• Members of the previous forum can retrieve their temporary password here, (login and check your PM).

Travelling through South America

Migrated topic.


Rising Star
Greetings all,

I am planning a trip with my partner through South America later this year and would love any sort of advice, recommendations, 'dos & do nots' an such. Clearly, no one can tell me what I would like to do and I'm not going to be basing my trip on everyone's answers, just like to hear the opinions of the many like-minded individuals from my favourite online community.

We are flying into Peru, and making our way down to Chile, Easter Island(!) and Argentina before heading up into Brazil.

I would love to know some recommended things to do in any of these countries - and any advice on what not to do is also welcome :)

I am open to taking part in an ayahuasca ceremony, but I do have mixed feelings about the idea of ayahuasca-tourism that I haven't fully reconciled. I am very interested in the use psychoactive plants and other psychedelics, but ayahuasca or no ayahuasca, my main intention is to explore the countries of this vast continent, and to seek rich, memorable and diverse experiences. If anyone could recommend good places for an ayahuasca ceremony, I am very open to giving it some more thought.


Should I try visit Iquitos? It looks like it's going to be a bit out of the way, but if it's worth heading there, I will make the effort to do so.

Any suggestions for things to do, or places to visit in Lima? The catacombs look fascinating, and I will be sure to explore the city, but I'm still looking for more things to do.

There is a lot of things I would like to do in Cuzco - Machu Picchu obviously, but also a few of the other ruins aswell - sacsayhuaman fortress, Kenko rock sanctuary, puca-pucara, tambomachay, Koricancha, the sacred valley and the ruins above Ollantaytambo.

Haven't done very much more research, but still want to have a good idea of what to do in the other countries.

In Brazil, I think we will start off in Manaus and head to Belem, to Fortaleza, to Recife (maybe), to Salvador and finally to Rio De Janeiro and San Paulo.

Any help whatsoever would be very appreciated - especially any advice regarding travel routes, and getting around cheaply country to country.
In Peru, the area I liked the most were the east ranges of the andes. Everything between ~500m and 2000m elevation has amazing nature, but not as hot, wet and full of mosquitos as the lowland jungle.
The highlands are great areas for hiking, if you are into it. I've been in Huaraz for some time. You can go into amazing mountain landscapes there.

Concerning psychedelics, the easiest thing to do is brewing san pedro yourself. You can find them in almost all markets, or go out into the mountains and collect them yourself.

For ayahuasca, you don't have to necessarily go to Iquitos. the ayahuasca tourism there is pretty big and you need abit of luck, the get in contact with some good people, who are legitly into healing work and not up to rip gringos off.
You can find them, but you need to spend some time when you find someone it's also good to stay for a longer time and make a plant diet to really have a beneficial and healing experience.
The longer plant diets connected with regular ayahuasca ceremonies are much deeper and stronger than just doing a few ceremonies. But you need a little more dedication for this.

If you get the chance, try Kambo. It's a very beneficial medicine.

The city itself is not that interesting.
A nice market in belen (if you are there, get some mapacho tabacco for ceremonies, it's very hard to get it in this quality in the rest of peru);
the boulevard at the river, full of jungle tour agencies, restaurant, bars and cafes for gringos;
around the city there are some things like wildlife rescue centers a butterfly farm etc.
The rest of the city is just vast urban areas, more or less slummy, depending on where you are.
If it's only for the ayahuasca, you can find some curanderos in other parts of the country too and don't really have to do this trip...

A flight from lima is a little less than 100$. you can also go there by ship. It's about a week from Pucallpa and about 3 days from Yurimaguas.
Pucallpa should be possible with a bus from lima in a day AFAIK, Yurimaguas is a little further, but you can visit great places on the way. Cajamarca, Chachapoyas, Tarapoto... There are opportunities for hiking, camping, archeological sites, lagoons, highlandforests... all kind of things. And the north is by far not as touristy as other areas.

Pucallpa is a pretty big jungle city. But you can try to get to some smaller village and find a curandero working with ayahuasca there too. Many Shipibo live in Pucallpa.

I can't say much about Cuzco, the sacred valley etc.

If you have any more questions about anything, just ask 😉
Cuzco is fun, spend a night and go out for drinks or do something fun. Walking through the city center is an interesting time to say the least..

If you are serious about looking for a loving place for an ayahuasca ceremony, PM me and I can recommend somewhere close to Cuzco that is a very natural, loving and cared for place. Not an ayahuasca tourism feel to it one bit.

Machu Picchu is a must, the sense of space up there is difficult to convey in words. Here is my favorite picture from my trip


  • DSC07773.JPG
    2.5 MB · Views: 0
I really enjoyed Iquitos when I was there last year. It really has its own feel and flavor and being the biggest city in the world not accessible by road is no small feat. It really has that wild untamed feel that people from the European diaspora crave.

The Werner Herzog film, Fitzcarraldo is set in and around Iquitos in the early 1900's. It is nice to watch before you visit and is a great movie even if you never go to Iquitos.

Anthony Bourdain called the Belen Market in Iquitos the, "Wildest market he's ever seen." and he's been to alot of them around the planet. The market looked like something out of Star Wars there was a guy with only one arm and no legs dancing HARD at the entrance to some Peruvian Fast Step Housey music and he was generating alot of tips. That was just the entrance...

There are animals from the jungle hanging up that look prehistoric, fish with lungs are still alive breathing on market tables, stray dogs weave throughout the shoulder to shoulder foot traffic. It is a wild ride and you can get mapacho, san pedro, and even the various Ayahuasca plants and admixtures at the shaman market. Along with lots of weird shaman accoutrements, think rattlesnake wands, turtle shell rattles, other magical items. If you like fruit you can eat a pile of wild jungle fruit better than any you've ever seen for about $3 a day!

Cuzco is amazing along with the sacred valley. But I think next time I will likely spend more time in Iquitos and check out maybe northern coastal peru or Lake Titicaca rather than see Cuzco again. If you are a foodie Cuzco did have some of the best food I've ever had. Peruvian-Italian fusion, Peruvian-mexican fusion, Peruvian-French fusion, etc, etc.....SO MUCH GREAT CUISINE.

If you stay in Iquitos and speak some English, La Casa Chacruna hostel is an amazing place to stay and trade stories with other travelers. It is run by some British guys who have lived in Peru for a decade or more and are fluent in Spanish. They love Ayahuasca and have tried ALOT of the local ceremonies in Iquitos they can steer you clear of cheats and recommend you some great curanderos. My ceremonies I did with their recommended shaman were some of the strongest trips of my life. [2 cups of Aya anyone?]

The hostel has a great psychonautic adventurer vibe and its really fun to share stories with other travelers or the British ex-pats. It is also really cheap to stay there and they have a nice kitchen and view of the central plaza which they are a 2 minute walk from.

Good luck on your adventure.
I got back from Peru 5 days ago. I've spent the last month there, I started in Iquitos, spending two weeks at an Ayahuasca retreat in the jungle. I then travelled down to Nasca, then to Cusco and Machu Pichu etc. If you have any specific questions I'd be happy to try and help, feelmfree to PM me.


Thanks for your post, you've been very helpful.

Huaraz looks spectacular and I'm sure at some point I will venture out for a nights camping with some san pedro. I also realised just today that I will be spending one week less than I thought while in Peru, so I don't think I'm going to make it to Iquitos and will probably just head straight to Cuzco.

No Knowing:

I absolutely can't wait to try all the different food in each country and thanks for the advice regarding Iquitos. It may not apply to me anymore, but I'm sure I will return to South America another day for an extended trip - and no doubt many other people will find the info on this page helpful.
I go to Peru every year - I really love it there. You know all the popular places to stay, and I recommend them all (Cusco, Machu Pichu, Ollantaytambo, Lake Titikaka ect).

Iquitos or Pucallpa either one are worth your time (they are similar though - Iquitos is more touristy maybe). Other options in the jungle would be Tarapoto or Chachapoyas. Chachapoyas is higher in the mountains and next to lots of awesome temples and ruins like Kuelap.

I also really liked a place called Chavin de Huanter next to Huaraz - great temple and beautiful countryside with no tourists. Huaraz also has the best mountain climbing if you are into that.

On the coast there are some really amazing ruins next to Trujillo and Chaclayo that are worth visiting. Very different then what you find in the mountains. I notice the jungle, dessert coast and the Andes all have very different personalities in culture as well as aesthetics. It's really cool to see all 3 and experience the immense variety in each.

I did one trek that started in Iquitos and then we took a 4 day boatride down the Amazon to Yuramaguas, bus to Tarapoto, then bus to Chachapoyas and then bus to Chaclayo and down to Trujillo then Lima. Saw a lot.

The following year we started in Pucallpa and bused to Tingo Maria, then Huanuco, then La Union, then Huaraz, then Chavin, then you can go to Chaclayo, Trujillo or Lima from there.... Saw a lot on this trip as well - got really far off the beaten path - for at least a week I didnt see a single other white person besides my wife despite traveling all over....

I know great places and people for ceremony in Pucallpa, Iquitos, Cusco or Chavin, though I am not sure if we are supposed to share resources like that on the forum....
Hi Travsha, thanks for all the great information. Unfortunately, I'm spending less time time in Peru than I expected as I made a mistake with my travel arrangements, and there's a cheap flight to Rapa Nui I can't change. I'm sure I will return to South America another day, and spend much more time in Peru and check out many of the places you have suggested.

Basically, I will be landing in Lima and will head to Ica (thankyou for your recommendation for Ica Wasi Sky Motion), Cusco and any of the areas near Cusco before heading for Chile.

There's a lot of great information here, I'm sure many others will be able to use- thanks for the info everyone!
When will you be starting on your journey? Maybe you're already on your way!

Any idea when you might be in Brazil? I am there Dec - Mar in the south of Bahia. Arraial d'Ajuda. Nice area to relax and recuperate, in general easy on the pocket with a variety of affordable accomodations. If you have any general questions about Brazil, or specific questions about travel in Bahia, please ask. I'd be happy to help.
Top Bottom