The summer is only so long and, before you know it, it’s over and you’re back to long and arduous work. The hot days become cold ones, and the long days become short ones and then you’re back, sitting behind your laptop, begging for the summer to return. Well, focusing on the positives, the seasons come and they go and there’s always next year.
After travelling around various places over the last few years I’ve started to collate my ideal 5 psychedelic hotspots. The places that truly welcome those who are searching for recreational experiences and offer something incredible too. Some of these destinations I’ve visited and loved, and others I’ve wanted to travel to for a very long time. Maybe after reading this, you can add them to your list too.
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Travelling around the world to experience a psychedelic experience is, in my opinion, as good a reason as any. Some travel to try food, some travel to climb mountains and some travel to enjoy some recreational highs. It’s a totally legitimate purpose. Amsterdam, for example, makes around 400 million euros a year from cannabis-related sales. In addition, in the USA, it is believed that by 2025 cannabis sales will reach a value of around 39.1 billion. There is a huge amount of money in it and it is making many nations reevaluate their drug laws. Thailand, once a place with viciously strict drug laws, are also now trying to replicate the likes of California and Amsterdam. The Guardian wrote recently:
“Anyone familiar with Thailand’s notoriously hardline attitude towards recreational drug use might watch this and wonder if they’ve had too much to smoke. A country where narcotics offences have attracted the death sentence, and being caught with a joint at a full moon party has landed tourists in the infamous Bangkok Hilton, now appears to have done an about-face. In an apparent bid to attract tourists in the post-Covid slump, the Thai government decriminalised cannabis last month. Koh Samui’s streets are already dotted with dispensaries”
Thailand didn’t make it on my list, but it was definitely a hard decision. Instead I had to stick with some old favourites, as well as some much desired destinations.
The psychedelic drug family encompasses many substances, so it’s probably important we define them before we go on. There are four main drug categories: opioids, hallucinogens, stimulants and depressants. Psychedelics is often used as another word for hallucinogens. However, some substances can sit in multiple categories. Let’s take a look at what these include: Psychedelics are drugs that alter perception, mood and the cognitive process.
Sometimes these may lead to hallucinations, making the user see and hear things that aren’t really there. However, psychedelic drugs also include less intense substances within their ranks – such as cannabis and hash. At these 5 hotspots, we’ll be exploring weed, magic mushrooms, ayahuasca and more. In more recent times, psychedelic drugs have been earning respect for their therapeutic benefits. Therapy using these substances is becoming more common and further researched in many major western nations. Healthline writes:
“In psychedelic therapy, the use of psychedelics is typically combined with talk therapy. A range of consciousness-altering psychedelic drugs are currently being used or researched for therapeutic purposes in both clinical and nonclinical settings…While Indigenous communities have used psychedelics in therapeutic and religious settings for centuries, psychedelic therapy is relatively new in Western clinical settings.”
So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at my 5 psychedelic hotspots. Whether you’re wanting to travel for recreational fun or actually some sort of therapy and self-reflection, these destinations can work for either.
My 5 Psychedelic Hotspots
North America has certainly finished what the Netherlands started. With 19 states in the US having fully legalized cannabis, the country is certainly leading the charge globally for cannabis acceptance. There are now estimated to be around 7,500 dispensaries dotted around America, with almost a thousand of these located in California. The market is certainly booming. Not only do you have LA, Venice Beach and Hollywood to explore in the beaming sun – but you also have a wide range of Class A cannabis. I have sadly never been to Cali – or, in fact, America in general – but this would be top of my list. One of the main reasons for this is the quality of the cannabis there. Embarc writes:
“California produces some of the best Cali medical weed and weed for recreational use. This is because it is grown in the Emerald Triangle, where it is sunny and moist. The Emerald Triangle is located in Northern California, about 85 miles north of San Francisco. The area’s rich soil and Mediterranean climate allow marijuana plants to thrive. The Emerald Triangle is home to several farmers who dedicate much of their time and effort to growing sun-grown, organic cannabis.”
Next up we have Kathmandu, the capital city of mountainous Nepal. Whilst cannabis is illegal here, it is supposedly one of the most weed-friendly countries in the world. The laid back lifestyle and view of the enclosing himalayas, has led to Nepal being one of the greatest producers of hash. It grows freely and has done so for centuries. The city of Pokhara is known for its clean air and streets, but also for its easily accessed cannabis. I will be travelling to Nepal this year for the first time, and one of the main reasons for this is its widely spoken about hashish. The long treks you can go on, and small huts you stay in, make it perfect for a relaxing joint or bong hit after a long day.
Drug: Magic Truffles
Amsterdam has been and always will be in a league of its own when it comes to drug tourism. That isn’t because other places haven’t rivalled it, but it’s because they really did it first. Some call it the theme park of cannabis and magic truffles, but I actually disagree. Amsterdam is an incredibly beautiful city, with a large history and some quite remarkable people – however it is true that every year thousands of tourists come with the simple aim to try their first joint. Amsterdam is designed in rings, with these slowly going further and further away from the main station. The first two of these rings are full of loud tourists and the obvious smells of weed.
However, if you go past these rings and into what I would like to call ‘real Amsterdam’, you will be amazed by its beauty. It’s here where the less obvious coffeeshops exist, with higher quality cannabis. Plus, it’s also in these places that purchasing some magic truffles and walking the streets -or sitting in Vondelpark – is ideal. Magic truffles are a legal alternative to magic mushrooms, with much the same psilocybin level. They come in boxes and, once eaten, you will like you’re living within a Van Gogh painting. The buildings sway, the canals glisten and the laid back lifestyle of Amsterdam embraces you like a warm hug.
Another place that you cannot ignore on a psychedelic hotspot list is Iquitos, Peru. Peru is a country in South America that is home to some of the most amazing treks and wildlife in the world. But also, within the Peruvian Amazonian Jungle, are some incredible ayahuasca retreats. Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic drink, made from the Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis plants. The drug has been used for centuries in spiritual ceremonies and it’s one of the more potent hallucinogenic drugs, which is why retreats and shamans are offered. These are spiritual versions of trip sitters and they help you through your experience. Here’s an example of an ayahuasca retreat in Iquitos, and what they aim to help you with:
“Our intention at Kawsay Ayahuasca Retreat is to guide you to a higher level of awareness of yourself so you can heal on the deepest levels possible that we are capable of. At Kawsay Ayahuasca Retreat, we do powerful work within our Ayahuasca & San Pedro Cactus ceremonies. Our work opens for you an opportunity to heal on profound levels.”
Finally, on this list, we have Goa. The south Indian party destination. In the 60s, this place was known as one of the final destinations of the hippie trail and one of most loved hotposts. But nowadays, it has become more touristy – but this does not mean you cannot still find the same essence that once was. After Nepal, I will also be travelling to Goa this year – as well as Kerala – to see what all the fuss is about. Drugs in Goa are not hard to come by, this is due to the laidback, beach lifestyle.
Whilst none of them are illegal – like many beach destinations – they go by the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ system. Many hostel and bar owners will help you on your search, but one of the greatest substances on offer is LSD. Although in the 60s it seems like acid was easier to access than water in Goa, there’s still the culture of it. If you’re able to get some out there then follow these steps: stay at the Crazy Nook, take a tab, enjoy not only the white beaches and clear blue water, but also some of the best south Indian food in the world.
If you’re itching to travel, but you want something that suits your unique needs as a psychonaut and global explorer, one of the above destinations might be perfect for you. Have you ever been to any of these places, and if so, how was it? Drop us a line in the comment section below and let us know!
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