San Marcos, Guatemala

Plant Medicine for Recovery Retreat on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Join us for a five-night retreat with plant medicine ceremonies on the shores of stunning Lake Atitlan, near the town of San Marcos La Laguna, in Guatemala! This retreat features yoga, meditation, breathwork, plant-based food, a cleansing sauna and plant bath, community, and two professionally-guided plant medicine ceremonies with ayahuasca.

Currently full for 2025 so we will offer it again ASAP. Please contact us to join the wait list or sign up to get advance booking info for the next one.

yoga to support ayahuasca ceremonies

Bigger Life Adventures’ Guatemala retreat will take place under the powerful, beautiful volcanoes ringing the ancient waters of Lake Atitilan. Surrounded by Mayan villages and steep, green mountains, you’ll arrive at our intimate venue, Casa Floresta, by boat. Traveling there is a portal from the real world into retreat mode. During free time choose to hike a steep trail to the hippie paradise/Mayan town of San Marcos, or travel the couple kilometers by boat taxi or tuk tuk.

Our goal on this retreat is to combine safe, transformative Ayahuasca plant medicine ceremonies with trauma-informed yoga, sharing circles, wild swimming and nature immersion.

As this is a plant medicine ceremony-focused healing retreat, we encourage guests to spend free time relaxing and integrating by the lake, protecting our energy amongst the group. Ayahuasca can leave you a little vulnerable, so staying in Casa Floresta’s beautiful bubble can help you integrate the experiences more easily. If you have extra time to spend in Guatemala before or after the retreat, we can recommend activities, hikes, and accommodations in both San Marcos La Laguna and the colonial city of Antigua!

The retreat is hosted by Bigger Life Adventures with two ceremonies facilitated by The Forest Path and comfortable, spacious accommodations at Casa Floresta and Casa Colibri next door. Both private and shared rooms are serene, cozy, and beautifully-decorated. You’ll feel at peace and able to detach from the stress of day-to-day life.

The group size will be limited to 14-18 souls who are ready and open to a deep and cohesive group experience.

We searched patiently and extensively for the right venue and right medicine guides for this retreat. In 2023 we traveled to Guatemala and participated in a ceremony at Casa Floresta that was truly life changing. We can’t wait to show you all the extraordinary magic of this place! For more information on how to choose the right ayahuasca retreat and why we’re going to Casa Floresta you can read this post.

Dates: January 4-9, 2025

Location: Lake Atitlan, Guatemala near the small hippie/Mayan town of San Marcos La Laguna.

Ayahuasca for recovery

Known traditionally as “The Grandmother”, ayahuasca is a powerful plant-based brew that has been used for centuries in indigenous ceremonies. We honor the indigenous roots and knowledge surrounding this medicine and also appreciate that it is gaining scientific renown for its benefits in addiction recovery. This sacred botanical concoction, made from the vine Banisteriopsis caapi and the leaves of Psychotria viridis, contains the psychoactive compound DMT. While ayahuasca should be approached with caution and only under the guidance of experienced practitioners, it has shown promise in assisting individuals on their path to recovery from addiction. Here are some of the potential benefits:

1- Spiritual awakening: Ayahuasca ceremonies are often described as transformative and profound experiences. The brew is believed to open up spiritual realms and facilitate deep introspection, encouraging individuals to confront the root causes of their addiction. This heightened spiritual awareness may help people reconnect with their inner selves, find meaning, and foster personal growth.

2- Emotional Healing: Ayahuasca has been reported to help individuals process and release deeply buried emotions, trauma, and pain. By bringing these buried emotions to the surface, it provides an opportunity for healing and emotional catharsis. This emotional release and healing can be crucial for those struggling with addiction, as unresolved trauma and emotional distress are often underlying factors.

3- Increased self-awareness: Ayahuasca ceremonies can bring about a heightened sense of self-awareness and introspection. Participants may gain valuable insights into their addictive patterns, behaviors, and triggers. This increased self-awareness can create a solid foundation for personal growth and enable individuals to make more informed choices in their recovery journey.

