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Hoja Nueva is a registered nonprofit and dynamic conservation organization operating several research and wildlife rescue centers in Madre de Dios, Peru.
Hoja Nueva’s mission is to confront deforestation and defaunation in the Peruvian Amazon. To accomplish this, we strategically acquire conservation lands and create corridors, build capacity within remote and indigenous communities through one health and alternative income opportunities, implement rigorous scientific research, and rescue, rehabilitate and reintroduce threatened species to the wild. By visiting our centers and learning from our team, volunteers and interns greatly support us on this mission!



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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!)

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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.
Read my full story
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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.

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Yes, I recommend this program


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.
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.


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you choose this program?

This program was chosen because, after having met the owner (Sam), I knew that our ideologies aligned for conservation and outreach.

There are many forms of conservation with EVERYONE having a different opinion on how it should be done. My personal philosophy is to try to make the locals understand the work that is being overtaken and encourage them to help. Hoja Nueva has a similar structure by incorporating the local community to help perform conservation.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

Hoja Nueva provided all of the basic necessities for an enjoyable trip. I was told what hotel to stay at, how much (roughly) taxis should cost, and which places in town were the best to eat at. Once I was settled into town, Hoja provided a car to pick me up and bring me to the site. Food, shelter, and snacks were all provided as well as basic toiletries. There were spare boots when mine became waterlogged.

The only thing I had to provide myself was the plane ride and in-town activities such as visiting the butterfly farm or going to the local animal shelter.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Bring comfort stuff from home to make it feel more comfortable. The living conditions are nice but basic. It helps to have a fluffy pillow or snacks or music to help remind you of home life.

Most important is to enter these programs with an open mind. It is a different country with MANY different customs. One thing I learned is to just go with the flow and try to make the best out of every situation. That being said, these are just minor things I learned to make myself as comfortable as could be.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

This program's average day is spent waking up at 6 or 7 am (that's when the howler monkeys start and its quite hard to sleep in when they're close). Breakfast is made, usually a simple combination of fruits and cereal with a little yogurt.

After breakfast, I usually would take a morning walk around one of the many trails. If there was work to be done, I would get to the farm and help to plant/tend to the vegetation before it becomes too hot (until noonish).

Around 12, is nearly lunchtime, so we would return to the house and begin preparing lunch. Usually, 2 or 3 people help out to speed up the process. Lunch is typically rice and chicken but, they always have tofu for vegetarians.

After lunch, it is time for a nap and then I have an hour or so to myself to take a walk or just relax. If there is more work to get done before dinner, I'll take care of it. Dinner is quite similar to lunch and then we prepare for either night walks or a potential movie/documentary night.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was being alone in a new country with people who don't speak the same language as me. This wasn't an issue as most people spoke English and even the locals could communicate on a basic level. Everyone was so welcoming and it was easy to make friends. The company provided everything I needed to be happy and comfortable.

What to do if you're on a specific (vegan) diet?

At Hoja, they tried to meet everyone's dietary needs. There was plenty of fruit to be bought from the local market and they always made sure to have nuts/beans and rice/pasta in the supply closet.

While it is challenging to maintain a vegan diet in the jungle, it was definitely doable.

Hoja went out of their way to ensure everyone's dietary needs were met.