Spirit Plant Journeys FAQ

Location, Travel, & Transportation

Where is Spirit Plant Journeys?
Our retreats take place at our beautiful venue “Petra” in the district of Huaran near Calca in the Sacred Valley, about 60 km from Cusco. The best way to get to Cusco is to fly from Lima (the capital of Peru) to Cusco or alternatively there are buses departing daily from Lima to Cusco (check http://www.cruzdelsur.com.pe/).

How do I get from Cusco to the retreat venue “Petra”?
The group will meet at a designated spot in Cusco on the first day of the retreats and from there we will travel together to “Petra”. It should take about 90 min to get there.

When should I arrive in Cusco? / Can I arrive the same day as the retreat?
We strongly recommend that you arrive in Cusco at least 1 day before the retreat begins and spend 1 night in a city hotel. Preferably you arrive a couple of days before the start of the retreat. This will give you time to get over any jet-lag, but most importantly you will have some time to acclimatize to the altitude. Cusco’s altitude is 3400 meters. Altitude at the retreat venue near Urubamba is about 2800 meters.

You will be given a PDF when you register that contains some hotel recommendations. However, if you must arrive in Cusco on the day the retreat begins please make sure that your flight arrives in Cusco no later than about 9am.

Do you provide any transport from the Airport in Cusco when we arrive?
Please ask your hotel to arrange a pickup if you want one. However, it’s not important to have a pickup, there are aways multiple taxis waiting at the airport. If you arrive on the same day as the retreat we recommend you take a cab straight to the Plaza de Armas and head to the Starbucks. This is generally our meeting point on the morning of the first day of our retreats.

Can I fly out of Cusco the same day the retreat ends?
Yes. On the final day of our retreat we will be leaving “Petra” at about 10.30am and we will arrive back in Cusco at about midday, so you could fly from Cusco that day if necessary but we recommend you book your flight for after 1pm. However, most people coming on our retreats choose to spend at least one extra night in Cusco to relax after the retreat.

If you are coming with the group to Machu Picchu at the end of the retreat we will not arrive in Cusco until late in the afternoon or in the early evening of the following day. In this case we recommend that you take a flight out of Cusco the next day.

If you are confused about the dates please don’t hesitate to send an email and ask to clarify!

I’m coming alone, is that safe?
On average, about 90% of the people in our groups come alone, so don’t worry about coming alone, you’ll be in good company. Also, Peru is a stable and predominantly safe country to travel in.

Can you arrange a pick-up from the airport?
No. We meet as a group on the morning of the first day of the retreat.

Do I need any vaccinations?
There are no compulsory vaccinations to visit Peru. Yellow Fever is not necessary for Cusco. The vaccinations that are the most recommended are Hepatitis A and Typhoid.

Lodging & Accommodations

Is there electricity at “Petra”?
Yes.

Do I need to bring bedding or a sleeping bag?
No, all bedding and also a towel is provided. Although a sleeping bag can be handy to have as the weather can be quite cold here in the Sacred Valley – especially for ceremony. We provide you with a list of things you should bring, which is mostly just clothes and a few necessary items such as a flashlight.

What are the size of your groups?
There will be no more than 12 people in each group and there will always be 2 facilitators working with each group.

Is Spirit Plant Journeys a safe retreat for women?
Yes it is a safe place for women. There is almost always a lovely gender balance in our groups.

Where does the water come from at “Petra”? Do we need to provide our own?
We provide bottled water so please bring a water bottle you can re-fill!

Can you help me book my hotel?
Sorry, we have enough things to take care of without getting involved with hotel reservations. There are several Cusco hotels and hostels that you can easily book online using www.booking.com or www.hostelsworld.com

Can I share accommodation with my friend/partner?
Yes! There are a variety of rooms available at Petra. If you would like to share a room with your friend or partner the cost is 1800 USD. The same price if you share a room with somebody else on the retreat! If you require a private room that can also be arranged, however the cost is 2000 USD.

Can I bring my laptop and mobile phone with? Do I need a different plug/converter? 

You can bring your laptop if you wish to. Peru uses the same type of plug as North America however it has a higher voltage so make sure your electrical devices work ok with up to 220 volts.

Can I check email or receive phone calls or text messages during the retreat?
Yes you can. We do not have WiFi at our retreat venue, however, there is a beautiful cafe just a 5 min walk away from “Petra” where you can use WiFi.

Can I bring a musical instrument?
Absolutely. In fact if you play we insist that you do!!!

Cuzco, Peru & The Sacred Valley: Weather, Language, Currency

What is the weather like?
There can be some cold nights in the Sacred Valley especially between May and September. See http://www.andeantravelweb.com/peru/tips/weather.html for average monthly temperatures. It is necessary that you bring warm clothing.

I don’t speak Spanish, is that a problem?
Of course not! Our fantastic facilitators are fluent in 6 Languages: English, Spanish, French, Swedish and Dutch.
Gumercindo does not speak English however both of our facilitators speak Spanish and will be available to translate anything if necessary.
Bernhard is a native English speaker.

What currency is the cost of the retreat?
The cost of the retreat is in US Dollars. The simple price is 1800 USD, or 2000 USD if you require a private room. If you wish to participate in the Machu Pichu Trip at the end of the 10 days add an extra 450 USD on top of your retreat price.

Ayahuasca & San Pedro FAQ: Drug Combinations, Sex, Diet, & Ceremony

Does the Shaman put any additives in his Ayahuasca?
Gumercindo makes Cielo Ayahuasca which is a combination of the Ayahuasca vine and chacruna. Gumercindo comes from a lineage of Curanderos called “Paleros” who work with tall tree medicines. Gume’s brew usually contains a number of tree bark and root additives. A very small amount of tobacco is also added to the brew. Gumercindo does not use Toe in the brew.

Can I smoke Marijuana during/right before/after the retreat?
For some reason marijuana and Ayahuasca don’t get along too well. Sometimes heavy marijuana smokers find it difficult to have a strong Ayahuasca experience. We highly recommend that you quite smoking marijuana as long as possible before the retreat. However there is no danger in smoking marijuana right before the retreat.

It will be in your favor however to quit smoking at least 2 weeks before the retreat. In this retreat we are working intensely with the the plants San Pedro and Ayahuasca and as such it is best to give these plants the centre stage. It would be a shame to come all this way only be clouded by the strong presence of another plant such as marijuana.

Should I stop taking the contraceptive pill during the retreat?
There is no danger in taking contraceptive pills while drinking Ayahuasca.

Can I have sex right before/during the retreat?
During the retreat we have a no sex rule that we expect our participants to honor. How long you stop having sex before the retreat is up to you but we encourage you to stop having sexual relations at least a week before the retreat begins.

How long before the retreat should I begin the Ayahuasca diet, and how important is it?
There is no definite answer to this question and different people have their own ideas. Some people are naturally very sensitive to Ayahuasca and they will have powerful experiences no matter what kind of food they eat and they don’t consider the diet to be important for themselves. However, many people, particularly if they’re coming from stressful and polluted environments, and if they don’t eat a really healthy diet normally will usually not have a high level of sensitivity to the Ayahuasca and as a result the first 1 or 2 ceremonies are more for purging and cleansing and are very physical.