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Volunteer at a monkey sanctuary in the middle of the Ecuadorian rainforest after a week of Spanish lessons  and cultural immersion in Quito! This sanctuary was established in 2006 and currently provides a safe haven for over 60 animals, mostly monkeys but also other native animals that have been injured. Many of these animals were abused or abandoned by those in the local community who kept them as pets. The sanctuary is family-run and sits on over 75 hectares of land. In addition to caring for injured animals, the sanctuary also works with the local community to promote conservation and wildlife education. Whenever possible, animals are released from the sanctuary back into the wild. 

Interested in volunteering abroad in South America? Thinking of gaining some volunteer experience in your travels to Latin America? Don’t miss GoEco’s Volunteer in South America page
Location of the Project:  Arajuno & Quito, Ecuador
Project length:  Min 2 weeks - Max 4 weeks
Arrival Airport:  Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO)
Volunteer Work:  Animal care
Age:  Min age of 18 (Age exception: Volunteers under the age of 18 may apply with parental consent.)
Number of Volunteers:  Up to 24 international volunteers
Important Note:  Volunteers must have an intermediate level of Spanish (The sanctuary is run by a family that does not speak much English). Volunteers must also have the ability to be independent (Volunteers will work according to their own initiative, there will not be a lot of instruction given).

What's Included

Accommodations:  Shared rooms at the student house during orientation week and shared rooms in a volunteer cabin while on the project
Food:  Three meals per day are provided Monday-Friday during project work weeks
Airport Transfers:  Airport pickup is provided on arrival day
Orientation:  The first week of this project consists of 20 hours of Spanish lessons, a city tour of Quito, a visit to Cotopaxi National Park and its volcano, a visit to the Equator and more! *Some small fees apply for excursions.
Support:  Comprehensive and professional pre-departure travel guidance, 24/7 GoEco emergency hotline, experienced local field team.

What's not Included

Flights, visas (if required), travel health insurance, meals during orientation week, some weekend meals, bus ticket from Quito to Puyo (approx. $6 USD) and from Puyo to project (approx. $1.50 USD), transfer to airport on departure day, personal expenses.
This project takes place in two main locations - first, embrace Ecuadorian culture in the capital city of Quito and then head to the secluded rainforest area of Arajuno to volunteer with rescued monkeys and other animals. 

Quito is located in the Andes Mountains, which provides beautiful, scenic views of the majestic landscape. Six hours to the south lies Arajuno, in a secluded area of the rainforest. The nearest town, Puyo, is one hour away, allowing volunteers to live peacefully in the middle of the serene, enchanting rainforest.
During your first week of this volunteer program, you will improve your Spanish skills with 20 hours of lessons, as well enjoy an introduction  to the culture and local landscape of Ecuador. Fun activities during this week could include a private salsa lesson, a city tour of Quito and a visit to the Equator. 

Starting with your second week, you will make your way to the monkey sanctuary where you will be involved in a variety of tasks. Day-to-day tasks include cutting fruit and preparing other food for the animals, feeding the animals and participating in general maintenance around the sanctuary.

Some of your tasks may include:
  • Preparing food for the monkeys and other animals
  • Making enrichment toys for the animals
  • General maintenance and cleaning around the sanctuary
  • Fruit picking and insect catching
  • Harvesting yucca, sugar cane, corn and/or cocoa as part of the animals’ diets
  • Day-to-day care of the animals

A typical day: Volunteers will work Monday to Friday from 8:00 AM -12:00 PM and have a break before returning to work from 2:30 - 5:30 PM. On Saturdays volunteers feed the animals and clean the volunteer house before having the rest of the weekend free.

Holidays: Holidays will not affect the animal project, but they will affect the first week of Spanish classes. Volunteers will receive all 20 hours as promised, but may have to make up hours on non-holidays. 

The holidays for 2018 are as follows:
  • March 29-31 (Easter)
  • April 27-May 1 (Labor Day)
  • May 24-26 (Pichincha Battle)
  • August 9-11 (Ecuadorian Independence)
  • October 11-13 (Independence of Guayaque)
  • Novemeber 1-3 (All souls and Independence of Cuenca)
Internet:  During orientation week, Wifi will be available at an additional cost near to the student house. During the project, Wifi is not available at the project site, but is available in the nearby town of Triunfo(20 minutes away).
Laundry:  During orientation week, laundry facilities are available nearby for a small fee. While at the project, laundry facilities are not available and volunteers should expect to wash clothes by hand.
Accommodations:  During orientation week volunteers will stay in same-gender, double rooms in the student house with communal bathrooms and a shared, fully equipped kitchen. At the project volunteers will be in shared, single-gender rooms in a cabin with up to 7 others. There is a dining cabin with a kitchen which volunteers can use to prepare meals. Please note there is no electricity at the project accommodations. There is just a power generator which is switched on at night normally from 18:30 until 20:30 so that people can charge cameras.
Food:  During orientation week, volunteers will need to purchase and prepare their own meals.There is a fully equipped kitchen in the student house and markets nearby. At the project three meals are provided: breakfast will be prepared by volunteers individually, lunches will be prepared for them and volunteers prepare dinner for the group on a rotating basis. On weekends volunteers prepare their own meals in the self-catering kitchen.
Please take note of this project's minimum requirements:
  • Intermediate level of Spanish (The sanctuary is run by a family that does not speak much English)
  • Ability to be independent (Volunteers will work according to their own initiative, there will not be a lot of instruction given)
  • Love for animals
  • A good attitude
  • Desire to help
Aside from the travel highlights enjoyed during orientation, which include a visit to a volcano, a national park and the Equator, volunteers can participate in other activities during their free time for an additional fee. Listed below are a few suggested activities that are located in two of the closest towns.

Travel Highlights in Puyo:

Botanical Gardens Las Orquideas is a beautiful botanical garden with 6.75 hectares. This garden focuses on the education and preservation of Ecuadorian flora and fauna.

The Ethnic and Archaeological Museum is an excellent choice for history-lovers; this museum has artifacts that date back to around 2,000 BC. 

Travel Highlights in Baños:

Rafting Baños Ecuador is for the thrill-seeking volunteers! Guests here have the option to white water raft down either the Patate or Pasta Rivers.

Ziplining: For the adrenaline junkie, Baños is home to a ziplining tour company that features over 2,000 meters of zipline fun.
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