4- Perspective shift: Ayahuasca has the potential to offer a new perspective on life, addiction, and one’s relationship with substances. It can reveal the interconnectedness of all things and foster a sense of unity and oneness. This profound shift in perspective can break the cycle of addiction by helping individuals reframe their experiences, values, and priorities.

5- Integration and support: Ayahuasca ceremonies often take place within the context of a supportive community and are typically followed by integration processes. These include group discussions, therapeutic sessions, and aftercare support. This comprehensive approach to integration helps individuals process and integrate their ayahuasca experiences into their everyday life and recovery journey.

It is important to note that although ayahuasca shows promise in addiction recovery, it is not a magic cure-all and should always be approached responsibly and with professional guidance. Individuals interested in exploring ayahuasca as part of their addiction recovery should seek reputable practitioners, consider their medical history, and have appropriate support systems in place before embarking on this potentially transformative journey.

Who else can be helped by an Ayahuasca retreat?

Those growing and healing from depression, anxiety, addiction, PTSD, childhood trauma, eating disorders, or desiring deeper connection with yourself and your ancestors. Ayahuasca can also help if you feel you stuck in a rut, need new inspiration, or just simply aren’t enjoying life to its fullest potential. That being said, we believe that plant medicine is not the best way for everyone to heal so we will strive to bring this to only the right people who are prepared.

Ayahuasca must be approached with respect and mindfulness. If you would like to join our retreat at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, please note that you MUST be sober from alcohol, drugs, antidepressants, and other plant-medicines for a certain time period before and during the retreat, even if being off of these things is not a part of your normal life. Importantly, this includes pharmaceutical SSRI medications that can have negative interactions with the Ayahuasca. This is very important as pharmaceutical/plant medicine interactions could be quite dangerous to your health.

All guests who sign up must complete a pre-interview with Carrie or Zach of Bigger Life Adventures. If we decide that this event is not right for you, we will refund your deposit or help you apply it to an event better for you. It is our responsibility to create a safe space for this retreat and we reserve the right to decide who should be there based on our past experiences and guidance from the experts at Forest Path. If we have not met in person previously, please either email us before paying your deposit to schedule an interview, or be prepared to schedule an interview after putting your deposit down.

 

Two ayahuasca ceremonies (6-8 hours each), exact nights TBD ($500 value)

Shared or private accommodations at Casa Colibri and Casa Colina, next door to Casa Floresta

Daily trauma-informed yoga and meditation guided by Carrie & Zach (always optional if you need to relax and integrate in another way)

Morning smoothie/ coffee and tea; two delicious vegetarian meals daily (brunch and dinner) and an afternoon snack (dieta friendly)

Group sauna and plant bath

Paddleboards available for use on the lake

3-hour KIrtan chanting concert with The Forest Path

Free time for exploration and relaxation

2 online integration support calls after we return home

Massages

Reiki with Zach

Ayurvedic wellness consultation with Carrie

Guided tours such as a Mayan Women’s Artisan Collective, “Mayan Face” sunrise volcano hike, etc.

San Marcos on Lake Atitlan is a paradise for hippies with yoga, massage, ecstatic dance, reiki, breathwork, vegan food, etc, similar to Sedona or a permanent never ending spiritual festival. You will find things you didn’t even know you were looking for and want to stay longer! Let us know if you choose to do that as we can recommend other sustainable places to stay.

Trip extension to include a stay in Antigua and 1-night volcano trek up Fuego and Acatenango, including lava viewing on active Fuego! It’s incredible!

The view from the volcano trek!

Antigua, Guatemala – A beautiful colonial city to explore!

