Our Guests Stories & Blogs

We love to feature personal accounts from our guests about their personal journey.

You can find a candid account of a week at Gaia Tree here Carly Shankman – The Light Side of Ayahuasca

Reviews and Testimonials

More than 50 five-star reviews can be found on Retreat.Guru

The reviews below have been copied from retreat guru.

Thank you for referring me to Gaia Tree’s Ayahuasca Retreat, Andy.

I was at the end of my rope: depressed, isolated, immobilized, alcohol/drug abuse, and complete sense of hopelessness…stuck in a dark lonely hole. A hole that’s been getting deeper and deeper through the years…as i hid from life’s pain, disappointments, failures, physical/emotional traumas and spiritual exile. I hit rock bottom…i could no longer continue to dig deeper nor to live such pointless existence.

Ayahuasca was indeed the hardest and yet most rewarding process I have EVER undergone. Shamans Don Segundo and his lovely wife Belmira showed so much love and compassion, as they helped purge our demons. Claudia’s kind, gentle, and supportive presence was also key element through this challenging process. Lastly, the amazing group of participants and the Amazon jungle in Iquitos sealed the experience with love, kindness and bewilderment beauty.

I am truly grateful to have had this opportunity to heal in such a safe, warm and supportive environment. Even though I did not have visions or messages from Mother Ayahuasca (She gives/shows you what you need), I do feel lighter and happier…purged from toxins, negativity and traumas I  have been hauling around for a long time.

Grateful and appreciative to the Universe for such journey. I have been rescued from my dark hole…I am delighted to be alive and look forward to the continued trials and tribulations of Life (much lighter and without a dark cloud thundering over me).

Thank You

Carla, USA
I’m not kidding. I came back from this a changed person, a better person. At first, I was skeptical of the center and what ayahuasca will do to me because I’d read that it’s painfully transformative. At the point of my life where I needed more answers than questions, we all have those times…I took a leap of faith and flew to Peru all on my own. The facilitators Victoria and Susana picked me up with a van full of food and supplies as well as other participants who became good friends of mine. I felt supported and welcomed at the center, it’s not a 5 stars hotel but it was sufficient to keep us fed and safe during the ceremonies. I have to say this, if you are ready to let go of your past and see what it is that you need, it might not be pleasant or pretty but it is the truth and you have to be able to handle it. The Shamans, husband & wife will sing throughout the ceremonies and they come to each person for a customized song, sit up and take it in as they mean to help you open up, facilitate your energy. I recalled Victoria & Susana were the most attentive people of all, I wouldn’t have known what to do without them, they will be there whenever you need them during the ceremonies. We had one of the most memorable experience, filled with emotions & resolutions and much more that I cannot put them into words…all I can tell you is that bring yourself, a few essential things (bug sprays!!) and let it be. You will NOT regret it.
Alice H

First of all i am glad i chose to do aya ceremony in Peruvian amazon jungle and it is definitely a never before experience. I am glad i chose GAIA TREE as it was just an awesome retreat to be with. Having come alone to the retreat the love and effection the group ,facilitators and support staff showed is incredible , those are the best 8 days of my life. Shamans are incredible with amazing positive energy, facilitators (zuzzane and silvu) are best with so much of patience and love towards the group, Food is fantastic with amazing support staff and place is really nice. I am planning to do another retreat next year and it will be again in gaia tree if everything falls in place. Kudos to Victoria and team.

Sunil D

The journey within begins at Gaia Tree. The experience was AMAZING. I’m a person that is spiritual but love the nice things about me. At Gaia Tree, nothing was lost and everything gained. I can not say enough incredible things about this retreat. First, the staff was warm and friendly and very understanding. Second, everything provided was absolutely everything I really needed. I thought I would have a hard time adjusting to the place and boy was I wrong. I found I took to the place like a duck to water. Really didn’t miss my cell phone or the outside world. If you are looking for a journey into “YOU”. This is the absolute experience. I met loving caring people who I am proud to call my family. The accommodations and atmosphere were perfect. I wanted to get to know the real me and I found him. Thank you!! Finding the peace within was the true gift that Gaia Tree helped me find. I liked the simplicity of things this place offers and not classes and fillers that others places offer. If you are looking for a true spiritual awakening this is the only retreat to consider. Thank you, Victoria and staff.

Julian Georgeo
In one word – amazing.
In more- the best thing I did to myself.
Everything was so good. I came with a lot of fears and got out so strong.
The crew is lovely and each one is an angel.
Andy, the shamans (like mom and dad!! So warm) and Claudia that helps us a lot and her good words still running in my mind and making me happy.
Best place, I don’t have anything bad to say.
Gal, Israel

I’m grateful to Gaia Tree for providing me just what I was looking for, it was important for me to drink Ayahuasca in a safe and loving environment and I wanted to be immersed in the jungle away from the madness of the outside world.  And as an added bonus, I was hoping to connect with like minded folk from around the world and I surely wasn’t disappointed on any counts.  I arrived at the meeting place on that first day somewhat apprehensive, but very excited.  As it happened I shared a table with one of the retreat participants and a fellow Canadian, small world after all.   It wasn’t long before we as strangers of all ages became friends and a week later we departed company as a big global family uniting the world in love and god knows the world needs a whole lot more of that.

