About

We are a unique travel agency

Against the Compass EXPEDITIONS is a Barcelona-based travel agency with expertise in taking groups of travelers to off-the-beaten-track destinations, in countries like Syria, Iraq or Mali, just to name a few, destinations that don’t take to make it on most people’s top bucket list.

by Joan Torres

Against the Compass EXPEDITIONS was founded by Joan Torres, creator of Against the Compass travel blog and regular Lonely Planet writer.

Currently based in Barcelona, Joan Torres has been traveling since 2014, with a special focus on unusual countries, revealing the beauty and potential of some of the most misunderstood countries in the world, from Mali to Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

After blogging for more than 5 years, writing comprehensive travel guides & tips to those destinations, while creating a loyal readership, Joan Torres decided to open a travel company in an attempt to help other travelers do the same.

Joan Torres Against the Compass expeditions

Against the Compass has been featured in

Our expeditions

Sulaeimaniyah
Former Saddam Hussein’s tanks

Despite being a relatively young agency, we have grown so much during our first year, running a total of 11 tours within just the first 12 months of its creation.

Our tours sell out quickly, not only because our readership trusts Against the Compass‘s expertise, but also because we manage to apply a unique model, different from all ordinary travel agencies

Here are 7 reasons why our tours are so unique:

We believe in slow travel

As an independent, long-term backpacker, I know that, in order to get the most out of your traveling experience, one needs to travel slowly, not rushing from one place to the other, having time to absorb a place, while talking to the local people.

While it’s true that you’ll be on a tour, hence we’ll keep moving from one destination to the next one, we always take our time, so people can take all the necessary photographs and interact with the locals.

We prefer visiting fewer places, but enjoying them to the fullest, so our travelers never feel rushed.

We focus on the people, and the culture

From having lunch in a local eatery surrounded by locals to hanging out in a park enjoying ordinary local life, and organizing a meal at someone’s house, our expeditions will never miss the human touch, because that’s the most important part of traveling.

We try to do invaluable activities

Experiences which would be very difficult to organize as an independent traveler.

You are on a tour, but we don’t want you to feel you are on a tour, so we try to do things that would be practically impossible to do if you were traveling solo. For example:

In Kurdistan, we spend one entire day with actual nomads.

In Iraq, we visit Mosul with members of the UNESCO team, currently rebuilding the most important landmarks, destroyed during the liberation from ISIS.

In Syria, we organize a visit to Palmyra with a member of the Syrian Army who participated directly in the liberation of Palmyra.

All priceless, unique activities exclusively offered by Against the Compass.

We only work with local, independent guides

Very important.

All the people we work with are either independent guides or small teams exclusively composed of local people, always great professionals which have been carefully chosen during our previous visits to the country.

We like to create travel families

The destination itself, and how you visit it, are both very important but we also believe that the people you travel with, your travel companions also contribute to the experience, so we always try to keep our groups fun!

Our tours are budget

We can certainly confirm that our tours have some of the lowest rates available in the market, the best value-for-money option.

And these are the reasons why we always have a high percentage of repeaters in our expeditions.


Show, not tell, what do people say about us?

We are so proud to say that our expeditions have 100% of customer satisfaction, as you can see in our 5-star reviews verified by Google.


Our Team of Tour Leaders

Joan Torres leads many of the tours, but some of them are led by other fellow travelers, awesome solo backpackers with a great experience traveling long-term across many off-the-beaten-track countries.

Leti Lagarda tour leader Against the Compass

Leti Lagarda

Born in the Spanish northern region of Galicia, Leti Lagarda is an avid backpacker and a kick-ass female traveler with a large experience of traveling solo in the Middle East, including in places like Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Iran, and even Pakistan, making her a pretty rare find when it comes to woman travelers.

Oriol Lopez Tour leader Against the Compass

Oriol López

Traveling non-stop for the last 25 years, visiting over 130 countries, Oriol is one of the best Spanish travelers. He visited Afghanistan in 2008, and also Mosul back in 2010, shortly before ISIS took over. Now, he has decided to go back there, to see what the situation is like because he’ll be leading some of our Iraq Tours.


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