About Us

Crooked Compass is a boutique tour operator uncovering the world’s best kept secrets through small group touring and customised itineraries. Created to inspire, educate and encourage travellers to understand responsible tourism by providing culturally immersive experiences, supporting local communities and projects. Our travellers see their destination through the eyes of a local, uncovering the side of a destination they didn’t know existed.

We specialise in showcasing the hidden, lesser known side of a destination, whether it be an exciting itinerary in one of the planets far reaches, or exploring the more common travel routes, with a twist.

Crooked Compass is for those who seek enriching, real and local experiences and a sensory way to understand the world. We help you live like a local, eat like a local, do what the locals do and seek the faces behind the places whilst discovering untouched lands and natural beauty.

Crooked Compass offers a select range of small group tours (min 2, max 12 travellers), all of which are guaranteed departures. For those travellers seeking more flexibility and personalisation, whether you are simply wanting a private departure date for one of our existing tours, or creating a complete itinerary from scratch, we also provide Tours By Design, to tailor make your unique travel experience.

Supported by our Crooked Compass Travel App and our blog that's brimming with intriguing travel experiences, expert knowledge, travel tips and insiders guides to lesser known haunts, we return travellers more enriched and knowledgeable than when they left.

Our mission is to empower our travellers to change the world, locally and globally, achieving transformative outcomes for themselves and the local communities and initiatives they take part in on our journeys.

Founded by globetrotter Lisa Pagotto, Crooked Compass was launched in May 2014. Lisa and her team are committed to sharing travel inspiration and expert knowledge to help add those intriguing destinations and experiences to your bucket list - including those you didn't know existed. Lisa has created an eco-system for travellers to have real experiences - enriching you, at your own pace without creating a ‘manufactured experience’.

To travel is to live... Dream, Explore, Discover.


About the Founder - Lisa Pagotto

With her mother finding out she was pregnant whilst travelling through Egypt, Lisa had caught the travel bug before she was even born. Travelling domestically and internationally from a young age with her family, living out of a bag is nothing new for this jetsetter. From the age of eight, Lisa dreamed of travelling the world and sharing her stories with others, wanting them to experience what she had from such a young age. Having explored many of the South Pacific Islands, as well as Bali and Malaysia when she was 18, at the age of 21, Lisa set off on her first long haul overseas stint. A year of backpacking through Tunisia, participating in a mock wedding in Morocco, discovering the jewels of Western and Eastern Europe, lazing on a felucca in Egypt, eating way too much baklava in Turkey and serving as a bar maid in a small village in rural UK, before living with a local family whilst studying Italian in the romantic city of Florence.

On returning home, it wasn't long before the itchy feet needed a scratch again and off she went for round two – this time for two years.

Travelling to the Rockies in Canada, Las Vegas, Iceland to see the Northern lights, travelling independently and mixing with the locals through a vast region of the Middle East. Sleeping on roof tops in Jerusalem, celebrating a White Christmas in the Bavarian Alps, spotting tigers in the wilds of India, throwing a tomato or two at La Tomatina, clanking steins at Oktoberfest, exploring the mystical Baltic’s and finishing off with an amazing two month overland trip through Africa, trekking with the Mountain Gorillas in Uganda and jumping out of a plane in Namibia!

Trekking in the Kingdom of Bhutan, staying in a local home with the hill-tribe minority groups in Sapa, Vietnam, hiking the unrestored 'Wild Wall' in China and diving on WWII shipwrecks in the Solomon Islands...

The list continues, as Lisa travels beyond 100 countries (and counting) with the aim to visit every country in the world.

Professionally, Lisa's background is within the travel and tourism industry. Having lived and breathed the industry since 2003 and excelling in all facets of the industry from product development, price contracting and negotiations, heading up several sales and marketing teams nationally as well as creating and establishing a touring brand for another company. The time naturally came when Lisa was to create her own brand, built around her unique style of travel.

Lisa's genre of travel is focused on the more unique, remote, lesser known and untouched destinations as well as looking for fresh ways to explore old haunts. Adventure and experiential travel is close to Lisa's heart as she believes to truly experience a destination, you must be completely immersed in it and live like the locals do.

The most beautiful thing in the world is of course the world itself.



Crooked Compass is a member of AFTA (Australia Federation of Travel Agents) and is fully ATAS accredited as well as a member of CATO.

AFTA Member No: 13436  ATAS Accreditation No: A13056.

CATO Registered Operator No: 48335343



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