Birders Flock to Tambopata

I still remember the first time I ever saw pictures of the Tambopata region. It was the January 1994 issue of National Geographic in the cover story titled “Macaws: Winged Rainbows” featuring stunning photography by Frans Lanting. One beautiful image of a clay wall covered with red and green macaws seared the concept of a “clay lick” into my mind forever.

Scientists still debate the purpose of clay licks, but leading theories suggest that a lack of sodium in the diet of parrots and macaws in the western Amazon causes the birds to eat sodium-rich clay to supplement their diets. (It’s still hard for me to wrap my head around the idea of birds eating dirt.)

Because of the sodium level in local soils, most large clay licks are located in southeastern Peru. The most celebrated of them all – the one made famous by National Geographic – is the Colpa Colorado clay lick near the Tambopata Research Center. There are so many macaws Continue…

Huacachina Oasis

The tiny Peruvian town of Huacachina is the ultimate desert oasis. The picturesque lagoon is ringed with perfect palms and backed by soaring, razor-edged dunes. Beyond playing desert fantasy, Huacachina is also the starting point for one of Peru’s most famous adventures: a heart-racing dune buggy and sandboarding odyssey that will literally stop your heart. Normally, we prefer to enjoy our dunes on foot, but buggy rides are just THE THING to do here.

So during our two-day stay, we spent one afternoon exploring the vast dune sea strapped in the back of a speeding dune buggy. The ride totally got our adrenaline pumping, but also scared the hell out of us. Some of the dunes we tackled were so steep, it seemed Continue…

Live on Instagram

Instagram
ContemporaryNomad.com is now live on Instagram. Ever since we arrived in Peru, we have been uploading shots of our daily adventures to our new account. It’s a great way to follow our daily activities, and it allows us to document some of our adventures live. Pretty cool. It’s also a great way for friends and fellow nomads to check out our current location should anyone want to get together for a beer or, perhaps, jaguar tracking in the Amazon.

You don’t have to sign up to view the pics, but if you do have an account, don’t forget to follow us, like our photos, and leave tons of comments. We love to hear from everybody.

Teotihuacan

Teotihuacan

At last, after months of pyramid-hopping, we have made it to Mexico’s queen of pyramids, the Pyramid of the Sun. At 71.2 m, it is the highest pyramid in Mexico and completely dominates the archaeological site of Teotihuacan outside of Mexico City. It is absolutely massive!

As we approached the hulking structure with its monstrous base, we kept oohing and ahhing. Rather than immediately running up the 248 steps to the top, we headed straight for the Continue…

Mexico City

Mexico City

Mexico City is huge, overwhelming, chaotic, loud, totally insane and absolutely spectacular. The entire city feels like an edgy work of art done by some artist who is destined to be completely misunderstood for life. Perhaps that’s why until our visit, I completely misunderstood one of North America’s greatest destinations.

Yes, it’s polluted and, at times, dangerous. But it is arguably the culturally richest place in the Americas. Mexico City is literally built on the ruins of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. One of the oldest colonial cities in the new world, the inhabitants of Mexico City were strolling past Spanish Baroque while the first colonial Americans were patching the holes in their drafty log cabins with mud. Some cities would be content to rest on their historical laurels, but Mexico City is a constantly Continue…

USA TODAY Nomination

USA Today
We’ve been nominated as one of USA Today’s best travel blogging couples. Readers are asked to vote for their favorite couple and the top ten will be revealed after voting closes on August 6, 2014. It is already a great honor to be nominated, but we sure would love to be in the top 10. So if you have a few minutes to spare, please head over to the voting page and vote for us. If you need some convincing why we deserve to be on the list, here are a few of our accomplishments Continue…

The Tule Tree

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The Tule Tree just outside Oaxaca City is one of the little known wonders of Mexico. A Montezuma cypress roughly estimated to be around 1,400 years old, the Tule Tree has a circumference of 42 meters (138 ft), greater than any known tree in the world. To find a competitor which is even roughly approaches the Tule Tree, skeptics have to play some serious mathematical games. The massive plume of green foliage is so large that it Continue…

Sumidero Canyon

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I have to admit it’s been a while since we featured a purely natural attraction on the blog. Clearly, we’ve been enjoying colonial city life a little too much. To mix it up, we pried ourselves away from cobblestone streets and multi-colored casas and did a boat tour through the spectacular Sumidero Canyon in the state of Chiapas.

Entering through the southern end of the canyon at Chiapa de Corzo, we were quickly swallowed up by vertical walls reaching heights of up to 800 meters or more. Absolutely breathtaking! The two-and-a-half-hour tour travels 35 kilometers through the canyon and across a resevoir to Continue…

Casa Lily – Apartment with a View

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After only a day in San Cristobal de las Casas, we totally fell in love with the town and decided to stay a little longer than we had originally planed. So we moved from our hotel to the lovely Casa Lily Ixim. After our wonderful experience in Merida, this was yet another special find as the casa is truly unique.

Designed and built by Swiss artist and architect Frédéric Burkhard, the apartment boasts lots of light, interesting angles, organic forms and an amazing view of Guadalupe Church. But what really impressed us were the Continue…