A lot of people have a tendency to go on online forums and Facebook groups and share their opinion: “the pricing for Ayahuasca retreats is way too expensive”.
They expect cheap prices because the centers are located in South America, and everything is cheap there. They boldly state that Ayahuasca should be accessible to everyone and that the centers that charge too much are run by people that are trying to get rich and nothing more. Monetizing the medicine. Shame on them! I have heard people saying that Shamans should do their work for free in order to be pure like they did in the old days. These kind of remarks show a very naïve attitude to the modern world and what it really takes to run a retreat center and offer these healing experiences.
We think it’s important to explain more about what it takes to run a place like Pachamama center. We hope to give some more insight in why our prices are the way they are as we are trying to be as accessible as we possibly can. We work from the heart and not from the wallet, and everybody who visited us will tell you the same. And this is true for a lot of the centers in Peru.
We do strongly feel Ayahuasca should be accessible to everyone. She is sacred medicine and we strongly feel that everybody needs and deserves healing. That being said there are certain costs to be made to create a center and keep it running which play a big part in determining the price for a retreat. Just like in every other business. And yes, a retreat center is a business. This is not something we would like to deny. There is income and costs that need to be balanced and at the end everybody who puts their energy into the project deserves to make a living.
Starting a centre from scratch begins with acquiring land and building the needed facility’s like a Maloka, Kitchen, tambo’s, toilets & showers etc. This is a huge initial investment and off course this needs to be earned back and maintained. It also takes a lot of staff to run a retreat. Shamans, facilitators, managers, kitchen staff, guards and other workers all need to make a living working in the project. There is the costs of water, electricity, fuel, food and drink, transport, marketing, webdesign, advertising and much more.. You will be amazed how much of the price for a retreat is determined by covering simple costs that people would not think about when they tell themselves that these centers are way too expensive.
The important thing, in our opinion, is to look at the overall picture. To look at what a center is offering. How they are structured financially and what their goals are. Are they solely owned by westerners or is there true cooperation with the shamans and the sharing of profit? Are there projects being organized that benefit the surrounding community? You will see that a lot of centers work on a give and take basis of equality and that no exorbitant profits are being made by people who are only motivated by making money. Pachamama Temple is one of those centers. And we are very proud of that.
Can you find very cheap ceremony’s in Peru? Yes.. No doubt about that. Just walking on the street as a tourist people will offer you Ayahuasca ceremony’s in their house and tell you that they are a shaman. All the costs we mentioned earlier do not apply in this setting. But do you really know who you are trusting? Drinking Ayahuasca with strangers puts you in a very vulnerable position and you can easily be taken advantage of. Not everybody who serves ayahuasca has your best interest at heart. Sexual aggression, stealing or serious energetic damage happen more often than you think and hear off. Off course this strategy can also pay off, because there are also good local people out there who organize ceremony like this. But fact is that you are taking a risk and there are serious consequences involved.
A good retreat center, in our opinion, offers a safe and caring environment, a well thought through screening process for all their guests to minimize risks, loving and trustworthy shamans, experienced staff trained in emergency care to ensure western medical standards and good facilitation to guide you through your experiences. And all off this has a price.