Travel Safety

A Pulse Adventure Tour can show you a whole new world full of exciting creatures, beautiful natural landscapes and colorful foreign cultures … moreover, the soul-opening capacity of ayahuasca and other plant medicines. We know South America intimately and place immense focus on safety and security. However, traveling in South America is different than traveling in the first world. Even though the rewards are infinitely larger than the risks, you must be aware of the potential inherent risks that do exist.

  • South American countries have different laws and regulations in regards to transport, infrastructure, safety etc. and may be perceived as insufficient when compared to laws in many first world countries.
  • Our itineraries often include some degree of physical activity, whether mild or moderate, within hot and humid climates with powerful sun.
  • The political stability of countries within which we operate can be volatile at times, resulting in strikes, labor disputes and protests.
  • Flooding, landslides and earthquakes have been known to occur in some of the regions where we travel.
  • Though the great majority of people you meet along your travels will be benevolent, honest and genuine, South America is a continent afflicted by income disparity and poverty, thereby producing a rare few who prey on unsuspecting tourists.
  • In remote locations, such as the Amazon jungle, medical support and assistance may take hours to come.
  • Infrastructure (transport, hospitals and emergency services, etc.) in some regions of South America may be lacking compared to what you’re used to at home.

Pulse Adventure Tours is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable experience for you. We cannot control all the variables, however, so we encourage you to use both common sense and travelers’ sense to ensure an incident free and life-changing adventure.

A Safe and Effective Healing Experience

Heading to the birthplace of Ayahuasca in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest is no easy task. It’s a pilgrimage that’s just as much part of the healing as the plant medicines we work with. As part of the Ayahuasca Safety Association, we maintain the highest security standards, making sure your time with us is safe and worry-free, giving you the mental freedom and space to have a transformative experience in a secure, trusted, authentic environment.

Group Travel

As soon as we meet up on Day 1 of your retreat, you will not be alone. We offer airport pickups for participants of the Machu Picchu and Amazon Ayahuasca Expedition. For the jungle-only retreats, we typically recommend arriving the night before, to avoid any stress and account for any delays before meeting at 9 am on Day 1. In this case, we can recommend a trustworthy hostel that we work with that offers airport pickup included in their stay, so you will be escorted from the moment you exit the plane until we meet up as a group.

In addition to being together as a group the entire time, we are escorted by police officers on our 4 hour journey to the Center, as an added precaution. They are licensed to carry, so there is no chance of the group being approached in an unwanted way. We also only travel to and from the Center during the daytime, minimizing any additional risk.

At the Center

Safety is our highest priority and we embody that in a variety of ways during your stay with us:

  • Arkana Spiritual Center employs security guards on site at the Center at all times.
  • We have experienced facilitators on hand who are aware of the safety protocols both in and out of ceremony.
  • We ensure that all guests who partake in ceremonies are off any medication that could interfere with any of the medicines.
  • We have trained members of staff who are able to perform CPR and use our defibrillator and fully stocked medical kit, and our wilderness-trained medic is able to perform such treatments as minor surgeries in a wilderness setting.
  • We are only an hour from the hospital should any emergency arise (we have never had an incident requiring this, thankfully).

See below for recommendations and suggestions that you can take to maximize your safety and security during your pilgrimage.

Before You Go

  • Ensure you travel medical insurance. Incidents are rare but do happen. It’s best to be prepared so you can recover any financial losses and know that you have medical support if needed.
  • Bring copies of your passport and identification, just in case you lose your documents and need to quickly organize new ones with your embassy or consulate in the country you’re traveling.
  • You can register your travel plans with your embassy, consulate or other services such as Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) – (http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/go/step.html)
  • Inform your friends and family of your trip and leave a copy of your itinerary with them.
  • Have a physical examination done by your doctor, explaining to her the nature of your upcoming adventure. They should be informed you may be consuming psychedelic medicines such as ayahuasca, San Pedro and Kambo.

In The Ceremony

  • Ensure you avoid recreational drugs and antidepressants containing SSRIs for at least one week before you consume ayahuasca.
  • Keep an LED flashlight in your pocket during the ceremony. Sometimes ayahuasca can impair motor skills and make it difficult to find your light.
  • Keep your bucket close. Vomiting can come on unexpectedly.
  • Stay close to the maloca (ceremonial building). This is where you are safe. Do not wonder into the surrounding brush, no matter how connected you feel to nature. Snakes, ants and other biting insects are present in the jungle.
  • Have confidence in the process and be calm and present. Your best interests are our top priority. If things get heavy, understand that it’s only temporary and within a short time you will feel normal again. Tomorrow you will feel better than ever before.

On The Road

  • Wear seatbelts and lifejackets when available.
  • Use registered taxis whenever possible. They’re usually identifiable at taxi kiosks in airports and bus stations, with uniforms, registration numbers on their vehicles and identification inside their vehicles.
  • Keep your hands on your luggage when traveling in open air vehicles and stopping at traffic lights.
  • Keep your doors locked when traveling in taxis in the city.
  • Use zipper locks for your bags when traveling on buses.
  • Listen to safety briefings during group meetings and on airliners.
  • Bring adequate hiking shoes for trips in the Andes.
  • Only participate in activities that you are comfortable with. Nothing is mandatory. You can leave at any time.
  • Inform us immediately if you begin to experience signs of altitude sickness when we’re traveling in the Andes. Mild symptoms may include headache, fatigue, nausea, stomach illness, dizziness, sleep disturbance, and shortness of breath.

In The Streets

  • Avoid flashing signs of wealth and public, such as expensive watches, expensive cameras, expensive cell phones and computers. Pickpockets are common in South America.
  • When possible, leave your valuables such as money, electronics and documents in the hotel room safe. Hotel incidents are rare, but best to avoid temptation.
  • Only bring a modest amount of cash with you when you’re strolling city streets in South America; especially at night.
  • Be very cautious while walking alone at night, and avoid it where possible.
  • Walk with a purpose, as though you are aware of your destination.
  • If anyone stops you in the street, such as a group of children playing or someone asking for directions, be aware of your valuables and be cautious of hands in your pockets. As in many other places in the world, people with no money approach people with some money, often times with a fantastic story of why they need some money. It’s best to say no, keep your wallet in your pocket and to not support this type of behaviour.
  • If the unlikely event occurs when you are mugged in the streets, do not resist. Resistance can lead to violent incidents. Allow the thieves to take your belongings and we will file a police report for you so you can make an insurance claim. For this reason, it’s advisable to leave your important documents, your valuables and the majority of your cash in the hotel safe.