Knowmad Adventures Annual Photo Contest 2019

From Antarctica to Brazil, Ecuador to Argentina, and Chile to Peru, this year’s Knowmad adventurers criss-crossed South America; pushing boundaries, exploring new frontiers, and bringing back the inspiring photos + stories to prove it. Find out which image wins the Knowmad Adventures Annual Photo Contest Grand Prize…

The past couple of years I’ve asked travelers to send along stories or anecdotes with their photos so I can get a deeper sense of why each photo was meaningful to them, learn about their trip,  and – in all honesty – I thought it would make it a little bit easier for me to pick and caption each photo. Boy, was I wrong! Connecting with each Knowmad traveler through their stories has made this, albeit fun, task even more challenging. Each traveler, trip, and image is so truly unique: a “toast” at the summit isn’t just to commemorate a job well done, but to celebrate a 50th wedding anniversary… a group photo at a mountain biking viewpoint is much more than a pretty picture, representing the overwhelming relief, exhilaration, and joy you feel after an anxious ride up, pushing through your comfort zone, one pedal at a time… and sometimes the biggest accomplishment of the trip comes well before you take any pictures or step off the plane: it’s the decision; the decision to venture into the unknown and experience something new… possibly your own once-in-a-lifetime moment.

Keep reading to find out the official photo contest results! See our top three picks for Adventure, Culture, Landscape/Scenery, Cityscape, Portrait, Flora, and Fauna. We’ll announce the Knowmad Adventures Grand Prize Winner — a 3 day / 2 night stay at the Reserva Amazonica Jungle Lodge (valued at $545) at the bottom.




South America Travel

“This was a view of one of our Patagonia hikes, which even amid four hours of rain and strong winds that
could have pushed one down the side of the cliff, filled us with awe and gratitude for the experience.”
– Christina, Bellflower, CA | Custom Chile Trip 


Third Place
Antarctica Cruise

“We LOVED every part of the trip. Antarctica was such an amazing experience. What a privilege to see such beautiful animals in their own habitat. The abundance of wildlife was incredible. I think my greatest surprise was how ice and snow and water can be among the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Every day was a feast for the eyes. Mother nature is the best artist.”
– Terrie and Steve Tucker | Read more about their custom Chile & Antarctica trip here > 


Second Place
Custom Peru Travel

“First of all, [our guide] Abel was hilarious. Having some very inexperienced mountain bikers (Katie and myself) to deal with, he was very patient and found the humor in every situation. The trail started out nice and easy, a wide dirt road, pretty easy going other than a few hills.  As we got further along the trail, we got to some more technical parts of the track and it got significantly harder.  I loved it, the adrenaline rush was amazing!  Katie, however did not and her nerves were shot pretty quick.  Abel knew that she was feeling uncomfortable with it but he told us that we had just a little bit further to go and that it would all be worth it.  We were on this single track trail, basically mountain on one side, cliff on the other and I was putting absolutely all of my concentration on staying upright. Abel finally told us to stop, and when we looked up, this is what we saw. We all sort of of whispered, “Wow” or if you are me, “Holy shit!” It was totally worth it. This is by far the best pic that we got of the 4 of us.”
– Kressen, Minneapolis, MN | Custom Peru Trip 


First Place
Galapagos Islands Custom Adventure

“Four year old, Taylor, snorkeling in Galapagos”
– Andrea, Washington D.C. | Custom Ecuador Mainland & Galapagos Trip



Third Place

Lamay, Peru Trips - Knowmad Adventures

“Looking down at Lamay”
– Coleen, Brookline, MA | Custom Southern Highlands & Lake Titicaca, Peru Trip 


Second Place

Galapagos Islands Travel

An unexpected city scene, but typical in the Galapagos Islands where animals are used to kind humans. This “Sea Lion keeps a look out while kids are playing near by.”
– Jonathan, Chicago, IL | Custom Galapagos Trip 


First Place

machu picchu sculpture

Not a traditional city in today’s time, but an homage to the iconic Incan citadel in its heyday: “Machu Picchu Sculpture”
– Lisa, Chandler, AZ | Custom Peru Trip 



third Place

Chile Custom Travel

“A Valparaíso street artist painting an iconic image from Rapa Nui which we had just visited. He was concentrating so hard he barely acknowledged my thumbs up.”
– Katherine, Plymouth, MN  | Custom Chile Trip: Food, Wine & Culture 


second PLACE

South America History

In between Lake Titicaca and Cusco, Peru you’ll find engineer and politician Enrique Torres Belón’s tomb, full of 1500 skulls and 50 complete skeletons, in Lampa, Peru.
– Lisa, Chandler, AZ | Custom Peru Trip 


First Place
South America Trip - Knowmad Adventures

A snapshot of Knowmad travelers’ lead gaucho on their horseback ride through Patagonia.
– Nick, Seattle, WA | Custom Chile Trip



Landscape / Scenery

honorable mention

Atacama Desert Trip
A breathtaking view in the Atacama Desert, Chile.
– Kate, New York, NW | Custom Chile Trip: Wine Country, Atacama & Patagonia 


third place

Custom South America Trips

“My favorite pic from Patagonia”
– Betty, Napa, CA | Custom Chile Trip 


Second Place

perito moreno glacier

“Passageway. Calving creates a new passageway around Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina.”
– Steven, Woodbury, MN | Custom Argentina & Chile Trip 


First Place

Argentina Custom Travel - Knowmad Adventures

“Panorama view of the Llao Llao Hotel”
– Patty & Bob, Nellysford, VA | Custom Argentina Trip



Honorable Mention

patagonia travel

“We had many wonderful moments and beautiful scenery and I have attached a favorite photo here of our two boys walking at Estancia Nipebo Aike in El Calafate, Argentina when the sunset spontaneously lit up the most spectacular Patagonian cloud cluster.”
– Beth, Belmont, CA | Custom Argentina Trip 


third place
Personalized South America Trips

“Our trip to South America was awesome! It certainly met all of out expectations and then some. We have talked about it several times while working to get caught up on things here at home and we really had a tough time trying to pick out a favorite part. All of our guides and drivers were very personable and knowledgeable as well as being punctual. Everyone was extremely friendly and made us feel like family no matter where we were. It was a great way to help celebrate our fiftieth wedding anniversary.” Here is a photo of “a toast at the top of our ride at Quebrada del Condor.”
– Dana & Marcia, Manhattan, Kansas | Custom Argentina Trip 


Second Place

Chile South America Vacations

“Patagonia hike. Had lunch on a cliff with 11,000 year old wall paintings. Best sandwich and soup ever!”
– Mitch, Miami, FL | Custom Chile Trip

first place

Peru South America

“So many llamas at Machu Picchu!”
– Shonnie, The Woodlands, TX | Custom Peru Trip



Third Place

galapagos islands travel

Incredible colors in this flora + fauna photo titled, “Crabby Picnic.”
– Jonathan, Chicago, IL | Custom Galapagos Trip 


second place

ecuador travel

These Knowmad adventurers’ snapped a photo among the foliage of the Cloudforest in Ecaudor. “We have wonderful memories and absolutely loved our trip!!!”
– Pauline, Des Moines, IA | Custom Ecuador Trip 


first place

Flora South America

A phenomenal perspective of these “Beautiful Flowers” captured in Chile.
– James, Wayzata, MN | Custom Chile Trip 



Honorable Mention

Galapagos Islands Excursions

“Two blue-footed boobies (we call them Ma and Pa) on North Seymour Island in the Galapagos having a “discussion” over whether Ma or Pa is correct in interpreting the sign (Pa eventually loses the argument; he hasn’t won one in 2 years). ”
– Rich, Roseville, MN | Custom Galapagos Trip 

honorable mention

Patagonia Travel

“We had an absolutely amazing trip!  Thank you so much for planning everything – it was perfect. …All of the experiences we had during our time in Chile were amazing, but I think Patagonia was our favorite – we’ll have to plan a trip back in the coming years!” Kate says, out of all the photos they sent in, this one is probably her favorite, “I took it on our last morning in Patagonia, and I feel like it captures the beauty of Torres del Paine – with the horses laying by the lagoon and the towers in the background.  It made for a stunning last morning in Torres del Paine!”
– Kate, New York, NW | Custom Chile Trip: Wine Country, Atacama & Patagonia 

third place

Peru South America Travel

“Camping at Huchay Quesqo was amazing – the night was clear and [my guide] Carlos pointed out the constellations. Besides being greeted by a herd of llamas on the way up to the pass, what was truly amazing is that we saw no other hikers the entire time. It was an incredible experience”
– Coleen, Brookline, MA | Custom Southern Highlands & Lake Titicaca, Peru Trip 


Second Place

Galapagos - Knowmad

Vibrant colors and movement in this underwater scene.
– James, Irvine, CA | Custom Chile Trip 


First Place

fox in patagonia

Is it just me, or does it look like this fox is cracking a smile? An amazing capture from Nick, Paul, and Logan’s recent trip to Chile. “We really appreciated your knowledge and expertise in planning an unparalleled South American adventure. It’s a trip that we will never forget.”
– Nick, Seattle, WA | Custom Chile Trip




Knowmad Adventures Photo Contest
Striking in its simplicity, this photo captures one of those serene moments most only get to experience in their daydreams.

“We cannot thank your team enough to express how much this experience impacted us as a result of your careful planning” – Lisa, Kiva, and Davin

Lisa, Kiva, and Davin explored Peru last May. Together they hiked the Inca Trail, saw lesser-known ruins, visited iconic sites, kayaked in Lake Titicaca and more.  This photo is just one of the many images Lisa submitted that left us in absolute awe. Congratulations on your Grand Prize Win, Lisa Costello! 

Wow! Another remarkable Knowmad Adventures Annual Travel Photography Contest! Congrats to all of our winners and a sincere thank you to everyone who gave us a glimpse into their South America adventures through stories and photos.

Are you interested in a South American adventure of your own? We’re regional experts here at Knowmad Adventures and pride ourselves in building custom trips that are a perfect fit for our travelers. If you’re interested in crafting an adventure combining several regions in South America, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Trip Specialists at 612-315-2894 or [email protected] to begin planning your trip today!


Nos Vemos, Lisa

South America Travel - Lisa kellenbergerLisa is the Media Manager at Knowmad Adventures, a company dedicated to creating unique, private and custom trips in South America. She studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2012 and is continually planning her next adventure. Read Lisa’s biography and more about the Knowmad team.