Seniors Check Out Some Caribbean Islands

The Caribbean is a body of water adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean, southeast of the Gulf of Mexico. Did you know, senior travelers that the complete area of the Caribbean Sea, including its numerous islands, is known as the Wider Caribbean that includes 35 states and territories?

It is bordered by Venezuela, Colombia and Panama to the south, Central American countries (Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras and Belize) on the west; with the Greater Antilles (Cuba, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico) on the north and the Lesser Antilles on the east.  

What makes the area so special is the fact that these tropical waters average 27°C and it varies no more than 3°C.  That’s great for senior swimming, snorkeling and diving!  The economies of its island countries, are greatly dependent on tourism; the region is one of the world’s principal winter resort areas.

Is There “A Best And Richest Island?”

Looking for the “Best Island?”  Seems that depends on where you are and who is deciding. When you first touch foot on Anguilla and gaze around, your immediate impression is… “unassuming.” No majestic volcanic mountains. No hustle, no bustle. Calm. Some claim that it’s the best.

Tropical forests, exotic wildlife, verdant plantations, hypnotic rhythms, delicious cuisines and a plethora of activities, all make the Caribbean the ultimate senior vacation paradise.  Top ten richest islands are: 1 Trinidad and Tobago 2 Bahamas 3 Barbados 4 Antigua and Barbuda 5 Saint Kitts and Nevis 6 Dominican Republic 7 Saint Lucia 8 Jamaica 9 Cuba 10 Grenada.

 A trivia question: How many islands are there in the world?  Take a wild guess. Tough call to make since islands are born and disappear, split up and break apart. If you count all the sandbars and such as islands, then there are millions. However, people live on over 100,000 islands throughout the world. There are more than 2 million islands, but as previously said, islands appear and disappear all the time.

The name “Caribbean” is derived from the Caribs, one of the dominant Native American groups in the region at the time of European contact during the late 15th century. Actually, the Caribbean Sea was an unknown body of water to the populations of Eurasia until 1492, when Christopher Columbus first sailed into Caribbean waters on a quest to find a sea route to Asia.

Seniors, Do You Have A Top Pick?

Between the Cayman Islands and Jamaica, the sea floor dips to 7,686 m (25,220 ft) below sea level. There is an “official Caribbean Sea” website with lots of information on the entire area. Senior travelers can select from a long list of islands to obtain specific information on each.

TripAdvisor picks their Top Ten Islands.  Maybe you will agree, maybe not.  #1 is St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.  I enjoyed Howard Hillman’s website on the Islands and his ratings for classy living, casinos, food and so forth.

Enjoy your search for the best, the most attractive, the most welcoming, the most….  jeb


Seniors Head South To Quito

Senior travelers, if you’re looking for a South American adventure, consider booking a trip to a 16th century Andean city known as the cradle of ancient pre-Incan history and recently named South America’s leading tourist destination by the world’s travel industry.

Quito captured the lofty title at the World Travel Awards for South and Central America in Peru recently, just in time to fete its 35th anniversary as a UNESCO Heritage site — one of the first capital cities in the world to be bestowed with the title. Senior world travelers can set their compass when planning a trip by going to Google/Yahoo/Bing and typing in where you want to go followed by World Heritage Sites.

World Travel Awards Interests Seniors

Ecuador’s tourism industry generated $1.2 billion in revenue in 2011, which signaled 5% growth from the previous year, and the industry continues to grow in 2013 thanks to promotion efforts that expose the beauty of Ecuador’s four different worlds: The Pacific Coast, the Andes, the Amazon and the Galapagos Islands.

So is Quito safe for seniors? According to the U.S. Department of State, petty theft is by far the most common problem facing American tourists. Fodor’s Travel Guide recommends taking the same common-sense precautions that apply to any large city in a developing country, including traveling in groups when possible, avoiding travel after dark and leaving valuables in a secure place such as a hotel safe. Just don’t go off my yourself, okay? And look for hummingbirds that are as large as full-grown robins.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

They say “Live like royalty in Ecuador.” I did not live like royalty but with a group of MDs and DDS I did spend two weeks providing health and dental care to the poorest of the poor in rural Ecuador. Our R&R was spent in Quito, and why not.  Great food, modernity and just fine, friendly people.

