I plan to travel to Bolivia for 3 months from January 2010 and spending this time volunterring at Inti Wara Yassi (Parque Ambue Ari most likely). I will be travelling alone and I wondered if anyone could advise me in following questions?
> What is the most cost effective flying option in getting to Bolivia? I am based in Manchester, but will fly from London if necessary.
> Once in Bolivia, can anyone inform me of the quickest and safest route of getting to Parque Ambue Ari?
> Is Bolivia relatively safe for a woman travelling alone?
> How much money would you recommend I need for 3 months at Parque Ambue Ari?
> Can anyone kindly share their experiences of Inti Wara Yassi with me?
I would really appreciate any advice you have for me.
I too am planning on volunteering at IWY but I have now decided to go to Machia as they are desperate for long termers there. Hopefully I shall be leaving next month.
If you check on their web site under volunteering, you will find detailed instructions on how to get to Ambue or I can forward to you some instructions which are a bit more specific which were given to me by an ex volunteer.
Re flights, they can be horrendously expensive. I have opted for BA from heathrow via Miami. This cost £1029 through Flightcentre and is valid for 12 months.. There are vaguely cheaper options via Venezuela or Peru but some are with dubious airlines so I opted for safety, comfort and the assurance that it is unlikely BA will go bust.
On their web site it states that the average volunteer spends approx $300 per month, this will include your board and lodging. I suppose it is all down to how many beers you can down in one night, whether you choose to eat out or buy souveniers. Make sure you take a little extra though as they often hold fundraising events. Also make sure you have at least one semi decent outfit for going out as your clothes will be wrecked by the cats and the jungle.
Another tip I will pass on is to take ziplock bags or similar to keep your clothes dry, everything gets very damp in the jungle. Also plenty of socks.
I believe Bolivia is relatively safe for lone female travellers. I have spoken to a lot of ex volunteers and they have not had any problems.
I would also suggest you take a look at the facebook group 'CIWY emergency now'. You will find lots of information there plus links to other groups such as IWY Ambue Ari Parque. You will get a lot of information there.
As you may know, Machia is currently in crisis with a road being bulldozed through the cat's trails and they are desperately trying to raise funds to open the new park at Jacj Cuisi. Its all on facebook.
I know they will welcome you with open arms at Ambue, especially if you plan to stay 3 months.
If you are unsure of which park to go to, read the volunteers words on the site, scrolll down and there is an entry which gives a more detailed definition of each park.
Once you have read all the web site and related facebook entries, if you still need further info, please do let me know as there is a host of other stuff out there for you to read.
I hope you have a wonderful time out there and maybe I shall see you!
Thank you for your informative reply.
You've given me some good pointers and tips there, thank you.
I am thinking of looking into Manchia, as they are obviously in need of help and if I am to stay for 3 months, I could be valuable to them.
Yes, I have seen that flights are expensive to Bolivia. I have came across a return flight from Manchester to Amsterdam to Lima and then to La Paz for around £950 but it would take approx 25 hours, and then there's to travel to the IWY centre from La Paz. I would really apreciate the more specific directions from the airport to Ambue Ari (and Manchia - if you have any) from the ex-volunteer you've been in contact with.
I am one of the few without a Facebook account but this will have to change when I leave as it'll be an important contact tool, so I'll look at the CIWY Emergency Now site as soon as I get started.
I do hope to meet you if I do go to Manchia. I am sure you'll have an amazing experience volunteering at IWY. I have not read one negative thing about the organisation as yet, and the happiness that you'll get helping those deserving and unfortunate animals will be well worth all of the hard work that you'll put in. I am trying to get fit at the moment in preparation for all the work to come!
I have sent you a PM with more info and detailed directions to Ambue in case you change your mind. I shall try to get better directions to Machia though...I shall need them myself!
I am hoping that more people will read this thread and decide to join us. I know promos are not allowed but judging from the amount of threads asking about cheap volunteering...you can't really beat $9 a day for a damned good cause!
[ Edit: Edited on 13-Sep-2009, at 14:34 by baluba ]
Thank you so much for your information; you've been really helpful and instrumental in my coming to a decision regarding at which park to volunteer.
I have sent a PM to you.