Volunteer for a Day: Ecuador Wildlife Rescue Center

Make a small big difference
Make a small big difference
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Build a Custom Tour

Looking for something a little different? At Impactful Travel, we specialize in crafting custom itineraries tailored to your unique travel desires and ethical values.

Build Your Trip

Treat yourself to a memorable day tour supporting YanaCocha, a wildlife rescue center located in the heart of Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest. Even though it’s just a single day, remember: your contribution is like a leaf in the forest – seemingly small but collectively significant.

YanaCocha has been performing vital work since 2006, rescuing and rehabilitating animals victimized by illegal trafficking or confiscated by environmental authorities. Home to over 250 animals from 42 species, this sanctuary provides a safe haven for creatures in need.

Please note that this tour operates under distinct cancellation policies. Read more in the FAQ section


Volunteer for a day at the YanaCocha Wildlife Rescue Center

Upon arrival in Puyo, a quaint jungle town nestled between Tena and Baños, you’ll make your way to the YanaCocha Animal Rescue Center – a place where every visit makes a real difference. Please try to be there at 09:00 am sharp! 

This experience is so much more fulfilling than taking just another Ecuador wildlife tour; it’s an opportunity to contribute positively to our environment. After an enlightening introduction to the center’s mission, you’ll roll up your sleeves and join the volunteer workforce for the day. Whether it’s feeding the animals, assisting in their care, or contributing to the upkeep of the wildlife rescue center, each task opens a new door to understanding the importance of living in harmony with nature. The team at YanaCocha is amazing; they’re all very passionate, sensitive and know the ins and outs of each animal.

As the day winds down, you’ll return to Puyo, carrying with you an unforgettable experience. As you retire to your accommodation (not included in the tour price), take a moment to appreciate the transformative power of meaningful travel and how such experiences promote personal development and make a tangible impact.

The next morning, as you continue your journey, whether to Baños, Quito, Otavalo, or beyond, you’ll carry forward the spirit of impactful travel, knowing that your journey led to positive change at YanaCocha.


Discover more of the Ecuadorian Amazon around Puyo

Embrace the extraordinary and delve deeper into the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Spend a day at Los Yapas Holistic Center for a Permaculture experience. Or venture towards Tena, another captivating city enveloped by the lush Amazon rainforest, where you’ll find an impactful jungle lodge waiting for you, this combined with a visit to a midwifery house in Archidona. Caught your attention? It’s time to venture further! Check our Destination Guide for Tena to explore our ever-growing list of recommendations. 

Small version of transparent round logo of RESPONSible Travel Peru

What makes this experience Impactful?

This tour is a unique journey where you actively participate in wildlife preservation. Each day you spend at YanaCocha, your engagement directly contributes to the vital financial support necessary for the survival of endangered species and the safeguarding of their habitats.

This experience goes beyond mere sightseeing; it offers a chance to be a part of the essential work of rescuing and rehabilitating animals. By choosing this path, you promote animal welfare and sustainable tourism, making a tangible impact not only on the destination you visit, but also on your personal growth.


Price Includes

  • Yanacocha Educational Workshop and Volunteering activities
  • English-speaking staff member
  • Lunch at Yanacocha

Price Excludes

What to Bring

Frequently Asked Questions

About the tour Volunteer for a Day: Ecuador Wildlife Rescue Center

Which are the cancellation policies for this particular tour?

Should you find it necessary to cancel this tour after booking, please be aware that our standard cancellation policies will not apply due to the specific rules set by our local service provider. For cancellations made up to and including 16 days prior to departure, our normal policies will be in effect.

However, if you need to cancel 15 or less days before the tour commences, refunds will not be available. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Of course, you will still be supporting YanaCocha financially 🙂

Do I need vaccinations?

Vaccines against tetanus and hepatitis A and B are required to work with animals. Vaccination against rabies, typhoid fever, cholera, and yellow fever is also generally recommended.

Malaria is not present in the area, so medication is unnecessary, but the decision is left to the user.

For the safety of the animals, volunteers must not have contagious/infectious diseases.

