Ayahuasca Safety

Is Ayahuasca Safe??

According to a long term study by Hospital Sant Pau in Barcelona, there are no long term negative side effects.

The research looked at 127 people who had used ayahuasca at least twice a month for 15 years and compared them to a group who had never taken the substance. After undergoing a series of interviews and tests, the study found that there is “no evidence of psychological maladjustment, mental health deterioration or cognitive impairment in the Ayahuasca-using group.” The regular Ayahuasca users even scored better in some of the cognitive tests than their counterparts.  Click Here to See the Hospital Sant Pau Study Details

All that said, there are pre-cautions to take, there are contra-indicated medications, contra indicated medical conditions and contra-indicated mental health conditions. See Below.

Ayahuasca Retreat Safety

Medical Conditions & Medications 

Important:  If one is in good physical health, does not have a contra-indicated health issue or is not taking any contra-indicated medications, Ayahuasca is generally safe.


There are no doctors or nurses on staff at La Familia Ayahuasca. We do not provide medical care nor advice. 

Medications and Supplements 

Several medications and supplements, including but not limited to MAO inhibiting medications, SSRIs, anti-depressants (including St John’s Wort), and other medications should not be taken during this retreat. In fact such medications are very dangerous to mix with our sacrament.


During a retreat with La Familia Ayahuasca guests are generally not allowed to take any sort of medications, vitamins, or supplements while on retreat.   There are some exceptions. Please communicate with La Familia Ayahuasca in regards to any medications you are taking.


For your safety, people with the following health conditions will not be able to participate in a retreat with La Familia Ayahuasca, these include but are not limited to:

  • High blood pressure.

  • Epilepsy

  • Hypertension, a history of hypertension or any history of heart issues.

  • Diabetes including "low blood sugar" and "hypoglycemia"

  • Someone taking MAO inhibitors, SSRIs, antidepressants or any anti psychotic medication.  Note:  if you are taking antidepressants, you may attend a retreat as long as you ween completely off your antidepressants 14 days prior to the retreat start date.

  • Mental Illness: If you are being treated for mental illness, you must talk with your doctor as to the use of Ayahuasca. If your doctor approves, you must stop taking any anti depressants or mood altering medications at least 2 weeks prior to a retreat with La Familia Ayahuasca.

It is imperative and your responsibility that you let us know if you are on ANY medication, have ANY serious health problems, chronic health issues, mental health issues, infectious or contagious diseases.

Guatemala Travel Safety

Guatemala is a developing country and does not have the same infrastructure as N. America or Europe.


While many developed country governments have travel advisories for Guatemala, it is actually a safe country to travel in.

The violence that exists is in very specific areas and is between Guatemalans that are associated with cartels/drug trafficking.  NOTE:  Antigua and Lake Atitlan are not part of the trafficking routes/activities.

Guatemala City is a large city with some neighborhoods to avoid- just like any other large city.  As a tourist you will have to try pretty hard to find these areas.  Stick to the areas with nicer hotels etc…and you will be fine.

Antigua is a beautiful colonial city about 1 hour outside Guatemala City.  Tourism is this city’s bread and butter.  Antigua is safe for tourists.

Lake Atitlan/San Marcos de Laguna is also an area that relies on tourists and Lake Atitlan is safe for tourists.

In general when traveling in Guatemala, use common sense.  Do not walk alone at night or go wandering down remote trails alone.  Don’t flash fancy cameras or technology around.  Don’t leave valuables out in the open.  Again, use common sense and you will be fine.

If you would like the perspective of those who live here in Guatemala you can ask and speak with them directly via the following Facebook groups:

Click Here to go to Expats Living in Guatemala Facebook Group 

Click Here to go to Lake Atitlan Community Facebook Group