Considering Ayahuasca Retreats in Mexico?
Looking for a way to connect with your inner self, experience profound spiritual growth – and get a little beach time? If so, an ayahuasca retreat in Mexico might be just what you need.
Ayahuasca is a powerful psychedelic plant medicine with an explosion in interest as a tool for self-discovery and healing. An ayahuasca retreat will administer the medicine in a guided ceremony where participants drink the brew. This ceremony is typically led by a shaman or healer experienced with ayahuasca. It will also typically incorporate traditional ceremonial routines and elements in accordance with the indigenous populations that have used ayahuasca for centuries.
Taking Ayahuasca is a journey into yourself, a free fall into your own consciousness but a higher loving intelligence joins you on the journey. You are never alone and always in good hands. So on this journey we get exactly what we need in the precise moment we need it. Trust is the operative word when working with plant medicine: trusting yourself, your spirit and the medicine.Sharon Van Bramer, Founder, Bluestone Ayahuasca
Most of the original ayahuasca retreats were located in Peru, centered around the indigenous peoples that have long respected it. Increasingly, such retreats have started to pop up in other countries (legality notwithstanding), and Mexico has become a popular destination. Mexico’s rich cultural heritage provides a unique backdrop for an ayahuasca retreat. From the ancient Aztec and Mayan ruins to the vibrant art and music scene, there’s so much to discover during your downtime.
This guide will explore everything you need to know about ayahuasca retreats in Mexico, from the legal status and costs to some well-regarded retreats.
Table of Contents
Is Ayahuasca Legal in Mexico?
Let’s start off by addressing the elephant in the room: just how legal (or illegal) are Mexican ayahuasca retreats?
Well, ayahuasca’s legal status in Mexico is a bit of a gray area.
While ayahuasca itself is not explicitly illegal, dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is. DMT is one of the brew’s main psychoactive compounds and is subject to international control, as dictated by the UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances.
Other plant medicines, such as hallucinogenic mushrooms and peyote, have been explicitly restricted in Mexico. However, Mexican laws don’t specifically mention ayahuasca, leaving it ‘unscheduled’ and outside the law. While this shouldn’t necessarily be seen as a green light, it also isn’t a red one.
With this ambiguity in mind, why choose Mexico as the destination for your ayahuasca retreat? First, while we are NOT giving out legal advice here, the practical risk of this ambiguous legality for a retreat guest is very, very low. As far as we are aware, the only legal issues that have been experienced in Mexico relate to the import/export of the ayahuasca itself. Further, Mexico offers a rich history and culture that is deeply intertwined with the use of plant medicine. From the indigenous Huichol people to the modern-day shamanic community, Mexico is a hub for psychonauts from all walks of life.
How to choose an ayahuasca retreat in Mexico?
Choosing an ayahuasca retreat can be overwhelming, especially if you’re new to the world of plant medicine. While many people may tell you to simply listen to the call of the medicine, doing your own research is also recommended!
You will want to review:
- The reputation of the retreat center and facilitators. Look for a retreat center with a good reputation that works with facilitators who are experienced and respected in the community. Read reviews and testimonials from past participants. Also try to find out more about the center’s history, philosophy, and approach to plant medicine in general. You will also want to know if the center has appropriate safety protocols in place, such as trained medical staff on site.
- Surrounding environment. Ideally, choose a retreat center that is located in a peaceful and natural environment, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. You may prefer a beach or jungle setting, something close to a city that allows you to extend your vacation…the choice is yours.
- Emphasis on integration. Look for a retreat center that recognizes the importance of integration, both during the retreat and after. A visit to a retreat is a serious investment of money and energy. Your goal should be returning from your trip with an ability to incorporate your transformative insights into your everyday life.
- Your intentions and expectations. Before choosing to visit any psychedelic retreat, you should clarify what you hope to gain from the experience. Some retreats focus more on healing and personal growth, while others emphasize spiritual development or cultural immersion. Make sure the retreat center aligns with your intentions and expectations.
Tip! Reach out to the retreat center and ask any questions you may have. This will give you an idea of their level of transparency and willingness to communicate.
The Cost of Ayahuasca Retreats in Mexico
The price of ayahuasca retreats in Mexico can vary greatly depending on the retreat center, the duration, and the amenities that are offered. On average, a one-week retreat can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 USD, with some luxury options costing substantially more. Remember, this is an all-inclusive vacation (room and board) with ceremonies and trained practitioners thrown in. So while the cost is significant, the retreat’s cost to operate is too!
Some retreat centers also offer additional services such as yoga or meditation classes, breathwork, workshops, and cultural activities. Sometimes these services are included in the price, sometimes they are not.
Tip! Always ask what exactly is included in the price to avoid any surprises down the road.
Finally, keep in mind that the cheapest option may not always be the best one for you. Cost is not the only factor to consider! Some retreats operate as not-for-profits. While they may not be the lowest-priced options, their commitment is to your transformation, not profit. You certainly want your experience to include support from trained practitioners who can help you reach your goals.
Ayahuasca Retreats To Consider in Mexico
Mexico features a variety of reputable retreat centers that will guide you on your journey. Mexico has it all, whether you’re seeking a traditional shamanic experience or a more modern approach. To make your search a little easier, we’ve listed a number of ayahuasca retreat centers in Mexico that have good reputations:
House of Dreams Ayahuasca Retreat
House of Dreams Ayahuasca Retreat. Located in Rosarito, just south of Tijuana and the US border, House of Dreams offers intimate ayahuasca ceremonies catered to your individual needs. The ayahuasca center is run by Taita Jhon Alexander Castaño, who spent over twenty years studying under Amazonian elders. Besides finding solace in nature, highlights include the yagé (ayahuasca) and cacao ceremonies, traditional tobacco purgatives, and medicinal herb steam baths.
Mexisoul Ayahuasca Retreats
Mexisoul Ayahuasca Retreats: Outside Guadalajara, this retreat center boasts the beautiful Finca el Pendulo (farm). Besides the ayahuasca ceremonies, they also offer kambo, bufo, samadhi, and a temazcal – a traditional Mexican sweat lodge that promotes physical well-being and healing.
Taking Ayahuasca is a journey into yourself, a free fall into your own consciousness but a higher loving intelligence joins you on the journey. You are never alone and always in good hands. So on this journey we get exactly what we need in the precise moment we need it. Trust is the operative word when working with plant medicine: trusting yourself, your spirit and the medicine.Sharon Van Bramer, founder of Bluestone Ayahuasca
According to Sharon Van Bramer, founder of Bluestone Ayahuasca in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico, plant medicine comes from Mother Earth. So all the ‘rituals’ or ways we honor her essence, her kindred elements and her medicines are shamanic by definition—that is, earth-based practices. “On my journey, I discovered the toxic perceptions resulting from certain experiences that sent me and my entire bloodline hurling into self-destruction. I replaced those crushing perceptions with life-affirming ones and turned my life around—not to say there’s not a LOT more work to do, but I’m on the way,” says Van Bramer.
At the Bluestone Ayahuasca Retreat, they use a specific ‘design’ or approach for their ceremony, but this design isn’t originally from Indigenous cultures. The Indigenous Shipibo tribe from the Peruvian Amazon has a unique way of conducting ceremonies. These ceremonies start and end in the dark without fire or musical instruments. They usually serve a single cup of medicine, followed by singing and chanting throughout the night to channel the power of Mother Ayahuasca. The ceremony also involves using organic tobacco and special prayers for healing directed towards the medicine inside the person, not the person. This traditional method has remained quite similar over time, allowing for a powerful connection with the medicine.
In contrast, the design used by most non-Indigenous ayahuasqueros, including those at Bluestone Retreat, was created by Peruvian ayahuasquero Diego Palma. He believed each ayahuasquero should channel the medicine in ways natural to them instead of copying a culture not their own. Palma added elements like fire, smudging, and music, believing that the unique frequency of each singer’s voice helps move energy. Participants may either enjoy or dislike the music, but it serves its purpose of influencing the energy in the space.
In addition, Palma introduced an altar or a sacred place set up by the medicine giver, honoring the medicine during the ceremony. Various musicians, including Palma, have created a large body of medicinal music for these ceremonies. In this approach, the ayahuasquero serves the medicine from behind the altar, distinguishing it from the traditional Indigenous method.
Bliss Eden Ayahuasca Center
Bliss Eden Ayahuasca Center: Situated in the jungle periphery of Tulum, Bliss Eden pioneers a unique method of ceremonial healing called the BLISS method. At the core of Bliss Eden’s approach is an emphasis on love.
Founders Leao and Serapis have both undergone a transformative journey towards awakening, and they are passionate about sharing their knowledge and experience with clients. The center also offers a range of facilities such as a pool and yoga deck as well as opportunities to observe and explore the local flora and fauna.
Xanga Guru: located in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, this center works with ayahuasca and other powerful plant medicines, including peyote and bufo. Located right on the outskirts of one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, your stay at Xanga Guru can include relaxation on the spectacular beaches of the Mayan Riviera.
Ayahuasca retreats in Mexico can provide a unique and transformative experience for those seeking spiritual growth and self-discovery. While the legality of ayahuasca in Mexico is somewhat ambiguous, the country offers a rich history and culture that is deeply intertwined with plant medicine.
The cost of retreats can vary greatly. It’s important to consider several factors, such as the center’s reputation, location, facilitator credentials, and alignment with your expectations.
Ultimately, embarking on an ayahuasca journey is not to be taken lightly, but for those who are ready and willing, the rewards can be profound and life-changing.
Read our ayahuasca FAQ article so you know enough about ayahuasca before you start researching ayahuasca retreats in Mexico!