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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.
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.
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.
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.
Self Taught (Vegetarian)
Yoga Alliance E-RYT 200 (Hatha Yoga)
Johanne is a self-taught cook. In 1998, she started working in the kitchen and soon became the main cook at a beautiful hostel in Costa Rica and made a name for herself. That is where she was first introduced to the concept of vegetarian food by its vegetarian guests. Johanne became a vegetarian herself 8 years later. In 2011, Johanne became the cook at Tambo Ilusion Retreat Center where she inspired many to eat more plant-based meals. Johanne holds a vegetarian nutrition certificate and is a mind-body nutrition coach.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"This has been an experience that completely answered my needs, my wants, and my desires. I searched through the USA before I found Tambo Ilusion and my heart soared with excitement. Johanne was offering a vegan retreat - and to push the envelope further, I asked for gluten free as well. There’s no stopping Johanne’s enthusiasm for great nutrition and sharing her knowledge. What a privilege to have met Johanne and Armando. People with loving hearts, strong focus and ethics. Tambo Ilusion is a beautiful conservation property. It is beautifully presented. The accommodation is incredibly comfortable. Best bed I have slept in in weeks. Coming from many thousands of miles away in the world is emotionally busy, travelling is physically challenging in its many forms. Tambo Ilusion has been the respite I needed after weeks of being on high alert in foreign lands. Here I have relaxed, unwound and rejuvenated over five days and I am ready to go on for many more weeks of travel. I have addressed physical aches and pains. Johanne organized a massage for me by a local woman. I have eaten the most delicious, nutritious meals in abundance. Never did hunger visit me here. Emotionally, I am feeling calm in a state of inner peace thanks to the yoga from Johanne. I would never hesitate to return here should I return to Peru and see my new friends for a follow-up retreat."
BookCulinaryVacations.com website, edited
"Once in a lifetime experience, Ill be going back! There's a few places that I have experienced in my life time that I can say have truly changed my life. In the 5 days that I spent at Tambo Illusion with Jo and Armando with my love, my life changed through the amazing, healthy vegetarian cooking and gentle yoga classes twice a day with learning deeply about my yoga practice.As an intermediate Ashatangi, practicing 5 times a day week, Jo's classes were deeply informative and taught me how to bring deeper alignment to my practice. I thoroughly loved her classes and her gentle guidance on how to continuously improve. I highly recommend the yoga retreat to anyone who is interested in learning more about themselves in a relaxing, beautiful environment.The reason why I chose Tambo Illusion is because it looks like a really authentic place in the jungle with still the comfort of a high quality hotel. Everything is perfectly clean, comfortable, with the chance to take your mind off all your troubles and truly relax. I've never felt so refreshed in my life!! My favorite part of the stay was Jo and Armando! Armando has such a deep passion for this land, as he has cultivated it for the last 30 years.During our long hike, we learned a lot about the jungle and explored. He took us to his secret spot which was so relaxing and fun to dip into the water. Jo is truly a magical, loving women with so many skill-sets. After eating her clean, vegetarian meals, that were better than anything I've ever cooked before, I'm inspired to learn more about healthy eating.If you have the chance to try out her cooking class, you will learn more than you ever imagined. The fact that she has so many creative, unique ingredients in the jungle is truly a surprise!!! We had long talks for hours and I learned so much about myself. I love Tambo Illusion and I will be back with family and close friends. What a magical oasis!"
BookYogaRetreats website, edited
"If you are passionate for both nature conservation and yoga, this is probably the best destination in the world for you. Joanne's and Armando's treat is warm and personalized. The food is all super healthy and tasty. You get to see wild monkeys, swim in a pond. And you are still close enough to Tarapoto to enjoy the perks of the city. It was a great experience and I'm willing to get back."
TripAdvisor website, edited
"I had a great and relaxing time at Tambo Ilusion. Johanne and Armando are both giving people that helped me with everything I needed/wanted. Tambo Ilusion provided me with a much needed escape from society, the internet, and social media. I enjoyed doing the trip on my own for some solitude and time for self reflection, but can also imagine this being a great place to go with loved ones. I'm not sure if I would do the culinary immersion with others, as the kitchen is a bit small for several people. I spent the mornings learning healthy and delicious meals that I have already made in the 3 days I have been home! I even had the opportunity to explore the local markets to buy some of the ingredients. Between cooking, gentle yoga, and swimming and the lagoon I had a lot of fun and left feeling restored. Tambo Ilusion provides an amazing experience for a great value. There is also an opportunity to do ayahuasca for a night if you ask in advance."
