How to Find an Affordable Ayahuasca Ceremony | Amazonian adventure in Peru

Join us for a trip to the Amazon, and let us tell you how to find an affordable Ayahuasca ceremony while experiencing the wildest area on our planet.

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In this post, we’ll tell you about our journey to the Amazon in search of a meaningful and affordable Ayahuasca ceremony. We ended up paying s/150 (less than 40$) for an unforgettable ceremony. Join us for a journey to the most interesting piece of land in the world.

If you look at the world’s map, you can find similar landscapes in different parts of the globe. Even cultures from different sides of the planet have similar rituals and habits. But there is nothing like the Amazon rainforest around the globe. 

The Amazon is one of a kind. 

It may be divided between countries, but no line or a fence can separate the biggest rainforest in the world. It’s a unique place, challenging to live in, yet it is hard to leave it. 

The Amazon river and rainforest

We had a profound adventure in the Amazon, experiencing a Kambo cleansing, participating in an Ayahuasca ceremony, and staying in the jungle with the Arcoiris community. We did all that with our two-year-old son and would like to tell you all about it. Hopefully, your family status or the dreadful mosquitos won’t stop you from having a meaningful experience.

Let’s dive in. 

We arrived in Iquitos – Peru’s Amazon city, wanting to experience the medicine of Ayahuasca in its natural habitat

Upon arriving at Iquitos, we ran into several difficulties: 

First, it wasn’t easy to find a place that would accept us with our two-year-old son. Especially when we asked to do the ceremonies separately. Our plan was that one of us would watch over our child while the other one would experience the medicine with a clear mind. To read more about Backpacking With a Baby.

The second obstacle was the prices! After traveling for a year, writing a blog, and not making the money we thought we would make it was hard to afford the costs we were asked to pay. 

Ayahuasca ceremonies in South America are a full-blown industry. The retreat centers scattered around the Amazon cater to western tourists and charge western prices. It was the first time in Peru we were asked to pay in dollars instead of soles. 

The prices range from 600$ to 3,500$ for a 10 days retreat with 3 Ayahuasca ceremonies. 

So How Can You Find an Affordable Ayahuasca Ceremony?

We stayed in a hostel in Iquitos, confused, thinking about our next steps. One of the guests in the hostel told us he was going to a community in the jungle. He described the community’s way of living and offered us to join him. 

Most importantly he explained that the people who live inside the jungle consider plant medicine a way of life. We will have an opportunity to learn and experience the various medicines organically, without pre-scheduling, and without spending our monthly budget on a single-week retreat. 

We joined him the next day. 

We’ll tell you everything about our experience in the jungle, but first, here’s all you need to know about the Amazon city of Iquitos: what to pack, where to stay, what to do, and how to get there.

What to Pack for a Trip to the Amazon Rainforest 

First of all, buy yourself the best mosquito repellent on the market. 

In any case, make sure you have long sleeve tops For Him | For Her and long pants For Him | For Her to provide better skin protection. 

Take with you a light daypack and make sure you have these items inside at all times:

  • rain poncho will be helpful when a typical Amazon rainstorm comes out of nowhere. 
  • Take a good water filter if you’re not going to a hotel or a fancy retreat. The locals drink the water straight from the river, but you shouldn’t.
  • HEADLIGHT! Because it gets really dark at night.
  • sunscreen
  • Your favorite hat 

Plan to stay for more than a few days in the Amazon rainforest? It’s essential to have the best travel backpack, as you’re probably going to hike into the jungle. 

Good hiking boots are a great way to deal with slippery trails. On the other hand, the indigenous people use high rubber boots that are even more efficient on muddy roads. 


Floating market in Iquitos

Located on the shores of the amazon river in the middle of the jungle, Iquitos will act as the gateway to your Amazon adventure. Due to its unique location, Iquitos is only reachable by air or through the amazon river. 

Iquitos is not the tidiest town you’ll find in Peru. Still, it has unrecognized magic like no other place. The city combines noisy days, magical nights, post-apocalyptic markets where eagles circle around the butcher shops, and a portal to the supernatural Amazon rainforest. 

 A countless number of moto-taxies on the road provide Iquitos with its engine soundtrack. It was off-putting initially, but we fell for the buzz pretty quickly. For only s/3, you can get to the other side of town, so don’t even think about walking in the devilish heat of this Amazonian city. 

Moto-taxies in Iquitos' roads

Where to Stay in Iquitos

Most travelers don’t even spend a night in Iquitos and head directly to their retreat or jungle resort. 

We, on the other hand, think Iquitos has a lot to offer and recommend you to spend a few days there to figure out your next step or just to explore an otherworldly city. 

Sarisa House 

Sarisa House is the best budget hostel in Iquitos. The hostel has a well-equipped kitchen, a homey atmosphere, and a nice rooftop. Its main downside is its location far from the city center, but as we mentioned, s/3 can solve that issue. 

