Stasi Kara is a full time guide who works the summer season in Greece for Busabout. The 27-year-old from Zimbabwe got his start in the business in 2008 after booking himself on one of Busabout’s Hop-on Hop-off flexi-passes. He loved the concept so much that he applied for a job and has been hosting the company’s Greek Island Hopper trips for over four years. This trip was voted by tourradar as Europe’s Tour of the Year for 2016
How long have you been a guide for Busabout? I joined the team in 2013 after taking a Busabout trip that just blew my mind. I really love the way Busabout does things and could see myself working for them. I applied and was put through quite a vigorous selection process involving multiple interviews and once accepted I spent two months prepping and researching before the seven week training period. I then traveled Busabout’s Southern Loop from Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland to Venice, Rome before ending in Greece to learn the ropes.
What is a typical day like for you?
I’m up really early (before 5am) to prepare for the day which includes confirming ferry crossings, hotel bookings, side trips, which clubs will be open and more. Then I get the group together and catch up over a good laugh on the previous nights’ antics. Then it’s a quick briefing on what we’ll be doing that day, sign up passengers for the optional excursions and then we leave. I give my travellers all the information they’ll need to enjoy the journey – where to draw money, best places to get an inexpensive lunch, top bars with cheap cocktails, where to shop and the like.
What is your favourite part of the job?
I love showcasing Greece to my travellers and my aim is to get people leaving Greece wanting to come back and do more. I love sharing my knowledge of the culture, the food, the people, the history and generally dispelling any myths or misconceptions travellers may have of the destination. I also love introducing my travellers to the places I know like Ari who sells the best pizza in Mykonos and our Santorini driver Stavros who knows everyone and everything. I want my travellers to experience Greece and her people because they are truly amazing.
What is the strangest request you have received?
One on group there were two single travellers who had just broken up with their partners. Everyone on the tour played cupid to put them together and let their love blossom. We had them do a fake proposal at sunset on Santorini complete with celebratory drinks. They continued the joke for the rest of the trip and hit it off in the end.
In which ways have you gone the extra mile to make sure guests were happy?
I do everything I can to have the most up to date local knowledge that will make my guests holiday the best ever. If this means finding them the perfect gyro at three in the morning or taking them to the hottest, hippest club of the moment then that’s what I’ll do. I also like to teach my guests a few helpful and handy phrases in Greek that will help them along the way, a little ‘Kalimera’ works wonders.
If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be?
I wish the travel season was longer so that I could introduce more people to the beauty of the Greek Islands. We currently run from May through to September on our Busabout Island Hoppers.
What’s your favourite thing to do in Greece?
It’s all about the people. Each island has such special people. Getting to know those on each island and building relationships means that I get to introduce passengers to friends and family at each stop! And I love the prospect of all the new people that I get to showcase this amazing destination to.
Describe a perfect day in the Greek Isles, that you would recommend to guests?
There’s just so much but I’ll focus on Santorini. Do a bit of shopping on Jewellery Street and chat to the wonderful locals too. Manuella and Harris at Gold in White always make for enlightening conversation. Grab a drink at the bar where you feel like family, the Highlander is just the place. If you’re feeling adventurous, grab a few friends and ask for the Russian roulette shots! Check out the beaches and ancient ruins! My favourite beaches are the Perissa black sand beach and Akrotiri for an amazing archaeological site and the famous red beach. Taste some local wine with a view at the Santo winery and make sure that you visit and explore the beautiful city of Oia. Make sure that your first views of the caldera is spectacular by heading over to the Tropical Bar in Fira to enjoy one of Jeannie's specialized cocktails on the balcony overlooking the caldera. Then grab a bite to eat, Fanari gives you an uninterrupted view of the sunset, great food using local produce and very warm, friendly service (My go to here is the slow cooked Lamb Kleftiko and zucchini balls as a starter)
What’s your favourite cocktail on the Islands?
It’s got to be a strawberry daiquiri.