It never fails that as winter sets in on the northern part of the globe that the thoughts of many turn to fantasies of warm, tropical beaches. Delightful images of swaying palm trees and the memory of the sweet bite of a perfect piña colada can cloud judgement and lead to the uncontrollable urge to browse the websites of tropical resorts and perhaps even book a flight.
If you’re suffering from the winter blues, why fight it? While the winter months are high season in most tropical destinations, that doesn’t always mean that the prices are unaffordable. In fact, right now is the perfect time to travel as the US dollar is reaching record highs in many parts of the world, so your trip might actually save money.
These are five of the most appealing beachy destinations in the world, any of which would be the perfectwinter getaway. So ditch the coats and gloves, grab your swimsuits and passports, and head off for a well-deserved break from the cold.
Located on the long stretch of Caribbean coastline known as the Riviera Maya, Playadel Carmen is just south of Cancun, which is easily reached by direct flights from all over the United States and some from Europe. This relatively small town is bursting with lively clubs, fantastic Mexican cuisine, and lodging choices from budget hostels to luxury resorts.
The beaches are made up of powdery white sand and the crystal blue waters are perfect for a number of activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, kite surfing, and more. One of the current appeals of Mexico is the strength of the U.S. dollar against the Mexican peso. However, don’t be lured in by the fact that most establishments accept US dollars. Withdraw pesos from a local ATM and pay all hotel charges in pesos. Be sure to take advantage of the shopping options as well. Clothing, souvenirs, and others can be good deals in Mexico. Bring your electronics though, like your e-cigarettes and backup digital memory cards.
Located on Panama’s Caribbean coast and consisting of an intricate archipelago of islands, Bocas del Toro is laid back, inexpensive, and incredibly beautiful. Easily reached by a short, regional flight from Panama City, Bocas del Toro and its funky vibe has lured travelers from all over the world.
Accommodations are typically mid-range here and generally consist of hostels and guesthouses. However, higher-end resorts are available, and short-term rentals through Airbnb or Home Away are becoming increasingly popular. Hire a boat for a day to visit some of the deserted islands, and keep your eyes out for sloths in the beautiful mangrove trees.
This island paradise in the Caribbean is under the radar enough that you won’t encounter the crowds that you might in places like Jamaica or the Bahamas, but it still has all of the amenities that you’ll need for a perfect winter getaway. Prices are reasonable and this beautiful island paradise will take your breath away.
Most visitors stay in one of the resorts located in Punta Cana, but staying in Santo Domingo is an option as well. At the very least spend a day exploring Santo Domingo, and be sure to try some of the local dishes, which are an intriguing mash up of African, Spanish, and Middle Eastern flavors.
For those U.S. citizens without a passport, PuertoRico is an attractive destination. This U.S. territory boasts the only tropical rainforest that the United States can call its own, and the history of this island paradise will appeal to many, and its pristine beaches are a huge draw for visitors from all over the world.
San Juan is a charming colonial city and its cuisine is world renowned. Be sure to pay a visit to Mosquito Bay at night to witness the otherworldly bioluminescence, and Flamenco Beach offers camping facilities. Also be sure to visit Camuy River Cave Park for a tour of the underground world.
Colombia’s torrid past might still put some travelers off, but this country has rebounded in a big way and tourism is booming. Colombia is inexpensive and boasts a vast amount of diversity, but for beach lovers nothing beats Cartagena.
This combination of cosmopolitan city and stunning Caribbean coastline results in an incredible beach vacation. Hire a boat to visit some of the more remote beaches, and be sure that you always save room for the seafood. Colombia’s exquisite touch with food might just have you planning your next visit before you even leave.
The winter blues are a real condition, but they’re easily cured with a quick trip to the tropics. Choose one of these beach locales for your next getaway.