What to Expect During an Ayahuasca Retreat

Ayahuasca Retreat

What you can expect during an Ayahuasca retreat depends entirely on which retreat you choose. Some retreats may have several activities to offer. Other retreats are mainly centered on the Ayahuasca experience.

At our retreat, we have jungle trails that you can explore and a beautiful fruit garden that you have free access to where you will find mango, orange, banana, and other fruit trees. We also offer some traditional Chinese medicine like Cupping, which can relieve tension and muscle aches.

Most people who come to an Ayahuasca retreat want peace and relaxation, and we offer ample opportunity for that. You will also be able to meet and converse with other like-minded individuals on the retreat if you so choose. At East West Lodge, you can expect some dietary suggestions to prepare for your Ayahuasca experience.

During the Ayahuasca Ceremony

Again, the ceremony will differ depending on your chosen retreat. After dark, you gather at a prescribed time in a special hut, the Ceremony Moloca, seated in a circle with our Shaman. You are giving a mattress for lounging and a bucket for purging. The Moloca is designed for your comfort and has mosquito netting and mosquito traps. Guests are asked to remain quiet and to respect the privacy and personal experiences of others.

The Shaman will say some prayers blessing our Moloca and preparing you for your journey. There will be some “helpers” standing by who will not be drinking Ayahuasca. They are a couple of people who speak English and Spanish and can offer assistance if anyone needs it.

After making his assessment, the Shaman will offer you the amount of the Ayahuasca brew that he believes is suitable for you. There is some singing of sacred songs (icaros) as the Shaman prepares you for your journey. Throughout the ceremony, the Shaman will continue to pray for the protection of the Moloca and your experience.

Some people experience “purging” or vomiting and diarrhea. Shamans believe this purging is not just a reaction to the Ayahuasca, but also a symbolic ridding of your mind and body of bad thoughts and unhealthy influences.

Your reaction to the Ayahuasca usually peaks after about two hours, and then the journey generally continues for another four to six hours.

The next day you have a required sharing meeting during which you are invited to discuss what you have experienced. You don’t have to talk about it, but you do have to attend.

It’s very difficult or impossible to tell you exactly what will happen or how your experience will unfold. The Ayahuasca experience is a very personal one, and no two experiences are alike. You can expect the next day or two after an Ayahuasca experience to be days of peace, quiet reflection, and self-assessment.

This is just a very brief outline of what you can expect. We encourage you to do as much research as you can and to contact us for further information.

Contact Us

We can give you all kinds of information, and we urge you to contact us and let us answer your questions or address any concerns. Our email address is . Your safety is our first priority.

East West Lodge Creates Annual Cash Scholarship Award

East West Lodge, announced today plans for $1,000 total in scholarship awards to be awarded annually to and divided between two full-time university students enrolled in U.S. or Canadian accredited institutions who demonstrate an interest in bringing awareness to Amazonian plant medicine.

The winners will be announced on March 1, 2018.  Click here to download the complete contest rules and


1st Prize: US$700

2nd Prize: US$300

Rules & Requirements
  • Any undergraduate and graduate students
  • 18 years and older
  • Enrolled full-time in U.S. institution
  • Essay must be between 750 and 1,500 words
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Deadline: January 31, 2018
Essay Topics

Plant medicines from the Amazon rain forests have been successfully used by the indigenous peoples of South America for over a thousand years. With the number of pharmaceutical related deaths on the rise in the U.S., perhaps Amazonian plant medicine is being overlooked and underutilized as a possible alternative in some cases.

The topic you choose should bring light to the issues surrounding Amazonian plant medicine and help raise awareness about Amazonian plant medicine uses, research and promising clinical trials.

 Winning Entries

Two entries will be chosen as the winners:

1st Prize: US$700

2nd Prize: US$300

We will publish the winning entries on our scholarship page and promote them exclusively on our social media accounts.

Scholarship Payment

One-time payment will be sent directly to the winner.

How to Apply

1. Write Your Essay

Please keep the essay between 750 and 1,500 words.

2. Submit Entry by Email

When you’ve finished your essay, please send us your essay and letters of recommendation (in scanned PDF form) by email to:

Please also be sure to include your full name, telephone number, the name of your school, your school year and your intended major.

3. Provide Proof of Enrollment

East West Lodge will contact finalists and ask them to request their official college transcript from their school and mail it to us.

Selection Process and Winners

How Will Winners Be Chosen?

Our judges will evaluate essays on style, grammar, level of research and quality of content. They will then select the two submissions that best capture the essence of the essay topics.

