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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

COVID-19 TRAVEL PROTOCOL IN PERU

On November 1st, 2022,  the Peruvian Government officially lifted all COVID measures and declared the end of the State of National Emergency through Supreme Decree: Supreme Decree No. 130-2022-PCM. This means there’s no longer a requirement to present a vaccination card or a negative molecular (PCR) test when entering or leaving the country. Moreover, the use of masks is now optional, whether you’re in open or closed spaces.

WHAT IS THE MINIMUM PASSPORT VALIDITY REQUIRED TO ENTER PERU?

To enter Peru, your passport must have at least six months of validity. Therefore, checking your passport’s expiration date is crucial to avoid complications at the airport. Upon booking your retreat, we’ll ask for a snapshot of your passport as it’s a legal requirement for all our guests to provide identification.

WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE IN IQUITOS?

The climate in Iquitos is tropical, consistently warm and humid. Temperatures typically range from 20ºC to 32ºC (64ºF–89ºF). The hot season falls between August and December, while the cool season occurs between May and July. Summers are warm and cloudy, while the winters are short, hot and partly cloudy. In the Amazon jungle, it rains around 200 days a year, earning it the “rainforest” title. The wet season extends from January to April, and the drier season featuring more sunny days runs from June to October. Before your departure, please remember to check the weather conditions and pack accordingly for your trip.

The duration of the day in Iquitos varies by only 20 minutes throughout the year, with June 21st being the shortest day and December 21st the longest. The earliest sunrise is at 5:30 and the latest at 6:00.  The earliest sunset is at 17:45 and the latest at 18:15.

WHAT CLOTHES SHOULD I BRING FOR THE RETREAT?

For the retreat, we recommend packing the following:

  • Summer attire, ideally crafted from breathable cotton or linen in light colours.
  • T-shirts and a few long-sleeved sweatshirts for cooler evenings.
  • Short pants, dresses, and skirts for daytime, complemented by long pants for the evenings.
  • A cosy sweatshirt or a lightweight jacket to stay comfortable during cooler nights.
  • Don’t forget sunglasses and a cap or hat for sun protection.
  • Keep it casual with sandals or flip-flops.
  • For jungle walks, ensure you have hiking boots or trekking shoes paired with comfortable socks.
  • Be prepared for unexpected rain with a raincoat; we provide umbrellas at the retreat.
  • Pack several bathing suits and a versatile sarong.

It is advisable to include essential items and a change of clothing in your carry-on luggage. This ensures you’re well-prepared even in the event of delayed or misplaced checked baggage.

WHAT ADDITIONAL ITEMS WOULD YOU SUGGEST PACKING?

  • A flashlight for ceremonies, preferably with red or blue light adjustment.
  • Bring a head torch if you enjoy nighttime reading.
  • Include a small battery-operated LED lantern to illuminate your bungalow.
  • Don’t forget extra batteries or a portable charger for your electronic devices.
  • Pack books or reading materials to unwind during your downtime.
  • Keep a notebook and pen handy to document your reflections and experiences.
  • Ensure sun protection with sunscreen.
  • Arm yourself against mosquitoes with repellent designed for tropical areas.
  • Don’t forget to pack any personal toiletries, medications, and other essentials you may need during the retreat.
  • Protect moisture-sensitive items like your phone and camera with plastic bags equipped with zip closures.

DO YOU PROVIDE BEDDING, TOWELS AND MOSQUITO NETS?

Our centre offers all the necessary amenities, including bedding and towels. We also provide mosquito nets for your comfort. If you prefer, you’re welcome to bring a portable mosquito net for your meditation sessions in the forest.

CAN I USE COSMETIC PRODUCTS DURING THE RETREAT?

For personal hygiene during your retreat, we suggest using natural products. Seek out pH-neutral soap, body wash, shampoo, and fluoride-free toothpaste. Opt for a traditional toothbrush for dental care instead of an electric one. You may also want to incorporate coconut oil for skincare and haircare. While coconut oil provides some sun protection, it’s best to limit sun exposure to reduce the need for chemical sunscreens.

The interior of a guest bungalow at the Yosi Ocha Ayahuasca retreat center, in Iquitos – Peru

ARE THERE MANY MOSQUITOS IN YOSI OCHA?

Mosquitoes are an unavoidable part of the Amazon experience, and Yosi Ocha is no exception. Our communal spaces are protected with mosquito nets, and bungalow windows have screens. Each bed is equipped with a mosquito net for added protection.