What activities will I be involved in?

Possible activities you might be involved in, are:

  • Food preparation and animal feeding.*
  • Cleaning and maintenance of the enclosure.*
  • Observation of the animals.*
  • General maintenance.*
  • Gardening.*
  • Assisting with larger projects when needed, such as enclosure construction.*

*The specific tasks depend on the number of volunteers and the priorities of the center at that time.

What types of animals will I be working with?

The center houses exclusively Amazonian fauna, which has a great variety of animals, including eight primate species, two cat species, three big rodent species, and a diversity of birds, reptiles, and other small mammals.

How do I get to Yanacocha, and where should I stay in Puyo?

Please make sure to arrive to YanaCocha at 09:00 AM sharp to start the activities. From the main entrance, just walk about 20 meters in, where you’ll find the café/restaurant. There, you can ask for Raúl. They will be expecting you!  

Due to the fact that we do not (yet) know reliable drivers in Puyo, we have excluded any transportation from this tour. Since most of you will be backpacking in Ecuador anyway, we are sure you’ll find the best way to get from Baños or Tena to Puyo. Also, we believe that most of you will probably be handy enough with online booking services that you will find yourself a place to stay in Puyo or anywhere nearby. A hotel that we work with and can recommend, is Hostería Turingia. You can also combine this experience with our tour to Los Yapas. After your experience in Los Yapas, you can easily continue to YanaCocha (7 minutes by car) and enhance your impact. 

You can find the location of Yanacocha on the map below, or follow this link.


Do I have to pay any entrance fees?

The entrance to yanacocha is included in the tour price. If you choose to stay longer or come back, additional entrance fees might apply. After all, all the income to Yanacocha is for the good!

Why can't I spend the night at the lodge in the rescue center?

Initially, we wanted to offer this tour with an overnight stay at the Yanacocha center. However, it is more advantageous for Yanacocha to reserve the limited spots in their rooms for long-term volunteers. Obviously we wouldn’t want our short-term visitors to block a room for a long-term volunteer with a much larger impact on the center’s objectives.

Nevertheless, it might be possible that if you book with little time in advance, you might be able to get a spot at one of their rooms. We ask you to coordinate this directly with Yanacocha once you’ve booked your Volunteer for a Day experience with us.

Is this tour physically demanding?

Depending on the tasks you are assigned, you might be working hard, yes! And that’s what this is all about of course. But obviously if you have any restrictions at all, just coordinate with your assigned contact person to ensure that the experience will be pleasant for everyone involved; including yourself 😉

Is this a private excursion or will I share the experience with other travelers?

Sharing is caring, and in this case you will be sharing your caring with a group of varying size, with volunteers from all around the world. 

What kind of weather should we expect during this route?

Puyo is at the foothills of the Andes, in the rainforest. Certainly expect heat and humidity; the latter in various forms. 

Find more info about climates in Ecuador in our blog “Best Time to Travel to Ecuador“. 

What should I pack for this tour?

Please refer to our article What to Pack for your Trip to Ecuador for all your questions about packing for your Ecuador trip. Whether you’re going to the jungle or the mountains, you’ll find the answers you need. 

General questions

For questions about booking a tour, prices, preparation for your trip, health and safety or other themes, please check our Frequently Asked Questions page. If you can’t find your question & answer, email us and we’ll add it!

Logo of the Yanacocha Wildlife Rescue Center in Puyo, Ecuador, that you can visit on several tours offered by Impactful Travel in Ecuador

The YanaCocha team

On behalf of the entire endangered Amazonian wildlife of Ecuador, we extend a heartfelt invitation for you to join us on this meaningful journey. Discover the unique biodiversity housed in the center and play a role in caring for and preserving these incredible creatures. Your participation aids us in the crucial work of rescuing and rehabilitating animals, promoting their welfare as well as sustainable tourism practices.

Remember, your visit is not just a tour – it’s an opportunity to contribute positively to our environment. We look forward to welcoming you to our family at the YanaCocha Wildlife Rescue Center and embarking on this transformative journey together.