Richard Bangs unknots the ordinary in Richard Bangs’ South America: Quest for Wonder

Richard Bangs’ South America: Quest for Wonder showcases some of the greatest destinations of the South American continent, rekindling viewers’ sense of awe and amazement.


KQED has partnered with award-winning author/producer Richard Bangs, often called “the father of modern adventure travel,” on his Quest series, adding a new level of exploration from his long-running popular series, Richard Bangs’ Adventures with Purpose.

Continuing his tradition of transporting viewers to the geographic and cultural wonders of the world with keen inquiries and insights, potent narratives, inside information and poetic interpretations, Richard Bangs’ South America: Quest for Wonder is a breathtaking celebration of South America’s iconic destinations, including Easter Island, the Iguaçu Falls, Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands.

“The places we feature in Richard Bangs’ South America: Quest for Wonder possess untold beauty, history and majesty,” says Richard Bangs, producer of the Quest series. “From the transcendental landscapes of Machu Picchu, to the power of Iguaçu Falls, to the mysteries of Easter Island, to the Galapagos Islands’ secrets of creation, Richard Bangs’ South America: Quest for Wonder will stimulate audiences with captivating stories and stunning visuals.”

“You can’t help but be inspired watching this special,” says co-executive producer and Everest summiteer Didrik Johnck. “It is the closest thing to being there, dazzling and compelling at the same time. It is a wonder to behold.”

Destinations featured on Richard Bangs’ South America: Quest for Wonder:

Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui, is famed for its 887 lava-hewn Moai statues. Nowhere can such colossal statues be found in such great numbers created by so few people. It is the richest, most bewitching open-air museum in existence. Why did an ancient people erect the massive stone figures that haunt this remote island? How did they do it? And why did such an accomplished people nearly vanish into thin air?

The Iguaçu Falls, spilling mightily between Brazil and Argentina, is a collection of earth-shaking waterfalls to which Niagara pales in comparison. They are taller than Niagara, and twice as wide. Few other natural sites in the world offer such impact and intrinsic beauty.

Machu Picchu, “The Lost City of the Incas,” is a riddle of a ruin, with temples, terraces, shrines and sundials, all pieces of an exquisite puzzle still unsolved. There is a harmony of elements here, the man-made and the natural, a stunning integration of architecture, setting, function, space and form.

The Galapagos Islands, floating off the coast of Ecuador, are among the most biologically intact places in the world, harboring a unique ecosystem of giant tortoises, sea lions, land and sea iguanas, fur seals and many singular species of birds. Here, in full showcase, is the wonder of diversity.

“Richard Bangs sets the gold standard in travel with a purpose, storytelling and excellence in filmmaking,” says producer Laura Hubber. “And Richard Bangs’ South America: Quest for Wonder sets the gold standard for travel documentaries.”

Major underwriting for this special, and the Richard Bangs’ Quest series, comes from Orbitz Worldwide, a leading global online travel company that uses innovative technology to enable leisure and business travelers to research, plan and book a broad range of travel products. Orbitz Worldwide owns a portfolio of consumer brands that includes Orbitz, CheapTickets, ebookers, HotelClub, RatesToGo and the Away Network.

In conjunction with Richard Bangs’ South America: Quest for Wonder, is developing a dedicated microsite featuring helpful information and recommendations about the destinations highlighted by Richard Bangs, designed to help viewers inspired by the programs to explore the destinations for themselves.

“This new partnership between Orbitz Worldwide and Richard Bangs breaks new ground in the integration of television and the Web. Television is the ultimate tool for inspiring people to explore the world, and who better to lead viewers around the world’s most exciting destinations than Richard Bangs, the father of modern day adventure travel,” says Barney Harford, CEO of Orbitz Worldwide. “The partnership between Richard Bangs and Orbitz Worldwide will offer an unprecedented level of integration between inspiration that Richard creates and trip information. Dedicated landing pages and resources will make it easy for viewers to plan trips to the destinations featured on each episode of the ‘Richard Bangs’ Quest Series.’” Viewers who want to see these wonders for themselves now have easily accessible tools for getting there.

Additional support is provided by TravelSmith, clothing gear and advice to go; and LAN Airlines.

Production Team:

Co-executive producer Didrik Johnck is a multi-award-winning filmmaker who also covered the Erik Weihenmayer “Blind Climb” up Mount Everest, and made the summit along with Erik.

Producer/writer Laura Hubber is a long-time reporter for the BBC World Service and producer/writer for several network and cable shows, as well as producer for Richard Bangs’ Adventures with Purpose.

Director Valerie Griffith was the producer/director for the acclaimed public television series Art Wolfe’s Travels to the Edge. Her husband, a key consultant on Richard Bangs’ South America: Quest for Wonder, is the producer for Rick Steves.

Richard Bangs’ South America: Quest for Wonder is a production of White Nile Media, Inc. of Los Angeles, California.

About Richard Bangs

Richard Bangs is an award-winning travel journalist, author and producer who has published over 1,000 magazine articles and 19 books, produced a score of documentaries and lectured at the Smithsonian, the National Geographic Society and The Explorers Club among other notable venues. Most recently Richard produced and hosted the public television series Richard Bangs’ Adventures With Purpose, co-directed the IMAX film Mystery of the Nile and co-authored the Putnam book of the same name. His recent book, The Lost River: A Memoir of Life, Death and the Transformation of Wild Water, won the National Outdoor Book Award in the literature category and the Lowell Thomas Award for best book. Over the course of his 30 years experience as an explorer and communicator, Richard led first descents of 35 rivers around the globe, including the Yangtze in China and the Zambezi in Southern Africa. In between adventures, Richard serves on a number of technology, travel and environmental boards.

Media Contacts:

Laura Hubber, President
White Nile Media, Inc.
+1 310-435-1827

Richard Bangs
+1 206-605-8116

Orbitz Worldwide
Tim Enstice
+1 312-894-4721

Matthew J. Glerum
+1 415-798-3001

LAN Airlines
Megan Kat Williams
+1 786-265-6333

Lisa Landi
+1 415-553-2221

About KQED

KQED ( has served Northern California for more than 50 years and is affiliated with NPR and PBS. KQED owns and operates public television stations KQED 9 (San Francisco/Bay Area), KQED Plus (San Jose/Bay Area) and KQET 25 (Watsonville/Monterey); KQED Public Radio (88.5 FM San Francisco); and; and KQED Education. KQED Public Television, one of the most-watched public television stations in the country, is the producer/presenter of national series such as Sound Tracks; California State of Mind; and Essential Pépin. KQED Public Radio is the most-listened-to public radio station in the nation and the most popular in the Bay Area. Visit for more information.

About American Public Television:
APT has been a leading distributor of high-quality, top-rated programming to America’s public television stations since 1961. Since 2004, APT has distributed approximately half of the top 100 highest-rated public television titles. Among its 300 new program titles per year are prominent documentaries, news and current affairs programs, dramatic series, how-to programs, children’s series and classic movies, including For Love of Liberty: The Story of America’s Black Patriots, A Ripple of Hope, Rick Steves’ Europe, Newsline, Globe Trekker, Simply Ming, Joseph Rosendo’s Travelscope, America’s Test Kitchen From Cook’s Illustrated, Lidia’s Italy, P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home, Midsomer Murders, Moyers & Company, Doc Martin, Rosemary & Thyme, BBC World News, The Rat Pack: Live and Swingin’, Johnny Mathis: Wonderful, Wonderful! and John Denver: The Wildlife Concert. APT also licenses programs internationally through its APT Worldwide service. In 2006, APT launched and nationally distributed Create® – the TV channel featuring the best of public television’s lifestyle programming. APT is also a partner in the WORLD™ channel expansion project including its web presence at For more information about APT’s programs and services, visit

Richard Bangs unknots the ordinary in Richard Bangs’ South America: Quest for Wonder 26 July,2012Katie Koskenmaki

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