With strict stay-at-home measures in place, tourism outlets are coming up with creative ways to help us see the world. Here, our top picks for virtual travel experiences to help your imagination wander, even when you physically can’t. —Hollie Grace James
experience utah. Boasting some of the darkest skies in the U.S., the timeless quality of Utah’s canyon country is brought home through this virtual stargazing experience. Sit back and watch as constellations slowly turn over the vast desert landscape, appreciating the sense of peace it can bring in an uncertain time.
discover germany. Using the hashtag #DiscoverGermanyFromHome, the German National Tourist Board has launched a social campaign that lets you virtually experience destinations through beautifully captured images. Be inspired by such magical places as Scherwin Castle, the eastern city of Chemnitz and a mysterious “ghost forest” on the Baltic coast.
jamaican escape. Using its social media to uplift and inspire armchair travellers around the world, the Jamaica Tourist Board is holding weekly Instagram Live videos featuring ZJ Sparks, one of the country’s most popular DJs. You can look forward to closing out another week of social distancing with the Friday night virtual dance party, which encourages viewers to chill and unwind to cool Caribbean beats.
breeze to belize. With beach houses and casitas just steps from the ocean, Coastal Breezes offers short-term rentals on the tropical island of Ambergris Caye (the very place that inspired Madonna’s hit song La Isla Bonita). With a live webcam that updates every 30 seconds, you’ll be instantly transported to this lush paradise, where you can spend time watching the Caribbean sunrise, palm trees swaying in the breeze and the tide slowly moving in and out.
navigate newport beach. This Californian coastal town rose to popularity when The O.C. entertained TV viewers through the complicated lives of its characters. Although you may not be able to experience the upscale shopping and high-end restaurants in person right now, you can take in the world-class charm via the Coast Cam, or get your sweat on through Newport Peach, a fitness studio that offers modernized step aerobics classes.
find calm in costa rica. Through video, Visit Costa Rica is continuing to inspire travellers to pursue “Pura Vida,” a phrase and mindset shared throughout the country to give thanks, offer a warm welcome and describe the feeling of happiness felt by the locals. These challenging times require us, more than ever, to pause and consider what is truly essential to life.
peruse puerto rico. As we all come together to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and find ourselves in our homes, daydreaming and seeking creative inspiration, Discover Puerto Rico wants to share the joyful and uplifting spirit of the island’s vibrant culture with you. Join in a virtual weekend getaway and enjoy a tour of El Yunque rainforest and a live Pilates class … without having to leave the house.
see santa rosa. This coastal California town is offering 30 virtual experiences to satisfy your wanderlust while providing inspo for future travel to Santa Rosa—think wine tastings, animal sanctuary tours, surf camps and classes that show you how to cook a farm-to-table meal!
zoom around bermuda. New social distancing guidelines and an increase in working from home have made video chatting and conferencing with friends, family and co-workers a part of the daily routine. Explore and gain inspiration from a variety of "Bermudaful" scenes to use on your next call. So … which one are you going to try first?!
belize it. Matachica Resort in Belize is updating its Instagram weekly with a mix of yoga and meditation classes, garden tutorials and do-it-yourself food and cocktail recipes from its award-winning Mambo restaurant.
play in peru. As part of its virtual Peru exhibit, Pointe-à-Callière museum is offering three free Peruvian-themed colouring sheets for kids, including one featuring three happy alpacas! Also, Inkaterra, a group of ecotourism hotels and lodges in Peru, has created a new “at home” website with interactive activities for families. Currently, the page has two free downloadable activities for kids: a book entitled Coco the Andean Bear with a story and activities such as connect the dots and a cut-out mask, and a bear paper craft that can be printed and assembled.
tour montreal. Experience Montreal through neighborhood tours, as well as Mount Royal Park, the Botanical Garden and the Underground City (created by Art Public, the city’s public art committee). Or, take a virtual mural tour created by the festival that usually takes place in June.
go usa. GoUSA TV has one of the most impressive collections of high-quality, best-in-class travel content on the planet. The channel is now introducing new content weekly to entertain and inspire us while we stay at home. It’s available for everyone to stream ad-free—without a subscription.