Senior travel destination Cabo San Lucas

The temperature in February averages a warm but not too hot 75 with cooling breezes in the early afternoon. Pink, purple and orange Bouganvilla bloom in abundance while palm trees reach upward to the ever blue sky. Locals are smiling and friendly and fellow resort goers forever shine a happy smile your way aware of their good fortune as they share with you this bit of paradise. Cabo San Lucas in Baja California has everything it takes for an inspiring and relaxing tropical escape. And  although known worldwide for crazy spring break antics, local resorts have long catered to senior citizens not missing a beat as growing numbers of baby boomers reach retirement age.

As I write this I am sitting in the Hacienda del Mar in Cabo on my deck overlooking the ocean having just returned from some hours sitting under a cabana on the beach. We spend a lot of our time there reading, resting, looking and enjoying waves and sand and peace. Around me I notice the average visitor is leaning toward the “well seasoned traveler” category with an age closer to retirement than not.

What is it about Cabo and the experience that attracts senior citizens? Is it something in the water? Or is it in the way everyone is made to feel a little bit special? And more importantly, is Cabo San Lucas somewhere that you personally would enjoy visiting as a retiree?

Hacienda Del Mar

There are many hotels and time share units in Cabo some catering to the younger crowd while the others focus on the rest of us. We stay at Hacienda Del Mar as part of a time share but the location also includes a full feature, multiple roomed hotel. The resort is four miles outside the town of Cabo San Lucas and truly self-contained with multiple pools, restaurants, a complete spa, golf courses, and plenty of beach front. Golf carts are ever ready to wheel visitors to destinations anywhere in the complex. And the elevation is gradual from the beach to the farthest rooms with elevators to get you to floors other than ground level.

The location is ideal for us as we prefer to stay on the grounds the majority of our one week trip, typically making one day trip to a local attraction such as Todo Santos (home of the Hotel California), and spending one day in town (making sure to wind our way to The Office restaurant which is in the sand overlooking the harbor and makes what I consider to be the best fish tacos anywhere). Staying four miles away, we are not caught up in the hoopla that is downtown – unless we choose to be!

Keeping busy

We are pretty good at entertaining ourselves but should one require a little creative guidance, look no further. Different hotels offer various options but here is a sample schedule from our visit.

Activities schedule

9:00  Stretching in the activities center

10:00 Water Aerobics in the activities pool

11:00 Blackjack Game where you can learn the finer points of wagering and bluffing

12:00 Ping Pong

2:00 Mexican Bingo where you learn to howl like a Mariachi and imitate the sounds of local wild life as you match your card with the Spanish words called out by the hostess

3:00 Zumba class

4:00 Beach volleyball for the adventurous

Happy hours are staggered throughout the day with different restaurants stepping up to the plate with snacks of all kinds to compliment that perfect margarita. Afterward, eight restaurants offer a variety of fares to tantalize your palate ranging from beach side munchies to all you can eat spreads of local delicacies to a more formal but not too formal dinner atmosphere at Pitihaya on the sea.

Cabo San Lucas town is about four miles down the road and readily accessible via shuttle or taxi. Visiting the town allows you time to wander the harbor where impressive yachts owned by the rich and famous are anchored as well as visit the local hot spots where the spring break crowd cut loose – Cabo Wabo, Giggling Marlin, and of course Squid Row. If you are like us, you may choose to visit these during the day just to say you have been there. But if you are still a little crazy at heart, after hours is when the action really happens.

World renowned for it’s fishing, you will find plenty of boat owners willing to take you out and set sail for a fishing adventure of a lifetime. Or if you just want to take a tour around the harbor, you can visit El Arco with it’s  view the Pacific Ocean from the safety of the Sea of Cortez, set foot on Lovers Beach and walk the 100 yards to Divorce Beach, and see the south most part of the continental US all in a 45 minute jaunt in a glass bottom boat. And if you are looking for a romantic evening there are sunset cruises and dinners made to order.

As you can see, options to entertain are many, the weather is temperate except in summer months, the natives are friendly, and in such a beautiful surrounding you cannot help but feel a little younger. With special attention given to baby boomer visitors and what makes us tick, Cabo San Lucas is a senior travel destination worth considering.

Adios Amigo!

Don't Retire Without Your iPad

Apple’s iPad has been perpetually in the news as millions of people each month add it to their electronic devices collection. The advertisements on TV and the internet show a sleek, easy-to-use, feature-rich and just plain cool device, smoothly demonstrated for our benefit. Apple as usual does it right and kudos to them for yet another evolutionary product introduction. Might this ingenious creation fit into senior life?

So here I am at 52, right in the middle of the boomers, comfortable with my desktop and laptop, not afraid of the internet and even getting caught up in the whole social media movement, not a technophile but definitely not a technophobe. Despite the glitzy ads and general frenzy, why would I want an iPad? Is there anything new it could add to the quality of my retired life? Well, it turns out there definitely is. Let me tell you about a few things to put a smile on our senior faces…

1. Your best travel friend ever – travel is a significant part of retired life whether we are talking about plane trips across the globe or mobile home journeys across the state. Senior citizens love travel, trips, being a tourist, and visiting unique destinations. An iPad can make the journey that much more enjoyable:

  • A library in your lap – have you ever set aside a book specifically for a pending trip, struggling daily to stay disciplined enough to not start reading it before you get on that eight hour flight? Unfortunately, quickly into the novel you realize that you just do not like it. And you are stuck in a plane far from any bookstore. An iPad allows you to carry a library with you, made up of free books as well as those you purchase. Before you jump on that plane, you can stock your library and have at your finger tips multiple books to dig into. Even better for our aging eyes, with a pinch of your fingers on the screen, you can zoom into the text for easier reading. If you don’t understand a word, tap it and a dictionary pops up to help you out.
  • Mind-boggling Maps – while traveling, you can enter an address and up pops a map but not just any map. With your finger, you can move the map to adjust and view the surrounding area. You can zoom in on your destination to more closely plot your route – just pinch your fingers together. You can change views from map to satellite, tap the location and even see the view from street level! The iPad “knows” where you are and by tapping where you want to go, quickly generated directions for you, including walking and public transportation options. And the nine inch screen makes seeing where you are going much easier than trying to decipher on your tiny phone or GPS. Short of having a personal guide, you are in very good hands.

