Behind The Scenes: Inside A 5-MeO-DMT Retreat

When used properly, we believe that 5-MeO-DMT is more life-changing than any other medicine we know. However, many people don't use 5-MeO-DMT properly. The best way to experience the medicine is at a 5-MeO-DMT retreat. That way, you'll get access to the best quality of care before, during, and after you take 5-MeO-DMT.At Tandava Retreats, we go to great lengths to offer the safest, most rewarding 5-MeO-DMT retreats in the world. We understand that attending a retreat in another country is a big commitment. Therefore, we want to walk you through what a 5-MeO-DMT retreat looks like from our perspective to show you just how meticulous we are.

What Is 5-MeO-DMT?

5-MeO-DMT is a psychedelic medicine that produces a non-dual experience in those who take it. While it's challenging to describe precisely what that means, past attendees at our retreats have described this experience as a merging with God, or even the entire universe. Some might call it ego death, but we avoid using this label because we don't find it helpful in describing our lived experience with 5-MeO.The chemical 5-MeO-DMT compound is found in several plants as well as toads. Let's take a look at how the usage of this medicine has evolved.

Origins & Evolution

Over 3,000 years ago, tribes native to South America harvested plants that produced 5-MeO-DMT. They mostly took this substance in the form of crushed seeds. Although, it's said that 5-MeO-DMT is present in at least 9 different plants.Fast-forward several centuries, in 1936, Japanese scientists Toshio Hoshino and Kenya Shimodaira managed to synthesize 5-MeO-DMT and isolated the pure molecule in a lab. This made the drug easier to produce and helped 5-MeO gain the prominence that it enjoys today.

Modern Usage

It might come as a surprise, but 5-MeO-DMT was not discovered in toads until relatively recently. Indeed, the secretions of the Sonoran Desert Toad contain 5-MeO. That said, the discovery of this toad medicine has been rather destructive for the species. Conservationists have encouraged the use of synthetic 5-MeO as toad populations in the United States diminish. As a result, we prefer to use synthetic 5-MeO-DMT at Tandava, the experience does not differ at all. Furthermore, the nature of the toad venom makes it difficult to administer accurate dosages.As 5-MeO gained popularity, it also came under the scrutiny of various regulatory bodies across the world. Around 10 years ago, the American government banned 5-MeO-DMT, and many other countries followed suit. Nowadays, 5-MeO-DMT exists in a bit of a legal grey area. Therefore, retreat centers typically operate in countries like Mexico and Portugal which don't schedule 5-MeO as an illegal substance.

What Is A 5-MeO-DMT Retreat?

A 5-MeO-DMT retreat is like an all-inclusive resort that focuses on introspection and the consumption of 5-MeO-DMT. The retreat should balance relaxation and growth. Therefore, responsible retreat centers will conduct a fair amount of planning both collaboratively with their attendees and behind the scenes to provide the best experience possible.We're going to walk you through the 5-MeO-DMT experience the best way we know how - by drawing from our first-hand experience welcoming hundreds of guests to our retreat center.


One common misconception regarding 5-MeO-DMT retreats is that you need to have experience with psychedelics to take it. This is untrue. Anecdotally, we can say that 5-MeO-DMT was the first psychedelic for a fair amount of attendees at our retreats.Before you attend our retreat, we will conduct a few pre-screening consultations to ensure that you're a fit and to build your container. While people have varying degrees of "readiness" for the medicine, we must say that it's quite rare for us to turn anyone away. Only in the case of certain psychiatric conditions would we advise against taking 5-MeO-DMT. Even in such cases, we will recommend an alternative course of action for you.After vetting you for the medicine, most of our prep sessions will focus on building the appropriate "container" for your 5-MeO-DMT experience. The container is a type of filter for your entire 5-MeO-DMT experience. Without it, some find it difficult to interpret what they see and feel while under the influence of the drug. Your container will depend on your values and your personal development. We want to set the retreat up in a way that makes sense to you.


Once you get to the retreat center we don't want to rush you too much on the first day. We realize that you might have had a long flight and would prefer you to acclimatize to our retreat center instead. Your comfort is our priority.Note that our individual retreats, which are our most popular offering, typically last 5 days.


On the morning of the second day, you will begin your first 5-MeO experience at our retreat center. In case you weren't aware, the experience can last anywhere between 10 to 45 minutes, although it might feel much longer.During the experience, we will lie you down on a soft pad. Two of our retreat facilitators will accompany you through the journey. We intend to make the surrounding environment as comfortable as possible for you so that you can fully surrender to the effects of the medicine. That's why we build trust between you and our facilitators beforehand.[caption id="attachment_1638" align="alignnone" width="640"]

5-MeO-DMT Ceremony Room

5-MeO-DMT Ceremony Room at Tandava Retreats[/caption]Don't be concerned if you don't feel completely ready on the day of the retreat. Understand that it's normal to feel fear, and we commend every retreat goer on their bravery.

