Amazon Ranch Project

Rupununi savannah, Guyana



The Experience

Did you ever dream to live the life of a cowboy but you haven’t figured out how to travel back in time yet? Then this is your chance! Go back in to time in remote and beautiful Guyana and help to sustain local Amerindian cowboy community’s centuries old lifestyle by rebuilding the ranches and help them set up basic eco-tourism facilities.

Times are dire for the cattle ranches of Guyana Savanna’s, no longer being able to sell their meat to neighboring Brazil and not even longer allowed to sell their meat in the coastal regions of Guyana they struggle to continue. With the times changing and barely any source of income left the Amerindian Vaquero’s of the Savannas are in need of your help! They are on the brink of abounding their centuries old lifestyle, help now by building basic eco-tourism facilities and relive the days of old as a Cowboy (or girl) in beautiful Guyana!!! This is a great volunteer abroad opportunity for all adventures especially for those who love the ranch life, who are interested in native Amerindian cultures and have a passion for horse riding.


This Is Why

  • Venture in to the amazing savannas of South America and help out on a local remote cattle ranch
  • Set up sustainable eco-tourism with the vaqueros and help protect their way of life
  • Learn how to live and survive a truly rustic lifestyle along side real vaqueros
  • Experience incredible Tropical wildlife right on your doorstep

Project Details
  • Key Start Dates
    Year round
  • Key Start Dates
    4 Weeks: $2495.00
    6 Weeks: $ 2895.00
    8 Weeks: $ 3295.00
  • Volunteer duration
    4, 6 or 8 weeks
  • Average Work hours
    8 hours per day, 6 days on 1 day off
  • Number of Volunteers
    2 - 5
  • Volunteer accommodation
  • Housing Type
    When staying overnight in Georgetown and Lethem a private hotel room, while at the ranch Basic palm roofed cabins with shared bedroms and hammocks!
  • Internet Access
    No, only when arriving in Georgetown/Lethem
  • Who Are They Looking For?
    Adventurer’s individuals who have an interest in the outdoors and who do not mind to get wet and dirty while working for a good cause. Horse Riding experience is a plus.

Fast Facts: Guyana

Where? Guyana, Rupununi Savannah, Amazon Region

Country Size: 214,970 km2
83,000 sq mi

Population density? 3.5/km2
9.1/sq mi

Country Famous for? Vaquero's (cowboys), Rupununi Rodeo festival, Unspoiled interior, Amazon jungle, Jaguars, Black Caiman, Giant Otters, Turtles

When to visit: Year round

  • What's Included
    • Placement
      Amazon Ranch project
    • Accommodation
      While working at the ranch you will stay in basic shared cabins next to the main ranch house. The cabins have simple beds or you can choose to sleep in a hammock if you wish! The cabins are open buildings with traditional thatch  made from Ité palm leaves. To begin with wash facilities will be in the main house. As you will read in these details, part of your tasks will be to improve the cabins, including building an adjoining washroom. But of course there is always the creek as the true vaquero way to wash! When Arriving in Georgetown and Lethem you will stay in a private hotel room!
    • Meals
      While at the ranch you will eat with the vaqueros and all your meals are included. Local food is basic but hearty to keep your energy up for an active day on the savannah. Typical dishes include farine (a carbohydrate made from a local root called cassava) and meat either raised at the ranch, such as pork or chicken, or fresh fish caught by you from the creek! You will also help to develop the vegetable garden and harvest the fruit trees. Please note that the diet at Saddle Mountain Ranch is not suitable for vegetairians. During your short stopovers in Georgetown/Lethem, meals are not included.
    • Airport Pick Georgetown + Hotel night

      An employee of the project will pick you up from the airport near Georgetown ( 1 hour) and will transfer you to your hotel where you wil stay for 1 night. The next morning you will be picked up from the hotel and you will be brought to a local domestic airport.
    • Domestic flight (return flight incl) + Airport Pick up

      An employee of the project will pick you up from your hotel in Georgetown and will transfer you to the airport. Included in this package is a domestic flight from Georgetown to Lethem by small airplane (approximately 2 hours flying over seemingly everlasting jungle). You will be picked up from the airport and transferred to your hotel in Lethem where you will stay one night.
    • Transfer to the project
      You will be  picked up from your hotel in Lethem and transferred to your project by 4x4. It is approximately 4 hours drive through the beautiful Tropical savannahs of Guyana (return flight inlcuded).
    • Returning home

      After your time at the project has been finished you will be transferred back to Lethem by 4x4 after which you will stay one night in a hotel. The next morning you will take a domestic flight from Lethem to Georgetown. At this point you can choose to travel home or to explore more of Guyana. We are of course happy to assist you with this.
    • Work permit
      For volunteering in Guyana a work permit is required as well as premmission needed to visit the Amerindian reserves. This will all be arranged after your arrival (as Guyana has no embassies abroad) and will be HASSLE FREE for you. The fee for this is included in the program cost.
    • Mail and Communications

      It is possible to receive and send mail from the town of Lethem via our Fronteering representative, however the postal service is very variable in such a remote area and the process regularly takes over a month. It is not unheard of never to reach it's destination! There will be internet connection and cell phone reception in both Georgetown and Lethem. The ranch is very remote and the only communication is by transistor radio and satellite phone which are used for emergencies only.
    • Ongoing service
      If there are any problems with your volunteer project we are always there to help you and mediate between yourself and the organization.
    • Tours
      Through FRONTEERING you have the possibility to book tours, Spanish (at nearby Isla Magaritha) and English Courses in Guyana before and/or after you have finished your volunteer project.
    • 24/7 Emergency contact
      If there are any problems during you stay at the project you can reach us 24/7 to assist you.

    What's not included: Flights, Insurance, Meals when in Georgetown/Lethem

    Package Price:
    4 Weeks: $2495.00
    6 Weeks: $2895.00
    8 Weeks: $3295.00


      This great experience will take you to the golden savannahs of Guyana, a magnificent landscape of open grasslands and jungle covered mountains, where vaqueros on horseback have lived and raised cattle  in co-existence with the local wildlife for many centuries. It was here that even Frank James (Jesse James older brother) used to gallop through the vast planes. his great experience will take you to the golden Savannas’ of Guyana a magnificent place where Vaquero’s with its horses and cattle have lived in co-existence with the local wildlife for many centuries.
      Your help is needed to set up ecotourism facilities and related projects so that the ranchers have an income to sustain their ranch. In addition, and as part of the longer term eco-tourism plan, a lot of work is needed to renovate, improve and maintain the ranch itself. One of the tasks that needs to be completed is constructing an 8km fence to keep the cattle nearer to the ranch during calving. The fence will make a  huge difference to the ranchers. At present the cattle can roam unrestricted. This means a lot of time spent finding the cattle and bringing them in for branding or castrating. It also makes valuable unbranded cattle vulnerable to rustlers. A fence would protect the cattle and create more valuable time for the ranchers to embark on ecotourism.
      Projects or activities you will mainly be involved in: 

      • Constructing a new cattle fence
      • Developing the vegetable garden and managing the chickens
      • Helping to bring in the cattle and manage them in the corral
      • General maintenance around the ranch buildings
      • Repairing the compound fence
      • Day to day cleaning and preparing of meals
      • Building additional accommodation for tourism
      • Constructing a horse coral
      • Improving the out buildings
      • Fishing

      The projects you are involved in will directly benefit the local ranch community. We concentrate on things that work, not that look fancy. This is the real deal! It's no American dude ranch! Are you ready for a genuine adventure while helping to preserve the original cowboy culture and experiencing wildlife and landscape like nowhere else on earth?


        With this project you will be involved in sustaining the rancher’s way of life as they struggle in their existence. Since the government of Guyana no longer allows them to sell their meat along the coast, and the Brazilian government does not allow the import of meat form Guyana their only option for sales is locally in the small town of Lethem.
        The ranch you will be working with currently has about 15 horses, all of which are used to work the cattle and need regular feed and care. The horses are important for ranch work but are also an opportunity for the family to take potential paying guests out into the savannah.

