Aya Healing Retreats

26-Day Ayahuasca Apprenticeship in Peru

Shipibo Ayahuasca Training

Are you ready to step into your truth? This 26-day initiation is a deep dive into the healing practices of the ancient Shipibo lineage through shamanic initiation.  Immerse yourself in the world of plant healing, while under direct guidance from a renowned Shaman of Peru.

You will undertake an intensive dieta, with one or more Master Plants (in isolation), and establish a life-long connection to the spirits dwelling in the plants. This plays a critical role in the shamanic practice of working with Ayahuasca.

Your 26-day journey will have very limited contact with other participants, only brief visits with teachers and facilitators. Learning the tradition has some facilitation through lectures, workshops, and sharing. However, periods of personal silence and self-reflection play a large role.

What Are The Requirements For An Ayahuasca Apprenticeship?

This shamanic apprenticeship in ayahuasca training is designed for those who have had previous experiences with dieting teacher plants or master plant dietas. At a minimum, students will have some knowledge and experience in working with plant spirits with integrity. Undergoing this dieta requires strict commitment to dietary and behavioral regimes.

Abstaining from certain foods and activities throughout the duration of the training is a powerful expression of dedication and commitment to change, evolution, and growth. The willingness to stay the course and sacrifice aethetics or visceral pleasure of the period of the dieta creates a connection with the plant spirit, allowing them to provide healing, guidance, protection, and strength.

Recently, psychedelics have gained traction and are achieving the status of ‘breakthrough therapies’ for their overall potential on human development. However, it is also commonly accepted that psychedelic expierences may create forms of escapism, evoke false memories, or bring up other underyling issues. This has caused psychedelic treatments to be labelled as a ‘double edged sword’, and as an apprentice you must strive to minimize potential harms and maximize healing and growth.

Which Master Plant Teacher Will You Work With?

Traditionally, a Master Plant dieta is prescribed to a student by the Maestro or Maestra. Though, it is possible an individual feels an innate connection to a particular Master Plant – perhaps in dreams or visions which manifest as an invitation. AYA Healing currently offers diets with Noya Rao, Bobinsana, Chiric Sanango, Ayahuma, Marusa, and Chullachaqui. If you are not familiar with them, you can read more on our site and feel what is calling to you.

Your main purpose during your ayahuasca apprenticeship is to form a lifelong relationship with the plant spirit. Like any relationship, the quality of the relationship will be determined by the energy one gives to the connection with the Plant Spirit. Sincere, authentic attention given to the plant throughout their fast will enable the dietero(a) to unlock guidance, information, and energy stored within the plant and to seek important answers that will aid them in their healing journey.

Once the length of the dietero(a)’s dieta has been fulfilled, spiritual protections will be sealed by their curandero or teacher in order to preserve the healing realized through the dieta.

Don Miguel with Pipe For Ayahuasca Apprenticeship

Training Program Contents

This ayahuasca training program will prepare you to dive into the world of plant medicine. You’ll learn the skills required to foster life long relationships with the spirits of the plants you choose to work with (or, choose to work with you). You will gain essential knowledge of the Shipibo tribe from renowned shaman Don Miguel.

We will walk you through every step in working with ayahuasca in ceremony, and how to apply a variety of plant medicines from purgative treatments, topical applications, cleanses, and plant baths.

Shipibo Curandero Wisdom

Dieta With Teacher Plants

Over the 26 days of the course, you will commit to one or more dietas with the following six plant teachers:

  • Ayahuma
  • Bobinsana
  • Chiric Sanango
  • Chullachaqui
  • Noya Rao
  • Marosa

We will guide you on how to create strong foundations for life long relationships with the plant spirits you have chosen to connect with. It is imperative for you to strictly adhere to the restrictions of the dieta, to show your dedication and enhance the teachings from the plant.

Your maestro Don Miguel will teach you a number of Icaros, or healing songs to be used before, during, and after ayahuasca cermonies. Each song has a specific healing energy which can be called upon for a number of benefits, depending on what is required by the maestro at that time. Icaros are of vital importance in creating a channel of communication for the plant spirits to guide us. 

