Cartagena Invites Seniors to Visit Columbia

Cartagena (Car-ta-HAY-na) was recently mentioned in my Travel & Leisure Magazine.  I wanted to investigate just a bit to see if perhaps seniors might enjoy exploring this exciting city found in Columbia, South America.  I learned very quickly to discern between Cartagena, Spain and Cartagena, Columbia.  There is a world of difference. I discovered a whole new world in Columbia and an exciting adventure just awaiting your arrival.  Wikitravel has lots of super information on the city and you will want to read it all in preparation for your travels, especially the See and Do portions.

Cartagena De Indias

World travelers report that Cartagena is one of the most beautiful cities of South America. The city was formally known as Cartagena De Indias (Cartagena of Indies) or Cartagena La Heroica (The Heroic) and is nicknamed The Walled City. Founded in 1533 by don Pedro de Heredia, and named after the port of Cartagena in Spain’s Murcia region, it was a major center of early Spanish settlement in the Americas, and continues to be an economic hub as well as a popular tourist destination. Traveler recommended attractions can be seen around every corner.

Seniors Delight in ‘Most Beautiful City’

Caribnet notes that Cartagena is the “most beautiful city in the Caribbean” and has a nice listing of things seniors will want to take in. Imagine viewing 1,400 photos of Cartagena on this site.  You will undoubtedly give up after a short while but do take off from the starting line. Senior visitors will find lots of good hotel deals in Cartagena with plenty of reviews.The Walled City and the San Felipe de Barajas Castle rank high for major attractions.

Is it safe?

A natural concern if thinking of a trip to Cartagena is safety. This should be a concern no matter where you travel in the world, but if heading to Colombia, it can be of particular concern and for good reason. Many locals now say that Cartagena is relatively safe. However, here are a few tips to keep you extra safe while traveling: try to learn some Spanish before you go.

Not speaking Spanish sets you apart, and results in difficult communications, which can only add frustration and annoyance to your agenda. If you are concerned for your safety, not struggling with the native language is one way to feel more secure. TripAdvisor puts in their two-cents worth on Cartagena safety and it looks pretty good. A few more healthy suggestions are advised for first-time senior travelers.

It sounds like a very neat place to visit, seniors. jeb


Seniors Discover Wonders in Flathead County

Whitefish, Montana has a population of just over 7,000 and is home to a ski resort on Big Mountain called Whitefish Mountain Resort .The town is the doorway to some of the best wilderness senior travelers will find anywhere in the world and is the gateway to Glacier National Park.

Whitefish is one of the major recreation centers of western Montana, surrounded by Glacier National Park, pristine lakes, and a wide variety of outdoor recreation opportunities. Senior citizens can see on this map of Montana that Flathead County is way up in the NW corner just to the west of Glacier National Park.

Visit the Chamber Site

The Whitefish Chamber of Commerce site is a principal link to the city with many subjects that will interest senior visitors. Founded at the turn of the 20th Century, the Great Northern Railway chose to put its northwestern Montana headquarters in Whitefish.  Nestled at the northernmost tip of the majestic Flathead Valley, Whitefish offers residents a peaceful – yet active – lifestyle that is the envy of communities near and far.  Seniors, you can pick your pleasure – from hiking & biking to boating & cycling, from skiing & skating, to floatin’ & fishin’ … you’ll find all that (and more!) in Whitefish. It’s one pretty cool city and it really is quite cool most of the year. Whitefish abounds in history basically from the Great Northern Railway coming through the area.

Seniors Find Unmatched Scenery

Take in Whitefish scenery and you’ll see why folks who live here all year round find it truly a vacationland paradise. From Hit the Hay to Loula’s Cafe seniors will find plenty to keep occupied. Located in the Northern Rockies, the town is surrounded by hundreds of lakes, including Whitefish Lake, and scenic rivers. Around Whitefish it’s called the “secret season,” with abundant spring wildflowers, towering waterfalls and Glacier National Park.

Explore the famous “Going-to-the-Sun” road on bicycle, roller blades, or foot. No cars allowed! The location of the valley keeps it safe from extreme climate changes encountered in other portions of Montana, making it ideal for year-round recreation.

And Always the Downtown…

With its covered sidewalk main street leading to the cultural arts center, historic depot museum and public library, this quaint, picturesque western town offers senior visitors a change from the fast-paced, hustle and bustle of urban life. Central Avenue is filled with a variety of quality restaurants, shopping and night life.

How about viewing 21 different videos on Whitefish. Explore places to eat, stay and play in Whitefish. For a small community Whitefish has more than its share of art exhibits and galleries for seniors to explore.

