Travel Story «Villa Tunari (Animal Sanctury)..... »

Bolivia | 1 Comments 10 October 2005 - Last Update 14 October 2005

Hi Guys,

Sorry its been yonkers since our last update but as ye all knew we were working in Inta Wara Yassi, by the way here is the link if ye fancy taking a look  and we just have'nt really had a chance to get to an internet cafe in the meantime. We were waiting to get the photos uploaded before sending this, however there is a problem with our site at mo with photos. We hope to get this up and running soon, so the PHOTOS will follow shortley!! 

Well were just after finishing working on the Animal Sanctuary (well a week now) and were catching a bus tomorrow morning to La Paz (we are in La Paz at mo and leaving tomorrow to Cocacabana...our story will follow for La Paz). Its just quite hard as the internet is sooooooo slow in Bolivia . We had the most amazing two weeks of our lives with Inta Wara Yassi, was very tough and hard work at times but extremely rewarding.

Anyway I will start from the day we arrived at the Sanctuary in Parque Machia. We took a bus from Cochabamba at 6pm which was due to arrive at 10pm in Villa Tunari, however there were some awful road blockages along the way and we ended up getting held up by 2 hours (we had been told about these before by other backpackers but only experienced them this once). The journey was not a nice and was extremely rocky due to the crappy roads (lets just say these were'nt really roads, but dirt tracks!!!). We were happy to finally arrive in "Villa Tunari" after 12 that night. We booked ourselves into a hotel, as was too late to head up to the sanctuary. The weather was soooooooooooo hot the next day (actually unbearable at times and I have to say was the hottest weather we have come across so far in South America ). Anyway it actually got quite stormy later, really bad rain showers, thunder, lightning and even huge hailstones were falling from the sky which was very weird, when would you see sun with hailstones ???(Only in Bolivia!!!!).

We got  a taxi up to the sanctuary and because the weather was so bad we weren’t shown around till 5 and then brought up to our hostel . The hostel is about 5/10 mins walk from the park and because there was a storm earlier that day there was no electricity so was very funny trying to be shown to our room (I tell you our little flashlamp came in handy!!). I think we ended up with the better room with our own private shower. I’d say though that this was the worst accommodation we have stayed in so far and for such a long time. The bed was as hard as nails (straw matrice and you could just feel the board underneath) and the floors were just cement with dirty walls. We got use to it quick enough though. Its pretty deadly as there was about 20 rooms and then one open kitchen where we all chilled with some beers and played many a game (of Murderer....Mark u know all about this - CHEATER!!! :0)) in the evening. The kitchen was open though and pretty dirty but we all still managed to do quite allot of cooking there (well Dave was great and cooked for me most nights....which I am going to make up for soon). The village is quite small and a very mellow little place with allot of restaurants (very cheap meals), one internet cafe (which was a total rip off, you will have seen that we hardly sent emails from it) and of course a disco and market to buy groceries. We have realised now that Bolivia has no supermarkets, they just have these markets everywhere selling all the necessities.:0)

So anyway back to our first day after we arrived, we met up with all the gang in the kitchen and later that night we all headed out to a local restaurant and for some drinks. We had a great time getting to know our fellow workers and hearing of their traveling experiences (we actually got quite pissed that night). It was a late one as we all headed onto another bar  "Puma" for even more drinks. I tell ya we all sure as hell had sore heads the next morning and were up early at 6.30am to start work at 7.30am. There was a great cafe next to the park which we ate breakfast and lunch in everyday for 50 cent (ridiculous cheap) and had a great breky menu (Pancakes, eggs and muesli with fruit & yoghurt). I was put with the monkeys to work with and Dave with the small animals (Foxes, Pigs, Night Monkeys, Turtles, Tortoises, Howler Monkey & Tiers (which look like weasels). The area I worked in was called Quarantine & this is where monkeys are brought first before being set loose/free in the park/jungle. These monkeys came from circuses, hotels and families where they had been totally mistreated & abused (e.g. they were put in cages that were two sizes too small, there were beaten and not fed) and as a result some of them had psychotic tendencies. I worked with them for a week and couldn’t believe how human like they really are, their hands and feet with lines are identical to humans and they make very human like expressions on their faces. It took about 3 days before they would come to me, as they don’t like new people and takes them a few days to adapt. So our day started at 7.30am where we took all the monkeys from their cages, each monkey has a cord to them which we tie to a tree, however we had to separate certain monkeys as some bully one another or fight. Then we take all their blankets from the cages (each monkey was given a clean blanket each night when being put back into their cage which they liked to sleep on) the way all these blankets had poop and pee all over them and then needed to be scrubbed with soap (NOTE NO GLOVES), quite disgusting in the beginning but amazing how use to it we all got. Then it’s the cages, we have to get into each one and scrub the poop off with water. That’s the horrible hard work done for the day. We feed the monkeys banana’s for breakfast (which most don’t really like, found this strange as I assumed that’s all they ate), chicken soup (for some) & fruit salad for lunch and chopped vegetables for dinner (not bad meals eh for monkeys). For the rest of the afternoon it’s just really chilling out with rest of workers (Steph (English), Lewis (English), Chrisy & Jeremiah (Aussies))playing with the monkeys. We were one of the latest groups that finished quite late at 6.00/6.30pm each day. Everybody usually ate lunch together in the cafe next door  for 50 cent (all Vegetarian food) & we all have to say was the best food we have ate in Bolivia without feeling sick after it. I’ve put some pictures up of my favorite monkeys, you will see the baby monkey Wendy which was adorable, she liked you to feed her and she would always go to put food in your mouth (how cute!!!)

