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The best ayahuasca retreats create life-altering experiences, providing exceptional opportunities to connect spiritually and build physical health. In the last few years, the number of ayahuasca retreat options has grown significantly, opening the door for more people worldwide to tap into the experience.
Finding the best ayahuasca retreat means carefully considering each option, focusing on their holistic strategies and overall authentic experiences.
- What is Ayahuasca?
- What Happens During an Ayahuasca Ceremony?
- What Are Ayahusaca Retreat Centers?
- Finding the Best Ayahuasca Retreat for You
- 1. Etnikas Ayahuasca Retreat
- 2. Cofán Bear Retreat
- 3. Soltara Healing Center
- 4. Anam Cara Healing Retreats
- 5. Rythmia
- 6. Avalon
- 7. Behold Retreats
- 8. Hummingbird Healing Center
- 9. Vikara
- 10. Spirit Vine
- 11. OMMIJ
- How Does Ayahuasca Work?
- How to Choose an Ayahuasca Retreat Center
- Number of people at the center
- Safety first mentality
- Additional supportive services
- Location matters
- Look beyond the cost
- Which country is best for an ayahuasca retreat?
- How much does an ayahuasca ceremony cost?
- How does ayahuasca change you?
- Are retreats appropriating ayahuasca?
What is Ayahuasca?
Ayahuasca is a plant-based psychedelic. When consumed, typically in tea form, it can affect the senses, including how a person thinks, sees, and acts.
The components come from the Psychotria viridis shrub, including the Banisteriopsis caapi vine stalks. Some versions contain other ingredients as well.
What Happens During an Ayahuasca Ceremony?
Though some differences exist, the best ayahuasca retreats will take you on a spiritual journey through ayahuasca ceremonies. The ceremony usually happens in the evening. They begin with participants consuming the ayahuasca.
It takes about 20 minutes but up to an hour for a person to start to feel the effects of the ayahuasca. Typically, this experience lasts between two and six hours, depending on the dose and your body composition.
Not everyone reacts similarly during the ayahuasca ceremony, as some will experience enlightenment and euphoria while others feel uneasy and even anxious. This is normal and considered to be a part of the cleansing process.
During the process, the shaman will guide and monitor each person to ensure all is well. You should feel relaxed but learn, grow, and become more of your authentic self through this experience.
What Are Ayahusaca Retreat Centers?
An ayahuasca retreat is a short getaway that allows a person to take a guided journey through other dimensions to seek natural healing using the ayahuasca methods. It often blends other types of holistic care into it, to help people reconnect to their true selves and to nature as well.
Before you can choose an ayahuasca retreat to visit, it helps to understand a few things. Primarily, you should known what the ayahuasca ceremony is, what to expect during this wellness retreat, and what defines the best centers and experiences.
An ayahuasca retreat allows you to work closely with a guide, called an indigenous shaman, who will take you on a journey to a different dimension. This creates an opportunity for natural healing using medicinal plants and ayahuasca itself.
Finding the Best Ayahuasca Retreat for You
Not all Ayahuasca retreats are the same; some are less authentic than others. When you want the very best ayahuasca experience, look for a location that offers an exceptional focus on holistic care, spiritual workshops, and using the traditional Amazonian shamanism methods. Here are the best ayahuasca retreats in the world.
Address: San Salvador 08150, Peru
The retreat is in the Sacred Valley of the Incas in San Salvador, Cusco, Peru. Etnikas is perhaps one of the best opportunities to enter a different world. It is also one of the safest locations for such a retreat since a doctor, psychologist, nurse, and shaman always help you through the experience.
Some of the most important features here include:
- Over 40 years of experience in this specific type of holistic medicine
- They integrate modern and ancient medicine using indigenous healers from the Andes and Amazon for authentic experiences
- They are very focused on tradition, using the same ancient healing practices using Qero and Shipibo healers and using the Inca cosmovision
You can choose a three, five, or seven-day retreat, which may include trips to Machu Picchu as well as volunteering events through their partner organization, Human Actions. This highly related experience is not a tourism draw, nor is it meant to be an extensive spa. Rather, it is a holistic sanctuary that focuses on the spiritual practice of Ayahuasca.
Address: Orito, Putumayo, Columbia
This 11-day retreat includes four ayahuasca ceremonies along with Ortiga therapy. The trip includes you and up to 49 additional people for a vibrant, life-changing experience. The location is one of the best for those looking for spiritual healing.
Some key important facts about the Cofán Bear Retreat include:
- You’ll enjoy organic food grown on-site
- Experience waterfall and nature walks
- Experience the Cofán tradition with a guide who shares the history of the tribe’s elders
The Cofán Bear Retreat is a journey back in time using a medicine that’s been used for hundreds of years. Throughout the day, there are trips to the river and waterfall, yoga classes, meditation opportunities, spiritual music, and other activities while you work alongside the Taitas or Shamans to explore a different version of yourself.
