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Top Towns to Live in for Retirees Moving to the Phoenix Area

desert plain1 389x260 Top Towns to Live in for Retirees Moving to the Phoenix Area As the sixth most populous city in the United States, Phoenix’s major cities include Scottsdale, Chandler, Tempe, Mesa, Glendale, Peoria, and Surprise. The towns of Cave Creek, Paradise Valley, Carefree, Gilbert, Queen Creek, Sun City, Tolleson, Youngtown, and Buckeye are among the many surrounding smaller communities that make up the Valley of the Sun. Because Phoenix is a sprawling epicenter in Arizona that is divided up into more than 20 cities, towns and communities, you may be overwhelmed with the extensive list of options for where to live. Whether you’re a retired couple looking for a winter home or a single retiree who’s looking forward to the next stage in life, the Phoenix area offers something for everyone.

Youngtown

Youngtown is recognized as a small, peaceful and safe town with more than 6,000 residents. Established in 1954, Youngtown is an affordable place to live that is mostly comprised of residents around 65 years of age. The town is neighbored between El Mirage and the retirement community of Sun City. Are you ready to settle down somewhere new and have a fresh start? Are you looking for a one-bedroom condo and a new car by shopping at trustworthy used car dealerships in Phoenix, AZ? Youngtown is a premier location for seniors who prefer a quaint town that’s dedicated to community, safety, family and recreation.

Sun City

Located in Maricopa County, Sun City is an unincorporated town where retirees and snowbirds exclusively settle and socialize. Sun City adult communities, such as Royal Oaks, The Montecito, El Dorado of Sun City and Palos Verdes Senior Living, are beautiful homes that cater to an older demographic seeking active and social lifestyles. Seniors are drawn to Sun City for its communal friendliness, modern facilities and myriad of recreational activities. With low property taxes and annual fees, Sun City helps its residents live cost-effectively.

Scottsdale

According to U.S. News on Money and Retirement, Scottsdale is rated as one of the 10 cities in the United States that has the oldest population; the median age is 45.4 years. During the sunny and mild winter season, retirees flock to Scottsdale for dining, hiking, golfing, biking and outdoor leisure. Residents enjoy the break of summer and warm winters traversing on the Scottsdale Greenbelt Trail and teeing off at golf courses such as Grayhawk, Silverado and The Phoenician Golf Club. Old Town Scottsdale, also known as Downtown Scottsdale, is also a tourist destination full of art galleries, specialty shops, gourmet restaurants, museums and theaters.

Paradise Valley

For active seniors who prefer beauty and luxury in their surroundings, Paradise Valley has the real estate for you. Paradise Valley is a small area populated with an average of 12,820 residents. It’s an attractive destination for tourists because of its affluent real estate and lavish 12 resorts, including Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, Montelucia Resort & Spa and Smoketree Resort. Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve mountains are also natural and popular destinations in the area for hiking, recreation and panoramic city views.

Cave Creek

Cave Creek is a small town nestled in the Arizonan Sonoran Desert that stays true to the wild west with its western dancing, rodeos and horseback riding. From nature preserves and hiking to old mining tours and cowboy cookouts, residents are entertained with an array of activities for the true westerner at heart. Residents, who are on average 45 years old, can explore archaeology sites and wildlife at the Spur Cross Ranch Conversation Area in Cave Creek. With a variety of monthly events, such as Friday Fitness Series, Take Your Walk to the Desert and Moonlight Hike, Spur Cross Ranch keeps its local residents active and social.

Saving Money on Vacation Eating

vacation 389x259 Saving Money on Vacation EatingThe cost of food during vacation is perhaps the biggest expense, especially for a family or a large group of people traveling together. The plus side of that is that while feeding everyone can be a big cost, it is also the place where cost-saving measures are plentiful. With a bit of planning and attention to detail, you can cut food costs when traveling.

Bring Food With You

It is a good idea to pack nonperishable food items from home whenever possible, as it is often cheaper to purchase things where you are familiar with the prices than it is to buy on the go when traveling. Purchase favorite snacks and nonperishable edibles ahead of time and pack them among your belongings. If you are traveling by car, this is easily done. If a plane trip is your mode of transportation, you will have to be a bit more savvy about packing food items by strewing them carefully among your clothing in the suitcase or even designating a suitcase just for acceptable food items. Often the cost of one more suitcase is worth it in the cost of the food you take along to feed everyone.

Make Lunch the Big Meal

When on vacation, eating out is part of the fun for most families. By choosing wisely, you can enjoy local cuisine and good restaurants and still save money on your food costs. Make lunch your biggest meal of the day, the one you eat at a restaurant you want to try or you visit each time you travel to this place. Often lunchtime prices are cheaper than dinner prices.