TripAdvisor website, edited
"In my title I said this was a life changing experience. I don't use these words lightly. We were three friends backpacking through Peru. After the excesses of our last stop in Cusco, we felt like we needed a break. Destiny (and TripAdvisor) led us to Tambo Illusion. Tambo Illusion was the perfect retreat. Armando and Johanne were super flexible in customizing a two-day package, which we later extended. Our program included some amazing yoga classes in a beautiful yoga studio, some spectacular hikes, several detox programs, an encounter with ayowasca, and, of course, a lot of free time to swim in the lagoon and self reflection time. Tambo Illusion is set in Tarapoto where the Andes meets the Amazon; that being said, we were privy to experience several different types of landscapes during our amazing hike with Aramando. Armando is extremely passionate about conservation and preservation; he is a wealth of information. Don't miss the hike! Their property is a nature lovers paradise. The accommodation; though basic, was extremely comfortable and very clean. There are electrical outlets available in the communal areas to charge your phones; bring a flashlight. Armando's son and his girlfriend were in charge of our nutrition. From probiotics to vegetarian feasts they took care of all our needs! Tambo Illusion provided us with an insight into Amazonian culture and beliefs; this combined with new age outlook was a perfect match!"
TripAdvisor website, edited
"Stayed here to detox after copious amounts of alcohol. Great place, amazing food, friendly staff. Very knowledgeable about the area. In the town of Tarapoto not much English is spoken. Claro did work in the area but not well. The lagoon is a nice temperature and the mud is soft and can be used on the face."
TripAdvisor website, edited
"Tambo Ilusion was the perfect place to take friends that had never visited the Amazon. We left Lima at 4 p.m. and by sunset we were already swimming in their lake. When we woke up Armando and Johanne took the best care of us: a yoga session, followed up by tasty and healthy food and a short walk through the forest left us with our senses completely awakened. I deeply recommend this place because by visiting Tambo Ilusion we are also supporting a nature conservation project based on healing our minds, bodies and spirits.!"
Tripadvisor website, edited
"The experience I had in Tambo illusion was the climax of my vacation. I had read great comments about the place but arriving there, was at another level of greatness. For me, it had everything you need for a yoga retreat and even more. I arrived the first day from Lima really tired and overwhelmed. The first minutes on the site of Tambo illusion are just like arriving in paradise with the small lake with the purest water, with the small cabana and an amazing hammock just outside to chill out after lunch or whenever you feel like sleeping. And the profound peace and quiet are just amazing. Johanne and Armando are the two kindest person I ever meet, they make you feel like home, are interested in knowing you and they will show you their land and the nicest place to walk in the nature. Johanne is an excellent chef, making the most fabulous vegetarian food. She is also an amazing yoga teacher really devoted to the practice and to teach meditation and yoga in a really caring and loving way. Thanks so much for the unforgettable experience."
Tripadvisor website, edited
"First, I must profess that I am not much of cook, but for some time I have wanted to help gaining knowledge on a vegetarian diet that meets the body's dietary requirements. Jo taught me all that and more. I enjoyed my time in her kitchen, as I felt relaxed in her presence, a feeling I don't often associate with the kitchen! As well as teaching me the basics, I learned a lot about maximising the benefits of all the foods we worked with, most of which I never knew. Jo is honestly an encyclopedia on vegetarian living, be it the benefits or the downfalls you need to watch for. I appreciate this honesty, as it means I now have a bunch of delicious recipes to start with, as well as knowing how to look after myself when I eventually switch back to life without meat! Thank you, Jo, it was a pleasure being in your kitchen and company.Thank you for a unique experience in Peru. It is always my wish to see places as they really are and you have granted me the opportunity to do so. A hundred times, thank you."
September 2015. Tambo Ilusion website, edited
"My girlfriend and I did a weeklong yoga retreat with Johanne in the jungle. It was honestly one of the most restorative weeks of my life and we cannot thank Armando and Johanne enough for their hospitality. If you're looking for a ritzy, pampered stay at a resort, this is not the place for you. But if you enjoy immersing yourself in nature and the company of good people, I would highly recommend coming to Tambo Ilusion. The staff made themselves only as available as was necessary so that when we wanted to be alone, we felt completeley alone, yet when we wanted connection and interaction, someone was always there to help.I could probably write this entire review about the food if I wanted, but let's just say it was absolutely incredible and extremely healthy. I'm not a vegetarian by any standard, I did not consume one ounce of meat but I was absolutely satisfied at every meal. Also, not only did I not lack energy. I actually felt more energetic during my time there. I would love to come back and do a cooking retreat with Johanne, just to learn how to make all of her delicious recipes. Looking forward to the next time we visit."
October 2015. Tripadvisor website, edited