2. Music and videos – your iPad allows you to store a LOT of music. You can download from iTunes and create your library of songs. Also available are movies that you can easily rent or buy. And the screen size is big enough to enjoy what you are watching or you can again zoom in! While on the road, you are not limited to what is playing on the hotel TV – sometimes in a foreign language – nor do you have to pay for movies – your theater is in your lap!

3. Photos to Go – the incredible resolution of the iPad is perfect to show off your favorite pictures. Your entire collection is easy to browse through or group into appropriate folders. To view a picture, just scroll through your collection and tap your choice. From there you can pinch and zoom in or tap the screen to see the next picture. Some shots were intended to be viewed in landscape mode – no problem. Just turn the iPad sideways and there you have it! If you want to be creative, you can even pick a slide show and quickly match it with a song from your personal library and away you go.

4. Stay connected, or Not – should you have a desire to stay connected during your wanderings, you have email and internet access via your iPad by either utilizing Wi-Fi or including 3G capabilities in your original purchase. 3G allows you to have connectivity basically wherever your phone would work. And the good thing is you can pay for 3G on a monthly basis as you need it – no annual contract. So, if you are heading to Europe for a month, you can pay the $15/mo fee for that month only – very convenient and it makes sense to pay only when you use the service. And again, the ability to zoom in to increase text size is a definitely senior friendly feature.

All in all a companion well worth including in our retirement travels and senior adventures. I find the ability to zoom in on text universally helpful when browsing websites or reading a book or article online. Make the words as big as you need to read comfortably.

The iPad is not cheap, starting at $495 with 16GB of storage (which is a LOT of storage unless you are downloading movies or streaming video). You pay a little more for the 3G capability at $629 and then monthly as you use the service. But no long term contracts are required and having connectivity no matter where you are can be helpful when you are traveling.

Do senior citizens absolutely NEED an iPod? Probably not. Would all of the friendly and diverse capabilities be NICE to have and make a travel experience that much better? I think so. Christmas is just around the corner so it is never too early to start dropping hints.

Don’t forget to pick up a free copy of my Navigating the Retirement Jungle, available upon request by mailing to lovebeingretired@hotmail.com.

How to take a Memorable Vacation after you Retire

Ah, nothing better than a little vacation time. Your chance to get away from the daily grind, to journey to a new destination, explore, play, and just relax (or as my kids say, “chillax – part chill, part relax). After you retire, it is still important to get away to break up the routine. Boredom and doing the same thing can easily suck the energy and excitement out of your day. Plus there are so many places to go and things to do – you need to take advantage of it.

So you agree with your significant other that it is time for a getaway. You break out your trusty travel folder to see what looks good, you discuss it a bit, and you decide where to go.

NOTE: the travel folder is a must-have for every household. Basically a manila folder for collecting ideas on potential travel destinations. Fill the folder with pages from travel magazines or your daily newspaper, notes from TV travel shows with interesting places to visit, websites where you have discovered exotic options, and recommendations from friends. When I travel to a place that I think I would like to revisit, I enjoy wandering the area and investigating possible spots to stay upon our return. Many times have I dug into “the folder” to find a long-forgotten clip that turns out to be exactly what we are looking for now.

How to make the most of your vacation

(1)  Don’t try to do too much – we all know people who go on vacation and the minute their feet touch terra firma, their checklist of “things to do” kicks in. Horseback riding at sunrise, snorkeling at noon, tennis at 3, luau at 6, sunset cruise, then start over tomorrow. It never ends and just how relaxing is this pace? These are the same people who need a vacation AFTER they return from their vacation. Relax and enjoy along the way.

(2)  Quality over quantity – wherever you decide to vacation, there will be a few local points of interest. Find the HIGH points. Do a little research – talk with friends who have made the trip before to help you uncover the real gems. Research on the internet to narrow your options. Then pick SOME, the good ones. Take time to enjoy each at a comfortable pace to experience the full impact. You will more clearly remember and vividly relive these moments later if you focus on quality not quantity.

(3)  A little dab will do you – all that wonderful food…all the warm sunshine…all the tasty drinks. A little moderation will reward you big time and make your escape that much more enjoyable. Not recommending abstinence since these delights are an important part of why you are on vacation in the first place. But instead a taste…a bit…a sip. And thereafter a happy camper!

(4)  Don’t miss the sunsets – at the end of your day, with your loved one at your side, as activity gradually slows down, find a place to watch and  share the end of day. Inspiration in retired life can be yours. With a sunset, you never know what is in store and if there are a few scattered clouds, the results  are often  spectacular. No better way to finish the day and quietly contemplate whatever is on your mind.

(5)  Remember the point of your vacation is to  enjoy the beauty that is around you. Share the moment, appreciate the moment, relax in the moment, and smile. Life is good.
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Don’t forget to pick up a free copy of my Navigating the Retirement Jungle, available upon request by mailing to lovebeingretired@hotmail.com.