Do you want to go on a birding trip in Peru for FREE?

by Gunnar Engblom on December 12, 2009

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Are you joking?

No I am not joking. I am giving away 4 trips to Manu and 10 trips to Carpish/Satipo road in Central Peru. Below the macaw-picture are the departures you can chose from:


Manu 8 days

Manu needs no presentation I think. The lowland amazonian rainforest of SE Peru is world famous. How would you like to come on a totally free birding trip from Lima. You don’t even have to pay for the flights to Cusco and back from Puerto Maldonado.  Available departures on the following dates. February 21, April 3, June 27 and July 18.

Carpish/Satipo road 8 days

Central Peru is less known but is great for birding and is also very inexpensive if you want to bring a friend on your free trip. This particular promotions aims to promote the area and create a continuous demand so it will be worthwhile for the communities to set up some basic lodging. At the beginning the conditions will be basic and some camping may be needed, but at the end of the year it is hoped that no camping shall be needed and that the areas should be able to receive visitors throughout the year in the future. Departures as follow:  March 17, April 29, June 1, July 6, July 27, August 12,  September 25, October 19, Nov 22 and December 12


I am a tree-hugger at heart. More than a birdwatcher really. There is too much habitat destruction going on. Eco-tourism can be a sustainable way to protect habitat. But true eco-tourism is not possible if the community that lives around or in the area you’d like to conserve is excluded from the master plan. The only way in reality for conservation and true eco-tourism to be successful, is to give local communities true and immediate benefits. The projects I am involved in centre around the communities.

To highlight both to the birding world as well as the communities that there areas are important I have chosen to highlight these areas in “Fixed Departures” that run monthly. Each departure has a host who has been given a free trip.  I hope that this marketing, with free trips and the social media platform to get the message across, will be a very effective way to let the world know in very short time about these new birding destinations with extremely diverse wildlife, lush forests and spectacular scenery.
Also, from the perspective of the project itself and to be successful, both areas need groups fast and frequently. Otherwise, it is likely that the communities will not bother about the conservation and the eco-tourism.

What is in it for me? Disclaimer!

Kolibri Expeditions is a small company. This PR-stunt (I don’t think anyone else have tried such a bold trip give-away earlier) should/could become almost viral (at least among birders).  I hope this could get our company out of little league.  We are doing a good thing. We employe Peruvian guides. We work with communities. We are environmentally concerned. We have compatible prices.

Yet, we still have had problems at the end of the year for the past three years to get it together (although 2009 looks better than many previous years). The main reason for the poor result is low sales between December and May and our fixed cost that are even through-out the year. Our staff is mainly on pay-roll with legal rights to overtime, vacation, social health care and pension. So even in our slow months we have staff to pay. There is really no reason why birders should not come to Peru all year around. You will always find more birds in Peru than in your own country in the northern hemisphere. Costa Rica and Ecuador do not shut down in the rainy season – Why should Peru do so?

To sell more trips through-out the year, Kolibri Expeditions must become better known.  The give-away should help!

So what is the catch?

There isn’t much of a catch really. The trips will be totally free from Lima. , Since there are only 14 trips in total given away I shall chose those that provide the biggest value to the company. How you can supply that value to us will be treated in my next opt-in newsletter due Saturday Dec 12 (the newsletter will also be sent to anyone signing up later). This is what you need to do now to be eligable for a free birding trip in Peru.

