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Animal Rescue Centre - Amazon Rainforest in Peru

POSTED ON 21 Feb 2024
placement Details

What is this project about? 

You will be volunteering in the Amazon forest in Peru, getting first-hand experience on how to protect exotic and endangered animals and helping to preserve one of the most fascinating and important ecosystems in the world. 

The project receives exotic animals that were either held as pets, supposed to be trafficked out of the country, or found injured. It's mission is to ensure the well-being of the region's wild animals, to provide a safe place, medical care, and food for animals in need, all in a cage-free environment when it's possible.

Together with other volunteers, you will aim to rehabilitate the animals in protected areas or parks. You will also interact with local communities to establish environmental consciousness.

The Project's Goals

  • Taking care of animals that have been abandoned, injured, or trafficked, and cannot live alone in the wild anymore.
  • Providing safety, medical care, shelter, and food to the animals. 
  • Rescue Center: Rehabilitation and release in the wild for those who can readapt.
  • Promoting environmental awareness among the local community.
  • Raising awareness for the protection of the environment and exotic animals through creating marketing materials.
  • Maintaining the property, construction work, repairing fences etc. 

Requirements Spanish Language Skills:
You don't have to be able to speak Spanish. The project welcomes beginners as well and also offers a one-week free Spanish course at the beginning of the programme. However, the organisation highly encourages you to learn Spanish before you arrive. You can do that either by yourself or simply ask for one of the Spanish courses offered locally.  


The work at the Animal Shelter can be quite varied depending on current needs and projects as well as the weather; from hard physical work to creative and educational tasks or scientific research, depending on your interest, skills, and experience. The organisation highly encourages you to take the initiative and come up with your own fresh ideas on how to improve the shelter and the lives of the animals and locals.

Example tasks as a volunteer include, but are not limited to:

  • Maintaining and cleaning of the shelter area and animal enclosures
  • Feeding the animals
  • Guiding visitors and tourists
  • Constructing and designing new enclosures
  • Reforesting and fruit harvesting
  • Animal nursing and animal release *
  • Creating and leading educational workshops for local children
  • Designing new enclosures
  • Creating informative signs and helping with marketing

*To release an animal it has to be completely healthy and self-sufficient in order to survive in the jungle. It has to be released far from the populated area and the whole operation has to be approved by local governmental agencies. Some animals like turtles or caimans are much easier to release than, for example, monkeys, who are sometimes used to humans and already have become social animals who might not be accepted into a wild group of monkeys anymore. Moreover, they might be captured again or even killed. The release of an animal is a costly and lengthy process that you may or may not take part in during your stay, depending on the circumstances at the time. 


The following timetable is only approximate, so be prepared to be flexible and open-minded. From Monday to Friday, you normally work both in the morning and in the afternoon, but usually not more than six hours per day so you have still enough time for yourself. In your free time, you can read or relax, create handicrafts, explore the neighboring villages, or hike through the Amazon jungle to learn about plants and wildlife. 

On Saturday you only work in the morning but this is negotiable if you want to make a full weekend trip somewhere else. On Sunday you are free to either stay in the town or to explore. 


There are about 20 different species at the shelter; most of them roam free, with several exceptions, such as Selva the tapir, who is kept within the shelter grounds as there are real concerns that she might get hunted. New animals might be also kept in enclosures for quarantine and/or medical checks. You might or might not see the animals listed below as they might have been released before your arrival.

Many animals, like sloths, are brought to the shelter by children. They often convince their parents to give up their pets and are therefore the hope for the future of animal protection in the area. In order to raise more awareness, volunteers sometimes carry out workshops and seminars within the local schools.

Animals you might see at the Shelter: 

  • Wooly Monkey
  • Capuchin Monkey
  • Saddleback Tamarin Monkey
  • Scarlet Macaw
  • Blue-and-yellow Macaw
  • Sloths
  • Deers
  • Pecaris 
  • Tapirs 
  • Turtles
  • Capybaras
  • Pacas
  • Caimans
  • Owls and Bats


(During the language course in the Andes)

Before and after your stay in the jungle you will be living in one of the main cities in Peru, Cusco, in a hostel or together with a host family. There are also other options of accommodations like an apartment, hotel rooms or a volunteer house where you can stay together with other volunteers. 

In Cusco, you will be attending a Spanish School during your first week when it's time to learn some or improve upon your Spanish before you start your time volunteering at the project site (further info below). 

During your time in the Andes and the jungle, you will learn many things. You will see how local people live and how their lives and ways of thinking are different from yours. You will find out how little you actually need to live simply and happily. There might be things you like and find interesting, but there may also be things you don’t like, don’t understand or that frustrate you, but hey, don't worry, it's all part of your journey!

(During your project time in the Amazon jungle)

Contrarily to Cusco, in the jungle, there are not many foreigners living in the town so you might get a lot of attention. See it as a chance to get into contact with the locals!

During your time at the project, you will be living at the volunteer house, together with the project leader and his wife. They are a young lovely and caring couple of Quechua descent. They both speak some English, but see it as a great opportunity for you to improve your Spanish and maybe learn some basic Quechua as well! 

Sometimes their extended family comes over for dinner and so you can get to know all of them, from their very old grandma to their youngest nieces and nephews, who will want you to teach them English and draw pictures for them. 

There is also a little dog who loves to play with everyone. The house is simple but nice and tidy. While the owners live downstairs, you will be sharing one of the bedrooms available for volunteers upstairs, each one has three beds. In case you want a private room please inquire upfront. 

