10 Best Ayahuasca Retreat California (Updated 2023) (2023)

What to look for to find a safe, quality Ayahuasca Retreat?

Like most things in life, there a broad variety of Ayahuasca retreat California options, and a number of factors that affect the quality and cost of an ayahuasca retreat that you may like to take into consideration:

  • Safety: Many smaller operators are not in a position to invest in safety, and unfortunately, there are too many sad stories out there. (recommendation: choose a retreat that does in-depth screening to ensure your physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being).
  • Legality: Practitioners who have dedicated their lives to medicine work typically live in locations where it is legal, so they don't have to live in a state of "what if". (recommendation: consider whether travelling to a place with "new energy" might be in your best interests).
  • Size of the group: It's common for retreats to have 20, 50, even 100 people in ceremony, which can be chaotic. Additionally, you are less likely to receive the level of attention from healers that you are probably looking for. (recommendation: choose a retreat with an intimate group of say, 8-15 people).
  • Length of the retreat: Shorter retreats feel rushed, and there are limits to what can be done in a few nights. (recommendation: go for at least a week).
  • Comfort: (recommendation: spend a little extra for something where you will be physically comfortable and have your own bedroom to decompress and integrate, especially if this is your first time). Your future self can thank us later.
  • Cosmology: (recommendation: choose a retreat that supports your own subjective experience, or one that you feel aligns with you energetically). The energy of the retreat and ceremony leaders will have a profound effect upon your experience.
  • Holistic approach: (recommendation: work with an organization that takes a holistic approach to working with medicine, and has options to support and guide your emotional, mental and spiritual evolution). If a provider implies that "medicine will solve all your problems", proceed with caution (because it won't!).
  • Service: (recommendation: choose a place that you believe can serve your individual needs. Consider whether or not they've taken the time to get to know you and understand you, or it's more of a take it or leave it retreat center).
  • Booking process: (recommendation: speak with the provider before finalizing your booking). If it's all online, ANYONE could be sitting next to you in ceremony.
  • Expertise: (recommendation: work with an organization that focuses on healing retreat, and you believe has a breadth of expertise to guide your transformation). Look for facilitators and healers who have a lightness of being and a sparkle in their eyes.
  • Reputation: (recommendation: Google the provider). You may be surprised by what you find. If there's not much information, that is also information :)
  • Volunteers: (recommendation: work with an organization that pays their staff). Unfortunately, it is common practice for retreat centers to cycle through young, eager, and worn out volunteers and/or not pay healers fairly. If the people supporting your retreat aren't living their best life, they're not going to be able to lead you to yours.

Given the potential, power, and sensitivity of working with Ayahuasca, who you choose to work with is undoubtedly one of the most important decisions of your life, so we encourage you to take the time and the energy to educate yourself to be able to make a good one. If you're in a position to do so, you may also like to consider a private retreat.

If our recommendations above feel energetically aligned for you, and you'd like to explore a journey with Behold, apply below.


Looking for a little more guidance for one of the most important decisions of your life?Watch this video.


A revolution in human consciousness.

After nearly 6 decades of prohibition, psychedelics are coming back in a big way, with institutions such as the Imperial College in London, Johns Hopkins University, and Harvard studying, for example, the anti-depressant effects of psychedelics and entheogenic plants such as psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and Ayahuasca. The results of these studies for treating mental health concerns such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, addiction, depression, trauma, and recurrent negative behaviors has been overwhelmingly positive - when administered in the right set and setting.

Ayahuasca is an ancestral medicine from the Amazon, and has been used for thousands of years for its incredible healing benefits. The healing that Ayahuasca offers can be positively life-changing, and as the psychedelic movement grows in popularity, the options for choosing a retreat can get a bit overwhelming. The abundance of options can lead us to what we call"analysis paralysis", causing us to either give up, or choose a retreat impulsively. Choosing a place to have your experience may be one the most important decisions you'll ever make, and it's important to choose your retreat with diligence and care. Published research based upon 2,267 ceremonies has shown that ayahuasca:

  • Helps us understand and heal the roots of our depression, addition, anxiety, trauma, and PTSD
  • Eases the fear of death.
  • Deepens our connection to spirituality
  • Helps us discover our life's purpose
  • Enjoy deeper, more intimate relationships.
  • Accelerate your growth and reach a higher level of consciousness.
  • Develop intuition for better decision making.
  • Quiet your mind and discover inner peace.
  • Live each day with more peace, love, joy, clarity.

How to choose an Ayahuasca retreat that's right for you

The boom in Ayahuasca is a double-edged sword. On one hand, we have access to life-changing healing retreat experiences. On the other hand, there has developed a huge black market full of corruption and psuedo-shamans who are nothing more than feather-adorned conmen. Of course there are many high-integrity facilitators out there, but it can be really tricky sifting through all the options. We're here to help!

Choosing an Ayahuascsa retreat (or any psychedelic experience for that matter) is isn't like planning mindful meditation or yoga retreat. You are putting your consciousness in someone else's hands. You are entering a space of equal potentials for ecstatic empowerment and tender vulnerability. The competency and integrity of your ayahuasca retreat facilitators - all the way down to the person who cooks your meals - are not to be underestimated.

Furthermore, working with Ayahuasca (and it's naturally occurring DMT) means opening the door to a world of infinite possibilities. One must be weary of seductive claims or facilitators who look the part, but lack the heart. The world of plant medicine is not without corruption. By taking the time to choose the right experience, we honour the sacredness and intensity of this work, and thus take accountability for our own well-being. Take your time. Find a place with a solid reputation and listen to guest testimonials. Some other considerations you should make are:

  • Would you prefer to be with friends, or solo?
  • As part of a large group of 15+, something more intimate, or a private experience?
  • As part of a religious ceremony, something shamanic, clinical, or neo-shamanic?

(Video) Beginners guide to ayahuasca retreats - How to choose a retreat center

The Legalities of Ayahuasca Retreats in the United States

Now, it's important to keep in mind that DMT (the active component in Ayahuasca) is a Schedule 1 drug, and illegal in the USA. That being said, you don't need to travel all the way to Latin America to experience a sacred ceremony. A handful of Ayahuasca retreat centers in the USA operate under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a legal safeguard giving protection to ceremonies performed for religious purposes within the context and beliefs of that tradition. While the RFRAdoes give some protection to facilitators and guests, the majority of expert practitioners prefer to work outside of these limitations, choosing instead to travel to destinations like Costa Rica, Mexico, or Iquitos or the Sacred Valley in Peru.

There's no right or wrong here, but in our experience, people benefit greatly from with sacred plant medicine and sacred plants in a context aligned to (or at very least not in contradiction with) the world in which they live. Indigenous healers are naturally more equipped to work with the needs of indigenous people, which may not always be relevant or useful for people from the West who are more inclined towards issues of depression, anxiety, PTSD, relationship issues, stress, disconnection from nature, etc. On the other hand, working with someone who comes from a long lineage of healers can be a once in a lifetime experience. It's all about your intention - what is aligned with your heart's true calling?

Regardless of what you choose, we highly recommend speaking to the ayahuasca centers themselves to ensure that you feel confident and comfortable, beyond just reading many ayahuasca retreat reviews online. Follow your intuition. There are many great centers out there, but maybe only one that's great for you.

If you're willing to take a short flight for a high quality retreat in nearby CostaRica, Mexico, Portugal, or the Netherlands, we'd love to talk to you.


Now, on to the retreat options!

The 10 Best Ayahuasca retreats in or close to California.

‍Ayahuasca retreats in California are a great way to learn about the healing power of ayahuasca and medicinal plant.

The sacred plant medicine is used by shamans in the Amazon, and it's been used for centuries by indigenous peoples in South America. It can be used for many purposes, including mental and spiritual healing, but it's most commonly known for its ability to help users with addictions and depression.

Ayahuasca retreat California provides a safe space for people who want to experience this powerful medicine. They also provide an opportunity for people with different beliefs and backgrounds to come together around one common goal: healing from addiction or depression.

Because of the legal grey areas, Behold Retreats doesn't facilitate Ayahuasca in the USA, but we do offer some very close-by options. As we mentioned, there are very few places in the USAserving Ayahuaca legally, so if you're willing to take a short flight, Behold Retreats offers a holistic and modern approach to medicinal plant refined over serving 1,500+ clients. Our organization curates and facilitates life-changing plant medicine journeys with an emphasis on client goals, preparation, and integration.

Guests of Behold Retreats can also choose between a variety of other entheogens, locations, and options, for example a small group retreat overlooking the jungle in Costa Rica, on the dutch country side with Psilocybin in the Netherlands or perhaps a culturally immersive encounter in the golden mountains of Mexico with 5-MeO-DMT (Bufo).