Mosquitoes tend to be more active in the afternoon and evening. To avoid bites, we suggest using anti-mosquito repellents. Instead of direct skin application, consider wearing long-sleeved shirts and trousers in the evening and applying repellent to your clothing. You can opt for natural repellents with citronella, cinnamon, green tea and other essential oils, or use specialized repellents for tropical areas, found in most pharmacies.

DO I NEED TO BE VACCINATED OR TAKE ANTI-MALARIA PILLS?

At present, there are no mandatory vaccines for entry into Peru. We advise against receiving vaccinations immediately before the retreat, as they may potentially interact with the plant medicines administered at Yosi Ocha. If you opt for vaccination, it’s advisable to consult with the local international traveller’s health centre well in advance, as some vaccines require an activation period of 10 to 15 days.

The risk of contracting malaria in the Loreto region is minimal. If you choose to take prophylaxis, we recommend Malarone (atovaquone/proguanil). Note that malaria prophylaxis with doxycycline or mefloquine does not interact well with Ayahuasca.

DO I NEED TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR THE RETREAT?

Travel insurance is required to attend a retreat at Yosi Ocha. It must cover medical emergencies, trip cancellations, lost baggage and similar situations, providing both peace of mind and full protection during your trip to Peru. Review your insurance policy to confirm it covers every aspect of your trip. Upon booking, kindly provide proof of your insurance policy.

I DON’T SPEAK SPANISH… IS THERE A TRANSLATOR IN THE CENTRE?

If you don’t speak Spanish, there’s no need to worry! We provide translation services to bridge the language gap during your stay. While Maestro Heberto speaks only Spanish, our dedicated translators are available to assist you, ensuring a seamless experience for you at Yosi Ocha.

HOW DO I GET TO IQUITOS? WHAT AIRLINES FLY TO IQUITOS?

If you’re traveling from abroad, your journey will typically involve an international flight from your original destination to Lima first, followed by a domestic flight from Lima to Iquitos.

When looking for flights, please note that the name of the airport in Lima is Jorge Chávez International Airport, and the name of the airpot in Iquitos is FAP Francisco Secada Vignetta International Airport.

You can book your flight from Lima to Iquitos on the following links, or purchase your tickets directly at the Lima airport:

When planning your trip, make sure you have a comfortable transit time in Lima to accommodate any potential delays of your initial flight.

Also, you may want to check out platforms like Momondo, e-Destinos and Skyscanner for more competitive deals.

View from the airplane during the landing in Iquitos on a Lima–Iquitos flight – Yosi Ocha

HOW DO I GET FROM IQUITOS AIRPORT/HOTEL TO YOSI OCHA?

The transfer from and to Iquitos airport, or your hotel in Iquitos, is included in our retreat packages. Yosi Ocha is located 22 km from Iquitos Airport, approximately a 45-minute car ride. This journey itself provides an exciting transition from the urban landscape to the heart of the rainforest.

Once you’ve confirmed the name of your hotel in Iquitos or flight details, you’ll receive the contact details for Jerry – Maestro Heberto’s son, who manages guest transportation. Jerry will either pick you up at the airport or coordinate the exact time for your pick-up from your hotel in Iquitos on Monday morning.

WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO ARRIVE IN IQUITOS?

To make the most out of your experience, we recommend arriving in Iquitos one day before the start of your retreat. This will allow you to adjust to the time zone and tropical climate, and get a good night’s rest before your first Ayahuasca ceremony on Monday night. If you choose this option, simply provide us with the name of your hotel in Iquitos, and we will arrange to pick you up there on Monday morning.

On the other hand, if you prefer to fly into Iquitos on Monday morning, we will need your flight details to pick you up at the airport and take you directly to Yosi Ocha.

WHAT TIME SHOULD I BOOK MY RETURN FLIGHT FROM IQUITOS?

Our retreats end on Sundays after breakfast and guests are expected to check out of their bungalows by 11:00 AM. We recommend booking your return flight from Iquitos between 11:00 and 16:00, to allow sufficient time for travel arrangements without rush.

  • Early Morning Flights: If you book a flight departing from Iquitos on Sunday morning before 9:00 am, please be advised that you may have to spend Saturday night in Iquitos to ensure timely arrival for your flight.
  • Late Evening Flights: Should your flight be scheduled for late evening, please note that we may have to arrange an earlier drop-off in Iquitos, as driving through the jungle after dark is not advisable for safety reasons.

An excellent alternative is to spend an additional night in Iquitos after your retreat. This will allow you to gradually readjust to the “external” world, especially if you’ve had an extended stay at Yosi Ocha.

IS IT BETTER TO VISIT CUZCO AND MACHU PICCHU BEFORE OR AFTER THE RETREAT?

We recommend exploring Cuzco and Machu Picchu before the retreat. These excursions often involve intense physical activity and significant differences in altitude and temperature, which may affect you negatively after your treatment at Yosi Ocha. After a retreat, it’s essential to allow yourself the necessary time and space for relaxation and peaceful integration of your healing experience.

HOW CAN I PAY FOR MY RETREAT?

You can secure your spot by booking your retreat through our website and making an initial payment of 30%:

  • by credit card WITHOUT having a PayPal account
  • using your existing PayPal account
The remaining 70% balance should be settled no later than 30 days before the retreat commences via:
  • Bank Wire Transfer (USD or EUR)
  • PayPal
Once you confirm which option you prefer, we will provide you with the necessary information.

WHAT ARE THE PAYMENT CONDITIONS?

To secure your spot, a reservation is made by paying 30% of the total amount and confirming your exact arrival and departure dates.

The remaining 70% balance should be settled no later than 30 days before your retreat commences.

For bookings made within 30 days of the retreat start date, the full payment is required upfront.

WHERE CAN I CHANGE MONEY OR WITHDRAW CASH?

At Yosi Ocha, we only accept payments in cash, in USD, EUR, or Peruvian Soles. We don’t exchange money in the center. You can exchange your local currency to USD, EUR or Soles at Lima or Iquitos airport. Additionally, ATMs in Lima and Iquitos allow cash withdrawals, but they often impose limits, typically around 200-400 USD per day or week. If you intend to pay for extra services like massages or purchase Shipibo art, it is advisable to withdraw the necessary cash before your flight to Peru.

IS IT ADVISABLE TO BRING ADDITIONAL CASH?

The retreat price covers accommodation, food, all treatments, and transfers to and from the Iquitos airport or hotel.

If you wish to bring home a souvenir from Yosi Ocha, you can choose from an array of exquisite handmade Shipibo art crafted by Maestro’s family. The selection includes necklaces, crowns, bracelets, traditional Shipibo fabrics, tapestries, and ceremonial items like pipes, maracas, rapé, applicators for rapé, mapacho, palo santo, Agua de Florida, purifying colognes (Cananga, Ruda and rose), copal resin, and more.

Additionally, you have the option to experience a traditional Shipibo hot stone massage during your stay. Please note that this massage is not included in the retreat price, and the cost is 50 EUR per session, payable in cash.

Precious Shipibo crafts made by the mother and sister of Master Heberto at the Yosi Ocha Ayahuasca Retreat, in Iquitos – Peru

HOW MANY CEREMONIES WILL I HAVE IN ONE WEEK?

Typically, our retreats include 4 Ayahuasca ceremonies and 1 San Pedro ceremony per week. However, keep in mind that Maestro Heberto tailors a unique treatment plan for each individual and not all the participants may attend all ceremonies. For more detailed information, you can refer to the preliminary program for each retreat on our website: Retreat Options.

WHAT IS THE NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS IN AN AYAHUASCA CEREMONY/RETREAT?

At Yosi Ocha, we prioritize personalized treatments and individual attention. For this reason, we maintain small group sizes, typically up to 15 participants per ceremony/retreat. This approach enables us to focus on the unique needs of each individual.

WHAT IS THE IDEAL DURATION OF AN AYAHUASCA RETREAT?

The recommended length of the retreat varies for each individual based on their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual condition. If your health is fairly good and your primary goal for the retreat is to explore the spiritual realm, improve your well-being and return home with renewed energy, a retreat of 1 to 3 weeks would be very beneficial.

If you are struggling with higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression, and wish to address major traumas hidden in deeper layers of your energy body, a retreat of a minimum of 2 to 4 weeks is recommended. Severe inflammatory disorders and autoimmune diseases may require a minimum stay of 1 month as the physical body has to undergo very deep cleansing and reset the entire metabolism. Chronic physical diseases resistant to Western medical techniques might necessitate a retreat of up to 3 months and should be discussed individually with Maestro Heberto before booking.

I AM A VEGETARIAN (VEGAN), WHAT CAN I EAT DURING MY STAY AT THE CENTRE?