There are some spare mosquito nets but it is recommended to bring your own. Fresh linen will be provided for you, but you need to bring your own towel. There is one bathroom with a toilet and a shower that will be shared. Although both days and nights are hot, early morning hours, before sunrise, can be a bit chilly. So be prepared to bring some long sleeves. 

Most of your meals will be shared with your host family and prepared by the project leader's wife, who is a very good cook of the typical local dishes. Most main courses are made with meat in South America, but vegetarian or vegan options are also possible. 

The shared meals are always a great opportunity to get to know your hosts and their families better every day and sometimes make plans for common excursions. The kitchen is a simple open-air kitchen, well equipped and tidy, which you are free to use and cook on Sundays if you want. 

During afternoon breaks you can go and relax by the river (only a 5 minutes’ walk from your accommodation), where there is a beautiful partially sandy, partially stony beach. The river there is safe, and quite clean, except after heavy rain. Some places are deep enough to swim and there are rocks from which you can jump off into the water. You can also wash your clothes there, which dry quickly on the hot stones. Please bring bio-degradable soap!

During weekends you are free to explore and visit surrounding areas or fellow volunteers working on other projects close by. There is a folder with tips on places to visit available at the project leader's house and you can also ask him for suggestions about what to do. Sometimes, he might also give you a lift on his motorcycle if you want to go somewhere, or you can simply order a tuktuk. 


Upon arrival in Cusco, at either the bus station or the airport, you will be picked up by your local coordinator, taken to your accommodation, and instructed about your stay and Spanish course. 

After the Spanish course in Cusco, you will embark on your journey from high up in the Andes, going through different climate zones down into the Amazon jungle. The transport to the project site takes about 8 hours, with a half-hour break, and mostly consists of bumpy dirt roads. There will be lots of turns and ups and downs. Be prepared! 

During the peak of the rainy season (December – March) the road is often damaged by landslides and so delays and diversions might occur (please note that this season is characterized by short, heavy, bursts of rain, not consistent rain. Sunshine expects you usually soon after).

Your project location itself is approximately 3km out of town. You will be required to walk to and from the project but if there are not too many volunteers the project leader can sometimes take you on his motorbike or teach you how to ride it yourself. The walk to the project takes about 30-45 minutes.


During your first week, you will take part in an intensive Spanish course of 20 hours, in a local Spanish School. The included Spanish course is catered to your project and will teach you specific vocabulary that you will need during your work at the project site. Your lessons will be taught in groups and adapted to your Spanish level. 

Your language course takes place in a local language school from 8.30am - 12.30pm Monday to Friday. The school offers also a variety of different activities like Salsa courses, visits to museums, local markets or cooking classes to enjoy the local cuisine. 

The organisation encourages you to consider taking additional Spanish lessons either before or during your volunteering period, even if you already speak Spanish. It will allow you to have a greater impact on the project, by engaging more deeply with local people and communities, sharing knowledge and skills, and gaining a richer experience to take home with you.

Learning another language is not only a skill set but an asset for life. It can also work as a magic door opener on your CV!

- Food and accommodation.
- Pickup from the airport in Cusco.
- Pre-arrival pack.
- Welcome dinner.
- Complementary t-shirt.
- FREE 20-hour intensive Spanish course.
- Transport to project site into and out of the Amazon rainforest (see transportation).
- 24-hour support.
- Comprehensive introduction to your work and the local culture.
- Training, support and material.
- Ongoing mentoring.

Start Dates: 
1st and 3rd Sunday each month. 

Individual Start Dates:
+ € 150,00 – Start your placement any Sunday of the month.
+ € 250,00 – Choose your own start dates and change them up to 3 times before your trip.

€ 1349,00 – 1st month
€ 1299,00 – 2nd month
€ 1249,00 – 3rd month, and after.

There are special prices if you want to come and volunteer with a partner or friend. Please contact the organisation.


"Can you imagine working in the jungle, with a monkey on your shoulder? Can you imagine working with a machete in the jungle with ants and other wild animals? Can you imagine discovering how little you need to be happy? Then it is the best project you can choose!

We worked there for about three weeks and it was the best time we had. Working with the “wild” animals was a great experience. They are not really wild, because they are all used to people and so they come to you and join you. Our daily work was preparing food for the animals, twice a day – in the morning and the afternoon, this takes a lot of time. Then the work depends on what is needed, most of the time after preparing the food we guided tourists through the project.

The work is hard work, but at end of the day, you can see what you’ve done and it is always something for the animals so it is good work. The people in the nearby village and especially the project leader and his family are the nicest people you can imagine. They want you to feel at home and that everything is alright."
Anna W, 28, and Ronja S, 26

"My experience at this project was very intensive; I learned a lot about the region, about the lifestyle of the people and about the project itself. I learned a lot of technical skills, how to work under basic circumstances, agriculture and nature, and the culture. Most of my tasks involved construction and maintenance, education/guiding, and animal care. My best experiences were: meeting guides, professors and people of the region; caring for wild animals; living like people live there; and above all the very friendly atmosphere and warm welcome from the project leader and his family, and the volunteers."
Gerrit J, 20


Want to make friends with the Amazon rainforest in Peru? 

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Animal Rescue Centre - Amazon Rainforest in Peru


Conservation Projects


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1st and 3rd Sunday each month

Age restrictions

Minimum age: 18 (under 18 only with parental consent)

Support in place

Training, support and material

Included with this course
  • Food included
  • Specialist equipment included
  • Airport pick up

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