More time, more freedom and a little more money to spend? YEY! Check out the best SKI (spending the kids’ inheritance) retirement Journeys we have lined up for you!
It might seem easy enough to plan for an epic retirement trip abroad, right? Pick a gorgeous spot, add a few luxury lodges here and there, upgrade your mode of transport to private transfers and out comes an itinerary that seems, at least superficially, to be tailor-made for the more mature travellers among us. Yet retirement for many doesn’t only mean craving more comfort and luxury and having more money to spend. To be honest, the single-most valuable benefit of retirement, as far as bucket-list adventures go, is having more time. Lots more time to explore.
Sure, you can always include more comfortable accommodation than you’ve enjoyed in the past and can now splurge on retirement bucket-list experiences, yet what you can also (finally!) do is just SLOW.IT.DOWN. and really soak up the experience.
When time is no longer of the essence and you have funds saved up for an enjoyable retirement, epic bucket lists adventures abound.
These are just 7 of our best:
1. Antarctica Expedition Cruises
The travel destination that trumps all others, Antarctica expedition cruises are famously epic, no matter how old you are! Heading over to the White Continent aboard an ice-strengthened vessel, you’ll either cross the infamous Drake Passage from South America or head east-side directly from Australia or New Zealand. The journey to get there, let us tell you, is half the adventure.
Once in Antarctica, you’ll cast your eyes on perhaps the last true pristine place left on earth, a hive of absolute wildlife frenzy during the summer months, where whales, sea lions, seals, penguins and a crazy number of birds migrate to, in order to feed, mate and nest among a startling landscape of white horizons. A total sensory overload, Antarctica expeditions are the ultimate adventure for the ultimate retirement bucket-list.
2. Patagonia Outdoor Activities
The vast southern region of South America is an outdoor lover’s playground: the best hiking destination in the entire continent and the wildest, by far. Dramatic granite peaks, luscious valleys and magnificent scenery beckon you to be active: to hike and mountain bike, to take small ship cruises deep into glaciated fjords. To stand in awe in front of mesmerising glaciers, count guanacos and taste local wine.
There’s an abundance of amazing things to see and do in Patagonia: from the glistening Chilean Fjords and Los Glaciares National Park to the granite peaks of Torres del Paine and the marine-life watching feasts on Peninsula Valdes, one of the world’s best whale-spotting destinations. But you need time and patience to do Patagonia justice. We’re talking over one million square kilometres of wilderness, dotted with just a few airports, just a few roads, a handful of (very beautiful) towns and a select number of astonishing luxury estancias that’ll make you forget the rest of the world even exists. Love horseback riding? Then this 5-day Patagonia Estancia Experience will be right up your alley.
That’s the kind of retirement bucket-list adventure we’re talking about, right here.
3. Peru Andean Train Journey aboard the Belmond Explorer
From world-renowned Belmond comes a spectacular rail journey through the Andean clouds, swiftly named one of the ‘best train trips in the world’ the moment it was launched just a couple of years ago. This is South America’s first Belmond luxury train journey and if you’re looking for that unforgettable retirement splurge, consider it found.
Delve deep into the heart of the ancient Inca Empire all the way to Machu Picchu, visiting Cusco, Arequipa and Lake Titicaca along the way. Travel aboard a luxury 1920s-revived classic train that promises to deliver oodles of old-world class infused with astonishing scenery along the high Andes. Add plenty of gastronomic indulgences thrown in and even native Andean aromatherapy spa treatments, and you’ll experience affordable decadence in one of South America’s most revered regions.
Step back in time aboard a Belmond classic train in Peru and you won’t just feel like an old-world explorer, you’ll actually be one. Feel free to ogle at the amazing pics and review on this CNN article.
4. Chiloé Island Explorations
Just a swim stroke south of the Lake District in Chile is where you’ll find Chiloe Island, tucked away in one of Patagonia’s remotest corners. Drenched in interesting history and stunning wilderness, Chiloé is a very unique gem not many visitors to Patagonia even get to see. In the main town, you’ll see iconic wooden stilt houses that were built by Jesuit missionaries in the 1600s and, off the northern coast, you’ll come face to face with one of the prime spots in the world to see Blue Whales, the largest animal to have ever lived on our planet. A pivotal penguin breeding ground to boot, the Chiloe and adjoining Puñihuil national parks comprised an archipelago that’s hard to reach but filled with incredible natural treasures to discover.
Out here, seemingly nestled in the middle of nowhere, is where you’ll Tierra Chiloé Hotel and Spa, one of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World. A haven of tranquillity entrenched in ancient Mapuche myths filled with ghost ships, drunken sailors and dancing spirits, Tierra Chiloé is more akin to a mirage than anything else. One that offers horseback riding adventures, thrilling hikes, private boat trips and magnificent culinary indulgences. We’re absolutely in love with the Tierra hotels (there are stunning lodges in Patagonia and the Atacama Desert as well) and rate them among the best experiential resorts in the entire continent.
