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6 Days Vegetarian Cooking Vacation in Peru's Jungle

Culinary Holidays in Amazon Jungle, Peru

If you love cooking and want fresh ideas for vegetarian cooking, or if you want to learn to cook, or maybe you are a foodie, or a health enthusiast, or you are looking to explore vegetarian, vegan, and raw food, then you will love this culinary retreat! You will prepare and eat delicious plant-based food, learn, explore, rest, improve your health, and so much more. Join Tambo Ilusion, a beautiful private nature conservation area in the Amazon jungle, where ongoing alternative programs are offered.

Meet the instructors

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  • Nutrition guidance
  • Visit a local market
  • Prepare and eat plant-based foods
  • 5 hands-on culinary workshops with recipes
  • A guided walk in Tambo Ilusion's protected forest trail
  • Vegetarian, vegan, and raw food focus
  • 5 nights cozy accommodation


5 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
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Tambo Ilusion is a tropical jungle property operated by Johanne and Armando, a Canadian / Peruvian couple. Tambo Ilusion is a proud winner of the prestigious Certificate of Excellence designation received from TripAdvisor: "Certificate of Excellence 2015” and “Certificate of Excellence 2016". This award recognizes establishments that consistently earn glowing traveler reviews on TripAdvisor. Also, in 2014, Tambo Ilusion was chosen as one of Peru's top five yoga retreat centers in a publication of El Comercio. You can be sure to enjoy your stay with them!

Tambo Ilusion will transport you miles away from the city life. Tambo Ilusion is a place for nature lovers. If the luxury of a five-star establishment is what you are looking for, Tambo Ilusion might not be for you. Tambo Ilusion is not a resort, it is a "chacra" (best English translation would be a farm). At Tambo Ilusion, guests sleep in "tambos", which are cozy rustic thatched cabins that are equipped with two very comfortable double beds and mosquito nets. Each tambo has a hammock hanging on its porch.

The accommodation offers an electricity-free environment in the cabins, favoring the best ambiance to disconnect. You will be provided with decent amenities such as clean and spacious shared bathrooms, which are separate from the rooms and have flush toilets and hot water showers. Tambo Ilusion is dedicated to offer its guests a wonderfully rich experience at a reasonable price.


Vegetarian cuisine is both tasty and culturally diverse and this retreat aims to show you just that. Come discover new recipes, your talent as a cook, a new place, new people, as well as information that can inspire you to live a healthier and richer life. Johanne teaches how to prepare and eat more plant-based foods and raw foods without the dogma and the fanaticism. Her goal isn't to convert anyone to vegetarianism but to encourage and inspire people to eat a balanced diet.

If you already follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, you might become savvier and come away with delightful recipes, as the possibilities of vegetarian dishes are endless! There's so much we can do with fruits, vegetables, legumes (beans, lentils and peas), whole grains, nuts, and seeds which are all part of a balanced vegetarian diet. Come learn to transform these in delightful dining experiences that can for sure excite your palate and engage your senses. You will learn to prepare healthy breakfasts, learn about super foods, sprouting, juicing, fermenting, dehydrating, making smoothies, nut and seed milk, raw desserts and more.

This culinary retreat was created to meet the increasing interest in vegetarian food preparation from Tambo Ilusion's guests. Given the wonderful feedback Tambo Ilusion retreat center has received from its guests, not only for its natural beauty but also for the delicious vegetarian meals served, and by their curiosity and willingness to learn to prepare such delightful foods for themselves once they return home. Tambo Ilusion now offers this culinary vacation program to teach you how to take the step to move towards a healthier and more conscious way of living and eating. Tambo Ilusion offers an intimate retreat experience respecting each other and nature.

Living in harmony with nature

Experience the peace that comes from eating well and becoming more connected with nature. Tambo Ilusion is recognized by the Ministry of Environment of Peru as a private nature conservation area (ACP) and as such belongs to the large group of protected natural areas of Peru at the same rank as Pacaya Samiria national reserve, Machu Picchu sanctuary, etc. The objects of conservation are its natural spring and the forest. The jewel of Tambo Ilusion is its secluded fresh water lagoon which is cool and refreshing, just a joy to swim in. Relax on the dock while enjoying the chant of the birds and the murmur of the creek's running water.

