So Much To Explore On Mexico’s Caribbean Coastline

By Brendan White |  Internationalliving.com

Mexico is a place that I love…particularly the Riviera Maya. I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about it before. I’d enjoyed the experience of my first visit to this part of the world, but I was keen to explore more during my second visit. I wanted to see more of the beaches, check out some of the Maya ruins, and compare and contrast the locations on the country’s Caribbean coast.

My first stop was Cancún…a place I’d also been to on my first visit. Second time around, it was just as good. Stunning white-sand beaches—and even in and around the Hotel Zone, they still weren’t thronged with tourists—turquoise waters, and friendly locals all greeted me.

It’s easy to forget all your worries as you put your feet into the soft sand as the waves lap onto the beach.

This part of Mexico is steeped in history, and I was keen to see what it offered. I stopped to speak to local stall owners and hear more about the area. Kind, full of information, and happy to talk, they give you a good sense of the friendliness of the people here.

Not far from the Hotel Zone in Cancún, you’ll find the El Rey Maya ruins archeological site. It was the first Maya ruins I’d seen, and it was fascinating to see what each ruin had previously been and how they had been structured.

The town of Puerto Morelos, a 40-minute drive from Cancún, was another place I was intrigued to visit. I’d heard a lot about the town and read much about its small-town vibe, despite increased popularity. What I found was white-sand beaches from left to right, beach chairs under tall palm trees for cover, and local fishermen going about their business as they waved to the visitors.

Small market stalls stood out on street corners with local produce and colorful clothing moving in the light breeze coming from the Caribbean waters. Not packed with tourists, it offers small bars and restaurants to eat or have a quiet drink. It’s a place that really does give you a sense of the quiet, laidback life you can have on this coast.

Playa del Carmen, a farther 30-minute drive, was equally impressive. What looks like a built up, busy, and tough to navigate town, was one of my favorite spots to visit. I’d been here on my first visit but only for a few hours to see the famous Fifth Avenue shopping street.

But this time I had more time to explore. And visiting Playa del Carmen just to see Fifth Avenue would be worth it…it’s a place you need to see to believe the length of the seemingly endless shopping street. As you pass through Fifth Avenue, you come to the beautiful beach, small beach bars, and an array of international visitors—I heard English, German, American, and Spanish as I strolled the sands. It’s a place I didn’t really want to leave…

https://internationalliving.com/2016/09/much-explore-mexicos-caribbean-coastline-yoho/

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Cancún: Palm-Studded Beaches And Cosmopolitan Living By The Caribbean

By: Donald Murray | Internationalliving.com

Every morning, as I roll over and open my eyes, I’m greeted by the turquoise blues and subtle greens of the Caribbean Sea only a few yards away. I wake up slowly to the smell of the salty, sea air and the sounds of the surf rolling onto the shore.

For us, Mexico provides an almost perfect life.

Cancún is a modern city with fully functioning infrastructure. In fact, this area is the number one vacation destination in all the Caribbean. We’ve never had a power outage, our fiber optic internet has never failed, and clean water flows from our taps. Roads are paved, the toilets flush, and there are seven hospitals here in town along with over 750 restaurants in the area. So, when we get tired of cooking, our choices for food are almost unlimited.

Grocery shopping offers a choice between a traditional open market place—where a week’s worth of fruits and veggies can be purchased for only a few dollars and whole chickens come freshly butchered—or an ultra-modern, dazzling super market with a self-service wine bar and an elevated eating patio that overlooks beautiful Nichupte Lagoon.

Cancún is the northern gateway to the famed Riviera Maya, an 80-mile stretch of perfect, palm-studded beach running south along Mexico’s eastern seaboard. Driving south from Cancún, you’ll encounter the funky little village of Puerto Morelos with its old, leaning lighthouse and great seafood restaurants. A bit farther will bring you to the fastest growing city in Mexico, Playa del Carmen, followed by Akumal with a beautiful bay filled with sea turtles.

Life in Cancún is the stuff of postcards but my favorite thing about living here is the ready access that it provides to the rest of Mexico. The airport is only a few minutes from our condo, so catching a plane to Mexico City, Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta, or Baja is a snap. Plus, we can be back in the States in about 90 minutes and round trip tickets can be found in the range of $300-$350 dollars.

