Ayahuasca Retreats in Costa Rica 215.310.1250



New Life Ayahuasca Overall rating: ★★★★★ 5 based on 96 reviews
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Shamanic Value

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Just before I traveled to New Life, I was given a book. It was a coincidence that the book was Stone Age Wisdom and that it was about shamanism. More important, it was something that I needed to read at just that moment – such are the synchronicities that pop up in your life if you’re ready to notice them. I knew a lot about Ayahuasca from reading and listening to Terrence McKenna. But I had given almost no thought to the other important factor in Ayahuasca ceremonies – the shaman. Author Tom Crockett wrote his book to demystify the function played by those who facilitate, host and present the ceremonies. His central premise is that shamanic work is about helping people to learn about and to heal themselves. You don’t have to be from a traditional culture and you don’t need a PhD in Shamanistic Studies. You just need to understand – intellectually and viscerally – the value of the rituals and pre-modern practices that can be so effective with or without the plant medicines. I feel very lucky that I ended up at a retreat with Matthew Mormello. The whole experience certainly engaged me in profound ways. Matt has obviously been trained well by traditional mentors but his background as an American helped make him and the ceremonies that much more amenable. He never refers to himself as a shaman but Matt’s efforts impressed me for their balance of wild energy and ceremonial dignity. I haven’t experienced so-called real shaman so I don’t know what I missed. But from what I know from reading is that Matt set the perfect tone and ambiance in which Mother Ayahuasca could do her magic. The experience can be a little intimidating so the other value provided by Matt and his partner Janae is safety. They really care about taking care of people. The feeling you get is love. They love what they’re doing. They love to help and serve. And they love enough to be really professional about the whole operation. The food is great. The rooms are great. The amenities are great. All in all: this is real value. The Ayahuasca experience is much more than merely drinking a plant medicine. It starts from the moment you are welcomed to the beautiful house high in the hills of San Ramon. This is something important to any shamanistic experience: the location. With a forever view of the surrounding hills, ocean and skies, this location is indeed liminal. The house is one with the sky and abounds with character and warmth. And all of that is buttressed by the warmth and care of Matt and Janae themselves. I’m still glowing and reverberating with little lessons from Aya weeks after the experience. If I didn’t get the genuine performance from a card-carrying native shaman in Peru, then I don’t care. I got what I needed. Thanks Matt and Janae, it was perfect.

Serene setting, beautiful experience

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This was my first aya experience and I went into it with great expectations. Matt and Jeanae, who are both wonderful people, have created the perfect environment and did not disappoint. All attendees felt safe and comfortable which allows for a more profound experience with the medicine. The food, property, guests, and Shaman (and Jeanae!!!) were all A+. I couldn't recommend this place more and I will most certainly be going back.

Profound Experience

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It's very difficult to describe what an amazing experience this was. Matt and Jeanae make you feel right at home upon arrival to their beautiful property. The rooms are amazing and very comfortable, and the view from the back porch every morning is breathtaking. Overall just a very positive energy surrounds this place and I instantly fell in love with it.. The ceremonies are unbelievably astonishing. Matt guides you through this intense experience with absolutely amazing Icaros, Gong, Drum, and Guitar. He becomes one with this medicine during ceremony, and it left me speechless. You can tell he puts 100% of his energy and passion into this, and I hold the upmost respect for him. Jeanae also plays the most beautiful sounding flute I've ever heard, and her presence during the ceremony is very soothing. Matt and Jeanae are very genuine and sincere people and I'm very grateful for what they have done for me. I cannot wait to go back!...Oh and Chopper is the coolest cat you will ever meet!
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What is Ayahuasca?

Ayahuasca is a psychedelic brew that has been used in the Amazonian area of South America, specifically Peru, for thousands of years. It is traditionally used under the guidance of a shaman in a ceremonial setting for spiritual discovery and awakening. In the Western world, it has been building a name for itself as an increasingly popular tool for treating drug addiction, depression, anxiety and PTSD. It has been featured on many prominent television and news programs such as BBC, CNN, HBO’s VICE and Newsweek and the message is clear: Ayahuasca has incredible potential.

Shamans believe that each plant has an individual spirit and these spirits have their own unique personalities. When you participate in an ceremony you get to know the spirit of ayahuasca. This entity is feminine in nature, and is often comforting and gentle. While some people can have difficult experiences, it is infrequently reported as a ‘bad’ trip. This is because ayahuasca, like ibogaine, is a plant teacher, and sometimes the way it teaches may not be the way you want it to teach, but it is still beneficial and for growth and the lessons are learned.

Ayahuasca History

ayahuascaThere is a lot of mystery concerning the history of ayahuasca. No one knows for certain just how long its use has been practiced, but there have been artifacts discovered that suggest its use dating back to 2000 B.C. Ayahuasca was discovered by the Western world in the mid 19th century and has captivated ethnographers, chemists, botanist and pharmacologists because of its unique properties. The brew contains plants that, if consumed individually, would have no effect but the specific combination activates certain properties that contribute to ayahuasca’s hallucinogenic effects. It remains unclear exactly how the indigenous people of Amazon knew which plants to use and how to prepare them for the brew, but many claim they received the information directly from the plant spirits themselves.

The Brew

The brew is made from Banisteriopsis caapi vine alone or in combination with other plants. The active hallucinogenic properties of ayahuasca come from the leaves of dimethyltrytamine(DMT)-containing species of shrubs from the genus Psychotria family such as Chacruna.  However, without a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) such as B Caapi in the brew, the DMT-containing plants remain inactive.

Ayahuasca Effects

Phsycological –

aya3Ayahuasca can radically change an individuals perception of reality. Most people report the experience to be intense, profound and spiritual. Ayahuasca allows you to ‘wake up’, leaving behind old ideologies, and creates a feeling of oneness with all of life. Many users report experiencing vivid and elaborate visions that lead to profound revelations. These revelations can be anything, but are often related to the essence of life: who we are, where we came from, why we are here, how we interact with other life (both humans and nature) and how it is all connected. Some even report gaining access to other dimensions and interacting with spirits. Ayahuasca as a plant teacher reveals itself differently to everyone, but almost all users report it as being one of the most positive and profound experiences of their lives.

Physical –

spiritbalanceAyahuasca consumption comes with a purging process that is considered a somewhat un-pleasurable but essential part of the experience. The physical purge comes in the form of vomiting and diarrhea. The intensity of the purge varies on an individual basis but the purpose is the same for all: cleansing and purification. The purge represents the release of negative energies and a cleansing of the body, mind and spirit.

The Diet(a)-

There is a special diet to follow for the week prior to participation in ceremonies. This is mainly to reduce any counter-indications with the MAOIs found in the brew. Main foods to avoid are aged, preserved, dried, fermented, pickled, spicy, cured meats, red meats, or any foods containing tyramine. During your stay at New Life Ayahuasca all meals will be prepared in accordance with the suggested diet . Find the full list of diet restrictions here.

Ayahuasca Safety-

Certain prescription medications can cause potential dangerous interactions with ayahuasca. Always disclose all medications to the ayahuasca provider prior to participation in ceremonies. Refer to our safety page for more information on possible medicinal interactions.


Not sure if Ayahuasca is right for you?

Here is an article with many links and resources detailing 6 primary benefits of ayahuasca. The information and corresponding links may help you decide if participating in ceremonies is right for you.

6 Benefits of Ayahuasca


Also, visit our FAQ page to get answers to some of the most common questions about ayahuasca retreats.