When Will Winners Be Announced?

After the judges submit their recommendations and come to a decision, we will notify winners by email and phone by March 1, 2018.


How Can I Learn About Ayahuasca?

Learn more about AyahuascaAyahuasca is big news these days. It is featured in books, magazines, and in medical journal articles. People are flocking to South America to live first-hand the Ayahuasca experience. We’re going to give you some tips for learning more about Ayahuasca.

Google Search

A simple Google search will bring all kinds of articles to your fingertips. There are articles on all the major news outlet websites, and in all kinds of major and highly respected publications such as The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Vanity Fair. Google is the simplest place to start your search.


Many books, beyond the scope of this article, have been written about ethnobotany and specifically Ayahuasca. It’s easy to find book recommendations on Amazon or Goodreads. One of the best known and first authors was Terence McKenna, an ethnobotanist who died in 2000. McKenna was a prolific writer, and he, alone, has penned many books.

Scientific Articles

If you’re interested in the scientific study of Ayahuasca or dimethyltryptamine (DMT), Ayahuasca’s active psychedelic ingredient, then you will want to read journal articles. There are several search engines that are specific to scientific publications. PubMed is probably the best known, and most of the articles are free to read. Medscape is another good way to read scientific publications, and membership is free.

One significant advantage to reading journal articles is that you can learn who is doing research on Ayahuasca and DMT and in which academic setting. You can always contact any of the researchers as that information is always publicly available on all academic institution websites.


There are at least 50 open and closed groups on Facebook discussing Ayahuasca. Groups have different rules for membership and posting, but it’s definitely an avenue to explore. There are probably at least as many “secret” groups that will not show up in a search, but you can hear about them in some of the other groups that you can find.

Online Discussion Forums

There are plenty of online discussion forums where you can read about the experiences of others and ask questions of your own. A simple Google search of “Ayahuasca discussion forums” will show you several to choose from.


Several documentaries have been made on Ayahuasca. There are some on Netflix, and others are available on different documentary websites and on Amazon.

Talk to Your Doctor

We always recommend that you discuss partaking of Ayahuasca with your family doctor. If you’re taking any regular prescription or nonprescription medication, you will need to talk to your doctor anyway, so don’t hesitate to broach the subject ahead of time.

Contact Us

We can give you all kinds of information, and we urge you to contact us and let us answer your questions or address any concerns. Our email address is . Your safety is our first priority.

Ayahuasca for Beginners: Preparing for an Ayahuasca Journey

AyahuascaIf you’re considering a trip to an Ayahuasca retreat, there are many things you can do to prepare. You want to learn as much as you can about Ayahuasca, choose a retreat, plan the logistics of travel, and prepare physically and emotionally.

Educate Yourself

We encourage travelers to educate themselves, especially on how you can benefit from Ayahuasca. The vast majority of people who visit experience Ayahuasca experience something wonderful and life-changing. Furthermore, recent peer-reviewed research suggests that Ayahuasca can be beneficial for depression, PTSD, anxiety, and addictions. Are you ready to live your life with renewed passion, vigor, and hope?

Understand the Medical Implications

As we detailed in an earlier article. There are several prescription and non-prescription drugs that Ayahuasca should not be mixed with. This is because the Ayahuasca drink contains both dimethyltryptamine (DMT), which is a serotonin analog, and a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI).

Take a stock of whether you are currently on any medications that may be contraindicated and if so, whether it’s possible to go off of them for a short while before making the trip. Discuss these changes with both us and your family doctor.

Choose a Retreat

Next, choose a destination retreat. You will want to consider if you want to visit the jungle or the mountains or the sea. There are indigenous people that have used Ayahuasca for centuries in many different geographical areas.

Get the Required Immunizations

Depending on where you intend to travel and where you are coming from, several immunizations may be needed. For example, if you are from Canada and traveling to Brazil, then there are five immunizations recommended in addition to your routine ones. Everyone should at least have their tetanus shots up-to-date.

Choose a Travel Partner

Will you be traveling alone? Do you want to travel with someone? The Ayahuasca experience is so personal, so profound and life-altering that often people wish to travel with a close or trusted friend or family member. Is this an experience you want to share?

These are all things that you should consider before making your plans to come. As always, we would love to hear from you and encourage you to contact us and discuss your questions or needs. You can reach us directly by email at . Your safety is our first priority.

Can Ayahuasca Relieve Depression?

