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Introducing Knowmad Adventures

Knowmad Adventures team

Journeys Within is excited to announce that we are partnering with Knowmad Adventures – a boutique travel agency specializing in active, authentic and sustainable travel to South America and Antarctica, with destinations including Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Easter Island and the Galapagos.

Jordan Harvey, one of Knowmad’s co-founders, has been listed as a fellow Condé Nast Traveler Specialist and Travel + Leisure A-List Winner.  We recommend Knowmad to our guests because they embrace a similar philosophy to our own – the belief that ‘travel makes us better people’ and that having incredible guides transforms a trip into a life-changing experience.

Knowmad creates customized itineraries and can arrange tours that focus on family travel, adventure travel, honeymoons, treks, luxury travel, visiting the highlights or incorporate a mix of all of the above.  They take pride in providing connections to the local community with every unique experience, married with incredible accommodations.

We recently had the chance to ask Knowmad co-founder Tara Harvey a few questions about the company. Her answers are below…

Journeys Within: Tell us your story. When did you start Knowmad Adventures and what is your focus?

My husband Jordan and I started Knowmad Adventures 8 years ago. We hopped on a flight right after we got married and rented a cabin heated only by a wood-burning stove on a farm in Northern Patagonia, Chile. From there we explored the country, building trips that we envisioned family and friends would love. It was an incredible adventure!

A year later we landed back in Minneapolis, where we’re both from and are now based, and today we’ve grown to a team of 7 operating more than 500 authentic, custom trips annually to Chile, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador and Antarctica.

Call or email a Knowmad Trip Specialist to create your South America trip today: 1-877-616-8747 or travel@knowmadadventures.com.

Patagonia, Chile and Argentina

JW: When is the ideal time of year to visit and plan a trip to South America?

Patagonia & Chile or Argentina: If your journey to Chile or Argentina includes Patagonia, you’ll want to go during our winter and their summer (November through March).

Central Chile and Argentina (the vineyards, Buenos Aires & Santiago) have a climate similar to the Mediterranean and can be traveled to year round.

Easter Island, a Polynesian island off the coast of Chile, and Northern Chile and Argentina (the Atacama Desert, Salta, Iguazu Falls) are also great year-round destinations.

We recommend planning your trip to Chile or Argentina at least 6 to 8 months out for the most accommodation choices, and during the high, holiday season as much as one year in advance.

Peru

Machu Picchu & Peru: Travelers can visit Peru any time of year. Dry season starts in the second half of April and lasts until November. Daytime temps throughout the year are consistently moderate in the areas of Cusco, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, however nighttime temperatures are cooler during the dry season and can drop below freezing. June, July and August are the most visited months and the weather is pleasant, however it is more crowded. Our favorite time to visit is the ‘shoulder season’ coming just before and just following the rainy season (the second half of April, May, October, November) when the weather is fairly dry and visits aren’t at their peak.

We recommend planning your trip to Peru at least 4 to 8 months in advance. If looking to travel during the high season (May through August and the holidays) or hike the Inca Trail, we recommend 8 to 12 months in advance for the most choices and permit availability.

Galapagos Islands and Ecuador

The Galapagos Islands & Ecuador: As Ecuador is located on the Equator, there is little seasonal differentiation and it is a great year-round destination. Although there is a slightly wetter season and a slightly drier season, there is little predictability and these variations differ from region to region, as Ecuador is so geographically diverse. There is never a bad time to visit the Galapagos. Talk to a Knowmad Trip Specialist for details on the best time of year to snorkel or dive, to see the bird’s mating rituals or sea turtles nesting.

We recommend planning your trip to Ecuador & the Galapagos at least 4 to 8 months out for the most accommodation or cruise choices. If looking to travel during the holidays or if working with a strict travel window, we recommend 8 to 12 months.

Antarctica

Antarctica: October to March is the only permitted time to travel to Antarctica. With that being said, the best time to plan your Antarctica travels is dependent on the wildlife you want to see, as penguins, sea birds, whales, and seals have specific time periods in which they mate, birth or are in the region to feed.

Plan your trip to Antarctica at least 6 to 8 months out, and during the holiday season as much as one year in advance.

Please note that Knowmad has planned trips with as little as 1 week of notice as well, so if you’re looking at planning a last-minute trip, please reach out and your Trip Specialist can check availability in the region where you are looking at traveling.

JW: What itinerary would you recommend for a traveler’s first trip to South America?