Kids Eat Free Specials

Check out places where kids eat free or at a cheaper rate, as well. Even some of the more expensive restaurants often have deals for feeding the kids at cheaper prices, especially in combination with the purchase of an adult meal. Combine this with lunch prices and you can really save some money while still eating great food and visiting local eateries.

Choose Vacation Rentals

By choosing to stay in a vacation rental spot such as Sun River Vacation Rentals, you can have access to a fully functional kitchen for cooking meals and storing food and drinks in the refrigerator. Many families choose to stay in a place where they can cook meals, keep snacks and drinks handy and enjoy the leisurely way of keeping everyone fed while still saving money on the overall cost of food when traveling.

Coupons and Groupons

These days there are money saving options found in coupons and Groupons. Coupons can be found online or in the local publications found at hotels or grocery stores. Groupons often offer great daily specials in the area. Use today’s technology in the form of websites, printable coupons and apps to get the best deals of the day you can find.
With some forethought and planning, these tips for cutting your food costs when on vacation can really save you money. This makes vacation affordability much more likely for many families.

Image Credit: thephotographymuse

Pablo Escobar’s vacation getaway turned into tourist attraction in Colombia

indoor pool 389x218 Pablo Escobar’s vacation getaway turned into tourist attraction in ColombiaThe vacation estate of the world’s wealthiest drug dealer is now open for tours near Puerto Triunfo, Colombia. It’s unlike anything a visitor would find from a vacation rentals Austin company. Pablo Escobar carried the title of Columbian cocaine kingpin for a number of years in the 1980s and 1990s before Columbian and American drug agents gunned him down in 1993.

Pink Hippos in a Skirt

The drug kingpin’s estate, called Hacienda Napoles, is now a theme park packed with oddities that Escobar loved. The 7,000 acre ranch features dinosaur statues, recreational buildings, a butterfly conservatory and a pink hippo in a hula skirt.

Born in 1949 to a farmer and school teacher in the small town of Rionegro, Pablo engaged in criminal activities at a young age by selling illegal cigarettes and stealing cars. He made his first $100,000 by kidnapping and ransoming a Medellin official.

From this start, Escobar plunged into the illicit cocaine trade. He bought planes and helicopters to move cocaine between Columbia and the United States. One of those planes now sits atop the entrance to the hacienda. He made so much money off the drug trade that he spent $2,500 monthly for rubber bands to wrap stacks of one-hundred dollar bills. He had more cash than he could possibly store in banks, so he built warehouses to hold the loot.

Submarines Used to Run Cocaine

He eventually bought an entire island in the Bahamas called Norman’s Cay. He built a 3,300-foot runway there to carry the drugs to different points for distribution. The island also had a hotel, a harbor, a fleet of aircraft and a refrigerated warehouse to maintain the cocaine’s freshness. Escobar used this island from 1978 to 1982.

In 1982, Escobar moved and bought seven miles of land in Columbia where he would construct Hacienda Napoles. He built a zoo, dug a lake and opened a recreation center here. He ordered two submarines to transport the cocaine loads. It’s estimated that Escobar shipped 80 tons of cocaine a month from here.

He established relations with local government officials that were dominated by a diplomacy he called silver or lead. Politicians and police were given the choice of taking generous bribes or getting shot. At this point of his career, Forbes magazine estimated his wealth at $3 billion. He built soccer stadiums in Medillin and gave away money to the poor. He also paid for the construction of hospitals, churches and schools. For that, he was considered by many as a hero.

On December 2, 1993, a Columbian anti-drug team found Escobar and shot him dead in Medellin.

Camp in the Kingpin’s Estate

Visitors can tour this narco-terrorist’s former home, which is now a museum. A pink hippo statue in a hula skirt greets visitors. Parrots make themselves at home. A pterodactyl sculpture is framed in mid-flight, swooping down for a landing at a pond.

Visitors can climb up a guard tower at the estate to survey the grounds where they will see a bull fighting ring. He also built a butterfly conservatory on the grounds. Those who wish can camp here overnight.

Awesome Features of a Sabi Sand Safari

Sabi Sand Game Reserve 389x291 Awesome Features of a Sabi Sand Safari

Credits to flickr.com/thomas_sly

Imagine a place where wildlife can wander the land freely. Fenceless and boundless,where security against poachers is a top priority and a vast species of mammals, birds and reptiles are seen. These best describes South Africa’s oldest private game reserve – Sabi Sand Game Reserve.

With a size of about 153,000 acres and shares a 31.25 miles of unfenced land with Kruger National Park, this place is home to various wildlife treasures of South Africa. The reserve takes pride in offering excellent game viewing experience of the Big Five animals whole year round. Guests will have the amazing experience of having a very close encounter with Africa’s most thrilling wildlife species such as the lions, buffalos, rhinoceros, leopards and elephants.

