Volunteers planting seeds in the nursery (Photo by Lee Dingain)
Volunteers marking out trails (Photo by Rachel Walls)
Patrolling with the rangers (Photo by Ben Michaud)

Volunteer at REGUA

The REGUA volunteer programme has been successfully up and running since the start of 2006. As a volunteer, not only will you have a wonderful experience in a beautiful environment, but you will also be making a genuine contribution to the conservation of the Atlantic Rainforest by supporting the local team.

Who can volunteer at REGUA?

We are looking for people with skills which will benefit the reserve. During their stay, volunteers will undertake a specific project, which has been agreed before arriving at the reserve. Volunteer placements are open to people of both sexes aged 18 or over. It is an ideal opportunity if you are taking a gap year, career break or sabbatical.

Why volunteer at REGUA?

We hope to offer volunteers a fulfilling volunteering experience at a genuine conservation project, protecting one of the world's most endangered ecosystems. Our volunteer programme is non-profit, with funds covering running costs only. Opportunity to work closely with the local community, in a beautiful environment with unique wildlife. Excellent facilities including: computers with internet access, a classroom, laboratory, and dining room. Comfortable basic accommodation and good locally sourced food are provided.

How can I get involved in as a volunteer?

We have a number of volunteer specialist roles:

Assistant Bird Guide

We are looking for experienced birders to accompany day visitors and guests around the trails on the reserve during the busiest time of year, which is July through to December.

Download job description here.

Lodge Host

If you enjoy working with people from all over the world and have an interest in hotel management, wildlife conservation and the Atlantic rainforest, then this role could be ideal for you. The Lodge Host has the important role of welcoming new guests to the Lodge and ensuring everyone has an enjoyable stay. They will assist guests to arrange their itineraries during their stay and liaise with our kitchen staff to arrange breakfast, lunch and evening meals times. Ideally this post is for a period of 5 months, from July until November. Accommodation and meals are provided at the Lodge.

Download job description here.


Do you have your own project you would undertake during your stay at REGUA? We can also accommodate volunteers who would like to carry out their own project during their stay. Projects must be agreed before the start of the placement.

  • Biodiversity surveys: amphibians, bats, birds, butterflies, invertebrates, reptiles and orchids.
  • Bird photography.
  • Producing the REGUA bird checklist booklet.
  • Producing trail information leaflets.
  • Survey of Neotropical River Otter territories along the Guapiaçu River.
  • Writing content for the REGUA website and social media sites.

Please email volunteer@regua.org with your project proposal and we be in touch with you.

I had a fantastic time as a REGUA volunteer for three months. I had the opportunity to become involved in a variety of activities including trail marking, patrolling with the rangers in the forest, working in the tree nursery, devising trail leaflets and helping update the website. It is an experience that I thoroughly enjoyed and will never forget.
Rachel Walls, UK


REGUA is located in a rural area, two hours north-east of Rio de Janeiro - visit the location page for directions and transport options. There are two small villages within walking distance - Guapiaçu and Matumbo - both of which have shops and local bars. The nearest town, Cachoeiras de Macacu, is a short bus ride away and has a variety of shops, supermarkets, bars and cafes. Further afield, Nova Friburgo (1.5 hours away) offers a larger variety of shops, restaurants, bars and a cinema, and Rio is easily accessible by bus for weekend trips.

Accommodation and facilities

There are four converted houses to accommodate volunteers. The houses are tended to by maids who provide an excellent cooking, cleaning and laundry service. Each house has bedrooms, a toilet and shower (with hot water), a lounge with basic furniture and 110V electricity. There is also a collection of books and games available. Nearby at the REGUA Conservation Centre, there is a communal kitchen and dining room where meals are prepared and eaten. The main meal of the day is lunch time and volunteers are expected to cook for themselves on Sundays.

Volunteer houses 1 (left) and 2. (Photo by Rachel Walls) The inside of volunteer house 2. (Photo by Rachel Walls)
Volunteer houses 1 (left) and 2. The lounge inside volunteer house 2.

Spare time

There are many places of interest to visit during your free time at REGUA and most can be reached via public transport. We have excellent bus links to Rio de Janeiro (approximately three hours away) with it's world famous beaches and tourist attractions, and several local towns such as Nova Friburgo and Cachoeiras de Macacu. REGUA is close to Serra dos Órgãos National Park and Três Picos State Park, which are great places for hiking and the beautiful beach town of Cabo Frio is only a few hours away by bus.

Our ethical policy for volunteers

Our volunteer programme works with the following core principles in mind:

  • Volunteers contribute to the delivery of the REGUA objectives.
  • REGUA does not use volunteers as an alternative to local employment.
  • Volunteers must have a rewarding experience.

By becoming a volunteer you will have a unique opportunity to become involved in a local community project in the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest.

Requirements You must be aged 18 or over and have a reasonable level of fitness as you will be working in a hot and humid climate. You will need the ability to adapt to new environments and cultures (volunteers will work alongside local people). Volunteers must be self-motivated and able to work with minimal supervision.
Cost US$600 per month. This includes your accommodation, meals, laundry facilities and free internet access in the evenings. An optional transfer from Rio to REGUA is available at US$200 each way.
Commitment Projects and general tasks: minimum 1 month
Assistant Bird Guide: minimum 3 months
Lodge Host: minimum 3 months
Nature Guide: minimum 3 months
Languages English or Portuguese.
Working hours Volunteers are expected to work 8 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday. Weekends are free. NB: For Bird Guides, Lodge Host and Nature Guide posts, working hours will vary depending on the needs of the visitors/guests.

If you are interested in becoming a REGUA volunteer then please complete our volunteer application form and email it to our volunteer co-ordinator Rachel Walls at volunteer@regua.org.

Our Volunteer Booklet contains useful information and advice for REGUA volunteers.

Check out our 'Volunteer at REGUA' photo gallery on our Facebook page: