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Frequent Questions

It's safe to drink Ayahuasca?
Drinking Ayahuasca is a millenarian Andean tradition with medicinal and spiritual purposes. This ritual should be directed and supervised by experienced shamans.  Skilled shamans are an essential part of the Ayni group. An overdose is not a possibility with Ayahuasca. However, health problems might arise if a person is taking medicine, such as barbiturates, antidepressants, analgesics, ephedrine, inhibitors. We suggest that you avoid consuming any of these drugs at least 7 weeks before participating in the ceremony. Also, it would be wise to consult with your preferred physician. Please email us directly if you have any questions about your medications or your current health situation.
Is Ecuador a Safe country to travel to?
Ecuador is a country with very welcoming and warm people. However, like any other place in the world you should always be cautious and use your common sense when traveling. You should always protect your documents, money, credit cards. Keep them in a safe place. There are several offices, clearly identified, that can help you with tourist information or any other kind of paperwork that you might need during your stay in our country.
Ecuadorian Currency and how much money you should bring
The official currency in Ecuador is the American dollar. If this is not your current currency, make sure you make the proper exchange in advance in your country or at the airport. You should bring enough money to get transportation to and from Cuenca and to the airport. There are extra ceremonies and rituals that you might feel like trying. Those will have additional charges but you can pay with cash or a credit card.  Also, our city is well known for our traditional craft. If you visit the city you might want to get a souvenir.
What documents are needed to travel to Ecuador?
You will only need a valid passport which has at least 6 months left before the expiry date. They are strict about this. They give you an automatic three month tourist Visa upon arrival.  There is also no need to have any kind of vaccination to enter our country. Some websites do say that you need vaccinations, however this is only if you are planning to travel into the jungle.
Is Ayni a safe place for women?
One of our priorities here at Ayni is to make sure that your physical, mental and spiritual safety come first. It’s our duty to offer a safe environment to our guests that have chosen us for this very important journey. Ayni is a completely safe place, and women of any age should feel at peace knowing that any of the activities performed are done with the utmost respect and professionalism that a place like ours can offer. We assure that your security and personal integrity will never be vulnerable at our center.

With regards to the safety of our guests, there are some conditions that should be considered before you embark on this retreat here at Ayni.

The consumption of any kind of antidepressants, sleep medicine, or injections (of any kind) are prohibited.  You should stop these at least one or two weeks before starting the retreat. We strongly recommend that you speak with your personal physician before stopping these treatments. It is fine if you need to take antibiotics, vitamins or birth control during your time here.

Retreats with Ayahuasca and Huachuma are not recommended to people with mental sicknesses.  In Ecuador, the use of marijuana is illegal and punished by prison by the Ecuadorian laws. The same goes for any other kind of chemical drugs used for entertainment. We suggest that you detox from these before your retreat. The use of any illegal substance in Ayni is completely prohibited and we reserve the right to remove a person from the program if caught doing drugs. There will be no reimbursement in this case.

If a person has had, heart problems, peacemaker, heart surgery or any kind of heart related issues, we do not recommend consuming Ayahuasca or Huachuma. Also, people with high blood pressure. Please email us directly to talk about your condition. In case of any event that could put somebody’s health at risk, we have a hospital five minutes away from Ayni and the city’s specialized hospitals are only 30 minutes away by car.  We will always be open to any inquiry or questions that you might have about our retreats at Ayni as well as the ceremonies that we offer.

How you should prepare yourself to drink Ayahuasca?

Before drinking Ayahuasca we would like to clarify and make a few recommendations. We want that your retreat becomes a very personal experience of self-discovery, transformation, physical, mental and spiritual healing. Like we have mentioned before, Ayahuasca is a master, millennial Andean plant that should be used within a proper context. Only with medicinal and spiritual purposes. It should never, ever be considered for recreative or psychedelic use. If this is your motive, we kindly suggest that you don’t try these ceremonies.

Because of these reasons we suggest that you follow our important recommendations a few days before, during and after the retreat. The success of these ceremonies depends mostly in a conscious, proper and responsible preparation that you should follow before and after these rituals. We recommend that you find at least one specific purpose or have the sincere intention of self-discovery and healing. Perhaps something that has been in your head for years and you need to understand or let go. Whatever the reason you choose, you should come free of prejudice and really high expectations since this could manipulate the real experience that you are about to live. You should have a positive attitude towards this new step in your life.

Recommended diet and preparation for Ayni’s Retreat
  • Avoid consuming any drugs (use of marijuana can actually block the medicine)

  • Avoid eating spicy food, or food that is greasy.

  • Avoid all heavy spices. A small amount of salt and pepper is fine.

  • Avoid caffeine.

  • Do not eat processed food, especially beef and pork.

  • Do not drink alcohol

  • Do not have sex in the days before the ceremony

  • Stop taking antidepressants, analgesics, barbiturates, ephedrine, and inhibitors. (inhibitors with Monoamine oxidases) at least 2 to 4 weeks before the retreat.

  • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables with quinoa as much as possible.

  • Basically, keep your diet as simple and clean as possible

People with mental illnesses should not try these ceremonies. We do not recommend Ayahuasca in these specific cases. In case you have doubts about your condition or any questions regarding the diet, you should consult us through our email:

For people with serious addictions and drug abuse problems, we recommend that you contact us direclty by email with any questions about what we do here at Ayni.

Also keep in mind that you should try to rest, avoid stress and keep a consistent schedule. In the days before the ceremony we suggest that you keep a positive attitude that will help your emotional and spiritual mind set. Keep focusing on your intentions on what you want to heal and why you want to drink Ayahuasca. The purpose which we take to the ceremonies is not always the one that is shown during the experience. Sometimes the plant decides to give us a lesson that might be needed at that point in time in our life.

What to Bring?

Here is the list for What to Bring:

– Pants

– Sweaters (layers are a great option as it becomes chilly when the sun goes down and in the mornings as well)

– Shirts (long and short sleeve)

– Shorts (The sun can come out during the day and be quite warm and strong but this can be short lived as well)

– Sun protection (sunscreen, sunglasses, sun hat

– Swimsuit for the Sweat Lodge. We also have a pond that you can swim in. 

– Vitamins and Supplements (To support your immunity while you are here)

– Light rain coat/umbrella (it can rain at times) 

– Notebook/Journal/pens (it is important to keep a diary and record of your ceremonies during the retreat)

– Ear plugs and/or sleep mask (this ensures that you rest well if in a shared room)

– Spending money if you stay in Cuenca before or after the retreat. However there are universal ATM machines in Cuenca which allow you to take out cash easily. Don’t bring large bills. Nothing larger than a $20 as many places won’t change larger bills.

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