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.
Kia Ora! Welcome to New Zealand, the land of the long white cloud formed by volcanoes and cooled by glaciers. For avid travelers with a great love for the outdoors and unspoiled nature, New Zealand is a dream destination with popular spots like the powdery ski slopes of Queenstown, the glaciers of Fjordland, Tongariro National Park’s active and extinct volcanoes, and the golden sand beaches of Coromandel. This November, join us as we explore one of the most pristine, beautiful places left on earth through our collection of virtual experiences.
Get Close to a Royal Albatross
Did you know the average royal albatross flies an estimated 190,000 kilometers a year?
Endemic to New Zealand, these magnificent feathered giants are quite a sight to behold. Weighing approximately 9 kilograms with a wingspan of 3 meters, get close to them through our Virtual Albatross Experience hosted through the Royal Albatross Centre in Dunedin, New Zealand. The world's only mainland breeding colony of royal albatross, our guide will delve into the conservation work being conducted at Pukekura "Taiaroa Head" to look after the Toroa/Albatross, its unusual biology, and perhaps even treat you to the sight of one of these seabirds taking flight! Join our tour here.
Walk The Streets of Auckland
Picked by Lonely Planet as one of the world’s best cities to travel to in 2022, Auckland is New Zealand’s most vibrant city with a thriving art, dining, and culture scene and stunning nature spots a mere ferry ride away. At the heart of it is the ongoing redevelopment of Auckland's waterfront. Feel the vibe and energy of this popular spot as you embark on a walking tour of the area. Our local guide will bring you to famous landmarks such as the historic Ferry Building, the Waitemata harbourfront lined with hip restaurants, and home to superyachts, all the way down to the infamous Sky Tower and the two drawbridges of Wynyard Quarter. A great introduction to Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland’s Maori name), this tour will give you a peek of what to expect in Auckland and might prove compelling enough to book your flight over. Join our tour here.
Be a Dairy Farmer for a Day
New Zealand’s fertile soils and temperate climate make it pastoral heaven with a lush farming landscape that’s home to grazing cattle and sheep. Dairy farms are particularly prevalent (there are almost as many dairy cows as there are people) with most farms averaging at least 400 cattle. Join our unique dairy farmer virtual experience where a local farmer will show the ins and outs of manning a milking shed seven days a week while learning why dairy farming is a big business and how it’s slowly pivoting to be more environmentally sustainable. An excellent experience for families and friends who love animals, corporate events, and virtual team building, join our fully interactive and personalized tour here.
Learn The Story of New Zealand
Planning a trip to New Zealand can be a daunting experience, so it helps to have some expert insights beforehand. Our local guide has been showing off New Zealand to the world for the past two decades and has put together this educational experience to throw more insight into this island country in the South Pacific. A fully interactive and personalized experience, she’ll talk about the stunning landscapes, the culture of its people, the diverse flora and fauna, and some unique tidbits that make New Zealand, New Zealand. Join our tour here.
There are many things we do to ensure our health. We eat right, we exercise regularly, we schedule regular check-ups, but how many of us are making a conscious effort to keep our mental well-being in check.
Research has shown that meditation is one of the best ways to manage stress and the onset of negative emotions. When used properly, it holds the power to enhance the flow of constructive thoughts and positive emotions, leading one to live more peacefully in the present. A simple and inexpensive practice, it can be performed as an individual (or in a group, or virtual setting), and can be done anywhere, even if you’re cooking, hiking, or on your daily commute.
The beauty of meditation is there’s no right or wrong way to practice. Instead, the focus is on finding a style that motivates you to build a consistent practice (even 5-10 minutes daily helps) and by doing so helps relieve tension, quiet the mind and foster a deeper mind-body connection. Here are five popular meditation styles to try.
This is a form of meditation that many perform but aren’t aware they’re doing so. If you’ve ever gone on a slow walk and emerged feeling renewed, there’s a good chance you’ve just completed a session of walking meditation. Elevate your practice with a virtual meditation experience conducted in a local temple in Chiang Mai. Led by local host and former Buddhist monk Kit, he’ll give a mini-tour of the temple and lead a session teaching the six practices of walking meditation before introducing a monk to give a virtual blessing. Find out more about this experience here.
Sound Healing Meditation
There are many ways to use sound - through crystal bowls, gongs, Himalayan singing bowls - to facilitate a meditative state. Gong therapy, in particular, has been growing in popularity and while skeptics might scoff at using a gong to improve one’s well-being, there’s proof that the therapeutic sounds and vibrations are highly rejuvenating and can help to steady one’s nerves. Sessions usually start with pranayama (breathing exercises) before the gong meditation portion kicks in where one sits in a meditative state as a gong is played softly. While reactions vary from emerging relaxed to being more emotional, the common denominator seems to be a deeper sleep experienced for the following 48 hours.