After your training is complete, you will receive a file with the icaros you have learned on retreat, along with full translations to English. Learning Icaros is fundamental in an ayahuasca apprenticeship to create and maintain the connection to the spirit realm.

The Icaros you will learn are in the Shipibo language. To further your understanding of the messages in the songs, Don Miguel will provide some basic insight into the Shipibo language. Eventually, with enough practice you may be able to mold and modify certain icaros to fit a specific healing purpose in mind.

Experience the brewing process behind ayahuasca. Work with the plants to see the exact methods used to create the ayahuasca brew. You will enjoy the tangible and physical aspect of working wit the plants, but the hidden benefit is the deepening in connection one experiences when making your own ayahuasca.

As a student of ayahuasca, you will learn how to use the ceremonial pipe or mapacho with jungle tobacco for various aspects within the Shipibo healing tradition. Often, Don Miguel will invite students to carve a pipe made from their teacher plant.

Working In Ceremony

To properly open a ceremony, the shamans and participants must enter the spiritual plane, allowing a channel for plant spirits to enter and go to work. 

As ayahuasca is a very powerful brew, its effects at times must be raised or lowered, in order to facilitate the most impactful healing environment. In ayahuasca ceremonies, this is known as ‘Mareacion’, or a spanish term for drunkenness on ayahuasca. You’ll learn how to bring on the effects, level them off, or tone them down – when needed.

As a curandero, your primary role is creating and optimal environment to enable the plants to do the incredible deep healing they are capable of. At the end of this training, you’ll have many tools at your disposal to help strengthen each participants connection to the spirits, creating an environment for deep healing to occur.

Due to the intense potency of ayahuasca, individuals may experience a wide variety of reactions to the brew as part of their healing process. To help facilitate their healing, we can help those feeling overwhelmed return to a grounded state, get them back to trusting in the medicine and experience, so that they can continue to experience healing and growth.

After each ceremony, the space must be closed off to help participants return to the phyiscal plane more smoothly. At this time often an icaro is sung before a silent hour occurs before sleep.

Properly closing the entire retreat is also a critical aspect in integration. It is in our opinion that after the ceremony, the real work begins. It is time to take what you have learned and experience and apply it into the everyday. 

Application Of Plant Medicines

Plant and Vapor Baths

Plus Purgative Treatments, Poultices, Herbal Remedies, Natural Inhalants & More...

Diet During Apprenticeship

Whilst on retreat you will enjoy three superb meals per day, freshly prepared. On the days of our Ayahuasca ceremonies, you will restrict this to 2 meals, the last one is not to be eaten after 2pm. All meals are prepared with the best local ingredients and will be mostly vegetarian with the occasional river fish and organic chicken. Please let us know if you have special dietary needs.

All meals will be free from: Sugar, Oil, Salt, Pork, Alcohol, Red Meat

You will also be expected to refrain from communicating via phone, text, and email for the duration of the retreat.

Your Experience

What's Included In The Apprenticeship?

Your Experience

What's Included In The Apprenticeship?

The Dieta

  • 10 fully supervised curated Ayahuasca Ceremonies
  • 1 or more Master Plant Dietas
  • Personalized consultations and individualized plant medicine treatment from Don Miguel
  • Full Training Program


  • Breakfast Lunch Dinner (2-3 meals/day)
  • 26-Days accomodation in a private jungle Bungalow (a Tambo)
  • Washing and Laundering of clothing
  • Transportation from Iquitos (and back)


  • Purifying Flower and Vapour Baths by the Riverside
  • Mapacho use
  • Icaros (chanting) chosen specifically for each ceremony by the curandero
  • Guided Meditations


  • Private follow-up integration sessions via Skype
  • Access to private WhatsApp group
  • Post retreat support integration session

Training Program

  • Various Plant Treatments
  • Vomitivos (Purgative)
  • How to prepare a Vapor Bath and Plant Bath
  • Icaros, traditional chants and songs
  • Uses and applications of many Master Plants
  • Preparation of the Ayahuasca brew
  • Fascinating group lectures on the Shipibo’s traditions and Master Plants

Optional Activities

  • Guided hikes through the epic Amazon rainforest, learning about local plant and wildlife
  • Participate in art workshops led by a local visionary artist and bring back a beautiful piece of art tied to your healing journey.
  • Musical Instruments, Art Materials


Receive the deep healing you deserve

Nestled along the Amazon river lies the El Encanto De Chullachaqui, where you will find a tranquil setting which inspires change, facilitates healing, and will help you realize your full potential

Legendary Shipibo Healers, Caring Facilitators

Meet the team

Don Miguel

Elio Guesa

Words of Gratitude

This trip was a dream. It far exceeded my expectations. I felt so welcomed and comfortable, but it also challenged me in ways I didn’t even know could happen. 
Jessica Farrelli
I could describe this experience as life changing but that would not do it justice. It was a powerful, challenging, loving, and supportive spiritual experience. Every need was attended to in a beautiful environment.
Robert Cropper
The whole team is incredible. They are so supportive, understanding, and passionate. I have never felt so nurtured in my life. When you're in the experience they are always there, with love and open arms. I cannot recommend them enough.
Elio is an amazing leader! On point organisation and structure. He is well connected in the indigenous community and has a great understanding of the spiritual journeys and the psychology of us humans. Elio is highly likeable and someone you will trust from the beginning of your journey.
I want to express my gratitude to Elio, Don Miguel and Kristina. I had the most amazing healing and connections during my plant dieta with mother Bobinsana and Ayahuasca. The center is beautiful, pristine nature, perfect location, simple and comfortable, you are surrounded by magic all the time, butterflies, birds, trees, just divine perfection of Pachamama. The food was delicious, the whole family (staff) makes you feel so welcome, like you are at home. I have been through many other centers, but the Aya Healing Retreats is the best one I have ever experienced, it's really life changing. The support, the integration, the love and compassion that everyone has with you, it was wonderful. Maestro Don Miguel has an amazing heart, powerful healer and he brings all the magic into the ceremonies, so powerful. I am already planning my return next year and already recommend this center to many friends.
This was my first retreat. I am very comfortable in the jungle and was very excited to spend time in the Amazon. The location, facilitators, families, workers, plants and animals were all welcoming. I felt VERY safe and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to spend time on this beautiful Finca. Each night I slept well in our personal tambos/palapas that were provided. The food was also wonderful. I'm so glad I found this place. I will definitely come back soon.
Ayahuasca opened a door to a new world that I was scared to enter before. Ayahuasca is a teacher and a tool, once you have the knowledge it’s up to you to create your life and to put the teachings in action. This work is a wonderful ongoing process. Elio is very loving; a happy and balanced person. He radiates a very strong, positive energy that makes you feel completely comfortable. Helping others is his priority in life.
Mark S.
Photo of Woman from Ayahuasca Retreat
InTheMalocaAfterSwimming in Retrreat
Reading in the Amazon Jungle

Embark on your journey

Interested in flexible pricing options? Speak to our program coordinator today or email

26-Day Ayahuasca Apprenticeship

Maximum 8 Students Per Class
$ 4200
  • 26 Days Accomodation, 2-3 Meals Per Day
  • 10 Ayahuasca Ceremonies
  • Plant Baths, Icaros, Sacred Tobacco
  • World Class Safety Standards

Not hearing the call?

Check out your options

Not Included

  • Personal accommodation in Iquitos before/after the retreat
  • Your airfares
  • Your travel insurance
  • Your Peruvian visa (if necessary)
  • Personal expenses and meals in Iquitos before/after the retreat


Don Miguel

Shipibo Curandero

AKA Senen Yoi - 'Speaking the Truth'

Don Miguel was born into a Shipibo community called Roaboya on the River Ucayali. When Don Miguel was a child, Angel Sanchez Vargas, his grandfather was the community’s curandero. Vargas was an expert in sacred plant medicines and was frequently called upon to heal and share his spiritual wisdom with members of Roaboya. The school built some years later was named after Vargas and Roaboya went on to be recognised as the first indigenous community 114 years ago. Don Miguel grew up surrounded by the Shipibo wisdom and possess intimate knowledge of the sacred plant medicines. At a very young age he began his apprenticeship as a curandero through plant dietas under the supportive guidance of his grandfather. Miguel is also a trained literature professor and thoroughly enjoys teaching the Shipibo language and culture. Since 2012, Don Miguel has spent the bulk of his time leading lectures, workshops, initiation courses and retreats. Don Miguel will lead our Ayahuasca ceremonies, circle discussions and be available for personal consultations whilst on retreat.

