Through Your Lens: Annual Travel Photography Contest

Travel Photography South America

Here at Knowmad Adventures, a company dedicated to creating custom travel experiences in South America, one of our greatest joys is hearing stories and seeing photos from our travelers upon their return. Although breathtaking on their own, what makes a photo of Machu Picchu, Torres del Paine or any of the spectacular sight in South America unforgettable is the unique journey each traveler takes to get there. Whether it be a bucket list goal that you’ve finally realized, a trip to celebrate a special occasion, or an intentional way to be with family and friends – each adventure has its own unique story.

This year, our goal for the Knowmad Adventures Annual South America Photo Contest was to showcase the best images of 2018 alongside the stories that made each moment meaningful.

Keep reading to find out the official photo contest results! See our top three picks for Adventure, Cityscape, Culture, Fauna, Flora, Landscape/Scenery, Portrait, and — an added bonus category — Gastronomy! Scroll to the bottom to find out who won the Knowmad Adventures Grand Prize — a 3 day / 2 night stay at the Reserva Amazonica Jungle Lodge (valued at $545). 



Inca Trail Adventure Knowmad Knowmad Adventures Inca Trail Adventure

First Place

Melissa and Shannon, a mother / daughter duo, sent in their submissions separately and both made note of the same unforgettable moment:

“The picture of our third campsite felt like a surreal city above the clouds! It was the end of the longest, most tiring day of our trip and arriving at such a striking location really felt like an amazing moment of accomplishment. It was truly one of most breathtaking moments of our trip. We continued to climb above camp on the advice of our awesome guide Harry. Even though we were exhausted, we knew Harry well enough by then to listen when he made a recommendation! We were not disappointed! Watching sunsets is a long standing tradition in our family. To see such a striking sunset from the top of the Andes after such a grueling day was a wonderful moment of reflection.” – Melissa, Haymarket, VA | Custom Mother-Daughter Peru Trip 

“The 4 day journey was the most breathtakingly beautiful and empowering trip of my life. Each day offered new challenges and new rewards for overcoming those challenges. I’m sure I could’ve submitted over 100 photos because every view was more incredible than the last. There is one photo that stands out for me in my memory above all else. The picture of me at the top of the mountain was taken at the end of the third day. We had been hiking for roughly 12 hours over two mountain peaks. We were exhausted. When we finally got to our campsite all we wanted to do was sit in our tent and not move. But, our incredible guide Harry insisted that we venture just a little bit above our campsite to see what he promised to be an incredible view. Only 5 of us built up the energy to make the small rock scramble. And I am overjoyed that I did because the views at the very top of that mountain are something that I will never forget. We have a tradition in our family to always gather and watch the sunset whenever we go to a new place. And on that day I got to stand above the clouds, looking down on the mountain where Machu Picchu sits, and watch the sunset with my mother. And for that I am forever thankful. Thank you for the trip of a lifetime.” – Shannon, Haymarket, VA | Custom Mother-Daughter Peru Trip 

Atacama Desert Travel Nick Doll

First Place

An Explora guide gets backlit by the dusty afternoon sun on a horseback tour through the Moon Valley area of the Atacama desert.
– Nick, Keywest, FL | Custom Chile & Bolivia Trip 

Knowmad Custom Trips

Second Place

Rick and Carol loved Chile and Argentina so much the first time that they decided to make the trip again. The pair got off-the-beaten path in Salta, explored the Germanic town of Bariloche and hiked their way through the Atacama Desert (pictured above).
– Rick & Carol, Wilton, CT | Custom Chile & Argentina Trip 

Third Place

The sheer size of the snow-capped Andes was astonishing since we were at 12,000 feet during our mountain bike ride above Maras. The woman walking provided in front of the mountain backdrop was stunning.

– Jay, Minneapolis, MN | Custom Peru Trip 



Ecuador Travel Ecuador Trips

First Place

A typical day on the water captured by Daniel on his most recent Knowmad trip to Ecuador.

– Daniel, Marietta, GA | Custom Ecuador Trip 


South America Travel Chiloe

Second Place

“In the Chilean Archipelago, near Chiloe Island: The old and crooked graveyards in the islands of the archipelago are welcoming spots, where the living can have a cup of tea and commune with their recently deceased relatives, in tiny memorial huts.”
– Brenda, Bethesda, MD | Custom Chile Trip 


South America Travel Knowmad Adventures

Third Place

“Our car halted on the ride to Estancia Lazo as the herd and dogs pounded past in a mad rush, the gaucho quick behind. The whole experience lasted only a few seconds, but I can still feel the energy and excitement of the dogs, the moment, and the horse literally surrounded our car.”
– Alison & Walker, Brooklyn, NY | Custom Chile & Argentina Trip


Knowmad Adventures Custom Peru Travel

Honorable Mention

“The Amaru people located in the Amaru village in Peru.”
– Lourdes, Long Beach, CA | Custom Peru Trip 



Knowmad Adventures - Atacama Desert Trip

First Place

“4AM wakeup call to view the Milky Way in the Atacama Desert, one of the best places on earth for stargazing.”
– Nick, Vancouver, BC | Custom Chile Honeymoon Trip


Custom Patagonia Adventure

Second Place

It was hard for me to choose just one landscape shot from Brian’s submissions, but this double rainbow over Los Cuernos captures such a unique moment!
– Brian, Lewisville, TX | Custom Family Patagonia & Easter Island Trip 


Machu Picchu Travel - Knowmad

Third Place

“The itinerary was amazing!  I’m so glad that we had 3 tickets to go into Machu Picchu.  I had wanted to see it since I found it in a book as a little kid.  Having that extra time up there was magical.  In particular, we loved sitting at the end of the day, when the crowds thinned out, overlooking the site. ”
– Sherry, Long Beach, CA | Custom Peru Trip 