Integration Process

A responsible retreat center won't abandon you after the retreat. Rather, they will respond to your concerns as they arise. For instance, you might experience reactivation following your 5-MeO-DMT experience which could occur in the early hours of the morning.We're with you at every step. After the retreat, we provide you with 4 aftercare calls over Zoom to ensure that you're integrating the experience effectively. This means that we'll help you make sense of your experience and apply the lessons to your daily life, based on the container we prepared for you.

The Background Behind The 5-MeO Ceremony

We've studied 5-MeO-DMT in-depth. This has allowed us to assimilate unique perspectives on 5-MeO that inform the retreat experience. Our president, Joël Brierre is renowned for his unique approach to the medicine informed by yogic practices and philosophy.Our intent is to deliver a life-changing experience to every single person who attends our retreats. Whether that means addressing underlying trauma or simply exploring the depths of your inner world, we'll outline a plan to help you achieve your goals.

Safety Measures

You can perceive our dedication to safety throughout the retreat process. From the first pre-screening calls to our integration and aftercare, you'll observe that we want to make the experience as agreeable as possible for all our participants.For certain participants, there are elevated risks to taking 5-MeO-DMT. Every participant must submit a saliva swab test in a prepaid envelope to ensure that they don't have a propensity toward serotonin syndrome and other conditions. However, these conditions are extremely rare.At the retreat center, each of our facilitators is first-aid trained and ready to respond to any medical issues whether related to 5-MeO or not. In severe cases, we are also in contact with local medical professionals to assist us.

Diverse Approaches

We're capable of taking several different approaches to 5-MeO-DMT. These approaches will apply to the container that we formulate for your experience. Once again, it all depends on your journey. Most likely, we have a practitioner on our team that can meet your needs.

the hero's journey

A common framework we like to adopt during our retreats is that of the "hero's journey" which draws upon the cross-cultural lens developed by Joseph Campbell. This journey is the perfect reflection of that which you undergo with 5-MeO-DMT. In implementing this lens, we might merge both Buddhist and western influences.You're probably already familiar with the hero's journey from consuming popular media. However, this is a theme that prevails in myths and stories across many cultures. Long story short, the "hero" answers a call to adventure, overcomes significant adversity in the face of a crisis, and then returns home as a changed person.As we mentioned before, the 5-MeO-DMT experience is pretty barebones without any container to filter it. With the addition of this cross-cultural lens, your experience could be far more rewarding than it might have been otherwise.


For most of its history, shamans worked with 5-MeO-DMT according to their own cultural practices. These practices continue today and you can get a taste of them at our retreat centers. Some of our practitioners have had decades of experience with the shamanic path of study. As a result, they use their education to create the perfect retreat container for you.

5-MeO-DMT vs. Nn-DMT

Don't confuse 5-MeO for DMT. People use the term "DMT" to refer to a molecule known as "Nn-DMT". This substance is similar in chemical structure to 5-MeO. However, the actual psychedelic experience you get with this drug is quite different. Whereas Nn-DMT is a little more casual and doesn't necessarily require an experienced practitioner, 5-MeO is more intense. After all, 5-MeO produces a non-dual god-like state. Meanwhile, DMT produces euphoric hallucinations that might weigh on you far less heavily.

2 Perspectives on 5-MeO-DMT Retreats

As we've mentioned already, the two most common paths people take on 5-MeO-DMT retreats relate to mental health and spirituality. That's not to say that these two aspects can't overlap, nor are you prevented from taking different paths. We're merely presenting to you the two most common perspectives we receive in our post-retreat feedback.

Improved Mental Health

We know of many anecdotal instances where 5-MeO-DMT was said to cure mental health conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder. However, it's always important to listen to scientific evidence regarding the matter. So far, a few studies have arisen that indicate 5-MeO-DMT and other psychedelic medicine are effective in treating impairments caused by trauma.In other studies, 5-MeO is said to have facilitated a reduction in feelings of anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. However, this was based on anecdotal self-reported data. Due to its legal status, it's difficult to study the substance further. So we'll hold our judgment until scientists have conducted more in-depth research.The important thing to know is, that many people with mental health conditions have found 5-MeO-DMT helpful to them in eliminating negative mental patterns. If you would like to learn more, you can always reach out to us to learn how we might create a specialized container for you.

Psychedelic Renaissance

Of course, we can also take the perspective that 5-MeO helps pave new paths for you both physically and metaphorically. It should come as no surprise given that 5-MeO-DMT elevates neuroplasticity. This means that it makes it easier for your brain to create new pathways. Therefore, you change your mental patterning quite literally with these new connections. You'll benefit from the elevation in maturity that follows.As we said before, the 5-MeO experience is hard to put into words. One attendee termed it as a literal rebirth - he felt as though he had given birth to himself. Indeed, the experience is so revelatory that many others have compared it to the birth of their first child. The feeling of non-duality certainly changes people's perspectives.

