Colombia Sloth Sanctuary Frequently Asked Questions

You will find below answers to many frequently asked questions. If your question does not appear then please click here to open the 'contact us' page to ask us your question.
01. Is Colombia safe?
Firstly, forget everything you know about Colombia, as it is probably old news by now. Colombia has had a remarkable turnaround in security. Medellin is now one of Latin America’s safest big cities. Colombia still has its problems and there are regions that are too dangerous to visit due to them being under the control of anti-government groups or drug cartels.

Nobody goes to these areas so you are unlikely to accidentally plan a trip to a dangerous region. As with any large city there are areas that it would not be advisable to visit after dark. Just think of your local major city and you will know where not to go late at night. Medellin is no different. This is still not a problem as you will be told those areas on arrival. There are plenty of areas in Medellin that are safe and plenty of people walk freely at night, enjoying the amazing nightlife the city has to offer.
 
02. What languages do I need?
The common language for Globalteer staff and volunteers at this project is English. Colombia is a Spanish speaking country so it is beneficial, but not required, to be able to speak some Spanish. The project manager speaks very good English, but the local staff who you will also be working with will only speak minimal if any English. 
03. What are the living conditions at the project?
Your accommodation will be in a hostel in the city of Medellin, which is a 30 minute bus ride from the sanctuary. Located in the tranquil El Poblado district it is situated only five minutes' walk from the metro station and one of the biggest supermarkets in the city and fifteen minutes from the Zona Rosa (Parque Lleras) of Medellin. This really is the perfect place to make the most of this diverse city.

The hostel provides accommodation ranging from dormitory rooms to en-suite private rooms. There is a fully equipped kitchen, high speed internet access, television room with cable and free DVDs. The friendly owner has all the knowledge of the town and Colombia and hosts weekly BBQs to meet new people. Half of the rooms in the hostel are private rooms to provide a more peaceful stay.
 
04. What type of food will I be eating?
Medellin has a variety of international restaurants in the city. The local food will be typical Colombian meals including beef, pork, chicken or fish, with rice, fried banana, beans, eggs and salad and a fantastic variety of fruits and juices. Vegetarian options are available in Medellin but Colombians are true carnivores.

Globalteer does not provide food at this project. Volunteers are advised to take their own lunch to the sanctuary, and there is a supermarket near to the hostel that sells ready-made sandwiches, wraps and salads. Water and coffee are available at the sanctuary
05. Will I have time off for extra activities?
Yes, in fact we actively encourage it! Colombia is a beautiful country and we wish you to experience its culture, history and people. You will have two days free per week which can be spent in the city or away at another location in Colombia. Long term volunteers can arrange extra time off with the volunteer coordinator.
06. How many hours will I be volunteering?
You will be volunteering for approximately six hours per day, five days per week. 
07. How do I get to the project?
You will be picked up at Medellin international airport and taken to your accommodation. If you arrive overland then we will supply you with directions to the hostel and you will need to make your own way there
08. Is there access to internet, telephone and post?
Internet cafes are available in Medellin as well as telephone and postal services. There is also an internet connection and phone at the sanctuary.

The hostel has computers and WiFi internet available
09. What vaccinations will I need for Colombia?
Let your health professional know that you will be working at a wildlife rescue centre with a variety of animals. Hepatitis B can occur in wildlife and therefore this is a potential risk, although no cases have been recorded at the project.

Yellow fever is a risk in certain parts of Colombia, so also tell your health professional that you will be volunteering in the area of Medellin.
 
You may also want to consider the pre-exposure rabies vaccination. These injections are available in your home country, although they are expensive. In the unlikely event of exposure to a suspected rabid animal, treatment is available close to the rescue centre. If you are exposed to rabies, you must obtain treatment within 24 hours if you have not received the pre-exposure injections. Treatment includes immunoglobulin injections into the wound and a series of rabies vaccinations. If you have received the pre-exposure injections, you will still need to seek immediate medical attention to receive booster doses of the vaccine. 
 
Read more about our medical and safety advice.
10. Do I need a visa?
Most nationalities are entitled to stay in Colombia for 180 days. On arrival in Colombia the immigration official will stamp your passport with a free 30, 60 or 90 day visa (this is entirely at the official's discretion). If you wish to stay for 90 days then we suggest that you ask for a 90 day visa on arrival.

If you require an extension of your visa whilst in Colombia then you can visit the DAS (immigration office) one week before the expiry of your visa and pay approximately US$35 / UK£23 for a further one month up to a maximum of 180 days. Note: As visa requirements can change and vary for different for nationalities, it is the volunteer's responsibility to arrange entry visas.
 
Read more about visa requirements in the countries we work in.  
11. What cultural differences must I consider?
Even in super friendly Colombia, the Paisas (people from Medellin) are known for their friendliness and warmth. Colombians shake hands on meeting. If you know a person then one kiss on the cheek is exchanged between opposite sexes and between females on meeting and departure.
12. When is the best time to go to Colombia?
Medellin deserves its nickname “City of Eternal Spring”. With its close proximity to the equator and altitude of 1500mts, the temperature hovers between 18c (64f) and 26c (79f) throughout the year. There are no seasons, but there tends to be more rainfall from March to May and September to November.
13. Can I drink alcohol and smoke?
Alcohol is not permitted at the sanctuary, and smoking must only be done in designated areas. However, drinking and smoking is permitted at the hostel, and there are many bars and clubs in Medellin.
14. Is there a dress code?
Colombians dress similarly to people in the US or Europe so your normal clothing, including shorts and short-sleeved tops, are suitable for this project. However, do bring clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty whilst at the sanctuary! 
15. Do I receive training and orientation?
Yes, on arrival you will receive orientation from our project coordinator, giving local information and advice. Training at the sanctuary will also be given to ensure you achieve the project objectives.
16. What is the criteria of a volunteer?
Volunteers will be assessed on the information provided during the application process.
17. Do I need travel insurance?
Travel insurance is highly recommended for all our projects. To help make getting insured easier we have formed a partnership with award-winning travel insurers, World Nomads. They provide insurance to travellers from over 140 different countries and are the only insurer we have found that will allow you to take out a policy even after you have left your home country.
 
If you purchase an insurance policy from World Nomads through this link -Travel Insurance - they will also make a donation to Globalteer and the many projects we support.
 
Please note that Globalteer can accept no responsibility for your travel or insurance arrangements and encourages you to fully research all travel and insurance options available to you.
18. Who usually volunteers at your projects?
The majority of volunteers are from the UK, United States, Canada and Australia. We also place volunteers from Holland, Germany, Ireland, Japan and New Zealand although all nationalities are welcome. The majority of volunteers travel alone to the projects, although we also accommodate couples and groups.
 
19. Where does my money go?
A full explanation of where your money goes can be found on a link from the Globalteer home page including our full independent accounts as confirmed by the UK Charities commission.
 
Globalteer is a charity registered in England and Wales no. 1119706
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