Do the short winter days have you longing for a sun-filled adventure?
Unearth those flip flops from beneath their boot-covered winter grave and pack your favorite swimsuit. There are hot fares to winter sun destinations waiting to warm up your spirit.
The top 5 winter sun destinations for 2019 are:The Cheapest Winter Destinations to Visit Based on Data
January Average High/Low Temperature in Krabi, Thailand: 89°/73°
The Land of Smiles is also the land of bountiful winter sunshine, making Thailand one of the best winter sun destinations. The rainy season varies between the different islands/regions so double check the average forecast before you book.
If you’re traveling in late November, make sure to be in Chiang Mai for the lantern festival (Loy Krathong). Otherwise, check out the island of Koh Lanta for exploring by scooter, Koh Lipe for R&R, or Koh Tao for diving (and one of the cheapest places in the world to do your certification).
If islands aren’t your thing, the northern mountain village of Pai is a hippie-vibe oasis with waterfalls, street food markets, and legendary sunsets.
To visit the islands, fly into Phuket or Krabi airports. You can even fly into Langkawi, Malaysia and hop on a quick ferry to knock off two countries on your travels! Chaing Mai is worthy of a visit even without a sky full of lantern lights, and it’s also the easiest airport to get to Pai.
January Average High/Low Temperature in Unawatuna, Sri Lanka: 86°/75°
Recently named Lonely Planet’s #1 destination for 2019, Sri Lanka is a must visit now country. Foreigners aren’t an unusual sight for Sri Lankans, but even the biggest tourist destinations still maintain their authentic, local feel.
About the size of West Virginia, Sri Lanka has mountains, beaches, history, culture, cities, wildlife, and nature to boot. And they’re all equally worthy of your attention.
A perfect winter sun destination, Sri Lanka’s white sand beaches typically experience days/nights between 75 and 85 degrees, all winter long. Mirissa and Tangalle are especially beautiful, and many of the beaches on the south coast are great for surfing.
Epic train journeys through mountainside tea plantations, safaris galore (hello elephants!), and UNESCO temples are all on the must-do Sri Lanka itinerary.
January Average High/Low Temperature in Sal, Cape Verde: 76°/66°
Unlike Sri Lanka’s recent accolades on the world stage, Cape Verde is the hidden gem of the winter sun destinations. Or gems, that is. Cape Verde’s 10 islands off the coast of Western Africa consist of volcanos, mountain villages, a kite-surfing oasis, and all the live music you can tap your feet to.
“No Stress” is the most commonly used phrase here. You use it to greet someone, to say ‘you’re welcome’, or in simple acknowledgment. And Cape Verde’s neon-blue waters, constant melodies, and fresh seafood are about as stress-free as it gets. (Just don’t drink too much Grogue.)
Direct flights are available weekly from Boston with TACV, the national airline of Cape Verde.
Otherwise, TAP Portugal offers easy connections in Lisbon. Consider booking the legs separately if you want to spend a few days visiting Portugal’s capital city.
January Average High/Low Temperature in Caye Caulker, Belize: 83°/68°
The only English speaking country in Central America, Belize is known for its ease. Island time applies in full force on the Cayes. Caye Caulker’s motto, “Go Slow,” perfectly embodies this island’s carefree vibe. Here you can snorkel or dive the world’s second largest reef, eat jerk chicken from a beachside grill stand, and play soccer on the beach with locals.
Beyond the Caribbean blue waters of the islands, tiny mainland Belize is home to massive Mayan ruins and lush rainforests. Visitors can embark on wild cave explorations, spend an afternoon touring a banana farm, or join a Mayan chocolate making class.
Want double the culture from your winter sun destinations? Pop easily over to Mexico (ferries run from the Cayes to Chetumal where you can quickly get to the stunning Bacalar lagoon). Or cross the border into northern Guatemala and visit Isla de Flores and the famous Tikal ruins.
January Average High/Low Temperature in Cartagena, Colombia: 87°/ 75°
Colombia’s welcoming culture is full of salsa dancing, delicious food (like arepas and paisa), and a love for celebrations of all kinds.
Colombia makes it easy to get a bit of everything on your vacation. Spend a few nights in a quiet fishing village like La Boquilla, wander the bustling streets of Cartagena, and chill in the magical mountains of Minca… all just a few hours apart.
It doesn’t matter which season you visit Medellin, the City of Eternal Spring is ready to welcome you with warm weather. Popular neighborhood El Poblado is lined with trendy cafes and good-vibe bars.
Visit Guatape (≈ 2-hour drive) to experience a quaint village-turned-brightly painted-work-of-art. Every facade is covered in no less than 5 eye-catching shades of paint. Colorful flowers hang in pots. Below them, scenes of animals, shapes, and everyday life adorn the buildings.
Nearby, the massive Penol Rock sticks out like a sore thumb amidst the vast network of turquoise and emerald lakes and rivers. Climb over 700 steps to the top for views genuinely unlike anywhere else on Earth.