Volunteers' Stories

I just got back from Ambu Ari about a month ago, could only get 2 weeks off work to go. It was everything I hoped for and more. I worked with Martina the Cappuccin monkey, and saw and helped take care of many animals. If  you are an animal enthusiast, this is by far one of the best places I have ever seen. I am already planning to go back for at least 6 months if not more. I miss the jungle, the atmosphere, and the adventure. The people are wonderful and the organization is nothing short of amazing. Juan Carlos is an angel, and such a loving man with such a big heart. I had the privilege to meet him. I recommend this parque to anybody, even if you aren't down for the whole jungle, or travelling to Bolivia thing, it's such a worthy cause to donate to. I miss it all and will be back many times.
Left on 12 Sep 200

I worked for three weeks in ambue ari and three weeks in macchia, and wish it had been more like three years in each. I was there in 2008 and I still think about my experiences there most days. The heart of the whole thing was just people getting back to nature and trying to protect the innocence in our world. I just wish there were more places like it and more people to help. I'd go back tomorrow.
Left on 26 Oct 201

maya

Comments: voluntteering at the park was one of the greatest expiriences of my life! i had so much fun, i learned alot about myself and how much i love animals, of course there were some bad moments but it was all worth it and i will definitely go back! i don't even understand how i left..

justine and sam

Comments: We were at Ambue Ari in September and it was the most rewarding and memorable experience of our fantastic year around the world.
It's not exactly the height of luxury, and boy do you work hard.
But where else can you help an orphaned anteater learn to eat ants, walk a beautiful ocelot through pristine jungle surrounded by monkeys, macaws and humming birds and conquer you terror of toucans as they attack your feet with their machete like bills?
We were bitten to bits (insects, not big cats) and knackered by the time we left but dreampt of the place every night for months.
If anyone has any news of my lovely Vanesso or OB and Engine, please post it.
Left on 29 January 200

Justine and Dan

Comments: We have just finished our time at CIWA (we are already trying to work out if we can go back) and although it has been hard work it has been the highlight of our trip so far. Everyone was extreamly friendly and working with the animals has been awesome. I have never liked birds much but am proud to say that I spent my entire time in the bird quarantine and was sad to leave...they really need someone keen, enthusiastic and commited to care for them, if you can spare the time it would be great and an experience you will never forget. If you are in the area don't miss out!
Left on 8 January 200

hi all, hola noemi, jaime, zandro, nena, juan carlos and juan carlito.

es muy importante. por favor continua el trabajo and la familia. We remember the wonderful times and miss Alex very much, who was such a joyous example of voluntary service. a short life, well lived is no smaller. some may call it project bigness. big heart, big work and big lesson!  yo viven IWY
Left on 10 Sep 201

Tabea

Comments: Great, wonderful, fantastic time:-)!!!!
Stayed in the park for 6 months, miss everbody sooooo much!!!!
Go there if you can, it is just wonderful!!!!
Left on 28 May 200

I have worked at Parque Machia for 6 weeks NOV-DEC 2008, with the pumas Simba, Lishou and Roy.
I found the place fascinating, working with the cats is an incredible experience, that requires a great amount of maturity and responsibility.
Know that the park is not a zoo, nor a safari, nor a touristic resort, it is about constant hard work and dedication, which pays back immensely through a feeling of accomplishment and your bond with the animals.
If you are the type of person who can work long hours, get scratches and bites (big cats are playful) and come back for more every day then this place is for you.
On top of that, the atmosphere is great and you´ll meet awesome people from all over the world.
I will definitely be back someday and for a longer period of time, gotta check up on King Roy.
Downside is, I can hardly enjoy myself at a zoo anymore, seeing these big cats in cages all day just doesn´t feel right.
Left on 31 Dec 200

Jeremy BR

Comments: I hope Charlie BR was some use to you in looking after Gato. Your website certainly helped his bereft parents imagine what you are all up to; and, importantly, it reassures us that you are a really worthwhile cause, and not some evil mechanism for conning teenagers! I wish you all the best.

What does Inti Wara Yassi mean, please? Your other readers and donors might like to know, too.

Congratulations on the powerful websit

zoe FIsher

Comments: the time I spent at Inti-Wara-Yassi aproximately 5 years ago really did change my life in so many ways. It was such a fabulous opportunity to work with amazing animals with special histories. Nena's courage and tenacity was inspiring. Above all my quiet moments talking with Sama ( Jaguar) down onthe beach or swimming with him in the water are my cherished memories

Muchos grazias por el tiempo!!fui en el ano 2004. espero todo bien con los animales...?penso mucho tiempo a chayenne..!abrazo nicole de suiza
Left on 7 Dec 200

Erin Graham

Comments: I was at Villa Tunari for 3 months (nearly) from Oct- Jan 05-06. I was lucky enough to move from looking after the cheeky monkeys for 2 weeks to looking after baby Lishou (although I think now spelt Li-Shu) the puma for the rest of my stay. I just want to say that being with him in his formative months and also at the park was the most rewarding and memorable thing I have ever done, and I made some amazing friends too. You may hear stories that it is a bit tough, the accomodation is tough but really it isn't. It is like a trip away with a crowd of very cool people, and you work hard every day in sweltering heat, you might moan, and then like me you spend the year afterwards wishing you could go back!The most valuable experiences are those bought with sweat and tears I think! And I'm a wussy Brit! I don't believe in volunteering organisations that charge you ridiculous money to do 'not much' - here there is more work than any one person could handle and yet you make a massive difference just by being there and mucking in. The Bolivian volunteers are great, as are the extranjeros! I am going back very soon, to do even more I hope. I want to see Lishou all grown up and probably the biggest puma in the park by now! I cannot recommend this amazing organisation enough. If you are prepared to work hard and do whatever is needed then you will get to do some amazing work with some amazing animals. Oh, and if you take some climbing carabiners or pliers etc they will love you! Tools are essential but expensive for the park but not for us!
Left on 16 April 200

The jungle that i left behind a year ago is never far from my thoughts, i have about 2 'jungle dreams" a week and if i don't i'm disappinted!i really miss everythin that came wih living and breathing jungle life, even when Tigre liked to go walking without me, on more than one occasion! I have burned the ears off anybody who will listen to what i consider to be the best thing i've ever done. i hope to be back and see everyone really soon xx  
Left on 20 Aug 200

Where do we start? What an amazing 3 weeks we had working at Parque Machia with the birds (21st July - 12th Aug 2010). It's only been 2 weeks since we left and we still think about the birds everday. I wish I could be back there having a non-sensicle chat with an parrot as it sits on my shoulder! We were both a bit sniffly for a few days after leaving :( .......... Pea, Carolina, Captain Jack Toucan, Hiya, Timmy, Destroyer, Pablo, Sleepy, Twitch, Matias, Sunshine and Phillip (to name but a few of the birds)we think you ROCK! And can't wait until we can come back and work with you again at some point in the future!
We signed up for 2 weeks and extended for 1 more as we simply couldn't leave.  We would have stayed even longer if we hadn't paid for a flight home already! The entire experience was truely incredible: From building up such memorable and touching relationships with our feathered friends,having a place to call home for a few weeks (great cure for homesickness/generally getting travel-tired after a long time on the road!),to the great mates we made while washing down Dona Vicki's scrummy "Tostadas con huevo y queso" with cold beers at the end of a hard days work! We miss all the banter! The Wednesday fundraising "all you can drink" parties were awesome (even if we might have felt a bit special the next day!) You can see exactly where the money that you pay/ is donated goes - directly towards animal care. We have the uttmost respect for the longtermer volunteers, staff and vets! Everyone there has the biggest hearts. The accomodation is basic,hours are long,the work is hard, but so worth it. An absolute highlight to our year long trip in Latin America! We can't recommend it enough! If you love animals and want to do something worthwhile this is the place for you!  
Left on 30 Aug 201

Armin from Germany

Comments: I've been to Villa Tunari for only two weeks last winter and I can say, this was a unique experience. I never worked with animals before, but the time in the bird's quarantine is still a highlight of the halfyear trip around South America. If you want to help Bolivia in a way, go there and stay for at least a month. Forget about partying, this is not what it's all about. It's about the people of Bolivia whom you can get in touch with as close as i guess nowhere else. Forget about Northern arrogance, just work some hard days in the rainy season, help is always wanted, even if you dont have any experience with monos, birds or bigger cats. Once again: the community needs you, and if you go there and meet a lot of friends you can get drunk with, do it, but only once a week. The animals need all of your power, and parties are everywhere else as well. TRY IT.
Left on 8 January 200

Leah and Anthony

Comments: We left on the 20th of Dec, it was a completely unplanned part of our trip, we only found out about the place 4 days b4 we arrived, yes it was hot, living conditions were bad, but i would leave where i'm sitting right now to be back there, unfortunately money does run out! we really enjoyed our time there and i wonder how our little friends are going, it was sad to leave, i would highly recommend that if you are an animal lover, and a hard worker allow yourself at least 6 weeks or more in your travel plans to be there, because you will want to stay longer than 2 weeks. xxoo
Left on 16 January 200

i worked at inti wara yassi in january of 2003. the work was tough, the water system was out, the bed bugs were rampant and i wouldn't trade the experience for anything. i love what the park is doing and how it is doing it. i loved knowing that my efforts were needed and noticed by the animals. this is a one of a kind experience and i am so glad i took time out of my travels to be a part of it. amazing community and monkeys!!!  
Left on 19 Nov 201

The love you get from the animals is of course the highlight of the park. I will never forget Luna. A playful Puma of 1,5 years old (back then). But there is more. The long walks trough a beautiful jungle, meeting special people who are all here for the same reason, eating with 20 people at a long table at the same restaurant and the crazy parties so now and then…

And although the days are long I have never been more relax as during this time. Right now I am back in “the real world” and I would trade back in a second!

These 5 weeks where definitely the highlight of a 1,5 year long trip! So go help out in Parque Machia or one of the other parks of Inti Wara Yassi and have the time of your life!

Left on 25 Sep 200

Three months without electricity and running water but in the Land of Dreams, Jacj Cuisi! It's difficult to find a place so peaceful and calm, the lack of civilisation creates a unique atmosphere great to relax and switch of from everyday life. The time in Jacj Cuisi is full of crazy and unbelievable adventures. The people out there are amazing just like the whole place. The more time you spend the more you can discover, e.g. a bunk bed in the jungle.
Being back in the normal life I painfully miss my time at the camp fire, in the river, at the Moskkito bar ('Wanna walk a puma?'), at our jungle partys and especially the walks with the cats. It is not easy but rewarding work. Hearing the pumas calling for you from the distance is an indescribable feeling!
So if you're looking for an inimitable adventure in the wild nature far away from normal life, Jacj Cuisi is the right place for you!
Left on 1 Mar 201

ko hyun joo

Comments: just jump in!!!

i will leave for there tonight!!

maybe i think
i can help just  a little
but i must learn from you and the animal...  ^^

it will be hard but very happy!


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Friends of Inti Wara Yassi (FIWY) is our sister organization in the UK. They have been a major source of support since their founding in 2008. Find out more about FIWY here.



Quest Overseas organizes gap year trips for British and international students. Since 2001, Quest has worked with CIWY to bring much needed volunteers and funds. If you are interested in the programs they have with us, find out more here.

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