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The 10 Most Shocking Instagram Travel Photos of 2015

As we enter a new year, we tend to look back on the last 52 weeks and reflect on the biggest changes, the most talked about events, and the best (and worst) trends. And just like the most shocking celebrity moments of 2015, so, too, are there highlights in the travel world. Here at we decided to scour through Instagram to find some crazy travel pics. From selfies with sharks to snaps on the side of a mountain, these are 10 of the most shocking Instagram travel photos of 2015.

1. The Daredevil Shot

Millions of people each year travel to Brazil to see the famous Christ the Redeemer statue that overlooks Rio de Janeiro. And while there are plenty of selfies and snaps taken of the incredible view, stunt photographer Thiago Correa took it to a whole new level in 2015 when he snapped a picture from the treacherous edge of the outstretched arm. He had to gain special access from the authorities to climb the statue, but the jaw-dropping photo from 124 feet up was certainly worth the effort.

2. The Hammock Tower

A photo posted by Raisa AR (@raisarhmh) on Jun 7, 2015 at 6:24pm PDT

When you think about a hammock, you think about vacation. Nothing beats gently rocking in the breeze as you lie by the water at your favorite beach. But, there are some hammock aficionados that have taken “hammock life” to whole new heights…literally. A group called “Hammockers Indonesia” says they actually set the record last year for creating the world’s highest hammock tower and, of course, shared a picture of the feat. Twenty-seven hammocks were stacked on top of one another to reach 80 feet into the sky.

3. The Painted Sky

A photo posted by Will Patino (@william_patino) on Dec 13, 2015 at 12:54pm PST

Pictures of the Aurora Borealis, aka the Northern Lights, will always be breathtaking, but one photographer captured a particularly incredible shot while in Faskrudsfjordur, East Fjords Iceland, when a solar storm created hours of bright colors moving across the sky. Even the shutterbug was blown away. “I’d seen the Southern Lights several times and even the Northern Lights in Canada but the displays of the aurora that I witnessed in Iceland were beyond anything I could have imagined or hoped for,” wrote Will Patino. “On this particular night we experienced a solar storm which made the lights so bright that I could even get images on my iPhone.”

4. The ‘Elphie’

The term “selfie” was certainly not new in 2015, but we’re pretty sure “elphie” was coined last year. Christian LeBlanc trekked into the jungle and decided to take a picture with an elephant—like many tourists would. But, rather than taking the snap himself, he had the elephant hold out the phone, and hence the “elphie” was born.

5. The ‘Jaws’ Snap

A photo posted by Sharks Daily (@sharksdaily) on Nov 16, 2015 at 4:35pm PST

Speaking of pictures with wild animals, one photographer and one diver took their encounter to another level. The result was a too-close-for-comfort moment with a tiger shark, during which the daredevils actually touched the nose of a tiger shark as it swam at them, mouth open.

6. The Cliffhanger

A photo posted by Alex Manelis (@amanelis) on May 27, 2015 at 5:17pm PDT

Most of us are content looking at a super tall mountain or structure from a safe distance, but for climber Alex Manelis he has to see it from the top. That’s why he took on Moonhill in Yangshu,China where a stunning natural 164-foot arch resides. Only given one chance to scale the rocky formation, he made sure to capture the moment that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Can you spot the climber in the snap?

7. The Bathroom With a View

Comfy bed? Check! Incredible views? Check! Perched on the side of a mountain? Check! Some brave travelers have opted to stay at the Skylodge Adventure Suites in Cusco, Peru where the rooms are made of glass pods suspended on the side of a mountain. If sleeping while overlooking a sheer drop down wasn’t enough, one guest had to share the terrifying view from the bathroom.

8. The Viewpoint

A photo posted by Alexander P. (@alexplv) on Jan 9, 2016 at 10:41am PST

Despite the exhausting climb, many people still trek up the Tab Kak Hang Nak Hill Nature Trail in Thailand to catch the panoramic views from the top. One adventurer decided to really take it all in by carefully sitting on a dangerous overhang while a pal snapped a photo of the unique vista.

9. The Crabby Photo

Usually it’s impossible to get a baby to sit and smile for a pic, not to mention if the baby was surrounded by thousands of crabs. But, that’s exactly what happened in this shot when an adorable tot sat in the middle of the road during the famous Christmas Island red crab migration. Every year, 40 million red crabs make their way from the rainforest to the ocean to spawn—and this kid was in the middle of it all.

10. The Moonscape

A photo posted by Cole Rise (@colerise) on Dec 4, 2015 at 10:45am PST

First look at this photo and you might think it was taken in the great Sahara desert or even outer space, but in fact it was snapped in the good ol’ U S of A. The Imperial Dunes are located in Southern California and span some 40 miles, creating the perfect setting for capturing this stunning snap that features the moon, stars and, sunset.

—Jordi Lippe-McGraw

This article was originally published by under the headline The 10 Most Shocking Instagram Travel Photos of 2015. It is reprinted here with permission.

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