Ayahuasca Retreat USA


Plant medicine usage in the States is a legal gray territory at best. It’s worth pointing out though that there are several places that do provide retreat options in the USA (which is why “Ayahuasca Retreat USA” is a common search term in Google, hence the title).

And so far, they’ve mostly done this with impunity.

Ayahuasca retreat options in the USA - shown in a map

This may just be because they’re somewhat ‘under the radar’ though because one plant medicine church that popped up that was advertising far and wide on YouTube reported being sent a cease-and-desist letter from the DEA.

(Which is why I say that they’ve “mostly” done this with impunity.)

That’s far better than a SWAT team knocking down the door, of course!

swat team breaching a doorway with guns ablaze

But it’s sad that a traditional plant medicine that has healed what must be a staggering amount of people in the thousands of years that its been in use (that we know of) is considered forbidden here in the States.

And yet chemical cocktails that are manufactured in labs that have huge amounts of corporate money behind them are legal.

They’re mostly designed to make people perpetually dependent on them instead of actually curing them, and tens of thousands of people die every year from them.

But somehow that’s more acceptable in the eyes of the law than this plant that grows in the jungle.

vine growing in the jungle

By contrast, there are just a small handful of reported deaths stemming from plant medicine use like Ayahuasca.

And even then, they are often related to other factors such as prescription drug interactions stemming from the participant not honestly disclosing what’s currently in their system, or heavy amounts of tobacco tea.

So, what retreat options are there in the USA?

Well, there are two that are ‘above ground’ enough to show themselves here on AyaAdvisors:

Soul Quest in Orlando, Florida…

…and Aya Quest in Campbellsville, Kentucky.

The Ins and Outs

Soul Quest states that their brew doesn’t contain DMT even though it does contain the Banisteriopsis caapi vine.

And as such, they feel there aren’t any ingredients for the DEA to take issue with.

On the other hand, Aya Quest is very open about their brew including DMT.

In fact, the owner states that his recipe for the brew contains something like 5 different ingredients that he concocted himself.

Aya Quest is probably the one retreat in the USA that has had the most publicity because of the reality TV series dedicated to it on Vice.

Exciting News!

Finally, even though it hasn’t opened yet, I have it on good authority that Gaia Sagrada – one of the largest, most reputable retreat centers – is going to be opening a new location in the U.S., which is very exciting!

I may be an impartial juror since Gaia Sagrada hosted the first retreat that I ever attended. And while I don’t claim that they’re perfect, this would go a long way in legitimizing ceremonial plant medicine use in the USA.

That is, Christine Breese – the co-founder and main operations manager – says that she’s prepared to defend her right to the religious use of the medicine, all the way up to the Supreme Court, if need be.


On one hand, I hope it doesn’t come to an intense legal battle since it would undoubtedly be a huge financial burden.

And if that were to happen, I hope that the plant medicine community would give her their support.

But on the other hand, it would be amazing if it actually went to the Supreme Court and helped to further set legal precedent on the issue.

You can be sure that I’ll be writing more about this if/when this eventually happens!

In the meantime, hopefully the reviews that we have on-file for the other two retreat centers (and perhaps watching a couple episodes of that Kentucky Ayahuasca series on Vice) will help you decide if either of those options in the U.S. are a good fit for you.

(And if not, Christine expects to open her new location in early-to-mid-2021!)

Until next time,
Tim Gulley

December 30, 2019 |

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