What are the Best Ayahuasca Retreats? A Guide

So you’ve decided you want to embrace ancient shamanic plant medicine by heading to an Ayahuasca retreat in 2024 but don’t know where to start? You’ve come to the right place.

Deciding to take the plunge into your first Ayahuasca retreat is a pretty big deal (it’s a very transformative experience), and deciding which retreat to go to is an even bigger one. Some will say let the medicine call you on your path to personal growth, you’ll know when the time is right — and I have to agree. You’ll have many questions. I certainly did when I had my first Ayahuasca experience. I’ve since done a second Ayahuasca retreat this past year and it was truly a life-changing experience, especially on the last day at the end of the retreat. Just like Lindsay Lohan said it would be 😛 Jokes aside, I see a huge potential in this with regard to how Western medicine is evolving around the topic of treating mental health.

What can I expect from an Ayahuasca retreat on my first plant medicine ceremony? Where can I find the best retreats? Will it be a highly hallucinogenic experience? How do I choose the right Ayahuasca retreat centers for myself? And what about iboga?

Below I’ve put together as much information as possible about Ayahuasca retreats and their spiritual practice as well as a number of Ayahuasca retreat 2024 recommendations (make sure there are no travel restrictions and that you get your travel insurance), including many Ayahuasca retreat Europe destinations, as well as the best Ayahuasca retreat USA 2024 or nearby spots.

ayahuasca retreat 2024 recommendations

If you’re in search of some Ayahuasca retreat Berlin 2024 options, it’s a tricky one for sure, but they do exist if you know where to look. Alternatively, the Netherlands or Spain are good options where such things are often legal or at least more tolerated than in Germany.

What is Ayahuasca?

First things first, what actually is Ayahuasca?

The Ayahuasca plant is a psychoactive brew that can date back over 1,000 years in South America and was traditionally used by ancient Amazonians and indigenous people to aid deep healing and in spiritual and religious practices. The natural plant medicine often dubbed the “vine of the soul” is made by boiling together the leaves of the Psychotria Viridis shrub with the stalks of the Banisteriopsis Caapi vine.

The leaves of the Psychotria Viridis plant contain a natural hallucinogen known as DMT (N.N.-Dimethylptamine), while the Banisteriopsis Caapi Ayahuasca vine contains MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors) called beta-carbolines that stop the body from breaking down DMT, allowing its effects to work.

The combination of these ingredients creates a powerful psychedelic brew that causes its drinkers an altered state of consciousness which usually includes out-of-body experiences, visual and auditory hallucinations, and feelings of euphoria. It can be some of the most transformative life experiences and even induce physical healing for some, but medicinal plants are no recreational drug. Please do your research and treat the plant with great respect before embarking on your Ayahuasca journey of the spirit world.

best ayahuasca retreats

Why do people go on an Ayahuasca Retreat?

While Ayahuasca has its origins in ancient Amazonian ceremonies and indigenous tribes throughout the Amazon basin, the psychoactive brew has more recently become a focus of spiritual tourism and general plant medicine healing.

Ayahuasca is a natural healing medicine and is praised for its ability to help users access repressed memories, increase self-awareness, let go of past traumas and negative thoughts, and feel more connected to the natural world through heightened states of consciousness. Describing the exact effects of Ayahuasca is difficult as everyone’s journey is different, but many people come away from the experience with profound realizations about themselves and the world around them and a sense of spiritual awakening.

The Shamanic medicine is now also believed to have many long-term health benefits, including reducing depression and anxiety, as well as treating PTSD, sexual abuse trauma, substance addiction, and more. What better way to venture into the fascinating world of psychedelics than with these powerful medicinal plants?

A pretty impressive resume for a simple Ayahuasca brew! Makes sense why more and more people are choosing to go on Ayahuasca retreats as part of their healing process and why more and more recent research and clinical trials are turning to Ayahuasca to help patients with resistant depression and traumatic stress disorder — and the significant improvements found have been amazing.

With Ayahuasca being illegal in some countries such as the USA, Canada, and the UK (so sadly I don’t have any specific Ayahuasca retreat UK (specifically Ayahuasca retreat London) or Ayahuasca retreat in USA recommendations for you, but if you’re willing to travel, I think it’s the best option), Ayahuasca retreats also mean that people from all around the world can travel to a safe setting and experience the substance’s transformative effects without resorting to any sketchy underground Ayahuasca dens back home.

What happens at an Ayahuasca Retreat?

An Ayahuasca healing retreat is somewhat like a yoga retreat in that a group of people comes together to go through a spiritual journey under the care of qualified and experienced teachers and support staff. Except in an Ayahuasca retreat, guests also take part in Ayahuasca ceremonies led by indigenous shamans, also with years of experience.