For those who do choose to attend a retreats in theUSA, Behold Retreats offers high quality coaching before and after your retreat, and we can point you in the direction of a trusted retreat within the country. Apply for a free consultation with a plant medicine expert to share your individual needs and preferences, and to understand whether (or not) there is a mutual fit.

Group retreat sizes are smaller than most retreat centers - typically no more than 10-12.

(Video) Ayahuasca Retreats in America - Week 2, It's Really Happening...

Client safety and confidentiality are given the highest importance, and healers, facilitators, therapists, and coaches have decades of experience under their belt.

Find out more information, or apply for a free consultation.


2. The Holistic Sanctuary, Ayahuasca Retreat California

Located in Baja California, just below Southern California, this holistic healing sanctuary is the closest, most intensive and luxurious center near California that resembles more of a rehab center with individual healing treatments. Their programs are incredibly exclusive and are focused on treating PTSD, depression, addiction, and alcoholism.

With 5-star accommodations and services such as daily colonics liver detoxes, herbal medicine, HBOT pure oxygen infusions, IV drips, stem cell therapy, and more, you can be assured that this 4-12 week program will be life changing and lead to deep healing.

Their trademark secret is their proprietary method, called the Pouyan Method, is combined with sacred plant medicine, which ensures over 30 hours of 1-1 time per week, complete detoxification, and access to neural healing and spiritual awakening. It is quite a different experience than the typical shamanic healing techniques.

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3. Inner Circle Ayahuasca Retreat

Just about a 3 hour flight from California, in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, you will find this traditional ayahuasca retreat center with gorgeous beachfront accommodation.

Their authentic ayahuasca ceremonies are paired with modern luxury, so you can really relax and enjoy the ocean-front luxurious accommodations and infinity pool, while also exploring the rich, natural beauty of the surrounding nature. Guests can watch orca or humpback whales swim by the ocean from their beautiful retreat house, baby sea turtles venturing into the ocean, and the famous sunset from their terrace.

Accommodation is for a maximum of 6 guests, so you may request a private small group retreat, private individual retreat, or to join another group of journeyers from around the world. The apartments include high-end furnishings and comforts as well as bicycles for getting around town.

A traditional indigenous shaman will guide your ayahuasca journey, and the ayahuasca brew will be prepared and ready for your arrival. The retreat is 6 days long, with at least 2 ayahuasca ceremonies, and provides ample opportunity for reflection time in nature.

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4. Sacred Valley Spiritual Retreats

At the Sacred Valley Spiritual Retreat at Mount Shasta you will find a holistic personalized journey from their team with over 30 years of experience combining healing and retreat facilitation experience. Their expertise lies in indigenous wisdom and sacred healing shamanic arts.

Their holistic center offers wellness retreats with an array of healing methods based on ancient indigenous wisdoms, somatic and trauma release therapy, breathwork, yoga, Reiki, alchemical hypnotherapy and empowerment coaching. Each retreat and program is made to fit your needs, offering private and couple options.

(Video) How I Rebuilt My Life at this 7-day Bali Healing Retreat

Their sacred master plant medicine retreats where you will have your ayahuasca ceremony are in Peru, but they will provide you with the assessment, treatment, knowledge and resources to help you prepare and integrate your retreat experience at their retreat center in California.

Working with experienced facilitators who have undergone extensive training with world-renowned spiritual teachers, they offer a high level of integrity. In their 10 day psychedelic retreat you will have 7 nights in a luxurious retreat center near Calca, 2 nights in a beautiful monastery hotel near Cusco, and an opportunity to understand the shamanic wisdom of the Inca tradition.

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Looking for a great retreat, and willing to travel?


5. Origen Sagrada, Ayahuasca Retreat California

During this 2 night retreat you will experience two ayahuasca ceremonies in a remote, private, and peaceful camp near Castle Rock in Northern California. The ceremonies in California take place in a private lodge with shared accommodation.

Each ayahuasca ceremony will be facilitated by the spiritual leaders and healers Claudio and Bernadita from the Muruy tribe, found in the Amazonas of Colombia. The work with these elders will be intensive, and they will play beautiful live music to help activate the medicinal plant and help you dive deeper into your journey within.

The retreat begins with a herbal plant blessing and a logistical orientation to answer any burning questions before the ceremony begins. In between the ceremonies with mother ayahuasca, there will be the option to join traditional therapies, personal spiritual cleansings, healing retreat sessions, and time for reflection.

