Volunteering at Parque Jacj Cuisi | Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi (CIWY)

Parque Jacj Cuisi

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Volunteering at Parque Jacj Cuisi

For information on the sanctuary and its history, visit the Parque Jacj Cuisi page.

For general information on volunteering, including a packing list, requirements and more, see our general information section on volunteering.

Jacj Cuisi consists of 300 hectares of Pre-Andean Amazon forest, located 25 km from Rurrenabaque. The sanctuary borders the Madidi National Park, one of the most biodiverse places in the world.

In Jacj Cuisi you can enjoy walks through the jungle where you will see many birds (macaws, toucans, Amazonian parrots) and you can bathe in its streams of crystal-clear water. At night take the opportunity to stargaze and join our walks on full moon nights to see nocturnal animals.

In the sanctuary we have a wood-fired oven where homemade bread and delicious pizzas are cooked. A small vegetable garden and fruit trees provide fresh organic seasonal food. We also have a small chicken coop, which provides fresh eggs daily.

The atmosphere at Jacj Cuisi is very family-like. Volunteers usually go to Rurrenabaque on Friday afternoons to have cocktails and dine at international restaurants. They usually spend the night there and enjoy Saturday relaxing and sightseeing around Rurrenabaque, a beautiful, charming town. Don’t miss the opportunity to buy some croissants, brownies and quiches at the French bakery.

Living in this incredible location has many advantages, but it also has drawbacks, such as the lack of phone reception (although it is the perfect place to disconnect from the rush of the world) and the lack of transportation to nearby towns.

At Jacj Cuisi we currently care for three pumas. We are building new facilities to house more animals in the future. We currently have a full clinic, primate enclosures, and a quarantine is being built.

The atmosphere at Jacj Cuisi is very familiar and everyone collaborates in the daily tasks and maintenance of the camp, as well as in small construction projects.

The schedule:

  • 7.00-7.30 am: Housework,
  • 7.30-8.30 am: Breakfast
  • 8.30 am-12.30 pm: Work in your assigned area
  • 12:30-2:00 pm: Lunch
  • 2:00-5:30 pm: Work in your assigned area

Depending on the time of year and the number of volunteers, Sonko and Luna go for a walk all day, so their volunteers have less rest time at noon.

Details on Work Areas:

Area AnimalsMinimum Time CommitmentSpecific Tasks
PumasSonko and Luna30 nightsJungle Walks.
Maintenance of enclosures and trails.
PumasCapitán15 nightsMaintenance of enclosure and trail.
Construction, Maintenance, and Gardening.-6 nightsImprovement of animal facilities and help with construction projects.
Maintenance and garden work.
If you work in construction and decide to stay longer to work with an animal, the minimum stay begins to count at that time.

Volunteers work six days a week and have Saturdays free. Normally volunteers go to Rurrenabaque on Saturdays to disconnect, access WiFi, eat out and shop for the week. There is also a French bakery with delicious pastries.

The volunteer package includes breakfast, lunch and dinner 6 days per week (Sunday to Friday). accommodation in shared dorms, cold showers, and a CIWY T-shirt.

Volunteer payments also contribute towards the daily expenses of caring for the animals and infrastructure in the three sanctuaries.

Upon arrival you must pay the full cost of the volunteer package, as well as a security deposit and an advance for your snack expenses. Please note that we do not accept card payments and that the closest ATM is in Rurrenabaque, far from the sanctuary. We only accept payment in Bolivianos.

PackageCostSecurity DepositCost per Additional Night
6 nights (construction)910 Bs.300 Bs.80 Bs. / night
15 nights2,270 Bs.300 Bs.120 Bs. / night
30 nights3,570 Bs.300 Bs.80 Bs. / night

The security deposit will be returned in full upon completion of a full stay if no damage has occurred.

The advance for snacks is 250 Bs., from which the products you consume will be discounted. Any remaining balance will be returned to you at the end of your stay.

