Fallen Angel in Cusco

Fallen Angel restaurant

We love daring adventures: tracking wildlife in the jungle, clinging to sheer rock walls, crossing 17,000 ft passes in the shadow of crumbling glaciers. You wouldn’t think that a boutique hotel could rise to our standards of “epic” experiences. But then again, you’ve probably never seen Cusco’s Fallen Angel.

Bold, ostentatious, humorous, psychedelic, flamboyant and fun, you might expect Fallen Angel in Berlin, Paris or Tokyo. But it comes as a TOTAL shock in the 16th century colonial courtyard of a historical casa in Cusco. The moment you step into the restaurant-bar-hotel, you realize you have entered a parallel universe of art and ideas, a cultural statement meant to challenge assumptions about Cusqueña and Peruvian culture: this country is about Continue…

Cirque du Soleil Corteo in Lima

Cirque du Soleil Corteo

OK, don’t get confused… this isn’t a continuation of our via ferrata in the Sacred Valley or another Amazon adventure sport. This time, Thomas and I are just kicking back in our VIP seats and watching Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo in Lima, a touring production presented in their cutting-edge traveling tent.

Corteo presents the Cirque’s unique blend of acrobatics, music, and variété through the death visions of a clown. Angels hover midair as a ballet tightrope artist dances en point onto the rope. Scantily clad ladies Continue…

Paracas and the Islas Ballestas

Paracas

If Dali designed a desert it would look a lot like Paracas. The surreal landscape of the Paracas Peninsula and the offshore Islas Ballestas are quite unlike anything we’ve encountered before. Where else do mustard yellow desert sands tumble down sheer cliffs onto rust red beaches. Green waters filled with white foam crash against a rainbow of rocks, the scene comes straight from an artist’s palette.

The fantastical environment is inhabited by a cast of weird and wonderful characters. Humboldt penguins waddle through stone arches past blood-red crabs and blue-footed boobies. Orange starfish and alien urchins cling to the rocks. Inca sterns with handle-bar mustaches and red-legged Continue…

The Ultimate Amazon Adventure (Part 2)

It’s not often that you can lie in bed and watch wildlife at the same time. Like the other Rainforest Expeditions Lodges, the rooms at the Posada Amazonas are open-walled. As I shift in bed and reposition my pillow to look out into the night jungle, I see the silhouette of a night monkey leaping from one branch to another. So cool. I check my phone to discover it’s 4:30 am, time to get up for breakfast before we head to the canopy tower.

We’re staying in a superior room, which means we have electricity when the generator is running. I fumble for the lights – YES – the generator is on. Even better, a green light on my Continue…

The Ultimate Amazon Adventure (Part 1)

Thomas slides the paddleboard off the muddy riverbank into the slow-flowing river.

“What about piranha?” I ask as Thomas climbs onto the board, “This isn’t going to be like one of those ’70s horror movies if we lose our balance, is it?”

“No, piranha almost never attack people, especially in rivers,” answers our guide Pepe smiling at what is clearly a common question, “Those horror stories you hear are usually rare cases where piranha have been trapped in small bodies of water. I’ve been swimming in these rivers for years, and nothing has ever happened to me.”

Confident that bad balance won’t prove fatal, I push my paddleboard off the bank and follow Thomas downriver. Pepe and Angel, our sports guide, follow. The scene is like something out of a movie: a winding jungle river, steep red-clay riverbanks, a towering canopy of rainforest trees. Two scarlet macaws fly overhead and a chorus of gurgling oropendolas Continue…

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.