This article answers the following questions we´ve received from clients and students who are planning to stay with us in Pisac, in the heart of The Sacred Valley of Peru, for an ayahuasca retreat, dieta, private ayahuasca ceremony, or self-study program:
Having access to a complete packing guide and checklist is an absolute necessity when planning for an ayahuasca retreat in The Sacred Valley of Peru and traveling internationally outside your country-of-origin. Your travels to Casa Galactica in Pisac, Peru will place you in the Andes Mountains, the world´s longest mountain range, with a vast chain of snow-capped peaks and temperate fertile valleys. We´ve created this complete packing guide so that you´ll know what to expect and how to properly prepare and pack for your stay with us at Casa Galactica, in the heart of these magnificent mountains in the Quechua region known as the Sacred Valley of Peru.
1. What is the temperature and weather like in Pisac, Peru?
Our Casa Galactica Multi-dimensional Center for Healing & Evolution resides in Pisac, within The Sacred Valley of Peru. The village of Pisac is at an elevation of 9,750 feet (2,972 meters), and it is located within the Andean Climate Zone (la Sierra) of Peru, with temperatures ranging from warm, to cool, to cold, depending on the season and time of day.
Because Pisac is in the southern hemisphere, the summer months (also considered "rainy season") are from September to April, and the winter months (also considered "dry season") are from May to August. During the rainy season, temperatures are mild and more consistent from day to night, with an average of 68°F to 79°F (20°C to 26°C), and the average monthly rainfall is 4". During the dry season, temperatures are more varied, with more hours of full sun and colder nights, with a range from 32°F to 70°F (0°C to 20°C), and the average monthly rainfall is .5".
In other words, and depending on the season, you can expect to experience a range of temperatures throughout the day, as well as variations in sun and cloud cover. So when you´re planning which clothes to pack for your stay at Casa Galactica, think layers! At the base level, you´ll want to have shorts, a short-sleeve t-shirt, a long-sleeve t-shirt, a hoodie, a rain jacket, long pants and/or leggings, warm socks, hiking shoes (ideally waterproof), sandals, warm pajamas, a sun hat, and a stocking cap.
And don´t forget to bring your sunscreen and stay hydrated. Due to the high altitude of the village of Pisac, we are much closer to the sun and the air is drier, which means that you may get a sunburn and dehydrate in a shorter amount of time than you´re used to.
2. What clothes and necessities should I pack?
When it comes to packing and preparing for your trip to Casa Galactica in Pisac, think layers, comfort, and altitude. As mentioned in the answer above, in Pisac you can expect to experience a range of temperatures throughout the day, as well as variations in sun and cloud cover. It may be cold and dry overnight (36°F/2°C), then by 10:00am in the morning it may be warm and sunny (78°F/26°C), and by 2:00pm in the afternoon it may be cool and rainy (64°F/18°C).
This means that you´ll want to dress (and pack) with consideration of layering your clothes to accommodate the intermittent changes in weather and temperatures throughout the day. At the base level, you´ll want to have shorts, a short-sleeve t-shirt, a long-sleeve t-shirt, a hoodie, a rain jacket, long pants and/or leggings, warm socks, hiking shoes (ideally waterproof), sandals, house shoes, and a warm pair of pajamas.
Similarly, be sure to dress and pack for comfort. Pisac, Peru is an endearingly casual and outdoorsy village. It´s commonplace for people, locals and visitors alike, to walk to and from town, 1 to 2 kilometers, alongside the main road or river. Furthermore, if you are staying with Casa Galactica for an ayahuasca retreat, dieta, private ayahuasca ceremony, or self-study program, then you will be participating in activities throughout the day that are held indoors and outdoors, such as yoga, qigong, teaching sessions, meditation, plant walks, and ayahuasca ceremony. Take this opportunity to nurture yourself and pack clothes that are comfortable and conducive to light physical movement, rest, warmth, and relaxation such as soft sweaters, casual leggings, worn jeans, fleece jackets, cotton sweatpants, flannel pajamas, and cozy t-shirts.