If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, we’ve got you covered. Our menu is designed to accommodate various dietary preferences and restrictions. Our menu consists of a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, cereals and legumes, as well as eggs, fish and chicken from the region. If you do not eat products of animal origin or have any type of food restriction (gluten, allergies, etc.), let us know in advance and we will do our best to offer you a personalized menu.

IS THERE ELECTRICITY AT THE CENTER?

You can charge your electronic devices in the dining room, where we have provided adapters for various plug types. While our common areas are powered by electricity generated from solar panels, please be aware that there is no electricity in the bungalows.

In Peru, electricity is supplied at 220 volts, which is the same as in Europe, but very different from the United States and Canada, where the standard is 110-120 volts. Fortunately, many personal electronic devices, including cell phones, tablets, and camera chargers, can operate on both 110 volts and 220 volts.

IS THERE INTERNET AT YOSI OCHA?

Even though we provide Internet in a designated area, a digital detox is a key aspect of our retreats. We highly recommend refraining from using any technology during your stay to fully immerse yourself in nature and the experience of connecting with yourself. You can notify your loved ones of your safe arrival and, if necessary, check your flights before departure. However, we advise against planning any activities that rely on a daily internet connection.

In case of an emergency, your family and friends can reach you via email, or through the WhatsApp number provided after your booking.

IS THERE DRINKING WATER AT THE CENTER?

Each bungalow is equipped with a twenty-litre water container for drinking and brushing your teeth. The water used in the showers and sinks is sourced from deep wells on our land but is not suitable for drinking. In addition, we provide rechargeable water bottles in the maloca for use during ceremonies.

CAN I CHOOSE MY BUNGALOW?

Bungalow assignments are determined by the order of arrival, and thus specific bungalows cannot be reserved ahead of time. If you wish to share a bungalow with a partner or friend, please indicate your bedding preference—either one large bed or two separate beds—when booking your retreat. Otherwise, all our clients will be accommodated in private bungalows during their stay.

IS THERE A LAUNDRY SERVICE AT YOSI OCHA?

Our staff can assist with washing your clothes, but please note that the laundry service is not included in the retreat price. Alternatively, you have the option to hand wash your clothes in a designated area with laundry sinks if you prefer.

CAN I BRING MY DOG, CAT OR ANY PET TO YOSI OCHA?

While we do have animals at our centre, we regret to inform you that we do not accept pets from our clients at Yosi Ocha. Our establishment is dedicated to providing a serene and private space for participants to delve into deep inner work. Therefore, we refrain from allowing additional pets on our premises.

IS IT NECESSARY TO DO A SPECIAL DIET BEFORE ARRIVING AT THE CENTER?

We recommend reviewing our guidelines for the Preparation for an Ayahuasca retreat for comprehensive information. While a preliminary diet is not obligatory, it is highly recommended to observe the following restrictions at least 3 days before your arrival:

  • No alcohol
  • No drugs
  • No antibiotics
  • No pork, no red meat, or dairy
  • Moderate use of salt, sugar, and fats
  • Abstain from sex/masturbation

WHAT KIND OF MEDICATIONS ARE CONTRAINDICATED WITH AYAHUASCA?

It’s crucial to be aware of potential interactions between Ayahuasca and medications. You can find comprehensive information on this topic in our Preparation for a retreat section. If you have any specific questions about the medications you’re currently taking, feel free to reach out, and we’ll provide personalized guidance.

WHEN A WOMAN IS MENSTRUATING, CAN SHE PARTICIPATE IN THE CEREMONIES?

Yes, you are welcome to participate in the ceremonies, but it’s essential to inform the maestro in advance so that he can make the necessary preparations.

IS IT NECESSARY TO HAVE AN INTENTION WHEN WORKING WITH AYAHUASCA?

Having a clear intention is recommended, but not mandatory. You can embark on a profound journey by simply opening your mind and allowing the process to unfold organically. While setting intentions can be beneficial, it’s crucial to avoid generating expectations.

Sacred plant medicines provide what you need, teaching lessons you’re ready to learn, often in unexpected ways. So, don’t worry if defining an intention feels confusing. Maestro Heberto will guide you, ensuring a supported and meaningful journey. Explore tips on defining your intention in the Preparation for a retreat section.

Beautiful Ayahuasca neckless made by the Yosi Ocha family in Iquitos, Peru

HOW CAN I CONTACT YOU FOR ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS?

If you have additional questions, feel free to reach out via e-mail. We’re here to support you every step of the way.