Peru’s rich cultural history includes spiritual and shamanistic healing traditions that go back thousands of years. Peru continues to offer many fascinating ways to attain harmony of mind and body. Take a look at these luxury spa retreats from guest writer Andrew Kolasinski.

Some uniquely Peruvian healing traditions involve the use of narcotic substances that are illegal in most other countries. Coco leaves, the base ingredient to make cocaine, are used as a mild stimulant, drunk as a tea or applied to the skin as a refresher. Coco leaves also are used to alleviate altitude sickness in Peru’s high Andes. Another herbal drug called Ayahuasca is a powerful hallucinogenic made from a mixture of plants including an Amazonian jungle vine. Ayahuasca is used by Peruvian shaman in the treatment of mental and emotional disorders. It is effective in treating addictions, improving awareness and gaining insights.

Most Peruvian spas offer more conventional treatments, however the ancient shamanistic methods are often a big influence. Some unique treatments include aromatherapy using ancient herbal concoctions, and indigenous massage.

Below are a few of Peru’s exceptional retreats for pampering and healing the body, the mind and the soul.

HOTEL SOL Y LUNA is in the Sacred Valley near Urubamba. Spa treatments include Yoga, Tai Chi, sun and moon (simultaneous facial and Reflexology), deep cleansing and exfoliation, fitness gym, Jacuzzi and sauna. The resort also has a stable of Peruvian purebred horses. Along with trail rides, mountain biking, kayaking, cultural and gastronomic tours, you can go hang gliding with the Swiss-French owners who are certified instructors. Accommodation is in 28 luxurious circular cabins on a vast garden-like property.

THE AMAZON MEDICAL SPA – TAKI MUSHKI in the Amazon city Pecullpa in the Ucayali region provides medicines and curative natural diets from the Amazon jungle to treat all types of physical and spiritual illnesses. The spa conducts Ayahuasca Sky ceremonial treatments to discover your inner world. “Through the plant teacher Ayahuasca Sky we can find the solution to your problems and how to cure diseases,” promises the spa’s Ayahuasquero, Luis Rombero. Master, Luis Rombero has dedicated 40 years to the study of natural medicines. The spa also offers floral baths to soothe stress and depression for men, women and children. Accommodation and meals are available.

The AYAHUASCO CAMARANTI LODGE AND SPA is in the Amazon rainforest near Iquitos. Along with its shamanistic services the lodge offers wildlife and cultural excursion. The small lodge/spa accommodates only a few guests in three rustic bungalows. The area is noted for its unique Varillal ecology rich in birdlife, including the rare Iquitos Gnatcatcher.

WILLKA T’IKA GARDEN GUESTHOUSE is a beautiful facility in the Sacred Valley near Machu Picchu. It offers a range of indigenous shamanistic treatments and healing ceremonies. All staff members are Native Quechoa people. Ayahuasca ceremonies are conducted by a professional Ayahuasquero in special temples and sanctuaries. The guides are skilled in the use of other Inka healing medicinal plants that are grown in the garden. Andean musicians perform during a ceremonial Dance to Energize Your Chakras, led by a spiritually attuned dancer to put you in touch with higher vibrations. Herbalists lead classes, local artists teach art workshops, and chefs demonstrate the preparation of traditional Quchoa meals. In addition Willka T’ika offers Yoga and meditation workshops and instruction. Guest rooms are adorned with Native artwork and are constructed of locally sourced sustainable building materials.

Andrew Kolasinski is a Canada-based travel writer who travels frequently to Central and South America. He writes on behalf of Aracari Luxury Peru, a specialist in hand-tailored luxury Peru tours.

Andrew Kolasinski is a Canada-based travel writer who travels frequently to Central and South America. He writes on behalf of Aracari Luxury Peru, a specialist in hand-tailored luxury Peru tours.