Volunteers will usually find monkeys, kinkajous, felines, other mammals, macaws, and parrots at Merazonia.

Volunteers will usually find monkeys, kinkajous, felines, other mammals, macaws, and parrots at Merazonia. Photo © Vince Smith, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

According to their website, “Merazonia is a dynamic rescue and rehabilitation center for trafficked and abused Amazonian animals, located on 250 acres of rainforest.”

As one could expect, it rains a heck of a lot, so bring a rain poncho and quick-drying clothes.Volunteers will usually find monkeys, kinkajous, felines, other mammals, macaws, and parrots at Merazonia—but because of the focus on rehabilitation for release into the wild, there is a strict “no interaction” policy, so there’s not a bunch of petting the rainforest animals.

Instead, volunteers are around the animals during feedings, cleanings, or medical checks, but the rest of the time volunteers will be busy with tasks such as filling bags with sand and hauling them to a project site, building enclosures and trails, or performing general upkeep of the property. Animals not fit to be released are maintained by Merazonia.

Merazonia is located 15 minutes outside of the town of Mera, at the edge of the rainforest not far from Puyo. As one could expect, it rains a heck of a lot, so bring a rain poncho and quick-drying clothes.

Merazonia

Mera (Amazon), Ecuador
tel. 593/9842-13789
http://www.merazonia.org

Application Process: Send an email. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old.

Cost: US$240 for the first two weeks; $100 per week thereafter.

Placement Length: Minimum of two weeks, with preference given to those who can commit to at least four weeks.

Language Requirements: None.

Housing: Volunteers stay in a dorm-style guesthouse. Bathroom facilities are next to the guesthouse and do include hot showers. Meals are included in the fees; volunteers make their own breakfast and lunch, while dinner is a communal effort where people take turns cooking and cleaning. Shopping is done twice a week, on which days there is usually a meat option for dinner; the other days the food is vegetarian. There is no electricity on the site, although there is a generator that is run twice per week, and volunteers can charge any electronic gadgets at that time.

Operating Since: 2004

Number of Volunteers: On average Merazonia has 6-11 volunteers at a time, staying 3-4 weeks.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Volunteer Vacations in Latin America.