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Immersion Ayahuasca Retreats

“Transformation is a process, and as life happens there are tons of ups and downs. It’s a journey of discovery – there are moments on mountaintops and moments in deep valleys of despair.” - Rick Warren

View across the pond

The Hummingbird Center offers immersion retreats of 3 or 4 weeks for those looking to go deeper the with medicine, or whose condition needs a longer treatment plan. This program runs along with our 12 day retreats and includes all the activities of those. Immersion retreats include at least one 8 day dieta with a master medicine plant chosen by the shaman to help with your healing and learning. A second dieta with a different master plant is also included. These dietas are an essential part of lasting healing for those with long term problems with depression, anxiety and PTSD.

3 and 4 Week Immersion Retreats

Group with remo caspi treeeImmersion retreats are intended for those with long term issues that have resisted treatment by other methods, primarily the emotional ones. The Hummingbird Center has successfully helped over 200 people with long term (15+ yrs) struggles with depression, anxiety and PTSD .

The immersion program is also an excellent option for those who want to deepen their understanding of their true spiritual natures or would like to explore if a deeper commitment to working with this medicine is the right choice for them.

Another advantage of a longer stay is it allows you to relax into the healing and growth process and experiment with dosage without feeling time pressure. We have seen many people get half way through their process and begin worrying that they were going to run out of time and not get what they came for. This worry can interfere with the process and healing, and people are much more relaxed with the ups and downs of working with ayahuasca when they know they have more time with the medicine.

People will most commonly diet one of ajo sacha, chiric sanango, bobinsana or chuchu wasi depending on what they are looking to address. Those who stay for 3 or 4 weeks have the option of a second dieta if they choose. With a longer stay you get the chance to have more ceremonies with both ayahuasca and san pedro.

These additional ceremonies can make a big difference in the healing you receive. As we heal and grow, we literally shift into a different state of being. This extra time with the medicines allows that to set, to lock into place and become our new natural state.

Ayahuasca and the other medicine plants get to root of your problems, clearing energies, beliefs and thought patterns that keep you limited in your daily life. The profound wisdom of the plants can reveal your true self and your unique nature to you during ayahuasca ceremony and afterwards. Their teachings can set you on a path of self discovery and transformation, or enrich the spiritual journey you may already have begun.

Features of Immersion Retreats

Those on longer Immersion retreats will share in the ceremonies and other activities of all other guests at the center that are here for a 12 day retreat which include:

  • Private room in a tambo set in the jungle away from the common areas that has a very comfortable bed, toilet, hammock and writing desk.
  • One or two 8 day master plant dietas with a plant selected by our curandero Don Manain Amacifen
  • Regular consultations and guidance with the staff and shaman
  • More ayahuasca and san pedro ceremonies. Up to 14 available in a 4 week stay
  • Guided meditation before each ceremony.
  • Cleansing vapor bath with medicinal plants and guided meditation.
  • A series of medicinal plant baths to cleanse and strengthen your energy body
  • Individual healings by the shaman during ayahuasca ceremonies.
  • Additional individual healing on rest days.
  • Art supplies for painting and drawing to bring your visions to life using color and texture.
  • Integration meetings where you can share your experiences and receive valuable feedback from the curandero and facilitators.
  • Ayahuasca diet with delicious, wholesome and simple meals suitable for working with medicine plants.
  • Guided jungle walk to view the plants in their natural environment and understand their healing purposes
  • A mud bath to draw toxins out of your body
  • Two talks on the unconscious mind, how our beliefs and conditioning shape our life experience, and how to change them to naturally attract a better life.
  • $3800-$4800 all inclusive price

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Length of Stay

mud bath by the pondOur immersion retreats have stays three or four weeks. How long we recommend will depends on the information shared during our screening process. In general, the longer one has struggled with an issue the longer it takes to heal. If one has been struggling with depression for 15 or more years, it is unlikely a two week stay will be sufficient. Age also can have an impact on how quickly one heals. As a general rule, the younger one is the faster they will heal. This generally holds true, yet there are many exceptions.