Peru is a great country to start with for your first visit to South America, offering a variety of landscapes and cultures, and it’s under a 7-hour flight from Atlanta. Our Classic Machu Picchu trip idea has you getting off the beaten path in the Sacred Valley, visiting vibrant traditional villages and markets and returning to charming accommodations as you journey through ancient ruins, ending at the famed Machu Picchu. There are a multitude of options to customize the itinerary with culinary experiences, active excursions such as stand up paddle boarding, trekking, mountain biking, horseback riding, kayaking, rafting and camping, or luxury hacienda stays, and more!

Classic Machu Picchu tour

Classic Machu Picchu Trip Idea Highlights:

  • Experience a variety of vibrant indigenous Andean cultures
  • Ride the rails in an historic train along the ancient Inca Trail
  • Explore the famed Lost City of Machu Picchu and the Sun Gate
  • Wander the legendary Incan ruins of Sacsayhuaman and Ollantaytambo
  • Meander the stone streets and bustling markets of Cusco
  • Get off the beaten path, discover the ancient ways of Amaru villagers, and bargain for colorful, hand-woven textiles in colorful Pisac market
  • Lunch in a centuries-old hacienda while relaxing in the Sacred Valley

Extension ideas include the Amazon, Lake Titicaca, or even combine your trip to Peru with the Galapagos Islands.

Click here for more details on the Classic Machu Picchu trip idea.

Knowmad typical travelers

JW: What type of travelers do you typically work with?

We work with independent-minded travelers looking for unique, custom, and private travel experiences in South America. Since we’re experts in the regions we operate (vs. specializing in one travel style worldwide) we’re able to maximize your time by planning a trip that is tailored specifically to your interests and dates. We offer:

  • Same or better pricing
  • Stress-free planning process
  • Pre-departure information and local on-the-ground support
  • Door-to-door trip planning services; Knowmad will navigate seasonality of a the destination, logistics in transportation, and coordinate your accommodations and excursions for a holistic, seamless South American itinerary

Don’t take our word for it though! See what our travelers and the press have to say about us:

“Harvey and his wife were living on a dairy farm in Patagonia when they founded Knowmad Adventures, and their friends – artists, chefs, architects, and photographers – became their network of insider contacts. The result? Many of the vineyards, haciendas and estates available to their clients aren’t typically open to the public.” – Travel + Leisure

“Quite simply the best trip we’ve ever taken. Destinations astounded, logistics and planning flawless, and your intimate knowledge and relationships made for a trip that was personal every inch of the way.” – Deanna and Rachel, Santa Barbara, CA

“Harvey focuses on customized travel to areas off the beaten path.” – Condé Nast Traveler

“The Knowmad team put together the trip of a life time for us. Everything was perfect, from the guides to the accommodations to the activities, and your extensive knowledge of the area and personal relationships with the people we met in Chile were invaluable. We can’t recommend Knowmad highly enough.” – Ben and Sarah, New York, NY

JW: What is your trip planning process like?

The process is easy. First is a quick call or email exchange that allows us to learn a bit about you and your group (custom trips can be for one or many people). If you have a general idea of where you want to visit that’s great, or if you don’t know when or where you’d like to travel we will discuss options.

We will learn about how physically active you want to be, how long you may travel, what activities interest you most, and some general info about your travel style and preferences. With this information we create a ‘skeleton’ or bare-bones trip flow or two that we send for you to look over, or we suggest a sample itinerary. After sharing with your travel partners we can collaborate on changes, or you may like the general outline of the trip.

From there we will create a detailed custom trip proposal with all suggested activities and lodging provided, as well as exact costing and inclusions. We can collaborate on any desired changes, or you may choose to confirm your trip. This process and detailed custom proposal is free and there is no obligation to confirm your trip.

We are the leader in custom travel to South America, and not only is this process easy, but it results in you having your perfect trip, one that is as dynamic and unique as you are.

Knowmad Adventures – 1-877-616-8747 or travel@knowmadadventures.com

JW: Are their any other favorite itineraries or excursions you want to share with us?

This is such a hard question to answer! It’s our job to be innovative with trips and we’re constantly seeking out new excursion options, foodie experiences, tucked away boutique hotels, and off the beaten path destinations.

Stand up paddle boarding paired with a Pachamanca feast on the shores of a high altitude lake in Peru has been a recent favorite excursion of mine. We’ve also come up with a variety of itineraries that explore the Galapagos Islands in a land-based way vs. on a cruise.

Combining Chile and Argentina by way of Patagonia like this luxury Chile and Argentina adventure trip does is a stunning way to experience the contracting cultures and landscapes of both sides of the Andes. Ice hiking on centuries old glacier, galloping up sand dunes in the Atacama Desert, wine tasting with the owner of a vineyard in Mendoza – you name it! They’re all favorites!

