Biodiversity Research Institute in the Tropical Forest of Brazil

Video and Photos


The Biodiversity Research Institute (IPBio) is a place where research meets conservation. IPBio is an NGO that develops projects in environmental education and scientific research on biodiversity, ecology and on the behavior of species. In addition, IPBio 's mission is to encourage conservation, management and sustainable use of natural resources; promote the development of eco-tourism and cultural projects.

With only 7% of the Atlantic Forest remaining, we are rapidly losing one of the world’s top biodiversity hotspots. 200 birds and 21 primates are endemic. Conservation is critical.

1) In Research Projects: Bioluminescent Mushrooms; Bioacoustics Project; Tree Inventory and Monitoring; Amphibian Research
2) Reserve Maintenance and Gardening: maintain trails, aquarium and microclimate greenhouse
3) Photographers/Movie Producers: wildlife photography; produce volunteer videos; short documentaries; our videos have been used by Discovery Channel

  • Visiting the town with the highest concentration of bioluminescent mushrooms in the world
  • Gaining hands on experience in the field of research and conservation
  • Participate in exciting activities such as tubing and visiting caves and waterfalls
  • Work for an organization which received accreditation as an advanced outpost of The Atlantic Forest Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO

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Questions & Answers


9.59 Rating
based on 104 reviews
  • Impact 9.1
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.6
  • Value 9.3
  • Safety 9.5
  • Housing 8
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Value 10
  • Safety 10
Showing 17 - 24 of 104
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Yes, I recommend this program

A unique experience to stay in the wilderness

IPBio is conveniently located near the Village of Iporanga, and still far enough to give a unique experience of living in the wilderness. Waking up to calls of birds and the flowing river is one of the perks living at the volunteer house. The staff is so helpful and cheerful at any time of the day. Work hard during the day to help preserve wilderness and relax in the clear and warm water of the river at the back of the house. Enjoy swimming with fish and have the experience of a natural spa. Worthwhile to stay at least 4-6 weeks to immerse yourself in the beauty of Atlantic forest and over weekends visit places like Iguazu falls or Cananeia to explore the beauty of Brazil. An experience full of such beautiful places and people is surely going to leave you in tears when you head back home.

What would you improve about this program?
Staff works very hard for providing best possible experience to the volunteers. Improving convenient ride services to the town of iporanga would make it even better experience.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Once in a Lifetime

I volunteered at the Betary Reserve for 8 weeks from May to July 2019 and it was an incredible experience. As an eco-volunteer, I got to work with on the bird inventory, habitat monitoring, fish inventory, mushrooms, and some other projects such as gardening and trail maintenance. I also worked as a muralist and painted the rooms of the volunteer house while I was there. Working as both a eco-volunteer and a muralist really enriched the experience for me. As for outside of work, there is lots of ways to enjoy the breathtaking nature of the area; such as: hikes, waterfalls, and lookout points like “The Cross” just outside of Iporgana. Also, during my time there I enjoyed spending time in town, swimming, doing boia cross, and going on a trip to Cananéia. I highly recommend this volunteer experience for anyone who is interested in being immersed in nature and seeing incredible biodiversity. This experience was also my first time going travelling abroad and the staff were extremely helpful with regards to planning travel and expenses. Overall, volunteering at the Betary Reserve was a highly rewarding once-in-a-lifetime experience I would recommend to anyone.

What would you improve about this program?
The volunteer house is a great place overall, but some improvements could be made there. I know the staff works very hard on the volunteer accommodations, but there is only so much that can be done for things like the busy kitchen and bathrooms.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Discovering the Atlantic forest in ipbio

When I discovered IPbio i was looking for something in a rainforest that make me understand how's living in, and that gave me some time for my thoughts and painting. It totally fulfill my expectation.

The work as a volunteer is really nice, it is an on going learning, then the role of an eco-volunteer gives you the possibility to face every subject, in this way there is every day something more interesting than the day before, but with the chance to understand things thanks to biologists that work in the research institute.

But the main thing is that you start looking at things in the particular. This let you appreciete the forest from the inside.

