Jacj Cuisi is located just outside of Rurrenabaque, the gateway to the Madidi National Park. Nestled in the Bolivian Amazon jungle, Jacj Cuisi currently cares for three pumas and a baby ocelot. Volunteers who stay for a minimum of 29 days can work with any one of these pumas. Volunteers who stay for 14 days are able to work with our puma Capitan, who is permanently in his enclosure. People staying for less than 14 days will not be able to work with the animals; they will be assigned to help with construction and general maintenance work, of which there is plenty. This minimum time commitment is a policy put in place for the benefit and stability of our animals.
Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi (CIWY) is a Bolivian organization that works with wildlife and is a leader in increasing public awareness of the environment and its importance through education and community involvement.
The organization began in 1992 and has been growing ever since. CIWY currently maintains three wildlife centers, Jacj Cuisi, Machia and Ambue Ari, where injured, abused or mistreated animals are cared for either temporarily or permanently.
The organization accepts volunteers from across the globe to help care for these animals, involving them in everyday activities such as feeding, cleaning and providing exercise. In the past 15 years, more than 7,000 international volunteers have offered their help and support.
For information about the sanctuary and its history, please visit Jacj Cuisi's profile page.
For general information about volunteering, including a list of items to bring with you, requirements and more, please see our general volunteering page.
Our staff at Jacj Cuisi speak fluent English and Spanish.
Volunteers work six days per week. They get every Saturday off, when most choose to visit Rurrenabaque.
Please do not plan to arrive on a Saturday, as volunteers will normally be in Rurrenabaque (returning Saturday night). If you are in Rurrenabaque on a Saturday and wish to find our staff/volunteers, go to Hostal Santa Ana.
Payments made by our volunteers are our main source of funding, making up 85% of our total income. These payments are normally spent within a week, on food and medical supplies for the animals, or for general operating costs of the centre.
Please note that we only accept payment in bolivianos and only in cash.
The prices listed below cover three meals per day, accommodation, bed linen and a CIWY t-shirt. Also included in the price paid upon arrival is a security deposit to cover any possible damages and discourage early departure. It is returned upon the completion of a full volunteering stay.
Paid upon arrival: 1,210 Bs.
Security deposit: 300 Bs.
Total cost* 910 Bs.
7th and subsequent nights: 155 Bs. per night
Paid upon arrival: 2,570 Bs.
Security deposit: 300 Bs.
Total cost* 2,270 Bs.
16th and subsequent nights: 120 Bs. per night
Paid upon arrival: 3,870 Bs.
Security deposit: 300 Bs.
Total cost* 3,570 Bs.
31st and subsequent nights: 80 Bs. per night
*The total cost is what you will have spent after receiving your deposit back.
In addition to the volunteer fees above, you should also budget for the following expenses:
• Second-hand clothing (from 10 Bs. per item in our shop or more in Rurrenabaque)
• Internet access (6-8 Bs. per hour) and/or cash for long-distance phone calls
• Hotel/hostel accommodation (from 40 Bs. per night) and meals (10 to 70 Bs.) in Rurrenabaque on days off
• Other miscellaneous expenditure
Jacj Cuisi’s accommodation, included in the price of your stay, is basic. There is limited electricity in the kitchen area to power the fridge, charge electronics and power tools. There is limited cellphone reception with the company Entel at certain points on the property. Volunteers currently sleep in one large dorm with bunk beds. Each volunteer is given a mosquito net (when available) and a set of sheets, but we recommend that volunteers bring a sleeping bag or blanket in the dry season when nights can become cold.
There are two ecological toilets with attached showers. A nearby creek is used primarily for relaxing and bathing. Please try to bring biodegradable soaps with you as much of this water directly enters the water system.
Food is included in the cost. Volunteers and staff generally take turns cooking for everyone and all meals are vegetarian.
Breakfast includes bread, jam, fruit and coffee/tea. You may wish to bring cereal or oatmeal with you to supplement this meal. Many grocery items can be purchased in Rurrenabaque.
If you have any special dietary requirements or want specific foods, you should bring them with you. Vegans are advised to bring protein-rich foods or supplements.
Water is treated from the creek and is safe to drink. However, if you are concerned about water purity you can bring water purification tablets or purchase bottled water in Rurrenabaque.
Jacj Cuisi is located just outside of Rurrenabaque, the gateway to the Madidi National Park. Nestled in the Bolivian Amazon jungle, Jacj Cuisi currently cares for three pumas and a baby ocelot…
Applying to volunteer
We do not require volunteers to apply or reserve a space before arriving - we have no application process. We are always in need of more helping hands and volunteers can simply turn up without prior notification. You will be assigned accommodation, an area of work and be fully briefed upon arrival.
It is rare that we get so full that we are not able to accept new volunteers, and if one Centre is full we normally have space at the other Centres. You may however wish to bear in mind the following trends in volunteer numbers in choosing when to come:
We also advise volunteers to check this page before arriving, since we post updates about each Centres’ current needs above - see 'current availability'.
We have a reservation system for those who would like the added reassurance of a guaranteed space at the centre of their choice.
In order to reserve a space you will need to pay a one-off (non-refundable) reservation fee of $100 USD per person.
To reserve your space please first read the requirements and conditions below, then email firstname.lastname@example.org with 'volunteer reservation' in the subject line.
Reservation requirements and conditions:
• You must reserve your space at least one month in advance. • You must commit to volunteering for at least one month (you will be required to pay a full month's package upon arrival). • In Machía and Ambue Ari your reservation guarantees you a bed and work with an animal/area of animals (we cannot guarantee what type of animal you will be working with). • In Jacj Cuisi: your reservation guarantees you a bed and at least construction work (due to the small number of animals at Jacj Cuisi we cannot guarantee that you will be able to work with an animal). • The $100 reservation fee is additional to our standard volunteering fees - it is not a pre-payment of your volunteering package. You will still be required to pay the standard volunteering fees in full upon arrival at the centre of your choice.
N.B. We will only ever allocate a limited number of reserved spaces at each Centre at any one time. This is to ensure that those who prefer to simply turn up can do so.
Applying to volunteer
We do not require volunteers to apply or reserve a space before arriving - we have no application process. We are always in need of more…