• Ecuador
    • Amazon

Program Details



Price Details
$155 per week including food (mon-fri, only breakfast on weekends), accommodation, shower, kitchen and wi-fi facilities. Travel, laundry and snack costs are NOT included.
Sep 20, 2016
Aug 12, 2019
6 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Volunteers contribute in the day-to-day (Mon-Fri and one weekend morning) care of all the resident rescued animals. This includes food preparation, feeding, cleaning enclosures and enrichment activities. Other tasks can consist of observation studies, general maintenance of the centre, gardening and helping in other projects like enclosure building and environmental education projects.

There is on-site cabin accommodation in a beautiful part of the centre, with great bathroom, kitchen and wi-fi facilities nearby. Food is also provided 5 days a week (only breakfast on the weekends), along with 24-hour support from the centers volunteer coordinators.

Program Reviews

4.38 Rating
based on 8 reviews
  • 5 rating 75%
  • 4 rating 12.5%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 12.5%
  • Impact 4.85
  • Support 4.85
  • Fun 4.45
  • Value 4.75
  • Safety 4.75
  • Program Selection 1
  • Pre-departure Help 1
  • In-program Support 1
  • Impact on Student 1
  • Value 1
Showing 1 - 8 of 8 reviews
Default avatar
No, I don't recommend this program

Yana Cocha July 2019

I took part at this program with my daughter (14) in July 2019. It was planned for 4 weeks. I paid for the first week 460 € per person and the following weeks 190 € per person. A huge amount of money. All in all it was a terrible experience. I cannot recommend the program at all.
The only nice and cute were the animals. To feed and take care if them is fun. But it is 7 hours per day hard work for nothing. You even sometimes have to carry stones for building and bucks full of water uphills / downhills. The standard of accommodation and food is the lowest level I have ever seen in my live. And the hygienic standards are dangerous. My daughter got seriously sick with fever (41 C) and serious gastroenteritis coming from the dangerous sanitary standards (no water for the toilet for 3 days and no water for the shower for the same time). We had to end the project early, because of the dangerous conditions.
The space for accommodating people are 17 persons at the facility, but now Raul (the coordinator) has 42 people there. Unbelievable

What would you improve about this program?
Everything. We paid for 3 meals a day and became a poor water soup with a bit of vegetables in the evening. The sanitary conditions are dangerous.
And on top the co-ordinator is unfriendly as well.
Poor exploitation
57 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

The best 6 months of my life!

After staying at Yana Cocha for 6 months I have too many good memories and stories to only pick one! I meet so many great people from all over the world, I learned so much about the place, my self and others, I got to work with so many amazing, cool and interesting animals and I felt like a part of the family at Yana Cocha, I'm longing to go back every day! It's all good memories I always will keep close with me for the rest of my life.
But the best part of my stay have to be the bond you make with some of the animals. To work hard for them and see how happy they get, is the most satisfying thing you will do.
I would recommend everyone I know to go to Ecuador. I was safe even traveling alone, it's easy to travel around for a weekend or longer, it's good food, Ecuadorean people is very nice and you will se so much new and exciting things! It's not much of shopping or sunbathing- but there is a lot of other fun stuff to do! I went a weekend to Baños for paragliding while a volcano exploded right by, AMAZING! I think Ecuador have a little of everything for everyone and Yana Cocha is the best place for a animal lover! They do everything for the animates and no one else. They are the most important priority, and they need volunteers to keep everything going around and to have enough money for feeding and giving the animals the life they deserve!!
I would not think twice about going!

What would you improve about this program?
I loved everything abou Yana Cocha and I would not change one thing! You have to have in mind that it will be a lot of hard work, you will live primary. But you are traveling to expend your life and how you look at things. You will grow as a person and learn so much because things will not be as they are at home!
52 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Life changing experience

I visited Yana Cocha in 2011 during my gap year and couldn't recommend it enough to other people looking to travel and/or work with amazing animals and people. As a fresh-faced 19 year old travelling for the first time alone I couldn't have been made to feel more welcome or safe. I met some incredible people and had the most amazing time, whether it be working hands-on with so many beautiful animals or being taken out to party with new friends and locals on a Saturday night my entire time there was like a dream. It was definitely a life-changing experience for me in so many different ways!

