Are you game for an exotic adventure in an unexpected locale — but a little concerned that you wouldn’t be able to keep up with the action? The following tours are plenty active, but, in deference to our years, tempered with comfortable accommodations, a relaxed pace and expert guidance. The only requirements are that you are mobile and in reasonably good physical shape, are at least 50 years old and delight in out-of-the-ordinary experiences. Costs include all or almost all meals.
TREK THROUGH MONGOLIA
In this remote, vast Asian country, landlocked between China and Russia, you begin your 17-day Mongolian expedition in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar to spend time wandering through royal palaces and narrow streets.
From Ulaanbaatar, your party flies north to Hovsgol Lake, surrounded by mountains and forests, where you’ll find yaks and wild horses. You’ll spend three nights in comfortable gers — traditional Mongolian tents — and spend your days hiking, fishing and riding horses or yak-drawn carts.
Then you’re off to the Gobi Desert with its extreme temperatures, two-humped Bactrian camels, the world’s only desert dwelling bears and nomads (natives who still live without permanent dwellings), before driving to Yol Valley to hike through a canyon to a small glacier and visit the Flaming Cliffs, a world-class dinosaur site.
Your next destination is Bogdo National Park reserve in the interior of Mongolia, home to Asian wapiti (elk), musk deer (musk from males is used in perfume) and marmots (in the squirrel family). Then back to Ulaanbaatar for the Naadam Festival, Mongolia’s biggest event of the year, to watch parades, horse races, archery events and wrestling bouts. Final stop is Karakorum, the ancient capital where Genghis Khan reigned in the 12th and 13th centuries. Cost: $4,995 (per person, double occupancy), land only. The trip is limited to 16 participants.
Information: ElderTreks (800-741-7956, www.eldertreks.com).
SAFARI IN ZAMBIA
Spend your days viewing wild animals. Spend your nights in bush camps with comfortably furnished rooms built of reed and canvas or in spacious safari tents, all with your own bathroom. On this luxurious safari in Zambia in southern Africa, your mission is to explore the country’s three premier national parks — Kafue, South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi.
Kafue is remote and wild with vast tracts of pristine wilderness, home to more than 55 animal species, and one of the best regions in Africa for viewing lions and cheetahs. South Luangwa, at the southern end of the Great Rift Valley, is studded with lagoons, rivers and woodlands. In Lower Zambezi, your safari tents are perched on the banks of the rushing Zambezi River in big game country.
Most days, you’ll set out on early morning walks with expert guides. Afternoon and evening safaris in open-topped vehicles give you up-close encounters with wildlife. Canoeing and boating excursions fill in the gaps.
The 10-day small-group safaris in and out of Zambia’s Lusaka Airport are scheduled in July, August and September (winter in southern Africa). Cost: $7,498 (per person, double occupancy), land only.
Information: Austin-Lehman Adventures (800-575-1540, www.austinlehman.com).
This guided expedition in Newfoundland, in northeastern Canada, is offered in cooperation with the World Wildlife Fund and always includes one of its own nature specialists, a marine ecologist, to help you understand the wondrous world of animals and seabirds in the icy waters and along the rugged coastline.
You’ll lodge in elegant hotels where you can relax between explorations. First destination is the Bonavista Peninsula and the vast colonies of seabirds that nest there, including Atlantic puffins, bald eagles and arctic terns. After visiting local fishing villages, you move north to Terra Nova National Park, a Canadian Wildlife Service bird sanctuary, to hike the shoreline and walk through a black spruce forest for glimpses of bears and moose. You may see whales offshore in the icy waters of Trinity Bay.
Scheduled in summer, the six-day tours take a maximum of 24 guests. The trip starts and ends in St. John’s. Cost: $2,750 (per person, double occupancy), land only.
Information: Horizon & Co. (800-387-2977, www.horizon-co.com).
BIKING VIENNA TO BUDAPEST
If you can ride a bike several hours a day, you can handle this trip because the pace is slow and the terrain is gentle. You’ll cover 25 or 30 miles a day, easy when you have all day to do it. Your luggage goes on ahead of you to the small inns where you will spend your nights.
The eight-day, self-guided journey (help is nearby if needed) starts in Vienna and takes you down the bike path that runs beside the Danube River, passing castles and Roman ruins, monasteries and small farm-villages, and over the border to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia.
Then it’s off to the Hungarian lowlands and the towns of Gyor, with its baroque architecture and narrow lanes… Tata with its springs, canals, lakes and castle… the historic city of Esztergon, seat of Roman Catholicism in Hungary for 1,000 years… Szentendre, a cobblestoned old-time artists’ colony… and finally the beautiful city of Budapest.
The trip sets forth with up to 12 people from mid-April to mid-October. Included: Accommodations, daily breakfast and dinner, a bicycle and transportation back to Vienna. Cost: $1,745 (per person, double occupancy), land only.
Information: 50plus Expeditions (866-318-5050, www.50plusexpeditions.com).
AMAZON RIVER CRUISE
Board La Esmeralda or La Aquamarina, small 24-passenger riverboats, settle into your big comfortable cabin (with a private bathroom), and you’re off to explore the Amazon River and the rain forests of Peru.
You chug upriver in a steel skiff and see parrots, blue and yellow macaws, canary-winged parakeets, three-toed sloths high up in trees, iguanas and sometimes brown bushy-tailed monkeys.
You visit the tiny riverside villages of the aboriginal people, who live in thatched open-air houses built on stilts and fish from dugout canoes. Hike in the jungle, visit a family for lunch, fish for piranhas and eat them for dinner, cross the treetops of the rain forest on a long suspension bridge, lounge about the decks of your riverboat, and eat your meals in the air-conditioned dining room. Begin and end your trip in the capital city of Lima.
The 11-day excursions from Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT), a tour operator whose trips are exclusively for people over 50, run May to December. Cost: Starts at $2,195 (per person, double occupancy) and includes airfare from the US.
Information: Overseas Adventure Travel (800-873-5628, www.oattravel.com).