10th to 22nd of November 2019
Plant Identification • Plant Knowledge • Herbal Medicine • Intuitive Plant Medicine • Ceremony • Dreamwork
Shamanic Journeys • Ancient Traditions • Healing
On this tour, you will discover the magic of this little jewel in South America. Although the smallest country of the continent (in a day you can travel from the mystic and vast Andes to the deep and lush Amazon forest and finish the day in the sunny and relaxing Pacific coast), Ecuador has the highest biodiversity per square meter in the world, boasting more than 20,000 species of plants, 25,000 species of trees and holds more species of mammals and amphibians per square metre than any other country on Earth. Ecuador is a county that has one of the strongest yet most diverse herbal traditions; with over 40 indigenous nations, each of them has their own unique knowledge of plant medicine.
Our journey will start in the Andes, in Quito where your pick up will be arranged at the airport. You will have some time to rest in a beautiful and charming boutique hotel surrounded by green landscapes and native plants. After some rest we’ll meet for the opening ceremony; set our intentions for the trip and discuss the activities for the week ahead. We will introduce you to intuitive work with plants and will guide you through a meditation to meet your Plant Ally, a powerful plant spirit that is going to guide you in your healing journey during the trip.
*The meeting will be at 5pm, so please try to plan your arrival to Quito accordingly.
On day 3 we will visit Otavalo, renowned for its beautiful artisanal market, this town is the perfect place to pick up souvenirs and gifts. Here we will immerse ourselves in the local community, meeting the skilled and colourful Quechua people.
After lunch, we will journey on to a very interesting healer community. An unassuming yet compelling little village where people come from all over Ecuador to get healed by the numerous Yachaks (wise person in Quechua) that reside there. We will meet the president of this one of a kind community and learn about his traditional ways and practices; the medicinal plants he uses, his work with stones and spirits of nature and perhaps hear a few stories and tales. He will also perform a sacred ceremony for our healing and well-being.
Before dinner, we will meet for a guided meditation to open the channel of communication with our plant ally.
Feeling refreshed after a relaxing night at the hotel, we will meet with some of the most interesting characters of the plant kingdom; mushrooms. You will be taught about medicinal mushrooms by the owners of a beautiful Mushroom Farm and distillery. You will also get to witness the sacred way in which they distill plants and get to make your very own essential oil from local Andean aromatic plants that will then join your plant ally in your growing medicine bag. After, a delicious and organic mushroom based lunch will be served.
In the afternoon, we will go deeper in the Andes to meet with a wise healer and Andean priest. He will take us to a sacred lagoon where he will tell us the legends his ancestors told of this sacred place and will share with us healing practices that are both simple and practical for our everyday lives back home. We will also learn about the concepts of the Andean Cosmo-vision that allows us to better understand the unique reciprocal relationship the Andean people have with the earth. By understanding that love is always a reciprocal relationship (love for people, nature, the planet) we can reassess our relationships and how we treat ourselves and the world around us.
Then, we will move onto a boutique hotel owned by an indigenous community that cultivates their own organic food (using ancient farming techniques) that will be served for breakfast lunch and dinner. The beautiful hotel is situated next to the breathtaking Peguche waterfall.
After an early breakfast, we will be visiting a healer at his ceremony center, where he will perform a traditional and ancestral healing ceremony. Each of you will receive a healing, starting with a clearing involving sacred plants and music instruments. The healing journey will then continue inside the Temazcal. This is a very gentle yet powerful way of receiving the medicine of plants, the elements & the earth. It's truly a multi-level & holistic experience.
Feeling rejuvenated, we will begin to prepare a Pachamanca, a traditional and ancient cooking technique. This culinary tradition dates back to the Inca Empire. Quechua for "earth oven" or "earth pot", Pachamanca specifically refers to the technique of cooking food underground with hot stones. While our food cooks, we will go and explore our host's medicinal garden, where he will tell us about the medicinal plants he grows and their properties.
After this very healthy and nourishing lunch, we will be visited by traditional midwives who will share with us their ancestral ways of assisting expectant mothers in the process of pregnancy and birth. They will tell us about the plants and techniques they use before, during and after labour.
After breakfast, we will journey on to the Amazon. This journey will present you with the opportunity to see one of the most beautiful volcanoes of Ecuador (weather permitting) among them the Cotopaxi and the Ilinazas. We will stop for lunch in Baños and will visit one of the biggest waterfalls in Ecuador. There, we will perform an old healing practice that involves the element of water. (Celtic ex voto).
After this healing ceremony, we will enjoy a scenic ride through the “Ruta de las Cascadas” (the waterfall route) on our way to Puyo, one of the main Amazonian cities of Ecuador. You will have some time to rest in a beautiful lodge. We will meet after dinner for an introduction on how to enter into a shamanic state of consciousness to go deeper in communication with your plant allies.
Day 7 you will get hands-on in herbalism and make your own medicines! We will go to a center dedicated to herbal medicine for a two-day in-depth workshop. From harvesting plants to distilling your own essential oils, you will take part in creating your very own medicinal preparations including tinctures, cough syrups and decoctions, whilst learning about the main Amazonian herbs for healing.
In the evening, before going back to the lodge, we will harvest medicinal plants for a herb infused healing bath which you will take the next morning.
We will start the day with a health diagnostic from the Shaman. Using a traditional Amazonian method, he will read your physical and psycho-spiritual health using an ethically raised chicken egg. This is going to be the starting point of your work with José.
In the afternoon, José and his son, Claudio, will take us to a secondary and primary growth forest so you can see, taste and experience different powerful, wild medicines. Their deep knowledge covers the physical and energetical benefits of each plant... Be ready to step into a magical dimension! We will also harvest plants that we will use for an energy clearing steam bath and learn about their properties. This is a very relaxing technique that will prepare you and put you in the mindset for the sacred ceremony that we will live in the evening.
After a light dinner, we will meet José again in the maloca for a powerful ceremony where he will sing to call spirits to perform a healing on each of you. This is a ceremony of spiritual purification where you will also receive “powers”/energy from the Shaman. This is a traditional way to receive protection, healing energy and good luck.
This morning will be dedicated to self-care. You will have some time to be with yourself, journal or go for a walk along the river. If you like, you could also enjoy this time to go on an exploration of the wonderful medicinal plant sections in the local market, where you will be able to discover traditional and powerful concoctions.
After lunch, we will walk to an ethnobotanical garden owned by an indigenous Shuar and incredible medicine woman, Teresa. While part of the group will be guided through the garden, learning about the numerous tribes of the Amazon and get familiar with the main medicinal plants they use, others will have a consultation with Teresa. She is able to give very detailed health diagnosis and can prepare customised plant medicines according to the condition, upon request. (Plant teas. extracts, preparations).
In the evening, after dinner, we will do some dream work and go a step further on how to invite plants into your dreams to work with their powerful energy and healing power in the dream realm.
Day two of the workshop; we will start early with a cleansing plant bath, using water infused with the energy of the moon, starts and medicinal plants, harvested the day before.
We will continue to prepare a herbal oil infusion with dried plant material to make salves, ointments, lotions, and creams for skin care.
After lunch, you will learn how to give and take herbal remedies for different ailments and illnesses and learn about the indigenous concepts of health and disease in the Amazon.
In the afternoon, we will leave behind the landscapes of the high Amazon to go a bit lower in the area of Tena. The ride through the Amazonian land will take us to our new lodge where we will meet with an immensely wise and knowledgeable Shaman of the Quichwa tradition. Around a campfire, in the maloca (sacred hut), he will tell us about his life and philosophy. Here you will have the opportunity to ask all the questions you've wanted to ask a Shaman!
(OPTIONAL: Should it call you, you will have the opportunity to experience the power plant of the Amazon and journey with the Shaman- This activity is optional and not included in the tour)
We will start the day with a traditional Amazonian tea ceremony. Most indigenous people of the Amazon traditionally gather around a cup of a very special tea, every day at dawn. It’s a time where all the family meet to discuss and interpret their dreams. We will share our dreams while José will help us interpret them. The plant used during this ceremony is known to give power and protection for the day ahead.
After breakfast, we will explore another forest until we arrive at an indigenous community. We will visit one of the oldest and biggest trees in the area and be taught by the Shaman how to connect with the energy and spirit of this sacred being.
After a delicious Amazonian lunch in the community, we will connect with a very powerful plant ally that we all know: Cacao. You will discover the tree and fruit and see how it is traditionally transformed into chocolate.
Free time in the evening to relax.
(OPTIONAL: Second ayahuasca ceremony - this activity is optional and not included in the tour)
After the intense, immersive experiences of the healing traditions of the Amazon, in the morning we will have our final egg diagnostic with José. This final diagnostic will give you the opportunity to see the evolution of all the physical, emotional and spiritual work you've done.
After lunch, we will go back into the jungle to visit an alchemist of essential oils. Rafael is the most amazingly creative essential oil distiller that we have ever come across- working on a completely experimental basis, he embodies the ‘mad scientist’ archetype. Rafael will welcome us in his forest laboratory where he takes refuge to extract the fragrant molecules of Amazonian plants distilling rare essential oils, using extremely pure and alive water from a nearby waterfall for distillation, creating the highest vibrational oils possible! And believe us, we have never smelled oils like his before! His approach is very sacred and shamanic. Before anything, he performs a ceremony to ask the spirit of the forest to show him the plants that want to be distilled and what purpose they serve or would like to fulfil.
He will guide us on a medicinal plant walk where he grows all his plant allies and will lead us to a sacred waterfall. He will also take us on a tour in his amazing open-air laboratory full of crystals, medicinal plant preparations (tincture, elixirs, etc.), PLENTY of bubbling concoctions, glass tubes and vials, the most incredible essential oils and powerful blends. Amongst them, beautiful attars made in a completely unique way- with Palo Santo oil infused with rare plants such as Datura flowers, or powerful Copal essences... he will also introduce you to some very special blends that take you on magic carpet rides- making for trippy and lucid dreaming.
Be ready to smell the most amazing and rare essential oils and experience different kinds of herbal preparations. Rafael is a total magician/alchemist who is able to capture the magic of plants in liquid form.
In the evening you will have some free time to relax before an early departure the next morning.
We will leave early after breakfast to slowly ascend back to the mountains. Following the road across the breathtaking landscape toward the Andes, we will reach our last stop where you will spend the day in the most beautiful hot springs of Ecuador; situated in a stunning environment surrounded by mountains.
The waters that are naturally warmed by the fire of the volcano, go through the earth to bless us with their rich minerals, while the steam transports the fragrances and healing energies of the powerful plant allies that grow all around. No activities are planned during this day other than enjoying the magic of this place. We will leave you all the time you need to relax and integrate all the experiences you’ve had throughout the trip.
In the evening, we will close our trip with a ceremony, inviting you to welcome all the changes that have occurred during our days together, express our gratitude to our plant allies that have walked this path of healing with us and prepare ourselves to go back to our daily lives.
Enjoy a morning of leisure before traveling back to Quito for your return flight home. Depart with renewed energy, clarity, and a profound sense of connection with nature and the realm of medicinal plants. You will be taking home enduring memories and new friendships that will last a lifetime.
***Please note the itinerary is subject to change. In the case that some activities are cancelled, they will be replaced with similar ones.
During this journey, you will connect with different healers from various native traditions who will not only teach you about herbal medicine but also their own unique and in-depth approach. We will travel in stunning landscapes to meet:
WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM THE TRIP?
An Andean priest who will teach you how to connect with the spirits of sacred lagoons and mountains; give offerings to those spirits as a sign of respect and to ask for healing.
An Andean 'Yachak' who will share with you his ancestral traditions; who channels spirits of nature in his ancient healing techniques, working with stones and spirits of the mountains.
A diagnosis from an indigenous wise herbalist that has inherited her knowledge from her female ancestors, who have passed down their wisdom from one generation to the next.
An Amazonian Shaman that will teach you secrets of the healing plants of the Amazon. We will stay with him for a few days experiencing different ceremonies, botanical walks and more.
Should it call you, you will have the opportunity to experience the power plant of the Amazon and journey with the Shaman.
A botanist who lives in the Amazon, growing different types of medicinal plants, who will guide you through his laboratory where he makes different types of herbal preparations and distils rare essential oils
A centre that works to spread medicinal plant knowledge throughout the Amazon, supports reforestation programs by planting native plants, distils organic native plants to produce essentials oils, and will teach you how to make different kinds of herbal preparations.
You will have the chance to connect with plant medicine on a deeper level and experience many different ways of using the healing power of varied green allies.
You will be guided during the trip in different kinds of experiences (meditations with plant allies, connecting with the spirit of a plant, communicating with a plant ally, and more).
• Myth, legend, folklore, and storytelling from different indigenous
• An understanding of different indigenous communities, their customs, and traditions, their different ways of healing and methods of connecting to plants and nature
• Medicinal plant knowledge
• How to make basic herbal preparations
• Learn about plants native to Ecuador
• Get inspired by how the people of the land use the plants around them and apply that knowledge to how you can use plants in your area
• How to connect with the energies of trees and plants
• How to have a deeper connection with Nature
• Techniques for opening intuition
• Intuitive techniques to work with plants
• Initiation to Shamanic Journeys
• How to work with spirit guides
• Dreamwork and analysis
•How to connect with your inner being and gain a deeper understanding of your true self
WHAT CAN I EXPECT TO LEARN?
Please arrive in Quito by the 6th of June before 5 pm. We will arrange pickups for you at the airport.
If you have made the decision to arrive in Ecuador a few days before the trip to get yourselves used to the climate and time difference, please note that free transfer are only from the airport to the meeting point.
Meals from the dinner on the first
night to breakfast on the last day
All the plant workshops and meetings
with the healers/Shamans
All the activities specified in the itinerary
Transfer to and from the Quito Airport
Travel with two English and Spanish speaking herbal enthusiasts
Plant ally pouch
A travel kit that will be given to you on the trip
TOUR DOES NOT INCLUDE
Airfare to and from Quito, Ecuador
Cancellation & Medical Insurance
Any Medicines or herbal preparations
you may wish to buy
Ayahuasca (should you wish to take it) This will be a supplement of $20 per ceremony to be paid directly to the Shaman.
Meals and drinks not specified
The cost to obtain a valid passport and Visa (if needed)
Any items of a personal nature such as laundry, drinks and telephone calls
Any item that is not specifically detailed on our website or in the final retreat itinerary
Single room supplement: not available for this trip.
Upon payment please ensure to send a copy of your passport, signature and proof of travel insurance via email to sacrednature(at)gmx.com
* Possibility that some guests may have to triple up in some hotels.
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WHERE YOU'LL STAY
Located in a quiet suburb outside of Quito (and only a 10 minute drive from the airport!) This hotel is the perfect landing pad for your arrival. Comfortable and peaceful, you can relax in the pool or enjoy a walk in nature the day of your arrival. The luxurious rooms have views of the lake or garden, the perfect spot for
resting before the week ahead!
This beautiful, traditional hotel is owned by an indigenous community with a fantastic organic restaurant. The community cultivate their own organic food, using ancestral farming techniques.
The charming character of the house is traditional Andean style and proudly displays the cultural patrimony of the indigenous communities located in the Ecuadorian Andes.
The hotel features rooms with views of the Andes and the Valley of Dawn. Within a protected area, guests can experience close contact with nature. (The impressive Peguche waterfall, originating from San Pablo Lake, crosses communal areas of the hotel.)
The gorgeous view of the valley of Otavalo, the Andean mountains, along with the charming design of the house brings you into a magical world.
Located on the banks of a river, this hotel offers a space for rest and relaxation in a natural environment
surrounded by lush vegetation, typical of the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Hidden in the Ecuadorian jungle and overlooking the Napo river, this hotel offers stylish bungalows with amazing views and an outdoor pool.
Situated within the jungle, bungalows at the lodge are built out of local wood and designed with jungle art. They feature a seating area and the large doors can be opened to provide panoramic jungle views.
During our stay, we will go on a hike in the forest to visit a near-by Quechua community
***Please note hotels are subject to change.
Featuring a spa and hot spring baths, this breathtaking hotel is the perfect place to wind down after our time together, to relax and integrate all that we have experienced. The hotel and springs are located in the Andean highlands, in a unique natural environment, nestled between a volcanic complex that has had volcanic activity for over 3 million years.
The hot springs that feed the thermal waters arise from deep geological layers. The water goes through volcanic fissures and up to the surface, carrying an abundance of minerals from deep in the earth- containing a myriad of healing benefits.
Relax and unwind in the natural volcanic baths, completely surrounded by the native flora and majestic mountains of the Andes.
WHAT TO BRING
***Please consider using a non DEET repellent. DEET repellents do not only cause harm to ourselves, but are also harmful to the environment around us. There are plenty of good natural bug sprays around- that work well and are much better for our health!
And some other things...
• Re-usable water bottle
If, like us, you want to avoid single-use plastics, bring your own reusable water bottle, this comes in super handy on the plane (you can ditch the plastic cups!) and will come in super handy throughout the trip as you can regularly ask the hotels to refill your water bottle with purified water.
• Night - time earplugs
If you’re a light sleeper you may want to consider using earplugs. We’ll be surrounded mostly by nature- but nature can be pretty loud sometimes! We love the sounds of the jungle, but for those of you who wake up easily- perhaps its best to sleep in silence!