Then in the reserve it is awesome, i had a great experience there, you discover more and more as time passes and also develop a particular bond with the area that you'll never forget.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Wonderful experience

The Betary Reserve is a wonderful example of the beauty and diversity of the Atlantic Forest. Located on the grounds are an aquarium, a walk-through greenhouse, a research center, a deck on the river, and multiple trails. The staff are very friendly and welcoming, too. If you’re looking for an educational activity, something different, or simply wish to take a simple stroll through the beauty of the Atlantic Forest, the Betary Reserve is a great destination. English is spoken on the reserve as well. It was amazing staying in Betary reserve, looking forward to go back. I loved the volunteer program, especially mammals and birds monitoring.
The most amazing thing is to live in the middle of nowhere, in touch with nature and the local people. m

What would you improve about this program?
I suggest to add a biologist figure following the volunteer program, because tha data collection was pretty confused
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Yes, I recommend this program

I helped discover new species of mushrooms here

IPBio is an awesome organization. In terms of communication, they do an awesome job considering the challenges of the jungle. In terms of organization, I found the work comfortably structured but also open ended as I was able to design and pursue many of my own projects. While I was there, I had the opportunity to grow 5+ species of never-before-grown species of mushrooms, and I was able to take part in a lot of the same work the professional biologists on the reserve were doing. I was incredibly comfortable once I adjusted, and I felt like part of a family and community in IPBio and in Iporanga. 9/10 highly recommended! The most common complaint I heard during the program was the wifi in the jungle was not the best. But once you get used to it, I found it pretty refreshing.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
The best advice I can give you is to make the most of every moment and to keep a record of your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Meet and talk to as many people as you can. Learn Portuguese, start with just a few words every day. Make friends, be open-minded, try everything! Learn as much as you can: to make fire anywhere anyhow, to travel for dirt cheap, to ask more questions and talk less, to grow bioluminescent shrooms, to Samba and Forro, to haggle, to make a killer caipirinha, etc. And don't forget to talk to and hang out with the awesome staff, they are some of the most interesting people in the world. Oh and have fun!
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Yes, I recommend this program

The most incredible volunteer experience

I spent 6 weeks at IPBio in the summer of my 2nd year studying biology at university. My experience was incredible, the organisation is doing such incredible things and it so great to know that the work you do as a volunteer is actually being used for scientific research. The atmosphere at the reserve is super welcoming and the staff are supportive and relaxed. This makes the work really enjoyable, particularly for the role of Eco-volunteer (which I had), which means that you get to participate in a multitude of projects, so that you never get bored. I found it to be a perfect combination of practical work experience as well having an amazing social aspect. There are stunning caves, waterfalls and hikes in the area as well as an unbelievably friendly local community. I honestly can’t put into words how much I enjoyed my experience, taking home to many incredible memories and making life-long friends.

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Nicole Larissa
Yes, I recommend this program

unforgettable life changing experience

It was the most beautiful place I've ever seen! It was simply incredible to explore so many different plants, animals and observe the biodiversity in one place only. I enjoyed having a mixture of film work and "eco biology- work" especially because I could combine my passion for nature and being involved in different projects of the Reserva. The time I spent there exceeded all my expectations!

They are certain rules to follow, If you're not too rebel you will not get kicked out, don't worry, the IpBio Crew was really super super kind, if you just follow the rules :P.

The working experience, was magical and the free time experiences even more magical

Living in the forest felt a bit like Avatar. There are glowing mushrooms and glowing insects, what I've found so fascinating. You see a million shining stars, even the milky way and each day you feel all the beauty of the universe. Everything was well organised, the volunteer's, IpBio Crew Are, and local people I've met were amazing and the moments I spent were just unforgettable, I will keep them in my heart!

The forest showed and taught me one more time, why humans should protect nature, instead of destroying it and how important animals as well plants are for our biodiversity and life on planet earth. A big thank you to the Institute making this trip possible and I hope I can come back and stay longer.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
It was crazy to see so many stars on one spot, so beautiful and well then an other thing was for sure the wandering spider (toxic spider) that was just super close to us onece, nothing tappend of course, we were totally safe =D .. but the most suprising thing for was the glowing (bioluminescence) mushrooms I've seen, really really impressing!!!!
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Maria Africa
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience

In IPBio the volunteering program has a variety of different activities which, in my case, complemented well with my theoretical knowledge from university. The staff have been friendly and helpful and the location is wonderful with many things to do during free time and weekends such as hiking, exploring caves, tubing down the Betary River, etc. It also shows the practical side of conservation projects. My experience overall has been amazing, and I would not only recommend it to nature lovers, but also people who enjoy travelling, adventure and meeting new and different types of people on the way!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would stay for longer!