Psychedelics like psilocybin and ayahuasca have been shown to improve mental health and wellness. Often ceremonial, a retreat center can bring the best in much-needed rest and rejuvenation, too.
As pandemic- and climate-related cases of depression skyrocket, a growing number of people are turning to psilocybin mushrooms, ketamine, LSD, MDMA, and ayahuasca among others, for a new way approach to healing.
A new study published by Johns Hopkins University found that psychedelic treatment along with psychotherapy may mitigate symptoms of depression for as long as a year. It’s an advancement in how we approach mental health and wellbeing. As many as 30 percent of patients diagnosed with depression don’t respond to conventional pharmaceutical treatments.
To that end, psychedelic retreats are popping up around the globe, giving guests an opportunity to work with professionals in some of the most beautiful backdrops in the world.
What is a psychedelic retreat?
Substances, healing sessions, and practitioner styles vary widely, but generally speaking, psychedelic retreats are set in environments that facilitate personal connections with nature as well as allow quiet space for the administering of substances.
Retreats may work with shamans—Indigenous people trained in plant or fungi medicines that may be part of their lineage. Other retreats may see more modern therapists and licensed practitioners helming the substance ceremonies.
Most all retreats incorporate integration periods between and after the psychedelics have been administered.
When looking for a psychedelic retreat, there are options for most every budget, and while many people may choose to leave their city and head to a more lush, remote part of the world, there are a growing number of centers and practitioners doing this work in major cities, too.
Are psychedelic retreats legal?
While a growing number of cities and one U.S. state so far have decriminalized psychedelics (In Oregon’s case therapeutic psilocybin isn’t just decriminalized, it’s legal), they’re generally illegal under the Controlled Substances Act. But that’s just the U.S.
Around the world, a few countries do allow the use of certain psychedelic substances. These include the Netherlands and Jamaica for psilocybin, as well as Mexico.
There are legal protections for ayahuasca, too, in countries including Brazil, Costa Rica, Italy, Mexico, Colombia, and Peru.
Some other countries have conditional restrictions, like in the U.S., certain psychedelic substances are deemed legal when they fall under religious use.
Luxury psychedelic retreats
For the seeker interested in a true transformative experience, luxury retreats may be the way to go. An immersive experience in a beautiful part of the world can bring healing in more ways than one.
1. MycoMeditations, Jamaica
Enjoy seven nights in Treasure Beach, Jamaica, at the MycoMeditations resort. The focus here is on psilocybin therapy, and includes lodging options, plant-forward Jamaican meals, massage and day spa sessions.
Bring a notebook for the classes on the history and benefits of mushrooms, and enjoy the lush property’s greenery and low-key vibes.
2. Synthesis, Netherlands
Just a thirty-minute drive outside of Amsterdm is the Synthesis retreat in the coastal area, Zandvoort. There psilocybin truffle ceremonies run for three to five days in a hundred-year-old renovated church.
The psilocybin is administered by facilitators and therapists, and guests have access to plant-based meals, private coaching, the Lighthouse grounds’ gardens, saunas, and more.
3. The Buena Vida Psilocybin Retreat, Mexico
Not far from Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, is the Buena Vida psilocybin retreat center, which focuses on shaman-led cemeronies over the course of six to seven nights.
Guests experience home-cooked meals, day trips to the surrounding nature areas, meditation, sound baths, and cacao ceremonies.
The retreat preparation includes counseling and guidance sessions with a trauma specialist and integration follow-ups.
4. Mushroom Tao, Thea Retreats, Costa Rica
At the luxe Thea retreat center nestled in the mountains above the beaches of Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, the secluded Thea center is is a sacred space, dedicated entirely to wellness. With just three villas, Thea aims to keep its offerings incredibly intimate.
A typical Mushroom Tao-led retreat includes three psilocybin ceremonies, nature hikes and ocean trips, farm-to-table vegan meals, yoga, massage, sound healing and more luxe amenities.
5. Silo Wellness, Jamaica
Silo Wellness launched several luxe psilocybin retreats for 2022 and they’re aimed at ticking all the boxes. From daily yoga and mindfulness meditations to the ceremonies themselves with expert Rastafarian facilitators leading the experience.
Enjoy the lush grounds to fully immerse in nature and enjoy the Jamaican landscape, beaches, and rivers. The Good Hope Villas include a stunning infinity pool, private beach, river and fresh Jamaican food made with locally grown ingredients.
6. Soltara Healing Center, Costa Rica
In the tropical Gulf of Nicoya in Costa Rica, Soltara offers a lush escape from the bustle of city life and healing with the DMT-rich plant brew, ayahuasca. Visits can last up to three weeks, with guests working with Shipibo healers from Peru to understand the medicine and how it works.
An intimate setting, with no more than 20 guests per visit, the center offers floral baths, spa treatments, and nature immersion in its more than 20 acres of Costa Rican rainforest, just steps away from the ocean.
7. Ayahuasca Foundation, Peru
The Ayahuasca Foundation offers a range of retreats in Iquitos in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon. The eight-day luxury retreats include ayahuasca ceremonies guided by Andean shamans. Retreats are limited to a maximum of 12 participants.
Facilitators also offer yoga, meditation, body work, and external medicinal plant treatments, as well as swimming and “ethno-botanical” hiking.
8. Rhythmia, Costa Rica
Visit one of the five Blue Zones of the world when you head to Rhythmia in Costa Rica—a 90-minute drive from the Liberia airport. Once at the retreat, you’ll experience ayahuasca ceremonies in a celebrity-loved facility that includes first-rate accomadtions, and top-notch facilitators.
Enjoy the luxury pool, fine vegan dining, talks and workshops from health and wellness experts, and immerse in the natural surroundings in between ceremonies.
9. Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Retreat Center, Brazil
Based in the Atlantic Rainforest along the coast of Bahia in Brazil, Spirit Vine has been hosting ayahuasca retreats sine the ’90s. The center offers nine and 11 day retreats aimed at integration and reflection between ceremonies.
Relax in the jungle or beach side and enjoy the 39 acres of lush preserved area where Spirit Vine is located. Enjoy daily yoga and vegan meals made with food from the center’s own organic garden where it also grows its own ayuasca ingredients.
Before starting a psychedelic treatment regimen, always be sure to discuss with your primary care physician and mental health practitioner. This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.