As we´ve already mentioned, the village of Pisac is at an elevation of 9,750 feet (2,972 meters), which means that you will possibly physically experience the increase in altitude upon your arrival. You may feel short of breathe initially due to the lower concentration of oxygen in the air, your skin may flake or crack due to the effects of the dry air, you will physically dehydrate quicker, and you will get sunburned faster than normal due to the closer proximity to the sun. Accordingly, be sure to pack a large-brimmed sun hat or ball cap, sunscreen, plenty of lotion or moisturizer for body and face, lip balm, and a 1-liter reusable water bottle.
3. Do I need to bring a swimsuit and sunscreen?
If you are participating in an ayahuasca retreat with Casa Galactica, you will want to bring some form of swimsuit or swim trunks for the plant vapor baths. The plant vapor baths are held outdoors, and you will want to expose as much as your skin to the plant vapors as possible. Whether you wear shorts, shorts and a tank top, a one piece swimsuit, a bikini, or a sports bra and shorts matters not. Just wear something comfortable that can tolerate dampness from the steam and vapors of the plants.
If you are staying with Casa Galactica for a self-study program, or if you are extending your stay with us to enjoy The Sacred Valley, and you´re interested in actually swimming for recreation or exercise, there is an olympic-size swimming pool in Pisac available to use for an affordable daily fee. If you´d like to use this pool while staying with us, definitely bring your swimsuit or swim trunks.
And as already mentioned, the sun in Pisac is more direct, and you may find yourself getting a sunburn quicker than normal. We suggest packing sunscreen and/or proper sun-protective apparel, such as a large-brimmed sun hat, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants.
4. Should I bring my electronic devices or leave them at home?
The decision to pack and bring your electronic devices - cell phone, laptop, tablet, camera, etc - is up to you. Obviously, having a cell phone on you while traveling internationally is important and beneficial. Depending on your cell phone provider, you should have good cell signal in Lima, Cusco, and Pisac. Before you leave home for your trip to Casa Galactica, we suggest that you and your emergency contact install the WhatsApp, Signal, or Telegram app onto your cell phones for free worldwide long-distance calling and texting while in Peru. This will allow you to stay in touch with family and friends without paying for long distance or texting fees.
We also suggest to all our ayahuasca retreat and dieta participants to take full advantage of being technologically disconnected and to use this time of sweet solitude to be completely immersed in your own healing processes, personal growth, and illuminating experiences. We turn the WiFi off at our Center during our ayahuasca retreats and dietas to cultivate the optimum environment for your personal healing and evolution. We’ve found that it’s actually quite nice, and very different in the world we live in today, to have an opportunity to “be away from it all” and simply be focused on yourself. However, if you find it beneficial to take notes on your laptop or tablet, please feel free to bring it and use it accordingly.
If you are participating in a private ayahuasca ceremony or a self-study program at Casa Galactica, or if you are planning to extend your stay and book additional time with us at our Center, we have fast, stable WiFi online and available for you.
And last but not least, bring your camera! The Andes Mountains and The Sacred Valley of Peru are absolutely stunning, the views are world-class, and the vibrant, colorful culture is unmatched. You´ll definitely want to capture photographs of your trip and experiences here.
5. What are the accommodations like at Casa Galactica?
The Casa Galactica Multi-dimensional Center for Healing & Evolution campus consists of two lodging dwellings and an enclosed shared garden area with views out to the Andes Mountains. The larger dwelling, the main Casa, contains (2) private bedrooms, 2 full shared bathrooms with hot showers, a large kitchen, a gracious dining room for shared meals, a 4-participant ceremony space, a private session room, and an enclosed 2nd-story veranda with floor-to-ceiling windows and plenty of sun and natural light.
The smaller dwelling, the Casita, contains (2) private bedrooms (1 bedroom has a private balcony with views out to the Andes Mountains), 1 full shared bathroom with hot shower, a kitchen, a living room, and a small private garden with views out to the Andes Mountains.
Each of the (4) private rooms are well-appointed with a luxurious queen-size platform bed, 100% cotton sheets, a duvet and 100% cotton duvet cover, (2) additional blankets, (2) memory foam pillows, a dresser, a desk and chair, wall-mount hooks or hangers, an electric space heater, a personal yoga mat, and a personal meditation cushion.
6. How much cash should I have on hand for my trip?
We can´t tell you how much cash to bring with you on your trip, but we can share some relevant information to help you make that decision yourself.
First, our retreats and dietas are all-inclusive, which means the cost of your program includes all meals, lodging, and transport to and from Cusco airport. Our private ayahuasca ceremonies are also all-inclusive, which means the cost of your ceremony includes the ayahuasca ceremony itself, post ceremony snacks and drinks, sleeping accommodations in the ceremony space, and breakfast the next day. Anything outside of the retreat, dieta, or private ayahuasca ceremony package is at your own expense. If you are joining us for a self-study program, you will need to refer to your payment invoice to better understand what is and is not included in the cost of your program.
Second, the village of Pisac, which you may wish to visit either before or after your retreat or dieta or private ayahuasca ceremony, is a 20-minute walk and 5 minute moto-taxi ride from our Center. The village abounds with beautiful, one-of-a-kind artisanal fabrics and apparel, cultural wares, Quechua crafts, and restaurants and cafes with traditional and eclectic cuisine. You may desire to spend your money on any one of these things.
Third, The Sacred Valley boasts countless archaeological ruins, including world-renowned Machu Picchu. You may want to extend your stay and enjoy our Sacred Sites Adventure Tour either before or after your program with us.
Fourth, you may also want to have cash on hand in the case of an emergency.
Furthermore, the cost of goods and services in Pisac is approximately 1/4 to 1/3 the cost of goods and services in the U.S., which means that your money will stretch further here. The local currency in Peru is Peruvian soles (PEN), and the exchange rate from U.S. dollars (USD) to Peruvian soles (PEN) is typically 3.75 to 3.91.
Finally, there are ATMs in the village, although please check with your bank to ensure that your debit/credit card(s) will work internationally prior to leaving your country of origin. It is also often best to exchange currency before arriving in Peru.
7. What shouldn´t I bring?
First and foremost, and for your own sanity, we suggest that you refrain from packing too many clothes. As mentioned already, Pisac, Peru is an endearingly casual and outdoorsy village. So be sure to dress and pack for comfort and changes in weather and temperature. Also remember that regular laundry service is included in the cost of your retreat or dieta, so you´ll have a chance to wash your clothes every 3 to 4 days.
And there´s no need to bring bath towels, hand towels, blankets, pillows, or bed linens. Casa Galactica is a fully furnished lodging center, and all of your dwelling needs will be aptly accommodated.
Furthermore, if you are staying with us for a retreat or dieta, you can expect that home-cooked meals, healthy snacks, fresh juices, herbal teas, and clean drinking water will be available in ample supply. Please do not bring additional or outside snacks, foods, munchies, or beverages with you on retreat or dieta.
If you are joining us for a retreat or a dieta, then you are already aware that specific medications, pharmaceuticals, street drugs, supplements, and plant medicines are contraindicated with ayahuasca, which means that it can be detrimental to your physical health to ingest them while drinking ayahuasca. Please do not bring any medications, pharmaceuticals, street drugs, supplements, or other plant medicines with you on retreat or dieta, unless you have been specifically allowed to do so in your Personalized Medical Guidelines within your Participation Agreement. Casa Galactica has a comprehensive first aid kit, supplies, and over-the-counter medications should anything be needed.
You also have permission to relax your "getting ready" routine (or you may desire to nix it altogether) while staying with us. In other words, you may want to consider refraining from packing all of your make-up, hair & beard products, colognes/perfumes, electric shavers, jewelry/watches, grooming supplies, etc. Feel free to give yourself a break and practice a lower-maintenance daily self-care routine.
Finally, we suggest that during your stay with us you plan to "unplug" from your cell phone, hit pause on calling and messaging with friends and family, and take a break from engaging with social media. One of the best gifts you can give yourself during your retreat or dieta is solitude and sanctuary from all of the inputs of the outside world. You deserve space and time to enjoy your own personal vibe and energy and to indulge in getting to know your own unique rhythms and inner truth.
