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Top 5 Ayahuasca retreats in San Diego (Updated 2023)

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For deeper insights into what makes up a safe and quality plant medicine retreat, check out the results from our recent plant medicine retreats survey.

1. If you’d like a holistic understanding of your opportunities to improve your quality of life, take this self-diagnostic.

2. If this is your first time with Ayahuasca, this short quiz will help you assess your level of mental, emotional, and spiritual readiness for this powerful and sensitive work.

3. If you’d like to understand more about the nature of psychedelic healing work, human potential, and who and what you really are, watch the video below.



Like most things in life, there are a broad variety of Ayahuasca retreat options, and a number of factors that effect the safety, quality, and cost of an ayahuasca retreat:

  1. Safety First: Unfortunately, many small retreat centers are not in a position to make meaningful investments into screening and safety. Even if you're fine, someone else on retreat might not be, which can affect the overall experience. Our recommendation is to choose a retreat provider that does in-depth conversational, medical, and psychological screening to protect your safety and well-being.
  2. Legality: Experienced practitioners who have dedicated their lives to plant medicine typically live in locations where the work is legal, so they don't have to live in a state of uncertainty about their work Our recommendation is to travel to legal locations where you can benefit from legitimate healers who operate above the radar, so you can truly relax on retreat.
  3. Size of the group: It's common for retreats to have 20, 50, even 100 people in ceremony, which can be chaotic to say the least. In such large groups you are less likely to receive a sufficient level of attention from the facilitators. Our recommendation is to choose a retreat with an intimate group, in the range of 8-15 people.
  4. Length of the retreat: Shorter retreats feel rushed, do not support the cultivation of meaningful relationships, and can limit what can be achieved in time available. We recommend you spend at least a week for an ayahuasca retreat to give your mind, body, heart, and soul the attention it deserves.
  5. ‍‍Comfort: We recommend you choose a retreat where you are confident that you will be physically comfortable and have your own private bedroom to decompress and integrate, especially if this is your first time. Go for the full jungle mosquito immersion another time, your future self will thank you later.
  6. Alignment: Select a retreat that feels aligned with your values and allows your own subjective experience to unfold naturally. There are many different worldviews out there and having a different worldview pushed on you through the retreat may not be in your highest healing interests. This is also particularly relevant for first-timers.
  7. Holistic approach: Work with an organization that takes a holistic approach to working with plant medicine, and has options to support and guide your mental and emotional evolution alongside a retreat. If a provider implies that "medicine will solve all your problems", proceed with caution.
  8. Service: Select a retreat that you believe can meet your individual needs. Are you being treated as a human, or as participant #22 in their fourth retreat this month? Consider whether or not they've taken the time to get to know you and understand you, or it's more of a take it or leave it retreat center.
  9. Booking process: Take the time to speak with the provider before finalizing your booking. If the provider does not have a screening process in place during the booking process anyone could be sitting next to you in ceremony. Some people are not in the right place to work with this powerful plant medicine, and it is the responsibility of the organizers to ensure that only people who can handle ayahuasca are accepted onto the retreat.
  10. Expertise: Find an organization that emphasizes healing, and you believe has the breadth and depth of expertise to guide your transformation. Look for facilitators and healers who have a lightness of being and a sparkle in their eyes. Healing work is all about the transmutation of energy, so you are looking for people who have the energy you aspire to. If they aren't able to keep their energy right, that tells you quite a bit about either where they are at and their capabilities.
  11. Reputation: At a minimum, Google the provider, you may be surprised by what you find. If there's not much information, that is also information. A reputable retreat center will have a professional online presence with testimonials from previous retreat attendees. This is essential for you to see that they are a legitimate organization who you can trust to contain this powerful experience.
  12. Volunteers: Please support ethical plant medicine work by selecting an organization that pay their team. Unfortunately, it is common practice for retreat centers to cycle through young, eager, and worn out volunteers and/or not pay healers fairly. If the people supporting your retreat aren't living their best lives , they're not going to be able to lead you to yours. Don't be shy to ask this question directly when you speak to prospective centers.


