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Inti Wara Yassi - Animal Refuge - Bolivia Travel Information

Photos from Inti Wara Yassi

ארה (מקאו) כחולה-צהובה (2001)Blue & Yellow Macaw אינטי וורה יאסי (2002) Inti Wara Yassi אינטי וורה יאסי (2002)Inti Wara Yassi אינטי וורה יאסי (2002) Inti Wara Yassi אינטי וורה יאסי (2002) Inti Wara Yassi סאקי לבן פנים - נקבה (2002) White-faced Saki - Female אינטי וורה יאסי (2002) Inti Wara Yassi אינטי וורה יאסי (2002) Inti Wara Yassi קופת טמרין (2002) Saddleback Tamarin מתנדבת עם קוף עכביש (2001)Volunteer with a Spider Monkey מתנדב עם קוף קפוצ'ין חום (2001)Volunteer & Brown Capuchin Monkey פומה (2002) Puma

(Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi - Refugio de Animales)

Inti Wara Yassi is the name of a community who's goal is to protect Bolivia's wildlife. For that purpose, a shelter was built for wild animals that were kept in private homes, and sometimes seriously abused by their owners. The park lets these animals live in a free environment as much as possible. Most of the animals are not in cages and are not tied, and therefore can come and go as they please.

The meaning of the name Inti Wara Yassi (in case you are wondering) is the words sun, star and moon in three of Bolivia's native languages:

INTI means sun in Quechua
WARA star in Aymara
YASSI moon in Chiriguano-Guarani

Getting to Inti Wara Yassi

The shelter is located in the middle of the road between the cities Cochabamba and Santa Cruz, In the Machia Park close to the village of Villa Tunari in the Chapare region. To get to the shelter you can take any bus that goes between these cities. It is better to taking the buses that leaves from the central terminal (although they are a bit more expensive - about 20 Bolivian) since the way might be bumpy and cold.

You need to ask the driver to let you know when you reach the shelter or in case he doesn't know where it is, when he gets to Villa Tunari, get off right after Espiritu Santo Bridge. It is a very big bridge so you can not miss it.

Volunteering in the animal refuge

The shelter is maintained by a small group of Bolivians and an ever changing group of volunteers from all over the world, who stay in the shelter for a minimal period of 2 weeks (many stay for a much longer period).

Anyone who is interested and willing to stay for at least 15 days can volunteer. Usually there is no need for pre-notification - just get there. No special education or experience is required to volunteer. Those who want to work with a specific animal will have to commit to stay for a longer period of time (usually a month) in the shelter. A basic understanding of Spanish is necessary for volunteering.

Those who do not want to volunteer can come for a visit. You should dedicate at least 2 days for this visit.

The volunteers are doing the daily work - such as cleaning, construction and taking care of the animals. Sometimes when there are too many volunteers in the shelter, there might not be enough animals that require special attention, and therefore there will be volunteers who will not receive a specific animal to take care of.


The volunteers in the shelter sleep in a residence provided by the shelter. The accommodation costs about $4.5 per night for the first 2 weeks and about $2.5 after those 2 weeks. Don't expect a fancy hotel... the volunteer's residence includes a kitchen, a big dinning room and showers with hot (sometimes...) water. The payment for the accommodations is actually a donation since the shelter does not get any support from the government, and relies on donations from the volunteers and ex-volunteers.

Regarding food - in the near village there are some restaurants and grocery shops.

The total monthly cost in the shelter is about $250 (including everything). There is no bank in the village so bring some cash with you.

Additional information may be found at Volunteering in the animal refuge