How to Choose the Best Ayahuasca Retreats

What Ayahuasca Retreat is best for you depends on many factors.  but there are overlapping common elements. We reviewed and shortlisted over 230 Ayahuasca retreat centers based largely on these factors:

  • Experience & Reviews. These centers are operated by people with years, often decades of fulltime experience working with 1000’s of people and all have almost perfect customer review ratings. 
  • Additional Therapies. The adoption of alternative medicine is growing and Sound American shamans are not only using their own traditional medicines and healing ceremonies but integrate knowledge and practives from around the word, including TCM and popular psychology. 
  • Western Comforts. Years ago roughing it in a bare-bones jungle hut was the norm but let’s face it, people like comfy beds and WiFi.

Table of Contents

Best Ayahuasca Retreats in 2020

#1 Etnikas

  • Location: Cusco, Peru
  • Days: 3, 5, 7, 8
  • Max of People per Ceremony: 
  • Price per Ceremony: $312-500

Why Etnikas is One of the Best Ayahuasca Retreats:

  1. Strong safety protocols with multi-disciplinary health team consisting of a Cardiologist, Psychiatrist, Psychologist, General Practitioner, an Emergency nurse who complements the highly experienced native Andean and Amazonian shaman. 
  2. We have been operating for 40 years (much longer than other retreat centers) and safety has always been our top priority.
  3. Located in the Sacred Valley, two hours drive from Machupicchu. They take ppl to the trek. 

More About Etnikas’s Ayahuasca Ceremonies:

After a client passed away (due to mixing ayahuasca with street drugs and medications), this retreat has become super cautious. A doctor, psychologist, translator, nurse, and shaman are all on hand to ensure you are safe and sound both physically and mentally at all times. Uniquely, the retreat offers blessings and cleansings by both a Q’ero paquo (a kind of Andean shaman) and a Shipibo ayahuascero (an Amazonian shaman) to ensure all energies are clean and safe before and after ceremonies.

Rooms here are humble, and often shared three to a room, but this is an excellent place to visit for plant medicine first-timers, or those interested in Peruvian indigenous cultures. One visitor who enjoyed his stay here includes the Dalai Lama! So hey, if it’s good enough for him…

#2 Rythmia

Why Rythmia is One of the Best Ayahuasca Retreats:

  1. TBD
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  3. TBD

More About Rythmia’s Ayahuasca Ceremonies:

Kelly Slater, Michelle Rodriguez and Graham Hancock are but a few celebrities who have visited this Costa Rican resort. Talks by leading alternative health experts and mystics are often a highlight here, as is the excellent vegan cuisine.

Spiritual healing, intellectual stimulation, physical wellness, and luxuriating in nature all take place in lush, large, highly private surroundings punctuated by a cooling, soothing swimming pool. The gracious staff are always on hand to ensure your experience is nothing short of wonderful.

It’s not uncommon for motivational talks and seminars to take place here, given by high profile people in the world of spirituality, including Dr Joseph Mercola, Foster and Kimberly Gamble, Panache Desai, and many others. Want more details about what goes on here?

 

#3. Casa Del Sol, Ecuador

Why Casa Del Sol is One of the Best Ayahuasca Retreats:

  1. Family-like atmosphere – there is a max of 12 people per ceremony which sets the perfect dynamic for people to meet and become friends. Meals are enjoyed as a group inside a cozy living room and things are generally relaxed and free-flowing.
  2. More than just Ayahuasca – In addition to Ayahuasca, the retreat center offers Magic Mushrooms and San Pedro which offer a different experience than Ayahuasca. People who have tried all of these medicine from various retreat centers report higher impact from Mushrooms and San Pedro compared to Ayahuasca which not always give the desired effects. 
  3. Location – Located in the sacred valley of San Pedro, Vilcabamba, Ecuador the San Pedro cactus grows freely in the wild and harvested from the property. The center is in the Andes mountain and mountain treks with medicine are popular with guests.

More About Casa Del Sol’s Ayahuasca Ceremonies:

At Casa Del Sol, we understand ayahuasca ceremonies are a valuable tool for self-growth, spiritual awakenings, and healing. Thus, it is extremely important to us that we focus on giving attendees a traditional, authentic ayahuasca retreat experience. Unlike other Ayahuasca retreat centers in South America, we limit our retreats to 10 people. This is so because we believe in giving attendees personal attention. By limiting the retreat size, we can better dedicate our attention to help our attendees achieve whatever intentions they set forth prior to the ceremony.  Ayahuasca ceremonies are sacred and we believe it is not just about giving the participants Ayahuasca. We wholeheartedly believe in giving our attendees individual attention as well as delivering the most genuine Ayahuasca ceremony experience filled with live music, ancient songs, and traditional ceremony protocols.

 

#4. Arkana or Pulse Tours??

Why Arkana is One of the Best Ayahuasca Retreats:

  1. Apart from Ayahuasca, Arkana works with plant medicines such as Nunu, San Pedro, and Kambo, using the traditional practices of the indigenous cultures of the Peruvian Amazon.
  2. Arkana Valle lies in a magical canyon among vast green fields and towering mountains locally known as “Apus”. 

More About Arkana’s Ayahuasca Ceremonies:

The Shipibo shamans on staff here obviously have great respect for the plants and the knowledge and healing that comes with them. You’ll feel like you’re part of their community as you merge with nature at the   2.2 million hectare Pacaya Samiria National Reserve surrounding the retreat. Fresh, clean, delicious meals that promote your Ayahuasca experience, and you’ll learn to integrate healthy habits into your routine with our yoga classes and extensive selection of gym equipment, too.

It’s strongly believed here that the health of the physical body sets the foundation for the health of the energetic body – a fact that is often ignored at ayahuasca retreats. Relax your mind and spirit with sound baths, meditations, pranayama breathwork, and chanting circles, or simply enjoy the tranquil views of the Ucayali River, surrounded by lush biodiversity and the mesmerizing sounds of the jungle.

 

#6 Spirit Vine Retreats

Why Spirit Vine is One of the Best Ayahuasca Retreats:

  1. Co-founder, Silvia Polivoy, a licensed psychologist who has been working with modified states of consciousness and ayahuasca for over 25 years. She has integrated a variety of techniques, including “claircognizance” – when the higher self or spirit guides ‘put’ information (in the form of thought) into her mind. It can be a gut feeling or a whole body of information that is ‘downloaded’ into the mind or it can be in the form of smaller insights about people and situations here and there.
  2. They grow our own ayahuasca vine and chacruna plants and the ayahuasca brew with much loving care and attention. 
  3. Magical setting of the jungle (Atlantic rainforest) together with the astonishing beaches of the Atlantic ocean, the bungalow accommodations with breathtaking views

More About Spirit Vine’s Ayahuasca Ceremonies:

The excellence of this retreat is the attention to detail in every aspect, the magical setting of the jungle (Atlantic rainforest) together with the astonishing beaches of the Atlantic ocean, the bungalow accommodations with breathtaking views, delicious vegan and vegetarian food, hospitality, focus on safety, personal attention, comfort with modern amenities, and organic ayahuasca grown on the land.

The highlight of this retreat is the workshops created by the co-founder, Silvia Polivoy, a licensed psychologist who has been working with modified states of consciousness and ayahuasca for over 25 years. She has integrated all her background with shamanic techniques to effectively guide those who feel attracted to this combination of eastern and western methods.

The moment you enter the gates of the Spirit Vine center you feel a sense of protection and lightness wash over you, and the serene sounds of the jungle instantly transport you to a relaxed state of mind. The most commonly reported benefits of this retreat are participants discovering the causes of their blockages which are not temporal. The participants learn to journey safely to the source which is the spiritual realm to transform their blockages and reconnect with their power. These techniques can be used not just during the ayahuasca ceremonies, they can also be applied in everyday life to overcome obstacles.

There are yoga classes on the day of the ceremony to help participants feel a deeper connection with themselves which is also very helpful in preparation for the ceremony. There is also ample free time to relax, process the experiences, the option to get a massage and visit the nearby beaches.

#7 Temple of the Way of Light

Why Temple of the Way of Light is One of the Best Ayahuasca Retreats:

  1. Predominantly Female Healers – A unique focus on working with Onanya Ainbobo – indigenous women healers working within the rich and complex medical tradition of the Shipibo people. The women healers are complemented by Shipibo male healers who provide a vital balance to the healing work.
  2. Staff trained in first aid, fully equipped first-aid kits, emergency protocols, permanent communications on and off-site (cell and radio), 24-hour transport to Iquitos, a contracted medical clinic in Iquitos, and 3-4 staff supervising each ceremony (2 facilitators, a door person, and a toilet assistant). These standards are complemented by an extensive support staff of 60 people throughout the Temple grounds.
  3. Permaculture program on the 175 hectares of Temple grounds and in our local village as a means of incorporating the principles of self-sufficiency, regeneration, and social responsibility. The program includes a wide range of projects: sustainable ayahuasca production, food forests, perennial vegetable production, staple crops, medicinal plants, renewable energy systems and more.

More About Temple of the Way of Light:

The Temple of the Way of Light is a healing center in the Peruvian Amazon that has facilitated safe ayahuasca healing retreats for thousands of guests from more than 30 countries since our foundation in March 2007. Offering a synthesis of ancient Shipibo healing traditions and modern and Eastern integrative practices, the Temple is proud to be known as the safest and one of the most respected and long-established plant-spirit shamanism centers in the Amazon Rainforest.

All of our ayahuasca healing retreats feature a balance of highly experienced female and male healers (Onanya) from the indigenous Shipibo tribe. This incredible team of healers represents over 250 years of experience practicing the ancient art of ayahuasca shamanism. They are supported by our highly trained and knowledgeable Western facilitators, who act as a critical cultural bridge between the healers and our guests.

#8 The Ayahuasca Foundation

Why The Ayahuasca Foundation is One of the Best Ayahuasca Retreats:

  1. The Ayahuasca Foundation operates two locations; The Riosbo Ayahuasca Retreat & Research Center and a Shipibo Plant Medicine School. They are involved with research studies constantly improving their retreat program and place a strong emphasis on education. 
  2. They have one of the longest retreats with the highest number of Ayahuasca ceremonies in a single retreat (12 ceremonies in the 4-week retreat). Like most therapies, multiple sessions exponentially increases the odds of getting desired results.
  3. Much more than just ayahuasca ceremonies, our healing retreats feature a multitude of additional treatments outside of the ceremonies, including plant baths, vapor baths, smoke baths, inhalants, purgatives, poultices, massage, counseling, and any internal or topical medical treatment that might be needed to heal particular illnesses or afflictions.  

More About The Ayahuasca Foundation:

One of the key ingredients to successful treatment is a high level of patient engagement, which is why we often use the term ‘participant.’ Participation is fundamental in the healing process, especially when dealing with emotional traumas, which are nearly always involved with any affliction. So, in our practice, we encourage participants to fully engage in their own processes, to assist the healers and the healing with their own energy, attitude, and faith. The ayahuasca ceremonies are certainly a prime time for this engagement to take place, so we direct a portion of each ceremony specifically towards active participation.

About two-thirds of the way through each ceremony, the healers will have performed the majority of their work, calling in spirits, raising and leveling off the intensity of the experience, and communicating with the spirits of the plants, animals, and ancestors to help alleviate the suffering and heal the afflictions of the ceremony participants. At this point, each participant will be asked if he/she would like to contribute to the ceremony by singing. This is a chance for each person to fully engage in the process. It doesn’t have to be an icaro, or song sung specifically for healing, but can really be anything, for it is the intention and energy behind it that are what’s most important. It is certainly not mandatory, but it is recommended because of the clear benefits we have observed in countless participants.

Find Ayahuasca Retreats Near You

Aya started in South America but due to popular demand is explaining to new locations around the globe. You can use our directory to find locations