Fantastic, and congratulations. You've already taken a big step, and we're excited for you!
Approached with diligence and care, this could be a major milestone in your life. An opportunity to:
An opportunity to thrive!
To help you get the most out of the experience, here are a few important things that are often overlooked:
Who you choose to work with could be one of the most important decisions in your life, and is a major factor in whether or not you get the benefits you're looking for. Invest your time accordingly so that you are empowered to make good decisions.
You may find that friends are enthusiastic and quick to provide recommendations. These can be helpful, but ask yourself whether you've seen real transformation and improvements in their character and lives.
If you've seen a big change, it's probably a good recommendation. If you haven't seen much change, take the recommendation with a grain of salt.
Think about the context you'd be most comfortable in:
Retreats in the USA operate under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), requiring that ceremonies be performed within the context and beliefs of that religion. For this reason, and the fact that the majority of expert practitioners prefer to work outside of these limitations, most people choose to travel to destinations like Costa Rica, Mexico, or Iquitos or the Sacred Valley in Peru for a plant medicine retreat.
There's no right or wrong here, but in our experience, people benefit from working with sacred plant medicine in a context aligned to (or at very least not in contradiction with) the way they see the world, or the way they would like to see the world.
The number of retreat centers has exploded from ~15 about five years ago to 250+ today. The ecosystem is evolving quickly, and the reality is, there's a short supply of expert practitioners. Many popular retreats continue to grow their ceremony group sizes to 15-20, or even higher.
Regardless of what you choose, we highly recommend speaking to the retreat center to ensure you feel confident and comfortable.
For more help to understand your options and how to select a great retreat, check out our ayahuasca guide.
Done well, an ayahuasca retreat is an intense and transformative experience. Don't rush it.
We recommend taking a week in a beautiful location, which allows time for three or four ceremonies.
If possible, take a few more days after the retreat before returning home. Returning too quickly to family, friends, work, and familiar surroundings can make it more difficult to maintain the shifts that took place on retreat.
It's beneficial to take the time to integrate your experience and anchor the "new you".
Published research based upon 2,267 ceremonies has shown that ayahuasca:
To free ourselves of negativity, we need to do the mental and emotional work alongside an ayahuasca retreat. Most retreat participants completely overlook this proven fact - hopeful that ayahuasca alone is going to solve their problems.
For this reason, it's all-too-common for participants to report transcendent "life-changing" experiences and feel amazing after a five-star retreat, and then just a few weeks later, everything returns to normal.
Same negativity of mind, same triggers, same struggles.
This can lead to a cycle of years of retreat attendance with limited improvements to quality of life, and is often referred to as spiritual bypassing.
There is better way!
An expert coach or therapist will help you identify your mental and emotional blind spots, enabling you to set intentions that relate to the ego structure and the opportunities to improve everyday life, which will set you up for success on retreat.
Ayahuasca can help you see the door, but you need to know what door you're looking for, and how to walk through it.
To reach new heights, you need a guide. Accept that you need help (especially if you think you don't), and find a trusted guide! You can thank us later.
If you'd like to learn more about how to get more breakthroughs and avoid the common mistakes, years of retreats, and slow progress, check out our webinar.
If you're ready for a big shift in your life, want to be guided by experts, you're coachable, and you're committed to doing the necessary mental and emotional work, apply for a free consultation.
If you're looking for a holistic and modern approach to plant medicine refined over serving 1,500+ clients, Behold Retreats may be the right option for you. The organization curates and facilitates life-changing plant medicine journeys with an emphasis on client goals, preparation, and integration.
For those attending retreats in the USA, Behold Retreats high quality guidance before and after a retreat, and point clients in the direction of a trusted retreat within the country.
For those ready to adventure outside the USA to destinations in Central, South America, and Europe, clients apply for a free consultation with a plant medicine expert to share their individual needs and preferences, and to understand whether (or not) there is a mutual fit.
For plant medicine work, clients can choose between a variety of medicines, locations, and options, for example a small group retreat overlooking the jungle in Costa Rica, or perhaps something on the beach with 5-MeO-DMT in Tulum, Mexico.
Group retreat sizes are smaller than most retreat centers - typically no more than 10-12.
Client safety and confidentiality are given the highest importance, and healers, facilitators, therapists, and coaches have decades of experience under their belt.
If it's a priority to make significant progress on your healing or spiritual growth in a short space of time, and you're in a financial position to do so, we highly recommend you consider a private ayahuasca ceremony (or three).
You can't put a price on a quiet mind, peaceful heart, and more love and joy each day. Share a few details to apply for a world-class private experience.
Origen Sagrada is a group of like-minded people providing health, healing and celebration through the power of sacred plant medicine, as well as the guidance from their indigenous Taitas and Elders.
These spiritual leaders and healers, Abuelo Claudion and Abuelita Bernadita from the Muruy tribe of the Native American Amazonas of Colombia, are highly respected in the tribe and have extensive knowledge on many types of medical plants, rites,and ceremonies.
Their ayahuasca brew is prepared in the Amazon and is pure, consisting of only the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and Chacruna.
Origen Sagrada’s other location in the USA is also facilitated by their spiritual leaders and healers, Abuelo Claudion and Abuelita Bernadita from the Muruy tribe of the Amazonas of Colombia.
Their retreat is 2 nights and includes 2 ayahuasca ceremony and is a great way for newbies to get acquainted with Ayahuasca. The work with the Elders and the plant medicine is intensive and remote, located in a private, tranquil, rustic camp near Castle Rock. Your ceremonies will be held in a private lodge, with shared accommodation.
The retreat will begin with a herbal plant blessing and practical orientation to answer any questions you might have. In between ceremonies, there will be traditional therapies, personal spiritual cleansing and healing ceremonies, and time for reflection. They will play beautiful live music during the psychedelic ceremony to help you go deeper on your journey.
At (retreat center removed), you can be comfortable knowing that they have cultivated a safe space for growth and healing to occur during their psychedelic medicine circles.
Your ceremonies will be facilitated by (retreat removed), who has been practicing with shamans and medicine men and women from different indigenous cultures in the Americas, and also teaches at The School of Shamanic Teachings. To train to become an ayahuasca shaman, he apprenticed alongside an Andean shaman and continued his initiation alongside the Q’eros priests of the High Andes in Peru in South America.
Their retreats include 2 ayahuasca ceremonies as well as a cacao, rapé and sananga ceremony, with the opportunity to attend a san pedro ceremony. During the experience they provide a safe environment in nature, and offer eco-environment accommodation, where you will surely get in touch with Mother Nature.
Soul Quest retreat center was founded by medicine man Chris Young, who left the medical industry after seeing the negative consequences of the pharmaceutical industry, and Verena Young, an integration coach who is finishing her PhD, certified in Spiritual Counseling and Addiction Recovery and Psycho-Spiritual Integration Coaching.
Their team consists of traditional medicine men and woman, integration coaches, and doctors.
Accommodation ranges from sleeping in the ceremonial space or camping, to higher-end options in private cabins or lodges. They even have a family cabin for larger groups.
Enjoy a sacred smoke cleanse ceremony around a fire pit, join group integration circles, and participate in a sound meditation to get more out of your ayahuasca journey.
Soul Quest also has been a leader in providing preparation and integration coaching for the last 10 years, helping you feel fully prepared for your journey into a deep healing experience with mother ayahuasca. Their approach is holistic and includes ways to prepare your body, mind, and soul for the experience, tools to navigate and ground yourself during the journey, and methods to overcome challenges.
After the journey, you can feel supported by their coaches who will help you make sense of your insights and lessons, and help you integrate this experience into your life in a lasting way.
Don't feel like spending your time learning about what a Shipibo shaman, Santo Daime, or master plant dieta is? Don't want to put weeks of research effort to find the right ayahuasca center, whether the practitioners are trustworthy, and whether or not they provide yoga?
There is a another way! Share a few details, come have a chat with us, and benefit from our expert guidance, and decide whether (or not) we're a good fit to facilitate your transformation.
Sacred Therapy retreats host their ceremonies in a modern way, rather than recreating South American or Native
American style ceremonies. To join their ceremonies you must be a member of Cosmic Valley Native Americas church, which you can apply to join on their website.
Their North American medicine people are trained with US ayahuasca churches and offer a holistic and yogic approach. They provide full integration before and after your ceremony and care deeply about each retreat participant’s experience and growth.
Retreats are two nights, hosted in Washington and California, and they provide accommodation with comfortable bedding and vegan meals. The founder has been leading ceremonies for 5 years and has trained with multiple shamans and yogic teachers in the USA, Mexico, Thailand, and Lebanon, as well as two years learning from the Lakota Tradition.
The Sanctuary is a shamanic healing center and branch of Oklevueha Native American Church, an ayahuasca church, located on the land of the Sacred White Dee, a Bee Sanctuary and certified wildlife habitat and holistic sanctuary with 6 acres of wild forest containing over 100+ fruit trees, edible bushes, and medicinal plants such as the coca leaf. You really will get a chance to connect with Mother Earth here.
Come here for a fully immersive shamanic experience, with shamanic healing practices, shamanic breathwork, and even a shamanic school with facilitator programs. They have a variety of retreats at their healing center as well as in Peru near Cusco.
If you’re looking for intensive ayahuasca healing retreats to dive deeper into medicinal plants, healing modalities, and shamanic wisdom this is the place for you. In addition to ayahuasca, they offer a week long tobacco and master plant diet retreat, a shamanic camp, vision quests, shamanic wisdom circles, rebirthing breathwork ceremonies, and more!
To help you integrate your experiences, they also host a regular community connection and healer / integration calls for you to share from the heart and continue to learn and grow together.
Aya Quest, also commonly spoken about as Kentucky Ayahuasca, approaches their ceremonies with a holistic attitude, and does not recreate Native American traditional ceremonies or maintain any dogmatic style. They are modern shamans and medicine people who are well trained.
Their founder Steve Hupp, has worked with ayahuasca for 15 years, and trained by a shaman from South America, leading over 1000 healing ceremonies.
Aya Quest offers small group, private and at home ayahuasca ceremony, as well as the option to join their membership club. Their ayahuasca brew is made from scratch and the ingredients, such as the ayahuasca vine, are all individually ordered so you can be assured of what exactly is in the tea, and they are confident that their brew is safe and effective.
This ayahuasca retreat center is under The União do Vegetal (UDV) is a Christian Spiritist religion that originated in Brazil and is recognized for their community and environmental service. União do Vegetal literally means “the union of the plants,” and their followers drink Hoasca, which is the sacred sacrament of plants indigenous to the Brazillian Amazon.
Like Ayahuasca, Hoasca contains the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and the Chacruna plant leaves, which is their sacrament serving to heighten spiritual understanding and perceptions.
The sessions are spiritual in nature and emphasize mental concentration and solemn reflections of their guide Mestre Gabriel and Jesus. They last around four hours and include periods of silent contemplation and religious teachings.
As you can see, there's a lot of variance between the many options out there, and the hard part is choosing a high quality retreat. As you may have noticed, the retreat aggregator websites aren't particularly helpful to guide ayahuasca tourism, as all the experiences are rated as 5-stars. There's a lot of considerations to take into account for an ayahuasca experience - much more than for a yoga retreat.
If you'd like some additional guidance throughout your selection process, check out our ayahuasca retreat guide here.
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