Reviewed by Redsunset22 6 months ago
I attended Pisatahua for the first time in April 2022. We started with 12 participants and ended with 11; one person left after the first ceremony, as planned. I had a good overall experience. I felt taken care of. I felt I had the support I needed. Everything was more or less what I expected from the retreat and being in a remote area of Bolivia, in the jungle. Wara was a great shaman and facilitator. Kevin and Paula, the volunteers, they were there for support, which was beneficial. In general, I suggest having more patience with time management- What is told and asked of you is not the time that things will start. I really liked that a value of this retreat center was to host small groups for this type of work versus the very large groups in other places. It was something I specifically was looking for in my research. And I appreciated having a female Shaman who I can relate to. She has many years of experience and she communicates guidance very well. Her English is good, but it’s definitely great when she has support from someone with more fluency. Erik, co-founder, did a good enough job answering inquiries and preparing me on what to expect. A recommendation: I suggest for people to come to Riberalta at least 2 days prior to the start date of the retreat if flying into Santa Cruz. In April 2022, Ecojet was the only airline flying to Riberalta from Santa Cruz. Amaszonas used to fly to Riberalta as well, but now Ecojet has a monopoly and you’re at their mercy. And they kind of operate like an Uber Pool; there is unreliability. I felt there was some lack of transparency and communication prior to arrival. We lost 2 days of our retreat because of how Ecojet handled matters coming from Santa Cruz. Example, 6 of us arrived to the retreat a day late. 3 people were already stranded in Trinidad, flight cancelled prior day, and then cancelled again, so they arrived the day after us. All of us started the retreat together, 2 days later. And we had to do our 2nd and 3rd ceremony back-to-back, even with reduced medicine, physiologically, at least, many of us had anxiety and trepidation. We were meant to have at least 1 day of rest between ceremonies, but keeping to the schedule, there had to be a back-to-back day. My particular experience with Ecojet: I had been at the airport very early, 1:30 am, so I got a chance to watch the weather, flights, delays, etc. before our afternoon departure. It was raining hard intermittently, there were delays, but no airline cancelled their flight. We were delayed several times before they finally said, our flight was cancelled. I went to the counter, inquired in English and Spanish, they told me, flight was cancelled. I inquired about another flight the next day and next steps, they said, the only flight the next day was fully booked and that’s it. They gave no other information. We were essentially stranded. No hotel, no information, not even when would be the next flight. It turned out that 6 of us from the retreat were at the airport. It wasn’t until the local Bolivians got angry and started screaming at the Ecojet reps that they then told us, there was another flight the next day and they would give us food & hotel accommodations. And have a taxi take us to & from the airport. Apparently, the way Ecojet was operating had been a normal routine for at least the past 2 years, justified by the pandemic. This is what locals told us: Flight cancelled. No explanation. Show up the next day and maybe get your flight. Luckily, I bought a Bolivian sim card at the airport, so I was in contact with Erik on WhatsApp. It was reassuring to have that contact despite the nonsense at the airport. I highly recommend getting a Sim card, 1st floor, kiosk in the middle, I think “Entel.” In general, April is the end of rainy season, but be prepared for the humidity. Every night, I went to sleep in moist sheets. Not something I’m used to, so definitely something that took time to acclimate to. Luckily, we got to do laundry 1x while there during our 12 days. And the mosquitos are vicious. A participant found relief when she wore rain gear, the mosquitos didn’t penetrate then. I got my visa on arrival in Santa Cruz, that took about 2 hours. When you arrive, for me, it was not clearly explained, but luckily Erik relayed before, you need to enter your hotel information & a picture of it at a site within 2 hours of arrival. And keep updating the site while you move around Bolivia. If you do not or Customs decides to target you for inquiry & you don’t have a good enough answer, you have to pay a $35 USD penalty or something like that. There is a tax for leaving Riberalta airport, I think 10 bolivianos. Pay at designated window. Fyi, when I wanted to book the Riberalta flight in Feb 2022, I wasn’t able to do it online. There is an online glitch for that area on Ecojet’s site. Erik had to buy physical tickets from the airport and send me the picture. I reimbursed him. Overall, I had a good experience at Pisatahua. I appreciate having the opportunity to do the work, when I did, with Wara and all. What matters most to me is feeling supported, taken care of, clear communication, & being in a small group. And I got that there. In the future, I would love to see the option of a retreat that had at least 2 days between ceremonies. I don’t feel one day is enough of rest & processing, especially when each ceremony and the work you will do is different. Some ceremonies could be more taxing than others on the body/person.