The city’s Old Town—a restored UNESCO World Heritage site—is a window into the country’s colonial past. The #1 “must see” in Quito is Iglesia de La Compania de Jesus. #2 is The  Museo Casa del Alabado, an art museum devoted exclusively to the preservation of Pre-Columbian Art.

 Wikitravel fills in early history, the local visitor’s bureau, getting around and advising seniors to take the world’s second highest cable car to overlook the city. I find the Wall Street Journal Travel section very informative. They note that early evenings are the liveliest, and loveliest time to explore.

Along the Old Town’s cobblestone streets, women prepare empanadas and fried corn in doorways. In the Plaza de la Independencia, candy sellers in felt hats with peacock feathers and boys with shoe-shine kits wander among pink-flowering trees. Overlooking the Old Town is the winged Virgin of Quito, the city’s signature statue, built on a hill that was considered sacred in pre-Incan times.

Quito belongs on your travel bucket list.   jeb


So Where Exactly Is Germantown?

I have discovered that there is a plethora of neighborhoods and towns all over the country with the name Germantown.  I have visited a few myself and wanted to share several with senior readers.

Philadelphia has a Germantown that is about 7 or 8 miles northwest from the center of the city. Called “Freedom’s Back Yard,” the neighborhood is rich in historic sites and buildings from the colonial era, a few of which are open to the public.

This neighborhood has National HIstoric Landmarks as well as Historic Places like the Colonial Germantown Historic District and the Rittenhouse Historic District. Senior visitors can enjoy a walk through each one.

With a population of over 85,000, Germantown in Maryland  is the third most populous city in the entire state, so it is far from being just a “neighborhood” like most others. It too is full of culture as the URL outlines.

 Seniors Find Germantowns All Over the Map

There is a Germantown in Tennessee located near the Mississippi River along the historic trails of the Chickasaw Indians. Germantown offers its residents a safe, attractive and energetic community. And how about throwing in a “village” in Wisconsin with lots of senior visitor attractions.

We find another in New York called a “town” that is nestled  on the east bank of the Hudson River 100 miles north of New York City and 40 miles south of Albany. Over 2,000 Germantown residents enjoy a quiet, family-centered life-style in the country with easy access to the river for boating, fishing and viewing spectacular sunsets behind the Catskill Mountains.

In Ohio the Twin Valley was a “valley of peace” for the various Indian tribes hunting here. The Shawnees had a settlement nearby as late as 1804. The first pioneers arrived in the area in 1798 and stayed about six years before most moved on. Germantown was settled in August, 1804, by German-speaking families from Pennsylvania.

 German Village Also Works

Actually I started out to write this blog to describe German Village that is a historic neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio, just south of downtown. It was settled in the early-to-mid-19th century by a large number of German immigrants, who at one time comprised as much as a third of the city’s entire population. I knew this one personally as a grad student at Ohio State.

I’ll toss in a famous Academy with the name.  Germantown Academy, a K-12 institution originally named the Germantown Union School, is the oldest non sectarian day school in the United States and was founded on December 6, 1759.

Being half German (the other half Czech) I enjoyed discovering these Germantowns with you.  If you travel much you have probably come across a few neighborhoods called Germantown yourself. Just Google them and read on.  Hope you enjoyed your stop here today.  jeb


Why Senior Citizens Love Turtle Bay Resort

Are you a senior citizen or a child of a senior? Whichever your answer, you are probably thinking of a place to spend retirement for yourself or for your parents. Among the places that pop in your mind, here are the reasons why Turtle Bay Resort is the better option.

 Vow Renewal

Turtle Bay Resort is frequented by many couples for their destination wedding. As a matter of fact, the resort has hosted over 350 weddings a year. The stunning oceanfront and the sparkling sandy beaches are the reasons why even wedding proposals happen here. If you are one of the guests in the beach wedding celebrated here, you will fall in love the same way that every couple has felt.

 The resort also offers an excellent wedding and honeymoon package. A wedding florist is available who offers a variety of tropical blooms in a form of leis and bouquets. But, Turtle Bay is not only a perfect place for tying the knot, it is also the perfect place for seniors to renew their vows. The resort is now offering a vow renewal package for two which includes dinner and flowers.

Expert tip: Did you know that Turtle Bay is the only resort in Hawaii that can use arches and chairs in their beach weddings? That’s a major plus if you’ll be inviting several guests.

 Secluded Venue

Reminiscing the good ol’ days is one of the inevitable parts of life as a person matures and grows older. This moment is appreciated more when it’s shared with someone special who has been there through the ups and downs of the journey. This may sound like a scene from a melodramatic-themed movie but it really happens.

Many seniors enjoy spending the day having a good walk down memory lane with their special someone in the comfort of their home or at a chosen scenic spot.  The spectacular view of the beach does not only provide a beautiful setting for senior citizen couples but it also gives them a tranquil place to spend a moment together.

Senior-Friendly Spa

Senior citizens can benefit from the spa at Turtle Bay. Although age and health conditions may restrict some seniors from all the services, the professional staff guides them with appropriate treatment. With a guide, senior citizens are safe with Swedish massage offered in Nalu Kinetic Spa. It’s one of the gentlest massages that calms the body. It reduces tired muscle tension, improves circulation and relieves symptoms due to arthritis. The sessions may be done indoors or in an outdoor garden view room.

 Body care, skin care, manicures and pedicures are also offered. Just as the vows are renewed, Nalu Kinetic Spa can rejuvenate the aging skin through its ECO CERT products which include the popular Plant Stem Cell serum.

Weddings, vow renewal or spa, you’ll find it all at Turtle Bay.


Dynamic Christmas Duo Invites Seniors

CNN is at it again. This time it selected two small towns that “sparkle during Christmas.”  Coming from a town of 300 in Iowa, this senior citizen tends to prefer small towns where “Big Things” are happening. Such is the case for Mifflinburg, PA (population 3,500) and Tomball , Texas (11,000).

Seniors Visit Mifflinburg, PA

With a population of fewer than 4,000, Mifflinburg Pennsylvania is one of the smallest to mount its own authentic Christmas market. The borough of Mifflinburg is located in central Pennsylvania. Senior visitors will experience the unspoiled charm of a 19th century Pennsylvania town with its specialty shops, historic homes, and a busy calendar of events and historic buildings including the Elias Center for the Performing Arts, the Weirick House and the little log house.

When describing Mifflinburg, the adjective “charming” is the most often used and for two good reasons.  First, Mifflinburg harbors some of the best examples of colonial and Victorian era architecture to be found. Secondly, its residents take pride in the preservation of Mifflinburg’s heritage and in retaining the 1800′s look of the town.

The Christkindl Market is an awesome experience. Mifflinburg’s version of an authentic Christmas Market, inspired by the 700-year-old traditional German Christkindl Markt, or Christ Child Market, is a festive event prepared by various churches, organizations, schools, and residents.

For three full days, Mifflinburg’s Market Street is transformed into a traditional outdoor German Christmas market with pine covered wooden huts lining the street. Oktoberfest is another special event in Mifflinburg, celebrating its German heritage.

Seniors Travel to Tomball, TX

State Senator Thomas Henry Ball established the city as a railroads center, and in 1907, the community was named “Tomball” in his honor. Tomball’s big neighbor is Houston, but its sister city is the town of Telgte in northwest Germany.

On the second weekend of December that familial relationship is front and center in this Texas town. Tomball is known for being the “Hometown with a Heart” and a town with a strong sense of community and recognition of traditional family values.

The old downtown district comes alive in Tomball with the sounds of live German music, tasty food and family fun during the annual German Christmas Market. Vendors with all sorts of holiday gifts items, street performers and a giant kids’ play area are just a few of the activities that make this one of Tomball’s most popular festivals.

A popular place to visit near Tomball is the Mercer Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, which offers opportunities for senior hiking and bird watching. You will find many shops in restored homes throughout the town. So mark your map and include both on your Christmas visit around the country. jeb


Corralejo Is Due For a Senior Visit

TripAdvisor’s top travel destinations are on the rise for 2014 and Corralejo is right in the middle. Seniors will enjoy every moment in this historic and popular beach site. Corralejo, on the island of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands, is one of the most popular holiday resorts in Europe.

Located on the North coast, Corralejo is the largest and liveliest resort on the island, and offers everything you could need for an assured fantastic sunny vacation. This former fishing town nowadays is a popular beach resort on the Jandia Peninsula. Seniors will find lots of vacation rentals available all year round.

The island is without doubt one of the most beautiful of the Canary Islands. It is actual the second-largest of the Canaries with a relatively flat, yet diverse landscape, although it is also the least densely populated, retaining much of its true character.

The port and central town is energetic with more than 40 restaurants and ferries to the nearby island of Lanzarote. The huge sand dunes are among the major attractions in town.

Let’s talk about the weather, in one word, it is superb. Once, a small fishing village, nowadays it is a lively seaside resort attracting tourists of all ages especially during the summer months. Several small beaches can be found in Corralejo and each is alluring, however many beach lovers head for the long and wider beaches of Grandes Playas which can be found southeast of Corralejo.

Corralejo has a pleasantly dry climate that hardly ever gets too hot or too cold. The island is great for water sports  and there are several great restaurants all around the fishing harbor, including the famed La Marquesina. Over the years Corralejo has managed to retain its original charm and atmosphere.

Seniors Discover World Famous Beaches

The beaches and dunes in Corralejo are world famous. Corralejo town beach and Corralejo dunes beach are both famous golden sandy beaches. Corralejo beaches are considered to be some of the best beaches in the world together with Jandia beaches on the south.

Famous for its sensational coastline, which stretches for more than 120 miles, Fuerteventura is home to over 150 beaches, many of which are perfect for an array of water sports, and often lined with numerous cafés, bars and beachfront hotels. You may get “pictured out” with this plethora of images, but they can provide a nice overview.

Corralejo is just waiting for you so what are you waiting for?  jeb


Twenty Eight Things To See Before You Die

Six times a week I refer visitors at Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona to the Smithsonian’s list of 28 places to see before you die. The staff of Smithsonian—as diverse a group of travelers as you’re likely to meet—put their heads together to come up with an exclusive list of neat places the senior reader might wish to visit.

Some of the sites are portals into the past—ancient cities so well preserved that visiting them is like stepping into a previous century. Others feature feats of engineering or sublime works of art as in the cases of the Taj Mahal and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. Fallingwater in Mill Run, PA, called “The House That Floats On Air.” is a Frank Lloyd Wright architectural masterpiece.

Here’s a suggested list of US Destinations for Your Senior Travel Bucket List starting with the Grand Canyon, the US Capital and the Space Needle in Seattle. Seen each of those already?  Many have.

Seniors, Don’t Say, “No”…Say “Not Yet”

I am confident that some senior travelers have knocked on the doors of a few of these places. I always ask on my tours, as a guide at Taliesin, if any visitors have been to the Taj Mahal. Most say no. I respond by saying, “Don’t Say No, Say Not Yet.”  This is always what I told my students in my French classes to say when asked the same question on any destination in the world.

The site above classifies the destinations as: Portals Into The Past, Feats of Engineering, A Matter of Timing, Triumphs of Vision, Scale New Heights, In the Presence of Gods and Here Today Gone Tomorrow. That makes for a nice array of Culturally or Historically significant sites throughout the world and many World Heritage Sites.