  • The first thing you need to do is to sign-up to our new opt-in newletter if you have not already done so. Where? In the center column just below the big picture of a Tanager or Mr Engblom with child, there is a form to fill in. Email and Name, please! Then you will get an email telling you to click the confirmation link. That is it! You are now subscribed to the bi-weekly Kolibri Expeditions newsletter.
  • Is that it? No! One more thing! The idea is to use Social Media. Social media is all about sharing. Here is the link to this post that you need to share:
    In order to be eligable for a free trip you need to share. The more you share, the bigger chance you have for a free trip. I am not saying you have to become a spammer, but I am sure your friends would like to know about this possibility.  Even if you don’t win one of the free trips, you will by participating and sharing win a lot of Karma, so that new opportunities will be given to you for substancial discounts or other special offers or promotions.So where and how do you share? Twitter and Facebook are the two most obvious platforms and where you probably heard of this first. However, you may be participating in different forums for birders, listservers for birders, My Space, Hi5, Linked In, FriendFeed, Chatterbirds, Chirptracker, picture sharing platforms such as Flickr, Picasa, etc. Good ol’ email and blogging also works.  Write your friends and write about this in your blog. I will promote cross-link on my social media platforms to your blogpost as well as some other post on your blog which should bring you some traffic
    Also make  sure you use all sorts of link sharing platforms such as Delicious, Digg and Stumble Upon and that you re-tweet this everytime you open this page (check the re-tweet button and digg button above-I’ll see if I can find a SU button somewhere so please come back!).
    Finally, let’s mention Facebook again. You should share this link on your wall and become fan of,  monitor and participate on, the Kolibri Expeditions Facebook page. Every time you do, there is a little note on your own wall, that you have posted something on Kolibri’s wall.
    Do you get the picture? Social Media rocks!

That is all you need to do for now. Easy, huh?


Q.  I am not a hard core birder, I just like nature in general.Can I still participate.

A. Yes, you can! These indigenous communities can hardly make enough money, if they have to rely only on birders. Nevertheless, there is a reason why we chose to start promoting to birders. Birding is a great way to promote  new area if the ornithological value is high.
You should not expect the set-up to  be 100% functional when communities, completely new to the challanges of eco-tourism, are involved. However, as a birder, as long as you see a lot of birds, some hardships and things not being perfect can be dealt with.  When birders will tell other birders how great an area is for birding, it rarely has to do with what food they ate , or what temperature the shower had, but what birds they have seen.  In this sense birders are the cutting edge of eco-tourism – as they can withstand less than perfect comfort as long as they see the birds.
Having said this, I am keen to offer Manu departures with other themes than birding. Anyone being avid in photography, mammals, herps, butterflies or botany would have a great chance of receiving a free trip.
If you merely have a general interest in the rain forest, these trips are not for you. However, if you have a large network of contacts and feel you can generate some interest among others to see the Amazon rain forest, Giant Otter, Tapir, Macaw-lick and up to 10 species of monkeys, I would be happy to discuss the opening of some general natural history departures also during this first promotional year – and if you can recruit members to such a trip and host it – so much better  as I could then supply you with a freebie.

Q. Will you repeat this in 2011r?

A. Probably not! At least not in this form directed to birders in general. Some tour operators, birding magazines and prominent bloggers may get an offer, but it is unlikely I will present it to the public in this massive way as now. It is now or never! In any case we hope by next year that we have raised enough money to increase comfort and that it shall be no problem selling the trips for a higher amount.

Q. Why don’t you spit it out? What tours are you talking about?

A. Sorry! I was carried away talking about how great the trips are without presenting them. Here they are  Manu community lodges 8 days and Satipo road and Carpish. The first is a Amazonian lowland destination and the second is a cloud forest destination. The person winning the free trip would act as host for the trip.

Q. Where can I learn more about the community projects you are involved in?

A. Here are a couple of links. I realize I need soon to write an update on the advances on the Satipo road and Amarakaeri projects, but in any case these old posts give you some background.

Birdwatching in a communal reserve next to Manu
News from Amarakaeri – the communal reserve next to Manu.

Satipo road project
Outline of ideas behind Satipo road project – before trip to Mindo, Ecuador.
A marathon for conservation – A fundraising marathon and some update on the project from 2009.

Q. I want to travel with my partner. Can we both get a free trip?

A. Yes and no! The Manu trips are tied back to back with the Carpish/Satipo road trips. Although you and your friend would not get freebie to same Manu trip, your partner could ask for a freebie to the Carpish trip that follows.  This may be a advantage, when it comes down to selecting the hosts.  Make sure you let me know if you are a pair.

I suggest you send me lots of other questions to my email so I can deal with them in the next newsletter.

See you on the other side.

Once again this is what you need to do:

  • Sign-up for the newsletter on the top of the mid column -just below the Tanager photo or the photo of me and Luciana.
  • Share this link on Facebook and Twitter and any other Social Media platform you can think of.   Don’t link directly to the trip pages, please. We don’t need to shove it down their throats.
  • Please don’t mention the company name in head-lines… don’t want it to appear spammy! Mentioning my name and a link to the blog should be OK, but please don’t link directly to the trip pages. Again, that would appear as too spammy in a message to many people.

Many thanks for taking part in this social media experiment.

The photo depicts 3 species of Macaws from Tambopata. The Blue and Yellow Macaw is not found on the clay lick at Manu, but the species is generarlly seen in the area. Photo Credit: Tim Ryan From the Faraway, Nearby.
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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Alan McBride December 12, 2009 at 4:05 am

Hi, Tweeted, FB’d and put on DIGG (I think) I’m new at Digg!

Could do a travel story or two too for you if selected.



James Bokovoy December 12, 2009 at 9:33 am

I will spread the word. I do have a couple of other very qualified recommendations for your give away-and no they are’t me. A couple are your fb friends as well, but there are in Columbia on a birding trip right now! Email me and I will be happy to forward both couples names to you! Both couples are world travelers, excellent birders and have hosted and lead birding and eco-tours in the past! I would love to travel with you as well as I am a photographer and we could use images for your company, but the other two candidates might provide the most exposure and benefit for the cause.
Thanks Gunnar!


Jennifer Rycenga December 12, 2009 at 11:15 am

Posted to Facebook. I’ll think of where else I am connected through social media. But, to let you know, it is working: my partner and I are talking more about Peru than we ever have before!

Pete Kinsella December 12, 2009 at 12:54 pm

Hi Gunnar, what a brilliant idea!Its great that conservation in Peru can benefit from Social Media networking!!I`ll make sure all the birders(and non-birders!) that I know hear about this…I`ve always believed that Peru is the top birding and eco-vacation experience in the world…so lets spread the word!!

Jan Axel December 12, 2009 at 11:16 pm

Hey Gunnar, what a great opportunity! I already posted the link in Facebook and soon will be posting in my blog too. More birds ah!
.-= Jan Axel´s last blog ..Punta Culebra Nature Center =-.

Gunnar Engblom December 13, 2009 at 1:35 am

@Alan Thanks a lot for your support. You may be able to get a small group together, huh? Checked your excellent web-site. You should have a blog on it. It will nake it more dynamic and you would show proof of your writing.
@James Thanks for the names you dropped. Also, I got a suggestion the other day that we should have some fixed departures for photographers. Maybe you could help bash up intereste among people interested to learn all the functions on their cameras and seeking motives to shoot with a pro.
Jennifer and Pete. Your support and afirmation that this may be working is good news.
Alas, there are relatively few people who have actually sent in their preferred dates.
Did I scare people off by saying in the newsletter, that it would be best if the hosts could actively seek to secure 2-3 people for the trip that each is hosting.
It is not going to be necessary in all cases. Just that realistically, I will not be able to raise all the 70 need to fill these 14 trips on my own. As well as helping filling the tours of the already determined blogger departures. Some trips will not have enough people, unless the blogger receiving the freebie also helps in any way to get more participants.

Linda Shaw December 16, 2009 at 9:59 am


I have a suggestion. Offer a group discount that would be spread among folks – rather than one person getting a free trip and everyone else paying. In that scenario , a group of friends would be more likely to join up to go because everyone is benefitting. I have shared this opportunity with my birding buds up here in Alaska – hope this takes off and is successful!


Gerry Colborn December 16, 2009 at 10:15 am

Thanks for a great opportunity and thanks for your good work in Peru. I work with Geographic Information Systems and, whether I’m selected or not, would love to assist you in your endeavors to help the people and natural communities of Peru. In addition to working with online mapping applications for the state of NY, I’ve made many maps for birding including for my club’s birdfinding guide. I’d love to make some for areas in Peru.
Also, my brothers and I are doing a little start up that will be natural history tours; birding, herping, lepping, the works. I definately appreciate helping the little guy. Best of luck and thanks again.
Gerry Colborn

Gunnar Engblom December 16, 2009 at 12:26 pm

@Linda Yeah, that is certainly possible. A group of friends that want to share the freebie, are very good candidates. However, even if I lower the price with 300 dollars for a group of friends it would not get as much attention as a free trip. But, yes! If you get a group of friends together you can count on the equivelant discount.
@Gerry. Thanks, we certainly can need a lot of help. In fact for Satipo road de-limiting to be set off for a communal reserve, could use some GIS applications I suppose. The Google Earth maps are still not very detailed for that area. If you like I put you in contact with the people of RainForest Partnership who are assisting the community in Mariposa and Apaya on the Satipo road.
If you like to bring a tour here, let me know. We could customize something.
.-= Gunnar Engblom´s last blog ..10/19/2009 =-.

