet to 7,000–10,000. Since the 1990s, cattle ranchers have invaded Witoto lands, depleted the soil, and polluted the waterways. In response to the incursions, some governments established several reservations for Witotos, one almost remote one is located at the Ampiyacu not too far from the Bora Indigenous tribe. Huitoto people practice swidden or slash-and-burn agriculture. To prevent depleting the land, they relocate their fields every few yields. Major crops include cacao, coca, maize, bitter and sweet manioc, bananas, mangoes, palms, peanuts, pineapples, plantains, sugar cane, sweet potatoes, tobacco, and yams. Ethnobotanists have studied Witoto agriculture due to its efficiency and sustainability. Huitoto men hunt with blowguns and shotguns.


The Ocaina Ethnic Group; are an ethnic group of the Amazon that inhabit the banks of the Yaguasyacu, Ampiyacu, jamayacù, Putumayo, and Algodon rivers (in Peru); Although they are known as ocaina, they call themselves Dyo'xaiya or Ivo'tsa. Ocaine language found within the Huitoto linguistic family. Bora-witotoque language family includes besides the ocainas, nonuñas, uitotos, muninanes and bora-mirañas, among others. The Ocainas share history and many cultural characteristics with the Huitotos, Resígaros, and Andoques. These groups inhabited the southern tip of Colombia and were brought to Peruvian territory by the bosses during the Amazon rubber boom. The violence infringed by the bosses descended their population and they are currently in the process of assimilation into the Huitotos.

The Yaguas Ethnic Group; is estimated that there are some 6,000 Yagua living in north-eastern Peru and southern Colombia, in 30 communities along the Amazon, Napo, Putumayo, and Yavari rivers, and their tributaries. This makes it one of the larger indigenous communities in Amazonia, and this is reflected in the name of the recently-created Yaguas National Park in the Department of Loreto. Currently, the Yagua live in some 30 communities scattered throughout a section of the Peruvian and Colombian Amazon basin which can roughly be described as a rectangle 200 miles wide and 350 miles long (70,000 sq. miles) extending southward from the second to the fifth parallel and westward from the 70th to the 75th meridian west.

ROUGH OUTLINE:

 

⬜ ARRIVAL DAY IN IQUITOS

  • Transportation from Iquitos Airport to Hotel.


 

⬜  DAY 0 (TRAVEL DAY TO JUNGLE TOWN)

14:00 Pick up from Hotel to AMAZON EXPEDITIONERS Office.

  • Final Gear Adjustments, and Safety Brief.

  • Lunch in the Office before departure.

15:30 Departure from the Office to the Iquitos River Port.

17:00 Navigation on Speed Boat Starts on the Amazon River to 1st Drop Off Jungle Destination (about 200 km or 124 mi).

10:00-11:00 Arrival at 1st Drop-Off Destination (River Port). 

  • Meet with other team members


 

⬜  DAY 1

00:00 Navigation on Slow Boat Starts to 2nd Drop-off Jungle Destination (about 25 km or 15.5 mi)

  • Short hike into the jungle to reach our Base Camp “Jungle Survival Training Center” to rest for the night.

  • Breakfast with the team.

  • Intro brief about all three phases of our retreat.


 

⬜  (WEEK 1) INDIGENOUS CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS 

It is very important to understand from the beginning, and mainly for general knowledge, that when a group of Amazonian indigenous people decides to isolate themselves from their families towards the depths of the jungle, on a hunting and fishing trip, and with the sole purpose of supplying themselves with food To maintain their subsistence in the short or long term, the first thing they do is go through an intense Preparation Phase, which consists of cultivating the land, harvesting and a cyclical activity of replanting the previously harvested inputs, followed by elaboration of them. It will be in this manufacturing process where very ancient knowledge will be used to convert them into long-lasting consumable products, grains, and carbohydrates suitable to withstand long trips, and at any temperature. It is through this same phase that each participant will engage and focus on a very well-selected number of traditional and essential activities. Taking this entire first phase of learning and practice very seriously will be vital, it will be a segment full of rich knowledge transmitted by many generations over time, and that has managed to keep many who have acquired it alive to this day. This important workshop full of knowledge that we will provide will undoubtedly allow us all to stay alive during prolonged isolation of any kind that may lie ahead. Without these previously prepared cereals and carbohydrates, our consumption of meats and fish obtained during our hunting and fishing trips would not be nutritionally complemented.