The content of the cooking workshops within this retreat is informative, easy to understand, and digest (pun intended!). You will receive hands-on skills preparing food, practical tips and tricks, and you will taste delicious food. You will hopefully discover new foods like locro de zapallo, Johanne's vegan take on a popular Peruvian dish and much more! You will get to ask questions as you prepare meals from start to finish. The classes are fun, relaxed, and practical. Come hang out with Johanne in her kitchen. You're likely to hear the monkeys (and see them if you are lucky) as they play nearby in the forest. Currently a student of a vegetarian nutrition certification course, Johanne is happy to share her knowledge and passions with her guests.

Imagine six glorious days spent in a beautiful natural reserve, eating well, spending half the day in the kitchen learning the how-tos of vegetarian, vegan, and raw food preparation, including raw desserts! You’ll meet Johanne in the kitchen at around 08:30 and will prepare breakfast together and take the time to actually sit down and enjoy our breakfast. Together, you will then get started with preparing the midday meal and will enjoy a sit-down lunch together. The second part of the day will be spent taking a nature walk, swimming in a gorgeous fresh water lagoon, and laying in your hammock, and other activities as per your wish! The evening meals which are prepared by Daniel, the new cook, will be served in the main house. and nights are meant to digest, rest, and observe the stars. You are sure to leave Tambo Ilusion feeling rested, empowered, and inspired in many ways.

Striving for excellence

Tambo Ilusion is proud to share the award received from TripAdvisor: "Certificate of Excellence 2017". Tambo Ilusion has received this same recognition in 2015 and 2016. This award celebrates excellence in hospitality, and is given only to establishments that consistently achieve great traveler reviews on TripAdvisor.

Included excursions

The market experience is one that should not be missed while traveling. You will visit a food market so you can be a part of the local scene and get a feel of the local culture. You shall get to explore regional cuisine and witness the variety of produce offered. You'll see the locals, including what they eat, how they dress, how they relate to each other, etc. This little adventure will enrich your travel experience. You may be able to practice your language skills, take a few pictures, and you might buy a few souvenirs.


Johanne Delisle


Tarapoto is the main gateway to the northeastern jungle of Peru. Located in the San Martin province of the San Martin region, midway between the high jungle and the Amazon plains, Tarapoto is linked to the upper Amazon and the historic city of Yurimaguas by a relatively well-maintained newly paved "trans-Andean" highway.

The city is located in the valley between the rivers Mayo and Ahuashiyacu and is the center of the terrestrial networks and of the areas between the mountains, the coast and eastern Peru.

Tarapoto is the main tourist hub of this part of Peru and is often used as a "jump off" point for excursions into the vast Amazon rainforest where diversity in species reaches its maximum expression such as in Tingana and Pacaya Samiria national reserve, and for tours of the north east of Peru including the Chachapoyas culture in Amazonas with its fascinating but not well known archaeology and history, the Gran Vilaya ruins and the Kuelap fortress, the Machu Picchu of the North.

Furthermore, beautiful landscapes, amazing waterfalls, lagoons, orchids, adventure tourism such as river rafting and hiking in the tropical Andes, and bird watching attract numerous visitors to this area. Tambo Ilusion is located in the Banda de Shilcayo district which is at the eastern limit of Tarapoto city. We are near the waterfalls of Ahuashiyacu, a main attraction of the area.

Nearby places

  • Ahuashiyacu waterfalls
  • Amazon rainforest
  • Gran Vilaya ruins
  • Kuelap fortress
  • Mayo river
  • Pacaya Samiria national reserve
  • Tingana national reserve
  • Yurimaguas


Wholesome vegetarian meals are prepared three times daily. Meals are shared in the main house family style. Fruits and vegetables are fresh and seasonal. Some of the fruits come from Tambo Ilusion's own trees (citrus, papayas, mangoes, bananas, star fruit, among others). Special dietary requests are always met. Given that Tambo Ilusion offers this retreat to only one or two participants at a time, they customize it to your situation.

Before arrival, you will be asked what foods you love, what foods you dislike, if you have any food allergies or intolerances, and if you want to focus on lacto-ovo vegetarian recipes (no meat, no fish, no animal tissue products), vegan recipes (which consist of only plant-derived foods, no animal products at all, i.e. no eggs, milk, cheese, nor honey) or raw recipes. The recipes and menus are then further customized to honor such requests.

