The Best Ayahuasca Retreats Around the World

Best Ayahuasca Retreats

It’s important to choose the best ayahuasca retreats for your health and safety. We’ve been to a few around the world – here are some of the best!

By Chere Di Boscio

Twenty years ago, ayahuasca (sometimes also called yage) was barely known by Westerners. But this powerful plant medicine had been revered by those peoples living in the Amazon for millennia. They knew this brew could do so much: heal the body to help people have spiritual revelations regarding their purpose on earth, know the true nature of the universe, and learn how they could fulfill their true potential.

In short, it can provide a powerful spiritual awakening, and those who take it even report they visit  higher spiritual dimensions  and make contact with various spiritual or extra-dimensional beings who can act as guides or healers.

But this is no ‘recreational drug’. Serious vomiting or diarrhea can follow ayahuasca ingestion; such purging is considered by many shamans to be the release of negative energy and emotions built up over the course of one’s life.

The ingestion of ayahuasca can also cause significant, but temporary, emotional and psychological distress. Excessive use can lead to serotonin syndrome, and there have even been  deaths after people drank ayahuasca with unscreened heart conditions, interaction with other drugs, caffeine, or nicotine.

For that reason, it’s essential to choose the best ayahuasca retreats in the world. Retreats that are professionally run by knowledgeable shamans and other practitioners.

Word of mouth is the best way to go – and that’s why we’re now publishing this list of the best ayahuasca retreats around the world. Me, my staff or people I know well have been to all of these places. I can firmly state I know these retreats will deliver the safest and most potentially life changing experiences possible.

The Best Ayahuasca Retreats Around the World


1. The Cautious One: Etnikas

This is definitely one of the best ayahuasca retreats in the world – and one of the very safest.

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. The can be 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…

Best Ayahuasca Retreats

Best Ayahuasca Retreats

2. The Celeb Hangout: Rythmia

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.

This is one of the best ayahuasca retreats for finding inspiration. 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. However, we have reservations about the number of people who are involved in ceremonies. This can be up to 70! We don’t think that gives you the personalised attention you may need.

Want more details about what goes on here? Check out our in depth review here.

Best Ayahuasca Retreats

Best Ayahuasca Retreats

3. The Popular One: Gaia Sagrada

Authentic Ecuadorian Shamans help guide your unforgettable experience through consciousness. Over the course of 12 days, they will lead you through your experiences with ayahuasca and San Pedro. This is one of the best ayahuasca retreats for those who want to ensure they’re in trusted, experienced hands. Unlike other countries, in Ecuador, shamans have to be certified and authorised to practice their trade. We think that’s a great thing!

Expect all the mod cons in this Andean retreat, including not only wifi and hot showers, but also hot tubs and a sauna. Gaia Sagrada has all the facilities you need to help you focus on your inner journey. Choose between shared dorm rooms, or Casa Tranquila, the house with private bedrooms but shared common areas.

After just a few hours here, you’ll soon understand why this aya retreat is top ranked on all review sites.

Best Ayahuasca Retreats

Best Ayahuasca Retreats

4. The Traditional Jungle One: Pulse

Apart from ayahuasca, Pulse works with plant medicines such as Nunu, which is fine. But they also work with Kambo. We do NOT approve of or recommend the latter, due to the fact that this causes serious stress and harm to animals.

Still, this is one of the best ayahuasca retreats for those who want the experience in the natural setting that aya comes from. 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 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.

Best Ayahuasca Retreats

Best Ayahuasca Retreats

5. The Tropical One: Spirit Vine Retreats

The excellence of this retreat is the attention to detail in every aspect! There’s the magical setting of the jungle (Atlantic rainforest) together with the astonishing beaches of the Atlantic ocean. You’ll love the bungalow accommodations with breathtaking views, and the delicious vegan and vegetarian food.

But this is also one of the best ayahuasca retreats for hospitality, its focus on safety, personal attention, comfort with modern amenities. We also love that they prepare their own organic ayahuasca, grown on their own 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. 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.

Best Ayahuasca Retreats

Best Ayahuasca Retreats



Chere Di Boscio
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25 thoughts on “The Best Ayahuasca Retreats Around the World”

  1. Jonathan de Potter

    Thanks Chere for this compiled list of 5 best ayahuasca retreats. Mother Ayahuasca is undoubtedly the plant medicine which helps connect people with their true selves and elevates consciousness. A lot of leaders, executives and entrepreneurs are now entering the psychedelic world to experience powerful transformations and unleash their true potential. Even scientists are conducting clinical trials to prove the medical benefits of these sacred medicines. While choosing the retreats, one must do proper research and go for such retreats which are reputed in the psychedelics industry for many years. We have compiled a list of 10 Best Safe and Legal Ayahuasca Retreats which will give the readers a fair idea about where to head for a safe experience.

    1. Hi Vickie! Thanks for getting in touch. Ayahuasca is illegal in Bali, and the penalties for taking any kind of plant medicine like it are extremely harsh. I’d personally advise strongly against doing this in Bali.

  2. I like how you promote top listings in different categories of “Best” – since everyone has their own definition of what “Best” means to them. I’ve only been to which is a new retreat center started by Santiago a well-known shaman who used to work at Gaia Sagrada. He now runs his own center and although I’ve only been to this retreat, I’ve talked to many others who know him as one of the best real traditional shamans who can speak English. Much love!

    1. Thanks for the recommend Neil! You’re right: ‘best’ is very subjective, but all of these retreats were visited and verified by staffers or those close to them….it’s nice to have one more to consider, though, so thanks for your comment!

  3. Hello,

    I would like to add to the list. If you research the center Kawsay Ayahuasca Retreat you will see the extraordinary healing work that is performed by old-time ayahuasca shamans and genuine San Pedro shamans. The ceremonies are done in the old time tradition with fantastic results in healing.

  4. Great article !!
    Other than this list I would really like to recommend is
    Their Retreat is well organized and the property is magical. The shamans were incredible and all the individuals working there were warm and genuine. The person organizing the retreat is an American who has lived for over 40 years in Latin America, the last 10 working with Ayahuasca in both Peru and Mexico. The center is located in the heart of the jungle with bungalows, a pool and the traditional space for Ayahuasca ceremonies called a maloca. This is one of the best place to heal your soul and give your mind peace. I’m sure you won’t regret it.
    I’ll highly recommend you to give a shot..because its worth it !!

  5. This is a great article that shows just how far ayahuasca has traveled from the Amazon rainforest. Thanks for posting it. There are numerous centers in South America and especially Peru. The Ayahuasca Foundation offers healing retreats but they also offer courses that teach traditional healing methods from the Shipibo tradition as well as holistic integrative practices like epigenetics and breathwork.
    The Ayahuasca Foundation courses involve Noya Rao diets as well as diets with plants like bobinsana, marusa, chullachaqui, and chiric sanango. They also offer botanical plant medicine courses and host research at their new research center. Worth checking out…

  6. Fantastic article, thank you!!
    I was very fortunate to find AYA Healing Retreats an Ayahuasca retreat ceneter in Peru, last year
    They are extraordinary people and their Shaman have great knowledge of plant medicine and us human.
    They also work with Master Plant Dieta witch I think its the best way to combine an Ayahuasca retreat with the knowledge and support from other plants.
    I did my diet with Noya Rao, and I will be forever grateful for this experience, it did change my life in way than not in my wildest dreams I would have thought.
    Thank you so much to Mother Ayahuasca, Noya Rao and to all team at AYA Healing Retreats!!

    1. I’ve been in several ayahuasca retreat centers in the last few years, but really, Aya Healing Retreats is still one of the best so far. They’re on another level for integrity and professionality. I’m planning to go back next year!

        1. Thank you Pauline & Terry for the kind words off affirmation, the team at AYA Healing Retreats lives for this sort of feedback from their work.

          Most of the retreats are located in Iquitos Peru at El Encanto De Chullachaqui (the name of the retreat center).

          But they also have popup offerings around the world, with Costa Rica, Portugal, and Spain on the list for the upcoming year.

        2. Most of the retreats are located in Iquitos Peru at El Encanto De Chullachaqui (the name of the retreat center).

          But they also have popup offerings around the world, with Costa Rica, Portugal, and Spain on the list for the upcoming year

    2. Pauline and Terry, thank you for the kind words of affirmation. I’ll be sure to pass it along to the team, this is the sort of thing that makes their day.

      Currently AYA Healing Retreats runs most of their retreats out of Iquitos at a center called El Encanto De Chullachaqui.

      They also have pop-up offerings around the world with this year including Portugal, Spain, and Costa Rica.

      The AYA Healing Retreats website has more info..

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