The Ayahuasca Experience: How to Prepare for the Adventure

Every adventure travel enthusiast has their own dream adventure travel destination. For some, it’s taking part in an overseas adventure tour, like an African safari. For others, it may be hiking trails in the backcountry. And yet, for another select group of adventure travelers, it’s heading to South America to take part in a Ayahuasca ceremony. In fact, this is one trip that’s on this writers bucket list. I am truly intrigues by this “psychoactive brew” called Ayahuasca. And if you are to, read on to learn how to prepare for an Ayahuasca trip.

Before we jump into how to prepare for an Ayahuasca retreat, it’s first important to know a little more about Ayahuasca, the benefits and potential side effects.

What is Ayahuasca?

Those who have traveled to these South American countries most likely have tried Ayahuasca. It refers to the brew extracted from the leaves of the Psychotria vidiris shrubs and Banisteriopsis caapi stalks. It has been used by the indigenous people in South America, specifically within the Amazon region.

Ayahuasca involves boiling shredded Psychotria viridis leaves and the Banisteriopsis caapi stalk together. Once it turns into a concentrated liquid form, it should be cooled first before the straining of any impurities.

The use of Ayahuasca traces back around 1000 AD. It was and still is used as a sacred drink in ceremonies for medicinal and religious purposes. A traditional healer or “curandero” usually lead such ceremonies and prepared the brew.

The Important of a Shaman

If you want to take Ayahuasca, you should do it under the supervision of a traditional shaman. A shaman should require you to have medical clearance before going ahead on this journey. Participants should avoid taking drugs and certain foods prior to taking Ayahuasca, as it can cause life-threatening consequences. In addition, it’s recommended that you also stay away from cigarettes, alcohol, caffeine, and even sex before partaking in an Ayahuasca ceremony. Likewise, you will be advised to turn vegetarian for at least two weeks before the Ayahuasca.

Make sure to follow everything to ensure safety and a positive Ayahuasca experience.

Following the above-mentioned precautions can help purify the body of toxins and other impurities. Taken properly, the user can experience positive benefits from Ayahuasca. On the other hand, an unsupervised Ayahuasca trip can lead to potentially unpleasant consequences.

What You Can Expect from Ayahuasca

The ceremony also usually take place in the evenings and would last until its effects fade off. The Ayahuasca’s effects start to kick in within 20 minutes or so and can last for up to 6 hours.

People have varying reactions after taking Ayahuasca. On the one hand, some would experience a feeling of “high” and euphoria like they were on drugs. But, some might experience panic attacks and anxiety. Others may also experience diarrhea, vomiting, and hallucinations. There are also others who might experience all of the above.

But in case you want to try this out, don’t worry. Quality Ayahuasca retreats and the shamans who are in charge of it will ensure participants’ safety all throughout. Some Ayahuasca retreats even have medical personnel on standby in case something does happen.

Why people take it?

Actually, the Ayahuasca is used beyond religious and medical intentions. For one, some people wanted to experience Ayahuasca as part of their travel bucket list. But, some use Ayahuasca to heal themselves from personal traumas or as a way of personal enlightenment.

A lot of people who partook on the Ayahuasca trip claim that it changed their lives forever. Apparently, those who participated in an Ayahuasca ceremony experienced the following benefits.

  • Improved brain health thanks to Ayahuasca’s active ingredients (DMT and β-carbolines)
  • Improved overall psychological well-being including one’s mood and emotions
  • Has helped with their mental issues such as PTSD, depression, and anxiety

Warnings Before Consuming Ayahuasca

However, one should be careful when partaking in an Ayahuasca trip. One 19-year old British student named Henry Miller reportedly died after consuming Ayahuasca. As mentioned, this psychedelic concoction can cause potentially fatal side effects. Not everyone will experience the same effects or reactions upon consuming Ayahuasca.

It should also not be taken with other medications for weight loss, neurological diseases, or mental issues. In addition, it can increase one’s blood pressure can be fatal if you have an existing heart issue. That is why it is important that only experienced and skilled shamans can perform the Ayahuasca ritual.

Partaking in an Ayahuasca experience can be a double-edged sword. You can experience positive benefits from it. However, it might also cause potential side effects, especially if taken without supervision. That is why you should do your research first and decide whether you are ready to partake on this kind of once-in-a-lifetime “trip”.

How to Prepare for an Ayahuasca Trip

Aside from preparing for the Ayahuasca experience, you need to prepare for the overall trip as well. For one thing, Amazon’s usual weather is hot and humid. In such cases, you might want to wear light, long-sleeved clothing to avoid insect bites as well.

You will most likely get dirty and wet along the way. Remember, you will be trekking a dense and wet jungle on your way to the Ayahuasca retreat. Pack light as much as possible.

  • 40-65L trekking/hiking backpack
  • Carry-on bag (to store your valuables such as passport, mobile phone, camera, etc.)
  • Passport (it should be valid for travel at least six months)
  • Money (at least $300 USD)
  • Credit card or bank card (optional)
  • Notebook or journal (you can also use your phone or tablet if you want)
  • Camera (to preserve those memories)
  • Swimming outfit and gear
  • Slip-proof flip-flops/sandals
  • Long-sleeved, loose shirts (up to 3)
  • Hiking pants (up to 2 pairs)
  • Sweatshirt and jacket in case of rain (1pc each)
  • Undergarments good for a week (underwear, socks, bra, etc.)
  • Cap/sun hat
  • Sunscreen and other toiletries (shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, etc.)
  • First aid kit (Band-Aid, gauze, alcohol, etc.)
  • Insect repellent/mosquito patches

In Conclusion

If you are planning to visit Peru, Brazil or another South American country, a trek through the Amazon to an Ayahuasca ceremony might be just the life experience you desire. But how you prepare for an Ayahuasca trip can make all the difference.

Whether an Ayahuasca adventure life travel is in the cards or not, just remember, It doesn’t matter whether you travel locally or to another country. It’s also not about the souvenirs you can buy and bring along back home. Rather, it is all about those unforgettable, life-changing experiences you will get from those travels. It’s all about appreciating traditions, trying out new cuisines and cultures, and respecting other people regardless of race and ethnicity.

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