Dietary Information and Preparation for the Retreat

Your Personal Commitment Directly Influences Your Ayahuasca Experience

The more you prepare yourself, the greater the experience will be. The attitude in which you enter the experience will have a direct effect on the experience itself. Your personal commitment to the diet restrictions, ceremonies and cleansing activities is not only important for the quality  of the experience, but is an essential part for your health and safety.

Purgative Medicinal Water

You are required to arrive a day before your retreat so that you are able to detoxify your system with medicinal volcanic spring water. This water is from the Quisach’ata Volcano, located in the highlands of Cusco and has a purgative effect, removing all toxins from your system.

By completing this therapy, your body will be physically prepared for your ayahuasca ceremony, reducing the chance of ayahuasca interacting with any substances (medication, alcohol, drugs, supplements etc) that may be in your system. This purge process can also help to purify your system of harmful substances that have accumulated in your body’s cells over the years.

The process takes approximately 3 hours and will be done at your hotel or Plaza San Francisco. The most convenient time and location for you to do this must be coordinated with the Etnikas staff. You are required to be nil by mouth for 3-4 hours before this process begins. After the purge, you’re able to eat and reconvene your regular activities under the restrictions listed in the categories below.

The day the medicinal water is taken allows guests time to acclimatize to the high altitude of Cusco. As part of the preparations, a nurse will conduct a basic medical examination to assess your suitability to ayahuasca. The nurse measures heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, breath frequency, as well as completes a general physical examination.

Altitude sickness

Cusco is 3, 500 meters above sea level and people sometimes get sick from spending time at this altitude. There are several forms of medication that can be taking to alleviate the effects of altitude sickness but the interaction of some of this medication can have negative effects with ayahuasca. For this reason, we recommend you look to relieve symptoms of altitude sickness by drinking cocoa leaf tea, which is commonly available in guest houses and hotels.  We suggest you drink cocoa leaf tea at the airport or on your flight to Cusco as this will help to mitigate the effects of altitude sickness. You can also buy shot of oxygen at the airport. If symptoms become severe, please let us know.

Pre Retreat Restrictions

Dietary: Do not consume illicit drugs, alcohol, coffee or chocolate for two weeks prior to your ayahuasca ceremony. Avoid canned food, red meat and pork, cold cuts, spicy food and excessive salt and sugar. Do not take any medical prescription (natural or otherwise), drugs, antibiotics, injections, pills, supplement, vitamins or others. No food or beverages that have artificial colors flavors or preservatives.

During your stay at Etnikas, we remind you that it’s not permitted to smoke, drink alcohol or to take any type of prescription or non-prescription drugs without consulting us.

Food: Eat well. Good organic food is recommended. In terms of meat, you can consume chicken or fish. To strengthen the brain, we recommend eating ceviche (Peruvian food) and ask for tiger’s milk/leche de tigre (both without spicy sin aji) – this is a concentrate juice of the ceviche.

Other: It’s recommended that you refrain from have sex or masturbating a day before the retreat as it can reduce physical energy levels, making it harder to cope with the effects of ayahuasca.

It is suggested that the women who are menstruating or pregnant abstain from participating. Period pain and discomfort may result in a negative experience while journeying with ayahuasca. However, if you do not experience sever pain or discomfort then it’s okay for you partake.

We recommend waiting till the second or third day of a period to allow you to gauge the intensity of the pain.

Recommendation for spiritual and mental preparation

For your spiritual and mental preparation before your retreat, we recommend you meditate, pray, do yoga or practice any disciplines familiar to you from your own religion, practice, or faith. If you do not have a religious practice, try an honesty prayer in the morning and at night, it can be very helpful!
As the founder of Etnikas says, you can have the best shamans in the Universe (Christ, Buddha, Krishna,) conducting ceremonies for you, but if you don’t want to change, nothing will happen.


No one but you can change your destiny, not even God. He is the father not boss. Only you have the power to change your destiny. You, in fact, are your own best shaman in the universe.

The best attitude to approach the retreat with is to be as positive as you can. The right attitude should include honesty, love, patience, humility, respect, courage and a strong mental / spiritual determination. Approaching the retreat with these values will result in a much more fruitful experience.

When you pray, do not ask for miracles to mysteriously occur. Instead, ask for opportunities to create miracles with your own hands.

Below is a list of items that you should bring to the retreat centre:

  • Extra clothes
  • Warm and comfortable clothes
  • Sun block, sunglasses and hat for days when you go for a walk
  • Comfortable shoes or hiking boots for walking
  • Camera
  • Flash light if you have one
  • Toiletries

Also to get while in Cusco…

  • 1 x 2 lt bottle of water for each Ayahuasca ceremony
  • 1 x roll of toilet paper for each ayahuasca ceremony
  • 2 x 1lt oral electrolyte solution

 Noble silence

All retreats are held in what is referred to as ‘Noble Silence’. We work in ‘Noble Silence’ to allow for a greater degree of concentration allowing internal work to be addressed without distraction.

You will only be able to speak during the times of group discussion, however, you are welcome to talk to the shaman on an individual level when you feel it necessary. You are also welcome to talk to the assistanct at any stage should you need help with any matter.

We ask that you respect the noble silence for the sake of others. Many people come to our clinic with a serious intention to work on their healing.