What is The Buena Vida?

The goal of The Buena Vida Retreats is to provide safe access to healing plant medicines within the context of ritual and ceremony. We believe these plants are tools that can help humanity awaken to their creativity, joy and inherent ability to heal themselves.  Our retreats aim to give a holistic container to healing; one that uses sound, movement, and most importantly, a sense of community.

While we know that the plants can heal deeply, we also know that they are just a tool in our vitality tool belt. Try on the the unique beauty of vulnerability and sharing in a non-judgmental community. We’ll be introduced to a type a meditation that you can fully understand and utilize. We’ll dive deeply into your inner selves to discover the personal ways in which mind, body and spirit need to thrive.

The plants open the heart, the sound moves energy and our leaders provide a space to be your authentic self.

Amanda Schendel 


Psychedelic Ceremony Expert


Amanda's goal as a Psychedelic Leader & Guide is to protect the practice of North and South American Spiritual traditions and ceremonies. As an advocate of the safe, responsible use of psychedelics, she strongly supports the use of these traditions surrounding their ancient healing. 

Amanda plays many roles; retreat producer, leader, facilitator, joke maker and shaman-in-training. She just may provide you with a song or two during ceremony.

She is a highly intuitive guide and has trained, assisted and facilitated in over 500  psychedelic ceremonies using ayahuasca, San Pedro (Huachuma cactus), psilocybin, tobacco, and rapé.

Amanda brings a seasoned, varied and light-hearted approach to even deep medicine work.

She spent the past 5 years studying native plant medicine and ceremonial healing with over 500 guests in Ecuador, Mexico, Jamaica (MycoMeditations) and around the world.

She is the founder of The Buena Vida Psychedelic Retreats & Sol Medicine Mexico.  She works with private groups and retreat centers around the world.

She splits her time between her homes in California & Mexico.

Amanda's Current Projects

June 2018 Sol Medicine in Baja Sur, Ayahuasca Retreat-Organizer and facilitator

June 2018-MycoMeditations Second Annual Psychedelic Families Retreat-Speaker and facilitator

September-October, 2018-MycoMeditations Retreat Facilitator & Women’s Retreat Leader

January-April, 2019-Sol Medicine Mushroom Retreats in Playa del Carmen, MX

May, 2019 The Buena Vida Mushroom Retreats in Northern Baja, MX 

October 2019: The Buena Vida Mushroom Retreats in Nayarit, MX

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Kate Ryan

Shaman. Sound Healer. Ceremony Guide.

Ceremony Leader Kate is a certified Sound Healer, 200Ryt Vinyasa teacher, Reiki attuned and shamanic initiate of Peruvian Shipibo tribe plant healing. She shares her practice, plant spirit medicine meditations, sound healing events and self care retreats in Seattle, Washington and around the world.

Kate has led over 250 shamanic and medicine ceremonies. She brings a maternal warmth and care to her work, providing each guest with a personal touch and intimate guidance. Her background as a classically trained jazz and opera vocalist enlivens the ceremony space with an other-worldly sonic masterpiece that is unique to each journey.

“I am Kate Ryan; Songbird, Oracle & Shamanic Musician. Throughout my life I have been called to heal with a relationship to the great divine feminine. I believe when we heal ourselves, we heal our family & ancestors.  I carry the lineage of strong women forward to build a legacy of love. A graduate with a BFA in Theater, my 20 years of performance work focused on ritual, trance practice and group engagement. Today I lead The Buena Vida mushroom ceremonies together with the help of my ancestors, spirit guides, musical gifts, plant medicine advocates and team of beautiful leaders.”

Lead Facilitators


Ryman Sneed

Ryman joins us from her home in Tulum, Mexico! After living and working in New York City for fifteen years as an actress, event planner and artist, she relocated to Mexico to pursue a different life. Her work as a professional performer and teacher in theater arts offers a unique skill and perspective as a facilitator in the world of plant medicine. Her personal journey through life and self discovery has led her to wield tools such as gratitude, compassion, holding space, creating community and being a powerful goddess of protection during ceremony.

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Stefan Amthor

In the past 10 years, I have traveled several times around the planet seeking answers for questions I wasn’t able to express verbally. At all times, there was a sense of more, a sense of, “I am more than what I’ve been taught to believe I am”.

So I started my journey studying all kinds of different cultures, philosophies, and systems of belief. I joined various ceremonies from Asia, Europe across the blue waters up to Central and North America. I studied with Gurus, teachers, shamans, healers and many others on the medicine path. What I found changed my outlook on life and on myself in the most profound way.

For The Buena Vida, I am a healing masculine energy in part of this wonderful group of female shamans. I'm honored to watch as they not only help to heal individuals but the whole world in its entire being. As an integral part in existence, I know my place as a male in those times, so I do step back and let the intuitive way of nurturing unfold.

My part in this work is to hold space, to protect the incredible possibilities of this intuitive healing work, but as well express my own experiences into this creation. I do this as a Yoga therapist, Kundalini and Breath work Expert, meditation teacher, and Inspirational speaker.

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Heather Adams

I am the big ole Auntie of the village. I feel most like myself when I’m holding space, healing and strengthening the community around me.  I feel called to create spaces free of judgement, filled with compassion and geared for revelatory expansion. In this space, the things we don't need any more can rise to the surface for hospice and removal. In this space, the voice of our soul’s purpose can be heard while we gather the tools we need to move forward on our path.

I have studied and and practiced meditation and mindfulness in many cultural and academic settings. My experience includes teaching classes in co-working spaces, corporate offices, lakeside banks and foreign retreats.  My podcast called Semi-Woo that speaks to the dual-natured journeys of the modern human waking up to their reality; genuine comedy ensues! I write a blog under the name Semi-Woo that is a collection of the lessons I have learned in my own personal journey with meditation, plant medicine, physical health and multiple journeys inside the body.


The Buena Vida and Sol Medicine does not supply, manufacture, distribute or condone the use of any illegal substances. We do not give out, supply or sell any specific substance. The goal of Sol Medicine Retreats is to plan, organize and produce healing retreats. We facilitate access to trained, indigenous shamans who work with sacred plant medicines within an accepted, sacramental and ceremonial context. The shamans personally evaluate each guests’ needs and work strictly within the laws of their training and all local and national laws where the retreats will take place. We do not guarantee any results or outcomes, specific medicine usage, etc. Each participant is responsible for informing themselves about possible pharmaceutical drug contraindications, including but not limited to SSRI and other stabilizing medication. They assume all responsibility for due diligence required for their participation. For more information and additional resources, email hello@thebuenavida.net