Retreat InfoAbout the Retreat:
The goal of The Buena Vida Retreats is to provide safe access to healing psilocybin mushrooms within the context of ritual and ceremony. We believe these fungi are tools that can help humanity awaken to their creativity, joy and inherent ability to heal themselves. Our retreats aim to give a holistic container to healing; one that uses sound, movement, and most importantly, a sense of community.
While we know that the medicine can heal deeply, we acknowledge that they are just a tool in our vitality tool belt. You'll also experience the unique beauty of vulnerability and sharing in a non-judgmental community. We introduce a type a meditation that you can fully understand and utilize. We’ll dive deeply into our inner selves to discover the personal ways in which mind, body and spirit need to thrive.
Each retreat group consists of a 4:1 ratio of guests to leaders. We cater to those wanting a luxurious, pampered and caring retreat that allows a deep dive into this sacred medicine.
We combine the sacred with the modern; the traditional ways with a fresh perspective; the divine with the everyday.Description of Services:
We are a LEGAL, SAFE, and most of all CARING group of leaders trained to guide you through this epic journey. We are the only female-led and ceremony-focused Psilocybin retreat in the world.
The sacred medicine is served in a ceremonial and sacramental setting, reminding humanity of our deep love of ritual.
Our psilocybin ceremonies are super powerful! We want every other aspect of your journey to be luxurious, comfortable, and peaceful.
5-7 days in a private luxury villa
2-3 medicine ceremonies*
4:1 ratio of guests to leaders
Daily Integration & workshops
Yoga, movement and Breathwork
Day trip to a local site
Chef-prepared healthy cuisine, fresh juices and snacks
7-Day Online “Preparing for the Psychedelic Journey” Course to ease your mind and set intentions
Time for swimming, walking and relaxing in a stunning Mexican setting
Transportation to and from the airport
Maria Leotta, MNCH
Leonardo David Zuniga
Rosalind McApline, Ph.D.Team/Medical Staff:
Rosalind McAlipine, Ph.D. : Mental Health Science Researcher with a focus on Psychedelics
Senior Scientific Advisor
Gregory Frederick Ferenstein, M.Sc.
DetailsFounder(s) / CEO: Amanda SchendelGroup Size: 8-16Price Range: $4000-6000Specializing In: Addiction, Anxiety, and Depression
Our ProcessOverview of Experience:
The experience of the retreat focuses on preparing the mind and body to be as open as possible to the mushroom medicine. Our holistic tools include breathwork, somatic movement and body awareness, active listening & sharing, and moving from the intellect into the heart space. We also offer guests in-depth tools for working within their ceremony experience alongside the medicine so that they are able to glean the most out of each experience.
Our ceremonies are a modern translation of the rituals and teachers that our leaders have been blessed to learn from. Amanda has studied under the traditions of the Camino Rojo, which is a native north and south american indigenous tradition. We also bring in our various lineages from Mexico, Europe, as well as modern day north america. We hope to offer guests a non-dogmatic introduction to embodied spirituality so that they may create their own rituals that feel in alignment with their unique history and cultures.
The experience itself is communal: we are all together as one in the ceremony, yet on our unique journeys. We hold the space using various sound healing methods, including:
-Traditional and modern medicine music
-Healing crystal and metal sound bowls
-Rattling, drumming and other trace instruments.
-Binaural tones and music
Our integration model stems from many years of observation of the guest's experience. We do not offer a traditional western "talk therapy" approach, as we know many guests have access to this modality back home. Instead, we try to focus on integrating the ineffable experience of psychedelics using journaling, dance, play and meditation exercises. While we offer one-on-one support from our leaders, its imperative that we remind guests "we're not here to heal you or figure it out for you!" Our goal of integration, and truly the retreat itself, is that each guest goes home with a renewed sense of confidence in their own ability to heal, their own strength to live their best life and a foundation of self-acceptance that will support their revelations.
For continued integration, we offer an additional 8-week support system that is focused on Intuitive Integration.
This program will be a hybrid between one-on-one guidance and community integration. The one-on-one sessions will offer a personalized approach towards the integration of guests' experiences.
The community integration will be biweekly guided group call with fellow family members from the retreat. This is a beautiful way to stay connected and feel supported by the people who understand the most.Intake Process:
After our guests fill out a medical and health background application, they will participate in a zoom call with a member of our staff. This call entails specific questions about their intentions for the retreat, past experiences and important personal history evaluations.
Once accepted, guests receive a 7-Day Online Preparation Course which focuses on the psyche, somatic body awareness, thought patterns and present state of each guests. It introduces some of the concepts we will cover at the retreat including: ceremony, introspection of the "shadow side" of our subconscious, holding space for healing, present moment awareness and more.Supplemental Modalities: Yoga, Ecstatic Dance, Wim Hoff Breath, Self-Hypnosis, Somatic Body WorkPsychedelic Substances Offered: Psilocybin MushroomHow does this Center source medicine?:
Our center works with local, indigenous shamanic families in accordance with the law. We are able to source medicine through the "ceremonial and sacramental usage". Our staff ensures the quality and strength of all of the medicine we source.Practice reciprocity with local communities?: Yes
67 Reviews on “The Buena Vida Psilocybin Retreats”
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67 Reviews on “The Buena Vida Psilocybin Retreats”
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To begin with, The Buena Vida experience was so much more than I had anticipated. I am so grateful to the knowledgeable staff for such an amazing experience filled with patience, love, knowledge, wonder, and magic.
To begin the retreat, we arrived at Casa Itzamara. The setting as we stepped out of the shuttles and onto the property overlooking the jungle and the ocean was nothing short of breathtaking! The house staff was accommodating at any hour of the night and day. The property and rooms were again, well above my expectations.
6+ days of clean eating was foundational for the work we were set to do. Meals were fresh and delicious at every setting. There was always plenty of options to chose from and I was always left satisfied.
I thought the schedule that the staff had put together was perfectly timed. Plenty of time for rest, relaxation, reflection, and journaling between ceremonies and activities. There was also free time to visit the beach and Sayulita (although I would recommend planning your trip to spend a couple days in town before of after the retreat and not during. The setting of the retreat is so pristine and sacred that the couple visits to town seemed to detract from the perfection of my experience.)
Before I arrived, I was slightly apprehensive about the “ceremonies”. There seemed to be quite a bit of emphasis put on the word and the idea. After the first ceremony, it all made perfect sense to me. The care that the staff puts into the ceremony is really what makes the Buena Vida what it is. Amanda brings such a revered energy to the setting, I can’t imagine the mushroom journey without it. No matter how difficult emotions are that you are working through, the ceremonies weave the needed love and compassion throughout the evenings. Amazing!!!
Never have I felt so close to a group of people than I have here. The atmosphere and energy brings such an amazing sense safety that we couldn’t help but be vulnerable with each other and really go deep with genuine new friendships.
So many thank you’s to Amanda, Stefan, Autumn, Sarah, and Kate!!!! I hope we will meet again…….
It’s taken me a while to find the right words to describe this absolutely beautiful and as repetitive as it may sound, totally life changing experience and I’m not sure I can do it justice but I know this will help others decide to take the leap and help this group of wonderful people continue to do important work so here we go…
From the moment my wife and I arrived at the 1st Grounded Retreat in the jungle outside Tulum, Mexico we were greeted with literal open arms and warmth. The facilitators Stefan, Autumn, Keith, Ana and Shandi were truly amazing humans and defined the role of facilitating the medicine perfectly and without ego. Nobody was trying to be a guru nor claiming to be. The medicine is the thing that brings us together and they are mere guides happy to share their experience and kindness as we embarked on 3 ceremonies through out our 7-day retreat.
I was a D.A.R.E. success story and had never done psychedelics so this was my first time. I went with my wife hoping to gain a new experience together with the thought of starting a family in the near future, we figured what better time than now to have this kind of opening.
We did breath work, yoga, journaling, group discussions, local trip to ruins and cenotes and so much great conversation with the 14 total participants on this journey. Also our family style meals were all outdoors at these great long tables. So much reflection.
When it came time for ceremony, I was nervous and excited but ultimately the facilitators made it such a calm and wonderful experience that felt truly sacred and spiritual – 2 words that don’t really enter my lexicon often. The process of the ceremony was so damn cool. The rituals, traditions, songs, singing, instruments, smells, and sounds were their own intuitive ride in themselves thanks to these guides. It was a perfect companion for where the medicine would take me.
I always felt comfortable and in trusting hands. I am a caretaker type and it took effort for me to let go and not worry about my wife or others and let myself be taken care of and knowing that I could ask for help was a big thing for me.
I’ll keep what happened for me in the ceremonies for myself, Keith gently cautioned that you’ll want to go home and tell everyone what you saw and experienced but be careful as your stories may become just that – stories – and no longer your own felt experience, they take on a new form once out there so I am sticking with that for myself!
I love that there was lead up work that really helped set the tone for the intentions of why we’re doing this and what we expect to get out of it. It’s hard not to have expectations and the medicine showed me so much and none of it was in the way I thought it’d come. They say, the medicine doesn’t often give you what you want but what you need and god damn, that is the truth.