But, more than anything, we love road trips.

We can load up the Jeep and create our own adventures, visiting remote Maya ruins in a northern jungle or driving into mountainous coffee country if we wish. Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is ripe for exploration. In fact, we’ve recently returned from a four-day exploration of the area around Ek’ Balam and its ancient ruins.

I like to think of myself as retired. But my laptop provides a portable source of additional income wherever I am and I stay quite busy. I write about living and working overseas, exploring new and exotic locations overseas. I know…tough job, right?

https://internationalliving.com/2017/02/cancun-palm-studded-beaches-cosmopolitan-living-caribbean/

Why Now Is The Time To Consider A Home In Mexico

By: Donald Murray | Internationalliving.com

When I awaken each morning to the sounds of the Caribbean surf rolling onto the sugary beach only yards away, and watch the pelicans and gulls plucking their breakfast from the waves, I realize my good fortune to live where I do on Mexico’s Riviera Maya. But my good luck didn’t happen by accident. It took a bit of research, a little courage, and a change in course along the way.

We’ve all heard the phrase, “It’s a small world” and in many ways, that’s true. However, when searching the planet for a place to stake your claim for a second home, an investment property, or even your new retirement haven, the world suddenly doesn’t seem so small.

While there are many things to consider when selecting the best place for your overseas retreat, most people would agree that the cost and value of any property must garner one of the top spots on anyone’s list of priorities. Whether you’re seeking a tropical beach retreat, perhaps an island paradise, a walkable small village, or a pristine mountain view, Mexico has it all and for far less than many other locations.

Mexico offers many advantages, not only for diversity of climate, modern infrastructure, geography and proximity to the United States and Canada, but primarily for the enormous financial advantage provided by the current exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the Mexican peso. For example, my wife and I currently lease a beautiful, multi-level condo directly on the beach. The warm, turquoise-green Caribbean surf and sugar-sand beach are steps away, just beyond the pool.

Our home is about 1,600 square feet, has two master suites, modern kitchen, a full private roof deck with an expansive, stunning view of the Cancún skyline, the Caribbean Sea, and the Nichupte Lagoon. It also has a small terrace off the office and three full bathrooms.

It came completely furnished, including pots, pans, and dishes as well as a washer/dryer. Our rent is 20,000 pesos per month. A few years ago, that worked out to be about $1,300, a great deal which we couldn’t duplicate in the States for what we have.

Today, that same 20,000 pesos converts to only $970 thanks to a very favorable exchange rate. Remember, our place is directly on the Caribbean. Savings of up to 30% can be found by searching a bit inland. Even a few blocks away from the beach can yield significant savings.

When purchasing property in Mexico, look for properties whose prices are advertised in pesos rather than U.S. dollars. And like most countries outside the U.S., the best deals are never found on the internet.

You need to spend some time on the ground to get a feel for the market, the neighborhoods, and the community. Prepare to rent a temporary place while you conduct your search. We found our place by walking through the area and spotting homemade signs in windows. Most locals don’t use real estate agents here.

Mexico is a very large country whose shores are bathed by the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific Ocean. The center of the country, known as the Central Highlands, offers those stunning mountain views I mentioned earlier. Costs are much lower in small villages and towns compared to the larger, more popular expat strongholds.

If you really seek savings and want to live away from the expat stronghold areas, take a few road trips and discover hidden opportunities in Mexico’s small towns and villages. Remember, don’t let fear to be the thief who steals the life you could have.

https://internationalliving.com/2017/02/now-time-consider-home-mexico-yoho/

Pros and Cons of Living in Mexico.

By: Mike Nelson | mexicomike.com

Live Better South of the Border

Book Overview

In my book Live Better South of the Border – Mexico, I write about the pluses and minuses, positives and negatives of living in Mexico. I try to honestly tell you the good and bad points about living in Mexico. Frankly, Mexico is not the cheapest country in the world to live. The book is outdated now in many respects, but philosophical stuff like this is not.