AdobeStock_18923253A preliminary report from a 2015 study completed in Brazil suggests that yes, Ayahuasca does appear to help depression, and especially hard-to-treat depression. This is wonderful news, and those of us who have suspected this for years are celebrating. However, the scientific method requires many rigorous replications of this study and further research covering longer time periods. So, let’s be cautiously excited.

Those who feel relief of depression due to Ayahuasca have reported being able to see things in a new light. Sufferers of depression say they feel like their depression suddenly lifted or vanished. They say they felt a warmth and love and connection to the world that they hadn’t felt before.

DMT and Psilocybin

Current research is being conducted on whether other drugs like ketamine or MDMA or psilocybin can treat depression. Psilocybin is closely chemically related to the DMT in Ayahuasca. The big difference between psilocybin and DMT is that psilocybin has an extra oxygen atom in its molecular structure and a phosphate group attached to that atom. This minor difference in structure is why psilocybin—which is found naturally in mushrooms—is active if taken orally. That oxygen atom and phosphate group is what prevents enzymes in the stomach from breaking it down.

DMT, which lacks that extra oxygen atom and attached phosphate group, is broken down easily by stomach enzymes. This is why DMT is always mixed with another plant that has an enzyme inhibitor (MAOI) in Ayahuasca and why a typical Ayahuasca brew has several plants mixed together. DMT requires the addition of an enzyme inhibitor in order to be effective if taken orally. Otherwise DMT is broken down in the stomach, and the psychedelic effect is lost.

So, if Ayahuasca containing DMT helps depression, then it’s not a giant leap to expect psilocybin—which is very closely chemically and structurally related to DMT found in Ayahuasca—to also help depression.

Canadian researchers are leading the way in what’s now called psychedelic medicine. At the University of British Columbia, research is currently underway examining LSD, DMT, psilocybin, and MDMA, not just for depression but for anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as well. Dr. Gerald Thomas of University of Victoria in British Columbia believes psychedelic drugs could be used to treat addiction.

It’s interesting to note that drugs used by shamans for centuries are now finding their way into mainstream medicine. Finally. Hopefully, in the near future science will demonstrate repeatedly the beneficial effects of Ayahuasca for people suffering not just from depression, but from anxiety, PTSD, and addictions.

Disclaimer: The information contained herein is NOT intended, nor should ever be used to diagnose, prevent, cure, treat or mitigate any disease or condition. Please discuss medical treatment with your personal physician. While the information we provide is accurate and true to the best of our knowledge, there could be errors or omissions, and under no circumstances should the information be construed as medical advice. Our full disclaimer can be found here.

The Ayahuasca Experience

About - 2What is Ayahuasca?

Ayahuasca, as you may already know, is a brewed tea made out of at least one dimethyltryptamine (DMT)-containing plant, usually Psychotria viridis (chacuna), and the Banisteriopsis caapi vine. Depending on who is creating the concoction, and that person’s background and training, there may be other plants with other psychoactive ingredients included in the brew as well. This psychedelic drink has been consumed by indigenous tribes from the Amazon basin in South America for centuries for religious, medical, and/or other tribal and shamanic purposes. It is interesting to note that DMT is naturally occurring in the human body and many plant species.

How popular is Ayahuasca?

Drinking Ayahuasca is for most people a fascinating mind-bending experience. For that reason, Ayahuasca has become popular with thousands of tourists flocking to South America yearly to participate in traditional ritual Ayahuasca ceremonies and thousands more contemplating the trip. In addition, Ayahuasca plants have been exported, legally or not, and some are now growing freely in Hawaii. It is estimated that on weekend nights there are hundreds of underground Ayahuasca “parties” happening in New York City and Los Angeles.

What does it feel like?

Those who ingest Ayahuasca have a fairly rapid onset of the psychedelic feelings. The experience is usually 20-30 minutes coming on, and three to four hours coming off or down. Experiences range from mild to completely life-altering. Participants have vivid visual and auditory hallucinations, often feeling a profound sense of wonder and understanding of life and life events. Some people experience an altered sense of time and space. Many participants report the disappearance or waning of previously ingrained negative and self-defeating thoughts or beliefs.

The vast majority of those who try Ayahuasca report a positive experience. Even though these individuals often report vomiting and diarrhea during their ritual, normal for such an acidic drink, and unusual visions that they don’t always understand, they want to do it again. And again. Since DMT does not appear to be physically addicting or habit-forming, something else must account for such positive feelings.

Is Ayahuasca for everyone?

