Escape the Holiday Crowds at These Incredible and Warm Retreats from Escape the Holiday Crowds at These Incredible and Warm Retreats
Escape the Holiday Crowds at These Incredible and Warm Retreats
You don’t have to wait for summer to enjoy the beach, go scuba diving, or embark on crazy adventures that don’t involve ice. Do something different this holiday season and be selfish; head to a warm location where big crowds won’t be a concern. Choose a destination with a temperate climate and you can spend your days working off any extra “Christmas cheer” weight by hiking, swimming, kayaking, and snorkeling.
Panama is an up-and-coming destination. Flights from the U.S. can take half the time of those to popular places like Rio, meaning you spend on time vacationing than being on a plane. Panama also comes fairly cheap. The average daily rate for a single room, luxury class is about $150. Make you trip adventurous and learn to surf. For some of the best waves in the Caribbean you definitely want to surf in Bocas del Toro, which has a relaxed, laid-back feel. Stay at the Bungalows at Red Frog Beach for a more secluded surf camp experience. They limit the resort to 10 surfers. Have fun at resorts with overwater villas. People love going there for scuba diving, fishing, snorkeling, kayaking, surfing, and bustling nightlife.
Lake Charles, Louisiana
This is a family-friendly destination where active adventurers love to go for nice beaches, challenging biking and exploring marshland along the 180-mile Creole Nature Trail All-American Road. Also, this is Louisiana, so you be sure the food won’t disappoint. Go on an eco-tour through the marsh or on a charter trip with a professional fishing guide. Go outside the city limits into the heart of the area’s marshes and waterways. Being in the midst of quiet and serene surroundings, you’ll quickly discover why Louisiana is called “Sportsman’s Paradise,” according to Visit Lake Charles.
San Diego, California
Why go to the unbelievably crowded Disney parks when you can bring the kids to roller coasters and other adventures in the Belmont amusement park in San Diego? Other than giant rides, the kids can go rock climbing, play Escapology where they have to find clues, unlock doors, pick locks, and escape rooms; enjoy arcade classics; duck, dive and roll through a timed course; zip line and even surf. Surfing in San Diego this time of year is world-class. The city is one of the coolest surfing towns on the planet. It has awesome wave pools in addition to a plethora of good surf spots. Zip lining here – riding through tree tops, canyons, valleys, and mountains, catching speeds up to 50 mph – is absolutely thrilling.
Caladesi Island, Florida
Caladesi Island, off the north end of the beach, was once recognized as the nation's best by Dr. Beach, according to Visit Florida. Enjoy the white sand beaches, clear gulf waters and warm sunshine to the fullest. Don’t forget to visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to meet Winter, one of the world’s most famous dolphins, known for having a prosthetic tail. The island, which something of a state secret, is warm year round. Bonus: You won’t see any hotels and cars on the island, which only adds to its allure. Go hiking among mangroves and sand dunes; go paddling to see herons, ospreys and other birds living nearby.
Boracay Island, the Philippines
The island has everything the rest of the country has minus the big crowds and high prices. It is renowned for its pristine beaches. Enjoy the throw-back atmosphere for a reasonable price. Food, drinks, and even massages, are quite affordable. Hotel deals vary, but you can still find rooms for under $50 per night at a 3-star hotel. The islands’ varied landscape is matched by its many offerings; adventurous travelers will find themselves with endless options. Go horse riding, diving, snorkeling, cliff diving and parasailing, and explore remote coves.
When people think of Arizona, they usually imagine a desert, but it can be very diverse. The city boasts perfect environmental conditions for outdoor recreational activities – golfing, horseback riding, and hiking, to name a few. Bonus: If you can’t leave your dog at home, you’re in luck; Tucson is one of the best cities for dogs and their owners. You will find approximately 70 pet-friendly hotels and motels to choose from. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a major attraction with its fusion zoo, botanical garden, natural history museum, aquarium, and art gallery. You can explore 21 acres with two miles of walking trails. If you’re interesting in something more rocket science-related activities, the Kitt Peak National Observatory has the world’s largest collection of optical telescopes.
