Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) & Helpful Hints
NOTE: Some of these may seem really obvious, but all of them have been raised from time to time.
WHERE IS YACU PUMA CENTER?
– The school is located just outside the city of Iquitos, Peru, about 600 miles northwest of Lima at the edge of the Amazon rainforest.
Zona aereopuerto, calle 16 de junio, pasaje colon.
The road to the Yacu Puma center on the right side when you EXIT the airport gate.
Follow the unpaved road to the center about 600m (when you pass the 1st road on the left, count 2 houses and you are there).
To get to the Yacu Puma Center you will need to book a flight to Lima (Peru capital) and from there a domestic flight to Iquitos. You can also take a bus and a boat from Lima to Iquitos but it will take a week (and will cost more or less the same as flight).
These are 3 airlines that flying LIMA-IQUITOS-LIMA. Round trip will be cheaper and should be around 130$ (USD).
Star Peru (cheap one)
Peruvian Airlines (also cheap one)
Lan Peru (expensive)
– Contact us if you want some one to pick you up from Iquitos airport.
WHAT’S THE CLIMATE/WEATHER LIKE THERE?
– Hot and humid. The average temperature ranges between 20 – 30C (68 – 86F) with rain a constant possibility, some nights can be a little colder.
HOW FAR IS IT FROM THE AIRPORT?
– Within walking distance, less than 750 m (0.5 mile) – don’t let the 3 wheels motorcycle taxi drivers charge more than 6-8 soles.
The road to the house is unpaved for the last 600m (about 0.25 mile) – it turns into a sea of mud when it rains.
HOW FAR IS IT FROM THE CENTER OF TOWN?
– Town is 7 km (4.2 miles) away, reachable by motorcycle taxi in 15 – 20 min or by bus in 30 min (approx.) A motorcycle taxi should cost no more than 6-8 soles while the bus is 1 soles (as of March 2016)
DO PEOPLE SPEAK ENGLISH THERE?
– No, nobody in the Maestro’s family can, though some restaurants and tourist attractions in town have some English- speaking staff. If you don’t speak Spanish, GET A PHRASEBOOK NOW and start studying or get some apps to your smartphone and practice Spanish as hard as you can, there is a high possibility that you’ll need it.
There may or may not be anyone available to translate; it depends who is visiting when you arrive.
WHAT’S THE ACCOMMODATION LIKE? (JUNGLE CAMP/HOUSE)
– Most of the time is spent in the house near the airport. (Jungle trips tend to last 4-5 days, though longer periods can be arranged.)
IS THERE ELECTRICITY?
– House yes, 220V, European two-pin or US style plugs both work. Some US appliances may not function due to voltage differences – check before you arrive.
IS THERE RUNNING WATER/TOILETS/SHOWERS?
– House yes – there are two dorm rooms (2/3 beds each) with their own sink, shower, and toilet and also another 2 rooms that shares the sink, shower and toilet with others. the room you’ll get depends on who else is there at the time.
DO NOT FLUSH THE TOILET PAPER – wastebaskets are provided for your use.
Will be available around October 2016 (Jungle camp – there is a toilet and shower but they must be run off a gas (petrol)-fueled generator. There is also a creek nearby that is pleasant for bathing. There is no running water for hand-washing. There are screened-in rooms with hammocks. Currently there are 3 hammocks/room but this may change.)
IS THERE A PHONE?
– House: Spanish speaking/English : +51 938620038
– Jungle camp – no.
IS THERE INTERNET?
– No. We generally go into town to use internet cafes. 15 min with mototaxi.
-Yes. you can buy a local SIM card (3g/4g) to your smartphone, MovieStar and Claro are the main suppliers, There is no connection problems with 3g/4g signal in the area. MovieStar has a better deals then Claro.
IS THERE A REFRIGERATOR?
-Yes , but fresh food is cooked & served everyday.
IS THERE ONSITE LAUNDRY?
– No, though clothing can be washed out and hung to dry. There are many laundry services in town that can wash, dry, and fold your laundry within 4-6 hours.
WILL MY CELL PHONE WORK THERE?
– It depends on your provider. Check before you arrive, most of the new smartphone works with the local suppliers.
DO I NEED TO BRING A LOT OF CASH WITH ME?
WHAT FACILITIES ARE AVAILABLE?
– ATM’s, There are ATM’s in the main square in town (the Plaza de Armas). Most dispense either US dollars or Peruvian soles, though some only do one or the other. It is strongly recommended to take money out IN SOLES, as exchanging dollars can be tricky: if your dollar bills are in ANY WAY dirty, folded, marked, or torn, they will not be accepted by banks. They may be accepted by other money changers. Street money changers should be used only as a last resort, especially if your Spanish isn’t very good. Count your money carefully in all cases.
– WIRE SERVICES, There are several places in town that send and receive wire transfers (Western Union, etc.). The main Western Union office is on Jr. Prospero, just a few blocks away from the Plaza de Armas. Ask to receive money IN SOLES if possible, due to the exchange problems highlighted above.
– IMPORTANT: Make sure you have access to enough funds to cover the time you intend to spend here. There will be no opportunity to earn, as unemployment here is about 65% even for Peruvians. Locals sell handcrafts in the market, but foreigners rarely do so successfully. There is little demand for high-tech skills in the short term, unless you have managed to set something up before you arrive.
PAYING THE MAESTRO:
The Maestro doesn’t have a bank account, all payments to him must be either in cash (while you’re here) or as wire transfers (before you arrive).
– For a wire transfer, all you need is his full name (Juan Tangoa Paima) and the city (Iquitos, Peru). You will be given a transaction code when you make the transfer. Email him and let him know how much you have sent (IN SOLES where possible; check www.xe.com for current exchange rates) and the code. He can then pick it up in town.
– It is best to pay weekly while you are here, rather than in one lump sum.
– Do not bring anything you would be heartbroken to lose or get stained.
– Most people will be able to find suitable clothing locally, with a few exceptions:
– SIZES: People in Iquitos tend to be small. If you are taller than 5′ 7″ (170 cm), have feet larger than a US size 8 (6 UK, 39 Euro), or wear the larger clothing sizes, you will struggle to find anything suitable.
– MATERIALS: Industrially produced cotton and artificial fibers dominate. If you want organic cotton, hemp, silk, bamboo, etc., you won’t find it here. Nor will you find high-tech outdoor clothing or equipment.
– TOILETRIES: Again, basic commercially produced items abound, but anything organic or biodegradable you’ll need to bring with you. Local stores have recently started stocking tampons, but there isn’t much of a selection. Mosquito repellent here is very low-strength and full of DEET, so you will probably want to bring your own.
– BATTERIES: South American batteries are not generally as good as those in more developed areas. Consider bringing your own rechargeable.
NOTE: If you are in a habit of using Wax for hair removal – it doesn’t work very well in Iquitos because of the heat and humidity. If you really want to do it, you’ll have to go to a salon.
– I advise to see a doctor and ask him what vaccine you need for the Peruvian Amazon.
If you need to stay in Lima there are two options. One is near the airport and it cost around 10$ US a night, this option is good if you just need to stay for the night. Option two is to go to miraflores area or other good part of Lima, this will cost more but if you going to stay more then one night and you want to explore Lima this is the place for you. You can find some nice hostels here – http://www.hostels.com/
The family can always use:
– unwanted, good-quality clothing and shoes
– outdated laptops/iPods
– quality lighters (Bic or similar, for the gas stove)
– good flashlights
– First Aid materials
NOTE: There are usually around a dozen kids of varying ages in residence. Any noisy toys will be played with incessantly and annoyingly until the batteries run out and/or they get lost or broken. Large amounts of candy should be given to adults so that the kids don’t inhale them and go crazy.
– Gifts often get lost/broken/otherwise ruined within days, or sold when the recipient needs money.
– People here may ask you to “loan” them money. You are under no obligation, and you should be aware that you are unlikely to be paid back.
– Privacy is a very flexible concept here. Often there is concession to visual privacy (partitions or curtains) which do nothing to screen sounds. People will play music/watch TV/talk or yell with no regard for who might be trying to sleep or otherwise wanting quiet. It is considered very strange for anyone to want to be alone, especially women. Women walking alone may be followed by men trying to “accompany” them. This is part of the culture, so be prepared.
– Hugging casual acquaintances is not normal among Peruvians. Hugs are usually reserved for lovers and family members. Hugging Peruvians can imply to them that you wish to start an intimate relationship. Be aware!