Winter is coming. While we all (or most of us) enjoy the first snowfall and twinkling holiday lights of the season, after sloshing in snow and donning our puffy jacket for a couple of months, we’re over it – and ready for summer weather. If you’re like us and need a midwinter, post-holiday break to cure the cold-weather blues, we recommend a vacation to a locale with warm temps and all-day sunshine. (Crazy idea, we know.) So for our fellow Northern Hemisphere residents, here are 10 warm-weather getaways for your great escape this winter.
1. Tulum, Mexico
Whether it be Cancun or Puerto Vallarta, Mexico is a popular winter getaway thanks to its consistently warm temps. But for this winter, we’re suggesting you head to Tulum, at the south end of Riviera Maya along the Caribbean. Unlike party-centric Cancun, Tulum is a quiet, relaxing beach escape with easy access to the Mayan ruins. In January, the average high is 85 degrees, so don’t forget to pack your swimsuit and sunscreen.
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The Central American country of Belize is known for its lush rainforests, Mayan ruins and world-class snorkeling and scuba diving. Though it’s a great travel destination throughout the year, the average high temperature in January is 82, so it’s just perfect for when you want to beat winter blues. Zip line through the forest, marvel at the second largest barrier reef in the world, and spot wildlife like howler monkeys and toucans from your cabana.
Our hotel pick: Portofino Beach Resort (www.portofinobelize.com).
3. Phuket, Thailand
Phuket, Thailand’s largest island, is known for stunning beaches, Buddhist temples and plentiful water activities. Spend your days relaxing poolside, marveling at the Big Buddha sculpture or snorkeling various reefs. If you’re really looking for warm temperatures come January, Phuket delivers with an average high of 91.
Our hotel pick: Trisara Phuket (www.smithhotels.com/luxury-hotels/trisara).
4. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Punta Cana, on the Dominican Republic’s easternmost tip, is often said to have the best beaches in the Caribbean. Warm temperatures hover in the same vicinity throughout the year, so you can enjoy those pristine beaches whether it’s January or July. Boasting several adults-only beachfront hotels, it’s an ideal getaway for couples who want to swap snow for sand.
Our hotel pick: Punta Cana Princess All Suites Resort and Spa (www.puntacanaprincess.com).
Dubai is best known for its towering buildings and being home to the world’s largest shopping mall. The desert-filled city has an average high temperature in January of 75; it’s best to visit then instead of July and August, when temperatures routinely spike above 100 degrees. Visitors can enjoy the sandy beaches and warm water, smoke hookah with locals and shop for spices and textiles at the many souks.
Our hotel pick: Fairmont The Palm, Dubai (www.fairmont.com/palm-dubai).
6. Costa Rica
Whether you head to the Pacific or Caribbean side (or both!), Costa Rica is a nature lover’s paradise. The wildlife-rich national parks and beautiful beaches are top attractions, while zip lining, surfing and hiking are popular activities. Warm temperatures throughout the year mean you can enjoy the pura vida culture 365 days a year.
Our hotel pick: Hotel Punta Islita (www.hotelpuntaislita.com).
7. Buenos Aires, Argentina
The capital of Argentina has pretty parks, striking architecture and a buzzing nightlife scene. Fill your time by sampling the city’s famous beef, dancing the tango and scoring some leather goods. As most travelers do, make sure to pay a visit to the Cementerio de la Recoleta and visit Eva Peron’s grave.
Our hotel pick: Legado Mitico Buenos Aires (www.legadomitico.com).
8. Key West, Fla.
Closer to Cuba than Miami, Key West is a tiny city in the Florida Keys bursting with charm. The tropical climate means warm weather year-round, with January seeing average highs of 75. The locale is also a family-friendly destination, with kid-approved activities like eating key lime pie, building sand castles and visiting the Ernest Hemingway House.
Our hotel pick: Sunset Key Cottages, a Luxury Collection Resort (www.sunsetkeycottages.com).
If you’d rather Santa be wearing swim trunks than snow boots, head to Australia, where it’s summertime in December. Sydney, capital of New South Wales, is best known for its visually stunning Opera House and Harbor Bridge, excellent surfing and, of course, phenomenal snorkeling and scuba diving. Spend your days at Bondi Beach and forget all about the cold winter.
Our hotel pick: Quay West Suites Sydney (www.quaywestsuitessydney.com.au).
10. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The capital and biggest city in Malaysia is home to the tallest twin buildings in the world, historic Hindu temples and the Elephant Orphanage Sanctuary. Though Kuala Lumpur can be quite hot – an average high of 90 in January – it’s a welcome retreat with plenty of shopping, parks, museums, and bars to keep travelers busy (and in air-conditioning if so desired).
Our hotel pick: Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur (www.kualalumpur.grand.hyatt.com).