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Frequently Asked Questions

   September 7 - 20, 2008



Why volunteer overseas in Bolivia?

Bolivia is less frequently traveled than other countries in South America, so there are more opportunities to see life as it is without the influence of Western culture that pervades more touristy places in the world. There is a need for humanitarian volunteering and it is a privilege to contribute. Each person makes a positive change one step at a time. With Karma Yoga and the path of selfless service, extending compassion and removing the borders that divide self from others is a life-changing experience for everyone involved. We have experienced the joy of giving and recieving by making a part of the world a better place for people in need.

Many programs charge fees for international volunteering. For our Karma Yoga Journeys trip to Bolivia, the package includes all accommodations and vegetarian meals, daily yoga classes, several excursions to cultural and historical destinations, and all local transportation. Included in the package fee is the additional cost of the local program operators: all work supplies, local interpreters, and additional staff support. home

What kind of excursions will we be going on?

Throughout our stay in Bolivia and between days of volunteering we will be going to some exciting destinations. These excursions will include guided tours of:


We will visit this local colonial town with an outdoor market early in the journey.

Cochabamba City
In the middle of the trip, we will spend a weekend in this city.  This includes a bus tour and a visit to LaCancha, South America's largest open air market. We will stay together at a hostel and enjoy night-life, if we choose, along with anything else that a Bolivian city offers.

Inkachaca Rainforest
On the way back from Cochabamba, we wil visit this forest. The area of Incachaca Rainforest is considered to be one of the best bird-watching sites in South-America. The reason for this is that it cuts through the whole range of altitudinal forest types, from virtually untouched elfin forest down to the distant Amazonian lowlands. A variety of cloudforest birds live here, so if you love bird-watching, this is the excursion for you.

Birds you might see here include: Turkey Vultures, Roadside Hawks, Peregrine Falcons, American Kestrels, Green-cheeked Conures, Rufous-capped Thornbills, Speckled Hummingbirds, Crimson-mantled Woodpeckers, Pearled Treerunners, Azara's Spintails, Band-tailed Fruiteaters, Tropical Kingbirds, Black Phoebes, White-throated Tyrannulets, Streak-necked Flycatchers, Blue-and-white Swallows, Spectacled Whitestarts, Blue-winged Mountain-tanagers, Safron-crowned Tanagers, Blue-and-black Tanagers, Blue-capped Tanagers, Rust-and-yellow Tanagers, Common Bush-tanagers, Black-backed Grossbeaks, Rufous-collared Sparrows, Saffron's Finches, Rufous-naped Brush-finches, and Stripe-headed Brush-finches.

Virgen de Urkupiña Site
The Virgen de Urkupiña festival is annually held in August, prior to our visit.  The festival is a host of different activities, ranging from an extended folkloric spectacle over a central Mass, to a huge popular pilgrimage of the faithful, who engage in rituals. People pray and offer promises to the Virgin of Urkupiña for money, health and luck. People honor sacred Pachamama (Mother Earth) with offerings of alcohol and food, burying or spilling it on the floor. Curiously, people like to extract rocks from a hill near the sanctuary of the Virgin, to be taken home and then return it the next year, as a symbolic act to ask the Virgin to grant them goodness. The opportunity for fortune-telling at this site is available to us here. The site is special, and an important and enjoyable part of the Bolivian experience.


Copacabana is a small town on the Bolivian side of a lake (the lake is shared by 70% Peru and 30% Bolivia). The town is a prime Boivian tourist destination, not to be missed. It is the base for exploring the Island of the Sun, and the Island of the Moon, two sacred Incan islands. It is a town with many religous festivals. The town has a large 16th-century shrine, the Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana. Our Lady of Copacabana is the patron saint of Bolivia.

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world (3820 m) and it lies on the border of Bolivia and Peru.
The saphire-blue waters measure 9000 km2 .The lake was the birth place of the Incas. In the lake, the Island of the Sun is where the first Incan was born. From the Satellite, this lake might resemble a puma, a creature highly-worshipped by the Incas.
Titicaca originally means Gray Puma.

Island of the Sun

Isla del Sol is an island in the southern part of Lake Titicaca. The terrain is harsh; it is a rocky, hilly island. There are no motor vehicles or paved roads but there are over 180 ruins on the island. Most of these date back to the Inca period circa the 15h century AD. Archaeologists have discovered people living on the island as far back as the third millennium BC. Many hills on the island contain agricultural terraces, which adapt steep and rocky terrain to agriculture. Among the ruins on the island are the Sacred Rock, a labyrinth-like building called Chicana, Kasa Pata, and Pilco Kaima. In the religion of the Incas, it was believed that the sun god was born here. home

How do I get there?

There will be an additional cost of $100 for an in-country flight during the trip, which we will arrange for, but you will have to book your own flight to Cochabamba, Peru to arrive on September 7th and to come back on September 20th.

When you book your flights, make sure you enter in the three-letter airport code of your nearest airport for your departure point, and enter in CBB as the three-letter airport code for your destination to the Cochabamba airport.


What about visa requirements for entering Bolivia?

Passports are required for all of our program sites. Most, if not all, international airports will not allow you to leave your originating counAll volunteers will need the following to enter Bolivia:
1.) Valid Passport (must be valid for at least six (6) months)

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and depart Bolivia. U.S. citizens do not need a visa for a stay of one month or less (that period can be extended upon application to 90 days). An exit tax must be paid at the airport when departing Bolivia.

Please visit the following website for information on the entry requirements for US Citizens traveling
abroad: .

Please be prepared in case of losing your wallet, passport, or other travel documents. Bring copies of all your important travel documents and monetary documents, especially your passport, and store one set of copies in your luggage while leaving another set of copies with your emergency contact at home. Please verify that your passport is not only current but will not expire for at least six months after your program is scheduled to end. If you do not currently have a passport, please consult with the appropriate agency to obtain your government's requirements for obtaining one. Processing time needed to obtain a passport varies but can take up to two months to receive. At the moment, in the U.S., there is a backlog of travelers wanting passports, so apply early so you are sure to be able to leave the country.

What is the time difference to the USA?

Standard time zone: GMT -5. The time zone in Bolivia is the same as Eastern Standard Time in the US. home

How is the weather? What to wear and bring?

The climate is moderate in September. Days have rain with an average high temperature of around 66°F (19°C). Nights are cooler with an average low of 48°F (9°C). Bring comfortable clothes and only necessary items. We recommend packing lightly and expect your clothing to be well used by the end of your program. Dressing in layers is also recommended. It can be cold in the mornings and evening, but hot during the middle of the day. The following items are suggested: raincoat and umbrella, money belt, camera and film, toiletries and personal hygiene, travel towel, sunscreen (the altitude means the sun is stronger), sunglasses, flashlight, sleeping bag, daypack, water bottle, watch, journal, Spanish dictionary, hiking/tennis shoes, sandals, set of long underwear, pants, jeans, short sleeve shirts, long sleeve shirts, fleece Jacket, swimsuit, fleece or wool hat, fleece or wool mittens, rain jacket/pants. home

What is the standard accommodation?

Lodging is in double occupancy rooms at the Nina Sonqo guest house near the village of Urubamba. Full room and board is part of the program fee and the guesthouse also has direct access to telephone and internet services. Hiking, horseback riding, and biking are also optional at the lodging site. Single occupancy will be available for an additional fee of $250. home

Where is the closest Internet café?

There are numerous Internet cafes throughout the area. home

Is there laundry service?

Laundry service is available cheaply in nearby town a walkable distance away.  There is a laundry service available for a fee and hand washing is possible, too. home

What will the food be like?

You can expect lots of substantial and traditionally prepared vegetarian meals. Peru is known for its excellent soups, protein rich grains only found in the Andes, corn, and potatoes. Meals are prepared by local cooks and served family style allowing for a generous amount of reflection on the day's challenges and successes. home

What experience is needed to join?

The program is available for individuals from any country, who are over 18 (unless accompanied by a parent or guardian) with an adventurous spirit and a true desire to help others. In terms of yoga, practitioners of all levels are welcome. The asana class will be taught as a mixed level class. The actual karma yoga can usually be adapted to participant's abilities, skills and strengths. We encourage each and every one to share their interests and skills so bring along any musical instrument, games or tools needed to express and share your passion. We strongly suggest you have a genuine will to help and a liking toward children.
As we are very careful not to do more harm than good and to emphasize the need to protect the integrity of these children, we will make sure no participant has previously been registered with inappropriate behavior with children. We apologize for this and hope you can understand our caution in doing so. home

Will I have to be able to speak Spanish?

No, a background in Spanish is not necessary for the trip. A project coordinator will be available throughout the volunteering projects and trip excursions as a cultural liaison providing both language translation as well as information on the culture and history of the area. We found it easy to connect with kids and play with them without having much knowledge of Spanish. Most of the time there is a translator available, especially for cultural sites that we visit. home

Who is the yoga teacher and group leader for the trip?

Victor Oppenheimer will be the group leader for the trip to Peru and the instructor for the daily Iyengar yoga classes. He has studied yoga directly with yoga master Sri BKS Iyengar in India over the past twenty years and was certified to teach in his style directly from Mr. Iyengar. Victor has been teaching group and private yoga classes and training yoga teachers in the US and abroad for more than twenty years. Each year he travels to Mexico to teach a month long teacher training course; he will also be teaching this upcoming February in St. Lucia. Beyond the mat, Victor is also the founder of and Karma Yoga Journeys. In his own words, "yoga has been a source of joy and added a level of depth and balance" to his life for many years. It is a privilege and an honor to be able to share this work with others. If you would like to learn more about Victor, you may visit his site here. home

What is the itinerary?

click here for the itinerary home

What will the daily schedule look like?

Be prepared to be flexible, time is fluid. This is our tentative daily schedule. home

Am I insured?

We can direct you to health travel insurance. Your medical policy may give you international coverage. We also suggest that you get flight cancellation insurance. Contact us for information on how to easily arrange this.


What if I have to cancel?

Please, study the registration form for information on cancellations and refund policies.


How do I register?

Please Go to the register tab, and fill out the form. Choose your preferred options for accommodations. Please put in your information in the fields given. You can send a check after filling out the form or simply make your deposit via credit card. A $500 deposit saves your spot. When the rest is due, by 30 days before the journey departs, please send a check for the balance. Arrange your airline tickets for Cochabamba on September 7, 2008. Return on the 20th. We strongly suggest flight cancellation insurance. Please contact to answer your questions about the journey.



Are there any additional costs?

Just one. There will be an additional cost of $100 for an in-country flight during the trip, which we will arrange for.
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