8. What can I do to alleviate altitude sickness upon my arrival in Pisac, Peru?
The village of Pisac, where Casa Galactica is located, is at an elevation of 9,750 feet (2,972 meters). If your hometown and country-of-origin is at an elevation lower than 9,750 feet, you may experience some temporary physical discomforts, i.e. altitude sickness, upon your arrival to Casa Galactica. You’ll typically experience these symptoms within hours after arriving here, and symptoms usually resolve on their own shortly as your body acclimates to the change in elevation. If you feel symptoms of altitude sickness (such as nausea, headache, fatigue, or shortness of breath), your body is simply reacting to getting less oxygen out of the thinner, lower pressure air that exists at higher altitudes than your body is used to.
That being said, it´s amazing how well the human body can adapt to higher altitudes when given proper time and preparation to do so. Your heart rate and breathing will adapt by speeding up, and your blood will develop higher-than-normal amounts of red blood cells. The rest of your cells slowly change too, so that they use oxygen more efficiently.
Proper hydration, however, is key in adjusting to the higher altitudes and drier climate of Pisac, Peru. We suggest that you drink at least 3 to 5 liters of water daily for at least 5 days before arriving at Casa Galactica, to prepare your body for the change in altitude. We also have plenty of water, hydrating plant drinks, fruit juices, and herbal teas available upon your arrival to assist you in this adjustment. And don´t forget to bring your reusable water bottle, so that you may continue to properly hydrate yourself throughout your stay with us.
As part of the Healing Diet & Preparation for your retreat, dieta, or private ayahusca ceremony, it is suggested that you abstain from alcohol at least 2 weeks prior to the start of your program and that you abstain from caffeine at least 1 week prior to the start of your program. Alcohol and caffeine are not only dehydrating, but they also inhibit the body´s ability to properly adjust to higher altitudes.
If you are joining us for a retreat, dieta, or private ayahuasca ceremony, please do not pack or ingest altitude tablets before, during, or immediately after your stay with us. Altitude tablets are often contraindicated with ayahuasca and may cause physical discomfort, harm, or even death if taken while ayahuasca is in your system. Alternatively, we have natural plant remedies available at our Center that can assist you in adjusting to the altitude of 9,750 feet in Pisac, without detrimental physical effects. The itinerary for our retreats and dietas also take into consideration acclimatization in the scheduling, as we gently ease you into plant medicines and activities upon arrival.
9. Do you have a packing checklist?
We know what a big decision it is, to not only travel internationally, but to also participate in an ayahuasca retreat or plant dieta for your own personal healing and evolution. We also understand how important and absolutely helpful it is to have access to a complete packing guide and checklist when specifically planning for an ayahuasca retreat in The Sacred Valley of Peru.
Therefore, we´ve created this complete packing guide article and the following handy, download-able, and printable Ayahuasca Retreat Packing Checklist, so that you´ll know exactly what to expect and how to properly prepare and pack for your stay with us at Casa Galactica, in the heart of these magnificent mountains in the Quechua region known as the Sacred Valley of Peru. We look forward to seeing you soon!
On a personal note, it was 2016 when I was intuitively inspired to make a trip to the Peruvian Amazon to study in the Shipibo tradition of plant spirit healing ("curanderismo"). I was a big-sky-and-prairie-loving Oklahoman, I didn´t know a lick of Spanish, and I was intimidated by international travel in general. I´m also a Capricorn who prefers foundations, tools, and efficiency, so I sought out an easy-to-learn online Spanish program, and I created my own comprehensive packing list and personal trip preparation guide to ease my fears. Fast-forward to the present, and after not only making that first trip to Peru, but also then meeting my husband and officially living in Peru now for almost 5 years, that original packing list and preparation guide has continued to evolve from the knowledge gained and lessons learned through our combined direct experience of this magical Sacred Valley of Peru. We hope you benefit from it!
And if you’re feeling inspired to be part of an intimate, 4-person group of participants on a deeply healing and consciouness-expanding retreat, join us for an upcoming 10-Day Ayahuasca Healing & Evolution Retreat in Pisac, Peru.
Jamie Csizmadia Thornhill
Cofounder of Casa Galactica
Jamie is an Intuitive Medium & Plant Spirit Healer, and her greatest joy is not only sharing Spirit’s guidance, but also teaching and empowering her fellow humans in discovering, strengthening, and embodying their own intuitive abilities and inner truth.
She also delights in making the multi-dimensional realms comprehensively practical and accessible to all, through words and direct inner experience.