      • While volunteering and working together with the ranchers you have an opportunity to learn more about their amazing culture and way of life. During your stay you will see incredible wildlife every day and you will get to learn some great ranching techniques dating from hundreds of years ago. Most of the people in the area are Amerindian, the original Guyanese people, and they have lived in the area since long before European settlers.
        The family who own the ranch are hard working and passionate about their living, they are also very kind and welcoming and look forward to the support of others.

    • Requirements, Guidelines & Policies
      Some if the requirements for this project are:
      • You must be physically and mentally fit. 
      • Age: 18 and over. There is no upper age limit but good health is essential for this project.
      • Must love animals/outdoors
      • Make sure to contact your local health organization to inquire about the needed/recommended vaccinations and medicine.
      • Strong work ethics are required: reliable, responsible, honest, good sense of humor and dependable.
  • Volunteer Benefits
    • Learn the tricks of trades of what it takes to be a real rancher and cowboy.
    • Lots of opportunities to view wildlife including the odd looking giant anteater and hundreds of species of birds.
    • Leave the rat race of the western world behind and enter the simplicity of the wild west instead!
  • Fast Facts
    • Project location
      Rupununi Savanna, Guyana   
    • Area Famous For
      Savanna, Vaquero's (cowboys), Rupununi Rodeo Festival, Wildlife viewing, Fresh Beef, giant anteaters
    • When to visit
      Year round
    • Wildlife viewing
      Great wildlife viewing opportunities in the savanna's of Guyana: giant anteaters, monkeys, deer, Armadillo's, coati's, cougars 
  • Itinerary & Details
    Day 1 - Arrive in Georgetown, Guyana;
    You will arrive in the capital of Guyana where you will be met and stay over night in a hotel
    For 2-8 weeks - Volunteer on the Cattle Ranch
    For the next 2 to 8 weeks work together with vaqueros to help them build a sustainable ranch as detailed here. You will stay in this remote part of the savannah for the duration of your placement.
    Your last day -
    you will be transfered by 4x4 to Lethem where you will have a return flight to Georgetown. We highly recommend taking the opportunity to travel through Guyana. *Our staff will gladly help you to book any tours to see more of this fascinating country.
  • Accommodation

    When staying overnight in Georgetown *shared rooms, while in the savannah you will stay in shared cabins.

    Things to bring from home

    • Hiking Shoes
    • Rain gear
    • Jeans
    • Anti Mosquito repellent + after bite
    • Sunglasses
    • Hat/cap to protect yourself from the sun
    • Suncream
    • Complete Kitlist will be provided after applying or on request


    During your stay in Georgetown and Lethem meals are not included, while at the ranch all food is included. Each project member will be involved with preparing (and sometimes catching!) your meals.


    Guyana is a little smaller than Britain, with some 80 per cent of land covered in virginal tropical rainforest. After the jungle the main natural vegetation is savannah grassland, split into two distinct areas; one in the south west of the country, the second in the north east. The main population areas are along the coast, with some 90 per cent of the 750,000 population living there. This harks back to colonial days when the coastal port facilities were widely used for the transportation of goods. The difficulty of movement within the country also had a major impact on this statistic. Guyana is known as the land of many waters, it is criss-crossed with waterways and hundreds of waterfalls. The mouth of the Essequibo river is as wide as the English Channel and Kaieteur Falls is the longest single drop waterfall in the world at 741 feet.

The world has shown me some magical places but none has left its mark in quite the same way as this fantastic ranch in southern Guyana. Here I was able to become part of a wonderful colourful family and also learnt how to contribute to a very real and tough way of life, all the while surrounded by beautiful scenery and wildlife. Highlights of my time at the ranch must have been riding out at sunrise for hours and hours to track down and bring in the cattle, as well as washing and cooling off in the nearby creek. And that barely scratches the surface! If you love wild places and want to experience living off the land then I can’t recommend the ranch project enough!

Victoria, from England


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