Location
  • Peru

Program Details

Compensation
Non-Monetary Benefits
Timeframe
Academic Year Fall J-Term Maymester Spring Spring Break Summer Winter Year Round
Language
Spanish
Weekly Hours
30
Age Min.
18
Qualifications
  • Experience in conservation/ecology/biology/ agroforestry or other related studies or fields
  • Capable of undertaking fieldwork and living in a challenging environment
  • Capable of working well both as part of a team, and independently
  • Responsible, reliable, and will follow strict research and safety protocols at all times

Pricing

Starting Price
730
Price Details
At Hoja Nueva, interns pay a fee to cover the costs of food, accommodations, and supervision, which helps us keep our programs running and our staff employed that in turn provide interns with the best experience possible. Please contact us regarding other lengths of stay besides those listed here.

1 week: $730
2 weeks: $1430
3 weeks: $1830
1 month: $2100
2 months: $3450
3 months: $4250
4 months: $4825
5 months: $5200
6 months: $6525
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Airport Transfers Meals Transportation
What's Included (Extra)

No visa is necessary to enter Peru for more than 6 months at a time, currently. Upon entering you will automatically be given a tourist visa.

What's Not Included
Airfare SIM cards Travel Insurance Wifi
What's Not Included (Extra)

Wifi is only available during certain hours of the day and night. Airport transfer is included from the airport to our center and back again, when programmed directly. All food, accommodations and transport incurred in the city of Puerto Maldonado is not included.

Dec 22, 2022
Jan 18, 2024
74 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

At Hoja Nueva you will gain invaluable field experience that will challenge & prepare you for a future in environmental and species protection.

We are a remote research center & wildlife sanctuary located three hours outside the closest city of Puerto Maldonado. We confront deforestation and defaunation in the Peruvian Amazon by strategically acquiring rainforest & creating corridors; building capacity within remote & indigenous communities; implementing rigorous scientific research; & reintroducing threatened species to the wild after rescue.

Current internships involve animal rescue & husbandry, wildlife research, conservation programs, & sustainable community development projects. Our ongoing wildlife research focuses primarily on mammals & herpetofauna. Many interns prefer our rotating internship to gain a breadth of experience and knowledge in all of these different fields.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Live and work in a beautiful research center in the remote rainforest of Las Piedras: the last frontier of the Peruvian Amazon
  • Contribute to efforts in raising awareness of and preserving one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet
  • Participate in interdisciplinary, innovative projects that break boundaries between local NGOs, communities, and governments
  • Gain invaluable field experience that will challenge and prepare you for a future in environmental protection
  • Provide care and enrichment for rescued wild animals so they can one day be reintroduced to their rightful home: the jungle

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Program Reviews

4.60 Rating
based on 10 reviews
  • 5 rating 90%
  • 4 rating 0%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 10%
  • Growth 4.6
  • Support 4.6
  • Fun 4.6
  • Housing 4.7
  • Safety 4.6
Showing 1 - 8 of 10 reviews
Default avatar
Nayelli
1/5
No, I don't recommend this program

Very disappointing experience - not recommended

My recent engagement with Hoja Nueva was intended to be an enlightening experience in learning about nature conservation, building connections, and contributing to meaningful work. Unfortunately, my time with the organization was damaged by deficient leadership, communication gaps, and several incidents that highlighted a lack of understanding and empathy.

Primarily, the owners seemed disinterested in the getting to know the paying volunteers and participants, creating an atmosphere that felt more like a disturbance than a welcome community.

Besides, they demonstrated a lack of communication skills, responding with bossiness and illogical refusals rather than treating participants as adults. This created an environment more reminiscent of a kindergarten than that of an organization focused on conservation and learning.

The summer camp program, initially promising, unfolded as a rigid school-like schedule. Opting out of any activity triggered subtle bullying and gossip (within earshot) from one of the owners, against those who sought quiet moments (like reading or watching the river) over constant participation.

Anecdotes shared among volunteers revealed widespread fear of one of the owners, even within her own team. It was evident that her leadership style fostered hierarchies, mood swings, and uncommunicated rules, including arbitrary control over electricity.

To name just a few, one of the owners's authoritarian and unprofessional behavior manifested in various situations:
Volleyball: During volleyball sessions one of the owners would be aggressive, exclude weaker players and show lack of sportsmanship. This not only created a competitive and unwelcoming atmosphere but also showcased her disregard for teamwork and preference for personal victories.
Gossiping and Subtle Bullying: Instead of addressing concerns directly, one of the owners resorted to talking behind peoples backs and making sarcastic comments.
Cup Incident: one of the owners would get angry over small things, such as someone mistakenly taking "her" cup.
Scratch in the Floor: During an incident where a volunteer attempted to rescue a cat, causing a scratch in the wooden floor, one of the owners reacted with anger rather than understanding.
These instances highlight a pattern of unprofessional behavior, demonstrating one of the owner's authoritarian leadership style and a tendency to handle situations with aggression rather than effective communication and understanding.

Interestingly, it was observed that the other owner seemed more relaxed and funnier whenever one of the owners was not around. This observation hinted at a notable shift in the organizational dynamics, with a more positive and enjoyable atmosphere emerging in the owner's absence.

There was a noticeable difference in how volunteers/participants and employees were treated. Volunteers and camp participants were eating in common areas, while employees stayed in the kitchen. Attempts to join employees in the kitchen were met with hostility, with no logical explanation provided (“because I say so”).

Adding to the complexity, the owners love for animals seemed to overshadow any consideration for the well-being of humans within the organization. This was particularly evident in the imposition of a specific lifestyle and diet on employees, regardless of their living arrangements and 24/7 availability, raising ethical concerns.

Furthermore, volunteers found themselves obligated (not invited) to participate in the ecology summer camp, even if their initial intention and payment were geared towards volunteer work rather than the camp. This unmet expectation added to the overall dissatisfaction and disillusionment experienced during my time at Hoja Nueva.

It is important to separate the actions of a few from the collective efforts of the entire team. The positive contributions made by employees and volunteers should be acknowledged, emphasizing their commitment to the organization's core values and objectives.

Additionally, it is worth noting that the activities provided, particularly during the summer camp, were engaging and intellectually stimulating for students interested in pursuing careers in biology, conservation and wildlife research.

Overall, I cannot recommend volunteering at Hoja Nueva nor participating in the Ecology Summer Camp, especially not for the price you’d have to pay (financially and psychologically).

What would you improve about this program?
Improvements are needed in fostering a more inclusive and communicative environment at Hoja Nueva. Enhancing leadership qualities, encouraging open dialogue, and addressing communication gaps would contribute to creating a more positive and welcoming experience for volunteers.
Pros
  • Nice nature
  • Great employees
Cons
  • Poor leadership
  • Poor communication
  • Poor volunteer treatment
18 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Clemens
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

General Internship

I stayed at Hoja Nueva for two months doing a general internship. I decided to go there because they run a really vast variety of projects ranging from Herpetology and Mammal Ecology to the reintroduction of all kinds of animals. This gave me the absolutely perfect opportunity to figure out which area of biology I later want to specialise in! Next to this, I really love doing wildlife photography and staying at Hoja Nueva gave me plenty of opportunities to take macro shots of so many different species of reptiles, amphibians and other animals. Living in the jungle doing fieldwork pretty much every day I could gain so much invaluable experience that will come in really handy in the future.
I know, it’s such a cliche thing to say that volunteering abroad changed me but when you live in the jungle for a longer period of time, how can it not? Everything around you is alive! Animals, plants, fungi are all competing against each other and you can literally observe all of those different survival strategies (which can be absolutely insane sometimes!) and see how and why they have evolved. Seeing all of this happening and how everything in that system influences one another was unquestionably the most valuable thing that I could gain in the jungle! I came back home with a much better understanding of biology and how ecosystems work, which could never be acquired by reading tons of books or learning about it in lectures. You simply had to be there!
To be honest, one thing that I was a bit worried about before I got there was the living situation and what the people over there will be like. But now that I'm back, it’s one of the things I miss the most about this place! Everyone (including the cats and dogs!) was so welcoming and supportive from the minute I arrived and no questions that I had were left unanswered! Also, all the other interns were absolutely amazing people and how can it not be a great experience when you live in the middle of the rainforest with a bunch of biology nerds?
Overall, it was such an amazing experience and I had a really good time! I can’t wait to come back one day!
(And if you’re still thinking about whether you should go or not, just go for it! Trust me, it’s amazing!)