I have been living with depression, anxiety, adhd and ocd tendencies for most of my adult life and what I got was a whole lot of healing and calm. I realized there is a difference between healing and fixing and that I was never broken to begin with.
It was just fucking beautiful.
The group setting was so wonderful and energizing. The love and compassion and openness of the group lended to the experience in a big way.
If you’re reading this and considering a retreat, go. You will not regret it. Amanda has built an incredible community of caring individuals who seek to serve the medicine and to improve people’s lives and they do it in a no bullshit or ego kind of way. This is coming from a skeptical New Englander too, so you know my bullshit-o-meter is always on high alert. I felt everything and everyone was a genuine as can be. The real deal. Authentic and life affirming.
I can’t thank the facilitators enough and my wife for suggesting we do this thing together. Much love to the Buena Vida family <3 Ajo!
I attended The Buena Vida 5-day Healing Retreat last month in beautiful Mexico. It was everything I had hoped it would be and more. I didn’t have any experience with psilocybin (or any plant medicine -or ‘illicit drugs’ in general) but was getting a little desperate for something to help with my depression because traditional medicine wasn’t helping. So… I spent a good while catching up on all the old and new research and anything else on the subject available out there. Through my reading, I soon realized that -as often happens- indigenous peoples have already known what’s up for thousands of years regarding the sacred wonder of psychedelic and other plant medicines. The whole concept of a journey with psilocybin in a sacred ceremony just sounded right to me. I figure it’s been around for thousands of years so it felt right for me to journey in that setting verses something more clinical. Don’t get me wrong, I have a clinical science background, so I get the importance of formal, quality research but felt comfortable that how it’s been successfully used for thousands of years counts and matters.
So -after much researching and reading- I felt 100% confident about trying psilocybin to help with my depression (and explore expanded consciousness in general.) I also felt 100% sure about doing it in a ceremonial setting at a retreat. Now what? Which retreat? I knew I would have to travel to another country. I had already decided to spend the money. When it came right down to it, my main concern was safety… I mean the very nature of the experience requires willingness to put yourself into an intensely vulnerable situation for 4-6 hours per ceremony, not to mention having others see you that way before, during and after. Eeeek… this literally threw me off for a couple of months. I kind of put the whole idea down and walked away for a bit. I wasn’t even sure how to research this since it’s not regulated like other healthcare settings and treatments – plus they are in different countries. So… I started reading again and watching documentaries -a lot- and soon realized that certain organizations, and individuals and publications are mentioned and cited often and start to emerge as mainstream in this arena. Then you start noticing certain retreats are mentioned or vetted by or endorsed by many of those mainstream psychedelic entities. The Buena Vida just kept popping up across multiple, mainstream mediums as a quality psilocybin retreat so it soon made it to the top of my list. I pored over every review I could find and really had no red flags. So… I chose The Buena Vida. I am so glad I did because it surpassed all I had hoped it would be in every area. First and foremost… I felt safe. They make it known in their advertising, their pre-retreat emails, initial zoom interview and every step along the way… that safety is priority. The Buena Vida is a legal business in Mexico. It’s focus on intention and ceremony fit the bill too. The tropical location, the gourmet food, the beautiful villa are just icing on the ceremonial cake – so to speak (very, very good ‘icing’ I must say – just magnificent setting). My point being that I was able to fully enjoy the beautiful setting, the ceremony, the medicine -the whole experience- because I just felt it in my bones, that Amanda and her team prioritize fostering a culture of safety and security and sacredness for everyone so that you can get the absolute most from the experience. Now, don’t get me wrong… it wasn’t just seriousness and ceremony all the time. It was a blast of fun and fellowship with like-minded journeyers (retreat attendees + the leaders) from different places and backgrounds. In a matter of days, we were family sharing stories of heartache and happiness, sharing delicious meals together, marveling at the majesty of whales as we watched them together from a boat on the ocean. We laughed together and cried together, meditated, did yoga, danced, tried our hand at poetry and drawing. None of us attendees had done anything like this retreat before but we all willingly did things outside our comfort zones (yoga and dancing definitely outside mine) because the vibe at The Buena Vida was one of unconditional love, acceptance, encouragement and safety. That culture combined with the knowledge of the medicine, respect for ceremony and passion that Amanda and the other leaders practiced made space for one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I can’t wait to go back. – Pam A.
I really don’t even know where to begin.
I was lucky enough to be a part of the first “Grounded Retreat” through Buena Vida. It was exactly what I didn’t know I needed. To get the basics out of the way, the accommodation was stunning. A perfectly beautiful simple setting within the sacred jungle of the Yucatan. The staff was accommodating and friendly, the rooms were lovely, the food was fresh, and the grounds of the resort were healing on their own.
Somehow the medicine and the ceremonies were only a small part of all of it (though profound enough to change the course of my life). It was everything that made this retreat so sacred. The instant camaraderie of the group, the breath work and yoga classes, the grounding of the nature and jungle we were amongst, and the pure love that could palpably be felt amongst every single one of us. I was able to connect, or rather reconnect, to nature for the first time in my life. Booking this specific retreat was exactly what my spirit needed even though I had no idea.
The thing that I honestly don’t think I can put into words is the lessons I received from every single one of our facilitators. Each one so amazing and different in their own way. They each brought their own energies and healing to all of us. Ana, Autumn, Keith, Shandi, and Stefan – thank you all. I will never forget any of what I learned from simply being in your presence.
I know this is not the last time my path will cross with Buena Vida. But for now, I cannot recommend these retreats enough to anyone who thinks they could benefit even just a little. Whether it is just to experience love again, to reconnect, or to heal – I promise you it is worth it.
I went on this retreat December 2022. The experience was amazing. Beautiful location, great food but most importantly wonderful people. The ceremony was life affirming and peaceful. We were in a safe serene space with gentle support from our facilitators. I would return again and again. I met wonderful people and had a life changing spiritual journey in a beautiful location.
I attended an expansion retreat in November of 2022 as part of a self-styled ten week work “sabbatical”.
I arrived in Puerto Vallarta one day early, due to flight arrival times, etc, and I will start this review by saying that the taxi drivers that I chatted with in the city were lovely — friendly and welcoming and informative. They told me about the city, and about their lives. Moving about in the city, itself, was easy and pleasant, and I arrived back at the airport cafe at 3pm for pick up and transfer to our Buena Vida destination without any complications.
As I reflect on the week, I’ll begin by saying that it has changed me. I’ll further address some of the individual components of the retreat.
The accommodations were beautiful. The beds and linens were comfy. The views were gorgeous. And the beach, while a hike away, was spectacular. An array of birds, praying mantis and an assortment of butterflies added to the setting. The sunsets and the stars (stationary AND shooting…) were a perfect canopy for nighttime ceremonies.
The food was fresh, delicious, and prepared with great love and pride. Leo, the chef, and his assistant, provided wonderful breakfasts, lunches and suppers — some of the best I’ve ever had.
The four women who led our group of six were wonderful. They were vibrant, compassionate, open — and passionate about their work. They held space with tremendous grace. The medicine ceremonies were approached with equal parts wonder, gravitas, and humour, which made for a safe, potent, and comforting crucible for change. The music they created (mouth harp, chimes, singing bowls, drums, rattles…and above all…such profoundly gorgeous voices) provided an intensely beautiful backdrop of woven sounds for the ceremonies.
Finally, the six people who attended this retreat were a wonderful mix of folks who, while coming from diverse backgrounds and lives, found commonalities and camaraderie among our little collective. Coming out of a ceremony, and gathering around the long table for a late supper, with the stars above and the living hum of the jungle all around — it felt like a gathering of friends, and it gave me great pleasure each and every evening.
Returning home, I’m grateful for the integration component, as I feel that I have a great deal to consider and reconsider. My world view and my perspective on life and living has shifted in such a way that I am left deeply grateful, deeply humbled, and deeply inspired.
I wholeheartedly recommend Buena Vida Retreats to anyone who is searching.
If you are wondering whether you should go on a psilocybin retreat and if Buena Vida is the right one, I can tell you the answer to both questions is a resounding “yes” based on my experience. My retreat with Buena Vida was my first experience with a psychedelic (or any substance other than alcohol) and I wanted a place that would provide a safe, well considered approach in a beautiful setting with great food – Buena Vida accomplished that and more. Amanda and her team of facilitators are all skilled, compassionate people who really supported and elevated the experiences both in and out of ceremony. The ceremonies are the reason that I wanted to attend the retreat and they were, indeed, amazing. More importantly, the entire retreat was amazing including the classes and activities. I was initially uncertain about the group format (I am a major introvert and a naturally private person) but I found this to be a strength of the experience – it was great to have others to share the experience with and many of us have kept in touch. Each person has a unique experience with psilocybin and one journey can be very different from the next. I think the common impact was greater openness. I think the effects of psilocybin provide a window of opportunity (maybe around 6 months?) during which affect is better regulated and our automatic responses are slowed allowing a chance for a different choice to be made. Going on this retreat is probably not enough to change your life on its own but it will give you a much better shot at making the changes you need to obtain the life you desire.
BV was one of the best experiences of my life. The facilitators made me feel so safe, loved and supported on my journey. Everything about the experience was well thought out and legitimate. I would highly recommend this to anyone who wants to better their lives! I cannot wait to return.
My experience at the Buena Vida retreat is something that I will never forget and will always carry with me for the rest of my life.
Let me start by describing the incredibly loving and gentle space that Amanda and her entire staff creates for all of the participants. Although you can take mushrooms in a lot of different settings, I don’t think that you’ll find this aspect in many other places. From the very first day, Amanda and every leader showed us all how to be honest and vulnerable with ourselves and with each other. This made a dramatic difference for the entire group and really set the tone for the days ahead.
The entire experience is crafted so that you can participate in the mushroom ceremonies with the most self-awareness and self-acceptance possible. Although I felt ready to embark on this journey, I was also scared because I had had “bad” experiences in the past. However, Amanda and the leaders, gave us the tools to feel prepared for the journey ahead and approach it in the most healing way possible. From group exercises to cultivate practicing compassion for ourselves and others, to beautiful grounding exercises and breathwork, as well as yoga and dancing to get more in touch with our bodies and inner selves, and different visualization techniques to help us practice surrendering and letting go – each and every single one of these activities were crucial in best preparing the group for the mushroom ceremonies and go into them feeling empowered, confident, and grounded. Always with the central focus of care and healing.
The mushroom ceremonies were beyond beautiful. I did not imagine that I could feel as much beauty, healing, and love through this experiences. And although at times parts of the experience could feel a bit abstract or confusing, the leaders were always present to listen and support you on this journey.
I felt so well taken care of, and so much love from each and every single leader and participant on the group. This was a key piece in truly unlocking the full potential of the mushroom ceremonies, and cultivating a deeper sense of connection to myself and others. I think this was one of the most transformative pieces of the entire experience. Being allowed and welcomed to be my full self and feeling loved for it.
It is beyond words what this experience has meant to me, and what it has helped unlock within myself. I wish everyone would be able to experience this. It is truly life changing.
The Buena Vida Psilocybin Retreat was exceptional!
The team is made up of lovely, caring, professional individuals that work together in resonance holding soulful space for healing and empowering. All retreat activities are thoughtfully planned and scheduled to coincide with and support the effectiveness of the ceremonies.
During ceremony we were blessed with the musical gifts of the team, mystical starlit nights and enchanting sunsets. The integration sessions were truly enlightening and lovingly facilitated.
There was not a moment that I did not feel safe, supported, heard, and loved. I felt connected to each and every facilitator and guest during the retreat.
Ceremonial and sacramental psilocybin retreats create a collective consciousness of profound love, compassion, and connectedness. When one is healing, all are healing. And so it is.
I especially appreciated the 7 day prep course and post integration support, guidelines and information that was provided.
The setting on the ocean, the views, accommodations, and house staff were all amazing. The food was excellent and made with so much love. The cherry on top was the chartered boat excursion.
I would highly recommend Buena Vida for your first and/or next psilocybin retreat and transformational mushroom experience.
With gratitude and love,
Don’t hesitate. Trust Amanda and her team. I had big hopes for this retreat and it was everything I hoped for and more. The atmosphere was the definition of safe space. I think there were differing levels of expectations among all the participants, but everyone showed up willing to do the work and respect the ceremony and purpose of the week. If you are feeling a little (or a lot stuck) I recommend you give The Buena Vida a try. My fingers are crossed for long term benefits, but right now I feel better than I have felt in years. Trust the team, their experience, and their commitment. It’s a trip you should take.
I just got back from my buena vida retreat and all I can say is it was earth (universes) shattering. I went in with a specific goal in mind- to heal and received that in so many different ways throughout my week. Amanda and her team (the facilitators through the staff that makes everything run smoothly) really know what they are doing and ensure that the week really leaves you in a good place to work on yourself. I also found many new individuals who I now call friends on this retreat. The accommodations are spectacular and the food is truly out of this world. I have some pretty picky requirements due to health issues and I was always able to find a truly delicious meal. At the end of the day, I left Mexico with a lighter, more joyous heart which I had all but given up hope of prior to this retreat. The facilitators have so many self inquiry and healing modalities and are so caring of each individual undertaking this journey. You are in great hands and they always are there to help you with any question or need. This retreat exceeded every expectation I had and I really recommend it to anyone who feels called to plant medicine.
The retreat run by Amanda and her team exceeded my expectations beyond measure!
First, Amanda is the real deal. Her mission is to help people heal and be happy!
Second, her team is top notch— talented and caring people.
Third, while I would like to say I “fixed” everything about myself in one retreat, that is not the case. But I learned to see things in a new light, with the help from mushrooms, Amanda and her team, and the wonderful people I met at the retreat. Thanks to them I believe I am on my way to transformation.
Fourth, the set and setting was second to none. Great healthy food in a beautiful tropical setting!
Again thanks to Amanda, Stefan, Sarah, Autumn, Anale and Kate!
I can’t say enough good things about Amanda and her staff. The entire experience was truly amazing! The attention to the small details really made me feel extra pampered and loved. I felt each participant’s needs were considered and respected.
The ceremonies exceeded my expectations and allowed me to do the work I needed to do. The integration was initiated before our departure and will hopefully help me continue to benefit for months to come.
Our group of 14 participants deeply bonded with each other and the 6 staff members and left the last day for our return trip home with full, happy hearts and 19 new friends. I highly recommend this retreat and can’t wait to return next year!
Where do I even begin… Buena Vida is a gem to be found. There is so much more to this place than simply a “Psilocybin Mushroom Retreat in Mexico”. The amount of love and purpose you feel here is tangible. Everyone, that includes staff, cooks, grounds keepers, facilitators, etc., has a genuine calling to be present at these retreats. You can see their efforts they put forth and they offer a deep healing of mind, body, and spirit. Your days will never be short of smiles, laughter, and beautiful scenery.
From the moment you arrive you are greeted with joy and excitement; the facilitators are just as excited to get to know you, as you are them. They give you plenty of time to settle in and offer a pretty relaxed schedule. Do not worry about having your peace and quiet, nor lack of company. This place offers an escape for any personality types. You are continuously shown respect and kindness. Staff and cooks pour their hearts into their efforts, and it shows. The food is well above par, might I say phenomenal. Although, I’m no food guru, I can say this is what I’d imagine 5 star food tasting like.
Appreciation is a key. Do not take your time here for granted. Even if you are someone who just wants to come have a ‘trippy’ week away from home, this place may well offer you exactly what you didn’t know you need. I found a great deal more in my experiences and ceremonies here than what I’d even began to imagine.
Ceremonies were intensely captivating and so… harmonious, in the order of soothing prompts given heading into the use of the plant medicine. The music, singing, oils, smudge sticks, incense and sunset all happened in perfect arrangement. In each ceremony they will have an appropriate ratio of “sober sitters” and the lead facilitators offer an enticing intro to each ceremony that captivates your mind and spirit, while creating an environment that offers assurance and solitude. They make you feel safe, secure and let you know they have your back, to put plainly.
I would/will do another retreat in the very near future. This isn’t something you need to do really often, it’s an experience that will teach you more about yourself than you ever thought you knew. The perspective and interpretation of life, including the world around you is so different that it takes some time to integrate and get acquainted with your new existence.
Let me reassure you, this isn’t like anything you have ever done. This is far from a retreat to go and let loose with beers on the beach. There are open hands and healing hearts here that can guide you through depressions, anxieties, traumas, codependencies, addictions, and nearly anything your heart and spirit feel need healing. You will be shown respect and understanding here and the facilitators do such a great job at guiding you through the retreat to make sure you receive the experience you came for. The experience I’m referring to is going to be different for everyone. You have to believe in this as well as keep one’s intentions in thought during ceremony. Working on yourself takes effort, the medicine can’t do all of the work.
It’s a focused healing. You’ll learn that many of your answers have always been right there in your mind, but you’d drown out the voices within. I found peace and rest here. I am a 2011 severe TBI survivor. I suffered a diffuse axonal injury that left me brain dead and in a coma. I have struggled everyday since I woke up from that somber sleep. Thoughts of suicide as I wallowed in depression and sadness went across my mind from time to time. It all seemed lost after countless visits with specialists and SSRI prescriptions and/or antidepressants. Then my wife began studying psilocybin in med school and its promise in recent years with treatment of cognitive and emotional / PTSD related problems. Even some physical and neuromuscular issues had shown improvement in studies and testimonies. I took hold of this and just believed it was going to work. Like I always have, only to be let down in the past by the reliable big pharma.
Well, after a 7 day retreat I walked out with an undeniable sense of relief. Like the world was off my shoulders and the ghosts of my past were finally at rest. Clear mind and healthy feeling body. Tensions relieved and the world that was crashing down on me, seemed so peaceful and bright now. Like I had taken it all for granted.
I have a new outlook on tomorrow and whatever days follow that. My life and my future, or the ability thereof, owes a substantial gratitude to this place and the loving energy of the soft spirits within its walls. I genuinely believe that there are so many answers at Buena Vida that are there for everyone to find. If you’re someone that’s on the fence and really considering this place, or any retreat similar; do not wait any longer. The question of whether it’s worth the money or not will be answered with a big, affirmative YES! Because there is no monetary value one can place on their own life, because your life is a blessing. No amount of money ever bought a second of time – so if you can gain those seconds in life with the ones you love…. then yeah, it’s definitely worth it.
THANK YOU BUENA VIDA, FOR EVERYTHING!
It’s hard to describe the power, magic and healing available at this retreat, but here it goes. Amanda and her tribe of facilitators have curated an incredibly rich week.
I arrived reserved and unsure and left in a space of love, joy, internal peace and fully energized. The week was so well curated with workshops/classes including breath work, yoga and movement and more. From the moment we arrived at the beautiful and well appointed retreat villa (with killer views and abundant space) we were taken care of. The food was clean, creative and made with love…every meal. And the fellow attendees, who are all there for different reasons, from different backgrounds become a tribe of supporters, cheerleaders and friends for each other. That alone felt magical. Nothing was forced, it just unfolded beautifully (because Amanda and her team really know their stuff on so many levels).
When it came to the actual ceremonies, well, it was a first for me. And I was blown away by how deep the journey can be. And with the “tribe” of fellow attendees supporting me and each other, and the careful care we got from the facilitators, I was able to truthfully heal old wounds that were in the way of deep joy and light.
The ceremonies were treated as sacred. They were serious yet playful. They were enhanced and guided with beautiful music and facilitation and provided such an opening to go deep inside, all the while being protected by our fully committed, loving facilitators. The space was SO safe on all levels.
We had an opportunity to share/process as a group, in small groups, and 1 on 1 with facilitators and each other. And being witness to nearly a dozen other people (now my tribe) working thru their “stuff” and supporting me thru mine was undoubtedly magical, and quite an honor.
This is not recreational….this is medicine. And it works!
A beautiful healing experience unlike any other. The power of the mushrooms and the gentle, loving guidance of Amanda and team was truly magical. They are an amazing group that truly loves helping people and making this world a more beautiful place. When can I go back!!!!
I am five days past an incredible 7 day journey at The Buena Vida. I came with a heart and mind full of depression, confusion and skepticism. During my stay I experienced healing given to me through yoga, meditation, breathing techniques, psilocybin and the loving care of Amanda and her team. I left with hopefulness, contentment, love and a new view of this world and my life in it.
Buena Vida Retreat: Amazing, transformative, life changing-
If one is seeking a catalyst for healing, greater positivity and peaceful change in their life, this is the place and the team with whom to begin your journey. Feelings of being cradled in the heart of the earth with connection to the universal collective consciousness, is just a snippet of my experience.
Retreat facilitators bring a deep knowledge of ceremonial medicinal practices, combined with sound, movement and breath work teachings. All within an extremely well thought out, safe, loving and compassionate community environment. Additionally, I can’t end without saying that a lot of thought went into every meal. Each deliciously created to provide whole body supportive health. I wholeheartedly recommend this retreat and give it the highest possible rating.
5 MEGA stars! So I believe the secret ingredient that makes Beuna Vida such a spectacular and transformative experience is simply L O V E. Amanda and her team pour every ounce of their heart and soul into each and every day and every guest. In turn, their care and compassion become contagious amongst the participants. We became a kindred family and it was beautiful to witness and be a part of. I arrived at the retreat tired, despairing, and desperate. Slowly as the days passed and the medicine did its thing – those words were replaced with joy, peace, and faith. Two weeks later and I still feel a deeply planted sense of serenity and faith that the cosmos is conspiring in my favor. Feeling just ok was something that was beyond my reach prior to the retreat – no matter how much journaling, meditation, yoga, blah blah blah I did. My heart is full-to-overflowing with gratitude for the many gifts that I received during this magical and numinous experience. I look forward to making it an ongoing part of my spiritual wellbeing practice. If you are in a position to do this for yourself – DO IT! Impossible to regret. Impossible to forget.
I’ve attended two Buena Vida retreats. I can say unequivocally that both experiences deserve more than five stars!
My experience with both retreats is nothing short of profound and transcendent. For me, these two retreats rank up there with the most meaningful experiences I’ve had in my life.
Like other people, I’ve had many past psychedelic experiences in my life, but none can compare to the experiences I’ve had The Buena Vida.
The preparation, the accommodations, the food, the staff, the ceremonies (e.g. ‘trips’) is nothing short of stellar! The attention to detail, the extremely caring and attentive staff, the delicious food, the beautiful accommodations, and the group work we did in between the ceremonies all add up to something much greater than the sum of the parts.
Amanda and her staff go to great lengths to create a very safe space, a space where I felt comfortable to be myself. I’m a fairly private person, and prior to attending I was a bit anxious and skeptical about the group aspect of the experience. but I felt so safe that I was able to access parts of myself that needed attending to. Amanda and her staff are supremely talented in creating the safest place possible, a space where I was able to explore aspects of myself that I often deny, or wish to ignore.
The best words I can use to describe The Buena Vida are these:
Magical. Exquisite. Healing. Transcending. Profound.
I just arrived home from my first 5 Day Retreat with Buena Vida and it was one of the most fulfilling experiences I have ever had. Intermittent depression/anxiety is what lead me to Amanda and her team after exhausting much of what traditional medicine has to offer with little to no consistent relief. I began to feel small bits of transformation before arriving to the retreat starting to incorporate the simple yet substantive 7 Day Prep Course into my thought process. The setting is breath taking, warm, and comfortable. The food is as delicious as it is nutritious, prepared with love by the the wonderful house staff who were accommodating and attentive to our dietary needs. The facilitators are gentle, supportive, beautiful souls who I gained lessons worth gold from that I will be able to apply to my every day, making it possible to enjoy life is such a more meaningful way than I had previously. From breath work to yoga to massages to music to nature to the ocean and a lovely day trip, the balance of activities and down time was just what was needed to refresh, re center, and reset so that I could be there for myself and those I care about at home. My psilocybin journey, while challenging, was significant and after time to process (which will continue to unfold as more time goes on) I have a deep sense of appreciation for it, also feeling that my time with them is not quite finished, that it is only the beginning and there is still much they have to teach me . If there was a favorite part for me, it was absolutely the unexpected connections I made with my fellow retreaters. I will cherish the memories we made, the lessons learned, the tears cried, the hugs felt, the laughs had, and the shared smiles we all left with and deep admiration for one another. I am so grateful and highly recommend Buena Vida to anyone who is seeking an alternative approach to healing, with them, you can assure you are in good hands.
I can’t say enough about the gentle, caring staff at The Buena Vida. Amanda and the staff are knowledgeable, honest, funny, and reverent in their approach to healing with psilocybin. They are the real thing. If you are on the fence, go for it. You will never regret your decision, and probably will want to return again and again. Thank you all so much for helping me regain my belief in me.
I originally set out to have this experience in support of my husband. I was unsure of the group environment but went with an open mind and heart. I found an amazing group of people and a loving , safe and non judgmental environment. The accommodations were beautiful. The food was really great , healthy and fresh. The house staff was am amazing and friendly. Words could never fully describe Amanda and her team of facilitators- warm, sensitive, loving, compassionate, intuitive above all freaking unbelievably amazing. The ceremonies for me were absolutely beautiful and though personally hard for me I found a journey of release and forgiveness of my pain and myself. I found strength in others in my group and kindness, sweetness and love . I would do this again without hesitation and will do with others I love in the near future.
6 out of 5 stars. I originally wanted mainly to drag my husband with a number of issues and simply understand myself better coming into retirement after a very successful public career. The experience was transformational. For the first time I understood my life, my behavior and decisions and what I could let go of. I am facing the death of several loved ones with peace now. Not at all what I thought I was coming for. I sleep and function better. Although he might never admit it, my husband’s depression appears gone. The integration and processing of the experience incorporated into the retreat and after is critical to sustaining the transformational changes. There was an incredible amount of planning and thought into the retreat. Amanda is truly a shaman and the facilitators were deeply involved in the experience. I learned about this retreat from a family member and will be bringing other family members in future.
To say that Buena Vida appeared in my life when I needed it the most is an understatement. From the moment I arrived, I felt at peace. The energy of Amanda and her staff was out of this world. This retreat was so fulfilling, I can’t put it into words. The treatment is next level luxury, and the food and accommodations were magical. I would highly recommend coming here, I know I’ll be back.
“A miracle. This is a f’ing miracle.” was what I repeatedly thought as Amanda closed the 2nd tea ceremony. Ditto to all the 5 star reviews. As a clinical neuropsychologist with 30+ years experience treating complex patients with emotional trauma, chronic pain, multiple diseases (and so on), there’s nothing in Western medicine that even comes close to the deeply transformative and restorative healing that I experienced (and witnessed) with Amanda and the Buena Vida team. Life changing. I highly recommend Buena Vida without reservation. Buena Vida provided a luxurious, safe, educational, fun, and relaxing container within which we (the 10 guests) could embark on a life altering journey. Honestly, there aren’t enough “stars” to capture the magic. Thank you Amanda! I am forever changed and eternally grateful.
I have done three retreats involving Amanda; meeting her as a facilitator on a retreat in Jamaica is how I got connected with the Buena Vida and all I can say is that crossing paths with her has been utterly life-changing. If I were asked to think of one word to summarize her effect on my life, it would be JOY.
Set and setting are critical to the success of psychedelic therapy, and everything Amanda does enhances those aspects to make for a meaningful experience and wonderful connections with other guests and facilitators. I have been on retreats where care was NOT taken to see to guests’ needs so I know what I’m talking about!
There are no guarantees that psilocybin will heal everyone, but the opportunity is provided for the best experience with the Buena Vida. From the stunning accommodations to the lovely food to the breathwork and yoga, to the celebratory Mariachi band playing on the last evening, every detail is crafted with practicality, empathy, and imagination. The entire team Amanda has assembled is stellar.
I have experienced enormous relief from anxiety from psilocybin, and a renewed sense of purpose and direction. My heart is just bigger. And while you can dose with mushrooms on your own or create your own ceremony, in my opinion the greatest benefit comes from a well-designed retreat. Amanda and the entire Buena Vida team know how to treat guests in a way that maximizes the therapeutic benefit. I can’t praise the Buena Vida highly enough!
My partner and I returned from a 5 day retreat with Amanda and her team and we are truly grateful for the experience.
As others have said: the accommodations were luxurious; the staff was welcoming & gracious; the food was nourishing & delicious.
I became interested in psychedelics as a treatment for depression, and while intrigued, I was also very fearful. I cannot imagine a more supportive, loving, and safe environment in which to introduce oneself to this medicine.
Mark Twain is quoted as saying:
Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor…Explore. Dream. Discover’
If you are poring over the reviews on this site, I imagine you share the curiosity I had before booking my retreat. I hope this gives you some confidence to experience the magic for yourself!
I am an experienced psychonaut who is not new to psilocybin mushrooms. Still, I went on this retreat because I wanted the experience of taking this sacred medicine in a ceremonial group setting. Also, I’m a Go-Big or Go-Home kind of girl, so I signed up for the 7-day Deep Dive. And I was not disappointed.
First of all, the accommodations were incredibly luxurious, the location was beyond my wildest expectations, and the food was phenomenal. When I arrived at the site, I couldn’t believe how spectacular the setting was—a 10 out of 10. In addition, the personalized care we received from the hosts at the villa was 5-Star. Even without the mushrooms, it would have been a spectacular vacation. But, of course, I went for the mushrooms.
I am so glad I did the 7-Day Deep Dive because the 3rd ceremony was crucial to my getting everything I went in wanting out of the experience. For me, each ceremony built upon the one that came before. So for me, the first ceremony was about ancestral and family healing; the second ceremony revealed my destiny and life’s purpose; the final ceremony was a peak “Goddess Dose” experience wherein I perceived a profound reunification with my higher self. As a result of these three potent journeys, I feel a clear sense of clarity and vision that has never been this vivid before.
I cannot recommend this experience enough. It was life-changing. Amanda, Sarah, Ana, and Stefan were terrific at every turn. The ceremonies were profound, the care was tender and nurturing, and the support they provided was deeply felt. Unlike doing mushrooms at home, I didn’t have to worry about anything. I could completely give myself to the medicine without reservations because I knew I was protected. In addition, I think the power of being in a transformative space wherein you’re connected to and journeying with other seekers is an essential life experience for any true psychonaut. Finally, the music was a crucial ingredient. Amanda should make a CD of her singing. It was all fantastic.
Highly, highly recommend.
The retreat was one of the most life changing experiences I’ve ever had. Due to a very dysfunctional and emotionally abusive childhood, I started myself in traditional counseling 40 years ago and have gone intermittently since. I’ve also used hypnotherapy over the last 2 years to aid with both physical and mental health issues and both have been helpful but most recently a family issue with my sister pushed me back to the point of “I need something else” to guide me to more healing and a healthier state. I was familiar with the use of psilocybin and other psychedelics and through my research I found Amanda and the Buena Vida retreat. I just can’t say enough about the healing experience I had with each ceremony, the facility, the staff but most of all Amanda. I also feel like I now have a new “family” in the group I went through the experience with. If your “gut” is telling you to consider this…DO IT! You won’t be disappointed!
Truly amazing experience!
First of all, the experience was exactly as described in the description above. So if you are someone who wants to experience psilocybin mushrooms in a luxurious and safe environment with the support of a loving and healing group of people who will watch over you during the experience, then this is the best retreat for you.
I am a physician with an interest in psychedelic assisted therapies for mental health disorders wanting to experience this first before recommending it to patients.
Even though the staff are not health care professionals, Amanda and her assistants taught and guided the group through exercises that are used by many therapists.
Amanda is loving and authentic in how she prepares you for the ceremonial ingestion of the mushroom tea and limits the group size so that her team can properly supervise the group while under the influence of the mushrooms. She also prescreens anyone wanting to attend the retreat to ensure that it is safe for them to attend which keeps the experience safe for you.
There is time taken to discuss the experiences in a group setting the following day and I enjoyed talking to others individually about what they experienced.
I attended the 7 day deep dive which involved 3 ceremonies which I think is the better option because for me the 3rd night allowed me to experience my optimal dose.
Amanda prepares the mushroom tea and allows you to communicate individually with the team about how the dose the night before was experienced in order to estimate the following ceremony’s dose.
Overall, the feedback from others was that they felt that the doses given each night were right for them.
The location is ideal for doing this kind of work as you are surrounded by the stunning beauty of the jungle and the ocean with the sounds of nature all around you.
There was a wonderful daytime excursion where we went whale watching and saw Humpback whales breaching!
It is also nice that there is a chef on site who prepares 3 wholesome meals daily and the food and juices were delicious.
I felt like I personally grew and experienced a positive shift within my psyche and watched the people around me brighten and appear to relax as the week progressed.
It was a deeply moving experience and one that I will surely repeat.
This was my third time at Buena Vida. My previous retreats were 5 days and this time I took the deep dive into the 7 day retreat. I believe there were 13 participants and the intense bonding that happens in such a short amount of time is unbelievable. I truly believe deeply that psychedelic therapy can heal deeply held wounds and beliefs. If you go, expect that the work is not always easy or blissful. This trip, I uncovered wounding from a young age that I have suspected for my entire adult life but didn’t have verification. Memories were uncovered and everything came together to see the truth. The mushrooms showed me that the shame I had been unconsciously carrying within my being was not mine to own and I was able to place it in it’s rightful place and energetically break all energetic lines with the person that hurt me. The third ceremony was a time of deep integration and sealing of the previous work done in the other ceremonies. It was so powerful and I feel lighter and happier. Amanda, Sara, Ana, and Stephan were amazing both in and out of ceremony. During ceremony, they are like apply grounded, empathic, compassionate beings holding sacred space for all of us. Amanda follows the direction of the medicine and knows just when to sing, drum….she is a powerful shaman and the medicine speaks to her deeply. I live in Oregon and we are getting closer to having Mushrooms be approved as therapy. It is an exciting time and it is a space that I want to be involved in. I love Buena Vida and I want to carry that energetic space within me wherever I go.
There are just no words to adequately describe the wonderful time I had at a Buena Vida Retreat in November, 2021. Amanda is compassionate, loving, and filled with joy and a passion for what she does, which is to provide a healing experience for those of us lucky enough to attend one of her retreats. The accommodations are wonderful, the food beyond delicious, and the support staff warm and caring. I cannot say enough about how exceptional my time at Buena Vida was. Maria, Sarah, Alex and the rest of the Buena Vida staff were just the best. The 14 other guests have become life-long friends, and I cannot wait to go back again and share this miracle with my friends! I took a “leap of faith” to attend this retreat, and I am beyond thankful that I did!
I remember reading through some of these reviews prior to attending The Buena Vida retreat, thinking of my future self and how I would feel after it was all said and done. I was apprehensive, to say the least, and I didn’t want to put any expectations on the experience in case it disappointed. Yet, something inside of me, or outside of me, pushed me to take this chance. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression since I was young and have been on a multitude of medications. Those that have worked, which are few, have left me feeling hollow.
It’s been about three weeks since I returned and I’ve spent much of that time reflecting on my experience. It was so much bigger than I could have imagined.
The location was magical, the accommodations luxurious. I’m so grateful to have spent seven days in such a wild yet grounding paradise. The food was delicious and I was reminded that sharing a meal with others, without phones or tight schedules, can be really enjoyable and meaningful.
I struggle to find words to describe the ceremonies. Each one felt unique and intentional in sequence. I felt myself connecting with emotions that I normally struggle to feel, and thinking in ways that felt new. My time in ceremony felt of another world, a sacred multi-sensory experience that I will keep with me forever.
Lastly, I didn’t realize how much the group setting would impact my experience. I think it would have taken me much longer to open up if I had not been surrounded by such an honest and caring group of people. Sometimes I find it hard to connect, but I can easily say I deeply care about everyone I met there. I had forgotten how community can help remedy many of the common woes of modern life (loneliness, aimlessness, etc.) which have become even more prevalent in the past year or two.
Amanda, Maria, Sarah, Alex; thank you for making this such a positive impactful experience. Everything seemed seamless (I say this knowing that so much work went into this to make it seem so); I felt very taken care of throughout my stay. Your warmth, knowledge and vulnerability enabled me, and others, to feel open and trusting, which is something I struggle with in my everyday life. Thank you for guiding me into a new way of living; I’m forever grateful.
Rational words fail me for much of this serene, joyful healing experience. I spent about a year studying the psychedelic therapy renaissance, and it seemed too good to be true. My inner life was defined by decades of chronic, futile struggles – I could never seem to help myself or family, try as I might, or silence the unrelenting inner critic. This retreat experience has given me peace, and clarity on how to help others find their path, for the first time in my life.
Researchers emphasize set and setting as crucial to the process; nothing prepared me for the astonishingly beautiful setting (which is undersold), loving hands, and thoroughly professional caring hearts provided by Amanda and her practitioners. I was at first skeptical about group ceremony instead of individual session protocols, but remaining open proved the right choice, as the medical and scientific effortlessly reconciled with the magical and spiritual. The resulting depth of emotional release is difficult to describe. I’ll settle for a quote from Alan Ball’s American Beauty: “…it’s hard to stay mad when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes, I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much – My heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst. And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it. And then it flows through me like rain.”
The group journey proved to be a wonderful part of the experience that reached through my usual social anxiety, creating healthy connections that last well beyond the retreat. Fresh, healthy cuisine sourced locally, celebrating with and opening up to new friends, meditation and exercise, a pervasive sense of safety and security, all lifted us out of our shells.
If you suffer as I have, know that this was all I had hoped it would be, and my healing began when I decided to go.
Still processing…I didn’t realize how broken I had become as a front line worker in this pandemic. I was so angry. I had lost my compassion and hope for our society. I had never pondered plant medicine, but knew I needed help. I had survived a harrowing (at times) childhood, difficult career, cancer and divorce and felt done, done done.
There is no way on this Earth, I would have tried this journey without the watchful eyes of an experienced guide. Good thing too, as I felt like a faced a lifetime of demons during the first journey and then was able to refill my compassion in ceremonies two and three. The prep work, yoga, breathing, ceremonies and post trip integration are all mission critical. Amanda and Maria have incredible voices and serve as fantastic guides. Alex and Sarah were wonderful facilitators. The food, home, staff, fellow guests were awesome. It gave me hope for society to see folks from every walk of life, age 23-60+ show vulnerability and a desire to have an open mind. Please, if you are at a breaking point, don’t give up hope. This is money well-invested. As many have said-Truly transformative.
A week later and I’m still making connections about things I haven’t thought about in 20 years. The best way I can describe the seven day retreat is 10 years worth of therapy in a week. I haven’t felt this calm in decades. I’m even grateful for the bad feelings that come up as my brain works through things. I have a new sense of appreciation for the ups and downs of life. The entire experience was done in professional, fluid and safe manner. The casa on the ocean, chartered boat, yoga, massages, meditation and breath work sessions were all top notch. Amanda has assembled an amazing team of facilitators that are humble guides with healing energy that let us be vulnerable together. I never thought I’d have new best friends and we are already eager to meet up again. I really appreciate the sense of community I now feel after such a divided couple of years.
Spoiler alert: life changing retreat that I highly recommend
Unlike many people, I didn’t do a ton of research before attending my retreat. I joked with another participant that there was about a 50/50 chance that I was signing up to be abducted. As a woman traveling alone to Mexico to attend a psychedelic retreat, I definitely considered every worst case scenario.
When our van pulled up to the grounds and I saw Amanda, Maria, Sarah, and Alex standing there each wearing the equivalent of a Mexican lei, I exhaled and literally squealed aloud “they’re real!!”
This IS a real retreat and the description on the website, the photos, and even our reviews do not give it any justice. If you attend this retreat, you will stay at a luxurious beach-side property, eat delicious food, have your every need taken care of, AND leave with clarity and levity around your deepest darkest personal pain!
I left with a joy and peace that I have never had before. I was able to conquer things that have caused me fear and deep anxiety for years.
Also, I felt extremely safe and cared for. I had never taken mushrooms before, and I felt a lot of fear about it. I really had no idea what I was walking into. But, this is the perfect environment for a first timer. The ceremonies were guided in a very responsible manner. I’m actually not sure how Amanda and her team do it, it looks exhausting. You were watched over the entire time and before you think you need them, they are right by your side! Amanda and her entire team are all kind and compassionate people who have sage wisdom and lots of practical skills to share to help you navigate the “real world.”
For any future reader of color, particularly a Black person considering this retreat: Do it! I know the psychedelic world does not appear to be a space for us. I personally felt I was taking a huge leap attending this retreat, especially in this climate. I worried that it would not be relaxing and maybe even triggering to be in an environment where I would probably be “the only.” What I left with was an unimaginable healing that I wish we could all receive. One of the focuses of this retreat is healing for seven generations of trauma in your blood line. That was extremely powerful for me, since I am only four generations away from enslavement. And, I felt it. I felt an unburdening that has changed my life. I could say more, but it would be difficult to explain without context. I am excited to bring the lessons I learned back to my children and my community!
Wow, what a great experience!
I have been interested in psychedelics for about 10 years. I have read and listened to many books about psychedelics, spirituality, and life and the human experience. I decided it was time for a psychedelic retreat. (I had ruled out doing something on my own or a one-on-one with a trusted guide.) The next step was to decide what psychedelic was right for me. I found The Third Wave website incredibly helpful in educating me about different psychedelics and decided that psilocybin mushrooms were best for my first experience.
I researched retreats around the world and came upon The Buena Vida. While I did not know anyone that had gone there, I did speak with well-connected and trusted friends and there was a third degree of connection that made me comfortable with this option.
It is impossible to describe my experience in words. All I can say is it was perfect, just as it should be (and not what I expected). I feel such love, joy and appreciation for everything (which doesn’t mean it was an easy journey). I loved the ceremonial aspect of the experience. Oh my goodness I have never heard such beautiful singing!
I also loved being part of a group of fellow travelers (we were 15). I (like many in the group) came in a bit nervous and anxious on that first day. Six days later I felt like I had known everyone for a long time and I now have 14 new lifelong friends. But more importantly I am so much more connected to me.
I have always known that I have pretty good intuition … but I wasn’t always slowing down enough to “tune in”. Now I feel like I am able to do that so much better. Thank you Amanda, Maria, Sarah and Alex for being such amazing guides!
Amanda has years of experience with wellness retreats, and it shows. This retreat was so thoughtfully and creatively planned. Each workshop and lesson is lovingly designed to help you find peace and do the work and self-reflection you need. The facilitators are so kind and compassionate, you will come home feeling loved. The community I made while there was life affirming. It’s so hard to make new friends who are truly kindred spirits after a certain age, but that’s exactly what you’ll get here. What a beautiful way to spend a week.
Life changing experience. The Buena Vida has a top rate psilocybin retreat.
Amanda has surrounded herself with some amazing staff. Who was always on site and available for us to council with.
The ceremonies comfortable with their songs, drums and music. I was never quote “tripping on mushrooms” we were properly dosed to achieve our own personal goals. The integration was the best in working through my thoughts.
We had amazing meals prepared everyday
I would very highly recommend this retreat for everyone.
The experience during the retreat was truly profound, wonderful, and powerful. Words cannot adequately capture the feelings. Amanda and the entire team were so full of warmth and love, and provided such a safe and nonjudgmental environment for everyone. My personal experience with the plant medicine during the retreat was so incredibly profound (I keep coming back to that word), beautiful, and life changing, that it was exactly what I needed to break through my old patterns of thought. I wouldn’t have been able to do that in any other environment. The entire team did an amazing job of explaining what we could expect each step of the way, beginning well before we arrived, during each day while there and during the ceremonies, and then how best to approach the integration back into the real world after the retreat was over. Amanda comes across as a go-with-the-flow kind of person, but you can be assured she has thought through every detail of the experience to make sure we are safe and well taken care of, and the best part is she and the team do it with such a sense of joy and happiness that you just want to smile and laugh when you’re around them. I am so grateful that Amanda does what she does, and that she’s picked the perfect team to help everyone work through their personal journeys. Thank you Amanda! The work you do truly changes lives!
What a truly beautiful, amazing, healing experience. I cannot recommend this retreat enough. The staff is amazingly friendly, loving, supportive and knowledgeable. There are lots of ways to approach plant medicine but I truly believe they are doing things the right way and that’s very important. People who come to this retreat are not just looking for a fun time, they are looking to heal and this retreat delivers.
I felt very safe here. The approach was holistic and included integrated plant medicine, movement, yoga, breath work and nutrition. I didn’t realize I was eating so healthy and didn’t give it much thought until I stepped on the scale when I got home and realized I had lost 7 pounds without even trying.
Before coming to this retreat my life was spinning out of control and frankly, I almost didn’t make it. This healing experience couldn’t have come more timely for me. It may seem dramatic to say but the truth is that it saved my life. It was an amazing journey and I am feeling so much better.
If you are struggling, I would highly recommend this retreat. Financially, it was a bit of a stretch but was well worth every penny and I’m already trying to figure out how to scrape together funds to attend next year.
My advice is to BE OPEN to what is going on here and open to the possibility that it will help you, even if you think it’s a little weird. Trust that the leaders know what they are doing and that you are safe. If you have questions or concerns, reach out! They will be happy to work with you and make sure it is right for you.
This by far has been one of the most powerful experiences of my life. Buena Vida knows how to do this retreat right. From the villa where we stayed to the staff that helped make the experience amazing. I was a bit worried about spending so much but I knew after the first ceremony that you couldn’t put a price on what Amanda’s team gave to my life. The team will be with you every step of the way. Thank you Buena Vida!
Buena Vida Retreat was an amazing experience from beginning to end. I went in with no previous experience with mushrooms and had only read the book “How To Change Your Mind”.
My nervousness was very quickly set at ease as soon as I arrived at Buena Vida and was greeted by Amanda, Maria, and their staff of assistants. Their genuine warm smiles, hugs, and cheer set the stage for an amazing experience.
The team did a great job bringing our group together and creating an open environment of trust and understating of what we would be experiencing. The thoughtfulness, sensitivity, and transparency that the Buena Vida team brought to all of the activities culminating in two mushroom ceremonies made the ceremonies truly magical. The resort was world class beautiful and the food and all the staff were absolutely fantastic. I give Buena Vida the absolute highest recommendation to anyone considering this retreat. It will be an experience that you will carry with you for the rest of your life.
My experience at the Buena Vida Retreat was unique and life changing. I was very nervous at the beginning, but Amanda and the rest of her team were so inviting, loving, and made me feel very at ease. The professionalism in which they carry themselves was evident every step of the way. Their vulnerability, honesty, and humanity came through at every interaction with all of us. This made for a very safe place for me to be vulnerable, honest, and open and truly experience internal healing. Our group was able to bond well and we all saw the changes in ourselves. Some of us will be friends for many more years to come. Thank you Amanda, Maria, Ross, and Sarah for an amazing experience. Oh, and to top it all off, we had the best organic, freshly cooked food at every meal. And the most beautiful resort with breath taking views of the ocean and walking distance to the beach. Lot’s of really awesome surprises that I won’t mention so as not to ruin it for you. I hope you are brave enough to go. You will not regret it!
My life was at a Crossroads. Family obligations brought my career to an unexpected and abrupt halt. Afterward, no one seemed to be interested in hiring someone my age so starting over was not a real option. I was resentful and upset. I met with a couple of professional counselors/therapists but that only seemed to make my situation worse by verbalizing my anger. I read about the Buena Vida retreat and am so glad I was able to participate. The BV team coordinated their skills in a warm supportive environment complemented by beautiful natural surroundings. Weaving voluntary sessions of yoga, meditation, and group reflection in with the fungal medicine experiences provided me with a profound and lasting change of perspective.
That experience was 2 years ago and the healing lessons that I learned are still with me. I highly recommend Buena Vida.
Amanda and her team of gentle healers are masters in their craft. The care and attention to detail to provide a beautiful, safe space puts to rest any fears of the unknown. Every question was answered, every need met, every uncertainty soothed. I felt so completely safe and free to let my guard down, to do important self-work, knowing that she had my back. What an amazing experience to witness such powerful holders of space who provide a loving and compassionate environment to allow one to explore this mysterious world of the inner self.
After reading books and listening to interviews, I wanted a psilocybin retreat that offered a great set and setting with multiple ceremonies. Amanda’s retreat was perfect. She and the facilitators made all of the participants feel safe. They prepared us for how the experiences might go. They took care of us during the ceremonies, and explained how we might continue to have insights as we return to our lives. It was a profound experience.
This retreat is everything it claims to be, and then so much more. I attended one with my husband in June 2020. I didn’t have a specific goal or outcome in mind and had no experience with plant medicine. I have used antidepressants for years to help manage genetic and trauma-induced depression and anxiety, and also have (and still get) ketamine infusions, with tremendous results. So, I was pretty well-managed on those fronts in a way I was comfortable with, but I was open to deeper emotional/spiritual healing, and just generally to whatever the mushrooms wanted to bring up for me. I researched several retreats, but when I found The Buena Vida, I just knew this was the right one for me.
The prep for the retreat was communicated well, and was very thoughtful and organized. I felt comfortable in my understanding of what to expect, and felt physically and emotionally prepared to be present, thanks to the guidance we received leading up to our departure. Nothing felt vague or confusing, and Amanda was wonderful and responsive whenever we had questions. Amanda and Maria were two of the incredible medicine women we were blessed to work with. They are very different, but there’s such a shared love and respect between them and their styles and energies are complementary. They are truly such gifted women, and they make you feel safe, loved, seen…I cannot say enough about them, and I don’t think I could ever spend enough time with them to feel satisfied! They are tremendous. Amanda’s sense of humor, coupled with her straight-shooting way of talking and addressing things, make her fun to be around and easy to respect. You find yourself actively WANTING to listen to her wisdom, learn from her experience, and belly laugh until your sides hurt. Maria is a gentle angel of a human, and it’s hard to imagine the universe ever allowing pain or trauma to enter her life…but she’s so experienced, wise, intuitive, and full of love. Everyone who has been served by Maria at these retreats will know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. Leo (and Luis, who was also a gem) prepared our meals, which were fresh and thoughtful, and legitimately top-notch food. They were great at accommodating diet restrictions/preferences, and the food was nourishing on so many levels. As froofy as it sounds, you could honestly tell the meals were made with love. Leo brings such a gentle, calming energy, and his smile and quiet humor brighten up everything. He was also amazing at safely, quietly, and respectfully holding space during the ceremonies. I wish I’d had time for him to teach me how to do my hair.
The mushrooms showed me in the third ceremony that I had a ton of anger to purge, which really surprised me – especially anger towards men that I wasn’t even aware I was holding onto (two divorces, co-parenting, religious leaders, etc.). At one point in my journey I told Amanda I needed to not be around any men, and she found a place outside for me to continue my process where I had plenty of space but was still under the watchful eyes of the facilitators. It was wonderful to have the space I felt I needed to work through my purge, but I knew and trusted that I was still being cared for and they would be near me when I needed them. It’s incredible how they will show up by your side at the right time, even if you do nothing to indicate you need additional help or support – you may not even know you need it. But they can tell, and they will support you with their presence or with healing music. It’s honestly fascinating to experience.
I did not know how I would react to the medicine, personally. I know tons of people do mushrooms recreationally, so I had some expectation that maybe the ceremonies would be “fun”. They were NOT fun. They were WORK – hard work. Necessary work. Coming out of the final ceremony, I understood why the mushrooms were beneficial, but could not comprehend why anyone would do them for fun…set and setting clearly make a huge difference! Everyone keeps using the word “transformative”, but that’s because that is the exact right word to use. This experience has impacted my life in a massive way, and I have so much respect for the wisdom of the mushrooms and the leaders. They were meant for this work, and the world needs them. I’m forever grateful they’ve honored these paths that they are on so healing can be made accessible to so many.
As you can see by my novel, I could talk about this forever. But stop reading. Stop reading and book your retreat. Gift this to yourself, to your soul, and to your future self who is depending on the current you to make the choices and sacrifices necessary to attend. The medicine, leaders, and experience are built on and around love – let yourself be loved.
I participated in a retreat with Buena Vida in Mexico in May 2021. It was one of the most healing and rewarding experiences of my life. The leaders and staff dedicated to this program are experienced, attentive, thoughtful, and caring. Their commitment to offering plant medicine therapy to people from all backgrounds is inspirational. The food is fantastic and the setting sublime. The journeys we took felt very safe and supported by this team and In this environment. I do not hesitate in recommending this program to anyone who is open to exploring the healing effects of psilocybin in an intentional and protective setting.
I could write a book why this retreat was life changing, but I think for those reading you need to know that you feel safe. Safe by those around you, safe with the process and loved abundantly. The food and the accommodations were AMAZING but for me this retreat was TRANSFORMATIVE. I came broken and left on the road to being healed and WHOLE. I look forward going back again hopefully on an annual basis. Humanity needs Buena Vida Retreats.
