Info & Tips
To enjoy your trip in the Bolivian Andes, we give you the following tips:
A passport is required to enter to Bolivia
US citizen need visa to enter to Bolivia. You can get this visa at the airport when you arrive. You will find a immigration post that provides this services close to the baggage claim. The cost is $ 160. Please bring cash to pay the visa. This visa is for 5 years and if you come again to Bolivia, you don't need to pay it anymore. You will be given a 90 day tourist visa when you enter to the country. However, extended visas are available at the local immigration office in La Paz.
Travel to Bolivia is convenient and safe. La Paz is a city used to receive turist from all over the world. However, we recomend to be careful when you walk in the downtown. Some pickpockets can be around this area.
You can book your flight looking at the Airport: La Paz, Bolivia (LPB-El Alto Intl.) The airlines to arrive to La Paz are: Boliviana de Aviacion, American Airlines, LAN Chile, Avianca and Copa Airlines.
When you are at the airport there is two ways to get into the city: 1) taking a minibus that will leave you in Plaza Isabel la Católica (downtown). The cost is approximatively 5-10 Bs (1.50 usd). Then you can take a taxi to your hotel. The price will be between 25 to 40 Bs depending where your hotel is located; 2) taking a taxi. The price is approximatively 100 to 150 Bs (15 to 25 usd). If you want we send you a taxi to pick you up, the cost will be 80-90 Bs. Normally the driver ask 20 to 30 Bs more to get into El Alto. If you need this service, please send us the flight details, including flight number, airline, and date and time of arrival
We recommend you to bring some cash. There are ATM in La Paz, but sometimes you can have a limit on the daily withdrawal that can bring you troubles to have cash. Also the use of credit cards is not as prevalent in Bolivia as it is in occidental countries, we recommend bringing sufficient cash, so your visit is properly financed and free of delays.
Peso Boliviano is the currency in Bolivia. It's possible to pay in US dollars in some places at the exchange rate of the day. However we recomend you to change the money you expect to use in Bolivianos (Bs.) They are several change services in downtown La Paz. If you need to change some money for your transportation to La Paz, there is a change service at the airport but the change fare is high, so try to change just 15 or 20 Usd.
Notify your bank of your travel plans, because they often automatically block cards when they are being used far from their usual neighborhood.
Please, do not count your money in front of everybody when you take fresh cash out of the ATM, keep small change handy so you don’t have to get out your wallet on buses for example.
Spanish is the official language of Bolivia but there are many dialects spoken by differents tribes and ethnic groupes. In La Paz English is spoken little. For the retreat, we speak English, Spanish and French.
Bolivia is a large, diverse country with Andean Mountains,, rainforests, deserts and an ancestral living culture. Close to La Paz there are several destinations you can reach: Potosi, Sucre, Yungas, Uyuni Salt Lake and much more. It's possible for you to extend your stay in the Inca civilization and visit Peru too. The retreat will be held close to Peru borderline so you can plan an extension to this beautiful country from Copacabana.
We can transfer to a local guide company to make reservations for you. We don't charge for this service. Feel free to contact us for more detailed information.
For futher information abour the country visit the following links:
click below to see a video of Bolivia destination
La Paz stands at over 3600m above sea level, and the airport in El Alto is even higher, at over 4000m. For this reason, you may suffer from altitude sickness, also known as soroche, a debilitating and potentially dangerous condition caused by the reduced oxygen levels found at high elevations. Mild symptoms can include breathlessness and lethargy, sleeplessness, headaches and nausea. On arrival at high altitude you should take things very slowly and get straight to a hotel where you can leave your luggage and rest. Your body will get used to the altitude in a couple days.
We recomend to drink plenty of liquids, particularly maté de coca, an infusion of coca leaves that any local will tell you is the ideal remedy. You can find as well at any pharmacie in La Paz the altitude pill called "SOROJCHIPILL". They’re high in caffeine, however, so don’t take them at night unless you fancy even less sleep than the altitude already dictates. You can take 3 pills per day for 3 days.
Try to don't eat late at night due to the lower digestion caused by the altitude.
Where do we meet?
We will meet the firt day of the retreat at 7:00 am at the Cementery of La Paz to take our bus to Copacabana. Please be sure to arrive at least 40 minutes before because the buses respect an schedule.
How long does the trip to Sun Island take?
The trip La Paz - Copacabana will take apromaxively three to four hours. In Copacabana will have our first lunch and then we will continue to the Sun Island for a couple hour in boat.
Is there electricity at our hotel?
Absolutely. Sun Island & Moon Island are ancient ceremonial pre-inca islands but today you can have the main facilities you have in La Paz or other city in Bolivia. However the power can be off for quick moments sometimes.
Is there a phone at the hotel?
Yes, the hotel has the followings phone numbers: +591-73211585, +591-76229180, +591-71227616.
