Frequently Asked Questions
Questions by Category:
Retreat Arrival & Practicalities
What is the refund and cancellation policy?
If you need to cancel your participation, you must do so a maximum of 2 weeks after your registration for the retreat in order to receive a full refund or transfer your payment to a future retreat. If you cancel more than 2 weeks after your registration, the full payment is non-refundable and cannot be used for a future retreat.
Please be aware of this so that you do not lose your space or payment.
What is your COVID policy?
If you have a positive COVID test before your flight to Portugal you can contact us with proof of the positive test. In this case we can transfer your payment to a future retreat, minus an €80,- administrative fee.
Which airport do I fly into? How do I get to the retreat?
The closest airport to fly into is Faro. From there we offer a transfer for all participants from central Faro at 15.00 on the day of the retreat. The retreat grounds are approximately 45 minutes from Faro. The driver will be waiting by the Faro Train Station with a sign that says Sinchi Runa.
On the final day of the retreat, there will be a transfer back to Faro at 16.00.
You will receive more detailed information on how to arrive upon registration.
If you need to arrive by other means than the transfer then please be aware that for retreat safety reasons we do not allow you to park your vehicle on the retreat grounds. You would need to arrive by taxi/ride-share or other means. We will share exact location details when you complete the registration to the retreat.
What should I bring to the retreat?
- White comfortable clothing for the ceremonies
- Clothes to wear during your stay*
- Shoes for walking in high grass/forest/mud/rain
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Natural toiletries
- Towel and Swimwear
- Material for writing and drawing
- In the case you are smoking cigarettes, you can continue smoking during the retreat, but only natural tobacco. So make sure to bring natural tobacco to the retreat.
*We will be in an ecologic and self-sustainable venue surrounded by nature. So, make sure to check the weather forecast and bring outdoor clothing suitable for the time of the year.
You will not be able to use the internet or any electronic devices during the retreat. The disconnection with the outer world, immersion in nature and solitude are important parts of the process. If you need other conditions than these, let us know before the retreat starts.
You may use cameras, while always respecting participants who may wish not to be photographed.
Can people in relationships come together?
Yes, but it is very important that couples who come together sleep in different tents. Much of the process requires silence, and it’s natural for partners to begin to interact within the comfort zone of the established relationship. It will be important that you honestly assess with your partner if you will be able to maintain silence, and respect the processes of each other and that of other participants.
Is there electricity or wifi?
We do not have wifi available and we will require that all participants hand in their electronic devices during the retreat to allow for deeper introspection. Leaving the phones and computers behind is an essential part of the process, but you will be able to receive your phone again at the end of the retreat. We do have electricity for when you need to charge up your devices at the end.
Can I read my books on a Kindle during the retreat?
We ask that participants leave their Kindles and bring paper books to read during the retreat, since it is beneficial for the work with the plants to be completely absent of electronics and screens because they subtly interrupt the process.
How much time should I leave between the retreat and returning home? Can I go straight to work right after the retreat?
We suggest that you take some time before heading back to work. Our retreats are intense experiences, and having at least a few days after the retreat to rest and digest can help to integrate and process the experience. If possible, we recommend spending the days after your retreat somewhere quiet in nature or by the sea before resuming normal day activities.
Safety, Contraindications & Diet
Are there any dangers in working with ayahuasca?
Ayahuasca is safe when experienced in a ceremonial setting with a genuine shaman and facilitators with real experience and knowledge of how to work with the medicine. At Sinchi Runa we have not experienced any serious complications during our 10 years as a healing center.
To assure you a safe retreat, there are a few contraindications that you must let us know about. Please see our Preparation & Integration page for details.
If you come to a retreat whilst taking medication, without letting us know, you are placing yourself at risk of physical and psychological harm. It is very important to consult with us beforehand, so we can provide assistance in the process of leaving the medication and aid you in safely participating in a retreat.
What can I eat in preparation for the retreat?
We outline the dietary requirements on our Preparation & Integration page. Be aware that some foods are contraindicative with the plant work, so it is important to follow the preparatory diet.
What should I do if I have concerns about a medicine or supplement I am taking?
You must include all the medicines and supplements you are taking in your registration form. In the case of contraindicated prescriptions, it will be important to have stopped taking them a few weeks before the retreat begins. We can assist you with this process.
If you are in doubt, please contact us with the details of your medicines and dosages and we’ll be happy to assist you.
Is Ayahuasca legal in Portugal?
The use of Ayahuasca is not illegal in Portugal, so long as everyone takes responsibility for their own cup of Ayahuasca, from the brewing process to the ingestion. We ask that each participant sign an agreement before taking part of the retreat stating that this is understood. This is simply to allow us to have a legally safe practice for all parties involved.
The payment for the retreat is for accommodation, food, facilitators and people working to create a healing and life changing experience. Sinchi Runa does not charge for the Ayahuasca medicine itself. Participation in ceremonies are voluntary and free of charge. Sinchi Runa is offering a space where Ayahuasca can be experienced in a safe, therapeutic and sacred context. Each participant is responsible for their own cup of Ayahuasca, from the brewing process to the ingestion of the medicine.
Retreat Format & Structure
Why is there a large emphasis on silence during retreats?
The major part of our retreats are in silence, with only brief periods where talking is allowed between participants. We consider silence an absolutely essential part of the deep healing work with master plants, and explain more details about this on our Retreats page. Speaking to receive assistance in your process is always allowed.
What does the Purge ceremony consist of? Will I vomit when I drink Ayahuasca?
The purge is an initiation ceremony to open the retreat, involving the ingestion of an amazonian plant selected by Maestro Sanango, which induces nausea, vomiting and/or defecation. It is letting go of that which no longer serves us, to open us up to receive the understanding we are seeking.
Purging (via vomiting or other means) is the beginning of healing with Ayahuasca and master plants, and is an integral part of the process. It is the stage of detoxification, cleansing or decodification; of letting go and surrendering. Likewise all genuine spiritual paths must begin with the stage of purification; letting go of beliefs, ego and other limitations to our understanding.
It is common to purge during Ayahuasca ceremonies, and should be seen as part of the healing process, and approached with humility and gratitude for what is being cleansed and let go.
You can click here to see more information about the purge on our website.