Yes, it costs less to live in Mexico with a better standard of living than many parts of the USA or Canada, but if money is your only motivator, there are other countries that cost less. You can live for less in Arkansas or S. Texas than in Mexico’s gringo areas. (I stand fast on this, though I was verbally thrashed by someone who disagreed.) Mexico is not paradise. Mexico is a perfect place to live for many people, but it is not perfect. While there are many reasons to live in Mexico, there are also many reasons why living in Mexico may not be for you. Negativity isn’t the point. Reality is.

Live Better South of the Border is old, with the last printing in 2005. People who who still buy it tell me it is still relevant. The costs of stuff changes, but the priceless advice about how to choose a place to live in Mexico, or to decide if you should even move to Mexico, is what I help you with. Look, the important things you need to know are ‘Big Picture’ concepts, not the little daily nitty-gritty stuff like how much tortillas cost. Understand the big stuff and the little stuff will sort itself out. The information about how to get a visa is way out-of-date. The left-brain way of looking at things, humor and straight talk will never go out of style.

Safety of living in Mexico is still most people’s first concern. Ask any gringo living in Mexico if he / she feels safe living in Mexico. The answer will be yes – I know, I ask real people and don’t depend on sensational news stories.

There are sensational news stories about Mexicans getting killed in gunfights or beheadings. Most of these are people involved in drugs or something illegal. Yes, an occasional bystander is affected but mostly not. How many news stories have there been about gringos, tourists or foreign residents who were not using or involved with drugs, being involved? No one really knows the answer to that, since we don’t always know all the facts. If you don’t want to believe that’s fine, just don’t consider moving to Mexico because you already have the wrong attitude.

Living in Mexico is a good decision for many people. You’ll see a “statistic” that the U.S. embassy in Mexico City estimates that there are more than 1,000,000 Americans living in Mexico and an estimated 500,000 Canadians live in Mexico, at least part-time. That is hogwash used by people who want to sell you something. Nobody knows exactly how many expats there are, but in the winter it seems like there are a more of them than locals in some areas.

The Mexican economy is tied to the US economy. I think it is fair to say you can live comfortably in well-known gringo destinations in Mexico for about $25,000 to $30,000, single, or $30,000 to $40,000, for a couple, a year in most places.

It is still possible to live on $12,000 to $15,000, single, or $16,000 to $22,000, couple, or less in some non-gringo locations, if you are really frugal. That’s about what I live on in the States. I once met a young lady (67) whose income is only Social Security and she lucked into a small apartment in Ajijic, Jalisco, on Lake Chapala. So never say never.

Housing in gringo areas is comparable to many parts of the United States. Rentals are more reasonable than buying. There is (generally) no discernible relationship between the value of houses for sale and the amount of rent charged.

Don’t Move To Mexico If …

If you are moving to Mexico only because you think living in Mexico is cheaper than living the United States or Canada, you are moving for the wrong reason. My advice: Stay home. If you are moving to Mexico only because of the weather, you’re moving for the wrong reason. If you are the sort of person who has to have things your own way, the way everything “should” work out according to you, you will be very unhappy living in Mexico. Many go-getters live in Mexico and have adjusted very well. They were ready to leave their old ways of doing things behind and have embraced new ones, where there is always an element of surprise to planned events.

If you have only been to the beach resorts or to the interior tourist destinations, you do not have an accurate picture of Mexico. If you have only vacationed there, you do not have an accurate picture of living there.

Do Move To Mexico If …

If the lower cost and the wonderful climate are factors, but your main reason for choosing Mexico is that you love the people, are flexible, and want some adventure in your life, you are moving for the right reasons and will probably be happy there.

Much Has Changed About Living In Mexico

While much has changed about living in Mexico in the years since I first wrote Live Better South of the Border, and much has improved, Mexico is still Mexico. That means that Mexico is unique. Mexico has a culture that changes slowly, no matter how technocratic the government is. Overall, it is easier to live in Mexico today than it was ten years ago, and much easier than it was twenty years ago.