Six months before I went to The Buena Vida, I really didn’t know what psychedelics were. Once I learned about psilocybin, I was fascinated and went “down the rabbit hole” learning about all psychedelics and their promise for mental health and deep spiritual experiences. I knew I wanted to experience this oneness and universal love for myself – to feel it in my heart as opposed to simply believing it in my mind.
So, I began researching places to go where I could have both a SAFE and LEGAL experience. After many months of research and speaking with different retreats and individuals who attended them, The Buena Vida was the only place that met both of these criteria for me.
I went by myself and from the moment I arrived, I felt so welcomed, loved and cared for. Even if we didn’t have the three incredible ceremonies, having a full week of being with people in a space of love, non-judgment and true caring was one of the greatest gifts I could ever ask for.
And then there were the ceremonies. Powerful doesn’t even begin to describe them. Everything that everyone else had said and continues to say about them is true. They were transformational, life changing, and ineffable. Different for every person, as the mushrooms meet you where you are and give you what you need. Truly a miracle to experience. And yet the people are what I will remember as much or perhaps even more than my journeys. They became like family. All facilitated under the loving guidance of Amanda, Maria, Abby, Leo and Mike. Watching this team hold space for everyone was simply incredible.
I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that I cannot recommend The Buena Vida highly enough. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
I have attended this retreat 3 times and will likely go again. Aside from the gorgeous venue, Amanda and the facilitators are wonderful. I felt safe and supported by them. Their ability to hold space for an entire group working with psilocybin is phenomenal. The collective vibe, sharing, fellowship, and love was amplified in these group settings which was medicine in it self, experiences I will cherish the rest of my life. I highly recommend the Buena Vida retreats.
Amanda and her highly capable team do a superb job of listening to the all the participant’s objectives and serving them with Buena Vida’s robust program for healing.
I saw the Buena Vida staff quickly earn the trust of each of the participants as a result of their training and strong commitment to helping others. They work hard to ensure a safe and welcoming environment is maintained throughout the retreat.
For anyone who is interested in this type of experience, I highly recommend Buena Vida.
I have been to Buena Vida twice and both times were transformational. The setting is beautiful, the food is gourmet but most of all, the ceremonies were more amazing than words can say. Amanda, Maria and the team hold the energy during the ceremonies so that you feel completely safe and surrounded by love. I was able to heal areas in my life that had not been reachable before and I am eternally grateful for the love energy, the medicine and the setting that has allowed me to heal and grow. I will be returning to Buena Vida and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Being owned and run by women makes it a very special place. If you need a gift for your life, go to Buena Vida Retreat.
Amanda and the Buena Vida Retreat are phenomenal. Every element of the retreat was beyond my expectation. Not only is the retreat space luxurious and wildly beautiful, each of the experiences were tailored to ensure maximum benefit from the retreat. Amanda and her team are all incredible light workers / space holders, and the entire time I felt safe, cared for, nourished and respected. I highly recommend this retreat to anyone looking to safely explore various realms of their psyche. A million out of 5 stars!
Best psilocybin retreat I’ve ever attended! Incredible safety, healing and connection. Each of the facilitators brought their own expertise and experience to the retreat, creating a beautifully curated ceremony and retreat experience. The emphasis on ‘radical consent’ underlined the entire retreat experience, and each guest received the medicine and healing they needed.
Amanda and her Buena Vida do a fantastic job. Everything listed in describing their retreat is 100% true. I had a life-changing experience.
My experience at Buena Vida can be summed up in one word…Transformational. I attended the retreat January 2020. First of all, it is very well organized and planned. Transportation to and from the airport is arranged and well coordinated. Daily activities by the staff, such as meditation, energy work, dance, and yoga, can be as healing and expansive as the ceremonies themselves. The location is very private and safe and like a paradise, allowing for a comfortable, relaxing environment for inner work without distractions or physical discomforts. The chefs prepare food for each meal and it was better than a 5 star restaurant. The ceremonies were the safest ceremonies I’ve ever attended, which definitely helped the anxiety I had before each one. I felt truly cared for and supported by the staff, who were always readily available and extremely helpful. Through her words, song, drumming, and amazing presence, Amanda leads each ceremony with humor, power, wisdom, compassion, and connection to a Higher Consciousness within all of us, and is an amazing Shamanic healer. The plant medicine was in the form of a tea that did not taste bad at all. I felt no nausea, yet had powerful experiences. I really felt like I was part of a loving family while I was at this retreat. The insights I gained during my journeys have already resulted in more peace and clarity in my life.
Where to even begin!!!! I am in complete awe of Amanda, The Buena Vida, and everything they provided for me in five short (but also long?!) days. Initially I went in with an intention to forgive my parents, but deep down I thought it was impossible to do—after almost twenty years of therapy and self-help work, it seemed to be an incurable disease. This was the last thing I was going to try, but I told myself there are no quick fixes and I couldn’t put my faith in this.
While this wasn’t a “quick fix” by any means, it gave me exactly what I was looking for and absolutely transformed my life—I’d go so far as to say these ceremonies and experiences with Amanda & The Buena Vida saved it. All of the leaders, villa support staff, other participants—every aspect of the retreat was so perfectly orchestrated and divinely guided. I finally was able to feel what it would be like to change my story and reset everything, and know that it was completely possible.
It was like I had spent my whole life trying to climb the most difficult mountain, desperate for this impossible trek to be over, and in two ceremonies with Amanda I was able to start over at the most gentle and beautiful meadow in paradise, excited for every single step of the journey, no matter what the surprises it holds.
2nd time around- another beautiful experience
I returned for a 2nd retreat with The Buena Vida and brought my sister with me this time. Obviously, my initial experience was a good one! This retreat was as amazing as the 1st and I believe all 14 of the participants- 4 men and 10 women- received tremendous healing, insight, and releasing of negativity. It was beautiful to witness the huge transformations in just one week. The villa was divine, the food was healthy and delicious and the plant medicine ceremonies were incredibly deep and revealing. Each staff member is genuinely interested in making certain that every participant has as safe and profound an experience with as positive an outcome as possible. They are some of the most amazing, caring souls I have been blessed to meet.
If you have been considering plant medicine, I would encourage you to reach out to Amanda to discuss joining an upcoming retreat. I am hoping to become a facilitator myself so maybe I will see you on a future retreat! Love and light- Sharon B
A sense of malaise born of the fact that I was merely “existing” and not “living”, led me to the Buena Vida Retreat to experience a different form of self examination through the use of “magic mushrooms”. My research led me to choose the Buena Vida Psilocybin Retreat in Punta Mita Mexico. I chose correctly. The facility was first rate; set in a lush tropical paradise on the Pacific Ocean, with the sound of the birds, wind, and waves as my constant companion. The staff was excellent; warm, hardworking, and helpful. Most importantly, Amanda, Maria, Anna, Leo, and my fellow participants, helped to create an experience that was unlike any other. Amanda and her team are experienced and innately talented at guiding travelers through this new world. I have not felt such warmth, love, and community with any other group of people for over twenty years. This was so important because a sense of security and belonging is vital to any experience that is new and unfamiliar. The end result was an extremely profound and impactful experience that left me changed for the better. I highly recommend this experience!
No words can explain the opportunity that this experience has given me to move forward knowing that there is a kinder , gentler way to approach life . I was a ship wreck while I was doing my research for this journey hoping to find an avenue that would help me navigate through 30 plus years of depression and taking anti depressants that just never worked only ever feeling like my emotions were just masked over . The journey is just beginning but I am currently micro dosing and working with an integrative therapist moving through my feelings instead of just passing by hoping they will fade away . Without the experience of this retreat and the support and compassion of the facilitators at Buena Vida I would not have understood the process of what it is like to truly look at myself and say yes you can do this and been able to move in a direction that is so much healthier .
I had been wanting to try plant medicine therapy for years and this was the BEST way to approach it. Highly recommend!
I came to Amanda and her team to work through some debilitating anxiety and lingering postpartum depression and my experience there was TRANSFORMATIONAL! I highly highly highly recommend this retreat to anyone dealing with any sort of mental health ailment. 10/5 stars!!
My wife and I did the small group retreat for our 5th wedding anniversary. It may sound outrageous, but this retreat changed our lives in a positive way forever.
The accommodations were luxurious, the food was absolutely delicious and healthy, and the facilitators were unbelievably welcoming. Traveling to a foreign country can always be stressful and we realize that anyone going on a retreat with strangers is required to put some faith in those around you, but the minute our taxi arrived at the villa, buried deep in the beautiful jungle sitting atop a hill overlooking the glorious Pacific Ocean, the Buena Vida staff was all standing there waiting for us with open arms, hugs, and smiles. There wasn’t an ounce of doubt or hesitation from that point forward.
Amanda, Abbie, Maria, Mike, Leo, Pete, and the rest of the staff deserve so much credit for creating a welcoming experience that truly can change lives. We made new friends that will be considered family forever. We learned a lot about ourselves and about each other and we will bring the incredible energy home with us back to the states.
I highly recommend the Buena Vida retreat – 6 out of 5 stars!⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️