Travel Itineraries Should Be Life-Changing
FOUNDER + TRAVEL EXPERT
From a young age, I’ve been smitten with the transformative nature of travel. Once bitten by the discovery bug, and especially if you are drawn to meeting people, there’s no turning back. While working for corporate America, I discovered that I had a knack for organizing group travel, and in my free time, I put together a group to the Galapagos and designed the itinerary. Friends and colleagues went and it was a success!
More trips followed and Latin Excursions was born in 2003, putting into motion the idea that personalized, private travel in nature destinations was an affordable proposition when viewed through the lens of personal transformation. Inspiring moments have a way of flowing out of private, highly personalized discovery. This is the elixir. And so for decades now the Latin Excursions team has nurtured local partners: for they are the great story-tellers and the truest ambassadors of the places they call home. Voluntourism (travel experiences that “give back”) have followed, evolving where communities are set up for and appreciate the support of foreigners.
Currently based out of Singapore and Madrid, I work at the crossroad between travel, art and lifestyle. My family upbringing near the center of the contemporary art world, made me very sensitive to culture at large and shaped my interest in traveling the world. Throughout my life I’ve developed my entrepreneurial spirit in various professional areas: hospitality, nature conservation, journalism, international affairs, art. In my years as a Director of the leading Asian art fair Art Stage and as an entrepreneur in Singapore, I was able to develop an extensive network of business contacts ranging from Fortune Global 500 corporations to niche luxury brands.
I’ve had the opportunity to live in 8 countries in 4 continents. In my past life, I worked for the World Bank and IADB in Washington DC, wrote for Newsweek in New York City and taught at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. I graduated from Columbia University with a Masters in International Affairs. I’m a keen collector of books, explorer of libraries, and self-declared foodie.
From my very first visit to Cuba in 1976 I was thunderstruck. The sights, smells and culture of another country fascinated me. I needed more. “Life” got in the way for many years, but 10 years ago, with family grown, I took a chance and moved to Central America. At first I volunteered at a non profit, which lead to work in the travel industry and eventually travel to 13 countries in Central and South America. Happy travelers always comment on my travel designs whether a quick get away or a 47 night, 7 country South America experience.
Clients appreciate my attention to detail and ability to customize, making their travel dreams a reality. Over the years I have experienced a number of “pinch me” moments, that I like to incorporate into the trip I design.White water rafting on the Pacuare River in Costa Rica, snorkeling with sea lions in the Galapagos Islands, horseback riding with gauchos in Argentina, swimming with sharks in Belize, driving in a ‘55 Chevy along the malecon in Havana, river tubing down Rio Don Diego in Colombia, howler monkeys on one side and the snow capped Sierra Nevada mountains ahead of me, assisting a biologist do a blood test on a sea turtle or camping among Mayan pyramids at the only village in Tikal National Park, each is an experience of a lifetime.
Food has always been a passion of mine and travel always includes many authentic experiences. BBQ lamb in Patagonia with Torres del Paine park in the background, a pupusa hot off the grill in El Salvador, an empanada in Argentina while listening to tango music, enjoying dinner in an Andean home in Ecuador, or a tasting menu by famous Panamanian chef Charlie Collins all lead to an amazing memory and an extraordinary journey!
Originally from Germany, I spent 6 years living in Medellin, Colombia. I’ve travelled extensively around the country exploring not only Bogota, the Coffee Region, Santa Marta/Tayrona and Cartagena, but also off-the-beaten-path places like La Guajira Desert, the outdoor Mecca Barichara, the Colombian Amazon and the picturesque Pacific Coast.
Married to a native Colombian, I frequently visit my second home country – both to spend time with Colombian family and to explore the latest trends, hotels, and top restaurants. Over the years I’ve refined my Medellin Spanish, so much so that our trusted partners call me The German Paisa (Paisas are the people from Medellin). I’m a huge fan of the local cuisines of Latin America (I often take a cooking class in new places). I’m also hooked on outdoor adventure though, known to seek out biking, hiking/trekking, rafting, kayaking, horseback riding, as well as experiences like paragliding, skydiving and deep-water diving.
A favorite travel memory is being invited by a local family to their home in an indigenous community deep in the Colombian Amazon. Once there, I was told that many villagers had never seen a foreigner before! The nights sitting together with my host family, sharing stories of everybody’s life, learning so much from each other were a truly unforgettable experience.
I’ve also travelled repeatedly to Cuba, Ecuador & Galapagos, Panama and Argentina. On a recent trip to Cuba, while discovering the picturesque Vinales Valley, I went on an incredible off-the-beaten-track horseback ride with a real Cuban “Gaucho” followed by a traditional lunch at a real Campesino home chatting with the different family members. These kinds of experiences – personal and unvarnished – are what’s it’s all about.
SALES MANAGER + TRAVEL EXPERT
On a break from pursuing a degree in International Business at UW Madison in 1989, right at the beginning of when individual leisure travel opened to Costa Rica, I took up a sales position in San José for a reputable inbound ecotourism and adventure tour operation to pass time and learn more about the travel industry. Born in Los Angeles, California and raised in rural Costa Rica, it’s no surprise I developed a passion for adventure after selling these experiences. I began white water rafting at every opportunity or exploring the remote mountains or beaches of Costa Rica. My expertise was Costa Rica until I discovered South America around 2010. This opened the door for a career change that had me on the software side of the tourism industry, traveling for work through South America. I became acquainted with Eric through business and travel shows and am excited for the opportunity to be back in leisure.
Poett enjoys trail running, cooking, reading and family time with her boys Jack and Sebastian while around home and is always looking for new opportunities to explore new places.
MARKETING MANAGER + TRAVEL EXPERT
Born and raised in Lake Travis, a small lake community in the Texas hill country near Austin. My childhood consisted of swimming in the lake, mountain biking through the greenbelt, wakeboarding, kayaking, hiking and camping which engraved a deep passion for exploring the great into my soul. At the age of ten, I began playing football and that consumed my life entirely for the next nine years. I played running back for Lake Travis High School, earning four state championships and a scholarship to play at a small University in Seguin, Texas.
Prior to beginning my collegiate football career, I went on my first adventure outside of Texas to explore the Colorado Rocky Mountains. This journey changed the course of my life forever and made me realize that travel is my true passion. I decided to quit collegiate football in 2011 and transferred to Texas State University where I studied English Rhetoric & Composition, Biology, and became a NAUI Scuba Divemaster. Outside of class, I started my own personalized guiding service where I would take friends, classmates, or family on journeys in the Texas hill country scuba diving, mountain biking, or kayaking.
Curious to learn more about the adventure travel industry, I began an internship for a travel company and learned how to create itineraries to Machu Picchu, earning me a trip to Peru where I hiked for three days at about 14,500 ft. in a region called Q’eros (known as the last living Inca village) and explored Manu National Park where the Peruvian Andes meet the Amazon rain forest. This journey made me fall in love with Latin America and realize that there are many great regions to visit beyond Peru, therefore I was introduced to Eric and joined the LX team in December 2018!
My clients have always appreciated my genuine excitement towards exploring Latin America and my willingness to listen to their travel desires. Luxury adventures are my expertise. If you want to scuba dive with whale sharks in Galapagos Islands by day and prefer to be served by a private chef at the best villa in the archipelago afterwards, I’ll make it happen! Since visiting Machu Picchu in April of 2016 I’ve explored Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Galapagos Islands, and Peru again. Next up — Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica!