Escape the chill in these warm-weather destinations.
Sure, the winter months have their perks. Ski season is great, and of course, there's the festive period. But the cold. Oh, the cold. It digs deep under your skin, straight to your bones, sending chills down your spine and up to your chattering teeth. If you're looking to escape the frigid air — even for a quick respite — we've got good news for you. There are plenty of year-round, warm-weather destinations waiting to welcome you.
From island getaways to sizzling cities, here are 10 of the best warm places to travel in winter.
Ambergris Caye, Belize
With direct flights from several U.S. cities (including Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, and Miami), getting to this Central American nation is easier than you think. It's a country filled with lush, verdant landscapes, including a tropical forest home to plenty of monkeys and even a few rare jaguars. But the true star here is its coastline. To experience the white-sand beaches at their best in the winter months, make your way to Ambergris Caye, the largest island in Belize. It's known for its water sports, including plenty of diving and snorkeling, thanks to the nearby Belize Barrier Reef. For a luxe visit, book a few nights at Alaia Belize, which not only provides stellar beach access, but also has a glass-bottom pool for good measure.
Mexico City, Mexico
Another destination with plentiful direct flights to and from the U.S. that deserves a spot on your winter vacation list is Mexico City. The capital of Mexico is flush with cultural attractions, including countless museums (though we'd be doing you a disservice without specifically calling out the Frida Kahlo Museum), incredible shopping for both high-end and local markets, and some of the best restaurants in the world (we're looking at you, Pujol). In the city, make Las Alcobas your home base. The luxury hotel offers lavish guest rooms and a tranquil spa to relax in after a day of urban exploration.
Key West, Florida
Make your way to the southernmost destination in the continental U.S. for a little sun all year long. Key West is a true delight in the winter months as the average high temperature never really falls below 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It's the perfect place for fruity cocktails on the sand, sunset strolls down Duval Street, and more Key lime pie than you think you can handle. Make the most of your time next to the crystalline waters by booking a stay at Casa Marina Key West, a historic inn that's been in operation since 1920. Through the hotel, you can book local food tours, golf outings, and sailing charters, or you can choose to simply sit by the pool and soak in the Floridian sun.
Rangiroa, French Polynesia
The French Polynesian archipelago is made up of hundreds of islands, with a few key spots (think Bora Bora and Moorea) getting most of the attention. If you're hoping to head somewhere a little less crowded, opt for one of its lesser-known destinations, like Rangiroa. Located about an hour's flight from Tahiti, the atoll is made up of endless beaches, along with a massive lagoon brimming with sea life. Book the Hotel Kia Ora Resort & Spa, which boasts stunning overwater bungalows and villas with private plunge pools.
Panama is another destination with splendid coastlines, but its interior hillsides shouldn't be overlooked, especially for a winter vacation. The Panama highlands are home to gorgeous green mountains that are ideal for bird-watching and adventures such as exploring hanging bridges. Plus, it's home to a stellar coffee scene worth tasting. Book a stay at The Haven, an adults-only wellness hotel that'll help you get on a coffee tour as soon as you land.
No matter where you go in Africa for a safari, odds are you'll have great time, so why not take it off the well-worn path and head to a more remote destination? Namibia delivers on the secluded location and most certainly guarantees warm winter weather. It's also the perfect place for a safari to see animals like lions, elephants, leopards, and rhinos trotting through seemingly barren landscapes. There are several outfitters in the area, but Natural Selection is top-notch. It has numerous camps to choose from, including the famed Shipwreck Lodge on the Skeleton Coast.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Those wanting to mix in some beach time with a little history need not look further than San Juan, Puerto Rico. The city by the Caribbean Sea is as idyllic as they come, with long stretches of white-sand beaches and historical attractions like the Castillo San Felipe del Morro. Visitors will also find lots of delicious spots to eat (make reservations at Cocina Abierta). In San Juan, it's best to go boutique, so check into the O:LV hotel, which features a rooftop bar and pool offering the best views in town.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
There's nothing better than the desert heat in the dead of winter. When the first cold snap hits, book your ticket to Dubai. In this desert oasis, you can do just about anything you wish, including taking a dip in the ocean, going shopping at some of the world's most luxurious stores, dining at multiple Michelin-starred restaurants, and even climbing the tallest building in the world. Check out Atlantis, The Palm, which is a certified playground for those looking to indulge in the finer things in life.
The best time to visit Bangkok happens to be over the winter. It's when the weather is still prime, but the monsoon season is in the rearview mirror. The city is absolutely massive, so it's best to book a lengthy visit or get a guide — there are tons of tour options on sites like Airbnb Experiences that focus on food, culture, and photography.
Don't miss out on the city's canals, either — you can book an outing on a Thai long-tail boat. Make the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok your home in town, which took the number one spot for best hotel in Bangkok in Travel + Leisure's 2022 World's Best Awards.
Sometimes, you just need to get away and not think about a single thing. And that's exactly what you can do in the Bahamas, an island chain that's just a three-hour flight from New York City. There are a number of beautiful destinations to see here, and thankfully, many of the archipelago's inhabited islands are home to all-inclusive resorts that are ideal for families, couples, and even solo travelers.