Costa del Sol, Spain
Why go to the crowded Barcelona, which, it turns out, doesn’t even want any more tourists, when you can head to the beautiful Costa del Sol, a coastal haven in Andalucia in southern Spain. The crowds are non-existent after October, so much so that some businesses even close. Explore the miles of sandy beaches; enjoy the fantastic year round warm climate; and immerse yourself in the rich and diverse local culture. The golfer in you will love the place. The coast boasts one of the highest concentrations of world-class golf courses, to the extent that it is often dubbed “The Costa del Golf,” according to Spain Holiday.
Experience the wild, diverse and extravagant world of Kenya between October and mid-December when the big crowds haven’t arrived yet. See stunning landscapes, incredible wildlife and educate yourself culturally. Kenya has some of the world’s best safaris in the world. Enjoy gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and take a balloon ride over the Masai Mara. It is known as one of the best country parks in Kenya. The reserve, along with the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, forms Africa’s most diverse eco-system.
Chile is ideal for thrill-seekers and travelers who want to explore the local culture of an unfamiliar place. Days are long, bright and warm with comfortable temperatures in the 70’s. Start your journey in the colorful and lively Santiago, then move to the more remote but equally adventurous and stunning Pucon; go on a unique trip and explore the UNESCO site at Easter Island, which is one of the world’s most secluded destinations. Bonus: The Chilean peso’s value has dropped by 22 percent against the U.S. dollar, so you won’t have to break the bank while having the time of your life.
Ditch the cold weather and go to warm Argentina. Summer in the country lasts from December until February. Start with the multicultural Buenos Aires, one of the world’s most exhilarating capital cities, with astonishing art and captivating neighborhoods. Visit the many museums, have fun in lively bars and eat delicious food at small restaurants. The wine, the tango, the fishing, the mountaineering, the nightlife, the architecture – the reasons to visit this beautiful country are endless. The Iguazu Falls alone is a reason to go. Exploring them by foot or hopping on a boat to experience Iguazu by water is an absolute thrill.
Namibia is a great still-hidden gem that is overshadowed by neighboring South Africa. This means no crowds. The country is an unforgettable trip that you can do on a budget. Go on a self-drive safari; track the Big Five on foot, horseback, camel, or in a jeep. Camping is a very popular activity, maybe because it’s cheap – between $4 and $6 per person per night. How about skydiving over the Atlantic Ocean and Namib Desert? This will cost no more than $140. Sandboarding in the desert and hot air ballooning over the magnificent Namib-Naukluft National Park should be on your list as well.
Most people go to Mexico or Belize and just fly over Guatemala. But they should consider landing there for a combination of ancient Mayan ruins and stunning nature. The weather is pleasant year-round. November through April is usually the dry season. Lake Atitlan is one of the most spectacular lakes in the world. Take a tour around it; climb Volcano Atitlan and Volcano San Pedro; and hike through the Onion Fields and take pictures of the amazing scenery.
Serene and secluded, the flat bay has almost no hills ensuring almost constant trade winds. Anguilla is famous for its turquoise ocean, exquisite white sand beaches and wonderful varied local cuisine. The island is especially beautiful for its stunning and ecologically important coral reefs. It continues to be a quieter island in the Caribbean, with many older charms. The lack of development gives Anguilla a peaceful feel allowing visitors to vacation as they please. Vacationers who seek privacy go to Cap Juluca, one of the most exclusive resorts in the world.
You wouldn’t have considered Nicaragua as a vacation destination tears ago. Travelers will witness incredible natural beauty, cheap accommodation and amazing adventures. The country also boasts a culture that invites travelers to explore its recent revolutionary history via colonial cities, markets and even rainforests. A must-do is volcano boarding. How does racing down an active volcano at 25-30 miles per hour sound? You and your wooden board can literally crash into sharp volcanic rocks. Although this can leave a few marks, the experience is worth the bragging rights.
Morocco's population is predominantly Muslim so you want too many tourists there looking to celebrate Christmas. Make the most of the lack of crowds and turn your trip into an adventure. Morocco is a perfect destination for hiking. Go trekking in the Atlas Mountains; consider making a trip to see the grandeur of the Sahara. Visit Marrakech to see stunning gardens, markets, and city squares covered with extraordinary works of art. Make time to explore Chefchaouen. Morocco’s stunning blue city is breathtaking. Adventurers won’t be bored – hikes along the hills are strenuous, mountain streams valleys, ravines, and scenic summits are plenty.