Please note that if you choose to emphasize on raw recipes, the cost of the program is higher as the ingredients used to prepare most recipes are more expensive. In that case, 50 USD per person will be added to the total package price.

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Gluten Free
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

Some of the optional activities offered are: yoga classes, massage sessions, healing sessions with a local medicine woman, Reiki sessions, and ayahuasca ceremonies. More options are available on demand. Should you want to add on extra days to your stay at Tambo Ilusion, you could visit a chocolate factory, or go on a 4-hour guided trek to a river for a picnic lunch; highly recommended.

What's included

  • 3 vegetarian meals a day
  • 5 hands-on culinary workshop of 4 hours each
  • 5 nights cozy accommodation
  • A guided nature walk in Tambo Ilusion's protected forest trail
  • Airport transfer from and to Tarapoto airport by moto-taxi (a 20-minute ride)
  • Free time for swimming in the amazing fresh water lagoon, or relaxing in your hammock
  • Johanne's cookbook which contains more than 100 recipes
  • Natural purified water
  • Nutrition guidance
  • Visit to a local market

What's not included

  • Optional lunch on day of arrival (25 PEN / 8 USD per person)
  • Optional treatments and visits are not included in the price

How to get there

Driving directions from Tarapoto

From Tarapoto, head towards El Distrito de la Banda de Shilcayo on the highway to Yurimaguas. At kilometer 2.5 (just past La Laguna Venecia) there is a dirt road on the right. Take that dirt road. You will soon come to a fork, keep right. Tambo Ilusion is about 500 meters from that fork.

Arrival by airplane

Peru is currently a very popular travel destination so we suggest booking early for international flights to Lima airport Jorge Chvez International Airport (LIM), and domestic flights. Airport taxes and fees are now included in the price of the tickets for international as well as domestic flights. Tarapoto is connected by air to Lima. The flight takes one hour and fifteen minutes. The distance separating both cities is 618 kilometers. There are four airline companies that fly daily to Tarapoto (Star Peru, Taca-avianca, Peruvian, and LAN). You are recommended to book the midday flight on Star Peru. The flight from Iquitos, Francisco Secada Vignetta International Airport (IQT) to Tarapoto takes one hour. Star Peru and LAN offer this route daily. The airport transfer from and to Tarapoto airport by moto-taxi is included. It is a 20-minute ride.

Arrival by bus

Getting to Tarapoto by bus from any town north of Lima along the Peruvian coast is relatively easy. Tarapoto is a 30-hour bus ride away (approximately 1500 kilometers or 930 miles) on a good highway. There are two bus companies: Movil Tour and CIVA. The latter is more expensive and much more comfortable. To make the trip easier, look into the possibility of cutting the trip by stopping in Chiclayo, a coastal city, for a day or two as the route goes that way anyways. In Chiclayo, there are 2 important museums: museo nacional tumbas reales de Sipan and museo Bruning.

The other option is a bus route from Lima going through Tingo Maria. This route is about 500 kilometers less mileage than going through Chiclayo, and it takes about 23 hours. The bus goes through the Andes to get to the jungle; it passes through a city called Ticlio, which is at an altitude of 4818 meters.

Arrival by ferry

There is a 3-day boat ride Iquitos - Yurimaguas on the Huallaga, Maran and Amazonas rivers. Once in Yurimaguas, take a bus to Tarapoto (a 2.5 hour ride). You may ask the driver to drop you off at Laguna Venecia (at the km 2.5 mark) and take a mototaxi to ACP Ilusion or walk around 1 kilometer.

Arrival by taxi

The most common way of getting around the city is by moto-taxi. Before hopping into a moto-taxi, make sure that it is not too noisy. Moto-taxis are a problem in many cities of Peru. There are too many of them and many drivers have part of the muffler removed which is illegal. Please act like a responsible traveler by choosing a driver that respects that law, the environment and the community. If you hire a ride pre-negotiate the price. Local people can give you an idea of the rate. There have been cases of drivers charging abusive rates to unsuspecting tourists.


  • Latitude - 0627 south
  • Longitude - 7623 west

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 25% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.

Value for money
Accommodation & facilities
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6 days / 5 nights
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This vacation is available all year round except in March and August and guaranteed to take place even if only one person signs up. Please select your arrival date below.

Special discount

There is a discount of 200 USD for the following dates:

  • February 11, 2019
  • June 17, 2019
  • October 21, 2019

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