You can use local cell phone. You can buy credit at any phone cards sellers at La Paz. Try to buy an ENTEL ship because the connection is better in all Bolivia. Be sure that your telephone allows to use international phone ships.
Do we have internet at the hotel?
No internet in the island. We believe the ideal setting for retreat guests is to be removed from routine life, its demands, and its energetic influences so you may focus inward for your own transformation and growth. Because Ayahuasca and Huachuma open your energetic body to healing and cleaning, you become vulnerable to energetic effects whether by phone, internet, or passing others on the streets of the town.
We strongly recommend isolation during the length of your retreat.
We will give you Wayra, or Lila phone number so your family can reach you out to those numbers.
Is it better to bring a backpack or a suitcase?
When we arrive at Sun Island there are stairs to climb so try to bring a light suitcase or much better a backpack.
I only speak English, is it difficult to travel in Boliva?
Bolivia is an easy country for travelers, there are plenty of transport options and people are generally very friendly and helpful. English is not widely spoken however, and it is a good idea to get some lessons and bring an Spanish guide book if you intend to do any travelling in Bolivia.
What about if I don't speak English for the retreat?
The shamans and the healers speak a correct English. However Lila will be assisting everybody who needs go further in any explanation or doubt. This retreat will be facilitated in English. French speakers are welcome to receive the information in french too.
What about the mosquitoes?
Mosquitoes are not a problem in La Paz, Copacabana or the Sun Island. Mosquitoes and insects doesn't cohabite in altitude areas.
Can you suggest a hotel in La Paz?
There is a selection of hotels here which you may find helpful:
Booking.com and Frommers.com have also a selection of hotels in the city. We recommend you to stay close of downtown to enjoy the life of this incredible city.
Is there hot water?
Yes, sometimes it is not as hot but warm enough to enjoy a comfartable shower. We recomend you to take your shower in daytime cause the night is pretty chilly.
Do you provide towels?
Yes, we do.
What about the electricity?
In Bolivia the standard voltage is 230 V. The standard frequency is 50 Hz. The power sockets that are used are of type A / C.
Is the water safe to drink?
Purified and bottled water is used at the hotel so the water provided for drinking can be safely consumed.
What is the number of guests in retreat?
We offer a maximum of 15 guests spots per retreat. We believe that each guest deserves individual attention for maximal healing and transformation. There is considerable time and work in between ceremonies and workshops for guests to understand and integrate their ceremony experiences, and our staff want to be available to each person to answer questions and give guidance.
Do you give back to the community of Sun Island?
Yes. We help the local schools in providing school materials for the children. We have plan to help with breakfast and snack for the students. This community has not the ressources to provide the three meals to their families, so we believe that giving the children food energy will motivate them to continuing studying in good conditions as well as keeping a good health.
Can I leave during the retreat to go into the town or other areas for shopping or sightseeing?
No. We have created an isolated retreat so guests are not distracted by routine societal activities. It is important that the participants understand the magnitude of the work they will be doing with Ayahuasca and Huachuma as well as the other alternative healing techniques. Once on Ayahuasca, Huachuma and the Dieta, your spiritual body will be energetically open for cleaning, healing and transformation. Exposing yourself to sometimes chaotic energies of society can be very detrimental to your experience and you’ll find yourself going backwards on your retreat if that occurs.
Are the ceremonies guided by a real shaman?
Our shaman healers come from Aymaras roots (Inca ancestral) and have been trained with traditional medicine men, that includes people from Bolivian and Peruvian Andes as well as Amazon rainforest. They have growed up in the shaman tradition culture bringing us this sacred knowledge.
Can I participate in the ceremonies even if I’m taking any medication?
If you are taking medications you are advised to see your GP, physician or health advisor and explain the nature of this trip to him or her then listen to their recommendations.
However, all anti depressant medications must be eliminated at least 6 weeks before the retreat begins. Anti-depressants conflict with the Ayahuasca medicine and mixing the two can cause serious ill side effects. For your information and following shaman advices, here is a list of other medications to be avoided:
Talk with your doctor before decide to leave any treatment you are following at the moment.
Can I take Ayahuasca or Huachuma if I am menstruating?
It is suggested that the women who are menstruating or pregnant abstain from participating. Period pain could perturbe your experience while journeying with Ayahuasca and Huachuma. However, if you do not experience sever pain it is ok you can participate. It is advisable to bring sanitary wear with you.
Do you use tobacco smoke during ceremonies?
Yes, jungle tobacco (mapachos) are considered a protective and calming plant teacher that greatly assists Ayahuasca’s work in ceremony.
When do you typically start ceremonies?
The ceremonies start at 9PM. Ayahuasca works best when it is dark. This helps with access to the spiritual world and maximizes visions. We will have a Huachuma ceremony in a daily peregrinage to the sacred places in the Island.