For my final week I was moved to the birds, which consisted of toucans, parrots, buggies and other species about 40 in total which we kept in cages. I worked with Jessica (a lovely Aussie girl from Perth ), we didn’t really have a whole lot to do for the day, we just really fed them their three meals, cleaned out their cages and put some fresh branches in & let some birds out for the day. The Toucans were nice & friendly & liked to peck you all day. However, the two large parrots we let out were another kettle of fish (quite vicious actually and were constantly trying to bite our ankles and fingers). The weather was normally very hot at 40 degrees, however we had a storm now and again and I’ve never seen weather quite like this before (crazy thundering and lightning and really heavy rain all day)...on days like these we usually finished up quite early at 3ish...the next day would follow with a scorcher...the weather seemed to run in these cycles!!!

We had some great nights once our day of work was over.....usually headed back for a shower (which was very temperamental....from hot to freezing cold and sometimes you would be in the shower and the electricity would go u would be standing there in a dark freezing would eventually come back on!!...only Bolivia eh)...then it was out for dinner and some wine (we really got fond of the Bolivian wine while we were here)...and then later we would head back for a game of Murderer...great game which went on for ages and got quite messy as the night went on with more and more drinks...Oh ...we learned to play poker also one night .....although we have forgotten already...a fancy dress party one night which two English girls (Charlotte & Rachel organised....cheers to them) for Michael which was leaving the following day and everybody had to dress up as a something beginning with "M"...Dave went as a Mother with child...ha ha some great photos of him in photo section...and I went as Marlon Monroe...but didn’t really turn out the best...anyway it was a great night and some people really made a great effort with the costumes as u will see from the pics....we all got absolutely hammered that night and of course myself and Dave along with a couple of others were the last to leave and was 6 o’clock before we hit our beds....we ended up sleeping through our alarm the next morning and didn’t make it to work until 1......well did we get some slagging or what for next couple of days!!

There was a BBQ organised for us then on our last night as there was about 10 volunteers leaving the next day including ourselves....Ed and Kate (Aussie couple) organised the whole thing (Thanks Guys it was a superb setup & feed!!!)....and was absolutely lovely with salads galore and chicken/stake.....great feed and all for 10 Boliviano (which is about 1 Euro) it was a lovely night we sat out until the early hours drinking, chatting and listening to Dave’s I pod (his little speakers have really come in handy)...we only have very few photos of this night up as forgot about our camera...PITY!!!

So it was up early the next morning at 10 and we hopped on a bus at 1 back to Cochabamba...we ended up with awful seats up in the cockpit....well I wouldn’t even call these seats...most uncomfortable ride ever...lets just say we had very sore bums when we finally arrived in Cochabamba....we decided to book ourselves into luxury accommodation as a treat ....we found this deadly apartment  " La Corona Apart Hotel" on the internet and rented ourselves a very deluxe apartment for three nights...Pure Lux!!! We leave to go to La Paz tomorrow morning and I am afraid it will be back to hostels again....While we were in Cochabamba we went to visit Scott (an Aussie volunteer we met at animal sanctuary ...however he had a bit of an accident while in sanctuary and broke his leg)...Hope u get better soon Scott & u can start drinking again & you don’t have to sneak down the corridor for cigarettes!!!!

We decided last night that we are going to spend Xmas in South America (Buenos Aires in Argentina) we were on standby for Nov (we might'nt of even got out) ....and would have been allot of hassle. Would be nice to be hear for Xmas with Grainne & Meris coming over - Girls should be a great xmas!!:0) We have rang Quantas and the next available date they could give us was for 09 March.....however we mite try go standby in Jan sometime to see if we can get outta here....P.S... Everyone we thought we would see in Sydney in November (u know who u are)....we will hopefully see you in Jan when we get out in standby!!!!!

So that’s all the news guys...our next stops are La Paz for probably 2-3 days, then Lake Titicaca, and then up to Manora (very top of Peru)..for some sunshine and nice beeches....over to Ecuador for 1-2 days and then a bus back down to Cuzco (Peru) for 28th to do the Inca Trail...back to La Paz and we will prob take a direct bus to Buenos Aires (not looking 4ward to that) and then Buenos Aires.....which we hope to arrive to by early November!!

Hope u enjoy the story and photos!


Corona & Dave Xxx
















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Gayle Ledermann Great post. I basically stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that we have truly enjoyed reading through your website posts. Any way I'll be registering to your feed and that i hope you post once again soon. Posted on 23 July 2011


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