Traveling to one’s ancestral homeland is a bucket list wish of many but sometimes it’s not possible to visit in person. What’s the next best option? Book a virtual tour with us and utilize the expertise and local knowledge of our experienced guides to deliver a personalized experience that’ll leave you with special, heartfelt memories. Read on to hear how one family came together for a trip to Prvic Sepurine, Croatia with their very special guide Anita.
“We are a close-knit family of 7 and for the 4th of July, we decided to organize a virtual experience with Beeyonder to visit the island of Prvic, Sepurine in Croatia. While my mother’s side of the family is all from Croatia, none of us had ever been there. As her paternal grandparents, parents, and brothers immigrated before World War II, she has never been to the island but has expressed a desire to see Prvic, Sepurine. Taking into account her age, some physical challenges, and the pandemic, traveling there would have been too complicated.
How Our Tour Came Together
I looked for options and discovered Beeyonder and thought a virtual tour could be the perfect solution. While there were virtual tours already being offered in parts of Croatia, it did not come as a surprise to find there were none being offered in Prvic Sepurine. Still, I completed the online questionnaire, and to our surprise, our guide Anita graciously agreed to accommodate our request due to the island's close proximity to her home in Zadar.
We provided Anita with some family history, including my grandparents’ names, when they were born, and their parents’ names. We knew the island was small and while we did not have exact addresses, we provided Anita with very approximate locations of the homes where my grandfather and grandmother lived growing up. This lack of detail did not faze Anita who did her research, asked locals, and eventually discovered the home where my mom’s father grew up with his parents and his siblings, and the home where my mom’s mother was raised with her siblings.
Her research also unearthed that my mother’s first cousin still lives in the home where her mother grew up. While he wasn’t on the island at the time of the tour, Anita managed to share a photo of him with his grandson, who is named after my mother’s grandfather. As part of the experience, Anita also took us all over the island. We visited the two local churches – where my mom’s ancestors were likely baptized and married – and the locations of what would have been the schools at that time in history. Just walking the streets with her made it feel like we were there and gave us a sense of how close everything was. There were no cars on the island (just a fire truck) so to walk through the narrow roadways and see stone buildings that have been there for centuries was so exciting. It truly felt like we were experiencing what my ancestors saw day in and day out!
We Were Blown Away!
To be honest, we did not know what to expect, and while we provided Anita with some family history and other details we did not want to get our hopes up. Imagine our surprise when she started the tour by showing us the burial place of my great grandparents. On the burial marker, was a picture of them that my mom recognized, as that same picture was in her home growing up. My mother shed tears of joy, even Anita was crying, knowing how precious this experience was for my mom and our family. When I asked my mom afterward how she felt she shared: “What a thrilling beginning to a wonderful tour. It was as though time had stopped and we could peek into history and touch the homes and lives of our loved ones. In Anita's caring hands, the experience was unforgettable.”
Anita is an amazing guide who went beyond any textbook tour. It was apparent that she did a lot of "homework" to give us a wonderful experience. She made the tour very personal and showed such an interest in our family and we feel like she’s part of our family story now. She even followed up after the tour with more facts and photos and graciously offered to send us some videos as keepsakes.
My family and I still are still replaying this experience over and over again and we can’t thank the Beeyonder team and Anita enough for this experience that we will never forget. We are happily spreading the word about Beeyonder and can’t wait to book another tour with Anita, or one of the other fantastic guides on the platform!”
While we cannot guarantee a personalized experience, we are available to help customize tours and packages to fit your budget and needs. Click here to inquire about a tour today.
Ever wanted to go on an adventure, but never got around to actually doing it? Sometimes it's just not possible to travel far from home. You might not have enough vacation days or you’re saving up for other expenses. Even if you can't get away, access to a travel escapade is still possible with our platform of on-demand digital experiences. Led by local expert guides they’ll bring you on fascinating trips to explore destinations you’ve always wanted to visit. Here are a few tours perfect for travel enthusiasts to enjoy from anywhere!
Walking Tour of Arenal Volcano National Park
With an almost perfect conical shape and a crater about 1,700 feet wide and 2,000 feet deep, Arenal Volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Our walking tour experience takes you on trails formed out of lava through a beautiful rainforest as you learn about the history of the volcano, geology, and ecology of the area.
Ride In A Hot Air Balloon Over Luxor
Take to the skies and admire the ancient city of Luxor, once the site of ancient Thebes, from a hot air balloon. An immersive, interactive experience where you’ll watch the inflation set-up where bright gusts of air are thrust into the canopies of the hot-air balloon before you ride along on a sunset tour over the majestic Theban mountains.
In the heart of the Iguazu Falls
Straddling Brazil and Argentina, be wow-ed by the impressive Iguazu Falls by joining our interactive live-streaming tour. Your guide will get wet for you, and take you to the footbridges to go as close as possible to the falls so you can experience this New Wonder of the World as if you were there in person.