S Wallace December 16, 2009 at 1:58 pm

I’ve invited 1,585 people within minutes – Does that help take you into the big league and propel me to a free birdwatching trip in Peru ?

Suzi December 16, 2009 at 8:17 pm

Hi Gunnar, Brilliant idea for raising the profile of your eco-friendly trips, and increased attention for these threatened habitats in Peru. It’s great that your are supporting the local communities to get involved and share in the benefits. I’ll add you to my website links page, (will take a day or two to engineer), forward this round my email network contacts and add you to my facebook page. I hope that helps to boost your wonderful conservation initiative.
I would be delighted if I won a trip to Manu !!
Suzi Phillips NZ

Forest December 17, 2009 at 1:53 am

Hi Gunnar,
You got good idea for the conservation of nature. Keep up with the good work.
Ps: Oh i am not running for the free trip :)
.-= Forest´s last blog ..Free Birding Trip in Peru =-.

Suzanne December 17, 2009 at 10:34 am

Just a cautionary note that paying big bucks to airline companies for the pleasure of seeing foreign birds in their own habitat is not very “green” or helpful to the birds. Birds would like it if you stayed home and discovered them who live so nearby. There’s even a movement going on for that:
Check it out!

Radd Icenoggle December 17, 2009 at 12:04 pm

I have to give you a hearty handshake if I ever met you face-to-face for offering such an awesome contest and opportunity. I am already thinking about antpittas and macaws, and I haven’t even been selected. I hope that retweeting, FaceBooking, etc., and sharing this on my blog will help spread the word.

Radd Icenoggle, Montana, USA

Shawn C. Haghighi December 17, 2009 at 2:04 pm

Hej Gunnar!

Just wondering if you’re still promoting these trips, or if I missed the boat?

I will promote your group far and wide in Minnesota. My partner and I are birders and fond travelers.

Please let me know.



Gunnar Engblom December 17, 2009 at 10:04 pm

@S Wallace Thanks, That is great! Send me the detailed info to my mail. Please note also that massive mails may be counter productive, if the people on the receiving end do not know who you are.
@Suzy Thanks for your support. Think about that, that also in NZ right now, people are thinking Peru. A link is good on your web-page is good, but still better a blog-post about the initiative. Also on Facebook posting a link your wall makes wonders.
@Forest Thanks mate, and thanks for the blogpost.
@Suzanne The Bigby idea is great. It makes people aware of CO2 emmisions. We also need the CO2 sinks, such as the tropical forests. Without eco-tourism the forests will soon be gone and “protected” areas soon invaded by loggers, mining and oil exploit. I am afraid that the sacrifice in increased consumption of CO2 will be justified for a larger cause. And if too worried …there are set-ups where you can pay for your carbon load. Calculate your CO2 emmissions and donate some money to i.e. RainForest Partnership that work in the Satipo road area.
@Radd. Thanks f0r your participation. An honout to have such an accomplished photographer taking part.

Gunnar Engblom December 19, 2009 at 10:57 am

@Shawn: The offer is still on. Final report should be sent on Dec 23.
Good luck.

John Stump December 20, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Hola Gunnar:
Perla and I would certainly be interested in a free trip to Manu. and /or to the other destinations!. Another avid birder in Alamosa, John Rawinski, may also be interested.
We understand this would probably be during the rainy season and we are not sure what that would entail for the extra preparations.
Please let us know if we could be considered for a free trip and what the requirements would be for that.
We have fond memories of our trip to Peru and Perla still has friends in Arequipa.
We want your business to be successful and you have a lot to offer.
Perla will have June, July, and the first two weeks in August off from her teaching job.
I’m retired and would be available any time!! but would like to go with her…. if possible .
Hasta pronto
John y Perla

Jan Axel December 20, 2009 at 9:18 pm

John, you may be interested in this photo:
Saludos to you and Perla!