Ayahuasca is definitely not for everyone. First of all, this is a psychoactive drug that typically raises your heart rate and blood pressure. So, children should not be trying it. People with a history of high-blood pressure or heart conditions or pregnant women should not be drinking it.

Most importantly, if you examine the chemistry of the brew, you will see that there are serious reasons to be extremely careful if you are on any prescription or over-the-counter medication. One of the plants used in the Ayahuasca drink contains DMT. If consumed alone, DMT—a structural analog of serotonin—would normally be broken down by monoamine oxidase (MAO), a naturally occurring enzyme in our stomachs, rendering the DMT inactive. So, shamans discovered that by adding another plant to the brew, a plant containing a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), the DMT would be absorbed intact by the body allowing for the psychedelic experience.

Since you are consuming an analog of serotonin and a monoamine oxidase inhibitor, there is a long list of medications that Ayahuasca should not be mixed with. That list is so long that it is beyond the scope of this article. We encourage travelers interested in the Ayahuasca experience to do independent research, discuss it with their doctors, and contact us to talk about any medications that you are taking.

In some cases, just going off of your medication—if possible—for a prescribed period of time will be enough to enable you to experience Ayahuasca; in other cases, we will recommend that you not partake of Ayahuasca. We urge you to contact us and talk about it. Our email address is . Your safety is our first priority.

Guide to Ayahuasca Retreats in South America

Long before Western scientists became aware of Ayahuasca in South America in the middle of the nineteenth century, Ayahuasca was already being used by many indigenous groups in the Amazon basin for hundreds if not thousands of years. No one knows how far back the history of Ayahuasca reaches into the jungle.

The Amazon basin covers roughly three million square miles. Today, there are retreats available to tourists and foreigners with different approaches to an Ayahuasca experience and at different price points in several countries throughout South America. Here is a good map of South America.

Keep in mind when contemplating a trip like this that different locales may have very different topographies and biospheres. Retreats can also have widely different numbers of participants, accommodations, and food. In addition, different countries may have different requirements for travel visas and immunizations.

The potential traveler has many things to consider before making a choice like this: How easy or difficult will it be to get to the destination? How easy or difficult is it to contact and communicate with those organizing the retreat? Do retreat organizers seem professional and experienced? Do you want to be deep in the jungle, high on a mountain, or near the ocean?

Below is a small sampling of Ayahuasca retreats in four South American countries.


Spirit Vine offers weeklong retreats in the Atlantic rainforest on the Bahia coast of Brazil.

Wasiwaska is a research center offering seminars on the island of Santa Catarina in southern Brazil.


The Eagle Condor Alliance offers retreats in the Columbian Andes about 30 minutes from Medellin.

Camino al Sol has retreats in Santa Elena, Columbia.

The Heart of the Initiate has retreats in Santa Marta, Columbia.


Gaia Sagrada has retreats in Cuenca, Ecuador.

Feather Crown holds custom retreats near Tena, Napo, Ecuador.

The Centre Devas is a few hours’ drive from Quito, Ecuador.


In Peru, of course, our own East West Lodge is our favorite choice. Do explore our website, and feel free to contact us for more information at .

Please note that we cannot vouch for the quality of any of the services or retreats mentioned here aside from our own. We list these retreats for information purposes only. Potential travelers are encouraged to thoroughly research Ayahuasca destination retreats before committing to travel and expense.

Self-Optimization: The Ayahuasca Enlightenment

Self Optimization - The Ayahuasca EnlightenmentMost people want clarity in life, but few are willing to take the steps to achieve heightened self-awareness. There are countless people content with the idea of working their 9 to 5 jobs and taking a two-week vacation to the beach once a year to satisfy their leisure needs. But, does that brief getaway provide the true sense of peace of mind or internal fulfillment? Why not do something more meaningful with your paid days off work? If you want to make the most of your downtime, consider an Ayahuasca retreat in the depths of the Amazonian rainforest. An experience unparalleled and backed by centuries of sacred ceremonies, the Ayahuasca enlightenment is the bridge toward self-optimization that leaves you feeling more perceptive, purposeful and optimistic.

The Ayahuasca enlightenment is unlike any other vacation or retreat available. If you are someone who has questions they can’t seem to answer or simply desire self-improvement, our 7- and 14-day departures are designed to placate those innermost wishes. Under the guidance of a highly-experienced East West Lodge Shaman, you will be given the opportunity to take a distinguished and all-natural medicine – better known as Ayahuasca – that allows you and those around you to deeply reflect on past, current and future experiences. Unknown to many in the states, Ayahuasca is considered an advanced method that paves the journey toward self-discovery.

