Winter is coming! We’ve tried to deny it, we’ve tried to block it, but so far we couldn’t stop it. And if like us, the prospect of drizzly days, never-ending nights and gloomier weather freaks you out, then we’ve found some magical, tropical winter hideaways for you to hibernate in until Spring. Although winter is traditionally the season of festivities, over-indulgence, and forced-family gatherings, what could be more alluring than travelling to a paradise island to sip cocktails on a sun-drenched beach whilst wearing a Santa’s hat. If like us, your a certified sun-chaser, then these enticing winter-gems will help you swap the cold-snap for some much-needed sun-gazing.
If you’re looking for a far-eastern beach adventure, then Thailand offers the ultimate exotic winter escape. As the monsoon weather clears, you can expect warmer, drier weather in the winter as well as unique culture and idyllic white beaches. If you’re looking for some zen, culture and relaxation, then you can explore the Buddhist-inspired temples of Chiang Mao or the beaches of Koh Lanta. Famous for the iconic movie the ‘Beach’, you can visit the castaway fantasy islands of Koh Phi Phi or Krabi. You can island hop to Koh Samui, Koh Lipe or Koh Lanta and you’ll be welcomed by sprawling white sand, spas, rustic shacks, hammocks and palm trees, while the aquamarine sea laps at the shore. There’s also plenty to explore, from the popular vibrant cities of Bangkok, Chang Mai, Phuket or Chang Rai, to hiking through mountain ranges with cherry blossoms and visiting charming villages. And the food, you have to try the authentic Thai food. If you’re craving some festive cheer, you can even find a legendary Christmas and New Year Full Moon parties. Christmas is also observed in the big cities, so you may even find a Thai Santa Claus!
If you’re happy to spend a little more time in the air, then Mexico offers the ideal coastal hideaway. Bursting with culture and never-ending fiestas, Mexico is also celebrated for its tropical climate, sprawling white sandy beaches and turquoise clear seas. You’ll be spoilt for you choice with the endless list of resorts and destinations, from Cancun to the Riviera Maya. As Mexico enjoys a dry-season in winter, the Carribbean-edged coast tempts sun-gazers from all over the world and you can expect tropical sunshine and little rainfall. Mexico offers the perfect fusion of culture, nature, exotic wildlife and city-slicking. So whether you’re looking to track down ancient Mayan sites or cultural hot-spots, or soak up the hustle of a vibrant city with bustling restaurants, lively nightclubs, fiestas and bars, there’s something for everyone. If you’re down for an adventure then you can cruise over to the east coast to find Mexico’s awesome underwater museum ‘Museo Subacuático de Arte’, whale watch in Los Cabos or swim with dolphins in Cancun.
If you’re craving a warm winter getaway, then Barbados offers a slice of Caribbean paradise. The dry season usually begins in January, so you can still celebrate New Year in Thailand or Mexico. Once you arrive, you can indulge in one of its luxurious all-inclusive resorts along the Platinum coast. Barbados is known for its authentic fusion cuisine, so you can sample the delicious dishes and local delicacies in any of many Barbados restaurants. Once you step outside, you’ll be greeted by crystal clear Caribbean waters and stretches of pristine beaches. You can either relax on the beach with a cocktail or visit one of snorkeling spots to swim with tropical fish or giant sea turtles. You can also try any of the water sports on offer, from surfing or stand-up paddle boarding to kayaking. What’s more, you can explore the botanical gardens, trek through the exotic forests or soak up the Caribbean vibes in any of the lively authentic bars into the night.