 

The harvest of the traditional “Mambe” It will be our star opening activity of many more important ones to come that visitors will participate in, followed by the preparation of the same. The main purpose of this activity will be to supply the entire group for other challenging activities ahead. The consumption of Mambe will be something very common to appreciate throughout our stay, and at some point, we will be able to understand its importance among hunters, fishermen, and gatherers of certain ethnic origins. Those who consume this Master and Sacred Plant at any time of the day, it is because of its natural energetic stimulant found in its main ingredient “The Coca Leaf”, used for the strenuous land work that the jungle demands. We will understand its ancient uses in more depth during week 2.

 

The following activities performed as a group next will require a selected group of men and women from the indigenous communities around:

  • 1-On-1 LandWork On Traditional Wild Foods - Cultivation of land fields, harvest/extraction, replantation, and elaboration of long-lasting consumable products (grains, carbohydrates, and drinks) suitable to withstand several weeks and even months as well as high or low temperatures when are carefully packed and stored.

  • 1-on-1 Workshop On Traditional Arts and Crafts - Search, identification, and extraction of natural materials since we'll be learning to elaborate traditional arts and craft which could include basket making, clothing construction, candle making, and wooden or clay utensil and pot construction. 

 

River Navigation trip to meet, greet, and spend quality time with another  indigenous family in voluntary isolation who lives in a very traditional way. The following activities will be performed with them during the 2 days of river navigation escape:

  • 1-on-1 Workshop On Primitive Traps and Artifacts -  Construction of different animal traps, natural rope for general use, identification of firewood, search, and the extraction of jungle materials for the construction of artifacts for artisanal ancestral fishing.

  • Night conversation meeting with the elders of this traditional group, to listen to their stories about their past and present life in the Amazon. During night talks, “Mambe and Ampiri” are shared as a traditional custom, which is considered an indigenous way of expanding consciousness, conferences/meetings organized  in ancient times to solve problems and issues of importance to the community *war, trials, planning, ceremonies, debates, sharing knowledge, etc.).

 

Week 1 will conclude with a relaxing navigation back to our Center, and carrying out fishing activities and observation of gray and pink river dolphins at the meeting point of the Ampiyacu river with the Yaguasyacu river.  The overnight stays during week 1 will take place between our Center and Visited Village.


 

⬜  (WEEK 2) AMAZON MASTER PLANTS 

The plants called Teachers or Masters by the original peoples of America are those that bring us closer to the world of spirits, providing knowledge to those who ingest them. They reveal and show what is usually hidden in us. They are also used for their medicinal properties that relieve or heal certain diseases.

 

Based on Amazonian culture, we could say that they are capable of guiding us to the depths of our Inner being, releasing the potential of the Unconscious Mind and Soul Healing. When this happens we can experience a deep communion with nature, and a broad understanding of those frustrations that on more than one occasion have prevented us from conserving the strength to be present, emotionally and physically healthy in complete harmony with our surroundings.

 

The Sacred Plants are now part of the deep worldview, both of America and of people from different parts of the world, with a tradition that sinks into the very roots of what is currently known as Shamanism. Since thousands of years ago, different ethnic groups have come together in a practice that, although it has changed over the centuries, preserves the original intention: that of introducing ourselves into the internal visionary dimensions that make it possible to transform our present.

 

These practices are supervised by Shamans better known by the locals as Master Healers, in places surrounded by pure nature, where the person is assisted and accompanied in their solitude within a process of physical, emotional, and spiritual connection through master plants that the Shaman or Master Healer assigns based on what he sees and feels through his visions and/or sensitivity.

 

Week 2 will focus on topics that will deal with the spiritual meaning of Master Plants in the Amazon such as Ayahuasca and the spiritual connection with oneself. It will also be a focus for those who want to participate in this mystical diet journey with various other Master Plants including the Sapo/Kambo medicine of animal secretion known by the ancient healers as the animal plant, and by many indigenous ethnic groups also as the Vaccine of the Forest, and by our experts who recognize Rambo as a Super Supplement based on their scientific researches and studies of what Kambo truly contains in its secretion and how these cocktail of ingredients can positively benefit the health in the human body.

 

Grandfather and Master of Master Plants with Master Shamans - Search, extraction, preparation, ceremonies, and consumption.

  • Ayahuasca - It has been reported that some effects can be felt from consuming the caapi vine alone, but that DMT-containing plants (such as Psychotria) remain inactive when drunk as a brew without a source of monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) such as B. caapi. It is unclear how indigenous peoples discovered the hallucinogenic properties of the plants used in the ayahuasca brew.

 

Many indigenous Amazonian people say they received the instructions directly from plants and plant spirits. Scientific Name : banisteriopsis caapi Common Names in the Amazon: ayahuasca; yagé; bejuco; caapi; nucnu huasca; shimbaya huasca; nishi; oni; népe; xono; datém; kamarampi; pindé; natema; iona; mii; shillinto; nepi. Over 90 different indigenous tribes in the Amazon Rainforest have developed healing traditions based on the use of ayahuasca.

 

This number becomes even more impressive when one considers the fact that many of these tribes live thousands of miles apart and would appear to have never had contact with each other. Within the philosophy of each tribe, one point remains consistent, which is that they originally learned about ayahuasca and the science of plant medicine from the plants themselves. Both the plant and the medicine prepared from it are called ‘Ayahuasca’.

 

Other Traditional Master Plants with Local Facilitators - Search, identification, collection/extraction, and preparation of the following:

  • Mambé - means “the tongue of God” or “word of life”. It has a feminine energy and represents the woman, as derived from the coca leaf, or mama coca. The ritual of the mambe, the ancestral name of the coca plant, is a unique experience of oral tradition. The mambe gives power to the word and gives us eloquence. By taking Mambe we can connect with the intrinsic wisdom within us, to share it with other participants. It is a ritual where therapy is based on sharing the word and our life experiences, also used to elevate body temperature, energy, and hunger.

  • Ampiri or Ambil - the grandparents say that the ampiri or ambil is the "Companion of thought", this must always be accompanied by the mambe as it endows and nurtures the power of the word and harmonizes the thought. His character and flavor are stronger since he sees himself represented in the male figure, which provides clarity when listening and allows ordering ideas so that, when it comes to talking, there is always a good reception from both parties. Ampiri or Ambil is a residue obtained from the combustion of tobacco combined with native jungle salt, which can be used for various purposes, including healing rituals, meditation, and spiritual exploration, also used topically on wounds to kill insect larvae, used to treat myiasis, and even used to treat snake bites.

  • Sapo or Kambo - better known by some Amazonian ethnic groups as the “Jungle Vaccine” used for many medicinal purposes, such as yellow fever, malaria, snake bites, intestinal cleansing, detoxification of kidneys, liver, pancreas, chronic pain, and more. All these magical and healing benefits obtained by the Phyllomedusa Bicolor frog come mainly from its powerful combined cocktail of multiple bioactive peptides found in its secretion, which therefore function more as a "Super Supplement" and receptor messenger, than as a detoxifier. Its main action once entered into the human body, is to restore the optimal functioning of the cells, awakening them and reminding them of the function they have by nature in the organism by moving the body into homeostasis.

  • Nunu, Rapé or Snuff - another Amazonian sacred medicine. Rapé is used for a variety of purposes, including spiritual cleansing, grounding, and centering. The indigenous peoples believe that the powerful effects can help to clear negative energy, release emotional blockages, and promote a sense of clarity and focus. It is also used in traditional medicine for a range of physical ailments, such as headaches, respiratory problems, and digestive issues. The ingredients used to make rapé can vary depending on the specific tribe or community making it, as well as the intended purpose of the snuff. However, some of the most common ingredients include tobacco leaves, several tree bark, ashes, and medicinal plants such as mint, cinnamon, and eucalyptus (application is optional).

 

Week 2 will initiate with a small dosage/intro session of Kambo/Sapo 24 hours before our first Ayahuasca ceremony, and conclude with a higher dosage/final session of Kambo/Sapo 24 hours after our last Ayahuasca ceremony, all with the combination of fasting phases, diets, and meditation in between. Overnight stays will all take place at our Center.