An individual's commitment to their own healing and overall attitude to the process makes an enormous difference in results. If one is truly committed to heal and willing to do the necessary work with a positive attitude, a lot of change is possible in shorter periods of time. Ayahuasca is not a magic potion. One must do their part to get effective results.

For those with 15 or more years with depression, anxiety or ptsd, we usually will recommend a four week stay. This length of stay allows for two dietas with a master medicine, significantly increasing the probability of permanent long term change for the better.

A Note on Scheduling

We run scheduled 12 day retreats on the 1st and 15th of most months, but do take a break every two months to rest and recharge. Immersion retreats must be started at a time where there is a scheduled retreat spanning the entire time of your stay.,

The Plant Dieta Process

An intrinsic part of the ayahuasca healing tradition is the plant dieta. One typically will drink a tea made from the plant, then follow some strict rules related to minimizing energy for a prescribed period of days. The rules and length and number of days may vary depending on the plant and intention for the dieta but they always include bland, low energy food and some degree of silence and isolation.

The two main reasons for doing a dieta are to learn to work well with ayahuasca or become an ayahuasquero, and to heal. Dieta used to learn to become an ayahuasquero are very strict. Those done for healing purposes are not as strict.

Most dietas done at the Hummingbird Center are for healing. We do offer dietas for those looking for a strong connection with the medicine spirits or a deeper understanding of their true spiritual nature. For those looking to learn, we will be happy to discuss your goals and design a dieta specific to your needs. That process may be different than what is described below.

Opening the dieta

Shaman healing with crystalsOur curandero Don Hector always wants to examine a person in ceremony before speaking to them about a dieta. The day after your first ceremony we will have a discussion with the Don Hector about the problems you are looking to address, the outcome you are hoping for, and what we can do to help you achieve your goals. At the end of that discussion, he will recommend a specific plant to diet.

Don Hector does not have a “go to” plant for people, and has used a wide variety of plants for people´s dietas depending on their specific needs. We have 42 acres of jungle, and he collects the plants from our property.

Our dietas are eight days in length. We “open” the dieta, drinking your first dose of the medicine plant, at 7 am the morning after our talk. A that time there will be a review of the rules and guidelines, a chance to ask any questions, and perhaps share a bit more background you realized may be helpful for Don Hector to know to facilitate your healing. People will typically drink the medicine three mornings in a row, and follow the dieta rules for a total of eight days. The dieta is “closed” the morning of the ninth day by consuming a small spoon of salt.

The following rules must be followed while on dieta. They are all about minimizing the energy impacting your body and mind, allowing the medicine to do its work. These rules set up the necessary conditions for the dieta to be effective. If the rules are not followed, you will not get any results. It is very important one commit to these rules before you begin.

  • Low energy, completely unseasoned food. Do not eat anything we do not give you.
  • No fruits, juices or bread that is usually put out for the rest of the group.
  • You may drink the herbal teas, but nothing with caffeine.
  • No chemicals in or on the body. No medications of any kind. You will need to bring all natural, chemical free toiletries.
  • No vitamins, herbal supplements nor electrolytes.
  • No use of electronic devices. This means no contact with people via email or messenger. If you want to send some an email you may write down the text and we will be happy to send it for you. If someone needs to contact you, instruct them before you come to contact the Hummingbird Center, and we will let you read the email when we get it.
  • Minimize interaction with other people. You are allowed to talk to others, but more one treats the dieta as a time of silence, meditation and introspection, the better their results will be.
  • No touching other people. There is always an energetic exchange when we touch people. You may pet and play with our dogs as they have good energy!
  • The more time one can spend in mindfulness, stillness and awareness of the present moment, the better. This is of course best achieved by keeping yourself away from other people, and not distracting yourself by reading too much.

The energy and spiritual work done by the medicine plants during dieta is subtle. Ones needs a quiet body and mind to receive the healing and become aware of the gentle intuitive nudges of wisdom and insight these generous spirits have to offer. The above rules and guidelines are the minimum requirement for effective results.

Common Challenges on Dieta

The dieta process can be surprisingly difficult for some people. The benefits are definitely worth the challenge, but this is not an easy process. What seems a trial for one person, may not trouble another. Many find the bland food difficult to deal with day after day. Others, especially vegans, are content with the food. A full diner is not served on dieta, just a snack of a potato and some vegetables. You will experience some hunger the first few days, and you will lose weight. It is called a “dieta” after all!

After the first couple of days many people will feel very low energy. This is not explainable by the decrease in food intake, as you will still be getting plenty of calories. It is a side effect of the work being done.

Frequently feeling dizzy when you stand up.

People will often go through some fairly large mood swings from day to day. Perhaps feeling euphoric one day, then waking up in despair the next. This is all normal and a sign of emotional energy being released.

Some may have a day of radical mood swings, where their emotions feel completely out of control. A few have said they felt like they were going crazy. Again, this is simply old emotional energy being released. You will be fine and there is nothing you need to do except allow yourself to feel the emotions as they pass through you. We have never seen this last more than one day.

Boredom. Most people live very busy lives and are accustomed to regular mental and physical stimulation. The enforced stillness can bring a sense of agitation, of not knowing what to do with yourself. If you simply observe the emotions you feel without trying to change them, you will find they eventually change. There is truly nothing you need to do to “fix it”. You may discover an ocean of peace inside yourself.

Benefits of a dieta

Those who do the dieta well can reasonably expect the following benefits. Results do vary, but the more strictly one adheres to the rules and the more time they spend in stillness, the better the results will be.

  • Deep physical, energetic and spiritual cleansing.
  • A clearer sense of self and greater self-confidence.
  • Actually liking and loving yourself, as you are!
  • Clarity of mind and sense of purpose.
  • Heightened intuition and trust of same.
  • Greater willpower to step into action in life and fulfil your commitments to yourself and others.

While on dieta you are allowed and encouraged to participate in all retreat activities. This includes meetings, plant and vapor baths, ayahuasca and san pedro ceremonies, and any other activity being held. All activities are optional, and if you choose to not participate in some activity and enhance your time in stillness, that will be honored.

Who should come for an Immersion Retreat?

These retreats are ideal for people who have long term, or severe conditions. The master plant dieta is often essential for healing of long term issues. The dieta and additional ceremonies of both ayahuasca and san pedro can be necessary to receive truly noticeable and lasting change. More time with the medicine allows for spiritual awakening and healing to occur on a deeper level.

We recommend the personalized ayahuasca retreat as the preferred option if you’ve been struggling with depression, anxiety or PTSD for more than seven years, or if your symptoms are relatively severe.

A immersion retreat is also intended for anyone who wants time working more intensively with ayahuasca, additional healing from an exceptional curandero, and receiving the spiritual and energetic benefits of a plant dieta.

Conditions Successfully Treated

  • PTSD - A large number of clients have been healed of PTSD originating from a variety of traumas including sexual abuse (both men and women), violent parents or partners, emotional abuse, racial persecution. We have also helped many combat veterans from different countries and wars. Note that there are levels of severity of PTSD, and the Hummingbird Center is NOT an appropriate place for those with severe symptoms of PTSD.
  • Fibro Myalgia - This client had been in almost constant pain for 5 years, taking hydrocodone, a powerful opioid pain killer most of those years. They showed up barely able to walk, addicted to their pain medication, and left 6 weeks later very mobile, not needing medication and just about completely pain free. Their withdrawal from hydrocodone lasted only 3 days.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) - Many people diagnosed with IBS and other digestive issues have left being able to eat what they want without any problems. There are a variety of plants that can help, but we often use leche caspi to treat these issues.
  • Anxiety and Depression - Not surprisingly, this is a common complaint of western clients coming to the Hummingbird. This has become a bit of a specialty for the Hummingbird Center, perhaps because of the owner Jim's own 30 year battle with it. We have successfully treated over 140 people with long term depression and anxiety. You will do a dieta with ajo sacha, the plant we have used for 100% of people with these issues. It works!

More Info About Our Immersion Retreats

Additional activities on personalized retreats include cleansing steam baths and/or vomitivos (purges using special plants to rid the body of toxins), as well as cleansing plant baths.

During your dieta you will also follow a very strict shamanic diet in order to facilitate healing. The specific plant dieted will be chosen by the shaman based on your condition and what you are looking to accomplish.

In addition to ayahuasca, you will also participate in several San Pedro ceremonies to further enhance the healing process. There will be a San Pedro ceremony on the 13th of the month between our regularly scheduled 12 day retreats.

Our shaman needs to time off, so there is not an option for an ayahuasca retreat in that gap. For those here spanning the end of the month, there are more days between our 12 day retreats and we will schedule ceremonies based on the needs of all that are here. Our shaman is also taken into consideration, as he needs his rest also!

Regular consultations will be scheduled for you with our shamans to discuss your healing and assess your progress, as well as guidance sessions with our counselor. This typically results in greater clarity about the issue you are addressing and deeper insights into your path to wellness. Following your consultations other treatments and/or plant medicines may also be recommended for you. Again, there is no extra charge for these as they form part of your healing program.

One of the rules of the dieta includes no chemicals on the body. This includes soap, deodorant, toothpaste, insect repellent, and sun screen. You may use natural plant based products, so consider bringing those with you.

While we can be flexible on starting dates for the 3 and 4 week programs, it is best if you begin your retreat the same day the 12 Day Retreat begins, arriving in Iquitos the day before to rest from your travels. If this schedule does not work for you, we will work out the arrival and departure dates on a case by case basis.

How do I get to the Hummingbird Center?

We’ll meet you at 10 AM at Las Terrazas, is a restaurant on the "Boulevard". There are a number of restaurants on the Boulevard which is a park fronting the river that’s a block away from the Plaza de Armas. From there you’ll be transported to the Hummingbird Center.

You’ll arrive at the ayahuasca center with enough time to get your room assigned, take some time out to relax and then have lunch. An orientation meeting will begin at 2 PM in the maloca, followed by a plant bath to prepare for your first ayahuasca ceremony.

We strongly recommend that you arrive in Iquitos the day before the program begins. This allows you to enter the healing journey well rested and relaxed.

Shifting Your Perception

Unique to our ayahuasca retreat are two talks about belief systems and our subconscious minds, and how to change the often unproductive programming we received as children. This is a detailed discussion of how our thoughts and beliefs influence not only our perception of life but also the body’s physiology.

We all have the ability to change our thinking. What we think and believe has a significant impact on our lives for better or for worse. Often we’re unaware that the pain and struggles we face are as a result of our thoughts and beliefs. Once we can identify the negative views we hold on to we can alter them to bring about positive changes in our lives.

As we change our perception of the world around us, we change our experience of life!

Focused on Healing

Throughout your retreat our expert facilitators will be available to help you understand your journeys and assist you in integrating your experience. They will provide coaching and guidance on how to navigate the process, recognizing that everyone's healing journey is unique.

Our focus is always on healing and we will encourage you to push your comfort zone and step into new productive behaviors and patterns of thinking about yourself and those around you.

On this program we encourage you to relax. Time alone to reflect and integrate your work with ayahuasca is an important part of the healing process. Journaling and the expression of your visions and creativity through art are also recommended and materials are provided for you.

On the mornings following ayahuasca ceremonies, circle meetings are held so you can discuss your experience with the shaman and facilitator and ask questions to get deeper insight into your journey. These meetings are an excellent place to learn more about how ayahuasca works, as everyone's journey is different and variety of explanations and teachings are offered in response.

Through other people's stories you will clearly see the incredible variety in how ayahuasca works and be encouraged to honor and value your own experience, to tell your story honestly without need for it to be like anyone else's.

Daily Schedule

Our Personalized retreats follow the daily schedule of our 12 Day Retreats. The primary difference is in dieta process. This schedule only list those items specific to the dieata.

Time Activity
Day 2
10:30 am Meeting with the curandero to talk about why you are here, how we can help, and to decide on which plant it would be best for you to diet to help you get what you are looking for.
Day 3
7:30 am Meet in the moloca to start your dieta process. There will be a refresher talk about how to get the most from your time in dieta with the selected master medicine plant
Day 4
7:30 am Drink the master medicine plant a second time.
Day 5
7:30 am Drink the master medicine plant a third time.
Day 11
7:30 am Curandero formally ends your dieta process after a total of 8 full days following the dieta rules.