In July 2015, Matt and I went to Peru. We have had so much going on since our return that it has taken me until now to finally get to around to writing this blog post with our photos! The trip was really amazing and we are so grateful to Ron ‘The Gringo Shaman’ Wheelock and Medardo for being a great hosts for part of our time in Iquitos. Peru was a really great adventure and we learned a lot during our time there.
Ron picked us up from the airport and we headed to his house. The streets of Iquitos are filled with these motor taxis (that drive like maniacs) and motorcycles with 3-4 people riding together! It was very different than the United States or Costa Rica, and we were so excited to be exploring Iquitos.
After spending a few hours at Ron’s humble but cozy home, we headed for ‘El Purguero’, his camp where he hosts ayahuasca workshops. We piled into his 4-wheel drive pick-up truck, Matt and I riding in back, and drove about 30 minutes out of Iquitos into the jungle.
His camp would be incredibly difficult to find if you didn’t know where you were going. We had to navigate through a series of rough and rocky dirty roads. His camp consists of a series of typical bungalows. We left our things in one structure and made up our beds for the evening. Once it got dark, we headed to his temple for the evening’s ceremony.
Although it doesn’t appear so in the photo, the temple was huge! By my estimation, it was large enough to fit 40 people comfortably. Fortunately for us, Ron was kind enough to perform an intimate ceremony for just Matt, myself, and 2 of his friends visiting from other parts of the world. Matt and I had a really great experience, and at the end of the night we made our way back to the bunks to sleep. In the morning, Matt and I were off to find a hostel for the next few days.
We stayed at a nice hostel right along the river front. We even splurged for the room with the river view for 2 of the nights (my birthday and our anniversary). We spent the next few days exploring downtown Iquitos.
On Sunday nights, right along the river front, there is a square parallel to many little shops and cafes that acts as a gathering spot for all types of people. There are children’s toys being sold, comedy acts being performed, vendors selling handmade jewelry, typical food carts and games.
Matt and I celebrated my birthday and our anniversary at a quirky little Texas-themed restaurant downtown. Being that I have family in Texas, it felt a little like home.
Ron had introduced us to a shaman friend of his, Medardo, who we are trying to bring to Costa Rica to be our resident shaman. Medardo was kind enough to invite us to his village to meet his family and hike to to see his own camp. The boat ride was an hour long but quite a beautiful ride.
Medardo’s village was set up the same fashion we had seen in many of the other villages outside of Iquitos. There were rows of housing structures facing each other with a dirt road and a sandy field area between where the local children played soccer. Everyone we encountered was friendly and the children ran up and hugged our legs.
After spending some time getting to know Medardo’s family, we started the hour long trek into the jungle to his camp. I thought Ron’s camp was hard to get to, but navigating to Medardo’s was much much more difficult. There were some trails for us to follow, but a lot of the terrain was slippery and muddy from recent rains. Matt’s flipflops broke about halfway in to the trip, and he had to finish the hike in and the whole way out barefoot!
To our surprise, Medardo’s wife had a wonderful dinner ready for us upon our return. We spent the evening eating in candle light, talking and playing games with his grandchildren. He and his family treated us so warmly and kindly and we are trying to assist him in the process of acquiring a visa to come to Costa Rica!
The following morning, we took a boat ride back into Iquitos and spent another few days relaxing and exploring downtown. We found some really amazing wall-art next to one of the parks in central Iquitos. The culture and heritage of Peru is very rich.
On our last day, we returned to Ron’s and got to see some of the process of making his ayahuasca brew. All the brew we use at New Life Ayahuasca is made by Ron in a process that takes up to 2 days. He is incredibly knowledgeable about all plants and has been making his own medicine for years.
He has ayahuasca growing all over his property! It was so incredible to see! Our last night, we returned to El Purguero with Ron for another ceremony. Ron is incredible, his Icaros is like nothing I’ve ever heard before. Matt and I both had very intense and powerful experiences. We felt a lot of healing, and I encountered a rainbow serpent for the first time. (It bit my head off!)
Overall, our trip was amazing and full of adventure. We are so grateful to Ron and Medardo for being so hospitable and opening their homes to us and introducing us to their families. We hope we can return to Peru again soon, and continue our journey of learning and discovery!!