SENIOR INDEPENDENT TRAVELER DESTINATIONS

Dec 15th, 2011 | By James E Becker | Category: Senior Travel

Just for Senior Independent Travelers

The writers and editors at BootsnAll put their heads together to come up with a list of destinations for independent intrepid travelers. In case you are new to their site, they say that they have the world’s best group of regulars and visitors using their travel forums.  There are always discussions between people wanting recommendations and informed senior travelers helping them out. They asked for nominations for neat places to visit and here are a few of their suggestions.

Tasmania, Australia
When a country takes up a whole continent, it stands to reason that any island off its coast might  suffer from a case of overlooked-itis – and that’s definitely the case with Australia’s smallest state, the island of Tasmania.  Tasmania is renowned as having the purest air in the world.  If you’re interested in seeing one of Australia’s best kept secrets, you’ll head for Tasmania off the southeastern coast.

Siem Reap, Cambodia
While Bangkok is by far the most popular entry point into the cheap, exotic, and fascinating world of Southeast Asia, it has its share of problems, even when the government is stable. Siem Reap is just a bit south of Bangkok, and it offers a far more authentic and less slick look into the culture, while still having a well-developed tourist infrastructure to make things easy. The small provincial capital of Siem Reap Town serves as the gateway to the millennium-old temple ruins of the Khmer Empire.  Designated a World Heritage Site, the Angkor Archaeological Park encompasses dozens of temple ruins including the legendary Angkor Wat.

Bariloche, Argentina
Bariloche is located in the foothills of the Andes, very near the border with Chile, in the region of Patagonia. In addition to stunning scenery in every direction, you’ve got excellent skiing and snowboarding spots in the winter, and nearly unlimited amounts of summer activities including trekking, rafting, cycling, horseback riding, and many water sports. The city is also notable for its Swiss-style mountain resort look, including an abundance of chocolate shops ready to hand out samples to seniors passing by. The food and wine are excellent, and there are plenty of very affordable hotels mixed in among the pricy resorts.

Panama
From the colonial architecture of Casco Veijo in the modern and cosmopolitan city of Panama City, to the lush jungled highlands; from  a volcano from which you can spot both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, to excellent surf and beaches on the Pacific side and picturesque white sand, palm fringed islands surrounded by coral reefs and turquoise clear water on the Caribbean side, Panama has a little bit of everything to offer intrepid senior travelers.

Destinations Surprise Seniors

Bangladesh (a big surprise to me)
It’s true that Bangladesh is more known for poverty and natural disasters than for being the perfect vacation spot, but nearly every member of the BootsnAll community who has been to Bangladesh raves about it. The fact that it’s not an obvious choice certainly adds to its appeal, and yet the place is no gimmick just to prove how hardcore you are. Past visitors warn that it’s a place for “travelers” and not “tourists”, so this is definitely worth a look for any senior looking to get off the main tourist trail in Asia.

Sardinia, Italy
The island is full of great hiking trails, and being surrounded by water makes it an ideal spot for kayaking and snorkeling. Public transportation is notoriously challenging on Sardinia, and there could be a bit of a language barrier for those who stray away from the bigger cities.  Not only do people not necessarily speak English, most of them are speaking Sardinian and not even Italian!  If you’re willing to go off the beaten path in a country that’s been pretty well-trodden, you’ll be rewarded handsomely.

Senegal
Independent travelers looking to Africa generally start with Egypt, Morocco, or South Africa. But those seniors looking to explore some of the “real Africa,” should consider Senegal as an entry point. The capital city of Dakar is most famous for being the finish line of the Paris to Dakar Rally, but it’s actually a lively and relatively safe city with outstanding nightlife and a music scene that is the envy of the continent. Knowing French is more useful than English, though it’s not terribly difficult to get along with just English, especially if you make a point to learn a few local phrases.

Berlin
As one of Europe’s largest cities, Berlin is well known, but it’s definitely not an obvious choice for a vacation in the way that is true for London, Paris, Amsterdam, or Rome. Visiting was complicated before Germany reunified in 1990, and the entire country still has a reputation as being productive and efficient, but not really fun-loving. However, today’s Berlin has plenty going for it, including a feeling that is still somewhat exotic compared to most of Europe’s tourist-filled cities, and seniors will find that it’s noticeably cheaper than most as well.

Damascus, Syria
On this one… I might just wait a while, however as the person who nominated Damascus for this list put it, “There are few destinations left in the world where you can feel like you are truly stepping back in time. Damascus is one of them.” Syria’s capital and biggest city, Damascus is also one of the oldest cities in the world, so that feeling of stepping back in time is completely justified. Never mind that the market stalls stock thoroughly modern wares – the winding streets of the old city will transport you to the Damascus of hundreds of years ago, when this part of the city looked, sounded, and smelled much as it still does today. Aside from the markets, other major sights include the Umayyad Mosque, one of the world’s oldest and biggest, and housing what’s said to be the head of John the Baptist and the Citadel of Damascus.  It’s hard to look anywhere in the old part of the city and not see one historic site after another.

Colombia
Even before Anthony Bourdain featured the Colombian renaissance during his 2008 season of “No Reservations,” Colombia had plenty of momentum in the stakes to be “a place you just have to visit.”  No longer does the chatter center on drug cartels and random violence.  It’s been replaced by discussions about friendly people, natural beauty, and a country that is fun and safe for seniors visitors to explore. The coastal Caribbean city of Cartagena has long had a great tourist infrastructure mixed in with its colonial architecture and history, but now that things are under control many senior visitors are also visiting Bogotá and Medellin to get a bit deeper into the culture.

So as the intrepid senior independent traveler, how about looking into a couple of these just for fun?  jeb



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  1. [...] history to be experienced first-hand and Wikitravel can help first-time senior visitors locate the Angkor [...]

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