By easier, I mean that the day-to-day interactions with places you need to interact with is getting utilities is simpler. You can pay many of your bills online instead of having to stand in line to do so. You can get a phone or a cell phone without too much trouble. There are Wal-Marts and Sam’s Clubs and Office Depots and Home Depots and Starbucks and so on in most towns of any size. It seems like more people speak English, which would be expected since it is taught in school and more people are going to school than 20 years ago.

Banking in Mexico

Mexican banking is still a conundrum. The names of the banks change, but the bureaucracy does not. If you believe the advertisements and Internet pages of bank, you would swear that Mexican banks operate quite like American banks and less like a labyrinth; you no longer need to be a devotee of Kafka to cash a check. Don’t be deceived. Banks seem to be moving into a reverse time-loop and are getting more like they used to be (inexplicably labyrinthine) than they were before the economy went South (so to speak). And this varied from bank to bank and even from branch to branch. There are many international banks with branches in the USA, Canada and Mexico: Scotiabank, BBVA, Citibank, (now [well, at least today – banks change ownership like babies change diapers] part of Citigroup). Still, walk into a few branches before you believe what you read.

Internet and Phone

Internet service has also improved. You can now get DSL or cable Internet service in your home. You can now get a new phone line without waiting for Hades to freeze over. You can, thanks to a variety of calling plans, call back to the States, Canada, and Europe without taking out a second mortgage on your house. (See my page on VOIP phone service). You can now operate an Internet business in Mexico, but being a day-trader might be risky. You can even get decent deals on cell phones in-country.

Goods you are used to are available from Sam’s, Wal-Mart, Costco, Home Mart (owned by Home Depot), and other international chains. Costs of imported goods have gone down – but they can still surprise you. For instance, I purchased stockings for a girlfriend (“not for me,” he said hastily) that were a name brand sold in the United States for less in Acapulco than at home. Getting back through customs with twenty pairs of lace stockings took some explaining, but I figure a bargain is worth stocking up on. Electronics still cost more (about 20%) and (except in the largest cities) are generally not the latest technology.

Overall, it’s just easier to live in Mexico today than it was even five years ago.

https://www.mexicomike.com/books/lb_intro.html

 

 

What You Need to Know about Retiring in Mexico.

Por:topretirements.com

If you have been thinking about retiring in Mexico this article will you give you some basic facts and advice to get you started on your adventure south of the border. Most people start off considering a Mexican retirement because of its low cost of living – it is possible to live in Mexico in considerable style on a social security income. But others come here because of its warm winter climate, its great beauty, or because it is an adventure far opposed from living in a stateside-gated American retirement community.

Whatever your reasons for considering a Mexican retirement, here are some factors to think about:

Where to Live:

Lake Chapala and Aijic The most popular place for American and Canadian retirees is in the Lake Chapala region, either in Chapala (Lakeside) or nearby Aijic. Lake Chapala is Mexico’s largest fresh water lake and incredibly beautiful Americans and Mexicans tend to live side by side in Chapala (it is a popular weekend spot for folks from nearby Guadalajara), whereas Ajijic tends to be more homogenously populated by those from north of the border. Planned, gated communities dominate there. 

Guadalajara. 
This stately city in north central Mexico used to be one of the hotter spots for Americans to retire. In recent years it has ceded its popularity to the Lake Chapala region some 45 minutes to the south. Still, many prefer Guadalajara because of its culture, shopping which includes big-box American stores like Wal-Mart and Costco, graceful architecture, and old-style Mexican ambience. Guadalajara is Mexico’s second largest city with 5 million people. The State Department estimates some 50,000 Americans live in the Guadalajara area. 

Baja. Cabo San Lucas, Tados Santos, and San Jose, del Cabo are the southernmost points on the long Baja Peninsula, which starts with the border city of Tijuana and nearby Ensenada. By contrast with these northern towns, Cabo is a playground for the rich and famous. Americans have settled all along this beautiful and extremely dry coast. 

San Miguel de Allende. San Miguel de Allende is a former colonial silver town that many consider to be the crown jewel of central Mexico. It has the cobblestone streets and charm that reminds one of old Mexico. It also has terrific shopping (art and folk-art), many excellent restaurants, and attracts many wealthy people.