Its all Big Sky Country out here.  Montana represents the untamed, the wild, the natural and if you have never been there, you are in for a real treat.  jeb


An Historical Past

Senior travelers, here’s the rest of the Ajo story, the former copper mining town turned lovely retirement community.  Ajo, in the very south of Arizona, shows off its beautiful plaza, lined with Spanish style markets, and two beautiful white churches at its commercial center.

The impressive facade of the Curley School brightens the opposite end of the street a few blocks away.  The Curley School on the National Register of Historic Places, is located in the beautiful and equally historic heart of Ajo.

Quaint residential streets lined with many Spanish style houses, the town is reforming itself as a retirement community. Winters are warm and the heat of summer is extreme. Senior visitors find plenty to see and do in Ajo.

Downtown Ajo Welcomes Seniors

Trip Advisor and I agree that a senior coffee, breakfast or lunch stop at Marcela’s Cafe & Bakery, where the locals congregate, is a must. Looking for a place to live during the winter months? Check out this listing. Ajo is quite protected by a huge border patrol station south of town.  If you own an RV, this park is worth checking out. The Cabeza Prieta Natural History Association invites seniors to learn about the history of Ajo as well as the surrounding area.

So venture south from Gila Bend to Why and Ajo.  The route, Hwy 85, is declared a “scenic route” as you pass through mountains, wide views of the Sonoran Desert wildlife all along the highway. You will see signs that indicate senior drivers need to watch for roadrunners, cattle and coyotes along the highway. Arizona has much to offer and these small communities is one reason why. I love Arizona and both of these towns, and I think you will too. So come and visit. jeb


Seniors, Where is Why?

Why, Arizona has long had an interesting history.  I pass through Why on my way south to Mexico on mission trips from the Valley. We always stop in Why to gas up (and buy Mexican car insurance) on our way to Rocky Point (Puerto Peñasco).  This senior citizen has wondered how Why ever got a name like that. 

Why, Arizona

Why is a tiny community in Pima County. It lies near the western border of the Tohono O’Odham Indian Reservation and due north of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Southern Arizona. It is approximately thirty miles north of the Mexican Border where Lukeville, Arizona, and Sonoita border each other, and just ten miles south of Ajo, Arizona. So why the name? The unusual name of the town comes from the fact that the two major highways, State Routes 85 and 86,originally intersected in a Y-intersection. At the time of its naming, Arizona law required all city names to have at least three letters, so the town’s founders named the town “Why” as opposed to simply calling it “Y.” So there, now senior travelers know why Why is called “Why.”

Ajo, Arizona

Ajo is much larger than Why with a population of 3,705. Ajo, located on State Route 85,  just 43 miles (69 km) from the border, is the closest community to Organ Pipe Cactus Forest.  If you know Spanish then you know that Ajo is the word for garlic. The Spanish may have named the place using the familiar word in place of the similar-sounding O’odham word for paint (oʼoho).

How Ajo Got Its Start

The town’s economy originally centered on the New Cornelia copper mine that was open from 1926 to 1985, but now serves mostly as a retirement community and a waypoint for senior tourists heading from Phoenix to Mexico’s port city of Puerto Penasco. Ajo is a thriving community during the winter months, but during the scorching summer months tends to be a quiet place.

Ajo is home to some of the most spectacular photography opportunities in the world.  Vibrant colors of multicolored horizons draw senior photographers from across the globe.  

Meet me same place, another time, senior travelers,  to hear more about Ajo… its quaint downtown and historic past.  jeb


This Senior Loves Corrientes

Why do a travel blog for seniors on Corrientes, Argentina?  Because I’ve been there.  A few years back my wife and I were a host family for our “Argentine Son”,  Alejandro from Corrientes.  Ale lived with us for almost two years, attended the high school  where I taught, and now is an international flight attendant. Ale’s family have been close friends for over 30 years.  After Ale graduated from high school, we traveled with him to his hometown, Corrientes, where we spent the month of July ( it is cold in July in Argentina).

We have many fond memories of our journey south and I wish to share some with you.  Besides Corrientes was a trip to Brazil where we experienced the world famous Iguazú Falls and then the remnants of a major Jesuit undertaking in Misiones Province.

Corrientes is the capital city of the province of Corrientes  located on the eastern shore of the Paraná River, about 1,000 km (621 mi) from Buenos Aires. It has a population of approximately 350,000, has a mix of colonial and modern architecture and is home to one of the biggest carnival celebrations in the country.