Hospedaje Neydita

After two weeks in the Amazon rainforest, we arrived at Hospedaje Neydita smelly and tired. The clean rooms, equipt kitchen, and helpful staff were what we needed. 

Located in front of the charming plaza Sargento Lores, Hospedaje Neydita is our choice for the best hostel in Iquitos. 

The hostel sits in a great area with many restaurants, bars, and food stands. In addition, it’s close to the sizzling Belen market. 

How to Get to Iquitos by Plane

Iquitos’s airport is small yet busy, located 7 km from the bustling city center. Regular flights come in from Lima, Tarapoto, and Pucallpa. Our experience taught us that booking a ticket at least 30 days in advance is cheaper. 

We found that Skyscanner is the best for advanced or even last-minute booking. 

How to Get to Iquitos by Boat 

Unfortunately, we decided to skip the boat ride because we wanted to take it easy with our child. But we heard from many travelers it is an unforgettable journey. We can imagine it is the ultimate Slow Travel adventure.

If you decide to travel Iquitos by boat, expect a 3-4 days journey, where you’ll be sleeping on a hammock or a bunk bed. Don’t expect anything fancy. It’s a cargo boat, and you’re most likely about to share the ride with pigs and chickens on the lower decks. From what we’ve heard, it’s impossible to book a ticket in advance, so you’ll have to reach the harbor and ask for available tickets.

When traveling from west Peru, cargo boats leave from Yurimaguas to Iquitos. And If you’re coming from the south, you’ll probably catch the boat in Pucallpa to Iquitos.

Best of luck.
Let us know how it went.

Arcoiris Comunity | The Amazon, Peru 

After an hour’s drive in a colectivo from Iquitos and another 45 min walk into the jungle, we arrived in the Arcoiris community. 

80 acres of land in the jungle with various cabins, a Maloca, communal areas, and routes connecting them all. 

Maloca is a ceremonial roundhouse typical for the indigenous people of the Amazon rainforest. It’s used in the community’s daily life, gatherings, celebrations, and… ceremonies. 

We arrived on Sunday, so the atmosphere was easygoing. Some people were hanging out in the communal area of ‘Casa Grande,’ while others were bathing in the river, naked. It was obvious we arrived at a hippie bubble in the jungle. We looked at each other, smiled, and jumped into the muddy river. 

A river in the Amazon
Our personal Amazonian spa

The small water stream that surrounded the 80 acres of the community was our Amazonian spa. There, we could bathe in the water and clean our smelly bodies with clay from the river’s bank (the community tries to avoid soap). Even though not using soap may sound weird, we’re sure it will make sense when you get there. 

We had a friendly, warm welcome from everybody around. People of various ages, singles, couples, and families live together. 

Some arrived for a week to try something new, while others stayed there for years and found a home. 

Another group came for a Kambo training that took place in the community. 

How Much is it Gonna Cost You to Stay With a Community in the Amazon? 

There are many communities in the Amazon, each with its own set of rules. We can only testify about the one we stayed in, but from what we heard, the prices are similar. 

You pay s/25 per person per night while at the community. Plus, a donation of around s/50 per week for groceries shopping. 

Other than that, it is common to work for 4 hours every day in gardening, cleaning, cooking, etc.

A Typical Day in the Community

Because we arrived with our toddler, one of us was working while the other was playing with Pardes. But anyway, the rules were not that strict, especially for families. 

We are kind of glued to each other, so we ended up doing everything together most of the time. It was possible because the tasks were not very demanding. 

And indeed, that’s what we appreciated most in this particular community. You are expected to give what you can. 

It can create chaos but also gives individual freedom, which is a virtue. Creating a space where you provide people with a place to live together freely is special. 

How Does it Feel to Be in the Amazon? 

Before arriving in the Amazon rainforest, we imagined a place full of mosquitos trying to have a taste of our blood, scorching heat, and animal sounds that will keep us up at night. 

And to be honest, it all ended up to be accurate, but it didn’t bother us like we expected it will. 

Maybe it’s because only the present time exists in the Amazon. Suddenly day to day thoughts about the future fades away. We can even say it felt like a week-long of meditation.

Don’t get us wrong, we had our share of challenging moments where we just felt like leaving everything, going to Iquitos, and taking a long cold shower. But still, the opportunity to be in a powerful natural environment kept us there. 

Our true nature is to be present, and our way of life distances us from it

That’s why it’s so hard to leave the Amazon. Difficulties are constantly arising, yet somehow a magnetic force keeps you there. When you experience the possibility of being in the present, it’s addictive. 

Finally, to avoid mosquito bites wear long sleeves and long pants. And whatever you do, don’t scratch; seriously, don’t scratch. In addition, even if you’re a light sleeper, you’ll get used to the animals’ sounds at night. We even missed them after we left. 

Experience Plant Medicine in the Amazon | Affordable Ayahuasca & Kambo Ceremonies  

First of all, we do not recommend participating in a ceremony based solely on price. These plants have been used as medicines for centuries in South America. And for the same reason that you won’t choose the cheapest doctor at home don’t let the price guide you on your choice here. 

That being said, from our personal experience, some retreats are in the Ayahuasca’s business and care more about money than about treating. 

Ayahuasca ceremony is not a hostel or a restaurant; Google reviews are just not enough. 

Therefore our main advice is to choose your ceremony healer (Shaman) by a recommendation from someone you know and trust. 

So what do we recommend? 

Go to a Gringos Amazon community.

There, you’ll have the chance to meet people immersed in the indigenous community and involved in respectful relationships with the Shipibo healers.

You’ll have the chance to consult, observe and get a sense of the individuals around you to make the best decision. Every day you may meet someone after an Ayahuasca ceremony or just before a Kambo cleansing. It’s not a weekly retreat. It is part of daily life.

Poison of the frog scratched off the wooden stick
Kambo also named ‘La Vacuna de la Selva’ is an ancient ritual that uses the giant tree frog’s secretions to clean the body physically, mentally, and spiritually. The poison is preserved on a wooden stick and applied directly to burns made on the skin.

Regarding the price

The ceremonies are in Soles, not in Dollars. We paid s/100 for a Kambo session and s/150 for an Ayahuasca ceremony with highly regarded healers and in a distinctive Amazonian setting. That’s far less than what every retreat charges.

How Can You Find Spiritual Communities in the Amazon?

We found the Arcoiris community through word of mouth. We just asked around and were active tourists. Take your time and Travel Slow. It took us a few days in Iquitos before hearing about the community. 

But sometimes, the letter doesn’t reach the addressee. You ask around but can’t find a lead; it also happens to us. In that case, using platforms like WorkAway and WWOOF is a great solution. It shouldn’t be difficult as many communities are looking for volunteers. 


Looking for a more rugged experience than Iquitos? 

If you found that Iquitos felt more geared towards Gringos and vacation seekers, then Nauta is where you should go. 

It’s two hours of a smooth drive from Iquitos, as the Carrera Iquitos-Nauta happens to be the only paved road in the area. 

Even after a year of traveling, we were still amazed by the small Amazonian town’s sights, smells, and sounds. Walking on a shaky wooden bridge over the Marañon river, watching a little girl riding her bike with a baby sloth in her arm. Or just taking a stroll to the market and tasting the most bizarre fruits we ever tried.

A wooden bridge in Nauta

The people are, as usual, the most interesting aspect:

In general, the Peruvian people are very kind. Nevertheless, we were surprised by the hospitality of the locals in Nauta. We had many encounters of generosity that made us feel welcome in this rough and intriguing town. 

Like Iquitos, Nauta acts as a gateway to the Amazon rainforest and has many retreat centers and spiritual communities in its surrounding areas. 

Our personal experience in Nauta involved an Ayahuasca ceremony with Matilda-an old female Shipibo healer.

Where to Stay in Nauta 

Diana’s Place

Located 20 min by foot from the city center, in the neighborhood of Santa Rosa. Diana’s place offers private rooms starting from s/20 per night. 

On the top floor, there are hammocks and a stunning view of the Marañon River. The hostel has a well-appointed communal kitchen that includes fresh drinking water. 

In addition, 10 min by foot away from the hostel, you can find a small heavenly waterfall, with clear water to chill and bath in. 

We stayed at Diana’s place for two nights and loved it. However, the amenities are pretty basic, so it’s not the place for you if you’re looking for a shower or private toilet. 

Diana’s place is not on any booking platform or on Google maps.

As with most hidden gems, you’ll have to ask around to find it; we recommend starting with your tuk-tuk driver as we did. 

To book in advance:

Fernando: +51954958741 

How to Get to Nauta From Iquitos by bus

Nauta is the only other town reachable by land from Iquitos.

The best way to get there is to take a colectivo from Terminal Turistico. The ride takes 2 hours and costs s/15 per person. 

Final Thoughts

Our two weeks in the Peruvian Amazon were the most intense and meaningful experience we had in South America. And without a doubt, the plant medicine ceremonies had a big part in it. So, if you too want to experience the Amazon jungle and its wisdom, don’t be intimidated by the prices. There are many opportunities to take part in an affordable Ayahuasca ceremony.

What should you do next?

Let one spiritual area take you to another and submerge yourself in the indigenous culture, making your trip to Peru a memorable journey. From Iquitos, we took a flight to Cusco and spent one month exploring the Sacred Valley.
It was incredible!


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