Erin Ely December 22, 2009 at 1:12 am

Wow this looks amazing. My husband would love to go on this trip and so would I. He’s been to Mexico and Ecuador, this would be out of this world.

Thanks for sharing it with us.

Steven Corbett December 22, 2009 at 1:19 am

Wow!! This is awesome! Can’t believe I didn’t see it before now.

I’ll be sharing! :)

Gunnar Engblom December 22, 2009 at 12:40 pm

@John and Perla Good to hear from you. June to August is dry season, although it can still rain, you would not get too wet. You need to sign up to the newsletter and follow the instructions, though.
@Jan Axel Hey, that is a funny pic of John. Did he faint after seeing the Golden-backed Mountain-Tanager? Isn’t that a Neblina Tapaculo behind that mossy rock???? (Just Kidding!)
@Erin. Thanks for taking part. Who is your husband?
@Steven looking forward to your report.

Radd Icenoggle December 22, 2009 at 1:38 pm

Just 2 more days! Times flies when you’re having fun. I’ve been having dreams of tacaculos and tinamous dancing in my head. Surprised more people have not found the StumbleUpon
.-= Radd Icenoggle´s last blog ..Birding Peru…a worthwhile contest =-.

Ted Cable December 22, 2009 at 3:42 pm

Dear Gunner,
I would like to be considered for the free birding trip to Peru. I don’t do Facebook or Twitter (yet), but I teach courses dealing with ecotourism, and have written a number of books and many articles about ecotourism, birds, and related topics. I have published in Birdwatcher’s Digest and have had several articles in Birder’s World. I only mention this to say that although I don’t do the social networking I have many opportunities and a significant platform through my teaching, writing and speaking engagements to promote Peru and your tours.

Chris West December 22, 2009 at 10:39 pm

Excellent promo Gunnar! I’ve sent this to all my friends, every listserve I could think of/was a member of and posted to Facebook, Twitter, my blog, etc. A.K.A, I’ve probably sent this to around 2-3000 people. lol

Def keep me in the running. :D As a young birder with not much money, a Birding tour to Peru is usually totally out of my price range.
They sound like awesome tours and the experience with South American birds that I wouldn’t otherwise get would be priceless. :D

Happy Birding and Happy Holidays! –Chris
.-= Chris West´s last blog ..Twas the night before Christmas……. =-.

Fred Lesser December 23, 2009 at 10:38 am

Great Promotion

Dawn Fine December 23, 2009 at 8:37 pm

Good luck everyone! I have to say I am wishing Chris West gets to go! I have followed this young mans birding trips thru facebook etc..and he is one bright determined birder…Nice to see!
Nice stuff you are doing Gunnar..look forward to meeting you in person this summer on the pelagic trip.
.-= Dawn Fine´s last blog ..Merry Christmas from the Bellagio =-.

John Riutta December 23, 2009 at 9:53 pm

Absolutely brilliant marketing idea Gunnar. From what I’ve been seeing on the ‘net, you’ll have a job of picking the winners, what with so many people sharing it around.
.-= John Riutta´s last blog ..Holiday Gift Ideas: iBird Explorer =-.

Bradley Baker December 23, 2009 at 10:49 pm

Tweeted and Dugg.

Gunnar Engblom December 24, 2009 at 3:13 am

@Radd Thanks for the blog post.
@Ted You can still take part. Let me know what you have done so far in a report.
@Chris. You’re doing great. And to get a recommendation from Dawn is also a valuable. Will you send me that final report?
@Fred Thanks. Got your preferred dates. Send me your final activity report. Sorry you had so little time.
@Dawn Now I am intrigued. Are you coming to Peru for a pelagic?? Great!
@John. A honor to have you participating. There are many good people. Will I see a blogpost tomorrow as well?
@Bradley Thanks!

Radd Icenoggle December 24, 2009 at 3:11 pm

Wishing everyone the best of holidays. this contest has been rather enjoyable and unique. It’s a great way to spread the word about the effectiveness of social media and Gunnar’s conservation message.

Happy Holidays
.-= Radd Icenoggle´s last blog ..Birding Peru…a worthwhile contest =-.

Dawn Fine December 26, 2009 at 7:00 pm

I was referring to the trip this summer in New England..arent u going to be there?
.-= Dawn Fine´s last blog ..Dawn Goes horseback riding =-.

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