Frequently Asked Questions
Please read through our listing of frequently asked questions before dropping us a line with your query. Chances are someone has already asked and we’ve provided the answer here for your convenience. If you’ve read the FAQ and still have questions, please reach out and we’ll be happy to help!
I have xyz health concern and am taking medication. Can I take Ayauhasca?
Although there are several physical and mental health concerns and medications that are contraindicated to ayahuasca, the majority of people that inquire about taking ayahuasca with us are able to participate. In some cases it requires stopping medication several weeks in advance of the retreat. Please see our Medical Guidelines page for specific conditions, medications and recommendations. When in doubt, please contact us directly to discuss your health concerns. We take our medical guidelines very seriously in order to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone who wishes to join us.
I am taking one of the contraindicated medicines. How long do I have to be off of it before I come to your Ayahuasca retreat?
It really depends on the medication that you are taking. It might be as little as 2 days or as long as several months. The only way to really know is to consult with your doctor and explain that you will be taking a reversible MAOI on X date. Generally speaking, over the counter medication like antihistamines and cold medication should be out of your system for at least 2 days before and after the retreat; antidepressants, however, will require at least 6-8 weeks to be fully cleared out of your body. And, these substances will require a much more gradual weaning process to minimize withdrawal symptoms. Again, check with your doctor for advice.
How do I reserve my spot in a retreat?
All of our bookings are handled through our online reservations system. From our Events Schedule, simply view the retreat listing that you would like to attend and click on the REGISTER NOW button at the top of the page. You will be directed to complete an application form and can either pay a 50% deposit or the full retreat amount to guaranteed your spot. Payment is made by credit card only. If you elected to pay the 50% deposit, the remaining 50% will be automatically charged to the same credit card on the first day of your retreat.
What if I book a retreat, pay my deposit or the full price, and then need to cancel?
If you cancel before the retreat start date, we will happily transfer your registration to a future retreat. Please note, however, that the deposit you have paid is non-refundable if you choose to not join us at all.
In the very unlikely event that we would need to cancel a retreat that you have registered for due to circumstances beyond our control, we will refund any money paid, including the deposit, if you are unable to attend a subsequent retreat with us.
Please keep in mind that any transfers or refunds apply solely to the retreat fees paid to Source Peru and we are not responsible for any money spent on travel arrangements including airfare and hotels. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you purchase comprehensive travel insurance with the optional “cancel for any reason” add-on that is offered by many insurance companies.
Can I have a room to myself?
A limited number of single supplements are available for each retreat for an extra fee. Please specify when you make your booking that you would like to request a single room. These requests will be filled in the order that they are received.
Can I book extra nights before or after the retreat?
We currently do not offer options for additional accommodations to our retreat guests. We can, however, recommend hotels in varying locations if you would like to extend your trip and stay somewhere in the Sacred Valley.
Can I come for just one Ayahuasca ceremony?
We currently operate as a retreat center for individuals who wish to join our weeklong plant medicine retreats and for private groups. At this time we don’t offer individual ceremonies outside of retreat weeks; however, in certain circumstances it may be possible for you to join the first night of ceremony during one of our own Ayahuasca retreats. Please contact [email protected] to inquire about possibilities.
How many people will be in my retreat?
We can never predict exact numbers, but we can tell you that we at Source Peru prefer to keep the group sizes smaller than is the norm at many Ayahuasca centers. We can accommodate up to 24 guests, and don’t accept any more than that in ceremony.
I’m a single parent who struggles with childcare. Can I bring my son/daughter along?
While we do understand the challenges that single parenting can bring, we are an adults-only retreat center for a great number of reasons.
Due to health reasons my partner cannot participate in ceremony. Can s/he still come and stay with me during the retreat?
As a general rule, we prefer that the guests who attend our retreats are all here with the intent of participating in ceremony. This helps to maintain the container of the space and also the focus of the group energy. That being said, we are not completely opposed to having non-participating guests join their partners on retreat and will evaluate the option on a case-by- case basis. Please contact us by email to discuss whether this would be an option for you.
How long do the Ayahuasca ceremonies last?
The length of each ceremony depends on the group energy and individual work that is happening in the space. As a general rule, ceremonies can run anywhere from 4-10 hours, with approximately 6-7 hours being the average.
If I need a break during the Ayahuasca ceremony, can I go outside?
Once an Ayahuasca ceremony begins, no one is permitted to leave the space until the ceremony has officially ended with the lighting of the candle. This is to maintain the integrity of the space, keep the container of the group energy, and to assure that the shamans and assistants are able to care for you.
If I need a break during the retreat week, can I skip a ceremony?
All ceremonies and activities are optional at The Source. Of course we do encourage people to participate in as many offerings as possible while here – you’ve come all this way, so why not take advantage of everything being offered? At the end of the day, you know yourself best and if you need a rest day, you are welcome to take one. Please note that you do have the option of being in the ceremony space with the group, but not consuming the plant medicine. Sometimes just being in the space during ceremony can be quite a powerful process in and of itself!
What time is check out at the end of the retreat?
The retreat officially ends at 11am on the last day. All shuttles and taxis will transport guests either to Cusco or the next destination at that time.
Can we leave later than 11am on the last day?
As many of our retreats are close together, we require significant turn around time to transition from one group to the next. For that reason, we request that all guests leave together at 11am on the final day.
Do I need to tip at the end of the retreat?
Tips for services rendered are never expected but always very much appreciated by Source Peru’s hardworking family. At the end of the week, you may leave a cash tip in our “basket of love for the crew.” Please note that we are unable to process tips through your credit card. All tips will be pooled and divided evenly among our staff of about 10 people who lovingly work in the kitchen, garden, office and housekeeping areas. As a guideline, may we suggest a tip of $15-$30/day.
Likewise, tips for individually booked bodywork and massage treatments are left to your discretion and can be given directly to the practitioner.
I’m thinking of booking a group retreat with you, but would like to visit the center first. Can I drop by next time I’m in the Sacred Valley?
We would love to showcase the property for you, but visits are by appointment only and subject to our retreat calendar. Please understand that there may be a retreat in session on the date that you’d like to come by, in which case we won’t be able to welcome you to onsite. All of our retreats are exclusive, meaning we only have the retreat group participants and Source Peru staff onsite during the retreat. This allows the group to maintain the container of the space without interruption. Thank you for understanding.
I love the setting of your center. Can I take photos and/or video to use to promote my retreats?
Thank you! We love the setting here too and it’s only getting lovelier by the day! While individual guests are welcome to take photos and video of the center for personal use, we request that you refrain from taking photos or videos while onsite for commercial or promotional use without our express permission.
Group leaders that commit to holding a retreat here at Source Peru will receive online access to a folder of images that may be used to promote the retreat. Further, group leaders may capture photos/video of their participants while onsite to share the retreat via social media or to promote future retreats to be held here at Source Peru; however, any commercial or promotional use of images/video of Source Peru grounds, buildings, facilities or ceremonies other than for retreats to be hosted here is expressly prohibited.
Can we use your online booking system for our private retreat registrations?
We are happy to promote your retreat on our sourceperu.com website, but at this point we don’t process registrations for private groups. Most group leaders have their own website through which they handle all registrations and field questions related to the retreat. Payment is generally through deposit to the group leaders’ bank or Paypal account and then the group leader deposits their cost into our account through international wire transfer. If you are planning to incorporate plant medicine in your retreat, we will send you our mandatory health intake form for your guests to complete and return to us as part of the registration process.
We would like to have a very specific cleanse/juicing menu during our retreat. Can you work with us to make that happen?
With enough planning, we feel that we can make almost anything happen for our guests. As part of your pre-booking discussions with us, please specify exactly what your needs will be and we will work with you to make it happen. Please note that our standard private retreat pricing may change depending on how much the needs you express deviate from our baseline group cost model.
We don't have a lot of time in the Valley. Can we bring a group for 3 nights?
The majority of our retreat groups book for 7 days or more. We only host one group at a time here at Source Peru, so when we say your retreat is private we mean that you have exclusive use of the property and you receive our undivided attention and exceptional service. With this and both operational and financial considerations in mind, we have a 5-night minimum for private group bookings. It is possible to bring a group for less than 5-nights, but it would be at the minimum cost of a 5-night booking.
We are a group of 4 friends who would like to come and do medicine and yoga with you. Can we book for a weeklong retreat?
We only host one group at a time here at Source Peru, so when we say your retreat is private we mean that you have exclusive use of the property. For that reason, we have an 8-person minimum for private group bookings. Bookings for less than 8 people may be possible but at a premium price. Please contact us to explore this further.
Can our retreat clients book extra nights with you before or after the retreat?
We currently do not offer options for additional accommodations to individual retreat guests. We can, however, recommend hotels in varying locations if you or your clients would like to extend your trip and stay somewhere in the Sacred Valley.
We have worked with a specific shaman before and have a great relationship with him. Can he come to Source Peru and teach, do healings, perform despachos, or facilitate ceremonies (Ayahuasca/Huachuma/despachos/etc) for us during our retreat?
At Source Peru we have our own excellent, trusted and very experienced shamans that we use exclusively for any and all on site ceremonies including Ayahuasca, Wachuma, Kambo, despachos, chulla chakas, etc. The shamans consider the Source Peru ceremony space, chulla chaka and the land in general to be “home” and have spent an incredible amount of time nurturing a relationship with the spirits and energy here. In order to honor and maintain that balanced relationship, our own shamans are the only ones we welcome on site. They are exceptional at what they do and you won’t be disappointed.
Can we bring our own chef?
We have excellent full-time chefs and cooks here at Source Peru. In very special cases we are willing to explore the option of having another chef work with our team in the kitchen.
Some of our group members are single parents who wish to bring their children. Is that possible?
While we do understand that childcare can be a concern at times, for a number of reasons, we are an adults-only retreat center.
Can we rent your ceremony space for use only during the day?
As our focus is on retreats, we currently do not rent our facilities for daytime only use.
Can we use the ceremony space / temple during our retreat?
Yes, of course! The space is available for you to use for yoga, meditation, movement practices, etc. We simply need to know your daily itinerary in order to ensure that the space is ready for you when you’re ready for it.
Can we watch movies, show presentations, etc.?
Yes, in the main lodge we have a large screen and projector with laptop connections and a DVD/BlueRay player with an assortment of movies/documentaries that non-medicine group retreats are welcome to use.
We would like to visit Machu Picchu and other Incan sites as part of our retreat. Can you arrange this?
Source Peru is ideally located in the heart of the Sacred Valley, just 2.5hrs from Machu Picchu and less than an hour from many other wonderful and inspiring touristic sites in the area. We work with several local tour agencies and would be happy to connect you with them to organize the adventure of a lifetime! If you are interested in visiting local sites on your own as day trips, we can organize a shuttle van to transport your group from Source Peru and you can hire a guide locally at the sites you wish to visit. With enough time and planning, almost anything is possible. Almost 🙂
Are tips included in our retreat pricing?
Tips for services are not built-in to private retreat pricing and are never expected but always very much appreciated by Source Peru’s hardworking family. At the end of the week, the members of your group may leave a cash tip in our “basket of love for the crew.” Please note that we are unable to process tips through credit cards. All tips will be pooled and divided evenly among our Peruano staff of about 10 people who work in the kitchen, garden, office and housekeeping areas. As a guideline, may we suggest a tip of $15-$30/day. Likewise, tips for individually booked bodywork and massage treatments are left to your discretion and can be given directly to the practitioner.
Do I need any vaccinations to come to Peru?
Although you may be advised that various vaccinations are needed for travel to Peru, it truly depends on the area you plan to visit. Yellow Fever vaccination is the one most commonly mentioned, but it is not mandatory for travel to Peru. Yellow Fever doesn’t exist here in the Sacred Valley and is more a concern if you’re traveling to the jungle regions.
IMPORTANT NOTE: proof of vaccination may be required by your next destination after visiting Peru. For example proof of Yellow Fever vaccination is required to travel to Australia, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Equador and Mexico from Peru. Please check the vaccination requirements of your onward country before coming to Peru. If your next destination requires the Yellow Fever card and you don’t have one, you may not be permitted to enter the country. You can check vaccination requirements via WHO here: http://www.who.int/ith/ITH_country_list.pdf
Do I need to purchase travel insurance?
If you are participating in any plant medicine retreats during your stay at Source Peru, we require you to have adequate travel medical insurance. If you opt to not purchase insurance, you are solely responsible for any medical costs that result from any illness or accident that may occur before, during and after your time with us.
Further, we strongly suggest that you purchase individual travel insurance that includes medical coverage and the “cancel for any reason” option for your trip to Peru. This is the absolute best way to protect yourself from any unforeseen circumstances prior to and during your trip, including trip cancellation due to personal reasons and coverage in the unlikely event that your retreat at Source Peru is cancelled due to any circumstances outside of our control.
The comprehensive “cancel for any reason” optional policy add-on is available through many insurance providers. We recommend this option as it gives you much broader coverage in the event that you have to cancel your participation in the retreat, as your airfare, hotel, retreat costs, etc. are typically covered if you cancel up to 48 hours prior to travel. Please note, many insurance companies mandate that you purchase the “cancel for any reason” policy within 15 days of buying your airline tickets or incurring any costs for any part of your travel, such as making a deposit for a retreat with us or being held at Source Peru.
So you’re located at almost 10,000 feet up. Is altitude sickness going to be a problem for me?
You will arrive and transit through Cusco, which is 11,200ft (3,400m) above sea level. The high altitude will become evident fairly quickly and you may experience shortness of breath as you make your way to your hotel.
Some travelers arriving in Cusco find that the elevation leads to some degree of altitude sickness, in which you may experience headache, nausea, and loss of appetite. In addition you might notice that the altitude of Cusco affects the quality of your sleep. In rare cases, travelers may progress to severe forms of altitude illness. People with underlying lung disease should seek medical consultation before travelling.
Altitude sickness – locally referred to as ‘soroche’ – can be prevented to a large degree by taking acetazolamide in tablet form and there is no contraindication with Ayahuasca. It’s entirely your decision whether you take this medication.
We definitely recommend that you seek out a cup of hot coca tea (mate de coca) on arrival in Cusco. Not only is it a relaxing way to “land” in Peru, it also can alleviate symptoms of ‘soroche’. Most hotels will offer you a cup on check-in and we also always have coca tea available 24/7 at Source Peru 🙂
Source Peru is located in the Valle Sagrado of the Rio Urubamba and sits at approximately 10,000ft (3048m). The somewhat lower altitude is a little easier to acclimatize to than Cusco’s elevation. If you are planning a visit to Machu Picchu after the retreat (it’s really not to be missed!), you might be interested to know that Machu Picchu sits even lower than Source Peru, at 7,972ft (2,430m). So once you head out of Cusco, the elevation in the Sacred Valley continues to lower.
What should I pack?
Not to worry, when you register for one of our Ayahuasca retreats we provide you with a comprehensive trip-planning document that outlines, among other things, a recommended packing list for your time with us.
What’s the weather like in the Sacred Valley?
The Sacred Valley has basically two seasons: Dry and Rainy. You can travel during any time of year here, provided that you are prepared with appropriate clothing and footwear. The busier months tend to be the drier months, which happen to coincide with traditional “summer holidays” in North America and Europe.
Dry Season (mid April – October)
This is our winter, characterized by sunny, dry days and clear, dry nights, with nighttime temperatures often hovering just above freezing, particularly in June and July.
The temperature will fluctuate between an average of 70F (17C) during the day and 32F (0C) at night. You can expect to be comfortable in a t-shirt and pants during the day and will need to add warmer layers once the sun goes down. The skies will typically be clear at night and the stargazing here is phenomenal.
The sun is noticeably more powerful at altitude and direct sun exposure will feel quite intense. Skin can burn very quickly so donning protection is important. Although rain is possible during the dry season, it is uncommon. For these reasons, the dry season is one of the busiest times to travel to the Sacred Valley.
Wet Season (October – mid April)
The lush, green summer season sees the most rainfall in January and February.During this time of year it’s usually clear, dry and sunny most mornings with outbursts of heavy rain in the afternoons, though rainfall can come at any time. The daily temperatures are typically mild – averaging 64F (18C) during the day – and see a much lesser drop at night – in the range of 48F (9C). The rainfall can be a deterrent for some travelers, but the vegetation loves it and we reap the benefits of a beautiful lush, green region in contrast to the arid brown/grey feel of the dry season.
Weather-wise, when is the best time of year to book a retreat?
You really can’t go wrong at any time of year here, but our favorite time is between September and January. There aren’t as many tourists in the Valley at this time of year and the weather is really quite lovely. Even with the rains that start to roll in around November/December, the showers tend to be brief before the sun breaks through again. It’s lovely and mild in the daytime and at night.
How much money should I convert to local currency?
All of your costs are included in retreat fees, except for tips for Source Peru staff, any bodywork/massages or artisanal items you purchase onsite, and incidentals for excursions before, during or after your stay. You can withdraw money – either USD or Peruvian Nuevo Soles – at the ATMs in the Lima airport or from ATMs in Cusco. The closest ATM to Source Peru is approximately 15-20 minutes taxi ride away. It’s better to arrive with more money than you think you need. Some places in the Sacred Valley will accept either USD or Soles, but smaller vendors likely will not. Although the rate of exchange does fluctuate, it’s approximately S/. 3 per US dollar.
Do you have a gift shop?
We don’t currently have a gift shop; however we often have local artisanal items for sale with all proceeds going directly to the artist. Purchases will be in cash only – either USD or Soles.
Do you have yoga mats available?
Yes we have yoga mats available. Our yoga studio is fully equipped with yoga props: mats, blankets, bolsters, straps and blocks.
Is there laundry service?
Laundry service is available and is included in your stay. We line-dry everything, so it may take up to 2-3 days to receive your clean, folded items.