87 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
dale
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Experience at hoja

Working at hoja nueva was a life changing experience. The company was very well run and at no point did i feel like there wasnt something to do. Between the nightwalks, boat tours, or, simply hanging out and interacting with the locals, it was all amazing. Sam is such a helpful person who made sure all requirements of the research projects were met. Learning to use camera traps to study the local wildlife was incredibly insightful as well as tracking wild cats using their scat. Waking up to the sounds of howler monkeys and visiting local cocoa farms make this place feel like paradise

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Please bring lots of socks/underwear. You wont believe how hot and smelly you'll get living in the jungle. Snacks(that wont melt in the heat) are also a life saver. Other than that, hoja provides the basic necessities and then some.
90 people found this review helpful.
Read my full story
Default avatar
Will
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Research and Relaxation

I'll preface my review of Hoja Nueva by saying that I absolutely loved the opportunity that Hoja gave to me by allowing me to live in the thick of the Amazon Rainforest. I stayed at the Eco-Lodge for 3 months and my daily activity often took me out of the comfy housing to the on-site cacao chacras or orchards to complete my school sponsored research. After a day's work, I was frequently invited or accompanied on walks into the Rainforest with knowledgeable employees and friends. Hoja Nueva is a magical place with beautiful people.

98 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Kiara
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Life-Changing!!!

At Hoja I helped out with a variety of projects including: predator scat analysis, avian and herpetological surveys, soil sampling, and many others. The technical skills I gained from this internship were invaluable but the experience was so much more for me than that. Having the opportunity to unplug from the internet and fully immerse myself in the entirety of nature's wildness changed my life. Every moment that I spent in the jungle with Hoja Nueva, I was awestruck by the gloriousness of the natural world, by the seemingly endless array of life. The lodging is gorgeous, and you're awoken every morning by the sounds of howler monkeys and macaws. I loved waking up, making my morning coffee, and hanging my feet over the edge of the house watching monkeys play in the trees. Projects often involve collaboration with others, so working well on a team is a must! The employees and fellow interns/volunteers at Hoja are easy to get along with, and tasks such as cooking are shared by everyone staying at the lodge. I felt like I had my own little jungle family by the time I left. I would highly recommend this opportunity for anyone with a passion for wildlife and conservation. If you're anything like me, you'll be dying to return as soon as you leave.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
With how much incredible wildlife I saw during my month-long stay at Hoja, it's hard to choose. One of the highlights was certainly watching the family of howler monkeys swing through the trees just outside of the lodge. There were 2 females carrying tiny babies on their backs and stomach! I also saw blue and yellow macaws which was incredible. The night walks are to-die-for if you have an interest in snakes, frogs, night monkeys, or cool insects! I saw something new every single day that took my breath away.
98 people found this review helpful.
ME
Tyler
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Life Changing Place/Experience

I went during the summer of 2018 as a student and then back in 2019 as a volunteer. It is an amazing place that will truly give you a one of a kind experience. The people there are so amazing as well as the place itself. The amazon rain forest is stunningly beautiful for each of our five senses. I highly recommend this place for anyone looking for an adventure, a true experience of being out in nature, and especially for those looking to gain field research experience.

I cannot say enough good things about this place. The amount of work they have done and the amount of dedication they have is truly inspirational.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice is to make sure you are prepared, so pack smartly. Also make sure you either learn or review a little bit of Spanish before travelling to Hoja, as it will help you be able to better communicate and understand things as you make your way there.
95 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Ivy
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Hoja Nueva is a must visit!

For my undergraduate thesis I looked far and wide for a program to support my research as well as thirst for adventure. When I found Hoja Nueva I immediately was intrigued and couldn't wait to explore the opportunity. Once committing to the program I had no idea how much of an impact it would have not only on my research endeavors but my life in general. The locals and staff are welcoming and incredibly helpful people, the lodge is accommodating and serene, set in the most beautiful environment, and the local sight seeing, wildlife, and culture is right at your fingertips! No regrets whatever, a beautiful trip full of memories and education!

103 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Olivia
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

High School Trip to Hoja Nueva!

Going to Hoja Nueva was a life-changing experience! I went to the research center for three weeks after my junior year of high school, and because of my experience there, I am now in college studying environmental science. I can't wait to return to Peru!
There is nothing more beautiful than the sounds of the rainforest! During my time in Peru, I got to see animals I had only ever dreamed of seeing, and it was empowering to learn how to protect them. I met some of the most inspirational people of my life in that forest. Going to local communities was eye-opening and truly helped me develop my understanding of what it means to be an environmental scientist.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
One of the most surprising (and beautiful!) things I saw were macaws on a clay lick. It was by far one of the most amazing things I have ever seen in my life. I felt like I was in a National Geographic magazine. As spectacular as seeing the macaws was, it was even more wonderful to learn about them. By the end of my three weeks at Hoja Nueva, I could distinguish between the calls of Red and Green Macaws and Blue and Yellow Macaws. I had learned about the development of macaw chicks and how, tragically, macaws are killed for their feathers. Seeing animals is amazing, but learning how to protect them is a privilege.
93 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers