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Warm-Weather Escapes for Winter

Updated: Dec 30, 2019

We didn't have a white Christmas in my corner of Colorado, but we're having a white post-Christmas. Because most of my readers are staring down at least two more months of winter (and not the pretty kind) I thought I'd offer (to whom It may concern) some travel inspiration. I often wonder if it appears to readers that I write about warm-weather destinations too frequently. Y'know what? My response is "not possible!" Why? Considering that most winter travel occurs to warm places, as does most summer travel, how can it be that travelers wouldn't want to read about them? How is it that shivering people would not be in search of new places to go? We are warm blooded critters, and even lovers of winter sports seek heat aprés ski. Ergo, you can't have too much talk of warm weather destinations! Besides, travel specials abound, and are begging you to take advantage. So, here we go...

Helpful hint when looking for heat - stay between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. First up: yes, the Caribbean. This region of my birth will always be featured in my newsletters when the topic has anything to do with clear, turquoise water, delicious food, warm, sunny beaches, friendly people...but I digress. The upside of a tropical winter trip is that between December and February the daytime temps rarely exceed 87 degrees, normally hover around 82-84 degrees, with nighttime lows in the 70s at the coasts. The longish winter days (when compared to locations outside of the tropics) sure beat a 4pm sunset.

Tanzania. I bet you didn't think of this one. While many other countries in Africa are in their rainy season,Tanzania is not, which is pretty fortunate, since February is also the calving month for the animals of the Great Migration (which occurs in September). This is the best month of the year to visit if you want to see baby wildebeest, (high on your list, right?) and it’s also when you’ll have the best chance of spotting a cheetah, I am told. If you think of African countries as rating low on the list of luxury destinations, think again. As Virtuoso-affiliated agent, at day's end you can follow the dusty trail or take a private plane to luxurious lodges that rise out of the savannah unexpectedly, where you'll enjoy amenities available only to you, the Virtuoso traveler.

Kauai - for me, this island beats the other Hawaiian islands hands down for lush tropical greenery, hiking, adventure sports, simply lying on the beach, panoramic vistas, and a serious shortage of tourist crowds. I sing its praises here, so check it out. And look at these mountains!

Key West, Florida. You'll cross many keys once you leave the Florida mainland (you can drive or fly, btw), but only one of them is Key West. I love it for the Key lime pie; just putting that out there in the interest of being transparent. I haven't found better key lime pie anywhere than the Blond Giraffe, and they don't have to pay me to say so (which they're not, to be clear). If you can’t spare much vacation time but still want to get warm, look no further than Florida in January. This is one of the Sunshine State’s driest and least humid months, with temperatures averaging around 75 degrees. Key West throws quite a party in January—with tons of festivals happening this month, including the Mile 0 Music Fest, the Food and Wine Festival, and the Seafood Festival.

Phuket, Thailand, known for its "beaches like nowhere else", Phuket beckons irresistibly. Just remember, it's pronounced like "poo-kette", okay? January is one of the best months to visit Thailand—temperatures average a delightful 81 degrees, and it’s solidly after monsoon season, so it’s one of the country’s driest times. The culture and food are not to be missed either, so your trip here will feed you with memories for a long time.

Brazil - okay, ponder your choices: wait all day in freezing Times Square just to watch a ball drop, or enjoy the beaches and beautiful people all day and night until midnight in warm Rio de Janeiro? No contest! Temperatures in Brazil this time of year hover around 86 degrees, so spend go exploring before winding up your trip at Reveillon, one of the world’s biggest New Year’s Eve parties, held on Copacabana Beach.

Go pack. Wait, me first.

'til next week.

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