Ayahuasca Foundation FAQs
Is ayahuasca safe?
Ayahuasca is generally extremely safe when worked with responsibly. The information below is a guide, and specific cases should be discussed with staff from the ayahuasca foundation before the retreats begin. This is by no means an exhaustive list, rather guidelines to help ensure your safety.
Medications that can be unsafe with ayahuasca;
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants (and sleeping pills)
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
Anti-hypertensives (blood pressure medications)
Any psychedelic drugs
Other medications that should be discontinued; decongestants, cold medications, allergy medications, antihistamines, sedatives, tranquilizers, amphetamines (including Adderall), some hypertensive medications, sympathomimetic amines (including pseudoephedrine and ephedrine), carbamazipine, methylphemidate (Ritalin), macromerine, phenelanine, tyrosine, tryptophan, asarone/calamus, some asthma inhalers, and diet pills.
If you suffer from any of the following psychological conditions, please discuss this with staff from the ayahuasca foundation before the retreat begins;
Family history of mental health problems
Physiological conditions that should be discussed with staff;
Chronic high blood pressure
For more information contact us.
What is the destination airport when I book my flight?
Your final destination is IQUITOS, PERU. When flying from another country, you’ll have to fly to Lima first and then take a connecting flight to Iquitos. Booking those flights is not complicated, but if you need assistance you can just contact us and we’ll offer advice and guidance.
Will I be safe traveling in Peru?
Yes. Obviously, no matter where you go, there will always be certain risks, and like every country and city, there are dangerous places and safe places. Fortunately, Iquitos is a very safe place, with almost no violent crime. There are pickpockets or thieves who may try to seize an opportunity, but crime rates are low in Iquitos, and the areas where tourists visit are well patrolled by police and security. Having lived in Iquitos since 2004, I have had my baseball cap stolen off my head, and a backpack stolen that I left at my desk in an internet cafe to use the bathroom.
Do I need a VISA to Travel to Peru?
No. Traveling from most countries (North & South America, Europe, Australia) you do not need a visa, but if you are not sure I suggest visiting the website of your local embassy for more information. Most likely you do not need a visa. When you enter Peru, you will get a stamp and a hand written number with the allowed length of your stay (usually 90 days). The maximum length of stay is 183 days, so if you plan to travel more than 3 months, you’ll need to extend your visa for another 90 days.
Do I need to get any vaccinations?
No. Peru does not require any vaccinations and we do not recommend getting any either. However, we understand the desire to be safe and the pressures often felt by others wanting the same, namely family, friends, and doctors. If you do feel you would like to get vaccinated, we would then recommend vaccinations for: 1. Yellow Fever – Even though it is extremely rare in the Iquitos area, it does exist elsewhere… 2. Rabies – There are numerous stray dogs in Iquitos… 3. Hepatitis A – Iquitos is not exactly winning any Hygiene awards…
Should I be worried about Malaria?
No. Iquitos is known to be a high-risk area when it comes to Malaria, so it is a concern. However, we do NOT recommend taking anti-malarial medication when drinking ayahuasca, as it has been known to cause complications. It is up to you, of course, but what we offer instead is a natural remedy taken every day of the retreats. We have never had a case of malaria in anyone taking this remedy. For this reason, we don’t feel you should be worried about Malaria. I have lived in Iquitos since 2004 and have never gotten malaria.
What do you do in the case of a medical emergency?
Our centers are located about 90 minutes away from the nearest medical clinic. In the last ten years, with over one thousand participants, we have had four emergency situations and every time the program participants were brought to a hospital in Iquitos and treated (three for severe dehydration and one for a bad burn). At our retreat and research centers, there is a local clinic just a short walk away with basic first aid available in the case of cuts or sprains.
Is the Air Fare included in the price of the program?
No. You must book your own flight to Iquitos, Peru. We can help you by suggesting airlines or websites to use but the cost of airfare is not included in the program price.
Will I need to bring extra money?
Yes. If you arrive earlier than the first day of the retreat, you will need to pay for your own expenses until 4pm on the first day (sunday). Once the program has begun, you will need to pay for two meals in Iquitos: breakfast on the 2nd day (monday) before leaving for the jungle, and dinner on the 2nd to last day (friday) upon returning to Iquitos. Other than that, the only money you might need would be for gifts or souvenirs or extra medicine(s) to take home with you.
How many people are in a program?
We take a maximum of twelve people, so usually we have between 8 and 12 participants in each program. For the courses we’ve begun to accept up to 14 students.
When should I arrive?
For most of our programs, the latest we recommend you arrive is 2pm on the day the program begins (sunday) so that you don’t miss the first meeting at 4pm. If you are participating in our 8day program, however, then you should book your flight to arrive no later than 2pm on the Saturday before the retreat begins. Regardless of what program you’ll be attending, we recommend arriving at least one day early, as it helps with getting some rest, and getting acclimated to a new environment. NOTE: If you arrive earlier than the first day of a program you will be responsible for paying your own expenses until the program begins.
When should I book my return flight?
The earliest we recommend booking your return flight is at 2pm on the last day of the program so that you don’t miss the group breakfast but you can leave earlier than that, if necessary, just not the day before.
Will I be picked up at the airport?
Yes. You will be met at the airport in Iquitos and escorted to the hotel where all the participants will be staying the first night of the program. Regardless of what day or time you arrive, you will still be picked up at the airport. We will make hotel reservations for you according to your arrival dates.
Is there electricity?
CHAMISAL: Yes. There is full electricity via solar panels. Enough for charging phones, ipods, cameras, etc. INKAN KENA: Yes. The rooms have lights and outlets, but the entire camp is not electrified. There is a generator also. RIOSBO: Totally. Thanks to a complete solar system, it is just like home. Hot water too.
What kind of electrical outlets are used in Peru?
The outlets in Peru are very similar to those found in the US, although the voltage is different. Peru uses 220V (as opposed to 110V in the US), but nowadays, nearly all electrical devices are designed to use both so there is no need to bring or buy an adapter. If you are unsure, there should be some information printed on the plug or device stating what voltage it can use (110 – 240V is most common). The only adapter you will need is if your device does not have a flat or round two-prong plug. Basically, it will need to fit in here:
What about laundry?
Out in the jungle, laundry is done every four or five days, although it is definitely not as fast. It usually comes back the following day, depending on the weather. If you want to do laundry in Iquitos before going to the jungle or after, there is a laundromat just a few blocks from the hotel in Iquitos that is fast and reliable, usually taking just four or five hours.
Is there cell service or WIFI?
CHAMISAL: You might be able to get a signal, although not reliably, and it would be incredibly lucky to get the 3G network. No wi-fi. INKAN KENA: Surprisingly, there is a signal for one service (Bitel) and often 3G as well, provided you are in one tiny spot. No wi-fi. RIOSBO: While there is no cell service, it is usually possible to send a message out, with the assistance of the facilitators.
Do the facilitators participate in the ceremonies?
Yes. All of our facilitators are apprentices in the Shipibo tradition. They help the curanderos lead the ceremonies and follow the same traditions as the curandero, although they also bring complimentary practices into the healing process, like yoga, meditation, breathwork, massage, counseling, and other practices.