See how this Coacachi spa shamana can help you in the photos below.
Plus see how I became a guinea pig as the Amazon came to this Cotacachi spa.
Who would think that a small, remote Andean village like Cotacachi would have a Relais and Chateaux spa?
Yet it does.
Cotacachi’s La Mirage was the first place Merri and I enjoyed when we visited
Imbabura Province. It is more than a little responsible for our being here now.
13 years ago I wrote this about my first trip to Ecuador.
“Quito is where our adventure began as we were ‘turistas’ who rode north far into the Andes . We headed north for the world famous Indian markets of Otavalo and the leather village of Cotacachi just beyond.
“The road we traveled was the Pan American Highway. Grey mists rose and obscured a green valley below. Snow capped mountains lurked in the distance. Tiny villages were nestled along sharp ridgelines on the horizon. The scenery had an austere beauty at this altitude.
“Cotacachi Spa Magic.
“At lunch, we discovered La Mirage Garden Spa. We had been given the name of another hacienda to check out for lunch but our driver ignored our instructions and took us to La Mirage. Perhaps this was because he knew that La Mirage was better.
“Whatever the case, we are eternally grateful. We loved this 22 room hotel which sits on ten lush gardened surrounded by breathtaking Andean views. The hacienda restaurant was not expensive, yet absolutely first class. Just stepping onto the property, we felt wonderful.”
So for 13 years we have had a love affair with Cotacachi’s magical Relais & Chateaux rated garden hotel, restaurant and spa.
Each room is a separate suite filled with antiques and with its own fireplace. Each is hidden and tucked into the gardens.
Even though we own our own hotel we send many of our guests to stay there.
We try to send all out guests to use the La Mirage Cotacachi spa.
Over all these years Merri and I have become friends with the owners … and this as led so … to my becoming the Cotacachi spa guinea pig.
One of the owners at the hotel … Jorge Espinosa is a very accomplished and talented architect. He is as surprising as the spa is amazing.
Every time one thinks that nothing more could possibly be done to make the spa better, Jorge comes up with some new Cotacachi spa delight.
What is more he builds a room just for the new treatment!
Jorge has learned how to make the spa increasingly wonderful. He also knows that my tastes are similar to the many guests we send.
Who could be better than to try out each new spa treatment first?
After all, someone has to do the job.
Thus I was able to report to you when this Cotacachi spa created a chocolate massage.
I was right there checking things out for you when the spa added the wine massage as well.
Now I am happy to report the introduction of the Amazon massage.
Here is how La Mirage describes this treatment:
“Cofan Spiritual Ritual of the Amazon
“Inspired by the Indigenous Inhabitants of Ecuador’s Amazon and their use of native plants of the rain forest.
“The sounds and smells are combined in such a way that at the end of the ritual your body and spirit are in harmony and ready to experience this ritual of life.
“First you enjoy a tub infused with guayusa and ishpingo leaves, both plants found only in the Amazon.
“These essences are known by the Amazon people for their stimulating qualities. They are used in their rituals to heal the inner organs.
“In addition the ritual adds mineral salts, lemon grass and essential oils.
“The body is exfoliated with the guayusa and ishpingo leaves while in the tub.
“Then you are given a 50 minute full body massage using more special oils and techniques with various sizes of bamboo sticks. This 90 minute treatment costs $65.”
“The soak and massage are performed in a chamber especially designed to enhance the spirit and sound of the Amazon,”
What a chamber it is … you step from the tub directly into a cave – hidden – deep – in – the – rain – forest atmosphere. The room, from the huge Amazonian carpet hung in a wondrous frame to the drooping vines and bamboo has a vague moodiness. You really do feel Amazonized … forest lost … surrounded in gold tinted warmth … camp fired in a deep mysterious woods.
I hope these photos share at least part of the secret – cave – in – the jungle feel I felt, warm, oiled, hidden and secure.
Enter into … the Amazon.
Here is the carpet.
Last week I visited this room and had the massage.
The massage therapist awaits you for an immersion in the sacred plant oils … guayusa and ishpingo.
Guayusa, native to the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest, is in the holly family, related to Yerba Mate and Yaupon Holly. The leaves have the highest caffeine content of any known plant. When immersed, in addition to the stimulating effects on the skin, the essence enhances dream recall.
Ishpingo is the Quichua word for a type of native Ecuadorian Cinnamon tree found only in a small region of Amazonian Ecuador. The oil is an anti oxidant with antibacterial and antifungal activity.
The oils from these plants blend in the hot water to create a buttery, waxy feel…the aroma being akin to exotic cinnamon and spearmint … a delight that prepares and transports you into the deep forest feel.
The oils create a stimulation … dream like quality, while they cleanse the body and skin.
Then it’s time to enter your inner sanctum … the massage room.
The massage comes in two parts, beginning with the head and face while wrapped in heat … the Amazon sweat!
Then comes the full body massage given with Bamboo rollers, sacred music of the Andes and a crackling fire.
I am now one of the very few people qualified to answer this question, “What is it like to have oiled bamboo sticks rolled between your toes?”
My reply will be…”Just try it!”
Until next message, may all your massages be bambooed and oiled.
Join us in Cotacachi and visit the Cotacachi La Mirage Spa.
May 13-17 Ecuador Import Export tour
May 23-25 International Investing & Business Made EZ North Carolina
June 7-8 Coastal Real Estate tour
June 11-15, Super Thinking + Spanish
June 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
June 19- 21 Ecuador Shaman Tour