In the 1980s, the Japanese invented a form of mobile meditation called forest bathing (shinrin-yoku) as part of a national health program. Far from it being a simple walk in the woods, the art of “taking in the forest through our senses” consciously calls upon one’s presence in nature to connect with it all: the sights, smells, and textures, to bring about feelings of positive wellbeing and relaxation. To experience a session of forest bathing, try this virtual experience hosted at Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Shrine and its lush green surroundings. There, a guide will lead you in a compassion meditation in front of the gratitude god and guide you on a “forest bath” to the soundscape of a flowing waterfall. Find out more about this experience here.
If you’ve ever observed monks deep in meditation, they were likely practicing the ancient tradition of Zen meditation. A practice that started 1,500 years ago, it involves sitting upright (crossed legs is optional) and following the breath’s movement in and out of the belly. Where the challenge lies is in blocking out any distractions and focusing solely on letting the mind still and “just be.” The aim of Zen meditation may not seem apparent at first but it brings real mental and physical well-being benefits, and by fostering a sense of presence and alertness, bodes well for anyone looking to live life more “in the present”.
A form of meditation, where your attention is trained on a single object for some time, this style can take many forms, from Loving Kindness meditation, Chakra meditation to the creation of a mandala. Regarded as a sacred symbol for healing and prayer, the practice of drawing a mandala helps to clear the mind, build patience, and give one a sense of peace and positive energy. Our guide will lead you on a virtual mandala art practice and meditation experience where you’ll learn to draw a mandala (the patterns, relevance of different shapes, using the grid for symmetry) and use your breath meditatively while creating patterns. Find out more about this experience here.
As the pandemic forced travelers to stay home, virtual travel provided an outlet for seeing places through videos or Zoom demos right from our screens. Even as places are reopening, virtual travel can still provide viewers with not only a portal to the world but also a boost to your mental health. Here are seven ways it can do so.
1 - Learn something new
Travel is its own classroom, providing a multi-layered education beyond a textbook. According to a Florida International University study, travel-related experiences can foster personal enrichment and self-driven learning for students of all ages. Also, the study noted that people who pursue their interest in travel throughout their lives can consider themselves to be lifelong learners. Take note: virtual travel can continue to offer many rewarding lessons.
2- Gain perspective and gratitude
Travel also gives us the opportunity to be introduced to residents of other countries and to learn more about their cultures. Through a virtual tour, we can watch and experience everything from their cuisine to their languages and overall way of life. We can gain a better understanding and perspective of other traditions and practices. Even if we can’t be there in person, we can be taught virtually how to make a certain dish or the history behind a city and other incredible subjects.
3- Socialize and meet new people
While traveling gives us the experience of seeing different places, it’s also the people we meet along the way that can create memories. Virtual travel can provide a sense of connection when in-person travel might be challenging. It can also help with the feeling of isolation.Virtual experiences give us the opportunity to become acquainted and interact with people within their country that we’re interested in learning more about. Through our video tours, connect live with guides as they introduce you to their locations and cities and other areas of expertise. They will show and tell you more about their destinations, from popular attractions and foods and drinks to fun things to do and more about their culture and heritage.
4 - Get a boost in creativity
Another plus for virtual travel is that it can stimulate your creative side. An article in The Atlantic noted that our creativity is linked to what’s known as neuroplasticity, which enables the brain to rewire itself and be revitalized to changes in your environment or stimulation. Think of it as a confidence boost. Travel is often touted for its benefit of getting us out of our comfort zones in trying something new that might seem scary to us at first. Watching a travel-related video of an activity that we’re curious to learn more about or always wanted to try is a good step in that direction.
5 - It can help relieve your stress
Our lives get busy and packed with responsibilities, so a break from our daily schedules can be rejuvenating. And we need it too. According to findings from the U.S. Travel Association, more than half of Americans didn’t take all of their vacation time, accumulating 768 million days in 2018. Along with a respite from your routine, taking one of our virtual tours can give you time to recharge your batteries. Being instantly transported to a faraway place can provide the mental break needed to face the rest of your day.
6 - It can be a source of self-care
Self-care has become a buzzword but this act of taking care of your mental, physical and emotional needs is important to carry out. Virtual travel provides videos on topics that can help us unwind or deliver us to a calm, soothing place. Virtual experience topics can incorporate a class in meditation or perhaps a seminar about faith. Or decompress virtually by following a tour that takes you along a beach, within a park or garden, or another relaxing scenic spot.
7 - It can help to inspire you to plan a future trip
While the pandemic ceased travel plans, planning an upcoming trip can still be a thing to do -- and give us something to look forward to. A National Geographic article highlighted that anticipating an upcoming trip instills in us everything from a sense of optimism to recognizing the value of purchasing experiences over things. Virtual tours can provide inspiration and information for planning a potential visit. For more information, see our pre-trip planning experiences.
Travel the world virtually with 350+ live and interactive, group and private experiences in over 50 countries. See more at beeyonder.com