Visit Costa Rica From Home
Who doesn’t dream of spending some time embracing the joys of a simpler life in Costa Rica, or as the Ticos say: “La Pura Vida”. Located on the cusp of Central and South America, Costa Rica may be a short three hours flight from Florida, but feels a world away with its abundant beaches - the country has 11 times more marine territory than land - and verdant, Jurassic forest like national parks and wealth of tropical bird species and exotic wildlife. This month, join in on live, interactive tours showing off the best of this Latin American country without losing any of your creature comforts.
Enjoy the Wildlife and Nature of Cahuita National Park
National parks are everywhere in Costa Rica - there are over 30 of them - and each consists of lush primary virgin rainforests and an abundance of unique floral and fauna. The raw beauty of Cahuita National Park located on the southern Costa Rican Caribbean coast though is exceptional. The park was created in 1970 to protect its coral reefs and our guide will bring you on a jungle trek that weaves through some of the most pristine Caribbean beaches. Along the way, you may spot some two and three toed-sloths, colorful snakes, or even a restless group of monkeys and monitor lizards playing about. It’s a treat for the senses.
Come explore with us.
Visit Manuel Antonio National Park
Howler monkeys, furry-tailed squirrels, mischievous raccoons, and sun-baking sloths, you’ll likely see them all on this live interactive tour of the jewel of Costa Rica. Located off Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast, Manuel Antonio National Park may be the smallest national park in the country but it’s packed with white sand beaches, lush tropical forests, and beautiful coral reefs. Join our guide as he takes you through a rainforest walk till a pristine beach is reached where you can sit back and soak in the gorgeous scenery.
Join the tour here.
Trek Through Arenal Volcano National Park
One of the most visited attractions in Costa Rica, the famous Arenal Volcano is home to the Instagrammable Lake Arenal and La Fortuna Waterfall. One of the few active volcanos in the world where you can still walk on trails formed out of lava, it covers 290 square miles and is a rich conservation area with eight of Costa Rica's 12 life zones and over 850 species of birds found there. Our guide will explain more about the history of the volcano, geology, and ecology of the area - and as always, in Costa Rica, expect to spot a few animals along the way! If you’re lucky, you might even spot puffs of steam from the volcano and hear a few deep rumbles.
Sign up for the tour here.
Explore Downtown San Jose
A world away from the San Jose you might be familiar with, the capital of Costa Rica is a vibrant Latin American city packed with art galleries, parks, museums, and historical buildings with pockets of beautiful greenery like La Sabana Park and San Gerardo de Dota looking out to the Cordillera de Talamanca mountain range. Join in a walk through the city and observe how Costa Ricans (Ticos) go about their daily business and learn about the medicinal plants that have been used for centuries in Costa Rica.
Join the walking tour here.
Walk Through A Costa Rican Coffee Farm
Here’s a fun fact: Did you know that a law was passed in Costa Rica in 1989 prohibiting the planting of low-quality beans. The only country in the world where it’s illegal to produce any type of coffee other than 100% Arabica, Costa Rican coffee is widely regarded as the best coffee in the world. Naturally blessed with ideal soil and climate for coffee beans to grow in abundance, our guide will bring you on a tour of a local coffee farm to learn all about coffee, the plant, the history, the production, even the chemistry of caffeine, and the preparation of a delicious cup of coffee in the old fashion way using a unique brewer called a chorreador, or coffee sock.
Join the tour here.
February may be the month we celebrate the Hallmark holiday of Valentine’s Day but there’s no reason you can’t plan something special all year round with these interactive, virtual experiences. Whether you’re looking to spice up your regular date night, out of ideas for a fun way to connect with someone you’ve just met, or organizing a virtual get to know your friends and family meeting, these virtual experiences will provide all the necessary spark, fun and romance.
Explore Amsterdam on a Bike
Now that you’ve done the dinners and weekday drinks, it’s time to test the waters if your romantic interest could be a potential traveling partner. Stoke his or her travel lust by exploring a new city together virtually. Hop along on a walking tour bike ride with That Dam Guide who’ll explore Amsterdam’s winding cobbled stone streets as you take in the sights of crisscrossing canals, historic houses, and picturesque bridges that dot the city center.
Join the tour here.
Gawk at Bolivia’s Salt Flats Together
Bucket-list trips may have taken a backseat the past couple of years but that doesn’t mean you can’t surprise your love with an adventure. Follow our guide and explore "El Salar de Uyuni" the largest salt flat in the world located in the southwest of Bolivia. He’ll give you a tour of this unique semi-desert and volcanic region pointing out the rock formations, volcanic wells, and spectacular geysers that make this landscape truly one of a kind. Depending on your visit, expect to see the intense blue of the sky contrasted with the brilliant white of the salt crust, or on cloudy days, experience the “White-out” effect where the horizon is blurred until it disappears into the salt flat.
Join this tour here.
Shake up some Cocktails in Hoi An
If you’ve missed going on random cocktail bar crawls while traveling, sign up for this storytelling/cocktail class experience hosted live in Hoi An. Enjoy a fun, interactive session where you’ll shake, mix and stir through a menu of vodka or rum-based tipples curated by professional mixologists and bartenders. All the while the host will regale you with stories from Hoi An and share evocative images of this historic trading port known for its wooden Chinese shophouses and colorful French colonial buildings.
Join the experience here.
Cook Some Turkish Food Together
Some of the best bonding moments happen over food - after all, this might be the person you’ll be having dinner with for the rest of your life. Forge a deeper connection by learning how to cook a meal together. This live, interactive class will teach you both how to make some traditional Turkish dishes like Imam Bayildi (stuffed aubergines), Cacik (cucumber yogurt salad), and Halva (a traditional sweet pudding made with toasted flour and browned butter). End the class with the host on her terrace overlooking the quaint village of Sirince, located 12 km from the ancient city of Ephesus.
Join the experience here.
Join A Japanese Happy Hour
Instead of popping out for a sushi/ramen date, why not treat your date to an online cocktail happy hour experience live from Japan. Aside from learning how to create two Japanese-style cocktails, you’ll pick up some professional bar basics and get to quiz the host on anything cocktail or Japan-related in terms of culture, travel, or food. As a bonus they’ll also dish on their best-kept Tokyo tips and tricks, so you won’t be lost in translation when you next visit that buzzing metropolis.
Join the experience here.
Picture this, you’re sipping a freshly brewed coffee to the soundscape of bustling Piazza San Marco admiring the passing gondolas and watching the busy Venetian shopkeepers haggling at the morning market. Later in the day, you sit face to face with a conservationist who takes you on a tour of Kruger National Park while regaling you with stories of his close encounters with the big five.
You’ve experienced all this through a virtual tour that's taken place in your comfortable living room. By doing so, you've sidestepped the minefield of rapid tests, ever-changing country entry restrictions, and without a thought if your travel plans will be derailed by staff shortages or bad weather. While virtual tours rose to popularity during the early days of the pandemic, it’s clear that it’s a way of travel that’s here to stay. Accessible, affordable, and sustainable, it’s a supplemental (and sometimes exclusive) way for many to keep exploring while also contributing to local communities around the world.
It’s A Way To Give Back
The tourism industry has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic and on-ground tour guides have been one of the most impacted individuals. Beeyonder provides an online space for local authentic experiences (by independent guides and tour operators) to be accessed remotely by anyone with an internet connection, regardless of location or time zone. In addition, by supporting live options like Namaste Delhi by Women for the World and the Walking Tour of Arenal Volcano National Park by Alejandro Cano Ospina it directly contributes to the livelihood of expert guides and the communities and local economies they support.
Travel Without Contributing To CO2 Emissions
According to the International Council on Clean Transportation, greenhouse gas emissions from commercial flights makeup around 2% of the world's total carbon emissions, and are expected to triple by 2050. For individuals committed to not using air travel, or reducing their reliance on it to make climate change a priority, virtual tours are a way to satisfy their wanderlust at no cost to the environment. As a bonus, virtual experiences often offer once-in-a-lifetime closer encounters and experiences that would not be easily accessible to the masses otherwise.
Unlock Exotic, Immersive Experiences, Sustainably
From the icebergs of Antarctica to the salt flats of Bolivia, Beeyonder’s virtual tours offer a convenient way to experience unusual encounters with wildlife or visit world-famous attractions that’s both affordable and inclusive. By choosing to visit a place virtually, it alleviates over-crowding from popular hotspots and vulnerable heritage sites that are in danger of being ruined by over-tourism. It also helps environmentally-conscious nature reserves, conservation centers, and wildlife foundations like the Royal Albatross Centre attract visitors to participate in their mission without overly stressing the animals.
It’s Accessible, Affordable, and Inclusive
Planning a big family vacation is a logistical nightmare. From having to juggle everyone’s work and school schedules, putting in for vacation time, and then there’s the daily hurdle of deciding what to do as a group that’s interesting and inclusive of all ages and physical capabilities. By organizing a group virtual experience, families can pick-and-choose different experiences, and still forge meaningful bonds together, without much fuss and within a budget. Beeyonder hosts a variety of shared experiences: from touring Pablo Picasso’s birthplace, exploring the Great Wall of China and City of David, or admiring the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu from 7,000 feet above sea level, regardless of the choice/choices, beautiful shared memories are assured.
It Can Be Better Than The Real Deal
Who doesn’t want to visit Bolivia’s Moon Valley in person or trek Brazil’s Savanna, Chapada dos Veadeiros, a national park full of waterfalls, canyons, and great nature? In theory, in-person experiences may appear more memorable but they could be a total wash as well if weather conditions are not on your side, or if something unfortunate happens en-route. By choosing a curated virtual experience led by local experts it can be as impactful, immersive, and entertaining as being there itself.
Travel the world virtually with 350+ live and interactive, group and private experiences in over 50 countries. See more at beeyonder.com