Elio Geusa

Founder - Lead Facilitator

Elio Guesa

Elio Geusa is the founder of AYA Healing Retreats and is a qualified Social Worker with over thirteen years of experience working both on national and international humanitarian projects, supporting adults experiencing mental health and intellectual disabilities, and refugee populations throughout Asia, Europe, and Australia.

Elio believes that loving and inspired action can create meaningful change in the world.

Elio has been devoted to the path of plant medicine and Ayahuasca since 2009 and began an apprenticeship under the guidance of Maestro, Vegetalista Manaco Manai. In his long time in Peru, he has continued to deepen his knowledge, experience, and understanding of the workings of the sacred plant medicines, studying the Shipibo traditions under the revered Mahua family and has undertaken numerous Master Plant Dietas with well-respected curanderos in the Peruvian Amazon.

This immersion in the sacred plant medicines of the indigenous peoples of Peru enabled Elio to experience deep and profound healing. He has overcome crippling anxiety and anger as a result of traumatic childhood experiences and healing that trauma imprints that were not possible through the Western medical paradigm. His renewed sense of self-worth, love, compassion, and empathy for himself enables him to extend those same qualities to others.

Elio founded AYA Healing Retreats because he is convinced of the healing potentialities of sacred plant medicines. Not only does he hope to share the indigenous wisdom of the ancient traditions of the Indigenous people of the Amazon, but he also hopes to make a bigger difference by investing profits from AYA Healing Retreats into humanitarian projects that create a more compassionate world.

Improvements, Pricing Changes, and What’s On The Horizon For AYA Healing Retreats

While living mindfully in the present, we are always excited for the future and we have much in store for the coming year. Among other upgrades to better serve our guests, we will be:

  • adding new staff at the center that offer even better cleaning and laundry services
  • increasing the breadth and depth of training undertaken by our facilitators
  • offering more in-depth one-on-one preparation sessions to all of our guests, in addition to integration sessions
  • purchasing a Kangen machine for healthy, alkaline, antioxidant drinking water rich in minerals and purged of impurities.
  • purchasing additional medical equipment and continued medical training of staff for the safety of all, both here and in our community

Part of our improvement plans include raising our prices starting in 2024 to support our continuing efforts in improving everything that we do. With that said, we will always do our best to keep our prices attainable and within reach for as many people as possible, and we will also offer the possibility of discounts in a few different ways:

  • Earlybird discounts when you book your retreat in advance
  • Deep discounts for return attendees
  • Deep discounts for residents of Central and South America

We will continue to provide payment plans for all of our retreats, please contact us at to discuss options.

We are committed to prioritizing the quality of our retreats, giving you the most personalized and authentic experience possible, and caring for the health, safety, comfort and well-being of everyone who comes to AYA Healing Retreats.


What is a Master Plant Dieta?


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Our comprehensive screening questionnaire has been developed in partnership with the International Centre for Ethnobotanical Education, Research and Service (ICEERS). Please take your time to answer it as honestly and with as much detail as possible. This information will remain strictly confidential and will only be used to assess your suitability for a place on retreat with AYA Healing Retreats and keep you safe

Please remember that the purpose of this screening questionnaire is to determine whether plant medicine healing is suitable for you…not whether you are suitable for plant medicine healing. Plant medicines are tools, like any other healing modality and like other tools for healing experiencing them entails certain risks. We need to make sure that our plant medicines will not compromise your wellbeing or harm you in any way before we allow you to begin your healing journey with us. In short, we care about your safety and we need to do what we can to ensure that during your time with us you are not at risk of harm. Plant medicines can be dangerous if the plants are not the right fit for the individual. Your answers to this questionnaire will help us to determine whether the plants we intend to use are going to help, rather than harm you