Address: Playa Blanca, Provincia de Puntarenas, Gigante, Costa Rica
The Soltara Healing Center is nestled into the Costa Rican rainforest, where you’ll be surrounded by nature, densely forested areas, and native animals. There are Peruvian Shipibo healers who lead you through the experience, but there are also Western and traditional medicine professionals available to ensure you remain safe.
Some key factors to consider about this ayahuasca retreat include:
- The goal is to focus on the emotional energy and spiritual aspects of healing
- Highly studied indigenous Peruvian Shipibo healers conduct the experience to ensure an enriching, safe experience
- The focus is to help people to move beyond blockages and self-limiting beliefs that could be extolling negative emotions in your life
The location is very much focused on self-healing through the process of self-discovery. They include supportive holistic modalities, like yoga, meditation, and psychotherapeutic practices. It is a unique combination of modern treatment along with highly authentic practices.
They use the plant medicine ceremony and embodiment practices through an integration program designed for the specific person. It is one of the best Peruvian ayahuasca retreats for those who want to discover themselves.
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Address: MXVQ+62W, 08120, Peru
The Anam Cara Healing Retreats is a stellar ayahuasca retreat center noted for its small-scale ceremonies and highly focused healing journey. When you visit this ayahuasca retreat center, you’ll be engaging with no more than ten people, which allows for each person to receive some of the most effective spiritual awakenings since care can be provided on a more individualized basis.
There are several things that make this retreat center a bit different:
- While the focus of many retreat centers is to heal, this location aims to teach participants a bit more about how to use this healing process to reshape their future and how to apply the learnings here to their lives on an ongoing basis
- A Shipibo Maestros is available onsite for the healing process, while there is also a psychotherapist and somatic experience practitioner available to create a nurturing environment
- After the transformative ayahuasca ceremonies are over and you go home, you’ll have a four-month post-ceremony support system to rely on
The Anam Cara Healing Retreats is in the Sacred Valley of Peru, allowing those who attend to take full advantage of the healing power that comes from Peruvian indigenous cultures. The ayahuasca retreat takes place in an eco-friendly spiritual tourism destination noted for its luxury surroundings right on the Pacific coastline. It is nestled into the jungle with stunning views from every side.
Address: Hacienda Pinilla, Provincia de Guanacaste, Playa Avellana, Costa Rica
A noted celebrity hotspot, Rythmia offers some of the most invigorating experiences thanks to the range of alternative therapy practitioners, including mystics. The goal is spiritual healing, which is the focus of the ayahuasca retreat and includes intellectual stimulation and physical wellness activities.
Some key aspects of this ayahuasca retreat include:
- A seven-night experience in a luxury resort
- Four ayahuasca ceremonies during your stay
- Numerous intellectual and spiritual conversions from various well-known healers
This retreat includes several additional experiences, including Rhythmic breathwork classes, the Dance of Liberation movement ceremony, organic, vegan foods, yoga classes, and hydrocolonic cleanses. All who participate also receive two medical evaluations by staff physicians during their stay. The ayahuasca journey is the foundation of the therapy provided here. Still, it aims to go further by providing more of an intellectual focus on why it works and how to change your future by changing the way you think and process information.
Address: Carrer de les Ramelleres, 32, 08001, Barcelona and Ibiza, Spain
Avalon is one of the best options in Europe for ayahuasca therapy. It’s an overall holistic experience that spans up to four days. This program is a bit different because it includes additional holistic therapy, holotropic breathwork, yoga, healing massage, and ecstatic dance. While doing so, it incorporates both the ayahuasca and bufo alvarius ceremony experiences, making it one of the best purifying treatments for those looking to change their future view.
Key aspects of this ayahuasca retreat include:
- Safe and positive experience, one that is designed to provide an enjoyable, comfortable, and supportive experience
- Includes four yoga sessions, four meditation sessions, and four ayahuasca ceremonies, among other services
- Incorporates healing massage into treatment
Those who attend the ayahuasca retreat in Avalon will also engage in five food awareness workshops. The program is also designed to incorporate individual guidance, allowing individuals to get a more pronounced, personalized experience that they can carry with them.
Address: Monteverde, Costa Rica
Behold Retreats offers a Costa Rica experience that is transformative. A fully safe and even exciting experience, those who enter into this retreat enjoy more than a spiritual journey. It incorporates several healing experiences, including ayahuasca, psilocybin, and 5-MeO-DMT, a unique blend that allows for a wellness retreat that’s invigorating and life-changing.
Some key aspects of this ayahuasca retreat include:
- No more than eight people at one time, ensuring ample one-on-one time with the staff
- Full medical screening provided by a licensed doctor who is trained in psychedelic preparation
- Ongoing support through a counseling program that extends beyond the session
The Behold Retreats are opportunities to engage in a spiritual awakening where you connect with Mother Earth to see profound change in your life. The facilities and medicine guides work closely with each individual to help with the mental, emotional, and physical needs they have. The location offers some nice amenities too, including a regenerative food forest, an infinity pool, farm-to-table meals, and a peaceful, calming natural setting.
Address: 4J7G+J4, Varillal 00000, Peru
The Hummingbird Healing Center provides a 9-day ayahuasca retreat utilizing traditional Amazonian shamanism and modern professional lifestyle coaching. An enriching experience; no more than 13 people are ever a part of the retreat at one time. They aim to create deep healing journeys for mental and emotional clarity and healing while focusing on spiritual development.
Some of the key features of this ayahuasca retreat include:
- Traditional ayahuasca plant ceremonies are used and follow the most authentic methods
- Curandero Don Hector Fatima, who has more than 50 years of experience with ayahuasca, leads the program
- Includes at least one San Pedro ceremony, which incorporates the cactus of the Andes into the treatment
Immersion experiences are available as a component of this type of treatment. These allow people to remain at the ayahuasca retreats for much longer, even up to four weeks.
All programs aim to help people find clarity in their purpose in life while also supporting deep healing journeys for emotional support, including for trauma and anxiety. The healing modalities here center on traditional South American style treatment, but you will also find modern medicine support available if needed.
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Address: C. Rosa Misitca, Olon 241753 Ecuador
Experience ayahuasca retreats on the beach in Olon when you sign up for the 9-day Vikara retreat in Ecuador. Here, the energetic healing you receive is said to come from the spirit of the ocean, allowing you to experience a profound change in your perspective.
A stunning location that amplifies luxury with modern amenities, Vikara has much to offer those looking for personal growth and full-body healing opportunities.
Some of the core opportunities you will find here include:
- Surf and yoga retreats are incorporated into the ayahuasca plant medicine retreat, allowing for a full healing experience
- A safe and supportive environment with people who have walked difficult paths and found enlightenment is always present
- Safety is an ongoing priority here, with individuals entering into a transformative journey with the guidance of licensed medical professionals
The Vikara ayahuasca ceremonies are intense and fully immersive, meant to encourage healing of the body, mind, and spirit through a relaxing, refreshing experience. Guests stay in a luxury hotel and have access to various additional amenities, including scuba diving, functional training, Jiu Jitsu, yoga, and sport fishing.
10. Spirit Vine
Address: Rodovia Ilheus, Km, 52 – Villa Camboinha, Itacare, BA, 45330-000 Brazil
What makes Spirit Vine a bit different is that it was founded by Silvia Polivoy, who is a licensed psycholistic who is noted for their work with ayahuasca plant and medicine. During the retreat, individuals enter an altered state of consciousness, with a professional by their side to support them in any way needed. The goal of this experience is to remove energic blockages from your well-being.
Some of the core features of the Spirit Vine retreat include:
- An interfaith experience that brings world views together
- Connect to your higher self and unblock, then reestablish a connection with your own higher power
- Engage in spiritual healing that aims to find a balance between success and happiness
The Spirit Vine ayahuasca retreat incorporates a number of activities, including several ayahuasca ceremonies, yoga, meditation, and spiritual workshops. Enjoy high-quality, organic food on a 9-day or 11-day retreat.
During that time, you can explore the local beaches, tour the jungles nearby, and gain insight from conversations with people from around the world. It is an amazing experience when these ancestral traditions change your outlook.
Address: Paul Krugerlaan 28, 7001 DH Doetinchem, The Netherlands
OMMIJ Healing Centers offers what it considers the best ayahuasca and plant medicine treatment in the world, and there are many reasons to keep them on your list. Deep, holistic healing occurs when a person can learn about themselves, which is what this process aims to offer.
The center offers a number of plant medicine treatment options, including Ayahuasca along with San Pedro and Kambo, to create a fulfilling, whole-body and mind treatment.
You can expect a refreshing experience that includes:
- Individualized care that focuses on choosing the right plant medicine diet for your body, mind, and spirit work
- For many people, the experience is meant to activate their authentic self and increase awareness
- The location shares that its ayahuasca retreat reviews from their participants note life-changing experiences in 85% of people
The ceremony uses shamanic techniques to create authentic experiences where the medicine plant’s healing powers are utilized fully. The highly experienced shamans provide one-on-one support in a small, intimate setting, allowing for the ultimate in comfort as you learn about yourself and move through the medicinal journey.
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How Does Ayahuasca Work?
When you visit the best ayahuasca retreat, you’ll have the opportunity to experience the effects of ayahuasca. The drink is consumed during the ayahuasca ceremony, which follows traditions that have been used for hundreds of years by Amazonian tribes.
It has been used throughout Brazil and in Northern America as well. A healer will prepare the tea by boiling the leaves and stalks in water, cleaned and smashed before being added. This helps to encourage the medicinal components to come out of the plant, allowing for a more potent drink.
After cooking to the desired consistency, the mixture is drained so that only the liquid remains. This concentrated liquid is free from any impurities once it is ready to be used.
It may not sound like a tea like this can do anything for you spiritually, but it has some outstanding qualities. Both of the ingredients have hallucinogenic properties, with Psychotria viridis containing DMT, which is a naturally occurring psychedelic. It is rapidly broken down by the liver and gastrointestinal system, which allows it to enter the body quickly.
In order to prolong the effect, Banisteriopsis caapi is added, which includes MAO inhibitors, an important tool to slow down the function of the liver enzymes.
When you drink it, it changes the function of the central nervous system for a short amount of time, creating a psychedelic experience and an altered state of consciousness. Many people experience out-of-body events, euphoria, and hallucinations during this time.
How to Choose an Ayahuasca Retreat Center
With numerous retreat centers becoming readily available today, it has never been easier to find a location offering this sacred medicine, but not all locations are the same. Many do not incorporate the highest level of authentic experience and organic ayahuasca. They may offer numerous lavish amenities but lack the support of the shama in creating a truly effective experience.
As you consider each of the ayahuasca retreat centers available to you, compare several key things to determine which is best for your needs:
Learn as much as you can about the retreat center’s reputation. Learn about this from the ayahuasca retreat reviews.
How do they interact with people? What type of service does each person receive? You also want to have a good understanding of what people actually experience after visiting this location. Try to reach out to someone who attended the retreat center a few months later and find out how their experience changed their outlook.
Number of people at the center
Some large retreat centers do a good job with dozens of people. This is one way to get a good experience for less. However, some of the best results come from locations where you can have more of an intimate experience with the practitioners. Look for a lower number of participants per retreat and ceremony whenever possible.
Safety first mentality
There are risks to shamanic techniques, especially by inexperienced individuals. Ensure that the location you select understands this plant medicine and has the unique ability to offer a safe experience. They should have shama onsite and Western medicinal practitioners and psychologists who can help ensure you remain healthy and safe throughout the experience. Ask what steps they have in place to ensure safety.
Additional supportive services
Many of the best retreat centers do a good job of offering supportive and complementary services to ensure individuals receive the care they need. This may include both ayahuasca and San Pedro techniques, for example. Some programs offer yoga practice, healing massages, Reiki, and Temazcal or sweat lodge facilities.
These services aim to provide additional support to the individual retreat participant. For example, you may wish to enjoy meditation services that can help you to explore your inner self. Someone else may be interested in exploring the silent ecstatic dance. Many of the best locations give you options.
This is an individual journey to finding yourself, but the area you are in can be conducive or limiting to this. As you choose your medicine journey, consider the location. For some people, an ocean is more alluring and peace-creating than a retreat tucked into the Andes Mountains.
Engaging in holistic care on a regenerative farm can be beneficial for others. Others enjoy volunteering and giving back during their time at the location. Still, others want the most authentic experience in the Amazon rainforest, working closely with indigenous people in remote villages.
Look beyond the cost
While you can expect to pay a bit more for this type of wellness retreat than others, cost is not the only thing to consider when choosing the best type of treatment possible. Instead, look at what the program offers, what people experience, and the types of experiences people have.
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Which country is best for an ayahuasca retreat?
When choosing from the ayahuasca retreat centers, you will find that any retreat center offering a holistic experience is ideal. Costa Rica and Peru are some of the most widely recognized locations in South America. Still, other destinations worldwide may offer exceptional experiences and authentic shamanic techniques worthy of your effort.
How much does an ayahuasca ceremony cost?
The cost for many ayahuasca retreat centers depends on the experience’s length, the facilities themselves, and the location. Many retreat centers charge $2,500 to $4,000 for a 5-night experience, but costs vary from region to region.
How does ayahuasca change you?
Mother ayahuasca, the medicine plant, creates a mind-altering experience. The compounds within this plant allow you to have an out-of-body experience, which has been noted to be enlightening, allowing a person to see themselves and the world around them in a very different way. It also is cleansing and can offer healing properties for mental and physical ailments.
Are retreats appropriating ayahuasca?
The best ayahuasca retreats work to follow the ancient traditions and methods associated with the use of this ingredient, but not all locations offer the highest level of respect for these beliefs.
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he’s learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.
He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.