Shamans & Curanderos

Skilled and experienced plant medicine facilitators are ready to journey with you

Shamans and Curanderos

At the Rainforest Healing Center, we are fortunate to work with some of the area’s most powerful shamans and curanderos. The shamans we work with are highly valued and active in their communities when they are not with us healing guests they are in their remote villages doing more ‘dietas’ to strengthen their abilities. 

Shamanic Initiation

Becoming a Shaman, according to the indigenous of the Amazon, is something the Creator bestows upon you. To run away or ignore the calling only brings hardship into your life until you acquiesce. Not everyone is gifted or blessed with the clarity, purity, or strength to handle the responsibility and power Shamanism requires, and it requires consistent work, dedication and humility.

Working With a Shaman

Shamans (also known and referred to as ‘curanderos’) are human like the rest of us. They are not magical beings, but rather individuals in tune with the natural rhythms and imperceptible vibrations of life. They call on their deep wells of wisdom from journeying with their plant allies and guides to help call forth healing energies to aide their patients.

Holding the roll of shaman or curandero takes great responsibility. They must know how to identify, harvest, prepare, administer and hold space for the plant medicines they work with. We only work with shamans that have a long track record of professionalism and dedication to their craft.

Olinda and Estaban - Paoyan, Pucallpa

Olinda and Estaban - Paoyan, Pucallpa

Permanent Shamans


Esteban also grew up and spent most of his life in a very remote community in the middle of the Amazon. He started walking with a sacred medicine with this grandfather, Olivero Garcia Shanen who was a respected healer in his community. With his grandfather, Esteban learned with sacred rituals of ayahuasca. At 17, he was initiated to conduct ceremonies jointly with his grandfather. At 24, his grandfather died and Esteban became the official ‘curandero’ or healer of his community

Esteban has done various rigorous Master Plant Diets; Chiric Sanango, Bobinsana, Huayruro, Kamalonga, Uchu Sanango, Chuchuhuasi, Remo Caspi, Ayahuma, Ajo Sacha, Huara Caspi, Pinion Colorado, and the legendary master tree Nihue Rao.



Olinda grew up in the remote jungle and was introduced into the world of medicinal plants at a very early age, due to the fact that her mother was the ‘curandera’ healer of their community. Olinda has vast memories of people seeking her mother to cure ailments ranging from snake bites to cancer. When Olinda turned 16 years old her mother instead that she would need to pass all the information from their lineage so that Olindo would be able to continue to heal the family and the community. When Olinda was 35 years old, her mother passed away.


She decided to continue the family tradition and to do that she started to do some intense Master Plant Diets; Chiric Sanango, Bobinsana, Pinion Negro, Ajo Sacha, Chullachaqui Caspi, Remo Caspi, Palo Sangre, Punga, Capriona, Tortuga.


Don Joel Paredes - Rioja, Tarapoto

Don Joel Paredes - Rioja, Tarapoto

Elder Shaman

Don Joel has been living and working with the plants of the rainforest outside of Iquitos for over 40 years. He is the Shaman and guide for the community of El Huambé, where he spends most of the year. He first learned the wisdom of the plants through his mother, who was a powerful vegetalista (a healer that works only with plants, not ayahuasca). His mother taught him and his sister, who is another well known curandera, residing in Tarapoto.

After many years of working with the plants of the jungle and dieting various master plants in isolation, Don Joel was called by ayahuasca. In addition to 40 years of experience as a vegetalisto and ayahuasquero, Don Joel has over 15 years of experience working exclusively with Westerners, many of whom are drinking ayahuasca for the first time.

You might see Don Joel for your ayahuasca retreat or master plant dieta, but don’t be surprised if he goes missing– he is known to disappear into the jungle for periods of time searching for just the right medicine! Don Joel is known and respected as a true medico and we are honored to work with him.

don joel making ayahuasca medicine at Rainforest Healing Center
don joel carrying ayahuasca medicine with guest at Rainforest Healing Center

Ayahuasca Retreats Designed For Healing