If you’re interested in taking part in legal and professionally organised Ayahuasca ceremonies, then the best place to do that is the Amazon rainforest in South America. In my opinion the best country to visit for the sheer number of options available is Peru, particularly in the Iquitos area.
If you come to the Amazon to drink Ayahuasca then you have two main options. If you’re an experienced traveller with a very adventurous soul then you can just turn up to somewhere like Iquitos and drink with various shamans on your own without booking anything in advance. Quite a lot of people do this and it is certainly the cheapest option however it carries more risks (which I’ll write about another time).
If you’re not an experienced traveller or you just prefer something a little more organised then the very best option is to take part in a group retreat. With a group retreat all the organisation is taken care of and all you have to do is show up. Simple right? Well almost, but not quite.
Ayahuasca retreats come in different shapes and sizes and not all of them will be suitable for your needs, so before you potentially fork out a lot of money it’s important to choose a retreat that is right for you. How you decide should be primarily influenced by your reasons for wanting to experience Ayahuasca.
For example are you looking for deep healing? A cure for addiction? Shamanic training? Spiritual development? Or are you just curious? There’s a whole bunch of different reasons why people come to the Amazon in search of an Ayahuasca experience.
So, when looking for a suitable retreat, it is important to be very aware of what your intention is and what you want to get out of it. As you research different retreats keep your intention in mind and pay attention to your feelings about the places that interest you. Your intuition will almost always be right if you know how to listen to it.
Keep the following questions in mind when researching different Ayahuasca retreats.
– Why do you want to drink ayahuasca? Physical health, mental health, emotional health, spiritual health/exploration, trying something new etc.? Answering this will automatically rule out some retreats and suggest others.
– What sort of group size do you feel comfortable with? Some retreats work with small groups of less than 10. Others have groups sizes of more than 20.
– Do you have any strict dietary requirements? Most retreats provide a simple ayahuasca friendly diet, that is mostly vegetarian, however some places may not cater very well for vegans.
– What level of comfort do you need? How much are you willing to pay for that? Again, answering this narrows the options.
– Do you want to experience traditional ceremonies with a native shaman, or does it matter if the shaman is a westerner? There are a small number of retreat centers that don’t use native shaman to hold the ceremonies.
– Will you want to be able to speak with the shamans and learn from them? Will there be someone available to translate the questions and answers (if you don’t speak Spanish)?
– What have other people said about the retreats you are interested in? Is the feedback positive?
– What other activities/healing modalities are offered?
– Is the center profit or non-profit? Do they say what they do with the money? This issue is important to some people.
If you’re clear about the answers to these questions then you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a retreat thatâ€™s right for you. Always do as much research as necessary and always trust your own internal guidance and intuition.
Of course I hope that you will consider doing a retreat with Ayahuasca Odyssey but I understand that what we offer won’t be suitable for everyone. Whoever you decide to choose, I wish you all the best in finding a suitable Ayahuasca retreat and I hope that your experience is a great one.