During an Ayahuasca ceremony, which commonly takes place at night, a shaman prepares the sacred brew and gives it to retreat participants who gather in a safe sacred space. The effects of Ayahuasca (also called mother Ayahuasca, or Mama Ayahuasca by many because it is known to give a very motherly life-changing experience) usually take around 30 minutes to begin and can last for around 5-6 hours.

While the Ayahuasca ceremonies may be the focus of many retreats, most also combine them with ceremonies using other “Master Plants” – plants used in natural shamanic medicine – as well as the healing arts of yoga sessions, meditation, massage, music, sound bath, and the grounding of Mother Earth to aid the overall transformation process in a safe space. They can be held in small or larger groups.

Almost every Ayahuasca retreat will also include participants undertaking a special master plant dietas before and during the retreat, which includes cutting out most meat, caffeine, alcohol, spices, dairy, citrus, and refined sugars in order to prepare your body for the medicine ceremonies.

Read my first Ayahuasca experience for a breakdown of what goes down and Ayahuasca retreat reviews, but do know that Ayahuasca has a purging effect and there will be little puke buckets and a roll of toilet paper as part of your experience 😛 Spoiler – mine was an amazing experience that’s had many positive effects on my life and the plant spirits stayed with me long after the experience.

Recommended Ayahuasca Retreat 2024 Centers

During an Ayahuasca ceremony, you’ll be putting your physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing into the hands of the shaman and the retreat organizers. That’s a lot of responsibility right? This is why it’s best to do your research in advance and stick to the most reputable and recommended Ayahuasca retreats to feel like you truly are in a safe environment to do the medicine work.

When it comes to choosing an Ayahuasca retreat, there are a few main things to consider and these are the best ways to feel at ease with this new experience. These include the reputation of the retreat center, the experience and qualifications of the shaman, the type of other guests who will be in the retreat and taking part in the ceremonies with you, the other natural medicines used – are you comfortable taking part in these too? – and the other activities and facilities available at the retreat — because there are some luxury ayahuasca retreat options and some more basic ones.

Below are a few of my recommendations for the best Ayahuasca retreats around the world to get you started on your path to long term unconditional love and spiritual growth.

Ayahuasca Retreat 2024 in the Americas

Spazio Buzios Brazil

brazil ayahuasca retreat

Let’s be honest – the idea of trying Ayahuasca for the first time can be a little daunting, and that might be the reason why so many of my US readers are landing here in search of an Ayahuasca retreats USA destinations. It’s totally understandable if you’re not comfortable immersing yourself immediately into nightly ceremonies in a hut in the middle of the Amazonian rainforest – it’s a bit of a step up from your average detox retreat.

If you’re looking for a soft introduction to Ayahuasca and Santo Daime in South America, this Brazil Ayahuasca retreat is one of my top recommendations. Set in a cozy guesthouse in the beautiful coastal resort town of Armação dos Búzios, this six-day Ayahuasca retreat offers a single Ayahuasca ceremony – in a small group under the guidance and open arms of a respected shaman – combined with plenty of other wellness activities including twice daily yoga, meditation, massages and reiki. Plus, the retreat also includes excursions around the beautiful beaches and islands of Búzios so you can enjoy some fun and exploration in between ceremonies. Definitely one of the best Ayahuasca retreats in the natural beauty of South America for those who are new to Shamanic plant medicine. A fantastic way to take care of your mental health and get away from your daily life.

Style: Yoga and Ayahuasca Retreat
Duration: 6 days / 5 nights
Price: From $1,131
Closest Airport: Rio de Janeiro–Galeão International Airport (133 km)
Airport pick up included? Yes
Skill Level: Beginner
Languages: English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.
Vegan Friendly? Yes

Vikara Lifestyle Ecuador

recommended ayahuasca retreat ecuador

The only sacred plant medicine retreat center right on the beach in Ecuador, Vikara offers luxury Ayahuasca healing retreats that combine the healing properties of the ocean with the transformative powers of natural medicine to offer guests a life-changing spiritual experience. At their nine-day retreat you’ll be able to experience the profound transformative qualities of two ayahuasca ceremonies, along with the healing effects of other natural medicines through the San-Pedro ceremony – which uses Huachuma, another psychoactive hallucinogenic plant – and the Mexican Temazcal – sweat lodge – ceremony for purification and rebirth. The resort also features an outdoor swimming pool and yoga shala overlooking the ocean to take care of your body as well as your mind on this highly recommended Ayahuasca retreat. Another good one to look into is Gaia Sagrada.

Style: Yoga and Ayahuasca Retreat
Duration: 9 days / 8 nights
Price: From $1,332
Closest Airport: José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport (105 km)
Airport pick up included? No, but can be added for $81 per person.
Skill level: Beginner and intermediate
Languages: English, German and Spanish
Vegan Friendly? On request

Huamanwasi Ashram, Peru


Experience Ayahuasca where it first originated by immersing yourself in the magical Amazon jungle and the sacred valley of Peru, surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes rich in a variety of plants and animal species and the guidance of indigenous Peruvian shipibo healers. Where better to connect fully with the natural world? Huamanwasi Ashram is home to one of the best Ayahuasca retreat options Peru has to offer, with 14 days to clarify and purify your mind, body and emotions through daily yoga and meditation, medicinal plant baths and ceremonies evoking the healing powers of the ancient Amazonian Master Plants of ayahuasca, wachuma and yawar panga. Look no further for a safe, accommodating, and transformative Ayahuasca retreat in Peru.

Style: Ayahuasca and Yoga
Duration: 14 days / 13 nights
Price: From $1,592
Closest Airport: Cad. FAP Guillermo del Castillo Paredes Airport (15 km)
Airport pick up included? No
Skill level: Beginner, intermediate and advanced
Languages: French and Spanish
Vegan Friendly? On request

Kula Collective, Guatemala

guatemala ayahuasca

For those looking for an Ayahuasca retreat USA location, South American countries’ retreat centers might be your closest option as Ayahuasca is not currently legal in the United States. Awaken your inner truth at this transformative yoga and Ayahuasca retreat in Guatemala. The retreat is run by Kula Collective at The Yoga Forest, a young, dynamic earth-based spirit community. Through daily yoga, meditation, reiki, and other healing arts on the edge of sacred Lake Atitlan, surrounded by towering volcanoes, you’ll learn to live in the present moment and purge the physical and emotional blockages which are holding you back, followed by ceremonies using ayahuasca, washuma, and medicinal mushrooms to cleanse yourself on a spiritual level, aid your journey of self-realization and help manifest your dreams. This full shamanic cleanse is guaranteed to help you get as much as possible out of your ayahuasca experience.

Style: Ayahuasca and Yoga
Duration: 8 days / 7 nights
Price: From $1,466
Closest Airport: La Aurora International Airport (80 km)
Airport pick up included? No, but can be added for $94 per person
Skill level: Beginner, intermediate and advanced
Languages: English, Sanskrit and Spanish
Vegan Friendly? On request

Ayahuasca retreat recommendations in Costa Rica

Ayahuasca Retreat Europe 2024

Ayahuasca retreat in Barcelona, Spain

Imagine this: you’re laying down next to a tree, in front of the lake. It’s 7am and you just walked out of the best night of your life. Your breath is fuller, your heart more open as you accept that you’re loved. If I had to describe Avalon, it would be this precise feeling. Avalon is a retreat center found near Barcelona (incidentally, do check out my vegan Barcelona guide!), in a place designed for celebration: 6.5 hectares of elegant gardens, tall trees, a breathtaking lake, and a flour mill restored to pamper all one’s senses.

Designed for self-discovery and deep healing journeys, Avalon brings together the ancestral wisdom of sacred medicine and modern therapy. Ayahuasca, Bufo Alvarius, and Kambó are being shared ceremonially by highly experienced shamans, trained according to various indigenous traditions. Expect to feel truly held in a safe space as the ceremonies include 6 to 9 people trained to hold space, including a medical advisor.

Avalon’s strong point is its integration program led by a trained psychologist and a team of 25 people – all there for you through practices such as – yoga, energy therapies, healing massage, hypnotherapy, silent ecstatic dance, and holotropic breathwork, just to name a few. Avalon carefully guides your entire journey. They’ll start by answering any questions you might have about plant medicines, and offer pre-guidance and post-integration, not to mention the individual guidance session and four integration workshops during your stay.

Style: Holistic Ayahuasca Retreat
Duration: 6 days / 5 nights or 4 days / 3 nights
Price: From $1,950
Closest Airport: Barcelona Airport (152 km)
Airport pick up included? Yes
Skill level: Beginner, intermediate and advanced.
Languages: English and Spanish
Vegan Friendly? Yes

Malaga, Spain

ayahuasca retreats in europe

Although Ayahuasca may have originated in South America, and many people do still choose to travel there to take part in Ayahuasca ceremonies – USA-based travelers in particular due to its closer proximity – the increasing popularity of natural plant medicines has seen ayahuasca retreats pop up all across the world, including many much closer to home here in Europe.

