Join us for a cultural and spiritual retreat in Junin, Peru on top of the Andes in July 15-28th – 2020.
Has Peru been calling you? Do you feel an urge to connect with the Incan spirit of the Andes? We have opportunities to join us as part of a once in a lifetime spiritual and cultural experience 4000m above sea-level in the sacred valley of San Jose de Quero – Junin; connect with the spirit of Pachamama, unleash your sacred feminine or masculine, take part in the ceremony of Pagapu to bless and energise our maca, join the pilgrimage to the sacred crater lake on the top of Huaytapallana (5000m) to connect with Apu – the spirit of the mountain, heal your body and mind with our empowering energy workshops, work on our maca farm during the harvest to connect with your food, practice or learn some Spanish, immerse yourself in the Incan culture, join the harvest festivities, learn about how your food is sourced and engage with the local community through our social responsibility program. Come with us to live and breath the simple farming lifestyle that has been part of the Incan civilisation for centuries.
Sound like your cup of tea? Then grab some of our maca, read what you are in store for below, watch our videos, click our link and sign up for a life changing experience. See you in Peru!!
Program for the July 2020 retreat
Tuesday 14th July
Learn about Peruvian plants and food
Morning – Meet and greet as a group for brunch at a cafe in Miraflores, Lima.
Midday – Workshop presentation by a local company Nua – that specialises in the production of essential oils from plants of the Peruvian jungle.
Afternoon – A guided tour of one of the oldest food markets in Lima. Learn about the different foods from the regions of Peru and their medicinal properties. Includes meeting a traditional herbalist and sampling lots of unique and exotic foods.
Wednesday 15th July
(Lima – Huancayo)
Ascend into the Andes and acclimatise
Travel by bus to Huancayo – 8 hours including one mountain pass of 4600m. Spend the night in Huancayo (3259m) acclimatising at provided hotel accommodation. Group dinner at local Peruvian restaurant. Free time to explore.
Thursday 16th July
(Huancayo – San Jose de Quero)
Travel to our retreat community
Morning – Free time to explore Huancayo and visit the local textiles vendors and markets.
Afternoon – Travel to San Jose de Quero (4000m) the location of our retreat. Be welcomed by our host family and enjoy a feast they prepare for our arrival.
Friday 17th July
(San Jose de Quero)
Initiation and connecting with Pachamama
With our Shaman we will take you through The ceremony of connection to Pachamama. A time to call to our ancestors, to give thanks and to unify with mother earth. We give thanks to the four elements, the four directions and become aware of our journey here. We take time to grieve for our sorrows and to create our intention for the retreat before giving via mama coca (the sacred plant) to Pachamama for it to be realised. In our circle we will share our stories and our blessings in order to cleanse ourselves from our previous lives and be present and connected for the remaining time in the Andes. Led by Shaman Claudia de la Fuente and Sally Huapaya.
Saturday 18th July
Sacred Feminine and Pagapu ceremony
Morning – Womens workshop led by Shaman Claudia de La Fuente and Sally Huapaya. Learn to connect with your uterus and your inner sacred feminine spirit. This is an ancient, native ceremony of empowerment and awakening for women, focusing on the energy of compassion and the primordial womb of life. In this sacred space we hold ourselves, others, and this planet in the depths of our compassion, where the nature of the divine reveals itself in moments of healing and awakening.
Afternoon – We commence the ceremony of El Pagapu – giving to Mother Earth (4200m). We commute to our fields of maca and create a ceremonial offering hole that is filled with gifts of intention. Each person is asked to partake in the preparation and the offering. The energy given to Mother Earth is provide our maca with healing medicine so we can in turn receive her blessing through her sacred plants. The ceremony concludes with music, song, dance and celebration of harvest.
Sunday 19th July
The maca harvest begins
Morning – We spend the day in the field experiencing life as an Incan farmer (4200m). Learning to harvest and select the maca roots. Equipment will be provided, however we ask you bring appropriate clothing and gardening or similar gloves.
Lunch is consumed in the fields with the locals, picnic-style to get a real appreciation for the daily activities of the community.
Afternoon – We clean the maca and prepare it for sun-drying. The whole experience is a chance to connect with your food and understand the incredibly difficult conditions in which maca is cultivated and prepared. You will never look at maca the same again.
Monday 20th July
Cultural Exchange – San Jose de Quero College
Morning – We spend the morning meeting the children of the local school. They will be putting on a cultural display to showcase their unique Incan culture. We share a presentation with them and also return the exchange with some uniquely Kiwi cultural songs, dance and traditions. Includes delivery of school supplies and handouts of prizes and gifts for the children.
Lunch is provided and shared with the teachers and parents of the school.
Afternoon – 3 Options
- Free time
- Teaching English – for those interested they can assist in taking an English class with the school. Also join us in the town square to play football and volleyball with the local kids.
- A guided tour of the Japata archeological site by the children of the school. The ancient site dates back 2000+ years and was a settlement that was built by the Huanca people (pre-Incan). It consists of circular stone house formations with impressive views over the neighbouring valley.
Tuesday 21st July
Traditional foods of Junin and Pachamanca Feast
Morning Workshop – We spend the morning learning about some of the 2000 varieties of potatoes indigenous to Peru. Included is a hands-on demonstration of how to make some traditional potato dishes and salsa using local indigenous herbs in a stone mortar. Following this we prepare an oven for a Pachamanca feast (cooked in the ground).
Afternoon – It takes 3 hours to prepare the oven and only 30 mins to cook the food. Our farmer and family work like a well oiled machine to stack, cover, cook, uncover and remove the food before preparing a buffet style feast. Includes different meats – chicken, pork, lamb, with potatoes, corn, beans, sweetbread, salsas and sauces made during our potato workshop. There are vegetarian and vegan options for those who request.
Wednesday 22nd July
Connecting with Maca
Morning Workshop – Connection with maca workshop. Informative workshop led by Sally Huapaya and Corin Storkey about maca including history, traditions, medicinal use, the colours, preparation and the science behind it.
Lunch – Cooking with maca. Learn different ways and techniques to prepare and eat maca following tradition and also some modern wholefood and raw recipes.
Evening – A Fire Pit Maca Ceremony with the preparation and consumption of a healing maca elixir. Join us to honor and respect la maca through elixir preparation and spiritual connection with her. Led by Sally Huapaya.
Thursday 23rd July
Pilgrimage to the sacred lake of Huaytapallana (5000m)
We follow the native people of the region as they festively hike to the sacred creator lake of Huaytapallana. Accompanied by musical instruments the locals sing and dance their way to the summit where they celebrate Apu – the sacred spirit of the mountain and one of the key 4 elements. They bring offerings and gifts to honour Apu in return for a prosperous harvest and Incan New Year. A physically challenging but incredibly rewarding experience to be a part of. Standing 5000m above sea level you can feel a true sense of achievement and celebrate the Ican New Year in the most special way. Good footwear is required as is suitable mountain clothing as temperatures can be highly variable.
Friday 24th July
Connecting with the locals
Morning – we travel to the local community of Chaquicocha to witness the weekly farmers market. Experience the bustling market atmosphere, buy some fruit or local crafts and sample some of the mountain cuisine from the street vendors. One very popular dish Caldo de Cordero, known locally as levantar muerto – literally translated as “broth that wakes the dead”, is a broth of sheep bones (traditionally the head) with meat vegetables and quinoa or rice. A local delicacy, are you brave enough to try it?
Late morning – midday – football game between the retreaters and the children of San Jose de Quero college. New Zealand vs Peru, our annual fixture during which the children usually demonstrate how unfit we all are at altitude and the advantages to growing up 4000m above sea level.
Afternoon – we visit 3 of our sponsored children from the community to spend time with them and their family and understand what life is like living 4000m up in the isolated Andes. Includes delivery of gifts and food boxes for each family. The afternoon concludes with a game of football or volleyball with the children of the community in the local town square.
Saturday 25th July
Festival of Santiago
Today we take part in the annual festival to celebrate the Patron Saint Santiago or Tayta Shanty. The whole community (including the local cattle) are dressed up in traditional costumes and head to the town square accompanied by a typical Huancayan orchestra. The day is an ancestral tradition of gratitude for the fertility of the land and environment, which includes animals. The idea is to celebrate and gain good health. In this region, Santiago is known as Taita Shanti; He has an Andean influence on the ritual of the brotherhood.
