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The La Familia Ayahuasca Story



Zach has twelve years experience with Ayahuasca and has worked with over fifteen hundred people, guiding them through their healing journeys.  He has between 1200-1500 Ayahuasca ceremonies under his belt and between 60-80 shamanic plant/tree dietas (he stopped counting around ceremony 50).  He received the title of "Maestro" from Maestro Gumercindo Galindo in 2013, he is a Level II Holographic Sound Healing Practitioner and a Master Shamanic Energy Medicine Practitioner (The Four Winds Society).

Zach  began drinking Ayahuasca in 2009.  At that time he was working in Finance and while he was successful, he found himself very dissatisfied and depressed.  He knew that something was "off".   After some unsuccessful searching via other modalities, he decided to take a trip to Peru and attend a 9 day Ayahuasca & shamanic dieta retreat.  Little did he know that, this decision would spark a long and fruitful journey with plant medicines and shamanism.

Zach moved to Jenaro Hererra in 2010 and stayed in Peru until mid 2014. Upon his arrival to Jenaro Hererra, Zach began drinking Ayahuasca and doing shamanic plant dietas with the Galindo family. Zach’s main teachers were Maestro Gumercindo Galindo and Maestro Don Roldan Galindo (Gumercindo’s father).   The Galindo family is part of the Don Julia Llerena Pinedo lineage.

In 2011 the Galindo family and Zach opened an Ayahuasca retreat center, La Familia Medicina. La Familia Medicina conducted Ayahuasca and shamanic plant dieta retreats from 2011 to mid 2014.  Late 2013,  Maestro Gumercindo Galindo gave Zach the title of "Maestro". 


Mid 2014 Zach left La Familia Medicina and began his "solo career" in the medicine.  This took him on many travels, leading many retreats and in 2018, he and Jess were able to settle in Guatemala on the shores of Lake Atitlan until COVID hit in 2020.  September of 2020 La Familia Ayahuasca was temporarily shut down due to the pandemic.

On the bright side of the pandemic, Zach was able to take some time studying with The Four Winds Society, founded by Alberto Villoldo.  Through this study, Zach was awarded the title of Master Shamanic Energy Medicine Practitioner.

With the pandemic over, the decision was made in 2022 to move to Tepoztlàn, Mexico and resume offering retreats.


Jess has seven years experience working with Ayahuasca and has worked with over seven hundred people, skillfully guiding and nurturing them through their healing processes.  Jess has over five hundred ceremonies under her belt and over 50 plant/tree dietas.  Jess received the title of "Maestra" from Zach and she is a Kambo trainer of other Kambo practitioners.  Jess is also a Holographic Sound Healing Trainer of Practitioners.

Jess graduated from law school in 2008 and practiced international commercial arbitration at a small law firm in Istanbul, Turkey for seven months before realizing that there was not enough money in the world to pay her for hours (and years, really) spent doing something her heart wasn’t in. After returning to the States, Jess became an avid whitewater kayaker– something she had been wanting to pursue since her teenage years. Jess spent the next five years learning and teaching whitewater kayaking and paddle boarding, earning certifications in kettlebell and CrossFit training, and helping her clients connect to their bodies and to nature.

During those five years, Jess was also battling a severe case of Rheumatoid Arthritis. After two and a half years of intensive pharmaceutical therapy, Jess became frustrated with the western medical model, and discovered that she could achieve remission using nutritional therapy alone.


Inspired, she decided to pursue a career as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and Autoimmune Coach. Her work in the fields of nutrition, fitness and ancestral health brought her to the Paleo F(x) conference in Austin, TX where she attended the very first PFX panel on Shamanism. One of her most influential mentors was a speaker on this panel, and described the experience of Ayahuasca and the concomitant exploration of consciousness and spirituality as a human birthright. After witnessing this panel, she could not stop thinking about Ayahuasca. One year later, she attended her first Ayahuasca retreat… with Zach.

That retreat in July of 2015 proved to be a turning point in the lives of Zach and Jess.  Since then, they have become spectacularly and synchronistically connected. Jess and Zach, as of the summer of 2016, are husband and wife. Jess also formed a strong relationship with Ayahuasca and has been studying the medicine intensely since then. 

Jess’s life has changed in every aspect since her first experience with the medicine. She feels it has drawn forth her full human nature and true potential by releasing her from patterns and deep cultural conditioning. This story is but one example of the powerful relationships and connections that come with the release and creativity that Ayahuasca facilitates.


Michael has over four years experience working with Ayahuasca.  He received the title of "Maestro" from Zach and Jess quite rapidly as his aptitude for working with the medicine is exceptional.  Michael has assisted over two hundred people through their experiences with Ayahuasca.  He is a Kambo practitioner, a Certified Chris Kresser Health Coach and a Gene Keys Guide.

Michael first met Zach and Jess in August of 2018. Having just finished his graduate studies in business and public policy, he went to Guatemala to do some personal development work and study Spanish before starting his Peace Corps service.


Ayahuasca was the first part of his journey with Zach and Jess in Guatemala, and ended up being a catalyst for unexpected levels of growth and self exploration. After his first retreat, he immediately signed up for the rest of their retreats during his time in Guatemala and just kept on going! 


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