We are located in the valley of Paute, 2100 meters (6,900 feet) above the sea level, in the Andean mountain range. This is a beautiful and fertile valley with an incredible landscape surrounded by forests and fruit orchards, and is considered one of the best fruit orchards in the south of Ecuador. Its weather is warm and subtropical, with no cold winds that are typical of the Ecuadorian mountains. Most of the year the weather is mild and very nice.
Ayni is located in this valley with beautiful colonial style houses, exuberant gardens and spaces that invite you to meditate. There are several patrimonial houses that were built in 1557. These houses were built in a very traditional manner and the walls are one meter wide, with wood finishes and roof tiles made of clay. They have a lot of history and have been used as a place for spiritual retreats by different philosophical schools over the past 20 years.
How do you get here?
Ayni is in the area of Zhumir in the beautiful valley of Paute, located 35km from Cuenca city. About 35 to 40 minutes by car. Cuenca is the third most important city in Ecuador and it was declared by UNESCO as a world heritage centre in 1999. This is a magic, antique, charming city that is welcoming to its visitors with tasty gastronomy, beautiful landscapes, art and culture. It’s because of that, that for many years it has been declared in numerous international magazines as the number one destination for retirement. It has also been awarded, on many occasions, as the number one place for short vacations in south America. Cuenca is an amalgam made of people from different cultures, nationalities and religion.
How to get here from your country?
The trip from your place of origin must be done to the destination city of Quito (our capital) or the city of Guayaquil. We recommend flying into Quito and then taking another short flight (50 minutes) to Cuenca. If you fly into Guayaquil, you will then need to take a 4 hour bus ride to Cuenca. The bus from Quito to Cuenca is about 8 hours. We pick you up from the Cuenca airport to bring you to Ayni.
If you decide to travel by land, once you embark in your trip you will start enjoying the magic that our landscape offers. Traveling from Guayaquil means that you will arrive at the coast of our country and then cross over to the mountains with an approximate distance of 240km between cities. You will go through various climates in which you will experience the shift in temperatures. You will also observe the gradual change in the exuberant vegetation along the roads that will take you to our city. You can witness our native architecture while the bus escalates the majestic mountains of the Andes. At one point you will reach 4000 meters (about 13,000 feet) above the sea level in a place called: El Cajas. This is an incredible place with a very distinct landscape that harbors around 300 lakes and wild life. From there on you descend into the amazing city of Cuenca that is at 2560 meters (8400 feet) above the sea level.
Why come to Ecuador for Ayahuasca?
We believe that to live the spiritual, personal, intimate, magical and changing experience that is the Ayahuasca or the San Pedro ritual, one should not be at risk of anything happening to their wellbeing. Trips to the Amazon, in Ecuador, Peru or Brazil might take hours on buses that go through bad roads or use small boats that are not secure. The weather can be extreme with terrible humidity typical of the Amazon. Also the insects that inhabit this kind of climate, specifically mosquitoes, can be quite a nuisance. All this suffering to arrive to improvised centers without the commodity or security is not needed. In case of an emergency you might need hours to get to a health center to give you safe and timely attention. We have a hospital close by in the event of any emergencies.
The ritual of Ayahuasca is allowed in Ecuador since it’s part of our customs and ancestral medicine of our aboriginal people. They have used and revered the Ayahuasca for thousands of years. All the ceremonies, activities, alternative therapies (optional) and lectures that are included in our retreat have been carefully selected and planned to guide each one of our participants. This is done to help them achieve positive change, spiritual awakening, and interior balance that will help them accept, heal and get free from all kinds of traumatic experiences, even addictions. In our center, we strive to do all this with the highest level of care and integrity because the ideal of changing the world consciousness is our passion. We do it with the utmost respect to the traditional ancestral values and without compromising our guest’s security.
The weather at Ayni is very comfortable and it is not extremely cold, nor hot. It is a warm weather without mosquitoes. We have large spaces for reading, green areas, gardens full of trees, flowers, and hammocks. There is a small pond that you can enjoy and even swim in it if you are in the mood. All these spaces invite to you to relax and will make your stay with us a relaxing and comfortable experience.
At Ayni, we make sure that our place fits the standards for cleanliness, harmony and security. We also offer vegan and vegetarian menus. Above all our place is dedicated to change and heal hearts so this is the reason why it’s free of noise, alcohol and drugs.
The buildings are centuries old (Built in 1557, made traditionally) with wide walls made of mud. They have large, comfortable rooms, nicely and simply decorated. They can be single or shared rooms. They all have hot water and room service is offered daily. There is wifi available in the reception center. This is only done with sole purpose of making you disconnect from technology, work, daily routine and to make the best out of this experience and spiritual transformation.