Journeying to Peru in Search of Ayahuasca Healing

Turner Blog, Destinations, Peru, South America

Are you willing to march into Hell for a heavenly cause? Because when you have hit rock bottom emotionally or physically, a trip to Hell doesn’t feel like any place you haven’t been before. Many people looking for ayahuasca healing are facing some version of their own Hell. Whether it is an illness, emotional trauma, or have never faced their own shadow before.

The next phase in my journey to unearth the ugliness hidden within my deep psyche was not exclusively Hell. If anything, defining it as ‘Hell’ only conjured up more resistance and Fear to that very thing I sought answers to. There was and is only one thing to do with Fear– I was to learn in the bowels of the Amazon: You must make friends with Fear. Only then will you realize that there is no Fear. It is only a mirage. An emotion that your ego made to protect you. Modern day evolution firsthand and it can be a bitch to confront.

But that comes later.

First I needed to find an Ayahuasca Healing Center in Peru.


Learning to Trust my Intuition, Again

My fortune cookie from the night before my flight…ominous

Three planes flights on my way into Peru’s Amazon and I wasn’t sure of where my ayahuasca journey would lead me. Hopefully somewhere with my kidneys intact. I used to follow my heart and intuition, but years of drowning myself with booze and taking pharmaceutical drugs had deadened me to my inner voice and sense of self. Going off the drugs and drink feels uneasy when you have been doing it long enough, but overtime, you start to feel normal again- if that is even a thing. Normal. Regardless, I did also feel some hope again with that normal, so I decided to take a gamble and just let go and trust in the ayahuasca journey. It felt like life was throwing me a bone. Or maybe life is constantly throwing us life rafts, but it is up to us to be open enough to receive the message?

Lake Malawi

The Sign Posts to the Peruvian Amazon in Africa

Six months before I was on a plane to Peru, I was backpacking in the small, African country of Malawi. One day sitting on the shores of Lake Malawi I happened to meet another traveler who was on his own spiritual journey of sorts. It is not uncommon to meet all types of characters while traveling, each with varying motives and their own personal ‘baggage’ for being on the road. This traveller’s story and vibe felt very different though. During the next few weeks around the lake, I would find him mediating for hours on end, completely unperturbed by anything. Cars honking, loud construction, and even my own direct talking to him – was met with silence and concentration when he was practicing mediation. When he ate food, he ate slowly with complete attention to the moment. When he walked, he walked slowly, each step with purpose and focus. Even the way he spoke, his calmness cut threw the air and created a feeling of stillness. I had never seen or felt anything like it.

And I wanted it.


“You know Turner, if you are interested in starting your own spiritual journey, you might want to look into Ayahuasca. I know of a place off the tourist trail in the Amazon surrounded by a boiling river. It is magical.”

I had met many travelers over the years that had dabbled with ayahuasca, but none in my eyes had a compelling after experience. More often than not, the traveler in question seemed run of the mill, spiritual backpacker who was more into getting the check mark of the experience rather than being on an actual quest for enlightenment and self truth. Who would have thought from self-obsessed, millennials?

Regardless, the point is, my only knowledge of ayahuasca before traveling to Peru was a bunch backpacker dipshits caught in the ayahuasca tourism trade. My new friend, however, spoke of a place in the Amazon surrounded by a boiling river, covered in mist, and with every ounce of life there ebbed a mystic encounter to another world.

It left an impression, but one that didn’t full resonate until my plane was touching down in Pucallpa Peru. And what was to be the start of actually feeling my intuition again.


The Journey into Find an Ayahuasca Healing Center In Peru: Mayantuyacu

car ride to ayahuasca center


A three hour car ride through deep mud followed by a boat ride led me to the edge of Mayantuyacu – an ayahuasca ‘healing center’ in the Peruvian jungle. My heart started to feel alive again when warm steam and mist hit my face as the boat turned down a small side stream. Disembarking, a one-hour hike later, drenched in sweat and I finally arrived.

Ayahuasca Healing Center ride

It was eerily quiet. I didn’t know you could even feel quiet. Stillness wasn’t a word in my vocabulary at the time. And even now, there is a certain level of uncomfortableness when things are silent. The need to clamor for your phone or anything else you can distract yourself is omnipresent, always – and you have to fight every urge in your body to stand in that dreadful emptiness.

Entering Mayantuyacu

While I stood at the center of Mayantuyacu, waiting to meet someone who looked like they knew where I should go, I knew I had found the right place. Part Avatar, part strange spiritual compound – this was indeed what I had been looking for. I had never been to anything spiritual or meditative before, but this seemed like the place one would go to enter another world. The warm mist in particular emitting from the boiling river really clinched it.

I was led to my new room where I would be staying for the next week/s – I still didn’t know how long I would be staying. The room was pretty shitty, but I like shitty. It seems more authentic to me. Many of the ayahuasca places online showcase fine Egyptian sheets and a dial in room service. That doesn’t seem like how one would travel to the underworld. My new room also was adjacent to another room, which boosted one of the longer-term guests who looked like he had spent too much time in the jungle. His long hair, gaunt look and serious stare told me right away this was not a man to be trifled with. He had probably seen an endless line of spiritual tourists and quickly sized me up.

Luckily for him – I looked like the bro-est of bros, so it didn’t take him long to see that I was a spiritual neophyte and one that probably couldn’t add a lot to the enlightenment conversation.

Moses: ‘You going to tonight’s [ayahuasca] ceremony?’

Me: ‘Oh, I didn’t realize there was one tonight. Yeah, I will’

Moses: ‘Wear white. Enjoy the ride’

And that was the end of my first conversation with my new housemate.

Brevity at its finest. But I was good with that. I was just taking in the uncomfortable stillness in the air and was ready to finally begin my journey to the other side.

To continue reading…Check out my next post – What is an Ayahuasca Ceremony Like?