Looking for a little more guidance for one of the most important decisions of your life? Watch this video.


As public awareness of the sacred healing plant ayahuasca grows, more and more people are looking for somewhere to partake in the traditional healing ceremonies involving it. 

Ayahuasca, known as the plant teacher by the Amazonian shamans who harness its medicinal properties, can deliver a life changing experience. Traditional ceremonies are said to bring a spiritual awakening, and can be an incredible method of helping participants deal with past trauma.

Legalities within the United States of America mean it is not possible to perform ayahuasca ceremonies within San Diego itself, however, there are plenty of fantastic options just a few hours travel away if the ayahuasca experience is something that interests you.

How should you choose which retreat is right for you? Hopefully this list should be a start, but consider what it is you want from your ceremony, do you want the most authentic traditional ceremony? Or are modern facilities a must? It is also worth looking into who will be performing the ceremonies and their experience with the sacred healing plant.

Below are our top 5 Ayahuasca retreats to visit from San Diego:

1) Behold Retreats – Mexico, Costa Rica

Whilst local laws prohibit such activities in San Diego itself, across the border in Mexico sits Behold Retreats’ Valle de Bravo mountaintop estate, situated in one of the safest and most picturesque areas in the country. 

Behold Retreats pride themselves on providing a “safe, legal and luxurious environment” within which to enjoy their ayahuasca retreats. If you are looking for an intimate ayahuasca ceremony for up to 8 people in a breathtaking setting, where every room has panoramic views looking over the sacred Valle de Bravo, then this is the retreat for you.

During their visit, guests will experience their healing ceremonies with Amina, a Mexican native with more than 13 years experience delivering the sacred plant medicine. A practitioner of El Camino Rojo (a well respected lineage of historic Mexican healing methods), Amina is also trained in Taoist massage, and has a Masters of Psychotherapy from the University of Salamanca in Spain.

Behold also holds ceremonies in the same Mexico retreat using 5MEO-DMT (Bufo), and has a similar facility in Costa Rica.


2) Bluestone Ayahuasca – Mexico

On the beachfront at Casa de la Tortuga, a private villa situated just north of Cancun, Bluestone offer week long ayahuasca retreats. Situated on a quiet stretch of coastline the facility allows easy access to the beach, and each room features a private balcony from which to take in the magnificent views.

The founders of Bluestone have years of experience performing healing ceremonies with the master plant, and at each retreat there will be two or more therapists present to educate participants in a variety of healing modalities. 

3) Aye De La Vid – Cancun Mexico

Hosting 2 retreats each year, in late September and November, ‘Aye De La Vid’ is located at La Riviera Maya, Cancun. Each retreat lasts 5 nights, and guests are provided all meals and accommodation, including a pool and wifi.

Over the 5 days guest will partake in 2 Ayahuasca ceremonies, and 2 Temezcal ceremonies, in addition to various other activities including Yoga, and numerous musical performances.

4) APL Retreats – Mexico

APL Journeys provide ayahuasca and kambo ceremonies from Peruvian master shamans. Retreats include multiple ceremonies over the 6 day period, and guests are granted daily private sessions with a shaman.

Located deep in the jungle in Yucatan Mexico, APL’s ayahuasca retreat center combines the spirit of jungle life with the latest in luxury facilities. The resort includes an outdoor jungle pool, rainforest sauna, and various tranquil places to meditate.

5) Inner Circle – Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

Accommodating up to 6 guests in a luxurious beachfront property, Inner Circle’s Nuevo Vallarta retreat aims to provide an authentic ayahuasca experience whilst providing guests all of the modern creature comforts. Situated in the middle of the exquisite Bay of Banderas, the nearest city, Puerto Vallarta, is rated as the safest in Mexico.

Participants will be guided on their journey by a traditional indigenous shaman, and during their stay are provided with various fresh local fruits and foods. Packages include 6 nights accomodation, and transport to the ceremony, which takes place late in the evening.

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