About Stacey Pokluda

Stacey Pokluda



Stacey is Adventure People’s founder and she has been running adventure trips since 2008.  From weekend camping getaways to tours around the globe, Stacey’s passion is creating unique travel itineraries and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that explore beyond the beaten path in the world’s most intriguing destinations. From trekking through the jungles of Southeast Asia to sailing the Greek Islands, Stacey enjoys designing and sharing immersive experiences that incorporate a natural wanderlust and outdoor adventure with local cultural experiences.

Her outdoor experience includes hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, canyoning and whitewater rafting. She has even flown a jet pack, an ultralight, and been sky diving.  Adventure People is a social community that was born out of a desire to share her adventures with other like-minded travelers. When she’s not globetrotting, Stacey calls Santa Barbara, California her home.

Our Trip Leaders

Our trip leaders are the lifeblood of Adventure People. They are carefully chosen professionals who are with you throughout your journey to ensure that it is a memorable one. Selected for their dynamic personalities and expertise in everything from history and geology to environmental science and marine biology, they are often the highest-rated aspects of our trips. They’re special folks whose infectious enthusiasm for people and the areas they are guiding, makes the difference between a good trip and an extraordinary one. Not only are they there to take care of all the details of your trip, but they’ll become your friend and companion. They are there for anything you need and they’re the person you can rely on when traveling in a place you don’t know. They have a natural ability for inspiring fun, fostering camaraderie, and creating the perfect vacation for you. All are trained in CPR and First Aid.


Central America Trip Leader

Mauricio Elias Ramirez Hernandez, aka “Mao,” was born in the highlands of Tarrazu, Los Santos Area, Costa Rica. As an ecology student and naturalist guide, his main focus is on community rural tourism projects. Mauricio has 12-years of experience guiding around Costa Rica, including 6-years as a naturalist guide in Corcovado National Park, the most biological intense place on earth. He has spent the past 4-years leading trips all over Central America from Mexico to Panama.

He has worked for such companies including G Adventures and Intrepid. In 2001, he participated in an environmental exchange to Sweden. From 2004 to 2007, he was a volunteer in INBIO (National Institute of Biodiversity), marketing research to make ecological butterfly gardens and learn about ecology. As a hobby, he enjoys cultural and naturalistic photography. When traveling, he loves exploring new alternative routes focused on nature, culture, eco-tourism, and community projects. His goal is to create a company focused on his own lifestyle, mixing nature, culture, outdoor adventures, while strengthening rural community projects.

mike saundersMike

Guatemala Trip Leader

Mike Saunders is our expert archaeology guide in Guatemala. Mike first visited Guatemala in 1991 while working with an archaeological project. At that time, the country was besieged by internal conflict. During the turmoil of these early years, Mike developed a deep respect for the Maya people and their culture, as well as the stunning scenery of highlands Guatemala. For 25 years he has maintained relations with the local community where he first worked. Currently, he is completing his dissertation at Tulane University, researching contemporary Maya spirituality as it relates to sustainable environmental management. Mike’s ongoing research emphasizes the importance of locally sustainable agriculture and its global implications. Meanwhile, he aims to educate people about Maya culture while identifying needs of local communities and providing resources when possible. Mike and his wife currently reside in the Lake Atitlan area where they are raising their son Jaxson alongside his Maya family and friends.

asdis birgisdottirÁsdís

Iceland Trip Leader

Ásdís, or as many travelers have described her, “Wonder Woman,” was born in Reykjavík and spent her childhood in the US, where she still has deep connections. She has been guiding in Iceland for 20-years and immensely enjoys introducing travelers to its many wonders. Her background is one of having many hats as is so common in this country. She received her degree in textile art and design as well as actively engaging in her passion, taking travelers around Iceland in all seasons and all weather to share her extensive knowledge of her country. She received her guide school certificate three years ago and is Wilderness First Responder certified as well as driver/trailer certified.

carlos camachoCarlos

Cuba Trip Leader

Carlos was born in Eastern Cuba in the agricultural city of Camaguey on a small farm. Raised from humble beings, he prides himself on family and education and has been fortunate enough to study Automation Engineering in Santa Clara, as well as show travelers all over the beautiful country of Cuba.

As a guide, he has come to love interacting with people from around the world and gaining perspective through conversation. When he’s not learning something new from amazing tour clients, he enjoys scuba diving at The Bay of Pigs, hiking in the mountains, salsa dancing and listening to live bands at some of Cuba’s best music venues (feel free to ask him for some of his favorite spots). Carlos currently lives in Havana and he’s excited to show you Cuba as he knows it and welcomes you to his country.

