Capitán, one of the pumas of Jacj Cuisi. Photo credits: Claire Gilant
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.
The atmosphere at Jacj Cuisi is very family-like. Volunteers usually go to Rurrenabaque on their days off to have cocktails and dine at international restaurants. They usually spend the night there and enjoy their day off 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 pumas, spider monkeys, squirrel monkeys, and white-faced capuchin monkeys. 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.
Details on Work Areas:
|Area||Animals||Minimum Time Commitment||Specific Tasks|
|Puma||Sonko||30 nights||Jungle Walks.
Maintenance of enclosures and trails.
|Puma||Capitán||15 nights||Maintenance of enclosure and trail.|
|Spider monkeys Area||Spider monkeys||21 nights||Maintenance of enclosures and trails. Preparing food, enrichment, clening the area; and other tasks.|
|Albifron monkeys Area||Albifron monkeys||15 nights||Maintenance of enclosures and trails. Preparing food, enrichment, clening the area; and other tasks.|
|Small Animals Area||Coatis and tayra||15 nights||Maintenance of enclosures and trails. Preparing food, enrichment, clening the area; and other tasks.|
|Squirrel monkey Area||Squirrel monkeys||21 nights||Maintenance of enclosures and trails. Preparing food, enrichment, clening the area; and other tasks.|
|Construction, Maintenance, and Gardening.||-||7 nights||Improvement of animal facilities and help with construction projects.
Maintenance and garden work.
Volunteers work six days a week and have one day off. Normally volunteers go to Rurrenabaque on their day off 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. accommodation in shared dorms and cold showers.
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.
|Package||Cost||Security Deposit||Cost per Additional Night|
|6 nights (construction)||910 Bs.||300 Bs.||80 Bs. / night|
|15 nights||2,270 Bs.||300 Bs.||120 Bs. / night|
|30 nights||3,570 Bs.||300 Bs.||80 Bs. / night|
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:
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 in the dorm and 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.
The cost of your stay includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner 6 days per week. All meals are vegetarian.
Breakfast includes homemade bread, margarine, and 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.
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.
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.
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.
From La Paz you can take a plane or a bus to Rurrenabaque.
From Santa Cruz you can take a bus or plane to Rurrenabaque:
From Trinidad there are three ways to get to Rurrenabaque:
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.
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.
Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi (CIWY) is a Bolivian Non-Governmental Organisation engaged in protecting wildlife rescued from illegal trafficking and the conservation of ecosystems. Across its three wildlife sanctuaries, CIWY has cared for thousands of animals over the years, providing for them a better quality of life and a future in their natural habitat. CIWY has been in operation since 1992 and is today recognised internationally for its work in wildlife care and rehabilitation.
Part of the extended CIWY family are Friends of Inti Wara Yassi UK and Friends of Inti Wara Yassi Australia, two international nonprofits founded and run by former volunteers to facilitate fundraising and permit tax-deductible donations for British and Australian taxpayers.