Don’t miss a walk along the river drive, which has natural balconies looking over the river, a visit to the zoo, to the museums or shopping along Junín pedestrian street.  Corrientes is a great city for senior strolling… safe, inviting, with historical monuments all over the city.  The city of Corrientes features beautiful buildings that were constructed in colonial times, with European influence and elegant architecture..

Then There is the Paraná River

The Paraná River, South America’s third largest river (after the Negro and Amazon Rivers), looks like a huge lake.   It ranks with the greatest rivers of the world: the Nile, the Amazon, the Yangtze and the Mississippi.  It’s muddy and full of fish. The bridge over the Paraná is awesome, built in the 1970s, connects Corrientes to its sister city, Resistencia, on the western bank of the river.

The name Paraná is an abbreviation of the phrase “para rehe onáva”, which comes from the Tupi language and means “like the sea” (that is, “as big as the sea”). Corrientes offers a tourist landscape where seniors can enjoy the sport fishing of dorado

There is Much for Seniors To See and Do

The world-famous Iguazú Falls are said to be the “most beautiful waterfalls in the world.”  We totally agree! The term “awesome” does not do the falls justice. It is simply “inspiring!“.

In Misiones Province, we visited the former Jesuit missionary site and walked through the ruins of this once magnificent structure.  It is a World Heritage site…that says it all. In the area are the very impressive ruins of five Jesuit missions, built in the land of the Guaranis during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Check into February when Corrientes dresses up to celebrate its unique carnivals.  This would be an ideal time for seniors to schedule a visit to Corrientes.  Enjoy the city and the environment as we did. jeb


More on Good Old Dodge City, Kansas

Well senior Vaqueros, I told you I’d be back with the second session on this wonderful old historic town in Kansas.   Let’s put it back into perspective: Nickname(s): “The Cowboy Capital of The World“; “The Wicked Little City”; “Queen of the Cowtowns”; “Bibulous Babylon of the Frontier”. Motto: “Get The Heck Into Dodge.” That’s set the stage once more for the continuation of this travel blog, seniors, so enjoy your  stagecoach ride into town.

Historic Front Street

Old Dodge City, which includes Boot Hill Museum and Historic Front Street, is an accredited western history village museum located on the original site of Boot Hill Cemetery in downtown Dodge City. Life in the 19th century is interpreted through audio-visual programs, exhibits, a reconstruction of Dodge City in 1867 restorations, and living history demonstrations.

Exhibits in the Boot Hill Museum include an extensive old west gun collection, Boot Hill Cemetery where unfortunate victims of the early days of lawlessness were buried, Fort Dodge jail, one of several original buildings at the fort still in existence, a one-room school, and the haunted 1878 Hardesty House, a restoration of a Victorian era cattleman’s home.

Other 19th century business exhibits include a general store, cigar store, dry goods store, barber shop, two saloons, drug store and doctor’s office, hardware store and saddlery, gunsmith, printing office, railroad depot, and blacksmith. A great spot for seniors to reconnoiter and bring back old memories of younger days.

Year-round Fun For Seniors in Dodge City

Each summer, the Dodge City Chamber of Commerce holds Dodge City Days, the city’s annual community festival. Lasting ten days, it includes the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo, a parade, a beauty pageant, music concerts, a golf tournament, arts and craft shows, and other activities.

How about reining up at the Boot Hill B&B  and taking in the Kansas Teacher’s Hall of Fame.  Senior visitors can board the new Dodge City Trolley to get a nice overview of the town. Lick your chops at a five-star Vietnamese restaurant called Saigon Café.  And to get you into the “mood” to visit, Dodge City, join a cattle drive on the old Chisholm Trail. Smells like cattle huh?  You can almost hear those longhorns with their horns loudly clicking together in the drive.  Some say that you could hear the noise for miles.

Anyway…enjoy Dodge City, Kansas.  My wife and I did.  It’s a very special place partner!  jeb


Dodge City “Queen of the Cowtowns”

Dodge City, Kansas is “The Cowboy Capital” where the action used to be filled with cattlemen and a few outlaws and desperadoes.  At the Boot Hill Museum senior visitors will be transported back to the dusty streets of the 1870’s and 1880’s on Front Street.  It’s a great place to learn about the famous cowboys who roamed the area.

Guns That Won the West” features firearms from the Frontiersman who used the flintlock muskets and pistols, to the collection of commemorative guns donated to the museum by recent citizens of Dodge City. The guns of choice for the gambler of the time were pocket pistols, derringers, and belly guns, but you probably already knew that.  Any season of the year, a visit to the Old West in Dodge City will transport seniors to an exciting and interesting era.

Senior citizens, you can stroll down the boardwalk on Front Street and peer through the windows into a time gone by. You can plant your feet atop the original Boot Hill Cemetery located in the heart of modern day Dodge City where 28,000 folks hang out and call it home.

An Overview of Dodge City

This wildest of Wild West cities had a heyday of only a decade, from 1875 until 1886. Established in 1872 along with the Santa Fe Railroad, by 1875 the town of traders, trappers, and hunters had to find a new economic base – the buffalo had been exterminated. The era of the great cattle drives was already under way, and Dodge City became a den of iniquity where gambling, drinking, and general lawlessness were the norm.

Trail of Fame Draws Senior Travelers

Seniors can follow the  Trail of Fame Walking Tour  as it winds its way through the Dodge City historic district from the newly restored Santa Fe Depot, sundial park, and railroad caboose to the Visitors Center and Boot Hill Museum. Famous and historic western figures memorialized include Wyatt Earp, “Bat” Masterson, “Doc” Holliday, General George A. Custer, “Big Nose” Kate Elder to name just a few. Many of the main cast members of “Gunsmoke” including James Arness, Amanda Blake, Milburn Stone, Ken Curtis, and Buck Taylor are also installed. These are just a few of the famous and infamous denizens of historic Dodge City.

The current centerpiece of the Dodge City Trail of Fame is the larger than life nine foot bronze statue, “Wyatt Earp, Famous Dodge City Lawman.”  I’ll be back with more on Dodge City…  Adios vaqueros! jeb


Seniors Voyage To Cave Creek and Carefree

Hugh Downs had it right when he chose to live in Arizona and this area. Just 30 miles but worlds away from downtown Phoenix, Carefree and Cave Creek seem to have something for every senior, from rustic ranches to luxurious spas, funky shops to fine art galleries, picture-perfect desert terrain to mountain lake oases, and rollickin’ saloons to critically-acclaimed four-star restaurants. With more than 300 days per year of glorious sunshine, Cave Creek and Carefree are  perfect for seniors to enjoy every type of activity, year round. Senior nature and history buffs will want to explore the  miles of nature preserve trails on horseback, bicycles, foot or by jeep. The area abounds with scenic drives and history.

What To Look For

Watch for turkey vultures, giant horned owls and mule deer, and be awed by forests of giant saguaros. Don’t miss the Hohokam’s prehistoric rock drawings and their dwelling remains, or the remnants of old stagecoach stops and gold mines. Seniors, while you are in the area, how about taking a balloon ride out over the Sonoran Desert? Phoenix Hot Air Balloon rides have been a favorite of senior tourists and native Arizonans for many years.

True Arizona

Experience the True Arizona in Cave Creek – eclectic shopping, art galleries and the unrivaled beauty of the Sonoran Desert. More than 20 restaurants for senior visitors to choose from; everything from fine dining to cowboy cookouts, horseback riding, rodeos, country and western dancing, museums, parks and nature preserves, hiking and biking and old mining tours. There is plenty of Arizona history to be found at the local museum and it is full of artifacts of the prehistory of the area.   And you will love those big bouldersand the beautiful Sonoran Desert and those gracious homes somehow attached to the side of the mountain!

Cave Creek Visitor’s Guide

Located high above Phoenix in the foothills of Black Mountain, Skull Mesa and Elephant Butte, Cave Creek has accomplished the nearly impossible task of maintaining its old west character and charm, becoming one of the most recognized Western towns in the U.S. I do love city guides that invite  seniors to flip through page by page and this one is in color and easy to read. Trip Advisor kicks in with photos, a map and their listing of Things to See and Do.

Gracious Living in Carefree

Carefree Arizona  is a place for gracious living in a desert forest of rare beauty.”  The town of Carefree has settled in the foothills of the Sonoran Desert amid lush terrain and ancient boulders.  This one-stop link will provide maps and directions, events, area information and much more for senior visitors. Trip Advisor has more to add.

Carefree has evolved over the years into an eclectic mix of boutiques, restaurants and galleries. At the town center is the historic Carefree Sundial, and thus the quote “Carefree, where the sun marks time.” Take a tour and check out this calendar for posted events. So partner…mosey up on to Carefree and Cave Creek.  You will find it to be one of your most memorable visits.  jeb


Reno, The Biggest Little City in the World

What began as a small community built to serve westward travelers in the mid-1800s has become a bustling city that acts as the gateway to northern Nevada, aptly known as “the Biggest Little City in the World.”  Senior travelers discover in this area 15 ski resorts, 50 golf courses, Lake Tahoe, and the state capital Carson City,  plus thousands of biking and hiking trails, several lakes that are perfect for fishing and boating, and the entire length of the Truckee River, running right through the center of Reno’s downtown. Couple those activities with Reno’s hotels and casinos, plus a growing nightlife, and seniors, you have the perfect place to put up for a few days and enjoy some great recreation.

With a population of over 218,000 (It’s not SMALL!), Reno is the largest city in Northern Nevada. It is located in the southern part of Washoe County, nestled on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in an area called the Truckee Meadows. Reno and the surrounding area provide unlimited indoor and outdoor recreational activities for senior visitors.  And the weather is great!

Spectacular Lake Tahoe and the largest concentration of ski facilities in the world are all within a fifty-mile radius. Biking, camping, hunting, fishing and mountain climbing are all activities Reno residents and senior visitors enjoy. Want a closer view driving through the city?  Try this.  Yes, it does snow in Reno. You can always take in one of their annual ballon races.

Reno is NOT little Las Vegas

Reno sits in a high desert valley at the foot of the Sierra Nevada. Famous for its casinos, and the birthplace of the gaming corporation Harrah’s Entertainment,  city residents are called Renoites. Reno is bordered to the east by the city of Sparks. The Reno-Sparks metropolitan area is informally called the Truckee Meadows, and consists of about 400,000 residents. Lake Tahoe is nearby and attracts many visitors to the area.

History Buffs Like Reno

As early as the 1850s a few pioneers settled in the Truckee Meadows, a relatively fertile valley through which the Truckee River made its way from Lake Tahoe to Pyramid Lake. In addition to subsistence farming, these early residents could pick up a bit of business from travelers along the California Trail, which followed the Truckee westward, before branching off towards Donner Lake, where the formidable obstacle of the Sierras began. The University of Nevada, Reno is the oldest university in the state of Nevada and Nevada System of Higher Education. In 1886, the state university, previously only a college preparatory school, moved from Elko in remote northeastern Nevada to a site north of downtown Reno, where it became a full-fledged state college.

What Can Seniors Do Besides Gamble?

TripAdvisor provides 48 activities for seniors to keep busy while visiting Reno.  A national automobile museum is of interest to many senior visitors.  The Planetarium, the Univ. of Nevada, museums and more attract visitors from all over the country here. Reno it is. jeb


Shēnzhèn Awaits Senior Visitors

More and more senior travelers are choosing China as their next vacation destination.  Shenzhen is the third largest city in China, no small feat for a city only 30 years-old. Originally a fishing village of 30,000, Shenzhen has grown into a major and modern metropolis of 12 million people. China’s doors have opened to the rest of the world and dozens of tour agencies are courting seniors to come to China and to see for themselves a country in full development. Cities such as Beijing and Shanghai are two favorite spots to visit, however Shenzhen is drawing its share of tourist traffic as well.

Shenzhen is in the south of Guangdong Province, situated immediately north of Hong Kong. The area became China’s first—and one of the most successful—Special Economic Zones (SEZs). It currently also holds sub-provincial administrative status, with powers slightly less than a province. Let’s start off with Frommer’s Complete Guide to Shenzhen to spark your interest.  Fodors kicks in with their “two cents worth” on the city as well.

Why Should Seniors Choose To Visit Shenzhen?

Chances are, the iPod in your pocket was made in Shenzhen. But this industrial powerhouse of a city on the Pearl River Delta in the southern region of the country, is more than just a factory town of sweatshops and bad smog — and it has the high-class hotels and high rollers to prove it. Shenzhen is one of China’s wealthiest cities, right up there with Shanghai and Beijing. A 2010 study conducted by Forbes magazine ranks Shenzhen’s population density as the 5th highest in the world.  A walk around Shenzhen’s leafy western suburbs will quickly allay any doubts as to the wealth in the city.

Things To See and Do In Shenzhen

The city has an abundant supply of adventure and fun with amusement parks, museums, theme parks, golf clubs, botanical gardens, a sea world, exhibition halls, culture villages, beaches, a university and a water park called Xiaomeisha Wonder World. Window of the World is a theme park that is full of replicas of sites all over the world. All the continents are well represented in the 118 acre park that features stunning replicas of the world’s greatest wonders.

Shenzhen Travel Guide

This looks to me to be a one-stop everything guide, filled with information on most every aspect of what senior travelers will need and want to know about Shenzhen. As per usual, I’d highly recommend a guided tour of the city to get to know it before choosing particular spots to visit later. More than thirty years ago, this was just another small Chinese fishing village, called Baoan County. In 1979, it was renamed Shenzhen City.

This map will serve you well and you may want to print off a copy to take with you.  Enjoy the city and plan on visiting my Best Chinese Websites to learn a little Chinese prior to your visit.  It will pay off well.  jeb

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