Volunteers' Stories

We only had time to spend 2 weeks here and we had such a wonderful time with the monkeys. We vow that we will eventually be back adn be back for a lot longer. The people we met here were wicked and made the long hours and work far more enjoyable. We miss everyone and the animals terribly!
Left on 14 Jan 200

i wanna go to the intiwarayaassi in february. i know its raining a lot in this time but maybe i just dont mind;) i still dont know in which reserve exactly im gonna go but if anybody wants to join that experience, let me know, maybe we can meet:)
mucho gusto
Left on 17 Jan 201

Hi! I am a 22 year old and am going to be in Ambue Ari for 3 months for June, July, and August this summer. Hope to see you there!
Left on 9 May 201

Jordan Jones

Comments: It was awsome, I spent a year in Central and South America traveling and doing various volunteer jobs and this was one of the highlights.  I was a bit discouraged at first by the price that they ask of volunteers to work, but in retrospect, the price is minimal, and you will most likely NEVER again have the oportunity to work so closely with monkeys and pumas and the like, and the money goes to helping the animals.  The whole thing was awsome


Comments: hi, firstly i'd like to say - I MISS MY MONKEYS SO MUCH!! CIWY is like a parallel universe and i loved it so much and i am saving my pennies to go back. yeah its hard work, yes you get bitten and shat upon but you get to expereince changes in the saddest of monkeys and watch them change and make new monkey friends and eventually see them in the wild and away from the corruption of humans. everyone at CIWY does such a top job and i feel thankful to have part of it! see you all soon xxxx p.s i love BABY T - my lil tejon baby

an amazing experience, do something worthwhile with your time in bolivia!!
The work isn't hard, but it is constant, and the days are long, but even a short stay here will make you fall in love with the animals :)
I worked with the tejones, and miss them so much! I will go back one day!!
Left on 16 Feb 201


Comments: most amazing experience of my life, the friends i made here,  both animal and human, will always be very special to me. went for 2 weeks, stayed 6, wish i had never left.

go if you want to give your time, it is hard at times, but the reward ten fold what you put in.
like anywhere, some people you wont get on with, the place is not perfect, but with an open mind(heart), the animals will make sure you never forget them.  if you stay long enough, you will be upset by somethinng, probably having to leave..

I worked at Ambue Ari with Rusber and my monkey friends timo, tereke, taleah and rumi. It was so incredible and I tell anyone willing to listen about it.
Left on 5 Jul 201

Sam Forsyth, Scotland

Comments: I loved my time at the park as was working with one of the ocelots which was amazing. I think the park does a lot of good but could be doing a lot more. There were hardly any release programmes in place and trying to make suggestions to the Bolivians who run the park gets very frustrating as they do not want to listen. It is like working in a zoo but the animals do have a far better quality of life than what they have come from so I would definately recommend coming and volunteering as it is a very rewarding experience. On the whole the other volunteers are fantastic, have met some lovely people, a couple of the longer term girls are on a bit of a power trip so the park could really do with one clear leader so that this doesn?t happen in future. It is an amazing opportunity

oren lustig

Comments: when i first came, i tought , what i am going to do heer for two weeks , but i realized that it was the best , helping animals in need , feeling good , there is nothing better than to take care of an animal and to hear after few months that she got back to nature ..


Comments: I would recommend this to anyone!Spending 2 weeks with monkeys has given me one of the best memories of my year travelling, such a beautiful place and the animals gave me so many smiles beeing this close to nature is a dream for a citygirl. I miss it and would do it again any day. Maybe more than 2 weeks next time...
Left on 24 May 200


Comments: I'm currently volunteering, anyone who is thinking of coming this way please do!! Our numbers right now are critical especially for people staying at least a month. A whole bunch of long term people have just left and unfortunatly I have to leave soon too. After being here for 5.5months I can truly say this has been one of the best things I have ever done!
Left on 14 January 200

Katie Simmons-UK

Comments: I spent 2 weeks at the Ambue Ari park in July and it was the best 2 weeks of my life!  I only wish that I could have stayed alot longer.  Waking up to a day of work with some of the most amazing animals in the middle of the beautiful jungle was just perfect and I got to meet some really fantastic people there too.  I had the lucky opportunity of working with two ocelots, OB and Engine and I am missing them so much.  I am planning to return next year (or whenever I can) for a longer stay next time.  I highly recommend the Ambue Ari park, I missed it from the moment I left.
Left on 3 October 200

Kate Lewis

Comments: I volunteered for two weeks in May 2005. I wish I had had more time because I would have loved to stay there much longer!! I had a truly fantastic, if slightly surreal, experience while at Inti Wara Yassi, loved every minute of it. its not every day you get the chance to get up close and personal with pumas and monkeys!! And seeing how happy the animals were, and the fantastic, important work the refuge does for the animals who go there made it all the more special. I was in the monkey park, which was so great. May sound odd, but you literally become friends with all the monkeys. I miss them all, and I would love to go back some day. Send my love to Fidel the fat monkey!!

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

David Walters

Comments: We came for a month and stayed for nine (to Sept 2003), and we would have liked to stay for longer.  Inti Wara Yassi is an experience that I will never forget, and working with the spider monkeys is one of the most rewarding and enjoyable things that I've ever done.  Just remember to take with you the patience of a saint (the animals won't always do what you would prefer) and the enthusiasm to try to make things happen (there won't be someone on hand to tell you what needs to be done all the time).  Then you'll have a fantastic time.

Chris (web master)

Comments: In the last couple of weeks three people have been leaving repeated insults - that we are dishonest, that we do not care about the animals or volunteers, that management is arrogant and unscientific, that we do nothing for the animals, and that I've never been to the refuge. Unfortunately volunteers identify so passionately with the cause, and are encouraged to take on the biggest role they can, that they can forget they're new to the organization, culture, context and constraints - I haven't stopped learning in 4 years and it has complemented my ongoing MSc in Development.

All criticisms will be responded to and acted upon if I can contact the person, get the details, agree a solution and translate it for Nena. I'd love to publicly debate the anonymous criticisms here so develop our understanding of the full volunteer experience (I find it incredibly inspiring - esp wrt Friere, Boal or Semler's studies), but we have a number of exciting projects underway so I can't spend the considerable time this requires. Please see these 3 negative reactions in the context of the 127 positive ones...and counting!
Left on 21 February 200


Comments: I spent four weeks with Tupac feb-march 2007, and during this month I missed nothing. If I can the park will be my holiday resort for every vacation the rest of my life, I loved it and look up to the people who dedicate their lives to these animals. The park collects a very special crowd of people, and most of us have a lot in common. I liked almost everyone I met there, i had a great time and I made some friends I won't loose touch with ever.
One thing I do renember though, is that during my first days arriving to the park I was more looked upon an intruder than a welcomed volunteer. So one thing to renember you people, is that it is thanks to the people that show up that the park exists- and even if it gets tedious to welcome 5 strangers a day after 2 months this is part of having this system. Not only animals should be treated with respect.
All that aside- I wish I was in the jungle now!

Left on 21 March 200

Christophe Van de Sande

Comments: The highlight of my life so far!I intended to stay for only 2 weeks but as so many people I stayed a lot longer.I even came especially back to work there again one year later and I intend to return.And as a result of my experiences there I started to study biology.I can not explain in words how great it is there and for every person it can be different but you should at least try to go and experience it,it's worth it,it's very interesting.As for me,it changed the course of my life.And no matter what  your exsperience will be,you definitely should go because I can promise you IT IS SOMETHING YOU'LL NEVER FORGET! It's avery special place..

Mark Boultwood

Comments: I went to Parque Machia after seeing a flyer in an internet cafe in Ecuador of all places. I intended to volunteer for the normal two weeks but ended up staying nearly a year. The park is absolutely amazing and there are adventures to be had each and every day. I worked with Sama the jaguar for the duration of my stay where we built up a strong bond. I also met my girlfriend in Parque Machia!!! As a result of my experiences in South America and most importantly in Parque Machia I have just started working in Peru and intend to stay in South America for the foreseeable future.
I would recommend a long duration stay at Parque Machia without hesitation!

Mark Boultwood 2001/2002

# Wash your clothes at least once a week - if not the monkeys will love you more but your fellow volunteers much less!
# Beware of parasites especially the infamous Bora bora.
# Pay your drinks bill before you leave
# No insect repellent if handling the animals

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Our Partners

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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