In addition to the above fees, keep in mind the following expenses:

  • Entel sim card for 10 Bs. (It is the only operator that offers a little coverage).
  • Accommodation in Rurrenabaque on days off (from 40 Bs. per night).
  • Meals in Rurrenabaque on days off (approximately 10 to 80 Bs. per meal).
  • Second-hand clothes to work in (10 Bs. per item).
  • Rubber boots (although we try to provide boots in the sanctuary, we may not have your size; they cost 70 Bs. in Rurrenabaque).
  • Transportation (43 to 63 Bs. round trip to Rurrenabaque, 3 Bs. motorcycle taxi within Rurre, 5 Bs. motorcycle taxi from Rurrenabaque bus station to town, 10 Bs. Amaszonas transfer service by bus to or from the airport)
  • Internet access (from 6 to 8 Bs. per hour) and cash for long distance calls.
  • Other miscellaneous expenses that you may require.

Accommodation

Volunteers at Jacj Cuisi share a large room with bunk beds. You will receive sheets, a pillow and a mosquito net. We recommend you bring a sleeping bag or a blanket in the dry season (from April to October) because it is usually cold at night.

From your bed in the open-air dorm you can enjoy the starry sky in the middle of the virgin jungle.

There is Entel mobile coverage only at specific points within the sanctuary. Showers are cold water. You can also bathe and relax in a nearby stream. Please bring biodegradable soaps, as the water goes directly to the river.

There is electricity only in the dining room for the fridge, to charge devices and to have light during dinners. In the rest of the camp candles or lanterns are used.

Food

The cost of your stay includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner 6 days per week (Sunday to Friday). All meals are vegetarian.

In the sanctuary we have a wood-fired oven where homemade bread and delicious pizzas are cooked. A small vegetable garden and fruit trees provide fresh organic seasonal food. We also have a small chicken coop, which provides fresh eggs daily.

Breakfast includes homemade bread, an egg, margarine, and coffee or tea. You can bring cereals, oatmeal or fruit to complement breakfast.

Lunch and dinner are usually cooked by our workers. If you shine in the kitchen, do not hesitate to let us know and delight us with your dishes.

Let us know when you arrive if you have any food restrictions, to take it into account when cooking.

If you have 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 our meals contain gluten. You can find these foods in Rurrenabaque.

Vegans are advised to bring protein-rich foods or supplements.

Medical resources

Jacj Cuisi has basic first aid materials. Both San Buenaventura and Rurrenabaque have hospitals and pharmacies. However, we suggest that you bring a medical kit just in case. If you take any specific or unusual medication, we recommend that you bring enough to cover your entire stay.

Other Considerations

The closest town is San Buenaventura and, passing the Beni river, is Rurrenabaque, 25 km away, where there are shops, restaurants of all kinds, pharmacies, a hospital and internet access.

Humidity is high throughout the year, so we recommend storing electronic devices (phones, cameras, computers, and hard drives) in airtight containers or waterproof bags with rice or silica bags to absorb moisture and avoid damage. It is necessary to carry waterproof bags to carry your electronic items (phone) with you while you work, as the rains can be unpredictable. Mold is common, especially during the rainy season, and can damage your belongings.

Jacj Cuisi is approximately 25 km from Rurrenabaque, passing San Buenaventura.
We recommend downloading map applications that work without the internet to help you find the sanctuary. Maps.Me and Google Maps offer this service.
It is always advisable to arrive before dark. Also, keep in mind that on Fridays everyone goes to Rurrenabaque until Saturday night, so we recommend that you arrive during the week or that you notify us to meet the staff in Rurrenabaque.
If you are coming in the wet season (from October to March) we recommend that you come to Rurrenabaque by plane, since collapses on the road are frequent and it becomes impassable. You can email us to check the state of the roads.

Getting to Rurrenabaque

From La Paz to Rurrenabaque

From La Paz you can take a plane or a bus to Rurrenabaque.

