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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Matt’s Story – Director of NLA

Matthew Mormello

A journey to personal healing through entheogens.

matts story

Matt – Director and Founder

Matthew Mormello, director and partner of New Life Ayahuasca, is slightly intimidating upon first impression at a looming 6’3”, but after spending a few minutes with him, any roughness his physical appearance might suggest is quickly softened by his gentle personality. Matt’s easy going nature and inviting smile make it easy to open up to him, which is a great ability when working with ayahuasca and iboga. It’s important to him to be able to relate to the people that come to New Life Ayahuasca for healing through either iboga(ine) or ayahuasca, and because his history holds a little bit of everything you can imagine, he is usually able to develop a bond quickly and really relate to what drives an individual to seek out these sacred medicines.

Matt’s journey with plant medicine began in 2010, when after years of battling drug addiction and trying every traditional rehab method avalaible without success (i.e. medicated detoxes, 30-day programs, Suboxone maintenance, churches, support groups, meditation and personal development courses) he stumbled upon an episode on National Geographic about hallucinogenic plants and their uses.

The first segment in the episode was about ayahuasca and he was immediately drawn to the sounds and images. He told himself, “This is it, this is what i have to do.”

Then, the following segment, which focused on ibogaine and its documented capacity to effectively alleviated opiate withdrawal and treat opiate addiction, redirected his focus to get ibogaine therapy.



Matt on HBO’s VICE

From there, he immediately got on-line and spent countless hours researching iboga(ine) from its traditional uses in Africa by Bwiti sects, to its more modern medical use of treating addictions, depression, anxiety and PTSD. He reached out to a number of facilities, sharing his situation and the intimate connection he felt to entheogens and eventually, his persistence paid off. In early 2011, he was offered the opportunity to recieve ibogaine treatment on an episode of HBO’s VICE tv (Season 1 Episode 7) . Within a few weeks, he was on a plane to Mexico for his 1st ibogaine treatment.


Unfortunately, in 2011, Matt was on Suboxone prior to his ibogaine treatment and it was not well known that Suboxone has a binding effect in the brain, meaning the Suboxone stays in the system much longer than a short acting opiate (such as morphine or heroin), making it much more difficult to detox from. We now know that an individual must be off Suboxone (and methadone) for around 30 days prior to receiving ibogaine for the treatment to be effective and lasting, but Matt was treated with ibogaine only a few days after his last dose of Suboxone. So once he returned home and the effects of the ibogaine wore off, he started experiencing residual withdrawals that he endured for over a month before he finally couldn’t handle it any longer, and returned to a Suboxone maintenance program.


Matt playing mougongo, a traditional African instrument.

Despite this set back, he was still determined that ibogaine could work for him, so he reached out to some of the contacts he had made while filming with VICE, and in late 2013, he flew to Costa Rica for his 2nd attempt at sobriety through ibogaine therapy. His 2nd treatment was an amazing success and he rededicated himself to a healthier lifestyle, losing 60 lbs in 6 months. He wanted to continue to help himself and help others; so the facility that treated him, recognizing his passion, determination and drive, offered him the opportunity to stay and work with them to continue learning about ibogaine therapy.

Over the following year, Matt continued to learn about sacred plant medicines, participating in a peyote ceremony and dozens of ayahuasca ceremonies.

While he had a passion for ibogaine and helping other addicts recover, he felt a connection with ayahuasca unlike anything he had ever felt before, and although he didn’t know it then, ayahuasca would turn out to be the primary path in which his life was headed.

In 2014, the facility he had been working for closed its doors. Matt, never being one to give up, worked diligently with his girlfriend, Jeanae, to create a program that could offer both ibogaine therapy and ayahuasca ceremonies. They spent a few months getting all the preparations in place, and in 2015, they were finally able to open a small facility, equipped to handle just one person at a time.


Our New Facility

From there, Matt and Jeanae have been fortunate to have grown from the humble little facility that could accommodate one, to their new location as of September 2015, which can accommodate 7. They have moved from a focus on ibogaine therapy to a focus on providing comfortable and compassionate ayahuasca retreats, however ibogaine therapy is still available through a 2 week program incorporating both ibogaine and ayahuasca. They’ve dedicated a lot of time, and participated in many ceremonies with various Shaman and guides, and together they have participated in over 100 ayahuasca experiences.


Arriving in Peru

In July of 2015 they traveled to Peru, where they got to experience traditional ceremonies in the jungle where indigenous people have practiced using ayahuasca for thousands of years. They visited the shaman that makes the medicine they provide for retreats at New Life Ayahuasca, and got to see first hand how and where the brew is made.

The experience had such a profound impact on them, and helped continue to fuel their passion for the sacred medicine they both credit for saving their lives.

Read more about their trip to Peru


New Life Ayahuasca continues to grow, and Matt and Jeanae are incredibly grateful for the opportunities they’ve had and for their families that have supported, encouraged and helped make their dreams possible.