Please book your flights for at least one day before and after the start and end date of your course or program to allow yourself ample travel time and time to acclimatize to the environment so you are refreshed after flying and ready for the morning pickup.
We also recommend that you stay overnight in Iquitos after finishing the course or program to reintegrate before taking any flights back home.
Travel to Iquitos
To come to Chaikuni Institute, you will need to fly into Iquitos International Airport. There is no road access to Iquitos, so it is necessary to fly unless you will be arriving by boat.
LATAM is the main carrier in Peru and offers connecting flights to Iquitos via Lima. We recommend that you purchase a flight with Iquitos as the final destination because flights are often delayed in Peru due to weather. For example, if you purchase a separate flight from Lima to Iquitos, you may end up missing your flight to Iquitos because your flight to Lima was delayed, and it will not be covered. If your Lima to Iquitos flight is on the same ticket as your international flight to Peru, you will be covered if there are any delays and your airline will be responsible for rebooking you.
Once you’ve landed in Iquitos and exit the arrival/baggage claim area, you will find cars and moto-taxis waiting that can bring you to your hotel. Be prepared for a group of taxi drivers to approach you as you exit the airport. There is no reason to be concerned regarding this, but it can be quite a surprise for first timers to Iquitos. You can expect to pay about 40-50 soles for a car and about 20 soles for a moto-taxi to the center of town (about a 30-40 minute ride). Many hotels also offer to pick you up at the airport.
Please note: when flying into Peru you need to collect luggage in Lima. Some airlines don't know this and attempt to check the luggage all the way through to Iquitos. Please know you will need to pick up your luggage when you arrive in Lima no matter what the airline says.
COVID Related Info
If your home country requires a negative COVID test in order for you to return: COVID PCR and Antigen tests are available in Iquitos and we can provide information about the testing locations when your retreat ends.
Please confirm the following information from your home country before you travel to Peru:
- Which type of test is needed (Antigen or PCR, some countries accept either)
- The maximum number of days prior to your departure that the test must be administered.
PCR Test: Take into consideration that if you require a PCR test prior to your departure, the results take up to 26 hours so you may need to do this immediately upon your return to Iquitos from the Chaikuni Institute and plan to stay at least 28 hours in Iquitos to wait for results and have time to then catch a flight. Please note that PCR testing is not available on weekends in Iquitos, but they can be had at Lima airport with a 12-hour turnaround. The cost of a PCR test in Iquitos is about 300 soles (~80USD).
Antigen Test: If you need only an antigen test prior to your departure, the results take ~4 hours and the cost is about 80 soles (~20USD).
Travel & Medical Insurance
We strongly recommend purchasing adequate travel insurance for any cancellations due to unforeseen circumstances.
We can suggest Squaremouth to search different insurance quotes, but we are not affiliated with them, so please contact them directly to purchase insurance and with any questions.
Please note: we do not staff medical professionals on site and are in a remote location with the nearest medical clinic being an hour hike, hour boat ride, and then a taxi ride away. Better medical facilities are even further away, should a medical emergency arise. We strongly advise obtaining medical insurance that works in Peru and medical evacuation insurance in the event of an emergency, particularly for those with chronic medical conditions.
Accommodation in Iquitos
The group pickup location is El Dorado Classic Hotel, but you can make a reservation in any other hotel.
We recommend these hotels that are centrally located in Iquitos and not far from the group pickup location either by foot or a cheap moto-taxi ride.
El Dorado Classic Hotel
Jr. Napo 362, Iquitos. +51 065 232574
Hotel La Casona
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel
Casa Morey Hotel
Reserve through Booking.com: https://booki.ng/2yza79L
Please note: We are not affiliated with Booking.com or any of these hotels. We DO NOT recommend storing your belongings in a hotel where you are not currently staying, and that you always keep your valuables safe and within your possession.
Travel to Chaikuni Institute
Group Pickup Location: El Dorado Classic Hotel. Location: https://goo.gl/maps/MEQimvZpEkFEGh968
The group will meet on the first morning of the retreat at the El Dorado Classic Hotel in Iquitos by one of our staff members and will travel to Chaikuni Institute together from there. About one month prior to the start of your course or program, you will receive an email with your pickup time (between 6:00am and 8:00am) as well as other last-minute details.
We will then leave by bus from the hotel and head off to the port of Santa Clara, where we will then take our boat for about 30 minutes down the Nanay river. We’ll then disembark and walk for about 30 minutes to 1 hour to the Chaikuni Institute. Depending on the rain, there may be some heavy mud to walk through, therefore we strongly advise you to wear rubber boots. Please bring these with you – it is possible to find these in Iquitos, but it can be difficult.
The walk may be challenging for those who are less able bodied or have difficulty walking a long distance in the heat. Where necessary, we have the option of carrying anybody who is struggling in a hammock. There will be breakfast after you arrive.
The group will be brought back to the same pickup location in Iquitos after breakfast on the last morning of your program and will arrive in there in the afternoon (usually around 3:00pm or 4:00pm).
The total journey time to/from the pickup location and the Chaikuni Institute is approximately 3 hours. The price of the workshop includes transportation from the pickup location to Chaikuni Institute and the other way around, but does not include any flights, hotel costs, or transportation to the pickup location.
Please note: Our porters will carry your luggage for you on the walk to and from the Chaikuni Institute. Please bring your belongings in a backpack as suitcases are much more difficult for them to carry on foot through the jungle.
Eating in Iquitos
Unless your digestive system is acclimatized to living in Iquitos, it is best to only drink bottled water, and to avoid eating street food.
In Iquitos, we recommend eating at the Dawn on the Amazon Café (185 Calle Malecón Maldonado) and Karma Café (138 Calle Napo). Both are just off the Plaza de Armas.
Money in Iquitos
There are ATMs throughout Iquitos where you can withdraw US dollars or soles.
In addition, you can change money in nearly all banks. DO NOT change money with the street “money changers” as it is common practice to defraud westerners, pass over fake notes, etc. Please also be careful to not accept any ripped notes whenever you buy something/change money. Even the smallest of rips will result in the note being unusable.
Throughout the course or program, you'll be able to buy from our coffee shop. Coffee, tea, snacks, sweets, cacao, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. If you are are interested in purchasing anything and/or tipping at the Chaikuni Institute, you can bring cash with you or pay through debit/credit card with an extra 5% commission. We accept soles or dollars. Also, at the end of the course or program, we'll visit the village and locals have crafts and sweets to sell. In this case, they only accept cash.
Please note: be careful with your belongings while walking around Iquitos, particularly in the markets. Although the city is generally very friendly, and crime is considerably less of a problem compared to western cities, there are some opportunistic petty thieves who lift wallets, small bags, cameras, etc.
Ethical Shopping in Iquitos
Please note that while sales of endangered species are illegal, the laws are not well regulated or enforced. Buying any products made with animals subsidizes the destruction of biodiversity in the Amazon, which is very much out of alignment with the Chaikuni Institute's mission and vision.
Even if you find an item made from a common unprotected species, buying these products will only encourage the unnecessary killing or poaching of a wider variety of animals. Please do not buy mammal, bird or reptile skulls, items made with the fur of cat, monkey, or other mammals, snake skins, mammal or reptile teeth, bones, or claws, or bird beaks, claws, or feathers. Please also avoid buying specimens of fish, turtles, or insects.
Some vendors sell infant animals such as monkeys, sloths, or parrots, which some sympathetic tourists buy to release back into the jungle. Most animals for sale were not captured as adults, but were taken from nests and raised from infanthood, with the mother animal being killed ostensibly for food or profit. As a result, adult animals may not be able to care for themselves in the wild. Buying these infant or adult animals only provides an incentive where more mother animals are killed to steal their infants.
Chaikuni Institute is committed to preserving the rainforest and its inhabitants, and we hope that our guests support this vision through their buying choices.