Traveling to a foreign country isn’t always the easiest, especially if it’s your first rodeo. Here are a collection of helpful tips to ensure a more enjoyable experience traveling to Iquitos, Peru. We are happy to answer any questions you may have. We also send out a “Welcome Packet” with more details on traveling to our center closer to your retreat date.
Note: we do not accept responsibility for any of the information contained herein. Some information may have changed or is no longer available. This is only intended as a resource, but prudent travel research and gut instincts should always reinforce your travel choices and decisions.
Traveling to Peru
Traveling to Peru is a long process for most travelers. Expect at least a full day of travel to reach your final destination. Most flights also fly red eye, i.e. overnight, which gets you into Lima in the wee hours of the morning.
Many airline carriers have specials throughout the year. LAN is, by far, one of the more comfortable and pleasant airlines to fly into Peru, but they do cost more. Copa Airlines, Delta, American Airlines, et al. all fly into Lima. There are also direct flights into Iquitos (where Chakra Alegría de Amor is located) via Panama City with Copa Airlines. JetBlue and Spirit Airlines have cheap flight to Lima out of Ft. Lauderdale.
KAYAK.com has come excellent price comparison tools and even a daily lowest price notifier. We’ve seen one-stop tickets from LAX as low as $622 roundtrip, and from Chicago as low as $700 roundtrip! As always, a little internet finger-work will help you find a decently priced ticket.
Important Note: Pick Up Your Bags, and Clear Customs in Lima!!! No matter what the airline says (normally just LAN) you will have to pick-up your bags at the baggage carousel, and clear customs. All countries require you to pass through immigration and customs upon entry.
Accommodations and transportation in Lima
If you need to overnight in Lima we recommend: 2nd Home Peru: +51 1 247 55 22 – Mid to high priced guesthouse, very clean and cozy.
Flying Dog hostels in the Miraflores neighborhood are a cheap option, but if you do not book in advance you are often left with only dorm room vacancy.
Taxis are much more expensive in Lima than anywhere else in Peru. Most hotels offer a shuttle service from the airport for roughly $20USD. If you choose to take a taxi, please use extreme caution as the taxi industry is largely unregulated and somewhat of a free for all. We recommend trying to select a driver who is older in age, as they will be less likely to swindle you or be working in concert with criminals who target tourists. The taxi drivers closest to the airport exit are the most expensive. If you cross the 2-3 curbs immediately outside of the airport and proceed into the parking lot, you should be able to find a driver who will take you into the city for around S/35. If arranging your own taxi is at all unnerving, have your hotel arrange a shuttle for you.
Traveling to Iquitos
Iquitos is only accessible by river or by air.
As we mentioned above, there are direct flights into Iquitos from the states, but the dates are still minimal and the costs are high.
The traditional route is to fly into Lima, and then take a domestic Peruvian flight on either Star Peru or Peruvian Airlines to Iquitos. A round-trip ticket costs just a bit more than a one-way flight, FYI.
- Spirit flies from many locations in the USA cheaply to Lima
- Domestic airlines Star Perú and Peruvian Airlines offer flights into Iquitos from Lima and elsewhere in Peru.
You’ll want to plan to stay at least one night before your retreat or course start date. The Amazon is a very different place and takes a little adjustment. Having the time to relax, clean up, and get prepared for your journey is a great pleasure. Plus, you can visit one of the many wonderful cafes with WiFi to let your family know that you’re alive and well!
Airport transportation in Iquitos: Motocars are the main means of transportation in Iquitos. Motocars are basically the same thing as a tuk-tuk taxi in Asia, they are a motorized motorbike, with three wheels and a bench in the back. The “motorcaristas” can and will try to get you to pay much more then the ride is worth. Do not pay more than S/10 (10 soles), to anywhere in the city from the airport. If you opt to not get on one of these motocars, there are taxies standing by. They will charge from S/15 to S/20, to anywhere in the city. Remember, you are entering a third world country and what we like to call “The Last Frontier”, so do not get frazzled when motocar taxi drivers swarm you as you walk out of the airport. Choose one, and tell him that you will pay no more than S/10. Make sure your bags are securely tied down if they put them in the back of the motocar (they all carry some sort of rope), and enjoy the ride into Iquitos!
We will meet you at Dawn of the Amazon Cafe the morning of the retreat start date at a pre-determined time. Please make sure you have rubber boots and tall nylon soccer/football socks for your trek into the jungle. Please visit What to Bring for more information.
Staying in Iquitos
We currently recommend three hotels in Iquitos at prices suited to a range of budgets:
- Hostal La Casona: +51 65234394 – cheap and central, one block from Plaza de Armas (mention you are coming from us and you will get a 20% discount) One of our favorites.
- Casa Morey: +51 65 231 913 – midrange pricing and two blocks from Plaza des Armas (mention you are coming from us and you will get a 20% discount). This is where we usually stay.
- Hotel El Dorado Plaza: +51 65 222 555 – five star, located on Plaza des Armas. (mention you are coming from us and you will get a 20% discount) Nicest accommodations in Iquitos.
Traveling to Chakra Alegria de Amor Healing Center from Iquitos
Our staff will meet you in Iquitos at a pre-determined location (typically Dawn on the Amazon), date, and time. From there, we’ll take you to Chakra Alegría de Amor, which is located one hour’s drive from Iquitos on the highway Iquitos—Nauta. From the highway the walk is ~3km (approx. 40-mins to 1-hour) through some amazing jungle on a wide and friendly path. If it has rained you will need rubber boots since the path can get quite muddy. You can buy these in Iquitos at the Belen market for roughly 20 soles, or purchase them online prior to your trip.
Please use bags that can be carried on the shoulders of our workers, e.g back packs, shoulder bags (no suitcases). If you are unable to walk this distance due to medical reasons please inform our staff in advance so that other arrangements can be made.
Additional Peru Travel Tips and the Staying in the Amazon Rainforest
- Weather, Plants & Rainforest Critters
- Health, Vaccinations, and Travel Insurance
- Money in Peru
- Retreat Center Accommodations, Food, & Water
- What to Bring Checklist
- What We DON’T Have
We hope our suggestions and Peru travel tips make your Amazon rainforest experience a pleasant one. We try our best to keep this information up-to-date, but we are not liable nor responsible for the veracity or accuracy of this information.
These travel tips and suggestions are not to substitute or replace resources like guidebooks, tourist center information, local knowledge, or your own common sense and intuition.