Intrepid Adventure – The Amazon

There are two luxurious choices for cruising the Amazon, the largest river in the world; you decide: Aqua Amazon or Aria Amazon. Both ships are small enough to ply inner river coves, and their custom launch boats will navigate deeper into the narrow snaking tributaries several times a day for exploration. Indigenous culture, exotic wildlife, rich rainforests, hidden villages alongside the riverbanks, are just a few of the high-points of your Amazon cruise on an intimate upscale ship.

The river breeds giants of all types, creatures of water and land. Topping the list, the quintessential terror of the Amazon River, the red-bellied Piranhas. Arapaima, also known as “pirarucu” or “paiche,” are gigantic carnivorous fish that live in the Amazon and surrounding lakes, they reach up to nine feet and weigh up to 200 pounds.

ARIA Untamed adventures await on the shores and on return on-board, appreciate luxurious air-conditioned suites with views of the varied realm of the Amazon enjoyed from the enormous walls of glass in your suite.

Imagine six feet wide floating water lilies, illuminated by the early morning sunshine; disembark your skiff to meet villagers in Madgalena, a small community of just ten families. Your Amazon seed necklaces purchased from the local craftswomen will make fabulous gifts and support the villagers. Cast a line and fish for lunch, duck under the enormous wingspan of caped herons. Star-studded skies provide an evening blanket every night.

Trained naturalists lead small groups in search of the beady-eyed spectacled caimans and red bellied piranhas in the enigmatic black waters, past slithering fer-de-lance snakes, antediluvian green iguanas and endangered Taricaya turtles along the muddy shoreline while masked crimson tanagers and orange backed troupials dart past and monk saki monkeys appear to turn somersaults in the tree canopy.

Be on alert for yellow spotted Amazon River turtles meandering along the muddy shoreline, snap photos of the sapphire blue beaked Amazon kingfishers who streak past and antediluvian prehistoric hoatzin birds landing on high branches near dusky titi monkeys playing in the tree canopy.

What else might you desire for adventure? Now, your choices – ships run high water and low water, all year- three nights, four nights or seven nights – select your level of adventure and cast off.

Aqua Amazon Cruiser - High Resolution

Aqua Amazon Cruiser

Ship facts – Aqua Amazon. Custom built for Aqua Expeditions by leading Peruvian architect Jordi Puig to explore the Amazon in the utmost comfort, the 130 foot long Aqua Amazon set sail in 2008. Extensive interior and technological enhancements in 2013 further secured the Aqua Amazon’s position at the forefront of luxury Amazon River travel.

Spacious and indulgent, yet intimate enough to feel entirely exclusive, the Aqua Amazon incorporates extremely generous lounging and dining areas, and can accommodate a maximum of 24 guests plus crew including on board paramedic. Aqua Expedition’s highly experienced cruise ship captains and the most rigorous cruise ship standards ensure smooth travel and safety on the water.

Generous picture windows face the Amazon River in each of the Aqua Amazon’s 12 deluxe suites, of which four are Master Suites. Handsomely decorated with natural fibers and neutral hues these air-conditioned accommodations with en suite sitting areas and stone bathrooms each measure between 230 to 240 square feet. Four of these suites can be interconnected, to cater to families.

Aria Amazon Custom built for Aqua Expeditions by leading Peruvian architect Jordi Puig,  the Aria Amazon allows her guests to explore the Peruvian Amazon in utmost comfort. The 147-foot Aria Amazon set sail in 2011 following the success of its sister ship, the Aqua Amazon.

Aria Amazon Cruiser

Aria Amazon Cruiser

Spacious and indulgent, yet intimate enough to feel entirely exclusive, the 16-cabin Aria Amazon incorporates extremely generous dining and lounging areas including an outdoor Jacuzzi overlooking the Amazon’s river views. The striking matte black-hulled ship can accommodate a maximum of 32 guests plus 24 crew including the paramedic and four English speaking naturalist guides.

Each ship offers five star Peruvian cuisine with noted chefs. Many of the delectable ingredients on the menu are grown only in the Amazon jungle. Although Peruvian cooking traditions are practiced, Aqua Expedition’s Executive Chef, Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, incorporates authentic accessible ingredients on board the ships. Gourmet dining is guaranteed. Exotic sightseeing guaranteed. High adventure guaranteed.



Add on a visit to Lima and enjoy land and water adventure!

All photos courtesy of Aqua Expeditions.


WOW! 520 Chef’s Table Garden Court Hotel

If you missed the 520 Chef Table repast last night at Garden Court Hotel in Palo Alto, do go online and reserve for September or October…December is already sold out. Chef Clive Berkman and his capable kitchen crew hit a culinary home run last night.

I’ve attended many of the dinners and have always been very pleased with the cuisine, style and atmosphere. But last night was Over The Top sensational! Menu below.

Interesting ingredient combinations flowed from the kitchen, each course more intriguing than the last.  The word is getting out, so much so, that the dining group was double from last month. The attendees were comprised of fanatical foodie fans; our table included a guest from Yountville who, although admittedly is inspired by his TV food channel lessons, possessed a highly refined palate…he was rarely flummoxed by the mystery ingredients paired in many of the courses.

Each entree dish consists of three mini-bites, just enough to be satisfying. The portions were smaller than previous events which makes for a manageable four course dinner plus many scintillating bites in between. You will depart satisfied but not overly fed. The wine parings were equally inspiring.

Not only is the dining inspired, the sophisticated diners love sharing their favorite food related travel discoveries. Intimate setting, interesting guests, oh, complimentary valet parking besides! Where else can you park in Palo Alto on a busy Thursday evening!?

One delightful by product of the 520 Chef Table events is the opportunity to engage Clive and his team at the hotel for private Chef Table dinners… invite your friends, colleagues or clients to dine at your own event. Glamorous gift for the person who has everything!

Handcrafted Cocktail
Vodka-Thyme Lemonade
Vodka, thyme-simple syrup, fresh lemon juice

Passed Hors‘d
Gougere with apricot mustard
Oyster cous cous and pancetta

Amuse Buche

1st Course
Poached lobster aromatic
Mulderbosch, Rose 2013, South Africa

2nd Course
Salt baked king salmon with heirloom tomato
Domaine Eden, Chardonnay 2011, Central Coast

3rd Course
Smoked duck with summer fruit crisp
Morgan Winery Cotes du Crow’s, Syrah-Grenache 2012, Monterey

4th Course
Grilled Masami Kobe beef rib-eye and truffled twice baked potato
Fogdog, Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Napa Valley

Chocolate pot de creme and parmesan crisp
Rexford, 2011 Zinfandel dessert wine, CaliforniaWell done Clive and team!

Photos courtesy of CBS News writer Randy Yagiñ