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La Senda Verde

Vicky and Marcelo Ossio co-founded La Senda Verde in 2003. They reside at LSV, and have personally provided the majority of funding which LSV has received to date.   LSV Animal Refuge started its operations with a small number of animals that were voluntarily handed over to the refuge. Before the end of 2007 LSV established a relationship with the organization Animales SOS, this same institution made the case for the rescue of a 4 month old Andean Bear, Aruma. From here on LSV received a higher quantity of animals that were the result of illegal trafficking and over the past four years, illegal animal trafficking has drastically increased in Bolivia. As a result, the animal population at LSV has more than quadrupled in the past four years to approximately 800 animals (January 2019). They now receive new animals at least monthly, and often weekly.

Experience working with a wide array of rescued animals: Parrots, Macaws, Turtles, Tortoises, Bears, Wild Cats, and Monkeys!  This is an exceptional opportunity to work closely with a variety of Bolivian wildlife and contribute to a locally run organization.

LSV would greatly benefit from vet student and vet nurse volunteers as well as general volunteers on an on-going basis.  Students and nurses would be of huge benefit, but at present they are also in desperate need of experienced long term vets too. 

Notes: For safety reasons, female volunteers are not allowed to work in the capuchin area. 

The country this project is based in is listed as a high risk of Zika virus on the Centre for Disease Control (CDC)  website. Please follow the advice on their website when considering participating in this project.


  • Itinerary
  • Accommodation
  • Location
  • Requirements
  • Notes


Volunteering is 6 days a week with one day off per week. 

This is rough guide to routine:

7.30- 5.30pm with plenty of breaks in-between.   

7:30am – Meet at volunteer headquarters to be debriefed about the days tasks and animal’s needs. Enjoy a quick tea or coffee.
08:00am – Animal food preparation, enclosure and platform cleaning and first feeding for the animals
09:00am – Volunteers breakfast is served with fruit juice and fresh bread in El Tenedor Restaurante. Each volunteer must wash their used dishes. Assigned volunteer for the day will clean area after meal.
10:00am – Special cleaning of enclosures, maintenance, observation and working on special projects that are constantly emerging.
12:00pm to 13:30pm – Animal food preparation and second feeding for the animals.
13:30pm – Volunteers lunch is served with lemonade. Each volunteer must wash their used dishes. Assigned volunteer for the day will clean area after meal.
14:00pm to 16:00pm – Assist tourists and guests of the refuge. Work on special projects, organized enrichment for the animals and observation.
16:00pm to 17:30pm – Animal food preparation cleaning and third feeding for the animals. Cleaning and organizing the Food Preparation Room and Animal Clinic.
17:30pm to 19:30pm – Free time
19:30pm – Volunteer Dinner is served. Afterwards, there is an opportunity to watch movies, study animal profiles or just socialize with staff, tourists, and other volunteers.

This is time to relax and get ready to give 100% for the next early morning with the animals.
*** Please note schedule may vary due to animals’ current needs.  Also please note that only male volunteers are able to interact with the capuchin monkeys

On your day off you may choose to head to the nearby town of Corioco, which has Internet cafes and a selection of good places to eat.  This town is a 20 minute taxi ride away.

There are various hikes nearby, swimming in the rivers surrounding the refuge.  There is also a zipline within walking distance that can be arranged.


The shared volunteer accommodation provided is very basic in dorms with bunk beds.  There is one dorm of 6, one dorm of 3 and one of 2. 

Shared showers are gas powered and note often cold. 

Private accommodation can be arranged for a discounted rate for volunteers and this accommodation includes electricity and hot water.

This accommodation was a short walk away from the main refuge (10mins) and is very quiet; in the morning you can hear Canelo, the alpha the howler monkey, howling.  

Bedding sheets and towels are provided on arrival and laundry is included in the price as is meals. 

There is no internet at LSV and phone signal is very patchy.  If you have a local SIM you can get just about enough signal to send and receive messasged but not enough for internet browsing.

A 100 American dollars cash deposit is required on arrival for bedding, towels, volunteer shirts and room keys. This is refunded at the end of the stay. 

Country Bolivia

LSV is based at N. Yungas Road, Yolosa, Bolivia

La Paz’ El Alto International Airport is where you would need to fly to.  This is approx a 3 hour transfer to LSV.

No direct flights from UK. Best way is to fly direct to Miami and then you can Fly direct to La Paz (this can also be made cheaper by flying Miami to lima or Bogota first and then La Paz). You can also fly from Heathrow to La Paz via Bogota or Lima.  Flights from approx £700-1100 return

There are direct flights from most South American cities.  For people who may be already in South America, you can get buses from Cusco/Lake Titicaca, Peru and also buses from most towns in Bolivia to La Paz.

To note La Paz is one of the highest airports in the world with an Altitude of 4100m. The refuge is at 1200m above sea level so altitude sickness is not usually experienced at the refuge.

Private Airport or Hotel transfers can be organized for you in advanced. We can collect you from the airport as early as 5am. The cost of the transfer is Bs450/ $65USD approx. one way/ pick up point for the 2.5 hours drive down to the refuge.  Please let me know if you would like to book this in along with your flight details or Hotel details. Otherwise public transport directions are located on the web.