This six-day Ayahuasca retreat Spain 2024 option includes three Ayahuasca ceremonies led by an experienced Peruvian shaman, as well as daily hatha yoga, a sanango ceremony in which eye drops are used to cleanse eyes and mental processes, and a rapé ceremony using a traditional herbal blend for detoxing both mind and body and getting rid of bad energy. Malaga may sound like an unusual place for a spiritual healing retreat, however, the experience takes place in a charming villa set within 400 hectares of beautiful private countryside, with its own olive grove, vegetable garden, and lake for taking long walks amongst Mother nature, plus a swimming pool, outdoor terrace and badminton court for relaxing in your spare time.

Looking for more Spain retreats? I have a full guide here.

Style: Ayahuasca and Yoga
Duration: 8 days / 7 nights
Price: From $1,466
Closest Airport: Málaga Airport (8 km)
Airport pick up included? No, but can be added for $100 per person
Skill level: Beginner, intermediate and advanced
Languages: English and Spanish
Vegan Friendly? Yes

Ayahuasca retreat Portugal


Set in a clifftop villa overlooking the ocean in Portugal’s stunning Algarve, this six-day European Ayahuasca retreat includes transformative Ayahuasca ceremonies with a Peruvian shaman, daily yoga and rapé sessions, a kambo ceremony, san pedro ceremony, and sananga ceremony. Then, in your free time, you can make the most of the retreat’s idyllic location by exploring the area’s many scenic hiking routes, surfing on one of the little hidden beaches or simply staying back and enjoying the outdoor pool and terrace with amazing views along the coast. A unique feature of this ayahuasca retreat is that you can also take part in two special 90-minute educational courses with the resident shaman, who has worked with Master Plants in the Amazon rainforest for over 20 years, to help you fully understand the history, traditions and processes behind the ceremonies you’re taking part in. Perfect for the more inquisitive spiritual traveler like myself. A fabulous Ayahuasca Portugal option.

Style: Ayahuasca and Yoga
Duration: 6 days / 5 nights
Price: From $1,370.
Closest Airport: Faro Airport (40 km)
Airport pick up included? No
Skill level: Beginner, intermediate and advanced
Languages: English and Portuguese
Vegan Friendly? Yes

Inner-journey, Netherlands

netherlands ayahuasca retreat

Combining sacred plant medicines with another of my favorites – a silent retreat – this unique Ayahuasca Europe retreat in the Netherlands is dedicated to helping people overcome trauma, no matter what type or to what degree. It may be a little pricier than other retreats but it’s certainly worth it for the program which is packed with shamanic medicinal ceremonies, healing therapies with specialist trauma therapists and other activities to aid you in your spiritual healing journey. The silence will give you the opportunity to really listen to and process your thoughts away from the noise and distractions of everyday life, while the schedule of ayahuasca, magic mushroom, kambo, sacred cacao, rapé and sananga ceremonies will aid in cleansing negative thoughts, toxins and energies, leading to deep spiritual and mental healing. If you’re on the lookout for Ayahuasca Berlin 2024 ceremonies, this is the closest “legal” option. For those looking for an Ayahuasca retreat London option, this is perhaps your best bet.

Style: Ayahuasca and Yoga Silent Retreat
Duration: 7 days / 6 nights
Price: From $2,995.
Closest Airport: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (13 km)
Airport pick up included? No, but pick up from Haarlem Train Station is
Skill level: Beginner, intermediate and advanced
Languages: Dutch and English
Vegan Friendly? Yes

Ayahuasca Ibiza 2024

ayahuasca ibiza 2024

Ibiza might not necessarily be the first destination that comes to mind when you’re planning a healing spiritual retreat, but hear me out. Set in a beautiful house secluded in nature with an outdoor pool, garden and large deck for yoga practice, Villa Chaya is the perfect spot for embracing the natural world and connecting with your inner self on this seven-day Ayahuasca retreat. Led by two qualified yoga teachers from Peru and Argentina, you’ll take part in daily yoga classes, shakti dance sessions, and mindfulness and breathwork workshops, all leading the path to the ancient medicine ceremony which will help you boost your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and awareness in a supportive space. Ayahuasca Ibiza 2024? Don’t mind if I do…

Style: Ayahuasca and Yoga
Duration: 7 days / 6 nights
Price: From $1,000
Closest Airport: Ibiza Airport (16 km)
Airport pick up included? Yes
Skill level: Intermediate
Languages: English, French, German, Italian and Spanish
Vegan Friendly? On request

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