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Where is ayahuasca legal?

Is Ayahuasca Legal?

The legality of ayahuasca 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.


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.



Hello! Our names are Jeanae White and Matthew Mormello. We are the owners of New Life Ayahuasca. We 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.


Your physical and emotional safety are our highest priority.


While ayahuasca is safe when used properly, there are a few medical conditions and medications that are contraindicated with ayahuasca. Every participant is asked to complete a medical questionnaire over the phone to ensure the safety of our ayahuasca retreats. In case of emergency, 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 enable us to provide quality service and attention to every guest. Each ceremony is supported by 4 team members : Our ayahuasqueros, Matthew and Jeanae, who drink ayahuasca with each group to guide the experience and 2 additional helpers, who do not drink during the ceremony and are there to assist any participant that may require attention. A male responds to the men and a female 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.


Ceremony Info


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. 



We promise to treat every guest compassionately and professionally.

From the moment you arrive, you will be greeted with warmth and attentiveness, creating a space where you can be vulnerable through the experience. Our commitment to your healing and personal growth is unwavering, and we invite you to embark on a journey of self-discovery and transformation, knowing that you are in the hands of professionals who value your well-being above all else. Respect for each participant's process, privacy, and values is always upheld to the highest standard. 

New Life Ayahuasca Costa Rica is an intimate wellness center hosting groups of no more than 14 participants per retreat. With over 200 5-star reviews and testimonials, our commitment and dedication to guest satisfaction is clear.

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