 Puerto Vallarta. This city on the Pacific Coast has been growing and growing for the last 40 years. Many resent its high rises and sprawl while others appreciate the good life that comes with beautiful beaches, hills, and a relaxed, inexpensive lifestyle. Located on the coast to the north of Puerto Vallarta are the somewhat lower key towns of Mazatlan and Guaymas.

Pueblo. This World Heritage Site is located at about 7,000 ft. about sea level in the mountains of central Mexico, 2 hours south of Mexico City. The city has a distinguished tradition as an ancient Spanish city. There is a rich culture and architectural history. The city features many colorful squares, a vibrant arts scene, as well as being the gastronomical capital of Mexico. It is another of the most popular retirement destinations for North Americans

Mazatlan.  Mazatlan is a major port and tourism is popular for its sandy beaches. Its location is to the north of Puerta Vallarta. During the 40’s and 50’s many hotels were built here to accommodate the tourist trade. John Wayne used to come here for the sport fishing.

Acapulco Located far down the Pacific coast is the resort town of Acapulco. There are many parts of this city, new and old. There are exclusive communities in the hills and along the coast. Acapulco is about 190 miles southwest of Mexico City.

Cost of Living

It costs dramatically less to live in Mexico than in does in the U.S. or Canada. Popular stories on the web and in magazines tell of renting 3 bedroom houses for $600 month and being able to hire a maid or gardener for $10 a day. Homes in beautiful neighborhoods can typically be purchased for half the U.S. cost. Actual costs like these are possible but the relative luxury and feasibility will range from place to place – check out realtors in various communities to get a better idea. Energy costs tend to be low because of warm winters. Taxes are not a major factor.

Healthcare:

U.S. Medicare is not accepted in Mexico, but Americans can purchase health care insurance from the national insurance program at about $300 a year. Many writers indicate they are pleased with the quality of Mexican healthcare. If you cannot speak fluent Spanish it is a good idea to bring a friend as interpreter however. Guadalajara has several excellent hospitals including Hospital San Javier, Hospital del Carmen, and Americas Hospital.

Property:

Americans can purchase real estate in Mexico and pass it on to their heirs. Obviously it is a foreign country so one is well advised to hire a competent advisor to help negotiate any local difficulties. A Notario is required to help complete any real estate transaction.

Taxes:

Mexico has a value added tax. Property taxes are low relative to the U.S. U.S. residents who own a home in the U.S. and derive most of their income outside of Mexico will generally not have to pay Mexican income tax. But they might have to pay more taxes in connection with the sale of any Mexican real estate.

Danger:

Mexico has a certain reputation as a dangerous place and in some cases it is well deserved, depending on where you live. Mexican law enforcement standards are probably different than most U.S. citizens expect. Many Americans choose to live in gated communities for this reason.

 

 

http://www.topretirements.com/tips/Choosing_a_Community/What_You_Need_to_Know_about_Retiring_in_Mexico.html

How the language we use to communicate about disease matters.

By:Liz Seegert|healthjournalism.org

Does language make a difference when we address serious health issues such as Alzheimer’s and other diseases? Absolutely, according to researchers at Penn State College of Medicine.

Avoid the “war” metaphors, advises Daniel R. George, an assistant professor of medical humanities at the college. While such terminology is common in the medical community and the media, such language can backfire by creating fear and stigma, turning patients into victims and even diverting resources from preventive care.

“There’s a widely-accepted myth that people who have Alzheimer’s are sort of non-people, akin to zombies,” George concluded in an article in The American Journal of Bioethics.

Verbs such as “attack” and “battle” may be counterproductive if applied to a disease that we cannot defeat. It invites ways of thinking that may not be scientifically or socially productive. “War metaphors can delude our sense of what’s possible therapeutically, and give false hope to people and caregivers who are suffering,” George said.

Language too often belittles and diminishes patients, said Merrill Perlman, a freelance editor and trainer. Describing someone as “suffering” from Alzheimer’s or being a “victim” of dementia, or being “confined” to a wheelchair are some examples.

“This labels these people as helpless, to be pitied,” said Perlman, who writes the Language Corner column for Columbia Journalism Review.