Vaccinations Required:

Tetnus diphtheria, Polio. Hepatitis, Typohoid, Rabies.  Some nationalities require a yellow fever vaccination card to enter or leave the country. 

Due to the close work with monkeys an anti-parasitic medication is required to be taken by all volunteers on arrival. The medication used is called NOXOM 500mg made by INTI.  This has a cost of 60 Bolivianos or approximately £7.

Volunteers must be 18+.  Motivation, punctuality, reliability and enthusiasm are essential.  Volunteers must also be trustworthy and have respect for the animals in the refuge. Any previous volunteering experience or animal care skills would be beneficial

Basic spanish is ideally required but is not essential.  

A fully refundabloe deposit of $100 r Bs 700, for the following items:  volunteer shirt, towel, bedding, room key, etc. Upon return of these items the full amount will be refunded. 


Important Notes


  • Accommodation, Meals, Laundry

Not Included

  • Return Flights - Airport Transfers
  • A refundable cash deposit on arrival of $100
  • soft drinks or snacks
  • All volunteers at the refuge will need to pay $10USD for the deworming tablet on arrival

What to pack

Volunteers should take practical / comfortable clothes to work in e.g (scrubs). If you would like to purchase a WVS scrub top please contact the office or visit our online shop.

  • Please don't forget to bring with you:

    Working clothes, preferably long pants (you will be working with animals, and you will get dirty). LSV will provide you with a light weight long sleeve volunteer shirt. It's a good idea to bring a t shirt or singlet top to wear underneath as you will need to remove the volunteer shirt during meal times.


  • Bug repellent that does not contain DEET due to the close proximity to the animals

  • Flashlight / Torch

  • Baseball hat / rimmed hat

  • Towel

  • Sturdy Shoes, wellies and crocs / flip flops would be advisable

  • Rain poncho or jacket. 

  • Material Surgical Face Mask (also available for purchase at the refuge) 

  • Rubber and garden/ hard wear gloves. 

  • Padlock

  • Your own water bottle - you cannot drink the water at LSV without boiling it or buying bottled water

  • Pen knife

  • Pocket Basic Spanish Dictionary

  • Small peronal first aid kit including pain relief for minor aches and pains, anti histamines, bug spray, antiseptic cream, barrier cream, suda cream.vitamins, electrolytes, diarrhea medication for upset stomachs  Prescribed medication and for the ladies feminine hygiene products as it is most likely you won´t find them in the local town. 

  • Other Items That Would Be Appreciated..

  • Scrubbing brushes

  • Items to make toys 4 the animal - Natural wooden beads, strong, rope, balls, perfume (they loved scented toys!)

  • Pens, marker pens, note pads.

  • Cash, as we have no access to credit card facilities or cash machines in or around the refuge.

Please Note: Smoking is only permitted in the car park area, there is very little internet service and you will need your own device and chip to access this, and most important…Never bring /buy animals for Senda Verde under any circumstances.

  • The project may be extremely short on certain supplies and would likely be very grateful for donations. Please get in touch with us to find out if there is anything in particular that would be helpful to bring with you. If you have any spare room in your bag on the outbound flight, it would be highly appreciated if you are able to bring some spare supplies to use during your trip. This is at your discretion and entirely optional.

Travel Insurance

It is essential that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance for this project which also covers you for veterinary work. WVS offer an Annual Membership Policy for £40 that also includes AnnualTravel Insurance for any WVS or Mission Rabies trips you do within a 12 month period.

Health & Vaccinations

This information should be used as a guide only. For up to date information on immunisations please consult your doctor. You will need to allow plenty of time before travelling for your immunisations to be effective. DO NOT LEAVE THIS UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE. As you will be working with animals the Rabies and Tetanus vaccines are essential. We have provided links below to websites with useful information on immunisations and travel advice which we highly recommend that you visit.


VISAS - Under 30 Days for UK Residents are not required, however if you are planning on being in Bolivia working for more than 30 days you will need to go back to La Paz and get a visa for your extended stay.

Trip dates

There are trip dates available throughout the year. Please speak to a member of the team on +44 (0)1725 557225.

Join us… Interested?

Benefits of volunteering with WVS

By volunteering with WVS you are making a huge difference to the lives of animals and communities around the world. You will also receive the following benefits:

  • Full logistics support from our UK office
  • 24/7 emergency support in partnership with Red24
  • 10% discount at Cotswold Outdoors
  • 10% discount on travel insurance from Go Walkabout
  • Vet
  • Vet Nurse
  • Other
Details 1 month minimum - Long Term Vets Required
Spaces available
Cost £700 for 1 month stay (option to stay longer is available)
+ Return flights, transfers & visa + £50 WVS Admin fee
3 years post graduation - any wildlife experience beneficial
Details 1 month minimum
Spaces available
Cost £700 for 1 month stay (option to stay longer is available)
+ Return flights, transfers & visas + £50 WVS Admin fee
Minimum age 18 years
Details 2 weeks minimum
Spaces available
Cost £350 for 2 week stay (option to stay longer is available)
+ Return flights, transfers & visas + £50 WVS Admin Fee
Minimum age 18 years
Country Bolivia

Questions? Call us now:

+44 (0)1725 557225

Supported Charities

La Senda Verde