We understand there is a lot of good and bad information about traveling in Mexico. Please remember, this is a very large country and, like almost any other, has some safe and some not-so-safe areas. As of April, 2006 all street drugs are legal to be carried in small quantities by individuals in Mexico. Specifically, sacramental or traditional use and cultivation of fresh mushrooms is legal. This is in line with the interpretation of the UNODC Bulletin allowing the sacramental use of psychotropic preparations. We work with a local, indigenous shaman who is familiar with the local laws, law enforcement and medicine community ensuring that we are always acting in accordance with the highest standard of the law.
Retreat prices include: accommodations, meals, transportation, massage, session facilitation and integrations services. For these services you will be billed electronically by Paypal. These prices DO NOT include the cost of mushroom medicine for your retreat. Psilocybin is legal in Mexico when done in a ceremonial and sacramental context. Due to current regulations outside of Mexico, The Buena Vida does not include the cost of the mushrooms in the retreat package price. Guests will be served medicine at the discretion of the medicine man/woman at the retreat under their guidance and our collective decision. Guests will be asked to pay a service fee to the shaman, whatever they decide is fair, for the medicine and their time. Shamans will always give medicine for free if someone cannot pay.
Privacy and Security
Our retreat is on private, gated and secure land. We will not be interacting with the public or carrying the mushrooms on our person while outside the center. We are working with open-minded, loving individuals and volunteers that are dedicated to healing and health. You can feel 100% confident that our medicine is the freshest and energetically peaceful fungi that our shaman can find. We only source from Mexico.
In this day and age, it can be hard to truly disconnect and be in the moment. This retreat requires 100% commitment. A digital detox is encouraged, and can help support our holistic approach to this newfound healing journey. While there is Wi-Fi on-site, there will be very little time for work related meetings outside of small check ins here or there. The Buena Vida Team will NOT be able to move meeting/workshops or do them privately to accommodate work schedules. We suggest having friends and family download WhatsApp for easiest communication.
What is the difference between a Healing and Small Group Retreat?
Over the years, we’ve been thrilled to invite in many guest from countless backgrounds. We’ve served ages 18-81!
We’ve also discovered that everyone has a preference for their own style of retreat center, group size, amenities as well as personalized attention.
Healing Retreats are our classic. 5 Star Villas, Ocean front or Ocean view, Chef-prepared meals, shared or private rooms and spaces that will blow you away! For those of you looking for luxury, comfort, attention, rest and the ultimate privacy to experience this medicine, a Healing Retreat is for you.
Guests: 15 max
Well… it keeps on getting BETTER! Small Group Retreats were born out of a desire from some of our guests to truly have the one-on-one attention they need. We’ve heard the call for more personalized preparation and deeper integration. You’ll be guided through a 3-month container that includes your Small Group retreat. This retreat is for those wanting and willing to go as deep as possible in a truly intimate environment. Every room includes daily housekeeping, turn-down service, and complimentary laundry.
Guests: 8 max.
Can I participate if I am currently taking SSRI/SNRI medications?
At The Buena Vida Retreats, we understand the diverse needs of individuals dealing with a range of conditions, from depression and anxiety to chronic pain. Many of our participants rely on serotonin-based medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or selective serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) to enhance their quality of life and daily functioning. Common examples of these medications include Zoloft, Prozac, Lexapro, Effexor, Cymbalta, Trintellix, and Buspirone.
While our programs are not intended to replace or treat any medical conditions for which you may have been prescribed SSRIs or SNRIs, we aim to make psilocybin ceremonies accessible to a wide range of individuals while fostering a healthy and safe environment for the whole group.
While we do consider prospective guests who are on very low doses of SSRIs/SNRIs on a case-by-case basis, we generally recommend that participants, in consultation with their doctor, remain off all SSRIs/SNRIs /Sleep/Pain meds(as well as other mood-altering compounds) for at least 1-3 months before joining our retreat and successfully completing our medical screening.
Psilocybin’s psychedelic effects are primarily attributed to its interactions with the intricate serotonin neurotransmitter system and the connections between various brain circuits. It’s believed that a significant part of psilocybin’s action occurs at the serotonin receptor known as 5HT2A, which is also affected by SSRI and SNRI medications. Consequently, when combined, it becomes challenging to determine the optimal dosage for a transformative experience, as well as predicting an individual’s reaction to psilocybin.
Just like with the aforementioned medications, we strongly advise participants who are considering our program while taking SSRIs/SNRIs to consult with a trusted healthcare provider, preferably the one who prescribed the medications. Discussing potential drug interactions with your healthcare provider is crucial, and participants should engage in our retreats with a full understanding of the associated risks.
It’s worth noting that individuals who have taken both psilocybin and SSRIs/SNRIs concurrently have reported a less intense psychedelic experience. This is significant because the transformative benefits of our programs are closely tied to the intensity of the psychedelic journey. While we are open to considering individuals on very low doses of serotonin-based medication, we cannot guarantee that their experience will mirror that of those who embark on their psilocybin journey without the influence of such medications.
We are committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for all our participants, and we encourage open communication and informed decisions regarding your mental and physical well-being during our programs.
