Perpetual free birding in Peru.

500 dollars for VIP treatment.

by Gunnar Engblom on May 19, 2011

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Kolibri Expeditions VIP Club

When I was a kid my dad made small contests with grand prices I could win.  Once I won a free hike at foot to Södertälje. The header above may sound a bit like my dad’s joke, but it isn’t. Because in this case, to get free birding in Peru, you will have to pay!
“What, if I pay” it isn’t free, is it?”

Well, you are not paying for that, some of your birding will be free – you are paying for something else.  You are paying for some other birding ahead of time. Let me explain.

Infrastructure Fund

One problem with the birding in Peru compared to for instance Ecuador is the lack of good lodges for birders in every corner of the country. Sure there are some, but there are far more areas which completely lack what birders need. I have long thought of a concept of building small lodges for birders in strategic areas of the country together with the local communities in some places, and with local campesinos in other areas where the community is not very strong.
Something like the network of ProAves Lodges in Colombia – but not necessarily owning the land – but to work in cooperation with the community. But the reality is of course that I don’t  have enough money to do something like this – and mostly the Non-Profits which have money for conservation and community development, very rarely choose to work with a commercial partner. So I thought:

What if our clients help us achieve this? After all, it would benefit all of us.

Client funded conservation and infrastructure.

If you have followed my previous newslettters, you know what I mean. I have asked the clients for donations to this or that project. So far we have done this.

1. Santos Montenegro and the Marvelous Spatuletail reserve. From our original client funded donation to purchase some land where Santos was seeing several males MST. Eventually, a lek was found at our reserve which was filmed by the BBC.

2. Satipo road goes to Mindo. Raising the money through the clients to take 6 campesinos to see Mindo and Tandayapa in Ecuador. The results from the trip can be seen in these videos.

3. A marathon for conservation.  I did fund-raising by running a Marathon to raise the money to Rainforest Partnership to build  a lodge on Satipo road for the community – and thus giving a tool for conservation and eco-tourism.

All this shows that money for worthy projects can be raised through clients. Our efforts in Central Peru is starting to take effect. In July the first part of the lodge project on Satipo road will be finished.

We will continue to support Santos and the Satipo road project. We shall be running training workshops  and prepare the local people of the proper use of hummingbird feeders.

We can take this one step further with the VIP club

New project.

The first  infrastructure project I have in mind is presented below. More will follow as the VIP club grows.

The perfect vessel for pelagics

The year has started with new stricter rules for the boats we have used in the past for operating pelagics.  The boats simply did not get permits. They were either the wrong dimensions or they lacked important security equipment according to the new regulations. The yacht and the catamaran we have used in the past were additionally too slow, and the speed boats were really not built for being out in any rough sea. Kolibri Expeditions have relied on working with boats that have  permit for tourism and were willing to venture the high seas.

Having talked to pelagic guru Hadoram Shirihai, he directed me to the solution of the boat used by the company Madeira Winds on Madeira, a fast assault boat – known as Rigid Inflatable Boat.  RIBs are like gigantic Zodiaks with a fiberglass keeled  bottom – very stable and extremely safe.  I knew that sooner or later I would have to invest in one.

UPDATE Dec 2011: We are now looking at a covered double glassfiber bottom boat with dimensions for 12 passengers. RIBs are great, but you need to be quite hardcore birders to enjoy the ride.

Our pelagics would last for 7-8 hours and include 3 hours  chumming – instead of 11-12 hours with the slow boat and only an hour chumming. Again, the trouble is money.

I  could write a business plan and present it to the bank, and would, if presented the right way, possibly also be granted.  But how could we know for certain that we would be able to sell the new product fast enough to pay our bills. In terms of investments, there are  many much more secure investments available that give great returns.  However, other investments would not solve the problems of infrastructure for birders.  Let’s face it, we would not start projects like this one as investments – but rather as innovation.  Innovation, makes the difference in the end.  One has to be a bit bold and daring, and it may be a thorny path to go down, but the rewards and recognition could make a difference in the end. And no one can accuse you for not having tried.  Innovation is far more interesting, in my opinion, than investment.

So again, I have been turning my previous fund-raising ideas around to try to come up with a formula that could both secure clients and raise the money for investing in infrastructure and other innovation by Kolibri Expeditions for birders in Peru. Are you ready to hear this?

The best birding deal you don’t want to miss.

In this deal, this is what we offer:

  • Perpetual 10% discount on all our tours – discounting the airfares and train tickets.  It will not only apply on Peru tours, but also on our international tours. On a two week tour this discount amounts to between $200-300
  • One free space on a Lima pelagic – you can book on very short term up to a month before the departure. (Once we have our own vessel). You decide the date and we’ll run the pelagic – Value $175 to $1000  depending on the number of people taking part in the end.
  • One free space on a Lima pelagic – on any date of the year, that you book minimum 9 months in advance. Value $175 to $1000  depending on the number of people taking part in the end.
  • Perpetually free 1 day pelagics  on standby basis – this also applies if we arrange pelagic away from Lima.  Value $175 each time
  • Perpetually free Lima day trips on standby basis as long as there are 2 other paying clients.  Value around $150 per trip

We have about 15-16 weeks of programs of run back to back, if you want to cover all corners of Peru. Add to this all our other programs to other countries, which will increase in the future.  If you travel with us 3 weeks per year for 10 years and take advantage of all the free trips mentioned above the value of the discount and the freebies easily amounts to $5,000  and more if you travel with us more frequently. This is an investment for the future.  You’ll be member of the Kolibri Expeditions VIP club.
You only pay once.
How much?

$500 !!

Conditions:

  • You are eligible to the free pelagic from this year, but for the 10% tour discount this starts in 2012. Thus the price for tours this year are not affected by this discount.
  • Limited time offer: You have to sign up to the program before July 15.  If you don’t you will have to wait to next year to sign up to a similar program, that will cost $100 more.
  • The Kolibri VIP discount is personal. If you want the discount for two people or more, the other people need to enroll as well.

We hope to get a couple of hundred people to sign up to this program.  But hurry. It is for limited time only. The offer to be part of Kolibri’s VIP club ends on July 15 extends to December 31, 2011.  All trips during 2012 will be elgible for the 10% discount and free Lima day tours as detailed above. Should you want to wait to join the VIP club in 2012 the cost will be $650 and discount and free tours will be aplicable in 2013.

Write me an email to: Kolibriexp@gmail.com

We shall continue to build birding infrastructure, such as birding lodges in rural areas, creating small reserves, placing hummingbird feeders in strategic places and make birding workshops for locals.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

BAllen May 24, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Great idea Gunnar, how about a possible substitution of a local trip (eg. Santa Eulalia) for a pelagic?

Gunnar Engblom May 30, 2011 at 7:34 am

Hi Brian
Yes, that would work. I wanted to have the pelagic as a draw for this particular fund raiser. But any Lima excursion would work as well. I’ll do the corresponding changes in the post later today

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