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Bolivia Animal Sanctuary Gap Year

  • Mind

Bolivia Volunteering

DIverse Travel Experience

Bolivia, Americas
13 Weeks
€ 5,480 combadi price


Save €20 to €50 when booking via Combadi

Holiday Type
Fixed date/Solo friendly
Running Period
15th Mar to 18th Jun 2015

The Combadi Insight:

Combine your volunteering efforts into an extremely worthy cause, the continuation of existence of more than 2000 species in the Bolivian Amazon Rainforest with your adventurous streak which will be more than compensated with the plethora of activities on offer.

Holiday Code: AH1

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The Bolivian Amazon Rainforest is known for its vast biodiversity with over 2000 species of plants, more than 80 species of mammals and around 650 types of birds. Sadly, deforestation, illegal (and legal) pet trading and hunting is threatening the existence of so many of these once plentiful species.

Volunteers are urgently needed to improve the lives of these beautiful creatures and to help to combat the illegal trade in animals. Quest works alongside the Bolivian organisation Inti Wara Yassi, the only sanctuaries of their kind in Bolivia. The sanctuaries strive to enhance the animals’ quality of life and where possible reintroduce them into the wild, as well as serving as an education resource for Bolivia and the rest of the world. This is an immensely valuable project, a world away from anything you've ever seen before.

Your role

  • Study Spanish in Sucre
  • Work with jaguars, pumas, monkeys and parrots in the Amazon
  • Gain hands on experience caring daily for wild animals at Bolivia’s only animal rehabilitation sanctuary
  • Develop vital facilities to improve each animal’s standard of living

Learn Spanish. Care for monkeys, parrots, jaguars and pumas. Feed, walk and clear out their enclosures. Assist the vet, develop the infrastructure. Trek, Ice Climb, Sand Board, Spot Wildlife, White Water Raft, Trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

Your expedition

From Andes to Amazon, your team will cover more miles and experience more new adventures than you ever thought possible in 6 weeks. Sand surfing in the driest desert in the world, 4x4s across the magnificent Uyuni Salt Flats, trekking through remote Andean communities, ice climbing, mountain biking, jungle trekking, all culminating in the awe inspiring Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to a change in our insurance policy working with the big cats is entirely optional and to be undertaken at your own risk, you will not be covered for any liability incurred if you choose to work with the big cats. However, your personal insurance does still cover you for any medical issues related to working with cats.


Weeks 1-3

Immerse yourself in Bolivian culture whilst learning Spanish. Explore the beautiful city of Sucre and spend weekends exploring the stunning Salar de Uyuni by 4x4 and visiting the fascinating Silver Mine in Potosi.


Weeks 4-7

A rare opportunity to gain hands on experience looking after endangered species such as monkeys, jaguars, and pumas rescued from illegal traders in the heart of the Bolivian jungle. At the only three sanctuaries of their kind in the Amazon, volunteers will work with animals, rehabilitate them back into the wild if possible, and develop the much-needed facilities to improve each animal’s standard of living.

In 1996 the community foundation of Inti Wara Yassi was granted control over 36 hectares of forested land near Villa Tunari with the initial aim to provide a home for confiscated animals and abandoned tropical pets. The sanctuary was used to create ecological awareness amongst the public and to rehabilitate the animals where possible. Those who are beyond rehabilitation remain at the park to see out their days in a comfortable environment. Recent developments however have led to the threat of Parque Machia being confiscated from the foundation, and so in 2003 Quest helped to finance the purchase of the new secure park, Ambue Ari, located 7 Km from the picturesque village of Santa Maria, where the animals would be able to live for years to come. It’s a magical place and with the children from the local communities working at the park too, it will make for a truly unforgettable and unique experience.

One of the wonderful aspects of this project is that volunteers get to live and work in two different locations in the Bolivian Amazon Rainforest – in Ambue Ari and the new park, Parque Jacj Cuisi, located on the border of the beautiful Madidi National Park. At the latter volunteers will be constructing much-needed new enclosures & infrastructure, mixing cement by hand, digging trenches & carrying materials through the jungle. You will then move over to Ambue Ari, where you will have responsibility for the daily care of an animal, be this a puma, jaguar, monkey or more – cleaning enclosures, feeding and taking your animal on walks through the jungle.

Expedition Itinerary

Weeks 8-9 – La Paz, Apolobamba Range TREK & Lake Titicaca. La Paz is one of the most lively, colourful and spectacular cities in South America. Try your hand at ice climbing, and experience the hustle and bustle of the many local markets within La Paz After a few days acclimatisation you will trek for 3 days in the stunning Apolobamba Range. Then head to Lake Titicaca, the Sacred lake of the Andes and the origin of the Inca civilization. Kayak on the lake and visit indigenous communities

Week 10

Colca Canyon TREK & Arequipa.

After a days relaxation & preparation in Arequipa, a beautiful city with magnificent colonial architecture nestling between smoking volcanoes, trek down into the second deepest canyon in the world, the Colca Canyon, which is twice the depth of the Grand Canyon

Week 11

Peruvian Coastal Desert SANBOARDING.

4 days travelling by private bus up to Lima. Snorkel off the Ballestas Islands which are rightly nicknamed the ‘Mini Galapagos’ for their abundance of marine and bird life. Sand-board down South America’s largest sand dunes, and relax in the sun and sleep out under the desert stars on the beach of Puerto Inca.

Week 12

Huaraz, Cordillera Blanca TREK & BEACH.

Relax in the beatifual scenery of the Cordillera Blanca in Huaraz before setting off on a trek of up to 5 days, possibly summiting a snow covered peak! As a reward you will be spending a couple of days on a beautiful Pacific beach, perhaps with the chance to try your hand at surfing.

Week 13

Cusco & Inca Trail to MACHU PICCHU

Discover the magical city of Cusco, the archaeological capital of South America. After white water rafting you trek the world famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu to see the sunrise and the ancient city appear through the swirling mist. A spectacular way to finish your experience with Quest

Includes all accommodation, food, activities, in‐country travel & support, local tipping, Quest Leaders, personal travel insurance, 24 hour UK support, medical back up, contribution to your project to cover short and medium‐term costs and long‐term ongoing support. Excludes international flights.

Food & drink

Food will mainly be prepared for the team by local staff, but you will also get the chance to eat out at local restaurants, sample the colourful markets and cook for yourselves. On expedition, you will generally eat at hostels and local restaurants, except for when you are trekking, where you will cook for the team in small groups.

**Weather **

From the heat and humidity of the Bolivian rainforests to sunny skies and cold nights of the mountains, you will experience a variety of weather depending on the altitude and environment. You are provided with a detailed kit list to ensure that you are suitably prepared.


You will have one leader with you for the Language and Project phase, and two leaders for the 6 week Expedition. They are there to make sure everything runs smoothly, safely and to give maximum reward to all those involved. We are incredibly picky about selecting our leaders and you can guarantee that they will be some of the most experienced, passionate, enthusiastic and up for it people you will ever meet. They are also a really good laugh and have heaps of knowledge that you can tap into. Leaders receive Quest training every year. All leaders are Wilderness First Aid trained and speak Spanish. Our Expedition Leaders having a minimum of Summer Mountain Leader training.


Quest provides a Pre-Departure Training Weekend in the UK for all team members. It covers Responsible Travel, Cultural Awareness, Health & Hygiene, Risk Assessment, Teamwork and Onward Travel. It also provides you with the opportunity to meet the rest of your team and your leaders before going overseas.

Vaccinations & Anti-malarials

Quest Overseas keeps up to date with the latest recommendations on all medical considerations relating to your time with us. We will provide you with a full list of the immunisations required and information on malarial prophylactics before you leave.

Responsible Travel

Responsible Travel is an ethos that should be at the heart of all travel. For all of us at Quest Overseas it is about making a tangible 'positive impact' on both man and the environment with everything that we and our volunteers do. Quest was highly commended in the 2008 Responsible Tourism Awards sponsored by Virgin. Quest is also an active supporter of Fair Trade Volunteering

_How much does it cost & where does my money go? _

Project £4,400 60% - payment for your trip, this is what gets spent overseas during your trip 25% - staff, both UK and overseas 15% - office costs, project and expedition research, boring admin

Project Donation: £700 This goes straight to Quest4Change to be spent on your project.
None is spent in the UK, or on admin, it all goes to where it is needed most, in the Inti Wara Yassi parks.


In Jacj Cuisi you will be staying in a traditional wooden-sided building with the rest of your team. Conditions here are very basic, with the stream running through camp acting as your showering facilities. Ambue Ari is a little more comfortable but still rustic, with volunteers sharing basic dorms with bunk beds, but with a sociable eating area, eco-toilets and cold showers. Neither park has electricity. During the expedition you will generally sleep in local hostels, and the odd hotel, and whilst trekking you will camp out under the stars. You will have the chance to do your laundry and email home at regular intervals.

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