Peruvian Ayahuasca retreat packing list

What would you include in your Peruvian Ayahuasca retreat packing list?

Traveling to the Temple of the Way of Light is a journey unto itself, and I found the work began well before I arrived. Not only the cleansing effects of the Ayahuasca retreat diet, but also the emotional work that was part of the preparations for Ayahuasca ceremonies.

Then there was the packing. You may find it hard to imagine how hot and humid it is, particularly if you are coming from the depths of a Canadian winter, but think sauna-like heat.

Below I outline the essential and nice-to-have items to include in your Ayahuasca retreat packing list, with contributions from my loving fellow pasajeros.


  • Backpack
  • Sarong
  • Two pairs of bathers/bikinis (you will need two pairs as putting on wet bathers is very unpleasant)
  • Lightest cotton or bamboo dresses possible (loose, not touching your body, no sleeves)
  • Light shorts
  • Light loose tank tops
  • Torch (flashlight) – with a red light, headlamp is preferable (I painted my torch face red with nail polish)
  • Torch batteries
  • Pillow (this was something I was grateful for every night and many afternoons)
  • Adapters
  • Alarm clock
  • Alarm clock batteries
  • Water bottle
  • Umbrella or light rain jacket
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Organic shampoo, conditioner and soap
  • Thongs (flip-flops) – many people went barefoot in the Temple grounds
  • Gumboots (rubber boots) – a hassle, but you will be grateful if you are walking to or from the Temple in puddles of water and squelching mud
  • Large, thin, lightweight scarf/sarong (optional, found to be highly useful) – this can be used as a shawl/scarf, wrapped around as a dress/skirt/swimsuit cover, function as a light sheet/blanket, or wrapped into a carrying pouch, furoshiki style
  • Soles for buying work from the maestros and maestras at the end of the workshop (they have the most amazing range of work and you will be sorry if you don’t have enough money to buy something, I bought a beautiful large piece for 700 soles)

Ceremonial clothes

During Ayahuasca ceremonies you may experience variations in temperature sensations, so layers are a good idea. I found comfort to be very important and felt uncomfortable and constricted by elastic waistbands that had previously not bothered me.

Three things that you’ll be thankful for having on your Ayahuasca retreat packing list are:

  • Light, loose, long pants (light fabric and light colors)
  • Light, loose top
  • Long sleeve light fabric top, sweater, or jacket (in case the evening becomes cooler)

Nice to have

  • Phone/iPod/Mp3 player with a load of meditations, podcasts and audio books
  • Portable battery pack and applicable cables for recharging electronic devices (there is no power to recharge hence the battery)
  • Look at the list of suggested readings and perhaps put a couple of those on your e-reader/audiobook player
  • Fan (we bought one at the shop at the Temple for 10 soles)
  • Portable battery powered clip-on fan (it can feel rather warm when trying to sleep) – this is the one item I didn’t think of ahead of time but really wish I had brought
  • Eye mask (great for afternoon naps, and for not rising with the sun as it streams into your tambo)

If you are so inclined

Some other good things to pop down on your Ayahuasca retreat packing list include:

  • Lighter (matches for the lamps are provided, but a lighter is preferable and handy if you find you want to try mapacho, filterless rolled tobacco sold at la tienda)


Pack your bathers and sarong where you can find them without unpacking everything you own. When you arrive at the Temple, you will have a flower bath to cool off and cleanse (and attract positive energy).

Clothing should be light and breathable and touch your body as little as possible.

The washing can take a few days to dry as the days are very humid.

And somehow you have to fit it all in a backpack!

Leave a comment if you found something else useful at your own Ayahuasca Medicine retreat, or if there is something you wished you had taken before you ventured far into the jungle and away from any shops!

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Helen Barry

Helen loves the richness of people’s stories and sees them as the source of inspiration for strategies that support and develop their well-being. As a wellness coach, she uses listening as an effective prompt to guide people towards their own solutions.

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