'Magic mushroom retreats' are a thing. Here's what they actually look like.

Wellness retreats are in the news as of late, sadly not for good reasons. 

Earlier this week, a 53-year-old woman died from consuming a drink at a retreat in regional Victoria. Detectives are now examining whether the drink contained magic mushrooms. The wellness centre has since issued a statement, saying the death occurred at their facility where a private event was taking place, the space hired to external businesses and facilitators.

"None of our regular therapists, staff or facilitators were present at any point during this event. Those facilitating the event do not work for or represent Soul Barn in any way," the statement read.

Separate to this story, it turns out that magic mushroom retreats are actually a real thing. 

Inside magic mushroom retreats.

One retreat in Jamaica invites participants to come on a "transcendental journey that might include visions and an altered emotional state". The five-day retreat promises self-discovery through daily yoga, mindfulness, outdoor activities, and meditation sessions alongside psilocybin-facilitated ceremonies, rituals and circles. Pricing starts at $6,410.

Another in Costa Rica claims similar healing qualities, their retreats costing from $2,600 to $8,900 depending on the length and room style. It's centred on a mushroom "ceremony led by native healers".

The same story goes in Vancouver, where they blend psychoactive fungi with gourmet chocolate. This event is specified for those wanting to "level up", aiming to help business leaders, entrepreneurs and executive teams find their greater purpose and potential.


The most common places where legal psilocybin retreats exist are Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Oaxaca in Mexico, as well as several locations in Jamaica and other spots. 

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"It was over the top, and during it I laughed at the absurdity. My big takeaway: the true purpose of life is to discover love and share it abundantly. The problem is that words can't get close to touching what the experience was," one man wrote about his experience at a magic mushroom retreat.

American comedian, writer and actor Negin Farsad also wrote about her experience. 

"The mushrooms were administered in civilised capsule form, and we had about 45 minutes to leave the parlour room and set up before the mushrooms hit the fan. For each trip, they set us up in a scenic area, sometimes overlooking the ocean, sometimes overlooking a tropical garden. For the next four hours, we would rest in lounge chairs with a yoga mat nearby in case we were overcome with the need to 'feel the Earth'," she said.

"First my brain wanted me to become a sunset. This kind of sounds nice, but it wasn't. It was hardcore. I cried and I cried and I cried. For four hours."


Of course, not all wellness retreats are magic mushroom havens. Many promise similar awakenings, just without the psychedelic drugs and far more yoga and meditation instead. 

Women share their wellness retreat experiences.

We asked our Mamamia audience for their experiences at health retreats, ranging from Zen and soothing, to weird and wacky. Here's what they had to say.

"I went to a wellness and yoga retreat in Bali for 10 days. It was the best thing I ever did. I went with my best girlfriend from home and on arrival we felt like we were in a full ZEN sanctuary. Treated like complete queens, from 5am to 9pm everything was taken care of. The daily schedule included activities such as morning meditation, yoga, breakfast, journalling, sight seeing in Bali, massages and facials, and then dinner. We left feeling super rejuvenated."

"On day four of my retreat we even did a silent cleanse where we couldn't talk to anyone or look at anyone for nine hours. Our phones also got taken — so we just had to be with ourselves and in nature. They made it sound serious, but it definitely wasn't life changing. About seven hours into it, me and my bestie looked at each other and burst into laughter. Overall, it was good though."

"I really enjoyed a yoga retreat I went on recently. I went up on the Friday feeling stressed with a busy mind. I came out of the experience on Monday feeling completely stress-free and clear-minded. Oh... and the food was awesome too, and all vegetarian! There was yoga, bush walks meditation — it was overall really good for my mental health and burnout."

"I went on a wellness retreat with one of my mates who is quite woo-woo. For reference, I'm not. But I was open-minded and looking forward to relaxing vibes. But when we arrived it was giving real Nine Perfect Strangers cult energy. We'd obviously picked a dud, as they were trying to get us to buy into a literal pyramid scheme, and the leader of the retreat was super weird and imposing."


"I went a few times to one in the Hunter Valley in NSW. I went with my bestie and had a great time. The first time we were very disciplined and joined all the activities and totally burnt ourselves out. The second time around, we snuck out for coffee, ice cream and cheese."

"I went to a retreat years and years ago. I wanted to sleep, get massages and facials. What I got was a wake-up bell at 5am for a mountainous walk and then a really long time until breakfast. No drinking, no smoking (back in the day). Obviously I did not do any research! I lasted two days and ended up climbing a fence (probably didn't need to — there was a door) and having a friend pick me up to escape. Cost me thousands but it wasn't for 24-year-old old me. Now 55-year-old me thinks it sounds like heaven!"

"I did a Pilates retreat in Spain and it was absolutely gorgeous. There were two optional classes of Pilates a day, lots of good Spanish food and it was very unscheduled between classes. For example, there were  options to laze next to the pool or hike or do a day trip into Seville. I'd do it again in a heartbeat."

Have you ever been on a wellness or health retreat? What was the experience like? Feel free to share with us in the comments below!

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