Just because you love the holiday season, doesn’t mean you have to love the blustery, bone-chilling weather that (for most parts of the U.S.) comes with it. And even if you do enjoy the charm of smiling snowmen, cozy fireplaces and bundling up in oversized sweaters and giant scarves, after a while the novelty and allure of it all starts to wear off.
If you’re like most, you’re left praying for the return of spring and cursing the day the temperatures ever dropped below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. You might even start to find yourself dreaming of white sandy beaches, tall, breezy palm trees and fruity, cold cocktails.
But what’s even better than dreaming is actually escaping the harsh wrath of winter and adventuring to a destination where the weather will treat you more kindly. From Antigua and Barbados to Colombia and Costa Rica, the following warm weather destinations will help you forget your hatred for winter while you embrace the outdoors and embark on incredible excursions and adventures.
Antigua’s Curtain Bluff resort offers wintertime travelers an all-inclusive island escape. Here visitors are greeted with endless opportunities for outdoor adventure, including diving, snorkeling, fishing, ziplining and water skiing, just to name a few. What’s more, the resort recently partnered with celebrity trainer Adam Rosante to offer guests the Living Well program: a five-day package filled with fitness classes, one-on-one nutrition coaching, rejuvenating spa treatments and adventurous day trips including a catamaran cruise to English Harbour.
This quaint collection of island-style cottages, bungalows and villas makes an exotic and relaxing escape for all types of adventure-seeking travelers. Guests of The Lodge at Kukui'ula are welcome to enjoy exhilarating amenities such as the Island Pursuits package—a program that offers access to local guides who lead tours on the Kalalau Trail, teach traditional Hawaiian canoe sailing, provide stand-up paddleboard lessons and more.
The perfect place to chill out and thaw out all at once, the Tabacón Grand Spa Resort offers visitors one of the most unique and luxurious Costa Rican rainforest experiences. Following days filled with thrilling activities like white water rafting, rappelling, horseback riding and wildlife watching, guests are invited to unwind as they soak in the resort’s natural thermal springs, kick back with cocktails in the Shangri-La garden, or indulge in an open-air spa treatment.
Barbados is brimming with adventure, and Turtle Beach resort guests have the unique opportunity to escape winter while immersing themselves into the island’s unique and exhilarating culture. From beach cricket (the island’s signature pastime) and cave exploring to water sports, golf and horseback riding there’s a seemingly endless amount of ways to explore and experience this one-of-a-kind tropical island.
If it’s a truly action-packed trip you’re looking for, then REI’s nine-day Thailand excursion will easily fill all of your adventurous desires. The all-inclusive package will submerge you into the country’s colorful cultures as you make your way from Chiang Mai to the jungle. Highlights include hiking, biking and kayaking through northern Thailand, visits to remote hill-tribe villages and the chance to taste an eclectic array of the country’s cuisines.
BikeHike’s "Belize Blast" trip offers adventurers a truly action-packed itinerary. Combining Caribbean Sea adventures with jungle exploration, this nine-day excursion covers all that Belize has to offer. From kayaking class II and III rapids and inner tubing adventures to iguana-watching and horseback riding through agricultural regions and local villages, each day is packed with adrenaline-boosting activities suited for all types of outdoor-lovers.
“For anyone who hates winter and loves adventure, [Colombia is] an absolute dream,” said Dan Clarke of RealWorld Holidays. “For starters, you have [its] great climate. The winter in the northern hemisphere coincides with perfect beach weather on both the Caribbean coast and up in the Andes. So whether you’re looking to swim and surf or do some hiking, biking or rafting, it’s the perfect time of year.” If you’re in search of great nightlife, Clarke suggested heading to Bogota and Medellin, but if outdoor exploration is more your style then you can’t beat a trek into the mountains. “You’ll find an adventure playground of snow-capped peaks, fast-flowing rivers and giant enigmatic prehistoric statues,” he said. “Meanwhile, on the northern coast you can visit historic Cartagena de Indias and take a speedboat out to the Caribbean paradise of the Rosario Islands, or you can look a little further east to the outstanding beauty of the Tayrona National Park.” Or, for an even more exhilarating adventure, consider a five-day jungle trek to the lost city of Ciudad Perdida.
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“Malaysian Borneo is as adventurous as a destination can get,” said travel writer and photographer Greg Rodgers. “In fact, the indigenous Dayak tribes were still headhunting not too many decades ago; I know, because I've met several while promoting adventure travel in Borneo for the Sarawak Tourism Board.” Today, Rodgers explained, tourists are happily welcomed to Borneo—one of two places on earth where you can see orangutans in their native habitat. “Oddly enough, most tourists in Malaysia skip over Borneo—the third largest island in the world—and miss out on a nature-lover's paradise,” Rodgers said. It’s why he launched GoBorneoTravel.com, “to help others travel to Borneo independently,” he added.
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No, it’s not technically tropical, but even just looking at pictures of Dubrovnik it’s not hard to see why many have compared this Mediterranean oasis to heaven on earth. And happenings here go beyond lounging alongside bright turquoise waters. According to Lonely Planet, further inland, adventure-seeking visitors can explore the Plitvice Lakes, hike the mountains of Paklenica and seek out wildlife in the Kopački Rit wetlands.
At first glance, this might look like your typical tropical island resort. But with a closer look it’s easy to see the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino has plenty to offer for the adventure-seeker in need of a warm winter escape. Of particular note is the resort’s partnership with Rachel Brathen, aka Yoga Girl. One of many activities to choose from, Brathen teaches guests stand-up paddleboard yoga. After an invigorating and engaging session on your board, you can head out for kite and windsurfing lessons or head inland for mountain biking or a safari tour of the islands more rugged landscapes, just to name a few of the adventurous options available.