Knowmad Adventures Galapagos

Honorable Mention

“Moonrise over the Anahi”
– Jon, San Rafeal, CA | Custom Galapagos Charter Trip 



Cityscape Ecuador Quito

First Place

Daniel captured this photo in Quito before he, his wife, and friends went on to explore the Galapagos Islands.
– Daniel, Marietta, GA | Custom Ecuador Trip 


Custom Chile Trip Knowmad

Second Place

“As part of our tour in Santiago, our driver took up to a lookout point where we could see the contrast of the skyline of the city and the mountains in the background. When you explore the city with the parks and great restaurants, you never imagine how close you are to the mountains and their presence over the city.”
– Abigail, Charlotte, NC | Custom Chile Trip 


Colorful Santiago

Third Place

“A colorful building in the Bellavista neighborhood of Santiago.”
– Paul, Chicago, IL | Custom Chile Trip 



First Place

An incredible perspective of Nick and Jessica on the world’s largest salt flat in Boliva.
– Nick, Keywest, FL | Custom Chile & Bolivia Trip 


Knowmad Adventures Portrait Adventure

First Place

“We feel this photo totally captures our Knowmad trip – endless adventure, amazing scenery and a lot of smiles from the travelers. We were so impressed with the magnitude of El Perito Moreno, and it was such a unique experience being able to walk on top of it and experience a glacier from a different perspective.”
– Lucy & Matt, New York | Custom Argentina, Brazil & Chile Honeymoon 


Custom South America Trip - Knowmad Adventures

Second Place

“Greg Leveto and Jennie Henderson during an Atacama desert adventure.”
– Greg & Jennie, New York, NY | Custom Chile Trip


Knowmad Peru Travel

Third Place

After spending time in the Amazon and the Sacred Valley this family of four hiked the Inca Trail Express to Machu Picchu.
– Dan, Paynesville, MN | Custom Peru Family Trip 



Knowmad Adventures South America

First PLace

“The palm trees photo was taken at Anakena. The palm trees, the Moai on the Ahu, and the beach make for one of my FAVORITE photos from the trip.”
– Lisa, Houston, TX | Custom Chile & Easter Island Trip 


Knowmad Adventures Travel

Second Place

Kathy and Troy spent time at the remote Patagonia adventure lodge, Aguas Arriba, before heading to Argentine wine country.
– Kathleen, Chaska, MN | Custom Argentina Trip 


Custom South America Travel

Third Place

Carol and Mike’s trip combined an immersive cloud forest experience, a Galapagos expedition, and time at a 17th-century Ecuadorian hacienda.
– Carol, Minneapolis, MN | Custom Ecuador Trip



South America Travel

First Place

“We could have used an afternoon nap like these chicks after a gorgeous hike through the French Valley in Torres del Paine.”
– Nick, Vancouver, BC | Custom Chile Honeymoon Trip


Knowmad Adventures

Second Place

“On our last day in Patagonia, we visited the Nibepo Aike Estancia.  As part of our day there we watched as the gauchos let the sheep of of their pens to graze in the meadows.  I captured this littler guy in the middle of the frenzy.”
– Sally, San Fransisco, CA | Custom Family Trip to Argentina 


South America Travel

Third Place

“This picture was taken right after walking on the Perito Moreno Glacier in El Calafate, Argentina. We sat down to eat lunch with a beautiful view of the glacier, and the sun finally peeked out for a short moment. This is one of my favorite photos of the trip because it shows an austere environment that is nevertheless abundant with wildlife.”
– Victoria, Arlington, VA | Custom Mendoza & Southern Patagonia Trip


Fauna Knowmad Adventures

Honorable Mention

An incredible shot of a squirrel monkey captured in Ecuador.
– Diana, Braintree, MA | Custom Ecuador Trip 



South America Travel Gastronomy

First Place

“A close up of Lucas Mallman’s cast iron skillet grill. This was hands down the best meal I had while in Argentina and really embodied the Argentinian spirit of sharing.”
– Sarah, San Fransisco, CA | Custom Family Trip to Argentina  


Argentina South America Travel

Second Place

On an incredible 15-day trip to Argentina, Mike and Marie experienced amazing vineyards, cultural experiences, and one-of-a-kind activities.
– Mike, Lake Geneva, WI | Custom Argentina Trip 


Gastronomy Knowmad Adventures

Third Place

A snapshot of a Pachamanca, a traditional Incan meal, on the shores of Lake Piuray in Peru.

– Minnesota Landscape Arboretum | Custom Peru Trip 


Grand Prize Winner

Knowmad Adventures Trip - Walker Angell Photography

“What luck that our guide at the Awasi hotel was also the resident puma tracker; we had dreamed of seeing pumas in Patagonia. Everywhere we hiked, he quietly lifted binoculars to search, and on this morning, we left early, and found a female and her two cubs (cubs above) walking along a small lake at the edge of Torres del Paine National Park.”

– Walker, Brooklyn, NY | Custom Chile & Argentina Trip

This group of four – Jan, Walker Sr., Walker Jr., and Alison – visited both iconic sights and little-known hidden gems in Argentina and Chile on an incredible 17-day adventure. Every step of the way Walker captured extraordinary photos that subsequently left our team awestruck. Not only did they send us a handful of incredible shots, but Alison and Walker shared even more photos and thoughtful anecdotes about their trip on their blog, For Instants. Congratulations on your Grand Prize Win, Walker!

From stories that struck an emotional chord to countless breathtaking photos, I was beyond impressed with the results of the 2018 Knowmad Adventures Annual Travel Photography Contest! Congrats and thank you to all of our winners and to everyone who sent in 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.