On this project, you will engage in a wide variety of activities, involving working on a rotating schedule in the wildlife sanctuary with a variety of animals. Below are some of the activities you can expect to be involved with:
Feeding The Animals
As the sanctuary continues to grow, the need for extra hands to feed an expanding population of animals becomes increasingly important. You will prepare and distribute food to the sanctuary’s animals three times per day, ensuring that they have the correct portion sizes and that their habits are normal.
Maintenance And Construction
Many animals make for a messy sanctuary, and it’s important to stay on top of the cleanliness of the enclosures, vet clinic, and quarantine area. Many of the animals arriving at the sanctuary are extremely vulnerable and may be prone to infection if the area is not kept sanitary. Additionally, you may be given the task of building or maintaining the animal enclosures, taking part in landscaping activities or mixing cement for new platforms.
This will be your main responsibility at the project, but is sure to be a fun one! A minimum of 2 hours per day will be spent observing your assigned animal, taking note of their behaviours and keeping the sanctuary staff updated on their conditions. Animal behaviours say an awful lot about their overall happiness, and their comfort within the sanctuary is a top priority.
The animals here need to be kept stimulated, so get creative when working on your enrichment activities! You want to make sure that the animals remain active both physically and mentally, and new methods of enrichment are a fantastic way to achieve this goal.
You will be invited to go either canyoning or ziplining, the former being a full-day activity; the latter being only a couple of hours away from the project site. If you stay for longer than two weeks, you will be allocated a day off, in which you can enjoy local hikes and rivers nearby to the property. Elsewhere, you can visit some attractive tourist sites in Coroico, and you may even like to go horseback riding!
Please note that this is only a rough guideline, and the itinerary may be subject to change depending on the needs of the sanctuary.
Day 1 - The Adventure Begins:
After arriving into La Paz airport, you will be transferred to the project site. Spend time getting to know your fellow volunteers and settling in to your new surrounds before enjoying a dinner with your group and heading to bed. Make sure you sleep well – tomorrow is going to be a busy day!
Day 2 - 14 - Project Days:
These are your project days, and you will be debriefed each morning at 7:30am on the tasks for the day. It’s important to make sure that the animals are fed, so take part in food preparation and distribution before taking an hour for breakfast at 9am. The rest of the day will consist of a variation of the activities listed in the next tab, with a brief lunch break taking place at 13:30 and the day drawing to a close at 17:30. For a more detailed idea of your daily itinerary, please enquire above to receive your free project guide!
Day 15 - Final Day:
Today is your final day, so bid farewell to your new friends (human and animal alike!) before being transferred back to La Paz Airport for your return flight or to continue your onward travel plans.
Staying for longer than two weeks? Your itinerary will repeat, with a day off being allocated in-between.
Dates, Availability & Price
To secure a place on this project a deposit of £195 is required at the time of booking, with the remaining balance due any time up to 60 days prior to your start date.
Select a duration below to see the available start dates. All dates shown are currently available for you to join this project!
Updates & Outcomes
The sanctuary started its operations with a small number of animals that were voluntarily handed over to the refuge. Before the end of 2007, a relationship was established with the organization Animales SOS. From here on in, they received a higher quantity of animals that were the result of illegal trafficking.
Following this, the project began working with the Department of Biodiversity and the La Paz Government and it began to take care of animals intercepted by the government. As a result of both this and the increase in animal trafficking in Bolivia, the animal population at the sanctuary is constantly increasing.
The primary mission of the project now is to give adequate care to the animals coming from illegal trafficking, guaranteeing their well-being under optimal scientific and technical handling conditions, in a natural environment that allows the development of their physiological and physical capabilities.
Tristan is one of our most well travelled volunteers and he paid a visit to the Bolivia Wildlife Sanctuary! He loved his time there so we asked him some questions about the sanctuary, what he got up to whilst out there and if he has any tips for future volunteers. Read up and see what he tols us and see if you are inspired to become our next Bolivia volunteer!
Read our top 5 facts about Bolivia!
With thousands of different animal species in Bolivia, find out more about some of the animals that call the Bolivia Wildlife Sanctuary home.
Is this trip for you?
You will be accommodated at the Volunteer House: a cozy wooden house with jatata leaf roofing, located across the river from the animal refuge. There is one six bed dormitory and one three bed dormitory, so you should be prepared to share a room with your fellow volunteers. Toilet and hot showers are adjoined to the house and laundry facilities are also available. Bed linen and towels are provided.
There are three meals provided per day whilst here. All meals are included in the project price and will be prepared for you by staff at the project. If you have any dietary requirements, no problem - just let a member of staff know as soon as you arrive! Please note that water is not included in the project price. However, bottles are available for purchase for a small fee at the sanctuary. Tea and coffee are readily available, and you will have either juice or lemonade with breakfast and lunch each day.
Due to the hilly nature of the area, we recommend that volunteers have at least a moderate level of fitness, with an ability to walk on steep terrain. La Paz has one of the highest altitudes in the world; subsequently, you may find yourself out of breath from time to time and it is important to prepare for the effects of altitude sickness.
No specific skills are needed for this project, but we do ask that you are reliable and hardworking, with a passion for animals and a willingness to get your hands dirty!
The vaccinations required will depend on your medical history. We recommend that you consult with your GP regarding your own immunisation needs. In conjunction with this, we would also recommend that you check Fit for Travel’s website.
When is the best time to volunteer?
As this project is based at a wildlife sanctuary, there are animals here year round. Therefore, regarding wildlife, there is no preferred time to volunteer.
Weather, however, can have an impact. Day time temperatures throughout the year average between 20 and 25°C (68-77°F) degrees and night time temperatures vary between 5 and 10°C (41-50°F) degrees. Rainfall, however, varies with May to September being the driest months and December to February being the wettest.
You will need to fly into La Paz El Alto International Airport before transferring to the project site - this transfer is pre-arranged by us and included in the cost of the project. The journey time lasts around 2 hours, so take a little entertainment for the journey!
If you would like help booking your flights, please visit our flight page and fill out the form. A member of our team will get back in touch as soon as possible with a suitable quote.
Citizens of most countries can get a tourist card on arrival for up to 90 days (this will be dependent on your nationality, however.) Please make sure you double check, as this can be subject to change. There are often numerous passport checks, so they must be carried at all times. It is safest to carry photocopies rather than originals. As with most countries, your passport will need to be valid for at least six months in order to gain entry.
Currency and Exchange Rates
The currency in Bolivia is the Bolivian Boliviano. 1 BOB is approximately 0.092 GPB, 0.12 and 0.14 USD. For up-to-date exchange rates, click here.
What is included in the extra voucher?
Included within the project price is a voucher which allows you to either zipline or go canyoning down the lush canyons of the vagantes. Both are exciting activities exploring the stunning scenery of the Yungas province - all with an extra pinch of adrenaline! Either activity can add a whole new aspect of adventure when volunteering in Bolivia. If you would like any more information about this voucher, please enquire to us directly.
What's included in the price of the project?
- Shared accommodation in the volunteer house
- Private transfers to and from the airport
- Three meals per day
- Hot showers
- Bed linen and towels
- A voucher to use for extra activities (ziplining or canyoning)
- Laundry facilities
What's not included?
- Beer, soft drinks, water, and desserts are not included, but they can be purchased at a minimal cost
- Travel insurance
- Refundable deposit of USD100 which is paid on arrival for the following items: towels, bedding, room keys and others