 

⬜  WEEK (3) SESSHIN-ZEN STYLE MEDITATION

The purpose of sesshin is to become present in the here and now, connecting with that deep, ungraspable silence within, and allow that silence to inform how we view ourselves and the world around us. Ultimately, the deep sustained attention of the sesshin form helps us see through the illusion of separation and learn to function with wisdom and compassion within this unity that we are. This retreat will begin after two weeks of intimate immersion into the Amazonian culture, coupled with daily formal meditation and a week-long medicinal plant immersion using plants from the surrounding jungle. In this way we will ripen ourselves for the practice of deep meditation, preparing to listen deeply, to bridge the gap between the natural world and our nature, and to awaken our vows for how we want to live. During this time of apparent ecological distress, what is it that this earth wants? What is it that we want? 

 

Sesshin will be held almost exclusively in silence, including break times, meals, etc. Instruction and opportunities to ask questions or seek clarification will be offered daily. The strict silence of retreat invites us to put our conventional personalities aside, so that we may look deeply and carefully at the source of our motivations, thoughts, and actions and recognize the wisdom, freedom, and love that lies at our core. 

 

The first days will include:

  • Up to 8 hours of meditation

  • A rotation of dharma talks given by teachers, group question and answer sessions, and individual check-ins with the teachers

  • Traditional Zen chants, devotional song, and formal prayer

  • Communal chores

  • Communal meals

  • Guided yoga/qigong

  • Resting times

 

The retreat will end with a multi-day overnight into the jungle, immersing ourselves even more intimately within the jungle’s womb.

 

 

⬜  FINAL DAY

 15:00 Back to Base Camp from our last breathtaking hiking day to end our journey with a memorable warrior's lunch celebration and gratitude.

 18:00 Motorboat back to River Port Town.

 19:00 Dinner, hang around town and be on standby at river port until boat arrives.


 

⬜  DAY 0 (TRAVEL DAY BACK FROM JUNGLE TOWN)

00:00-02:00 River Navigation back to Iquitos starts.

11:00-13:00 Arrival at Iquitos River Port.

  • Transfer to Hotel/Airport.

WHAT IS INCLUDED:

  • Airport Pick Up and Drop Off Transportation.

  • Hotel/hostel search assistance upon arrival to Iquitos (if needed).

  • Fluvial transportation service to/from remote destinations (speed & slow boats).

  • Entry permits to indigenous territories.

  • Economic support to villages nearby.

  • First Responders Wilderness Kit for Emergencies with Antivenom Serums.

  • Satellite/GPS Communication Devices with 24/7 SOS Coverage and Live Locators.

  • Daily meals provided during the expedition (based on traditional local food).

  • Filtered water during the expedition.

  • Lead Guide/Translator (English-Spanish).

  • Native Assistant Guides/Translators (Spanish-Any Local Indigenous Language).

  • (1-2) Master Shamans.

  • (2) Zen Priests.

  • Gear (mosquito net, sleeping mat and blanket).

 

 

 

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED: 

  • Airfare to and from Iquitos.

  • Personal Travel Insurance.

  • Hotel/hostel in Iquitos.

VERY IMPORTANT NOTES:

  • Booking in Advance is Highly Recommended; for the collection of personal information, to request authorization of entry to indigenous territories at all levels (national, regional, and communal authorities), logistic preparation, personnel assignment, etc.

  • Arrival and Departure Recommendation to and from Iquitos; 1 day before and 1 day after your trip.

  • Rucksack Size and Weight Recommendations; 55-65 liters and 10 kilos.

  • For full packing list details visit our What to Pack page.

  • Be warned; That this unique and very well combined Amazonian retreat is only open to highly motivated participants, with strong adaptive capacities and who are not looking for anything luxurious. Otherwise, it is for those with a pure and humble goal in mind and heart to find peace, love, harmony and compassion with themselves and others, far above all comfort, as well as giving their all to achieve a deep understanding of humanity and living species in general within our home planet.

  • To Be Better Prepared for this Expedition; Travelers are highly advised to visit our next link "Master Plants Diet Info".

  • All activities are subject to change due to weather conditions at any time of the year. The main rivers and the levels of the tributaries can vary and, therefore, the navigation times and the excursions may be modified at the discretion of the guides and instructors, this will not alter our motivation to make this trip the best.

  • For additional information visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.

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