Frequently Asked Questions
Diet/ Meals/ Food
Q. Do I need to follow any sort of diet as preparation for the Ayahuasca sessions?
A. No, you don't. Our Plant Doctor says that his medicine is strong enough to cleanse you no matter what you have been eating.
The meals prepared at the lodge will be delicious and perfect for the Ayahuasca ceremonies.
We do advise however that you cut back on caffeine if you drink a lot of strong coffee or tea as you will have no caffeine on the days of Ayahuasca sessions.
Q. Can I request vegetarian meals?
A. Yes. Our Amazon lodge caters well for vegetarian and vegan diets and our chef in the Sacred Valley prepares all vegetarian meals for us. (there are still plenty of opportunities to sample the local meat dishes too if you prefer.)
Q. Is the food and water safe in Peru?
A. The bacteria in the water in South America is very different to the bacteria we are used to. For this reason we need to drink only filtered or bottled water and only eat food that has been cooked or prepared with filtered water.
There is both filtered and bottled water available at the Amazon lodge and everywhere else we travel and our cooks prepare all our meals safely and beautifully.
We have never had a participant get ill from water or from food prepared by our cooks.
Please note: We do advise that you are careful not to eat any raw food or street food when eating outside our group mealtimes.
Q. Does the Plant Doctor put any additives in his Ayahuasca?
A. No. Our Maestro makes only pure Ayahuasca which is a combination of the Ayahuasca vine and Chakruna leaf. He does not use any other plant additives.
Q. Can I still join the Ayahuasca sessions if I am menstruating
A. Yes. There is no problem with drinking Ayahuasca while menstruating.
Q. What types of illnesses can Ayahuasca heal?
A. Ayahuasca is said to heal the deepest illnesses of our being.
It heals on all levels and can transform our bodies and our entire lives.
There is no illness that Ayahuasca cannot work on, including addictions.
Q. I've heard that Ayahuasca can be dangerous and that there are a lot of untrained and even fake shamans in Peru. Is the shaman you work with experienced and are his ceremonies safe?
A. The Plant Doctor we work with is a native Amazonian Master of Ayahuasca.
He has been working with Ayahuasca and other plant medicines for over 45 years.
His training was traditional and very rigorous.
He is very well respected and known as the very best in his area.
It is true that Ayahuasca can be dangerous if the ceremony is not facilitated by a strong and reputable shaman and we would never put our participants safety at risk in any way.
Q. Do I need to stop taking my regular medications before I drink Ayahuasca?
A. It depends on the medication. Please let us know now if you are taking any medications as some are contraindicated with Ayahuasca and can be dangerous.
If you are on prescribed medication that is contraindicated we will just need to confirm with your doctor that it is ok to skip the medication for just the days in the Amazon.
Q. Can I take malaria medication with Ayahuasca? Is there malaria where we are staying in the Amazon?
A. It is not possible to partake in the plant medicine ceremonies if you have taken malaria medication within 48 hrs. We have been assured that there is no malaria in the part of the Amazon we visit (or in the Andes), however whether to take this medication or not must be at your own discretion.
Q. How long is the flight to Peru from Australia?
A. The quickest, easiest and often cheapest way to travel to Peru is with Qantas and Lan via Santiago, Chile. Some flights also stop briefly in New Zealand.
The flight from Sydney to Lima via Santiago is just over 17 hours flying time.
Q. What is the best way to access money while in Peru & Bolivia?
A. We recommend using ATM machines either with your usual ATM card or with a Travel Money Card. Most banks offer these and they are great for avoiding the extra fees charged by ATMs and our banks for withdrawals.
You can withdraw cash with your ATM card in Miraflores, Lima and at the airports in Lima and in Puerto Maldonado. Please notify your bank prior to your departure if you are planning to use your ATM card in Peru.
We don't recommend bringing cash that you need to exchange into Peruvian Soles or US dollars as there are not many opportunities to exchange en route.
Q. What is the climate like?
A. AMAZON JUNGLE: Puerto Maldonado is in the tropical Amazon Basin. The climate is hot and humid at all times. The average annual temperature is 26 °C with the months of August and September being the hottest. A common phenomenon known locally as a "surazo" or "friaje" occurs when polar winds blow in from the mountainous south. Then the temperature will drop to as low as 8 °C for several days. This has happened a couple of times while we have been there so it is good to be prepared.
CUSCO: In May, June and September the days are generally sunny with a temperature of around 20°C and the nights can get down to 2 or 1°C.
Temperatures range from 10-20ºC during the day if it’s sunny, to 05-10ºC during the
day if not sunny. Given the high altitude of our campsite, temperatures drop
significantly in the evening and especially at night, where they may get down
to -10ºC or even lower in the dry season. Warm clothes, thermals and light rain clothes are therefore especially recommended for this expedition.
Lake Titicaca's climate and weather is largely influenced by its altitude.
It experiences a generally pleasant and sunny climate throughout the day but the cool wind off the lake can bring very chilly nights. The maximum average temperature ranges from around 15C to 17C during the day while the nights are much colder averaging .05C in summer and -10C in winter at night.
Q. What are the size of your groups
A. We take a maximum of 20 people in each group. This allows for a focused and intimate group dynamic and allows each person to have an individual relationship with the Peruvian Medicine People.
Q. Do you always work with the same shamans?
A. Yes. For over a decade we have developed a close relationship with the medicine people we work with and after all this time we are like family.
Q. If I am traveling alone do you match me with a room mate or do I need to pay extra for a single room?
A. We will always match you with a room mate where possible. Our rooms are twin or triple share with private bathrooms and are very comfortable.
As we encourage solo travellers, we will never ask you to pay a single supplement unless you request a single room.
Q. Are single rooms available?
A. Yes. Single rooms are available at an extra cost upon request.
Q. Do you have many people traveling solo in your groups?
A. Yes. Many people decide to join our retreats and expeditions on their own. Joining us as a solo traveler can be a great experience as can sharing it with a friend or loved one. Our groups always bond closely and you will make friends for life!
Q. What is the general age range in your groups?
A. We have people from all walks of life and all ages joining us. From people in their early 20s to late 70s. The groups are always very mixed and the participants bond like a family in our time together.
Gerard is in his 50s and Tanya in her 40s.
Q. What is the accommodation like?
A. Our accommodation at the Amazon lodge and in the hotels in the Sacred Vally and at Lake Titcaca are of a very high standard.
We feel it is important for our guests to be as comfortable as possible in order to gain the most from the experiences we offer.
The nights we spend camping are also comfortable.
All the equipment is supplied by us and is very clean, warm and in good condition.
We stay in Locally owned accommodation where possible.
Q. Do I need to have a high level of fitness? How much walking/hiking is involved?
A. You don't need a high level of fitness at all. We design our retreats and expeditions to cater to all, including those who join us for healing.
There are daily short walks but nothing too strenuous and there is always extra time for those who want to do more.
Often in the Sacred Valley, Ausangate Mountain and Lake Titicaca there is the choice to either walk or travel by bus or horse to the sites.
Something for everyone!