Let the Journey Begin – Call Knowmad at 1-877-616-8747

Planning a trip to South America might seem a little overwhelming at first and sometimes the easiest way to get started is to simply give us a call 1-877-616-8747. You’re likely to get company owners Tara or Jordan Harvey on the phone, and we’re happy to chat travel at absolutely no obligation to you. Or send us a quick email at travel@knowmadadventures.com and we’ll get back to you shortly.

An Amazon Adventure

Journeys Within’s New Experiences Director Philippa Nigg recounts her experiences on a bucket-list Amazon River cruise in May…

EstrellaAmazonicaShipIt’s not everyday one gets a telephone call asking if you would like to go on a river cruise on the Amazon; but this is how Dudley’s and my latest adventure started.

Andrea called me from a travel conference and said there was a silent auction for such a trip and would we like to go? The Amazon was on my bucket list but I had not even considered where or how to start planning, so when she came back and told us the trip was ours, I went into top gear checking out what we had in store.

EstrellaAmazonicaCabinAnd now, having just returned, I would like to share a little about the incredible adventure we had…

While most probably think of Brazilian rainforests when hearing about an Amazon River cruise, ours took place on the upper Amazon in Peru. Upon arrival in Lima, Peru we were met and taken to the lovely Swissotel for the night before meeting up with the rest of our tour group the next morning and heading out to catch our flight to Iquitos on the banks of the Amazon.

AmazonTreeFrogOnce at the river, there were many surprises in store for us. For example, who knew the Amazon had manatees? At the Amazon Manatee Research center not only did we learn about them but we got to feed them too. And then we visited the Indigenous Cultures Museum to learn about the people who have lived in the Amazon forests for hundreds of years.

AmazonTarantulaOnce onboard our boat – the beautiful La Estrella Amazonica – we settled in to our very comfortable cabin with en-suite facilities and private balcony before meeting the staff and having a tour of the ship. Carrying up to 31 guests, the atmosphere on board is very relaxed and the focus is to learn about and interact with the environment. There were no TVs, but if you had time you could watch a movie in the lecture room. (We didn’t have time!) There were no mini fridges in the rooms but there was always tea, coffee and water in a cooler nearby. The Wi-Fi was via satellite and thus expensive, so guests chatted and interacted instead of staring at their phones.

Thinking there would be some downtime, I had filled my Kindle with books to read as I sat cruising downstream. But with everything to see and do, I just managed to finish one book… We were busy!

AmazonFlockOfBirdsEach day the crew had plans for us: We would leave the Estrella in skiffs to explore tributaries, take a walk ashore, visit local villages and spot for wildlife. Each of the two skiffs had a wonderful naturalist onboard who kept us fascinated with tales and information about what we were seeing. As an indication of how enjoyable these trips were, my husband and I were the only passengers who opted out of any of the outings for non-medical reasons – Dudley because he does not enjoy village visits, and me (once) because as a vegetarian, fishing was not for me.

AmazonGiantLilipadsA couple of our fellow passengers did miss excursions for health reasons, one because the anti-malarial tablets were affecting him badly (we did not take anti-malaria tablets and saw next to no mosquitoes) and one because of an on-going medical issue. However, with bottled water always available and meticulous food preparation onboard, no one experienced any stomach issues.

While on the ship, the kitchen staff kept us well fed with regional fish and chicken dishes featuring locally-sourced fruit and vegetables, based on recipes from around the world – with options for vegetarians and even my gluten-free diet.

AmazonLizardI cannot say enough good things about the crew. They appeared to be an amazingly happy team, all Peruvian, very professional and dedicated to making this a once-in-a-lifetime trip for everyone onboard, from the youngest guests – we had a family with young teenagers aboard – to the oldest. You do have to be able to navigate the stairs between decks, otherwise age is no limitation for this trip. The staff’s joy and vitality was expressed each evening in the fun hour when a crew band would entertain us with Peruvian and Amazonian folk songs, with an odd western tune thrown in for an enthusiastic audience now and then.

AmazonBirdTo end with one more piece of information we learned: The height of the Amazon River in this region drops up to 50 feet between its peak – when 80% of the surrounding land is flooded – and its lowest level during the dry season. So when you go on this type of cruise does make a difference. We went in May when the villages were no longer flooded but the river was still relatively high and we loved it!

If a trip like this sounds right for you, reach out to Journeys Within and we can help you make it happen. You will come back with marvelous photos and memories and one more trip checked off that bucket list!

AmazonMonkeyI will never forget the monkey, silhouetted against the skyline, breaking open a large nut by bashing it against the branches high up in a magnificent Amazonian jungle tree.

Please call me if you have any questions, I am more than happy to share our experiences in more detail.

Philippa

Journeys Within Tour Company