Volunteer Work, Community Work
San Miguel del Bala, Provinz La Paz
Year round, start and end dates are flexible
Your volunteer work will take place in a small village located on the Beni River in the Bolivian Amazon rainforest. Its nearest neighbor is the Madidi National Park, which is known to be one of the places with the greatest biodiversity on Earth.
You can only reach the village by boat, which takes about 40 minutes upstream from the town of Rurrenabaque. The indigenous community has approximately 235 inhabitants who belong to the Tacana people. They have always lived along the shores of the Beni and Tuichi rivers. A couple of years ago, the community built an Eco-Lodge with funds provided by international NGOs.
The Eco-Lodge has a restaurant and comfortable cabins for guests. The community uses the income from the Eco-Lodge to improve their quality of life (e.g. education, health, etc.) and to preserve the incredibly rich nature in the Bolivian Amazon region.
When the Madidi National Park was first created, the community was initially against this project, but the many advantages of sustainable tourism have now completely changed their opinion towards the national park. Instead of protesting against it, the Tacana community is now among its fiercest protectors and they are proud to be honorary park rangers. Their way of living and the way they manage their lodge is completely sustainable, and it will allow their children and grandchildren to live in even better conditions in the future.
The community lives in sync with the environment and is dependent on the surrounding nature for survival. There are also various small commercial ventures such as handicrafts, fishing, and agriculture. This community is the perfect example of how one can live happy without much use of modern technology! The Tacana community will warmly welcome you, allowing you to immerse yourself in their culture.
During your volunteer program in Bolivia, you will live and work with an indigenous community, the Tacana, who reside in the Bolivian Amazon rainforest.
You will learn how the indigenous people plant rice and collect fruits and vegetables. In addition, you will learn how to fish and hunt, as well as how to make medicinal remedies from native plants using traditional techniques. Of the many things that the community is involved in, you will learn how to live like them through working directly with the community members. In exchange you will assist the community by teaching the adults and children English, and/or your native language if it is different.
For the Eco-tourism project at the Eco-Lodge, foreign language skills are very important and beneficial. Volunteers also help attend to tourists at the Eco-Lodge. This can mean guiding them around, helping in the kitchen, or assisting with other household chores like cleaning and preparing the rooms. There are a lot of things volunteers can do, so you should be flexible to help wherever the community needs you!
This is a unique opportunity that allows you to live closely with indigenous people who are open-minded and curious to learn about your culture while at the same time showing you their traditions and lifestyle. The simplicity of their lives will change your perspective on the world and open your eyes to how life was before modern technology existed.
Please keep in mind that you will live a very simple life during your stay in this volunteer project. You need to respect the local people and their traditions that span several centuries. Your acceptance of their way of life will allow you to experience a unique and wonderful stay in one of the most pristine and diverse sites on earth. You will be one of few people that can say that they have lived with an indigenous community in the amazing Amazon jungle!
Note: The tasks may vary. They depend on factors such as number of volunteers, weather, season, current needs of the project, as well as self-motivation. Not every volunteer may be fully involved in all these tasks.
During your volunteer work project in Bolivia, you will either live with a group of tourists at the Eco-Lodge, or in the volunteer cottage that is taken care of by an indigenous host family. Your host family will provide you with meals, and you may even receive an invitation to stay in one of their own houses.
You will be surprised to see that in the typical household, all family members sleep in the same room, which also serves as the kitchen and the living room. In their home, you will have the opportunity to learn and practice indigenous cooking techniques and try delicious recipes.
This is a completely unique experience that is not offered to mere tourists. The meals provided by the host family typically contain the ingredients that the family grows, hunts, and fishes. Typically, they eat fruits, vegetables, fresh fish, corn, rice, and occasionally some red meat. Volunteers can also eat and live with other tourists at the Eco-Lodge. In the lodge, the meals are more international, so they may also include chicken and beef.
The meals provided by the host family typically contain the ingredients that the family grows, hunts, and fishes. Typically, they eat fruits, vegetables, fresh fish, corn, rice, and occasionally some red meat. Volunteers can also eat and live with other tourists at the Eco-Lodge. In the lodge, the meals are more international, so they may also include chicken and beef.
Note: In Latin America, especially in remote areas where many of our volunteer projects take place, the cellular or internet connection is not always reliable and fast.
The volunteer project with the indigenous community in the Bolivian jungle is located about 40 minutes by boat from the city of Rurrenabaque. Rurrenabaque is about an hour's flight from La Paz. Very close to the project is the amazing Madidi National Park, known for its breath-taking biodiversity.
The project site is packed with opportunities to get up close with the Tacana culture and discover the exotic flora and fauna of this wonderful place. You can also hike or bike through the jungle, admire waterfalls and canyons, and learn about ancient medicinal plants.
There is a tropical climate with an average temperature of about 26 °C. The rainiest months are December to March.
Spanish at communication level. For optimal preparation for your volunteer work in Bolivia, we advise you to take a Spanish course before the program starts. This gives you the opportunity to slowly get used to the language, culture and mentality.
Pre-departure and in-country support
Before arrival, our experienced team will be at your disposal to assist you throughout the booking process and travel planning. With the booking confirmation you will receive our 24-hour emergency number, so that you can reach us 24/7 in case of emergency.
In addition to the assistance given by our office staff you will be supported by our partner organization in Bolivia located in Sucre, as well as the volunteer coordinator on site.
Costs & Services
Our volunteer project with an Indigenous Community in Bolivia includes:
- Accommodation (single or shared room)
- Full board
- Flight, round-trip La Paz-Rurrenabaque-La Paz
- Professional English-speaking advice
- Translation of your application documents
- Elaboration of your internal application profile
- Volunteer Work Placement
- English-speaking in-country support
- Handbook Bolivia
- Intercultural guideline
- Certificate of participation
- Information about suitable travel insurance
- 24/7 emergency number
Application fee: US$ 120
Program fee: US$ 1,670 (minimum stay 4 weeks)
Each additional week: US$ 275
Additionally, you can book:
Our tips (experience more + see more = save $$)
Is it difficult for you to decide between the many great projects? You want to see and experience as much as possible during your stay in Latin America? Then build your own itinerary - experience more & see more! Our program combination makes it possible!
All our stay abroad programs can be combined with each other: So, you can combine different volunteer projects in the same country or in different countries, or you mix Working Holiday with volunteer work or Farm Stay with Working Holiday ...and so on …
Your creativity knows no limits. The longer your stay abroad in Latin America, the greater the discount you get from South America Inside. Below you can see how much you can save:
Note: Language courses are excluded from this promotion. These discounts can not be combined with other promotions.
If you need assistance in putting together your personal experience abroad, then please contact us. Our experienced staff will help you to set up your tailor-made stay abroad.