This trip is done with guests riding an open mobile vehicle with capacities from 6 to 12 passengers. They are accompanied by expert rangers and trackers providing accurate information of the tour. Wildlife viewing in Sabi Sand offers the best quality in viewing leopards – the most elusive of all big game animals. Other wild species such as cheetahs, giraffes, zebras and antelopes are also found while roaming this vast area.

About 110 reptile, 330 tree, 45 fish and 145 mammal species are accounted for in Sabi Sand. The starts early morning as soon as the sun rises. Well experienced rangers and insightful trackers search the animals by their scent and tracks signs of their activities.

As the heat of the day starts to subside, the nocturnal animals become more active as they prepare for a great hunt. As darkness falls, the open safari vehicle adventure continues with the help of spotlights for a better view of the animal activities. The vehicle cautiously roams around the area while guests have a chance to take pictures up close with the wild animals.

Who wouldn’t be thrilled upon seeing these wild yet amazing species that we only get to see in zoos, books and movies? This once of a lifetime opportunity is not only for adventure seekers, but nonetheless for everyone who are curious about these animals’ natural wild behavior.

Sabi Sand Game Reserve has numerous accommodations to choose from. Not only will you get your adventure of a lifetime, you get to have a relaxing vacation as well. Various lodges are open to visitors craving for a taste of wildlife. Kirkman’s Kamp is known for its Transvaal aura, with around 18 guest suites that overlook the Sand River, and is surely the right place for people who want the colonial style atmosphere.

You can spend a quiet and splendid solitude in the deeply atmospheric Dulini Lodge. Nestled on the banks of Mabrak River, with six stone cottages built among the trees, this haven is most suited for those who want some tranquil rest after a long day of adventure.

Exeter River Lodge lives up to its name, for this place is located where each room offers an awesome view of the water and all the wild animals that it attracts.

Private Paradise, this is what they call the Leadwood Lodge because it only has four air conditioned rooms that are distanced from one other. This place is most suited for families or group of friends who want their vacation as private as possible.

 

Planning for a Walking Holiday

Walking Holidays 389x247 Planning for a Walking HolidayIf you’re thinking about taking a walking holiday soon, then there are a few things you should consider before you go.

First off – have you selected a destination? There is potential for walking holidays in pretty much every country so if you don’t have a set destination or route in mind then you’ll need to narrow it down. Try thinking about what you want to do along the way, what your budget is, and of course what type of person you are. Maybe you’re the solitary type, preferring to roam free unencumbered by the need to walk at the same pace as your companions, or enjoy being with your own thoughts rather than making conversation. And then perhaps you like to be part of a group with plenty of chat and opportunities to meet new friends.

Bearing in mind that you’ll probably be wanting to cover ten to twenty miles each day, you’ll need to be in pretty good shape before you go. If that’s beyond you at the moment then you might want to get some practise in first, even if it’s only on a treadmill at the gym. Thinking about the terrain you’ll encounter is also an issue – you may be confident you can hack it, but will you need a guide to show you the best places and steer you away from potential problems?

What to pack will depend a lot on the type of weather you’re likely to be seeing. Unless you’re planning to return to an accommodation every day or leave things in a storage locker, then you’ll probably be carrying everything with you, so you need to travel fairly light. For walking holidays in Europe then the bare essentials are sturdy boots, good thick socks, waterproofs, sunglasses and sun-tan lotion, water bottle. If you’re planning to head off the beaten track then probably compass, whistle and torch also. But bear in mind local conditions – if you’re going to less-developed countries, particularly those in the tropics or Asia, then you could need mosquito repellent, and water-sterilising tablets too. Don’t forget a basic first aid kit either.

The great thing about walking holidays is they can incorporate so many other interests too. You can take in some sight-seeing, or if you like a bit of twitching, remember your binoculars. A camera is a must whatever you’re doing. Also – if you like your grub, , why not plan a route that will take in restaurants or regions where you can sample the local specialities – a great idea in countries like Spain, France and Italy,

Looking at options for accommodation, you can either use one or two bases and walk in that area, returning every night to sleep, or you can create a route that will involve a different place to bed down every night. Popular walking routes will often be lined with small guesthouses which you can book in advance (always do so if you can, especially in peak season). Alternatively you could carry a lightweight tent with you and camp, it’s only a few extra kilos on your back and gives you total freedom – just remember to ask permission if you’re staying on private land.

Finally, walking holidays can be such a blissful experience that people often get the bug. In which case, if you fancy setting yourself a challenge one year such as crossing the Pyrenees or walking from one coast of England to another, why not try and rustle up some sponsorship to help a charity?