How to Prepare for an Ayahuasca Retreat?

Your center has been chosen, and the date set for your Ayahuasca retreat in Peru. Now comes the part of getting ready. Read this blog post to get all the advice needed, gathered from my personal experience.


When browsing various center websites, I found it pretty standard to avoid the following at least one week before the ceremony: fried foods, spicy foods, fermented foods, caffeine, canned or packaged meat and fish, liquid and powdered protein supplements, brewer’s yeast and yeast based supplements, dairy, overripe fruits, sugar, processed foods, excessive salt, and sexual contact. Yes, you read that last one correctly. Also, it is advised to stop alcohol and recreational drugs, including marijuana, at least two weeks prior to the ceremony. Stopping for longer than two weeks, however, certainly won’t hurt.

Full-disclosure moment. One of the reasons I traveled to Peru to drink the jungle brew was to lose my dysfunctional love affair with alcohol. Therefore… way did I abstain for two weeks prior! In fact, I drank right up to the eleventh hour. But my diet, other than that, had been exceptional for a very long time: all organic, not much dairy, hardly anything processed or fermented, no meats except chicken and fish a few times a year, plenty of fruits and veggies, sparse amounts of sugar and marijuana, and regular exercise. When I read what foods to avoid I thought, hell yes! I’ve practically been on an Ayahuasca diet for years now and didn’t even know it! This’ll be a cakewalk as far as the purging process goes. Woo hoo!
Or not.


Never in my life have I experienced a physical flush like the one I got during my month with Ayahuasca. Never. In. My. Life. Where was all this stuff coming from? I hardly ate anything for days and days, yet the gunk kept rushing full force on out of me!

Apparently, especially for us first timers, even if we have relatively clean lifestyles and follow the recommended pre-diet plan, no one escapes the almighty purge. Ayahuasca saturates into every nook and cranny in the body; into every cell and atom, through each organ and vessel, right on down to the very marrow of our bones, extracting everything that doesn’t belong there; toxicity from foods, our environment, a lifetime of stress and bad habits, you name it. She’ll scour your body like a fine tooth comb until there’s nothing toxic left.

Definitely, be prepared for that!


Another thing I did was set my intentions on what I wanted. Aside from the alcohol issue, I longed to feel alive again. Having spent too many years dealing with one trauma-drama after another, I had lost my zest for life. I didn’t care if a bus flattened me to the pavement on any given day, and had become extremely bored with the yawning monotony of day to day reality. Earth sucked. People sucked. Everything sucked. I also wanted my creative fire to spark back to life, as I had lost it some time ago. For a creative person, when inspiration goes dark, it’s like someone snatched every rainbow and flower from the world and turned off the sun. Totally bleak.

Outside of those immediate personal needs, I also wished to see my father, who had passed away, and maybe tap into some previous lifetimes if possible.

The last thing I did before I left, and this might sound a little corny to some, was I started having conversations with Ayahuasca. Being the embodiment of wisdom and healing I knew her to be, I confessed all my icky garbage, what I wanted help with, and asked her to show me everything I needed to see in order to grow, no matter how ugly and unpleasant.


Here is a general overview of what you can expect from an Ayahuasca retreat:

  • Arrival: Upon entering the retreat center, you’ll receive a warm welcome, a quick tour, and meet with shamans to discuss your intentions and goals from the ayahuasca ceremony.
  • Preparation: Before Ayahuasca consumption, a strict 24-hour diet is advised, involving the avoidance of certain foods and drinks like caffeine and alcohol to prepare your body.
  • Ceremony: the Ayahuasca ceremony involves participants drinking the brew, followed by traditional songs (icaros) sang by shamans who guide the spiritual journey of participants.
  • Integration of experiences: Ayahuasca integration process involve gathering spiritual insights and contemplation after the ceremony, with the support of shamans and other participants.


So there you have it. Pretty easy to prepare, right? Clean up the diet, quit the booze and drugs, and set intentions.

One last thing…try not to be afraid. I get that’s easier said than done, but just know that you are safe and protected. Remember to trust in the process, breathe in deep, and relax. Life, as you know it to be, is about to change forever. Enjoy it, my friends. This is the opportunity of a lifetime! One you won’t regret.