Seems like so many travel organizations have their own ideas for 2014. I kind of liked List Challenges listing of 100 picks, several of which I’ve seen. How about you?

 Five Trips To Consider

The World is your marble and you have wings, so go for it. Maybe put Bhutan, Valparaiso, Chile, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil, Istanbul and Iceland into your travel bucket plans. There is a little more information on each on this site and you can always Google for more.

The Smithsonian Advises: Walk the timeless streets and byways of ancient cities on three continents | The world’s surviving architectural wonders hewed from stone and mortar beckon as ever | Choosing the right year, month or even moment can make all the difference | Don’t just see nature’s most spectacular sites—experience them.

 I’ll depart on a “high note” today with 27 Surreal Places To Visit Before You Die by Buzz Feed Travel with three awesome photos of each. Enjoy your upcoming adventure folks and pick out a few from this great list of 40 more that includes snorkeling with whale sharks. You’ve got your work cut out for you seniors. Enjoy!  jeb


Seniors Enjoy Rural Sicuani

CNN runs what they called “Photos of the Day” and Sicuani, Peru was included. CNN selects from user-submitted photos. Seniors will have to “thumb through” several neat photos before you come to a Bolivian woman tending her sheep.

What neat photos. I found the small town, 12,000 feet high in the Andes known for its Indian markets for llama skins and alpaca wool, to be totally fascinating and invite you to check it out personally.

This village reminds me of my visit to Chichicastenango in Guatemala, a village famous for its parish church…baroque facade and sculpted high altar. In Sicuani, sheep, alpacas and llamas dominate the horizon and main street is quite dark. The simplicity of the environment is what makes a visit here an adventure and seniors will enjoy the pastoral quietness that dominates the village.

This comment by visitors at the modern Wikkamayu Hotel tells it all: “Liked this one a lot – pretty decor, lovely pisco sours. Check out took an age, ‘though! Left us a little rushed for time, but to be fair, we were quite a big group, leaving at 6 am, and I think it overwhelmed reception staff.”

 Seniors Travel Out Of The Way

You may be one of the thousands of tourists who head for Cusco on your way to Machu Picchu. Very few travelers make their way to Sicuani when visiting Peru, and this is what makes it an adventure.  Now instead of heading north go south for 2 hours on Hwy 35 to Sicuani. Senior travelers may have to shrink the map a few times to find both cities, but give it a go and enjoy the photos.

A paved road runs southeast from Cuzco to Sicuani, at the southeastern edge of the Department of Cuzco. It continues to Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca, then on to the border with Bolivia. The highway, the Valle del Sur, is a stretch running south east of Cusco to Sicuani and boasts lesser-known, but equally important, Inca and pre-Inca Sites. Senior travelers will want to search these out.

Combis run every 15 to 20 minutes between Cuzco and Sicuani, and more frequently to the villages and towns in between. You can fly in with Yauri Airport just 61 kilometers away from Sicuani and Fausa Airport, 71 kilometers away. Enjoy  exploring in exciting Peru.  jeb


Seniors Delight In Salzburg

Salzburg, the fourth largest city in Austria is called the ”Stage of the World”… there are so many things happening and there is so much for seniors to see and do. Located near the German (Bavarian) border, Salzburg has a population of some 150,000 people.

Art lovers call Salzburg the Golden City of High Baroque; historians refer to it as the Florence of the North or the German Rome; and, of course, music lovers know it as the birthplace of one of the world’s most beloved composers, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-91).

An important city for the tourism industry, hundreds and thousands of visitors from all over the world visit the “Small Paradise” of Salzburg throughout the year. With its depth of history, this city is regarded as the oldest and most important cultural and spiritual center in present-day Austria.

 That Name and Old Town

The name Salzburg literally means “Salt Fortress”, and derives its name from the barges carrying salt on the Salzach river, which were subject to a toll in the 8th century. Salzburg’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has internationally renowned baroque architecture and one of the best-preserved city centers north of the Alps.

Traces of human settlements have been found in the area dating to the Neolithic Age. The first settlements at Salzburg were apparently begun by the Celts around the 5th century BC.

Old Town is the #1 attraction but there are 74 more for senior visitors to explore. Although The Sound of Music was shot at a handful of places throughout Salzburg, the movie’s gazebo scene, where Liesl and Rolf sang the duet, “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” was filmed at Hellbrunn Palace.

The world-renowned Salzburg Festival, since it was founded in 1920, annually attracts thousands of art and culture lovers from all over the world. Music especially but also major theatrical events form the basis for the world reputation of the Festival.

 For Senior Hikers and Bikers

In the summer the most popular leisure pursuits by far are mountain hiking and cycling. Hiking and trekking tours range from technically straightforward excursions in the Pinzgau and Pongau areas of the Grasberg Mountains to high alpine mountaineering in the Hohe Tauern region.

Senior cycling enthusiasts will find everything from easy family routes to challenging tours over the Grossglockner. The Tauern cycle path is especially popular. Lonely Planet has done a lot to change its travel websites with portions of their website that read DO, SEE, TOUR, STAY.

Fodor’s is not far behind with a great Overview of Salzburg.  I discovered a travel guide written by locals very helpful for preparing the way into the city. The photo gallery and sites were especially well done. Viator will fix you up with  tours and the Top 10 Insider’s Picks. Enjoy your stay in Salzburg.  jeb


Seniors Enjoy “True North” Traverse City

Traverse City in northwest Michigan has made the news again. It has earned its reputation as a four-season destination thanks to its almost endless offerings of activities. Send for a Free Travel Guide online, senior travelers, and read all about the many activities that go on year-round.

Traverse City is located north of Grand Rapids along US Highway 31 on the banks of the Boardman River near Grand Traverse Bay and Lake Leelanau. Some call Traverse City “True North” others call it “True Michigan.”

 Seniors, Bring Along a Cherry Bucket

Traverse City is the cherry capital of northern Michigan. The Grand Traverse region is well-known for its world-record tart cherry harvest and seniors visiting the festival will find cherries made into all kinds of food products. The area bursts at the seams each summer when the National Cherry Festival occurs.

Named one of America’s Top 10 Beach Towns by Fodor’s Travel Guides, Traverse City is Michigan’s favorite northern travel destination. It has something for everyone, no matter the season or age. At 15,000 people, there is a small town feel with large town advantages.

Miles and miles of white sandy beaches along Lake Michigan (over 180 miles of shoreline), exhilarating outdoor activities, and award-winning wineries make Traverse City the place senior citizens will want to be. The food scene in Traverse City is gaining national attention, in part to recognition by Bon Appetit magazine and Chef Mario Batali, who has a summer home there.

I seem to find vineyards all over the United States. Traverse City and Leelanau Peninsula area is home to 34 wineries, many of which offer tours and wine tasting, and they’re all within miles of each other.

 And Bring Along Your Golf Clubs

Area golf championship courses may become your favorite places to play. With designs by Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Tom Weiskopf, senior golfers will find the courses both beautiful and challenging. The local Film Festival now owns and operates the State as a year-round, community-based, mission-driven, and volunteer-staffed art house movie theater. Senior hikers and bikers will find some great trails to enjoy as well.

Downtown Traverse City has long been the hub of entertainment for the region and remains the place to be and be seen when it comes to nightlife. In Traverse City, senior visitors will find a strip of beachfront hotels, beautiful bay views, a historic downtown shopping and restaurant area, and its own minor league baseball team, the “Traverse City Beach Bums.”

TC feels much bigger than its population of 15,000 suggests and seniors can choose from a host of water activities, including fishing. Plus you’ve got parasailing, skiing, ballooning and hiking the dunes along Michigan’s western shore. Put it on your bucket travel list. You’ll enjoy everyday you spend there.  jeb

Find Your Destination

Travel DestinationsTypes of Vacation/Travel
  • Polls

    Where would you most like to travel in 2013?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...