The staff were all awesome and willing to assist with anything needed.  Andy thank you for making this all happen, for your kindness, words of wisdom and sharing a taste of your poetry.  Claudia thank you for being you, a beautiful beacon of love and light with a big wide open heart.  Our shamans Don Segundo and Belmira were amazing in every way.  They are two of the most loving people I have ever had the pleasure to meet, they very quickly became the Mom and Dad figures in the family, the fact that I’m older than both of them didn’t seem to matter, nor did the language barrier.  I guess Love is the universal language for sure.  The first ceremony was somewhat brutal to say the least and it was Don Segundo and Belmira’s beautiful icaros that somehow made it all okay.  Mother Ayahuasca decided I was in need of physical healing whether I wanted it or not, I think I might’ve preferred traveling the far reaches of the galaxies but apparently we get what we need not necessarily what we want.  And because I was dealing in physical issues to further aid the cause Don Segundo boiled up a pot of jungle plants and with the help of Claudia made me a makeshift healing jungle sauna.  Segundo also gifted a bottle of medicine he’d made to take home with me and to date I am still taking it.  I have much gratitude for the guidance, comfort, and understanding they provided during ceremony and daily.

I’ve struggle to come up with words to describe my time at Gaia Tree and I believe that is just a shining example of how limiting words are, sometimes they just lack luster when it comes to describing life experiences.  It was an amazing week and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone (unless they are looking for 5 star accommodations).   I do intend on returning one day. Thanks again.

Nancy, Canada

This is the place for you who are looking for simplicity, silence and lots of space for body, mind and soul. Nothing that distracts you except your own mind 🙂 The people working there to create the best experience for you are generous, kind, full of laughter and very present. You feel very safe and very good taken care of and there is always someone to talk to and share your thoughts with. A very allowing and joyful atmosphere. The facilities are perhaps for some very primitive but for me that was just perfect; a lodge, a dry toilet is what you get and the torch is your light in the night. I loved it! No distractions such as electricity, swimmingpools, classes during day to participate in except for the daily group discussions – it’s all about YOU and your inner journey + the physical experiences being in the jungle. I am so grateful and I found new and wonderful friends. I also learned about some medicine plants and I will dive deeper into the medicine plants we have here in Finland – we have lots of them 🙂 Very inspiring! This journey has been such a revelation for me and I will visit Gaia Tree Center again some day, hopefully with friends or/and famliy members. I came to the center with an intention and after five ceremonies and spending time with wonderful people in a beautiful and magical environment, I went back home with a lighter heart, a cleansed body and a peaceful mind. I asked Pacha Mama to take away what I no longer needed and she did. Gracias! Gracias! Gracias! Lots of Love and Appreciation <3


I chose Gaiatree for to experience traditional ceremonies with icaros . The two shamans are very powerful. and the last ceremonies was beyond amazing Having days off allowed integration time and time to connect with other participants. I really value the respectful way ceremonies and circle time were conducted. Ceremonies were powerful really powerful. Sharing in circle time revealed the wisdom of the medicine….every persons journeys were uniquely what they needed. Food was delicious, prepared with love you could sense and taste. Simply the best way to journey into the healing world of ayahuasca that I can imagine. Much gratitude.

Bjorn E

I am SO glad I chose Gaiatree for my traditional healing ceremonies. Having two shamans gave us a balanced feminine/masculine energy mix and twice as long exposure to their powerful sound ceremonies. Since they are husband and wife their energies are infused with love. The simplicity of the tambo and grounds suited me, I love the deep nature connection and ‘roughing ‘ it. Our guides were caring, considerate, attentive and inclusive. I felt totally safe and protected. Having days off allowed integration time and time to connect with other participants. I really value the respectful way ceremonies and circle time were conducted. Ceremonies were powerful really powerful. Sharing in circle time revealed the wisdom of the medicine….every persons journeys were uniquely what they needed. Food was delicious, prepared with love you could sense and taste. Simply the best way to journey into the healing world of ayahuasca that I can imagine. Much gratitude.

Annie S
I went to Iquitos not really knowing what to expect despite the research I had done. My time at Gaia Tree was AMAZING! This was one decision I am truly proud to say I accomplished. Not many people can say they’ve done spiritual work in the Amazon with a shaman. The experience with the shaman and the facilitators was a truly eye opening experience that I won’t forget. It wasn’t always easy but the results were profound. Working with Ayhuasca may not be for everyone, but if she is calling to you I highly recommend going to Gaia Tree. I am a changed man for the better for having spent a week at Gaia!
Joe Jibreen