Ecuador, a relatively small nation (about the size of Nevada), packs a wallop for its size — offering a remarkably diverse set of natural and cultural attractions.
I’ve been lucky enough to travel to all four of its main regions: The Andes (including the colonial-era city of Quito); the Amazon basin; the Pacific coast, anchored by the city of Guayaquil; and the Galapagos Islands, 600 miles out in the ocean. All are memorable.
In this informative and engaging piece, contributing writer Robert Waite continues his recent journey through Ecuador by taking us to Yasuni National Park and the Napo Wildlife Center deep in the Amazon rainforest. Here’s his report:
By Robert Waite
Yasuni Park, Ecuador – There are two indigenous tribes located in Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest, the Tagaeri and the Taromenane, who have had virtually no contact with the outside world.
I say “virtually” because there have been… Continue reading
Historic inns at some of the most popular U.S. national parks are sending out alerts that, because of cancellations and travel restrictions imposed in the wake of COVID-19, there is potential space to be had this summer if you act quickly to reserve.
The lodgings run by the Xanterra company — including historic and atmospheric inns such as El Tovar perched on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, Zion Lodge in Utah, and The Oasis in Death Valley — are even offering up to 30 percent off their regular rates this summer to entice customers.
Summers are usually fully booked months in advance, so for those who do want to travel and feel they can safely do so, this is an opportunity to experience some of America’s greatest outdoor spaces in style.… Continue reading
Here’s Part II of Robert Waite’s account of 12 days of traveling through Namibia, a remarkable desert land wedged in a corner of southwest Africa between Angola and South Africa.
(If you missed Part I of Bob’s Namibia narrative, read it here.)
In this piece, Bob encounters towering sand dunes, otherworldly dried lakes, a bay cruise complete with some of the world’s best oysters, a visit to Damaraland, and a top-flight game park where one may encounter lions and herds of elephants and zebras.
By Robert Waite
Walvis Bay, Namibia – If you know Namibia at all, it is likely because of the country’s sand dunes, the largest on earth.
I grew up in Massachusetts, close to Crane Beach in Ipswich. We locals would brag about our “huge” 30-40 foot dunes. It… Continue reading
In this guest post about unforgettable encounters with endangered mountain gorillas in the tiny African nation of Rwanda, contributing writer Robert Waite also provides an update on the status of the gorillas in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic — and sees hope for optimism.
In his next post, Bob will detail the rest of his trip to Rwanda, a nation that endured a devastating genocide in the 1990’s and has now become one of Africa’s success stories.
By Robert Waite
Ruhengeri, Rwanda – As devastating as COVID-19 is to human populations, the consequences could be equally adverse for rhinos, elephants, gorillas and other sub-Saharan wildlife.
With flights suspended, borders closed and organized tours cancelled or indefinitely postponed, the region’s national parks and game reserves are struggling to protect animals that, at the… Continue reading
If you’ve been following the news out of Zimbabwe of late, you know that the country’s long-time president, Robert Mugabe, may finally be nearing the end of his repressive regime.
Mugabe, now age 93, has been placed under mostly house arrest by the country’s military, who have denied that they are engaged in an actual coup — a good public relations move, but probably not very reflective of reality.
The idea seems to be to head off Mugabe’s much younger wife, Grace, from succeeding her husband as head of state. Mugabe’s own political party, ZANU-PF, has withdrawn its support for him, and he now finds himself without any real authority.
Under Mugabe, who came to power in 1980 after leading the resistance to Ian Smith’s white nationalist regime in what was previously Rhodesia, much of Zimbabwe had… Continue reading
No more almost-free senior lunch at U.S. National Parks: The price of a lifetime America the Beautiful Senior Pass rises sharply from $10 to $80 on August 28, 2017.
The Senior Pass, available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents age 62 and above, has cost just $10 since 1994, making it one of the great travel bargains in the world.
At $80, it will still be a good deal, just not the steal it is now. If you already have one of the $10 passes, it will be honored for your lifetime.
Senior Passes provide access to more than 2,000 recreation sites managed by six federal agencies:
- National Park Service
- US Fish & Wildlife Service
- Bureau of Land Management
- Bureau of Reclamation
- US Forest Service
- US Army Corps of Engineers
Senior Pass Benefits
The passes cover entrance and day-use recreation fees… Continue reading
Our family has long tried to celebrate milestone birthdays and anniversaries with a major trip.
I won’t specify which birthdays or anniversaries, but these celebratory trips have taken us to Paris, Alaska, Norway, Greece, and Antarctica, among other far-flung destinations.
Sometimes you just need a good excuse to travel. (Other times, not — whatever works.)
So I was intrigued to come across this list of suggested milestone birthday celebratory trips from the folks at Wilderness Travel, which has been taking adventurous travelers to remote regions of the globe since 1978. (It was named AFAR Magazine’s World’s Best Tour Operator for 2017.)
Baby boomers have… Continue reading
On Monday, August 21, 2017, a 2,200-mile-long, coast-to-coast swath of the United States stretching from Lincoln Beach, Oregon, to Charleston, South Carolina, will experience a total solar eclipse, when the moon completely blocks out the sun and only the sun’s corona is visible. As the moon casts its shadow, midday darkness ensues, if only for just a few minutes (or seconds).
This, as they say, is a Big Deal — one of nature’s true wonders, the stuff of myth and memory.
The last time a total solar eclipse crossed the entire continental United States was in 1918 — almost a century ago. (There have been several other instances where total solar eclipses could be viewed in certain regions of the country — the last in 1979, when only Washington state, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and North Dakota were treated… Continue reading
Today’s guest post is from travel blogger Shawn Michaels, who loves to write about his outdoor travel experiences ans shop for hiking gear. You can read his blog, which focuses on hiking boots, thesmartlad.com, here.
In this post, Shawn reveals his seven top hiking spots in Europe. Note that most of these are not exactly walks in the park — although one is just that, and another is relatively easy — but active backpacking boomers can set their sights on some or all of them.
I was only familiar with a few of these, but the photos alone make me want to grab my hiking sticks and see how far I can go through some of Europe’s most enticing scenery.
Story and photos by Shawn Michaels
Croatia’s Plitvička Jezera (also… Continue reading
While I prefer the term “Life List” to “Bucket List” — it just has a more positive ring to it — Bucket List has become the generally accepted phrase for delineating those often-challenging, mostly travel-related experiences you want to do before you, uh, can’t do them any more.
As a baby boomer, I’m acutely aware that I won’t have as much time or perhaps physical capacity as a millennial to, say, climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, which has recently slipped off my Bucket List until I can work myself into better shape. A few more years on the treadmill should do it, if my knees haven’t collapsed in the process.
The good news is, Bucket List items don’t have to involve super-strenuous exertion. In fact, according to a recent TotallyMoney.com survey of 1,000… Continue reading