  1. By plane: La Paz airport is in El Alto, located half an hour by taxi from the city center (if there is not much traffic). The flight takes half an hour to arrive at the Rurrenabaque airport. In the wet season, flights can be delayed due to heavy rains.
  2. By bus: The bus goes daily from the Villa Fátima terminal from 2.30 pm onwards. The most trustworthy company for this tour is usually “Flota Yungueña”. It costs 70 Bs and can take between 12 hours and more than 24 hours, depending on whether there have been road collapses in the rainy season. We recommend that you bring enough drinks and snacks, or consider flying.
From Santa Cruz to Rurrenabaque

From Santa Cruz you can take a bus or plane to Rurrenabaque:

  1. By bus: Go to the Bimodal Terminal. Ask at the information point for the counters of the companies that travel to Trinidad. The buses leave in the evening between 8:00 and 9:00 pm. The trip costs from 40 to 100 Bs. and the journey takes 8 to 10 hours.
  2. By plane: Amaszonas Airline offers daily flights to Rurrenabaque, although they pass through La Paz. A one-way ticket with Amaszonas costs around 1,200 Bs. (US $173) and the flights depart five times a day. There is a stopover in La Paz, and the total flight time is approximately 1.5 hours.
From Trinidad to Rurrenabaque

From Trinidad there are three ways to get to Rurrenabaque:

  1. By bus: It leaves at 10:30 a.m. from the Trinidad bus terminal (they do not go every day). Tickets cost around 130 Bs. The trip usually lasts from 12 to 20 hours, although it can take much longer in adverse weather conditions. In the rainy season (October to March), roads can become impassable and you may need to take a plane.
  2. By rapidito (minivan): Go by taxi or motorcycle taxi to the “ex-terminal de buses”. Take a rapidito to San Borja and from there, another to Rurrenabaque. The rapiditos leave when they fill with passengers. The tickets cost between 170 and 180 Bs. and the trip lasts from 7 to 15 hours, although in the rainy season (from October to March), there may be delays and the roads can become impassable.
  3. By plane: Amaszonas Airline offers flights to Rurrenabaque from Trinidad (which have two connections: first in Santa Cruz and then in La Paz). BoA and Ecojet have direct flights from Trinidad to La Paz, from where you can transfer to a flight with Amaszonas to Rurrenabaque. In the rainy season (October to March), the weather can delay flight times.
From Rurrenabaque to Parque Jacj Cuisi

From the airport or the bus terminal, take a motorcycle taxi (10bs) or a taxi (15-20bs) to San Buenaventura “parada de taxis”.

From the airport take the Amazonas transfer bus (10bs) to the centre of Rurre. Then a moto taxi (5bs) to San Buenaventura.

Also, once in the centre of Rurrenabaque, you can walk across the bridge that joins Rurrenabaque and San Buenaventura (20-30mins walk).

When you take the taxi, indicate that you are going in the direction of Tumupasa and that you will stop at “Parque Jacj Cuisi” (although they know it as “Yacusi”). Taxis and rapiditos leave when they are full, cost between 20 and 30 Bs and take 30-45min, depending on the season.

Normally all drivers know where the sanctuary is. In case they do not know it, explain that it is 25km from San Buenaventura, just after Chiquitos (a large farm property) and before a small river and Everest village. If you end up on a paved road, you’ve gone too far.

When you arrive

On the left side of the road you will see a sign that says “Bienvenidos a Jacj Cuisi”. Enter the camp through the door and the first building you see will be the volunteer house where you will sleep. Feel free to leave your bags at the house, use the bathroom, or walk to the kitchen (dining room). The buildings are signposted with signs. Usually there will be someone to greet you, but if not, you can rest on the premises while you wait.

On the day you arrive, you will be given a tour of the sanctuary, followed by an overview of the rules, and assigned work areas.

Again, try to arrive before dark and try not to arrive on Friday nights or Saturday mornings because most of the team will be in Rurrenabaque.

Contact

If you have any questions before arriving, we encourage you to visit our FAQ section. If you still have questions, do not hesitate to contact us.