Perlman, an editor for 25 years at The New York Times, advises journalists to use more neutral language. It is preferable to say, “she has Alzheimer’s” or “he is being treated for dementia,” or “she uses a wheelchair.” No one knows whether someone is suffering or considers himself a victim or confined.

“Comparing anyone with a medical condition or disease with someone who is “normal” is also insulting; that condition is “normal” to the person who has it,” she said in an email interview.

One antidote to seeing people with dementia as zombies, according to medical editor and writer Joy Jacobson, is following this advice from the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project: “We do not set boundaries in our beliefs in what possible for people with memory impairment to create. By saying to people with dementia, we value you and your creativity; we are saying we value all members of our community.”

Writing about Alzheimer’s isn’t the only place where journalistic descriptions often fall short. The language of substance abuse also is fraught with clichès and blame, wrote Sarah Wakeman, M.D., medical director at Massachusetts General Hospital.

War metaphors have been used to dehumanize in medicine and other areas of our cultural life. The “war on drugs” was disastrous for this country, and has morphed into a human rights catastrophe in the Philippines as well. Glenn Greenwald has been documenting the ravages against civilians in the ongoing “war on terror.” Nixon’s 1971 “war on cancer” was based on an overly simplistic understanding of the causes of cancer, causing incalculable suffering, said Jacobson, poet-in-residence at the Center for Health, Media & Policy in New York City.

It is easy to fall back on tired language. Calling a person with diabetes a “diabetic” is another way of dehumanizing a person with the disease, contributing to the misconception that the condition is somehow the person’s fault, according to this article in Drug Watch. Mental illness is another area where metaphors and careless words can cause harm and stigma, the Huffington Post’s Erin Schumaker wrote. She advises journalists check out this American Psychiatric Association guide to get a better handle on appropriate words and phrases.

George and his team propose moving toward different metaphors, such as encouraging the use of words such as “slow” or “postpone” rather than “prevent” or “cure.” Emphasize “building resilience” to aging processes in the brain rather than aiming at “absolute victory” over a disease.

While “fighting” and “defeating” Alzheimer’s through drug development is important, the authors argue it may be wiser to acknowledge that Alzheimer’s is not a disease disconnected from the aging process, as opposed to polio or malaria. They note that Alzheimer’s has been classified as a disease for 40 years. It may be more beneficial to take a lifespan-oriented approach to discussing the condition, including education about known biological, psychosocial and environmental risk factors, investment in societal programs and infrastructure that support brain health, and ensuring proper care for those affected and their caregivers.

“There are ways to construct meaning around memory loss that show greater compassion and solidarity toward people with cognitive frailty, rather than seeing them as passive victims in our biological war against the disease,” they said. “You can still have a life with profound purpose, social contribution and meaningful relationships.”

Medical humanities is a discipline that seeks to re-humanize medicine through a fusion of art, science, ethics, religion, literature, Jacobson said.

So what does it mean to restore humanity to medicine? “One important aspect is bringing greater attention to the language we use,” she said. “This issue isn’t just the province of poets and professors. How we speak about and to one another is crucial, in health care and elsewhere.”

Certainly, health care needs more community not more war. Are you falling into the stigmatized language trap?

AHCJ’s Statement of Principles offers some guidance on language:

  • Show respect. Illness, disability and other health challenges facing individuals must not be exploited merely for dramatic effect.
  • Remember that some sick people don’t like to be called “victims.” Be careful with the use of the term “patients.” This can contribute to the medicalization of normal states of health. Calling people in an experimental trial “patients” or referring to an experimental intervention as a “therapy” may contribute to the notion of therapeutic misconception, the implication that subjects in a research trial will certainly derive direct therapeutic benefit from what is actually an experiment with uncertain benefits and harms.
  • Avoid vague, sensational language (cure, miracle, breakthrough, promising, dramatic, etc.)

 

http://healthjournalism.org/blog/2017/02/how-the-language-we-use-to-communicate-about-disease-matters/

Staying Busy All Day: Why Not Expand Your Mind And Have Fun Too!