The party begins on July 24 and ends in the last week of August, when the hatacuy altar is adorned with flowers, ichu, mates of pumpkin with cornmeal, multicolored ribbons and coca leaves with the name of each cow and bull. There is an offering ceremony to nature where coca leaves and bottles of Santiago brandy are buried. The figure of the saint is identified as a protector of the community, of the farms, the territory, the animals: bulls, sheep, rams, cows and llamas. A truly special celebration and festival to be part of.
Sunday 26th July
Day of rest and relaxation
A day of relaxation in the tranquil town of San Jose de Quero. Lie in a hammock in the sun, read a book, enjoy some morning yoga and relax.
Optional excursion – for those who are interested we can organise a visit to a textile producer in Huancayo so you can browse and buy some unique handmade Peruvian textiles. Includes clothing, ponchos, blankets, table runners, table cloths, pillow and cushion covers and more…Alpaca, llama, baby llama and merino wool.
Monday 27th – Tuesday 28th July
(San Jose – Huancaya – Lima)
Wind our way into the untouched Andes
Monday 27th – We leave our retreat and head deep into the Andes via one of the most isolated roads in the world. Along our trip we stop at a Trucha farm (local fish) and many incredible viewing spots including a pass of 4600m overlooking white capped snowy mountains. Our journey passes through ancient ruins and winds down into a valley containing a small Spanish settlement called Huancaya and one of the most beautiful river settings in the world. Here we enjoy local mountain fish cooked by our hosts and an optional swim in one of the pristine rivers.
If you want to truly feel on top of the world and out of the way of civilisation it is a majestic and magical experience. We spend the night in Huancaya valley, surrounded by towering mountains (driving time 6-7 hours).
Tuesday 28th – We continue our journey down through the Andes, passing through many little colonial towns as we follow the river towards the coast where we eventually connect with the highway back to Lima, our final destination (driving time 6-7 hours).
As we reach Lima those who are interested are invited to join us for one last Peruvian banquet before we all part ways and head off in different directions.
Other important information
During your stay in San Jose de Quero you will be lodging at the house of our farmer and family. We have dorm style bed setups with one room for women (sleeps 6), one room for men (sleeps 5) and one room mixed (3 bunk setup – sleeps 6). Capacity – 17. All rooms are provided with heaters as temperatures can drop into the negatives overnight, but please also bring suitable clothing. There are many additional blankets available for those who require.
There is one fully functional toilet next to the house outside and one long-drop situated further away. We are hoping to be able to provide one functional shower with warm water by July 2020 and potentially an outdoor wood fire heated bath.
All meals and drinks are provided and cooked by our host family. Food is consumed in a marque style eating hall outdoors, next to the house (pictured). On days away from the house lunch will be bought and consumed picnic style by our host family. All dietary requirements can be catered for so please advise in advance if you have any food restrictions. Food is mainly traditional Peruvian soups, stews and Andean style cuisine.
We can organise any laundry to be done within a 1-2 day service by the local women for a small fee.
Average daily temperature in July: 15 – 20 degrees. Average temperature at night in July: -5 – 5 degrees.
Please bring suitable clothing for all weather conditions, we have experienced snow during July before and also rain despite it being the dry season. During the day in the sun it can get very warm but as soon as the sun goes down the temperature plummets. UV levels are extreme so please bring sunscreen for the day as the sun is intense due to the thin atmosphere.
It may take some time to adjust to the altitude as oxygen levels are approximately 40% lower than at sea-level. We allow 1 day in Huancayo to assist with acclimatisation, however, we recommend everybody take it easy the first few days as exertion can lead to altitude sickness. Symptoms tend to be worse at night after a day of exertion and may include headaches, fatigue, nausea, pain and dizziness. For severe cases of altitude sickness we have an oxygen tank and recommend a 30 minute treatment to assist. We also can supply altitude tablets, coca leaves and high-doses of black maca to alleviate symptoms.
What’s not included:
Join us in July 2020 for two weeks
Total cost for 13 nights – 14 days, including all meals, accommodation, transport and experiences listed above:
$999.99 Early bird special (Booked before March 31st)
$1499.99 Standard Price (Booked after March 31st)
Prices are in New Zealand dollars (NZD) and payable to Seleno Health via EFT in New Zealand. A 25% deposit is required to confirm your place with the remainder required before July 1st. Payment via instalments is possible if required. Limited spaces for a maximum 15 people, first come first served. Express your interest below to be put on our email list or to request a booking form to secure your spot.