58 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Wish I was back there!

I only spent two weeks at Yana Cocha due to work restrictions but enjoyed my time immensely nonetheless. Whether it be throwing bananas to the Chorongos on their own island, baking 'monkey cookies' for the animals or harvesting new enrichment for the enclosures, it's all a rewarding experience.
I'd recommend the volunteering program to anyone with a love for animals, travellers or even someone in my position - looking for a break from the 9-5 job.
I'll definitely return to Yana Cocha one day, hopefully the team (including Pheobe, Atahualpa and Benji the dogs) are still there to welcome me back!

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing I'd change is the cleaning facilities in the kitchen. Some times I felt food was prepared in an unhygienic manner due to a lack of clean wash cloths.
56 people found this review helpful.
Response from Yana Cocha - Amazonian Animal Rescue Centre

Hey Jono,

Just to let you know we now have a new cleaning system in the kitchen, and coordinators now prepare lunches as well. It's also had a fresh lick of paint and overall is kept at a much higher standard.

Hope that encourages you to come back and answers any of your concerns1

The Yana Cocha Team

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Can't wait to go back one day.

I volunteered at Yana Cocha almost 5 years ago. I was there for around six weeks, which is longer than most volunteers, and for the most part it was a great experience. A piece of advice… as cute as she is, don't trust Simona haha!

One of the Chorongos came to the centre while I was volunteering there. His name is Panchito. He and I really bonded in the couple of weeks before I had to leave, but he was my baby and I miss him like crazy! I still get updates from Elliot on him and other animals I significantly bonded with, hoping they'll remember me when I get the change to go back and see them!

What would you improve about this program?
If I had to change one thing it would probably be the bathroom facilities. I didn't care about the cold water, honestly sometimes it is more refreshing, but it was that Simona (one of the domesticated but free-to-roam squirrel monkeys) could easily get in and kept stealing the toilet paper to the point that we'd have to buy our own and keep it hidden away. Also since the floors are on an angle, the water level builds up so you can't pee without your feet in a pool of water by the end of the day.
58 people found this review helpful.
Response from Yana Cocha - Amazonian Animal Rescue Centre

Hey Charley,

Just to update to you on some of the changes that have happened over the last 5 years (in relation to volunteer facilities).

The volunteers have a brand new toilet/shower block which is cleaned daily, has hot water and is generally a huge improvement to the toilet facility you experienced.

Along with the toilets, 2 of the 3 cabanas were given a total refurbishment, making them bigger and a lot nicer to live in. They now have more windows and new mattresses which make a huge difference as I'm sure you can imagine.

There are also bug nets available and the animals diets are kept as up to date as possible.

Overall there's been a lot of changes so your review is a little-outdated. Thanks anyway and remember to always recommend us to anyone you know interested in volunteering with animals.

The Yana Cocha Team

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

I'll never forgot my time there

I was fresh out of school and decided it was time to do something life changing, so I packed up and hopped on a plane. It was definitely terrifying traveling somewhere alone, but when I arrived I immediately felt welcomed and comfortable. In my time at Yana Cocha I learned a great deal, laughed, explored, partied, and made lifelong friendships. I always felt encouraged to try more and do more. By the time I had to (sadly) say goodbye I had become an entirely different and better person thanks to my time there. I will never forget the beauty and the experience of Yana Cocha.

50 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

An awesome experience

Before visiting Yana Cocha, I had never been out of the country. The coordinators and other volunteers were so incredibly helpful in teaching me about the country, the animals, and how to further my experience as a traveler. The animals at Yana Cocha were nothing short of amazing, friendly and funny and always always happ (The hardest part of leaving was the dogs). The volunteer cabanas and washroom facilities are great and no one seemed to ever have an issue with them. I would 100% recommended volunteering at this place if you're a first time adventurer, seasoned explorer, or anything in between.

55 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Once in a lifetime experience

It's been something like four years since I volunteered at YanaCocha and not a day goes by where I don't miss it! I had the most amazing experiences and made several friends for life there. You get to care for and learn about some incredibly interesting and somewhat unique animals; all with a ton of character (I still talk about Bill the Capybara!!) I went for a month and ended up staying for three which proves how much fun it is - I'd recommend YanaCocha to anyone and everyone!

54 people found this review helpful.

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