Saturday, January 4th

  • 2:00 pm

    Afternoon arrivals and setting in

  • 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm

    Welcome circle, yoga and meditation

  • 5:30 pm

    Plant-based dinner

  • 7:00 pm

    Welcome campfire

Sunday, January 5th

  • 6:30 am

    Sunrise meditation

  • 7:00 am - 8:00 am

    Morning yoga and meditation

  • 9:00 am

    Smoothies, coffee and tea time

  • Free day to relax and prepare for ceremony, paddleboard, swim, ect

  • 11:00 am

    Plant-based brunch

  • 2:00 pm

    Snack

  • 5:30 pm

    Medicine ceremony with live music guided by Forest Path

Monday, January 6th

  • 12:00 am - 1:00 am

    Grounding soup and post-ceremony bedtime

  • 9:00 am

    Smoothies, coffee and tea time

  • 10:00 am - 11:30 am

    Integration circle

  • 11:30 am - 1:00 pm

    Yoga and meditation

  • 1:00 pm

    Brunch

  • 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm

    Free time to rest and integrate

  • 5:30 pm

    Plant-based dinner

  • 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

    Chanting concert with Forest Path

Tuesday January 7th

  • 6:30 am

    Sunrise meditation

  • 7:00 am - 8:30 am

    Morning yoga and meditation

  • 9:00 am

    Smoothies, coffee and tea time

  • 10:00 am - 5:30 pm

    Free time or optional excursions

  • 2:00 pm

    Snack

  • 5:30 pm - 12:00 am

    Medicine ceremony with Forest Path

Wednesday, January 8th

  • 12:00 am - 1:00 am

    Grounding soup and post-ceremony bedtime

  • 9:00 am

    Smoothies, coffee and tea time

  • 10:00 am - 11:30 am

    Integration circle

  • 11:30 am - 1:00 pm

    Yoga and meditation

  • 1:00 pm

    Brunch

  • 3:00 pm - 5:30 pm

    Sauna and plant baths

  • 5:30 pm

    Dinner

  • 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

    Closing cacao ceremony & ecstatic dance

Thursday, January 9th

  • 6:30 am

    Sunrise meditation

  • 7:00 am - 8:30 am

    Morning yoga and meditation

  • 9:00 am

    Breakfast

  • 10:00 am - 11:00 am

    Closing circle

  • 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

    Departures to next destinations

Shared Room Bed for 1 Person
Separate beds with same-gender roommates assigned. Shared rooms accommodate 2-3 guests in separate twin beds.
$1950 per person

Private Room for 1-2 Guests
Bunk bed room for 2 guests. Shared bathroom with 1 other room/2 other guests.
$3900

For those ready to book now, a 30% deposit secures your spot and your remaining balance will be due in two additional payments, the first by July 1, 2024, and the final payment Dec. 1, 2024.

Payment plans available as well! If a large deposit is difficult right now, please ask us about a monthly payment plan. Your full balance can be divided into monthly payments to be paid between now and December, 2024

Land in Guatemala City (cheap flights from the USA on Spirit Airlines) and we will arrange shared shuttles from the airport directly to Lake Atitlan (3 hour drive). Please check in with us before booking flights to ensure your chosen itinerary will get you there in time.

Travel booking option:

Since I get a lot of requests for assistance anyway, I decided to offer a new flight booking service for all my retreat guests and friends!

You provide me with your desired travel dates and airports and I will find you the cheapest, best flights possible and book them for you, no extra charge. 

I’m a pretty good “travel hacker” thanks to years of experience. We can do this together via Zoom to confirm everything or I’ll make sure to triple check everything with you before booking!

This benefits YOU if online flight searching stresses you out or you just don’t find it fun.

Full disclosure, it benefits Zach and I because I book most of our travel using our credit card points. We have a lot of travel planned this year so we need as many points as possible. You’ll reimburse me and I’ll get the frequent flyer miles to fund my own travel habit, haha.

Could be a win win for all of us?

Let me know if you would like my help with this. I know booking a long journey with multiple connections can be a little bit annoying. But there are also ways to make it more enjoyable — 1 day layover in Tokyo, anyone? For the best prices, you’ll want to book these flights at least 4-6 months before we leave. Reach out when you’re ready if you want my help.

-Carrie

Since all retreat deposits and payments are used to secure venues, activities, and supplies, and since canceled spots require extra time and energy to re-fill, all deposits and payments are non refundable. In emergency situations, you may or may not be offered a credit for a future retreat or event, based on the decision of our team. Cancellations due to fear of travel are not transferable or refundable. Cancellations less than 1 month before your retreat are not refundable or transferable. We recommend travel insurance to protect your investment in the event you must cancel.