I’ve been hearing a lot about psilocybin, but I’m honestly not sure what it does?
The active ingredient in “magic mushrooms” is psilocybin. This is a non-toxic element. Though you may have heard that your reaction to mushrooms is a form of poisoning, much like alcohol, this is simply not true. This chemical interacts with your serotonin system to produce the psychedelic effect. In fact, psilocybin is one of the least toxic substances you can ingest that will change your consciousness. It has been shown over and over that psilocybin promotes neurogenesis, the growth of new brain cells and can repair physiological damage to the brain.
What are the effects of psilocybin mushrooms?
Psilocybin, a psychoactive compound present in various fungal species, exhibits distinct characteristics when compared to its terrestrial counterparts.
Typically, the effects of psilocybin, when consumed as a dried, ground whole mushroom into a ginger tea on an empty stomach, manifest within approximately 15-45 minutes after ingestion. These effects encompass alterations in consciousness, perception, mood, and cognition. Extensive research suggests a multitude of potential enduring advantages associated with psilocybin, including heightened subjective well-being, heightened activity within the visual cortex, the phenomenon of “ego loss,” and the stimulation of creativity and empathy. Participants in psilocybin experiences may encounter the surfacing and release of repressed emotions, the retrieval of memories, profound insights, intricate psychedelic visuals, and a full spectrum of emotions, ranging from euphoria to melancholy or grief. It is important to emphasize that psilocybin is not recognized as an addictive substance.
Will I have a bad trip?
Because magic mushrooms are somewhat easy to grow and find, many of us have tried them either at a young age or at a party or festival. These fungi open up our energetic field so that all circumstances around us are amplified. Most truly “bad trips” stem from a ill-planned physical setting or a non- purposeful mindset going into the journey. At The Buena Vida we know how to properly prepare you and make sure your physical and energetic space is properly held, ensuring you the best possible container for a meaningful and safe trip. While there may still be difficult parts of the journey, when you know you’re safe, you can navigate through these areas and take the lessons from the experience. Even guests who may report that part of their journey was “bad” or “difficult” always can see the purpose or reason for this situation within the first few days after the trip.
I’m dealing with depression and anxiety. This scares me, but I’ve also heard it can help?
We are lucky to be living in a time where the healing effects of psychedelics are finally allowed to be properly studied. Scientists from Imperial College London concluded that giving managed doses of psilocybin to subjects who were previously resistant to treatment by common anti-depressants led to “enduring reductions in symptom severity”.
As is commonly known, much of depression stems from living in the past and much of anxiety stems from living in the future. Psilocybin mushrooms help us to become fully present. We’re able to observe the world and ourselves exactly as they are at this moment. The result is usually a more care-free and open attitude toward our lives. We can stop for a moment to learn gratitude for our many blessings.
What if I suffer from severe mental issues?
There are a few serious mental issues that need to be disclosed before taking psilocybin. Those with a history of schizophrenia, suicidal behavior and some other mental states are advised against psychedelics use without a specific recommendation from their medical doctor. However, physical risk with psilocybin is extremely low. Please be honest in your application so that we can have full knowledge to let you know if our retreats are the right medicine for your healing. We can answer these specific questions in a private email.
What is the DOSE we will be taking?
This is an interesting question because age/height/weight seem to have almost no effect on proper dosing of psilocybin. Since potency of psilocybin mushrooms can vary widely from each batch, it is best to dry, mix and brew a fresh tea for ceremony. We use ginger to calm the stomach.
Our leaders are always testing and dosing our mushrooms to be sure of their strength. Psilocybe Cubensis is very strong. For the first ceremony, we will be using a smaller dose (1-1.5 grams) during our Embodiment & Breathwork session to see how each guest responds to our powerful medicine. We will counsel with guests to see where they’d like to be after that. The shaman has final say on the amount for each guest. Most likely, guests tend to stay somewhere between 2-5 grams throughout the retreat.
This is a powerful introduction to psilocybin medicine, it is NOT a retreat to blow you out of your mind completely, traumatize you or send you home confused. We use the feminine spirit of healing medicine to safely work through deep issues with love, gentleness, warmth and care.
Luckily with psilocybin, there is not much nausea other than possibly 10-20 minutes towards the beginning and even high doses are very safe with the right facilitators.
Leaders and Facilitators
During your retreat, we always have between 4-5 leaders per retreat of 10-15 guests. We also have a house assistant as well that’s on hand should we need any other help.
Amanda has hand-picked and trained all of the facilitators based upon her harm-reduction education as well as 6 years of experience guiding retreats with Psilocybin, Ayahuasca, and San Pedro medicine.
The ceremonies are a combination of native North and South American rituals, native songs, sounds and drumming as well as chants, mantras and modalities from all over the world.
The main goal of the facilitator team is to ensure physical, emotional and spiritual safety while “staying out of the way” of your own experience. We are not a therapy retreat and therefore do not employ any traditional therapists. However, members of our team are experienced Yoga teachers, Certified Hypnotherapists, Nutritionists and healers in their own right. Depending on the time of the year, we rotate between about 10 different facilitators that have worked extensively with The Buena Vida.
The most important aspect of our facilitation team is a huge, open heart and non-judgmental spirit that allows them to hold you in compassionate space as you heal with the help of the medicine. We are rooting for you and will give our minds, hearts, bodies and spirits to guide you as you learn to become your own healer!
What is a “ceremony” and why is it important?
Ceremony is first and foremost, a vital part in a much larger process of the retreat as a whole. In the west, we’ve lost the rituals and ceremonies that were there to remind us of a greater reality – our connection to life, the cosmos and to our community – ceremonies that were used to honor rites of passage from one stage of life to the next.
A cultural and social inability to make a distinction between outward religious affiliation and a more personal, earth-centred spirituality, has played a part in discarding rituals as valid means of connecting, inspiration and healing; leaving most people with very few means of giving meaning to their life and circumstances
The mystery of life often works deep beneath the surface.
Ceremonies and the rituals that take place within ceremonies, are the place where all of life literally happens before our eyes and becomes deeply embodied through our actions. After recognition and understanding comes re-joining, repositioning, healing and finally releasing.
In many indigenous traditions, the incorporation of psychedelics is a beautiful testament to the power of ceremony. We hold deep respect for these traditions, as they’ve shown us how the use of psychedelics within a ceremonial context can spark profound personal transformation while fostering a sense of community.
It’s important to note that our retreats are not designed as mere recreational experiences, although we do value the social aspect and the sense of community they provide. Our retreat groups come together in a sacred ceremonial space and remain there, or in the surrounding natural area, throughout the ceremony. This immersive experience involves several key elements: creating and maintaining a safe and supportive space together, partaking in mushroom tea thoughtfully dosed by our medicine women, being guided on a sonic journey that includes singing, toning, mantra, crystal sound bowls, flutes, rums, rattle, harmonica and some ligh recorded music as well as silence and the sounds of the jungle.
The ceremony typically spans around 3-4 hours, during which participants will be guided to the restroom, to gaze at the stars or to be helped in any way necessary. This thoughtful and immersive approach allows for a meaningful and transformative journey while ensuring the comfort and well-being of all participants.
How do you screen guests and make sure they are right for the retreat?
Our screening process is one that Amanda has used with over 750 clients at 4 different psychedelic medicine retreat centers throughout the world. Our first step is the application process which gives us information about physical/mental and emotional health and history. After this, we do a Skype session with each potential guest to further clarify their intentions, goals and also screen medically for any potential issues. Once approved, guests are required to sign a medical waiver that consents to the medicine our shaman serves and also that they are off of certain medications during the retreat. For unexpected medical emergencies, of which there are very few, our locations for retreats are always within 20 minutes of a local emergency room. We always have 1-2 completely sober facilitators during the ceremonies that can drive and assist guests if need be. Luckily psilocybin is incredibly physically safe for many people, especially in comparison to some other plant medicines.
How do you keep my privacy and identity safe?
For our confidentiality, we take privacy and security extremely seriously. Our venues are quiet, private and usually away from all other potential interactions with non-members of the retreat. All hosts and properties have worked with plant medicine and are 100% clear on our intent and ceremony. Guests sign a waiver that they will not post of images of other guests on any public forum. We have private WhatsApp groups set up for guests to remain in contact. None of our information is shared with any other organization, group, team or person.
Is this a therapy or psychotherapy retreat?
At The Buena Vida, we have several specialized advisors including behavioral therapists, neurological specialists, ethnobotanists, and shamans/elders in plant medicine study. However, it’s very important to stress that this is NOT A THERAPY OR TRAUMA retreat. We will not be employing traditional, western modalities of psychotherapy. The goal of the retreat is to safely (emotionally, physically and spiritually) “stay out of the way” of the healing each guest receives from the mushroom journey. All of our leaders have been trained on all modern modalities of harm reduction, emotional wellness safety as well as having sat with many guests during the process. It’s our opinion that, in this world of psychedelic healing, training and experience is of utmost importance.
Where can I read more about scientific studies being done?
There are too many studies and scientific findings to list here. Please visit our Psychedelic Research page. All of the studies basically have the same conclusion: Psilocybin is safe and highly effective when taken correctly and with proper safety.
We also have a blog about the physical safety of psilocybin that contains some of the best and most recent research available.
I can’t make it to the current posted retreats, will there be more?
We are happy to say that many people are ready for mushroom healing! We have various magical locations throughout Mexico. Sign up below to stay on the list!
The Buena Vida and Sol Medicine does not supply, manufacture, distribute or condone the use of any illegal substances. The goal of The Buena Vida Retreats is to facilitate access to trained shamans who work with sacred plant medicines within an accepted, sacramental and ceremonial context. The shamans personally evaluate each guests’ needs and work strictly within the laws of their training and all local and national laws where the retreats will take place. We do not guarantee any results or outcomes, specific medicine usage, etc. Each participant is responsible for informing themselves about possible pharmaceutical drug contraindications, including but not limited to SSRI and other stabilizing medication. They assume all responsibility for due diligence required for their participation. For more information and additional resources, email [email protected]