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Tropical Leaves


Is Ayahuasca Legal in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is a popular destination for ayahuasca retreats. The gorgeous country attracts more than 2 million tourists every year. The beautiful tropical landscape combined with the ambiguity of the law regarding ayahuasca has made it a hub for ayahuasca retreat centers.

Due to the high concentration of ayahuasca retreats available, many assume ayahuasca is legal in Costa Rica. The truth is that ayahuasca is neither legal nor illegal - it is unscheduled. Basically what that means is that there are no laws regulating the use of ayahuasca in Costa Rica.  This gives ayahuasca retreat centers in Costa Rica the freedom to operate without fear of prosecution. With the growing awareness of the therapeutic application of plant medicine, we hope to see Costa Rica adopt a fully legal status for ayahuasca and other plant medicines in the near future.


The legality of ayahuasca in other locations depends on the country and local laws. In the US, ayahuasca is illegal under Federal Law with the Controlled Substances Act, which lists DMT, the active component of Ayahuasca, as a Schedule 1 Substance. Despite this, many local and state governments have decriminalized the personal use of ayahuasca. The benefits of psychedelic therapy are gaining traction and a direct link is being formed between ayahuasca use and higher quality of life, so it's likely we will continue to see more local governments adopt favorable policies for psychedelic use.

There are many countries through Central and South American, where ayahuasca is completely Legal. This is because ayahuasca use originates in the Amazon, and the cultures have incorporated ceremonies for hundreds of years knowing the benefits of the medicine intimately.

Like the United States, there are many other countries in which ayahuasca is completely illegal to possess, consume, transport, or distribute.

Countries where Ayahuasca is ILLEGAL:











Countires where Ayahuasca is LEGAL:

  • PERU







Countries where Ayahuasca is Decriminalized or Controlled:






Countries where Ayahuasca is Unregulated or Status Unknown:





So, if ayahuasca is illegal in the United States, how are there ceremonies and retreats available in the US? The answer is sort of complex, but most organizations will claim they have protection under the religious freedom act. In 1999 a Brilian Sect called the UDV was charged with importing ayahuasca into the United States. They fought the charge siting religious use, and the case made it all the way to the supreme court where they ruled in favor of the UDV in 2006.

Since this case set a precedent for all cases to follow, many ‘churches’ have popped up around the United States claiming to use ayahuasca as a sacrament and therefore gain protection under Religious Freedom. Legally though, that may not be the case.

With the recent study of the therapeutic use of ayahuasca combined with the decriminalization of psychedelics in a growing number of cities across the US, it seems ayahuasca has become a very low priority of law enforcement, even if it is still technically illegal and punishable by federal law in the United States.



Hello! We are the owners of New Life AyahuascaWe are a married couple who found ourselves (and eachother!) through plant medicine.

We both come from dark backgrounds filled with depression, drug abuse and hopelessness. Through the use of plant medicines, we slowly but surely began to reconnect to the strength within and see our lives with a fresh perspective.

It was through the lessons we learned from ayahuasca that we were able to transform our lives. It is with humble gratitude that we provide an experience for others so that they too may find balance, peace and self love.


Since 2014 we have been fully immersed in our work, not only in an effort to help others but to continue to help ourselves. We created our retreats with an emphasis on safety, inclusivity, tradition, intention and respect.


Powerful ayahuasca ceremonies expertly led by traditionally trained facilitators.

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Stress-free transition to the retreat with SJO Airport Transfers at designated times.


Hatha Yoga Sessions suitable for all levels are offered on each ceremony day.

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Beach Trips

Located in on the Pacific Coast, we visit one of Costa Rica's gorgeous beaches.


With a maximum of 14 participants per group,  we can offer individual support.


Nutritious and flavorful meals are provided using local fruits and vegetables.


Your physical and emotional safety are our highest priority.


While ayahuasca is generally considered very safe when used properly, there are a few medical conditions as well as medications that are contraindicated with ayahausca. During the booking process you will be asked to complete a brief medical questionnaire over the phone to ensure that you can safely participate in an ayahuasca retreat. In case of emergency, both Matt and Jeanae are certified in CPR and have training with the use of our AED (Automated External Defibrillator). We are 25 minutes from a medical center. 

Our small groups ensure that we can provide quality service and attention to each guest. Every ceremony is supported by 3 of our staff : Our ayahuasquero, Matthew, drinks ayahuasca with each group at every ceremony to help guide the experience through Icaros and 2 additional support staff: Jeanae and an additional helper, who do not drink during the ceremony and are there only to assist or help any participant that may require attention. A male responds to the men and Jeanae responds to the women ensuring that everyone feels safe and comfortable during such a vulnerable and emotional experience.

More on Safety


A warm and welcoming enviornment for all.

Ayahuasca retreats can be beneficial for all people. Ayahuasca does not see race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.

Regardless of an individuals background, an ayahuasca experience can bring about intense emotions and revelations that can lead to a better life. The only thing you need is an open mind and the desire to have an experience that can enhance your spirituality and awareness of life and all that surrounds us.

At New Life Ayahuasca, all are welcome. We embrace each individual, appreciating the things that make us unique but understanding we all are one. It is our promise to provide an equal, compassionate and therapeutic environment for every guest that comes to our center.


Ayahuasca has been used in a traditional way for thousands of years. We aim to respect the Peruvian traditions and honor them through our ceremonies. Since 2014 our ayahuasquero, Matthew, has been traveling to Iquitos, Peru multiple times a year to complete his plant dietas and learn the Peruvian traditions.

During the ayahuasca ceremonies, Matt sings traditional medicine songs, called Icaros. Some of the Icaros he has been taught, ancient songs passed down from teacher to student. Other of his Icaros are uniquely his, given to him by the medicine and spirits. Mapacho, also known as jungle tobacco, is also heavily used during the ceremony for cleansing and protection.




What drives the experience

When considering an ayahuasca retreat, it is important not only to consider safety, qualification, experience, etc. but also to know the intention of the facilitators.  Jeanae and Matt are completely dedicated to this work. They are indebted to ayahuasca for everything it has brought into their lives.


Matthew puts 100% of himself into each ceremony and the purity of his intention is clear. We do not take lightly the trust each guest has given us to facilitate an experience with ayahuasca and all her wisdom.

It is our deepest intention to respect ayahuasca and facilitate a therapeutic and healing experience in a supportive space. We hope that we can help you find and focus on your own intention, a commitment to growth. 



Our promise is to treat every guest in a compassionate and professional manner. The respect of each guest's process, space, privacy and values is always upheld to the highest standard. We are an intimate center offering small groups of no more than 9 participants per retreat. With over 100 5 star reviews and testimonials, our commitment and dedication to guest is clear.

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