You’ll witness one of the most gorgeous views in Thailand at Doi Inthanon National Park. (Photo: Alamy)
Are you one of those people who breaks out the winter jacket the minute the temperature drops below 50 degrees? If so, you’re probably not too keen on sticking around all season for winter’s cold weather. And really, why suffer? This winter, trade in the snow boots for sandals and you plan a getaway to one of these warm weather destinations.
What You’re Doing: Hiking to the Highest Point in the Country
If you’re looking to fill your photo albums with amazing pictures, Thailand boasts some of the best views a winter vacation could offer. From seaside retreats to ancient Buddhist temples, the landscape of Thailand is just as diverse as its culture.
If you’re looking for one of the best views in the country, head to Doi Inthanon National Park, which proudly boasts the highest point in the country. Take your picture in front of the sign (for bragging rights back home) and then head to the King and Queen Pagodas also located within the park. Built to honor the country’s royalty, these magnificent structures are surrounded by fields of wildflowers. It really is like something out of a fairytale – so get that camera ready.
British Virgin Islands
What You’re Doing: Sailing
You can’t plan a tropical beach vacation this winter and not plan to get out on the water. Thanks to its consistent winds, the British Virgin Islands are the perfect spot for sailing. Whether you’re an experienced sailor or it’s your first time on the water, sailing charters offer you the opportunity to explore. Check out the sailing around Tortola (the largest of the islands) or Virgin Gorda.
What You’re Doing: Observing the Rock Formations in El Nido
Close your eyes for a minute and imagine secluded beaches, crystal blue water and hidden caves made for exploring. Sound fun, right? On your winter getaway to the Philippines, head to El Nido, part of the Palawan province.
Take in the exquisite rock formations from a ring-side seat in your own sea kayak. Either rent a kayak in town or island hop with a kayak tour that’ll teach you about the limestone formations as you go. You don’t have to be an expert kayaker to enjoy the fun!
Cabo San Lucas
What You’re Doing: Scuba Diving
Get your Go-Pro ready for some of the best underwater snapshots in Cabo. Schedule an excursion with Dive Cabo and one of their knowledgeable guides. Depending on the time and length of your dive trip, you can check out the sites at places like Land’s End, Whale Head or Pelican Rock. With views of sea lions, eagle rays and maybe even a whale shark, this is one warm weather destination you don’t want to miss.
Playa del Carmen
What You’re Doing: Golfing
Forget the golf simulators back at home; head to Playa del Carmen for the real deal in the winter months. With average temperatures in the 80s and eight courses in the immediate area, Playa del Carmen is a golfer’s paradise.
Check out either of Jack Nicklaus’s golf courses – at El Manglar Golf Club or Moon Palace Golf course. For a taste of culture as you practice your swing, check out Pok Ta Pok Golf Club Cancun, located on grounds neighboring Mayan ruins.
What You’re Doing: Checking out the Nightlife in Rio de Janeiro
For some of the best nightlife in Rio de Janeiro, head to the downtown area, specifically the Lapa and Centro neighborhoods. On Friday and Saturday nights in Lapa, large street parties consume the area.
Want to check out a bar instead? Channel your inner dancing queen (or king) and head to Carioca da Gema where you can practice your Samba. End your night at Leviano, an eclectic music venue featuring everything from EDM to jazz.
What You’re Doing: Eating Traditional Cuisine
The best part of any vacation is usually the food – or at least it’s high up on the list. If you’re exploring a new country on your winter getaway, sampling the local cuisine is a must.
Traditional food in the Dominican Republic is a unique mix of flavors – from African, Spanish and Middle Eastern influences. For a typical dinner meal, order up La Banera – a dish made of rice, stewed beans and roasted meat. Finish off your meal with something sweet like Tres Leches cake, a sweet cake soaked with three kinds of milk and topped with fresh whipped cream.