Many people feel an indescribable urge to follow in the footsteps of celebrities long passed—hoping that a connection to their genius or charm still lingers in the air of their apartments and favorite pubs. The guides of Esotouric understand and share this urge, though they prefer to roam the paths of history by bus. After scouring the famed neighborhoods of Los Angeles in search of interesting and outlandish locations, they share their findings on bus adventures that retrace the trails blazed by local artists, filmmakers, writers, and actors.
Esotouric's odysseys wind through haunts such as Raymond Chandler's favorite breakfast spot and the salon Charles Bukowski visited for his weekly knuckle-hair perm. Coloring their tours with anecdotes about the films adapted from his noirish stories, guides also visit locales captured in the cinematic landscapes of James M. Cain. Various tours explore Southern California’s culture, literature, and architectural sides, giving history hounds the chance to sniff out sinister deeds in old-time tattoo parlors, burlesque shows, and crime scenes.
Ghostly Tours in History's passionate guides unlock a portal to the paranormal, leading visitors to haunted and eerie sites around San Diego's Old Town district and Gaslamp Quarter. Depending on the tour, stops include Victorian mansions, the Whaley House, known graveyards, and even unknown graveyards, below which lie the bodies of restless souls. Featured on both the Travel Channel and the Fodor’s Top 400, the company offers walking tours as well as bus and limousine tours for guests tired from giving their assigned ghost a piggyback ride.
In keeping with the historical nature of the tours, each guide dons a period costume and alter ego, ranging from reformed vagabonds to pioneering entrepreneur cowboys. In reality, the cast of guides is equally as diverse, encompassing trained actors, students, a Navy serviceman, and past and present members of the San Diego Historical Society.
Named "Xaman-Ha," or waters of the north, by ancient Mayan inhabitants, Playa del Carmen still shelters scattered ruins along its Caribbean shoreline. Aquifer-carved, limestone caves known as cenotes earned the area a long-held reputation of wellspring of fresh water. Among the ocean adventures, the long arm of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef courts snorkelers and divers to explore vibrant subterranean wildlife, and closer to shore, panga boats with scoop-shaped bows hunt tuna, mahi-mahi, and snapper—any of which local restaurants will cook fresh to order for a successful angler.After meandering along palm-caressed Riviera Maya beaches at sunset, visitors can promenade on the pedestrian-only Quinta Avenida, or Fifth Avenue. A chorus of international languages mingles with the tunes of mariachi bands and street performers as revelers take in after-hours dining, drinking, and people watching along the cobblestoned route. Along the periphery of town, the tropical jungle bustles with a wild party of its own, as wandering tapirs, sereki, coatimundi, and iguanas are easily spottable even outside the many nature preserves and zoos.Room rates start at $204 per night (including taxes).
The thick September fog haunts the water like a lonely ghost, obscuring the boat’s passengers’ view of everything but their fellow riders. Convinced that they’ll see nothing more that day, Captain Joe Nazar turns his vessel around and heads back to shore when suddenly, out of the brume, a graceful hulk breaks through the rolling waters. The boat has unwittingly happened upon a pod of humpback whales, and everyone––including the seasoned naturalist guides aboard––suddenly falls into a stunned silence as the majestic creatures spout water and dive into the mist. Fostering humbling, awe-inspiring interactions with nature such as this is Captain Joe’s raisons d'être and the driving force behind the founding of San Francisco Whale Tours.
San Francisco Whale Tours demonstrates the beauty and diversity of the Bay’s bustling ecosystem with regular nature tours that trawl the coast. Captain Joe––aided by his expert crew and sage naturalists––shares his passion for aquatic adventures with his guests via leisurely excursions through the waters of the Farallon Islands aboard the Kitty Kat, his trusted watercraft. The catamaran ferries its curious passengers in style with a sun deck and enclosed cabin, and its low wake and gentle underwater noise make it a model marine houseguest. Aiding the crusade to preserve whale populations, San Francisco Whale Tours donates a portion of profits to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
Revolution Wine's skilled staffers give each batch of their hand-crafted red, white, and port wines a full body and lush feel. And while heavy machinery and wooden barrels help do the hard work of converting these wine grapes into libations, it's the winemakers who pour a little bit of love into each batch. In the winery's kitchen, a dedicated team of chefs churns out a menu of seasonal bistro food made from local and fresh ingredients. Small artisan plates of French cheese, mixed nuts, and savory bruschetta offer a lighter dining path, while larger entrees of housemade pasta and pork belly sandwiches with cheddar jalapeno biscuits present heartier fare. Revolutions Wines also offers a wine club that gifts members with limited-edition wines and grants access to the first sniff when each new barrel is opened.
Green grassy slopes, white-sand beaches, and gently waving palm trees give way to the cerulean surf of the Pacific Ocean. Along the sun-soaked highway, convertibles and SUVs topped with surfboards change lanes to make room for an English double-decker bus. Big Red Bus’s drivers lead their tours from the helm of either an open-topped or close-topped bus with a converted lower-level bar. All buses are outfitted with stereo systems and painted bright red, signaling to monster trucks that they’re poisonous.
Drivers may take passengers on tours of local breweries, pubs, and wine bars, excursions to kayak or surf along the beach, or tours of southern California—most often driving along the coast to offer unobstructed, panoramic views of the ocean and city skyline. They also let passengers customize their own excursions around topics such as special event shuttling, weddings, or beer and wine tours.
Explore handcrafted tours and things to do by Zicasso.