Travel Advice

written by Stephan V. Beyer, Ph.D., J.D.
adapted from Traveling Safely to Drink Ayahuasca

If you have decided to travel to Peru or other areas in South America to drink ayahuasca, or West Africa for a traditional iboga ceremony, be aware that you will be traveling in third-world countries that often have limited resources, and wonderful experiences are less often the product of luck than of thoughtful preparation. Here are several things you can do to help ensure that your trip is safe and productive.

Speak to Your Doctor

If you are not used to being in the jungle, your body is about to be stressed in new ways -- novel food, unaccustomed heat and humidity, unfamiliar pathogens. There is nothing in the jungle, of course, that you can’t handle; people do it all the time. But, unlike other travelers, you will be adding the extra stress of ingesting a powerfully psychoactive botanical with very intense physical effects. You should be in good physical condition to handle these stressors, and you should pay a visit to your doctor to make sure that you are.

This is especially important if you have any physical or psychological condition -- definitely including pregnancy -- for which you are currently under the care of a health professional. Tell your doctor that you are going to be taking ayahuasca or iboga, even if you fear the doctor will be disapproving. Provide your doctor with information about the physiological and psychological effects of the substance you will be taking. Such information is very important, especially if you are taking psychotropic medication such as an SSRI or an MAOI antidepressant, if you will be taking ayahuasca, or any medication that inhibits cytochrome P450, if you will be taking iboga. Don’t forget to add that these botanicals also induce physically stressful emetic and purgative effects, and that you will be in a jungle environment, perhaps far from definitive care, since these facts may also impact your current health situation.

Your health care provider may offer you persuasive reasons why such an expedition would be a bad idea at this time, and you may then decide to wait until your current condition has improved or resolved. It may also be that your doctor will see no significant problem in your taking ayahuasca or iboga, or may recommend some conditions that would increase your safety, or may be willing to modify your medication regimen temporarily to accommodate your intention.

Seeing your doctor and having a straightforward conversation will allow you to make informed decisions about the best way to make your journey as safe as possible.


ICEERS takes care to ensure that the information presented on this website is accurate at the time of its publication. However, over time new scientific and medical information becomes available, and laws and legal enforcement polices change. In addition, laws and legal enforcement policies governing the use of substances discussed on this website vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The reader is advised to carefully consult appropriate sources for the most current information on scientific, medical, and legal issues. Material on this website is not intended to and should not be used as a substitute for personal consultation with knowledgeable physicians and attorneys.

The information on this website is offered for informational use only, and is not intended for use in diagnosing any disease or condition or prescribing any treatment whatsoever. The information on this website is not intended to encourage the use of ethnobotanicals. ICEERS specifically cautions against the use of ethnobotanicals in violation of the law, without appropriate professional guidance and monitoring, or without careful personal evaluation of potential risks and hazards. ICEERS specifically disclaims any liability, loss, injury, or damage incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents of this website.