Neurologically speaking, Ayahuasca is a non-addictive brew made from natural plans with N,N-dimethyltryptamine, also known as DMT. DMT naturally occurs in the body of all mammals in small amounts. When ingested alone, the substance is ordinarily broken down by the digestive system. But, Ayahuasca brew also contains plans with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), which stop the stomach from impeding DMT. From there, DMT travels to the brain and activates the serotonin receptors, which are responsible for brain activities such as sharper cognition and deeper contemplation. The experience that Ayahuasca produces is commonly described as psychedelic, spiritual and/or psychic. Because Ayahuasca is a mind-altering substance, East West Lodge abides by strict safety regulations to protect the well-being of each participant.

Exploring a new locale can deliver a brief sense of serenity, but a traditional vacation does not typically nurture the side of you that wants to self-explore. We invite all individuals seeking a sense of inner balance – whether it be for work, relationships, family or mental health – to check out our Ayahuasca retreat calendar and join us on this extraordinary journey. For additional questions, please reach out to East West Lodge by email at

Ayahuasca and Your Journey Toward Self Enrichment

Ayahuasca Long Term Effects -2

The inherent desire to achieve comprehensive fulfillment and serenity is a life-long struggle that often goes unresolved. Across the globe, antidepressant usage rates are skyrocketing in an attempt to ease numerous psychosomatic conditions, including chronic depression, anxiety, or social phobias. Lack of enthusiasm, dwindled assurance, stifled innovation and inward criticism are the most common side effects, even for those without a formal psychological diagnosis. Even a lifetime supply of prescriptions and therapy fail to settle the innermost issue – subconscious negativity and disempowerment.

The mind is a complicated and sophisticated mechanism; thus, the impact of external antidotes is limited. Unlike mainstream methods, ayahuasca targets underlying cynicisms and feelings of hopelessness by bringing these issues to your conscious foreground. While verbal discussion for evident troubles and hypothetical solutions helps, they often fail to deliver genuine self-healing that can only come from within.

Ayahuasca creates a visual and mental experience that is completely personalized and free of external predispositions. Ayahuasca shows instead of tells, driving a powerful restorative process that’s been used in sacred healing rituals across the Upper Amazon for thousands of years. Despite its striking impact on the mind and self-perception, ayahuasca offers physical healing benefits shown to relieve symptoms caused by cancer, diabetes, immunosuppression, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders.

At East West Lodge, we offer both seven and 14 day retreats for you to fully immerse yourself in your own emotional, spiritual and physical renewal voyage. Each group is capped at 12 participants to allow for an ideal balance of communal energy and individual attention. Aside from the ayahuasca ceremonies, participants enjoy organic meals, hydrating refreshments, floral baths, Chinese cupping, group shares, jungle exploration and leisure time to complement the recovery process.

Each ceremony is guided by an experienced Shaman who is there to listen, teach and monitor the ayahuasca practice. You will ingest ayahuasca brew and listen to Icaros (healing songs) for a fully immersive and distinctive experience within our Ceremony Moloca. Because the drink is powerful by nature, every aspect of your journey is devised to ease any intense or distressing revelations. You may experience hallucinations, visions or expelling of internal impurities. Ayahuasca is a sacred and spiritual herbal medicine, and we pay tribute through our intentions, safety standards and principles.

Are you ready to heal, transform and arouse your innermost sense of self? Check out our calendar of upcoming ayahuasca retreats, availability and pricing. For questions or concerns, reach us directly by email at or by telephone at *51 999 1220 36.

Book Online Now

Ready for your journey? Choose an option below to book your retreat.

4 Ayahuasca Ceremonies -7 Days - 8 Guests Maxs

Dates Price Places Book
August 4 - 10, 2018 $1880 Fully Booked

4 Ayahuasca Ceremonies - 6 Days - 8 Guests Maxs

Dates Price Places Book
July 22 - 27, 2018 $1880 Fully Booked
July 29 - August 3, 2018 $1880 Fully Booked
August 12 - 17, 2018 $1880 Fully Booked
August 19 - 24, 2018 $1880 Fully Booked
August 26 - 31, 2018 $1880 Fully Booked
September 2 - 7, 2018 $1880 Fully Booked
September 9 - 14, 2018 $1880 Fully Booked
September 16 - 21, 2018 $1880 Fully Booked

We also offer custom scheduling and personalized dietas!