Really. Just wait ‘till you tell the kids about this …
5. Galapagos Islands Cruises
The ultimate wildlife-watching adventure in the Americas is famously found on the Galapagos Islands, a unique archipelago where time seems to have mysteriously stood still for centuries. This is one of South America’s most exclusive destinations and, although 4-day cruises and even budget island-based adventures are on offer, the best way to really soak up the nature and wildlife is on an extended cruise that travels all the islands. And that’s because, out here, every island tells its own tale: every single one unique in its own way, home to select wildlife species, a distinct landscape; the best sunsets, or snorkel spots and beaches. How on earth could you ever find them, if you don’t see them all?
The Galapagos take some time and effort to reach which is what makes them ideal for retirement bucket-list journeys. Moreover, you’ll have the time to enjoy the longest loop cruise (11 days) to visit as many islands as possible, and the funds to book more exclusive vessels, like catamarans, which are absolutely amazing. Galapagos catamarans boast the best naturalist guides in the business and fewer guests (more personalised service and more time on-shore) and offer the best gourmet dining of all. If you’re only going to travel the Galapagos once in your retirement, this is the way to go. See our cruise on the M/C Galapagos Seaman to get where we’re coming from.
You have the time? We have the place!
6. Amazon Jungle Adventures
The way we see it, there are essentially two kinds of Amazon Rainforest journeys: the budget-friendly ones where you become a total jungle-queen/king by removing all luxuries and then there are those a little further up the comfort-scale, where you still get to experience jungle-life but can actually enjoy stunning meals, sumptuous surroundings and a really comfortable stay. We’ve done both and we’ve totally loved both – but we certainly dig the difference and, if you’re out to plan a wicked retirement bucket-list Amazon journey, you probably will too.
The Amazon is a startling place, one where nature (not humans) holds the upper hand. It’s the world’s most important rainforest, home to such a mind-boggling array of animals and plants that you need to seriously look where you step every time you head out the lodge’s door. So a little respite, and a little comfort, is certainly appreciated. Hence the sheer popularity among retirees of luxury eco-lodges, like Anavilhanas Lodge, that take nothing from the amazement of your immersive Amazon adventure but simply add to it, making the lodge itself part of the whole once-in-a-lifetime experience. Set amidst swaths of protected prime rainforest, the best lodges in the Amazon offer amazing daily itineraries that include boat trips and jungle walks. They offer superb food, dreamy swimming pools (in this heat and humidity? HEAVEN!) and sumptuous rooms that offer comfort and safety whilst still making you feel like you’re at one with nature.
7. Arctic Polar Explorations
Arctic polar explorations are among the most coveted retirement bucket-list journeys of all, for three main reasons. Firstly, they tend to cost more than your ‘average holiday’ (so people tend to delay them until retirement), they require more travel time (so yes, wait until retirement) and then they’re often seen as a last travel-frontier, the one experience you do when you’ve seen and done it all (which you’ll probably only feel by the time you retire).
So here we are, on an epic retirement Arctic expedition!
Head off into the great white unknown on an exhilarating Arctic expedition to Franz Josef Land, the northernmost archipelago on earth. In the heart of the enigmatic Russian Arctic National Park, Franz Josef Land is where polar bears, walruses and bowhead whales head to disconnect from the rest of the world (everyone needs a little time-out, right?) and where millions of seabirds converge on high cliffs to feast on the abundance of fish. As our world’s polar regions become increasingly accessible, the Russian Arctic has become that last Utopian undiscovered gem, the one mass tourism has yet to invade.
If you don’t fancy cruising, however, you do have another fantastic option: a spectacular Canadian Arctic wilderness lodge stay. Head to Nunavut to boop heads with beluga whales at the world-renowned observatory on Somerset Island, where you’ll take daily guided adventures to spot all manner of Arctic wildlife, all under the warmth of 24hr-daylight. Spend 8 days in the Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge, exploring the tundra, riding ice-bikes in search of bearded seals, ATVs to the frozen hinterland in search of Arctic fox and muskoxen and tackle stunning hikes to elevated Northwest Passage viewpoints.
At Chimu Adventures, we can help you plan a bespoke retirement bucket-list journey that’ll surely make your kids jealous to death. And really, isn’t that reason enough to go?
Chat to one of our specialised Latin America, Arctic and Antarctica consultants today.
Author: Laura Pattara
“Laura Pattara is a modern nomad who’s been vagabonding around the world, non-stop, for the past 13 years. She’s tour guided overland trips through South America and Africa, travelled independently through the Middle East and is now in the midst of a 5-year motorbike odyssey from Germany to Australia.”