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6. Retreat removed due to client feedback

(Retreat Removed) offers their healing ayahuasca retreats nearby California, in Texas, and are facilitated by (name removed) , who has experience working with multiple shamans from different Indigenous cultures in the Americas. He currently teaches at The School of Shamanic Teachings, has apprenticed alongside a Peruvian shaman, and continued this initiation with the Q’eros priests in the High Andes mountains of Peru.

Your ceremonies will also include other medicinal plants such as a cacao, rapé and sananga, with the opportunity to attend a San Pedro ceremony. Their eco-environment accommodation has been made to enhance your connection with Mother Nature and to provide a safe container for your spiritual awakening.

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7. Sacred Therapy

Sacred Therapy hosts retreats in California and Washington for two nights, with private, comfortable accommodation and vegan meals. In order to attend a retreat you must apply on their website to be a member of the Cosmic Valley Native Americas Church.

Rather than following the traditional South American or Native American route, their ayahuasca ceremonies in California and Washington are hosted in a modern way. Their North American medicine team are trained with ayahuasca churches in the USA and offer a holistic approach with yogic traditions.

The founder has been facilitating ayahuasca ceremonies for five years and has trained with shamans and yogis from all over the world. He also has trained for two years with the Lakota tribe. Full preparation and integration is offered before and after the ceremony, with individualized attention for each retreat participant.

(Video) Inside The Best Wellness Retreat in Baja California | Montevalle Health & Wellness Resort

Looking for safe, legal, and high-quality ayahuasca retreats?


8. The União do Vegetal (UDV)

The União do Vegetal (UDV) is one of the only legal ayahuasca retreat centers in the USA along with Santo Daime, who have received exemption from the government for religious sacrament as an ayahuasca church. Differing from a Native American Church, they originate from Brazil and are a Christian Spiritist religion that is recognized for their service to communities and the environment.

Their sacred sacrament Hoasca, which serves to bring spiritual awareness, contains the same ingredients as Ayahuasca; the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and the Chacruna plant leaves. They do not have a traditional ayahuasca shaman.

Their ayahuasca healing retreat is in New Mexico, but you might be able to find churches or events across the country, including California. The ayahuasca (Hoasca) ceremonies are religious in nature, with influence from their guide Mestre Gabriel and Jesus. Ceremonies are typically 4 hours and include periods of silent concentration.

9. APL Journeys Ayahuasca Retreat

Located not too far from California in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, you will find this international ayahuasca retreat center, facilitating traditional ayahuasca ceremonies with Peruvian shamans from Peru and Ecuador, such as a Shipibo healer. In addition, their facilitators are all certified by the Red Cross to ensure the safest and most fulfilling experiences.

As they work under traditional shamanism, they give you the opportunity to attend Amazonian Curanderismo seminars where you will be educated on ayahuasca healing traditions and shamanic rituals.

They also offer more than your typical retreat center during the 6 days, with a Temazcal herbal sauna (similar to a sweat lodge), 3 ayahuasca ceremonies, 1 purga ayahuasca, 1 kambo session, flower baths, breathwork, sananga sessions, daily shamanic rituals, and liquid mapacho . You will also have preparation and integration support.

Feel comfortable in their luxurious suites, outdoor jungle pool and stunning outdoor showers. Take a yoga class, go for a relaxing swim, or sit in nature in between ceremonies. With 15% of profits going to Peru to support the local communities, you can also feel good that you are contributing to the populations that are sharing ayahuasca with the world.

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If you're looking for a retreat where you can go to Ayahuasca ceremonies in California or nearby areas and try out sacred medicines, you've come to the right place. Ayahuasca retreat California listed above are our top recommendations if you’re ready to heal with the help of sacred medicines and sacred plants.

At Behold Retreats, we believe in providing our guests with quality retreat and a truly immersive experience. Our staff is friendly and professional; our ceremonies are all-inclusive; and we have everything you need for a successful ceremonial retreat.

So whether you're looking for something more meditative, aid your mental and spiritual evolution, or just want to explore your own spirituality, we've got the perfect retreat for you!

Still need some help choosing an Ayahuasca retreat?

We would be honored to guide you in choosing the best upcoming retreats for your needs. Behold Retreats coordinates expertly guided retreats with Ayahuasca, Psilocybin, and 5-MeO-DMT(Bufo Alvarius) with highly experienced facilitators. Reach out to us to set up a complimentary discovery call and we can point you in the right direction.


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