Olga OrtizOlga

North America/ Latin America Trip Leader 

Olga Ortiz is the owner of Rock Climbing Every Day. She has been an outdoor enthusiast and event organizer for over 20 years. She has worked and volunteered her time to teach swimming lessons and rock climbing courses in California and Puerto Rico to adults and children ages 2 to 50 and over.

She has a degree in CIS from the University of Puerto Rico, where she swam competitively, played water polo, worked as a certified swim instructor, lifeguard and received a sports scholarship. In her professional career, she worked in financial and healthcare business with leadership roles that helped expand and increase their markets. She is a certified rock climbing instructor thru the American Mountain Guiding Association and holds both Adult and Child CPR and FA certifications.

Her outdoor experience includes; hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, skiing/snowboarding, surfing, whitewater rafting, camping, canyoneering, kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, road trips, traveling abroad and much more. In her spare time, she loves climbing giant vertical rock walls, swimming, and spending time with family and friends.

Mustapha Ait MaskourMustapha

Morocco Trip Leader

Mustapha Ait Maskour grew up in the central High Atlas Mountains of Morocco and is the son of a very traditional Berber family. As a certified and experienced guide, he has warmed the hearts of all who have traveled with him. He has worked for such companies including National Geographic and G Adventures.

Mustapha is a graduate from the Formation Centre of Mountain Guides in Tabant and studied English literature at University in Beni Mellal and has been working in tourism for 8-years. He is fluent in English, Berber, Arabic and French and has worked with different tour agencies guiding people of all ages and abilities through the Atlas Mountains, Sahara Desert and other parts of Morocco. He is passionate about what he does and loves sharing his country and his culture with travelers. He also believes in giving back and is a member and deputy chair of a charitable organization in his home region which aids the development of local women and children.

Jody Ferdig


North America Trip Leader

You ask Jody to jump and she will say how high? This ex-gymnast has back flipped out of airplanes, ziplined in three countries, rappelled down waterfalls in the jungles of Costa Rica, cliff jumped into the beautiful Grand Cenotes in Tulum and parasailed over the breathtaking Greek Islands. She’s trekked glaciers, snorkeled in between two continents, snowmobiled over an active volcano and chased the northern lights in Iceland. In fact, this Pacific Northwestern girl is usually up for just about any adventure!

Jody has traveled across the country as a comedy entertainer, a skill which she brings to all of her trips. Her charismatic and effervescent personality always ensures that your adventure will be unforgettable!

Natalie SampilaNatalie

Fitness/ Yoga Trip Leader

Yoga runs in Natalie’s genes.  From a young age, her yogi mother inspired her to reach for meditation and movement, cultivating an early connection to embodied wisdom and inspired, intentional movement.

First certified as a yoga teacher in 2000, Natalie has studied yoga and been certified by some of the most notable names and leading figures in yoga, including Prana Flow with Shiva Rea, Hatha Yoga with Eric Schiffman, Astanga with Paul Dellsghan, and YogaWorks 500-Hr training focusing on Iyengar, Therapeutic and Restorative Yoga with Lisa Walford (founder of YogaWorks) and Jasmine Lieb.  Her expertise in aeriel yoga is rare and unique.  She has also studied Ayurvedic Medicine at the Kerela Academy of Ayurvedic Medicine in India, fortunate to be kept close to original lineages of Ayurvedic wisdom.  Her own path of transformation using these techniques grounds and fuels her immense passion for yoga, and her love of teaching others.  For Natalie, there is no greater joy than to facilitate healing, growth, health and transformation in the lives of her students and clients.

“I love life!” is one of Natalie’s mantras.  You can see this love and joy reflected in her thoughtful sequencing, her humor-filled classes and connections with others, and her child-like abandon in hanging upside down in Aerial yoga.  Her classes are designed as a safe space to explore and reinforce the intimate connection between mind, body and Spirit.  Natalie creates sequences inspired by the ebbs and flows, and the myriad dimensions of life itself.  As a mother of 2 amazing children, as a daughter, teacher and life-long learner, these dimensions are endless. This reflects Natalie’s philosophy that yoga is not only on the mat, but a way of living, a way of understanding ourselves and self-cultivating that is intended to create deeper love, joy and harmony in our lives and the lives of others.  For there can be none of those things outside of us if we do not first know it within ourselves.

Natalie leads 200hr teacher trainings with YogaWorks and is available to teach group classes, individuals, couples, Theraputic yoga and Ayurveda.  She also specializes in yoga injury management.