CIWY-Ambue Ari

CIWY-Ambue Ari

What is: CIWY - Ambue Ari

Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi (CIWY) is a Bolivian non-governmental organisation dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and care of wildlife that has fallen victim to illegal trafficking and other harm. As Bolivia’s leading organisation in the fight for animal rights and wildlife care, CIWY works to combat the illegal wildlife trade and the destruction of the environment. We collaborate with the Bolivian authorities to enforce the law, to seize and rescue animals from poachers and merchants, as well as zoos when conditions do not meet legal requirements. CIWY also rehabilitates wild animals that were injured by fires or other disasters. We conduct educational projects locally and nationally, as well as research projects, and scientific dissemination. CIWY operates three wildlife sanctuaries distributed throughout Bolivia: Machía, Ambue Ari and Jacj Cuisi. Our sanctuaries are managed by a team of professionals and volunteers from around the world. Our name reflects the ethnic diversity of Bolivia and our link with nature, by using words from the indigenous languages of the three main ethnic groups in Bolivia. “Inti” means “sun” in Quechua, “Wara” means “star” in Aymara, and “Yassi” means “moon” in Chiriguano-Guaraní. Bringing these languages together symbolises unity. Ambue Ari consists of 1,000 hectares of Flooded Amazonian Forest, located 48km from Ascensión de Guarayos, in the middle of the jungle. Here you will wake to the sounds of wild howler monkeys and our unique private alarm clock, a volunteer who passes from room to room with music to say good morning. At any given area of base camp and the sanctuary, you can see countless animals, such as birds (macaws, amazons, toucans), pacas, armadillos, peccaries, monkeys (howler, squirrel, capuchin, and pygmy marmoset) and even tracks from small and large felines. The sense of community is very strong at Ambue Ari. We enjoy Tuesday nights all together in Santa Maria eating delicious empanadas and ice cream. On Fidays we like to organize parties in the sanctuary’s pub, many of them themed (if you like to dress up in costume, this is your chance to shine). On Saturdays (our day off) we like to relax at the Itapemí lagoon. After a candlelit dinner, volunteers usually play cards at the dining table, sing and play instruments in the smoking area, or simply go to bed early to recharge for the next day. Living in the middle of the jungle has many advantages, but also some inconveniences, such as mosquitoes and walking through flooded areas of the sanctuary during the wet season (although many people find it fun, especially when they make races to return to the camp).




💵 From 162 USD/week

Staying time

⏳ From 2 weeks to No maximal

Language spoken

🇪🇸 Spanish, 🇬🇧 English

Accommodation provided

🏡  Yes

Food provided

🥗 Yes


🇧🇴  Bolivia


🌎 South America

Type of habitat

🌿 Rainforest


Typical day at the center

The schedule in Ambue Ari is: 7:00-8:00am: Feeding of small animals and daily maintenance of the camp 8:00-9:00am: Breakfast 9:00-12:30: Work in an area or with an animal 12:30-2:00pm: Lunch 2:00-5:30pm: Work in an area or with an animal Some animals have different hours depending on their biology, the time of year and the number of volunteers. For example, night monkeys usually go out between 7:00pm and 8:00pm, when it is already dark, and some felines leave early in the morning when it is very hot. We try to follow the schedules as much as possible, but when there are few volunteers you may end a little later.


At Ambue Ari we care for a wide variety of animals, with an emphasis on wild felines, distributed in different management areas and enclosures. When you arrive at the sanctuary you will be assigned your work areas or individual animals. Volunteer preferences are taken into consideration, as well as the needs of the sanctuary and the animals. For this reason, we cannot guarantee work in a particular area. All volunteers working with animals should assist in cleaning, preparing food, and providing enrichment, especially for animals that cannot leave their enclosures. In addition, you will be in charge of specific tasks in the area, as explained below. Please note the minimum stay for each area. It is determined according to the needs of the animals, for their well-being and stability.

The volunteers in this animal rescue center generally get saturdays off a weekI. n regards to working hours, the volunteers work per day 6 days a week hours/working day.

Food and accommodation

The cost of your stay includes breakfast, lunch and dinner (except dinner on Saturday). Volunteers usually go to Ascensión de Guarayos on Saturdays and have dinner there all together, although we also offer the possibility of having dinner in Santa María for 10 Bs. Breakfast includes two breads, a piece of fruit, and coffee, tea, or cocoa powder. Boiled eggs, fried eggs and French toast can be ordered depending on the day of the week. If you usually eat cereal or other things, you can bring it to complement breakfast. Lunch and dinner are usually vegetarian, although meat is offered two or three times a week. Let us know when you arrive if you have any food restrictions to take it into account when cooking. If you have any food allergies or intolerances, please bring specific foods with you as we cannot provide them. For example, if you have a gluten allergy, bring enough food because most of what we serve contains gluten. Some foods can be found in Santa María, the closest town, although there is more variety in Ascensión de Guarayos, 1 hour by bus from the sanctuary. Vegans are advised to bring protein-rich foods or supplements.


The animals they take care of in this center are:

Birds, Geoffroy, Jaguar, Monkeys, Ocelots, Other small mammals, Pumas, Sloth, Turtles, Cat, Tapir


Qualification required

No qualification required

How to apply?

Practical information

Internet access

Internet acces only if you purchase a bolivian SIM CARD

Cost details

Animals: jaguars, ocelots, pumas, Geoffrey cats, howler monkeys, nocturnal monkeys, exotic birds, tapirs, wild boars and more. Facilities: basic accommodation in dorm rooms with limited electricity (only to charge electronics) and cell phone reception (only at certain points with Entel), candles and head torches are used in communal areas, running water from a well/bore hole, water is not heated for showers, composting toilets. Average number of volunteers: 15 to 50. Location: near Ascensión de Guarayos and six hours north of Santa Cruz. Prices include: accommodation, filtered water and three meals a day Commitment: 15 nights: quarantine; 22 nights: monkeys; 30 nights: felines (except jaguars); 45 nights: jaguars Ambue Ari has basic dormitory accommodation with bunk beds and straw mattresses in rooms of 4-6, for up to 36 volunteers. Sheets and mosquito nets are provided, but you should bring your own blanket or sleeping bag as it can get very cold at night. The centre has limited electricity to power the office, fridges and electronics charging stations only. There is limited mobile phone signal at specific points in the sanctuary, however only with the provider Entel. A well/borehole provides drinking water and the water for the showers is not heated. The toilets are ecological and do not use plumbing.

How to get there?

From the airport you can catch a taxi to the Bus Terminal - Terminal Bimodal. There are airport taxis right outside. It costs 60-70 Bs. If you are coming from elsewhere there are many radio-taxi companies and Uber. You can ask the driver to drop you directly to the Provincial terminal side - El Terminal Provincial. It costs an extra 2 Bs to enter the car park, but it is much easier than walking through the terminal from the other side with all your luggage looking for the tunnel to the provincial side, then going down then back up the stairs on the other side. Catch the bus with Línea 102 Trans Guarayos. All departures to San Pablo (a town 1 hour past Ambue Ari) 9:00am, 2:00pm & 5:00pm, can drop you right out front of the sanctuary. Tell the ticket seller and the driver that you want to get off at El Parque Ambue Ari. Ambue Ari is 45 minutes past Ascensión de Guarayos, and about 5 minutes past a small town Santa María. If you reach San Pablo you have gone too far. The drivers know Ambue Ari. You can also remind them when passing through Guarayos to drop you there. In Guarayos they stop at the bus terminal which is on the outskirts of town, so you will know when you get there. Get in touch so we can send you photos of the Bus Company Ticket Booth, a map showing the provincial entry to the terminal, the front entrance of the bus terminal and little sign pointing to the tunnel to the provincial terminal and Ambue Ari entrance.

Is there a minimum age?

To volunteer in this center you will have to be at least 16 years old

When can volunteers join?

All year round


Explore a few pictures submitted by the organisation:

Click here


On the web