By:Baby Boomer Retirement Issues|topretirements.com

 How will you stay busy all day? The point seemed to resonate with many folks. Some have great plans and never expect a dull moment, others are clearly worried that the close of their working days will mean the end of mental stimulation. Today’s article focuses on how lifelong learning programs help hundreds of thousands of retirees keep their minds sharp while learning all kinds of interesting and useful stuff.

We know of at least 4 great ways to get involved in lifelong learning programs, and there are undoubtedly more too. If you are retired, check out the possibilities in your community. If you are still trying to find your best place to retire, research what type of lifelong learning exists in the locations you are considering, before you pull the trigger.

1. Osher Lifetime Learning Institutes
The biggest and most obvious program for lifelong learning comes from the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). A relative newcomer to the field (2001), it has had phenomenal success. It now operates on the campuses of 119 institutions of higher education from Maine to Hawaii and Alaska, with a National Resource Center at Northwestern University.

While there is no set curriculum, these are some of the common OLLI features: Non-credit educational programs specifically designed for seasoned adults aged 50 and older; support from the leadership of the university or college; a diverse repertoire of intellectually stimulating courses; and volunteer leadership. Generally admission is first come, first served, although some programs are more selective. Tuition is low or free after you pay a modest fee to join the OLLI. Many are taught by its members or volunteers. Some include field trips. And for those of you still smarting from your last formal learning experience, there are generally no tests or attendance taking (whew!).

From Southern Barbecue to Shakespeare and Brain Disease
The most fascinating aspect of OSHER programs is the creativity and the range of courses offered. We looked at a few course catalogs and were amazed by the offerings – from the whimsical to the practical – so many sound so appealing. Here are just a few examples:
– Introduction to Baking
– The History of Southern Barbecue
– Mad about These Movies
– Introduction to Letterpress Printing and Papermaking
– The Cold War
– Spanish
– What Makes You Sick
– Celebrating Shakespeare
etc., etc,. etc

2. College and Community College Programs
Similar to the OSHER program many colleges, universities, and community colleges offer programs to retirees. Some colleges allow a certain number of senior students to audit classes at no or a greatly reduced fee, which is another great perk of living in a university town.

University Based Retirement Communities are another way to get access to lifelong learning. Many universities such as Penn State, Michigan, the University of Alabama, Florida, and others have affiliated retirement communities on or near their campuses. Residents in these facilities, many of them Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), have access to college classes and facilities. Particularly for alumni who already have a relationship with their alma mater, they can be very interesting places to live.

Although community colleges are increasingly focusing on helping local people get the training they need to enter the employment market (which might work for you too!), they also offer a range of classes aimed at general interests. Here is a link to the curriculum from the Austin (TX) Community College. As you can see, some of the classes are in areas that many baby boomers would be interested in: arts and crafts, horticulture, home and gardening, sewing, writing and fine arts, photography, etc.

3. Roadscholar Programs
You might remember this organization from its former name, Elderhostel. Rebranded as Roadscholar, this dynamic organization has an unbelievable list of programs where you learn and travel at the same time. The range goes from programs offered just down the block to destinations all over the world. With every conceivable type of offering, they are definitely worth checking out.

A Road Scholar Program notice

A few of the most popular programs currently featured on their website include: Hiking Death Valley, Sicily, the Best of the Rockies by Rail, and St. Augustine (FL): 450 Years of History Comes Alive. Roadscholar offers learning adventures from birding to food and wine, history, national parks, history, etc. Some people love the Roadscholar experience so much they go on multiple programs a year.

We even learned at the Roadscholar website that there is scholarship program. If you want to go on a trip and can’t afford it, you might be eligible for financial aid, thanks to generous donations.

4. Local Adult Education and Libraries, etc.
Many localities have strong adult education programs that offer a full array of classes. You might have taken one – your editor’s family got their safe boating certificates from such a class. We also took a fun landscape architecture class. Usually taught by local experts, they can be interesting and provide a social outlet too. As local libraries continue to evolve in the digital age, offering interesting programs and speakers has become more important to their mission. While not often a formal “class”, these cultural events do provide lifetime learning and stimulation. See local newspapers and websites to find out what is available in your area.

http://www.topretirements.com/blog/baby-boomer-issues/learning-in-retirement-as-a-goal-have-fun-and-expand-your-mind.html/