Up Close Bolivia

La Paz, Bolivia, South America

We are a Bolivian-Bristish family run organisation welcoming volunteers and supporting local projects in our beautiful community on the outskirts of La Paz for over 15 years.

Volunteering Activities

Animal Care
Women Empowerment

What We Need

It is likely that UCB volunteers will participate in more than one of the projects listed below. We place volunteers to respond primarily to the needs of the community and also to match the skills and interests of our volunteers.
The locally run projects that we support are:

1. Class room support to a community run nursery run by lcoal indigneous women for childrn aged 6 months to 4 years old
2. Support to Equine Therapy Centre for children and young adults with special needs (ideal for volunteers with experience or love of horses; physical therpay, physcology)
3. Recreational and Therapeutic Activities in Children’s Refuge (ideal for creative volunteers to lead art and environmental projects and therapuetic activities with young people and children)
4. La Paz Zoo Animal Enrichment Programme (ideal for people who are passionate about conservation, who like working with thier hands and alongside a local team)
5. Teach English in Local Schools and Support Local Tourism Enterprises (ideal for volutneers with teaching experieince or those who would like to develop their teaching skills)
6. Community murals and other arts projects to raise awareness about environmental and social issues
7. Football Coaching at Local Football Schools
8. Support to Construction of low cost homes for families with children living with cancer (Groups)

When & Who

All year round (apart from mid December to mid January when we take our annual break)
Yes, we require a minimum of 1 Month
We particularly welcome volunteers that can spend at 1-3 months (or more!) with us because this strengthens and gives more continuity to the project we support. If you only have a week or two to volunteer, then we are very happy to set up a volunteer placement in all the projects, with the exception of the Valley of the Moon Children`s Centre. The minimum time to work in the nursery is 1 month, this is to avoid quick turnover which unsettles the children that we work with.
Individuals, Family with Kids, Groups

What we Provide

• Prior to your arrival we will communicate with you to discuss what your expectations and interests are
• You will receive and orientation information pack about La Paz with practical advice and tips from past volunteers covering issues from safety, health topics, cultural do’s and don’ts, travel in Bolivia and neighbouring countries etc and a tour around the local area
• Meals and snacks when working at the nursery
• Twenty four hour support for emergencies and regular meetings with our Volunteer Coordinator who will also provide you with a weekly personalised schedule.

Our Fees


We are a family run organisation and try and keep our running costs to a minimum whilst providing high quality support to you and the projects at all times. The fees cover accommodation which is very comfortable, the support costs of our volunteer coordinator and also to provide support to the local community projects that we support.


Contact Person

Rolando Mendoza and Emma Donlan
calle 4, no.123, Jupapina, La Paz, Bolivia, La Paz, Bolivia.
71% response rate

Other Ways to Help

Art materials, Sports equipment, Horse riding equipment

Additional Info about Us

Up to 5 people

UP CLOSE BOLIVIA is based on the concept of “RECIPROCIDAD” which means “reciprocity”- a concept at the heart of Andean culture. It is all about giving back and contributing in a way which enriches both the person who is giving and the person who is receiving equally. The essence of our work is to ensure that the needs and expectations of our volunteers, visitors and the local communities are mutually met and both parties are enriched and strengthened.

Up Close Bolivia is a family-run organisation set up by Emma, an ex-volunteer from England, and her Bolivian husband Rolando. The volunteer programme is deeply rooted in the local community, and the aim is to give the volunteers a true sense of belonging and welcome them into the community. The founders of UP CLOSE BOLIVIA were also instrumental in the set up and sustainability of the Valley of the Moon Children’s Centre whihc is one of the locally run projects that we support for over 10 years.

We are based in Jupapina, which is approx 30-45 mins by bus from the city centre of La Paz. It is a beautiful semi-rural village surrounded by mountains. There is a very strong sense of community - perhaps the most enriching aspect of our volunteers’ experience to date has been participating in this small community and getting a very real flavour of indigneous Bolivian culture.

What are you waiting for?

We at Up Close Bolivia would love to hear from you!