The San Pedro Cactus (echinopsis pachanoi), also known as Huachuma, is native to the Andes Mountains and found in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru. It has been used in traditional medicine for healing and religious divination for well over 3,500 years.
While Ayahuasca is known as the “Grandmother,” master plant, San Pedro has been referred to as the “Grandfather” spirit for its masculine and wise energy. Ayahuasca is known for its inward journey, while San Pedro is more of an outward experience, helping you to integrate and connect with the world around you.
The psychedelic effects of the cactus are attributed to the chemical Mescaline which is also found in other entheogenic cacti such as Peyote. As a gentle heart opener, San Pedro is a good choice for those new to the psychedelic world on their path to spiritual growth. That being said, it is not to be taken lightly or without proper guidance like you would with for example ayahuasca or psilocybin mushroom.
San Pedro is a powerful medicine that enables personal transformation and healing, helps to ground more in daily life, overcome blockages, connect with yourself, others, and the universe, and find inner peace.
Are you ready to take a trip into San Pedro town? Looking for the best San Pedro retreat center?
Have a look at our top choices!
But first, if you would like more information about the San Pedro Cactus, check out our ultimate guide HERE.
Behold Retreats hosts San Pedro Retreats in Costa Rica, Mexico, Portugal, and Spain, so whether you would like to be immersed in a traditional Amazon jungle setting, by the beach, or in a villa nestled in the European countryside for your healing journey with this medicinal plant, the choice is yours.
What makes Behold Retreats special is that they provide a completely tailored approach to fit your personal goals, including the location, facilitators, group size, additional healing modalities, and more. Behold are experts in not only San Pedro, but also ayahuasca, psilocybin, and 5-Meo-DMT.
They work with experts to ensure they operate with the latest medical screening and protocols, highly experienced healers/facilitators, and preparation and integration support that goes above and beyond. Their guides range from modern medicine healers to authentic Ecuadorian shamans.
While most retreat centers offer a couple of sessions before and after your retreat, Behold goes the extra mile to provide a 7 week life-accelerator designed by their head coaches who have guided over 1500 clients to maximize the benefits of the plant medicine work.
In fact, if you don’t see the results you are hoping for, they will give you your money back guaranteed.
If you are ready to have the deepest, most transformative experience with this sacred plant, and have the budget to do so, we recommend a private San Pedro retreat. With no distractions and full attention on you, there is no doubt that your journey will go a step further and gain more clarity on your spiritual direction.
With a company such as Behold Retreats, you can choose your location, venue, and the type of healing experience you would like to have. You will have the freedom to combine your retreat with an ayahuasca retreat with one ayahuasca ceremony or a yoga retreat for example. And, you can rest assured that you are in good hands with highly qualified guides and support after your journey to really make sustainable changes to your daily life.
Well known for their ayahuasca retreats and practice for personal development and awareness since 2011, Om-mij also facilitates San Pedro ceremonies in a small village in Holland, the Algarve in Portugal, and Alicante, Spain.
Their large team of experienced guides will host your private group ceremony of 2-6 people or group ceremony of maximum 16 participants for a 2 day, 1 night retreat. You will have 1 San Pedro ceremony that will last approximately 4-6 hours. Om-mij respects traditional shamanic traditions, but does not necessarily use them during their ceremonies. You will still find the attributes of a spiritual retreat.
Your retreat will feature unique integration activities including creative and free dancing, soundscape healing at 432hz for deep healing and releasing energy blockages, and visionary art sessions with Wasco chalk to help solidify your experience. Also included is a cleansing mapacho ceremony, rape for clarity and grounding, and agua de Florida for protection.
Located in the Sacsayhuaman Valley, about 25 minutes drive from Cusco, Peru and the Sacred Valley you will find this 1-2 night retreat facilitated by a spiritual guide or healer/ shaman. You can choose to experience San Pedro alone, or as an addition to an ayahuasca retreat. Ceremonies can be either private or group with a maximum of 1 participants and last around 7-8 hours.
You will be able to experience a volcanic water cleansing, coca leaf unification ceremony, kuti energetic cleansing ceremony, flowering ceremony, and a pachamama offering. Yoga and massage can be arranged for an extra charge.
This retreat center puts strong emphasis on health and safety and has a licensed medical Doctor on-call to perform medical exams and assessments. The center itself is equipped with medical and first-aid equipment and has a full-time licensed nurse who performs pre-ceremony checks and monitors retreat participants during retreats. They are also affiliated medical clinics and hospitals in Cusco.
Another well known ayahuasca retreat center, Gaia Sagrada also facilitates San Pedro ceremonies. Located in the Andes Mountains in Ecuador on 55 acres of lush land, this healing center is guaranteed to connect you with Mother Earth.
Wake up to breathtaking views, fresh mountain air, pristine gardens, and vibrant forests. Enjoy and relax with a hot shower, hot tub, and sauna, adventure through the many hiking trails, explore their library, enjoy some local food in the dining area, take a nap in a hammock, or connect by the campfire.
The ceremonies are led by an Ecuadorian shaman as well as their founder Christine Breese who also facilitates the San Pedro ceremonies. Christine is also the founder of the University of Metaphysical Sciences and has been on the shamanic path for 35 years. Combining her knowledge and application of additional spiritual paths, Christine creates her own unique brand of shamanism and spirituality.
This healing retreat is an eco-friendly community and uses processes such as permaculture, sustainable gardening and solar heating. Accommodation range from private apartments to dorm rooms, making it accessible for all kinds of budgets.
In the heart of Vilcabamba, Ecuador you will find this retreat center nestled in the forest and Sacred Huarango Mountain. The plant medicine ceremonies will be guided by the experienced San Pedro Shaman Santiago Ayala who is a government certified traditional shaman (meaning that he only constitutes ethical practices of shamanism). Santiago has been working with San Pedro for 26 years and hosting ceremonies for 16 years.
A 12 day retreat includes San Pedro tea which is made of 100% pure San Pedro cactus and specialized individual attention. The ceremonies are accompanied by South American songs, instruments, and personal discussions. One ceremony will include a hike with the medicine to the waterfalls where you can really connect with Mother Earth and marvel at the natural beauty. On your final ceremony you will be guided through a hike up the Sacred Huarango Mountain where you will be able to explore your consciousness while you trek.
On your resting days, you will be able to participate in personal sharing integration circles where deep reflection and feedback for challenges can take place.
Since 2013, San Pedro Workshops has been a great place to really dive deep and get to know the sacred medicine on another level. They offer 14, 21, and 30 days workshops in their beautiful temple located on the outskirts of Cuenca, Ecuador. Plant medicine ceremonies are held during the day in the tradition of southern Andres and guests are invited to stay the night in a shared space. Alternatively, you can choose to stay at your preferred accommodation of choice nearby.
Their founder and facilitator Steve is a trained counselor and highly experienced with San Pedro having hosted over 3000 people and gone on over 500 psychedelic journeys during and after his two year shaman apprenticeship in Peru. There are always female helpers during the ceremony which provides a balance of masculine and feminine energies.
Additional modalities used during the workshops include: guided meditation, relaxation therapy, shamanic journeying, soul retrieval ritual, inner child work, massage, dream interpretation, and amino acid balancing.
These traditional shamanic ceremonies at Shamanic Space are guided by Dr Ruben Orellana Phd, Michele Costa Lukis (psychotherapist and shamanic practitioner) and Leandro D’Andrea (shamanic practitioner).
Dr Orellana is an archaeologist, anthropologist and curandero with a specialization in San Pedro shamanism and healing in Peru, who spent 22 years as the head curator of Machu Picchu in the Sacred Valley. He has extensive knowledge of how to prepare the 79 varieties of San Pedro passed down to him through generations of Andean Curanderos, has experienced over 800 ceremonies, and has been conducting ceremonies since 1976.
During the retreat, the guides use elements of the mesa, scent and sound such as ikaros (healing songs communicated by the plant), drums, whistling, crystals, and rattles. There will be no more than 14 people in each ceremony to ensure individual care and attention. Prior to the ceremony, you will receive a Shamanic cleansing and workshop on the historical and shamanic uses of this sacred plant, such as the shamanic plant dieta.
They host retreats both in Peru and in Portugal for 3 nights or 5 nights with a yoga retreat and include comfortable accommodation and delicious, homemade vegetarian meals with local ingredients in keeping with the San Pedro dieta.
Twice a year they offer a 16 night unique retreat experience which features a pilgrimage to the sacred Machu Picchu and ayahuasca ceremonies guided by a traditional ayahuasca shaman. Really immerse yourself in the history and culture of Peru and travel through the highlands, down to the Sacred Valley, into the jungle in Iquitos, and end up on the coast to see the pre Inca pyramids before travelling north to a small farming community for the final San Pedro ceremony lad by a 7th generation San Pedro mesa healer.
If you’re looking to experience San Pedro outside of South America, Lighthouse Retreats might be the perfect cetner for you. They are situated near Cinfaes in the heart of the Douro Valley, only 50km outside Porto, Portugal. The house has stunning views of the valley and is minutes away from the Douro river.
Take a swim in one of their spring water pools, hike through the natural woods, or relax in the gardens overlooking the valley and enjoy the 40 abundant fruit trees of figs, oranges, lemons, pears, apples, olives, plums, pomegranates, peaches and more. A truly perfect place for reflection time with the sacred plants.
Lighthouse Retreats hosts group and private retreats which include yoga, meditation, breath work, cacao ceremonies, and mindful nature walks. Typical retreats are 4 nights including 2 San Pedro ceremonies led by the founders Isher and Nancy. If you want to relax a few days after your retreat, they provide options for you to extend your stay on the property.
Deep in the stunning Andean Valley of Ecuador, just 45 minutes outside of Cuenca, is the home of TOSA Blue Mountain Sanctuary offering San Pedro retreats where this master plant has been growing wild for thousands of years. Cultivating their own cactus onsite gives you a chance to be part of the harvest before your retreat.
San Pedro journeys at TOSA are unique as they offer unique and personalized experiences crafted especially for your healing and personal intentions. Your 4 night journey will include a Tea and Fire Initiation Ceremony, 1 San Pedro ceremony, guided mountain hikes, and Rebirth and Purification Ceremony in their temescal lodge. Explore the property and find a magical grotto, medication and prayer caves, yoga studio, and an indoor water therapy center with a sauna, jacuzzi, and heated pool.
Additional services such as psychical therapy, massage, private healing sessions. Stay in a luxury suite with a queen size tempur-foam bed with Egyptian cotton sheets and L’Occitane bathroom amenities. Wake up and take a bath in your private tub while you have a cup of freshly freed organic coffee with a view of the mountains, and end the day watching the sunset on your private patio. If you’re looking for something a bit less luxurious, they also have cozy cottages and shared dorms.
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