A Tandava Retreat Is Bigger Than 5-MeO-DMT

There is more to a Tandava Retreat than 5-MeO-DMT. Rather, we make it so that you benefit from a wide range of activities that enhance your learning and your ability to take the 5-MeO-DMT. Meditation and plant medicines often form the lynchpin of our healing strategies at the center.We also like to add individualized touches to the retreats depending on your requests but also the season in particular. For instance, a retreat we ran in June celebrated the strawberry full moon which took place at that time.

New Growth Tools

We give you a wide array of growth tools to help you on your journey. We recognize that not every single one of these tools will be impactful for you. That said, we find that each tool offers quite a bit of value. Here's why we decided to include each one:

  1. Kambo
  2. Kambo is a type of medicine derived from the Amazonian frog of the same name. We administer it to our attendees before the 5-MeO-DMT ceremony to help cleanse them physically and energetically.
  3. Optimized diet
  4. We hire an on-site chef for a reason. Your nutrition before taking 5-MeO is quite important. During our pre-retreat calls, we will work with you to determine the best diet for you before you visit our center. Once there, you will typically partake in vegetarian meals unless you request otherwise
  5. Yoga
  6. To help you relax at the beginning of each day, we like to warm up with a bit of yoga. This helps you physically and mentally prepare for the 5-MeO experience and also the day ahead.[caption id="attachment_1639" align="alignnone" width="640"]
Yoga at 5-MeO-DMT Retreat
  1. Yoga at 5-MeO-DMT Retreat[/caption]
  2. Meditation
  3. We also like to use meditation alongside yoga to help you mentally prepare for a day at the retreat. We encourage meditation and self-reflection to facilitate the personal evolutionary journey that you're embarking upon at our center. After all, you must engage in a bit of inner work to complete your transformation.
  4. Breathwork
  5. Breathwork is the perfect tool for you to raise your consciousness and alter your mental patterns. Of course, you can apply breathwork at just about any time in your daily life, not just at the retreat.
  6. Sound healing
  7. Relaxation is integral to the retreat experience. Therefore, we engage in sound healing to help you reach and maintain vibrational balance throughout the retreat.
  8. Spiritual progress coaching
  9. Before our retreats, we like to interview participants. This will give us a sense of where you believe you are in your spiritual journey. Some of our retreats include spiritual progress coaching as well. Moreover, we often use interviews to help guide your meditation during our meditation retreats.
  10. Shadow work
  11. Many people come to us with the goal of incorporating their shadow. This is no easy task, however, we will assist you with shadow work as best we can. It's better to understand your shadow and channel it in a healthy way and 5-MeO can help you achieve this. Repressing your shadow is a poor alternative.
  12. Neurofeedback/Brain entrainment
  13. As we mentioned earlier, increased neuroplasticity is one of the main benefits of 5-MeO-DMT. This is easily quantifiable because we have neurofeedback devices that describe your brain activity during the retreat. You can use our devices to observe how your mental patterning has evolved.


For many participants, relaxation is a significant component of the retreat. We don't want to make your days feel rushed, but we do offer several activities for those eager to mix things up. For the adventurous, retreat includes a hiking trip to the nearby mountains and a market trip to the nearby town.Meanwhile, our retreat center is fully equipped with facilities for your enjoyment. You can go for a swim in the pool or take a dip in the hot tub. Depending on the retreat you sign up for, you might also get to participate in steam ceremonies.


Our retreat center is luxurious and is designed to cater to your every need. You'll sleep in one of several luxurious rooms; we have both shared and private options on offer. Moreover, we have a chef to cook you 3 square meals per day. We are open to any requests regarding accommodation or nourishment and we will do our best to make your stay as comfortable as possible.[caption id="attachment_1640" align="alignnone" width="640"]

5-MeO-DMT Ceremony

5-MeO-DMT Ceremony at Tandava Retreats[/caption]

The Retreat Center

The retreat center itself is also quite luxurious. It's nestled in the mountains not far from the town of Tepoztlan, Mexico, 90 minutes from Mexico City airport. We are quite proud of the facility we've built and the connections we've made in the area, so we encourage attendees to take full advantage of the center while they're there.


Following our retreats, you get 4 aftercare calls. This enables you to go over any pressing issues that you might have in the wake of the retreat. Unlike some retreat centers, we don't try to get rid of you right afterward. It's important to us that you feel satisfied with the entire experience.

Get In Touch

If you're excited by the prospect of a transformational experience at Tandava Retreats, then please don't hesitate to connect with us to ask questions. You can learn more about the upcoming retreats we have on offer so that you have an idea of what to expect regarding the total cost and days spent at the center.