Is it just me or does snow walk a thin line between dreamy and dreadful? The warm and fuzzy thoughts of a white Christmas? Dreamy. The teeth-chattering mornings spent scraping ice off your windshield? Dreadful. One too many occurrences of the latter, and before you know it your good old buddy SAD — you know, Seasonal Affective Disorder — comes knocking at your door.
Now, I don’t know about you, but the only way I’ve found to kindly kick those Winter blues to the curb is by getting the heck out of town. Away from the cold, away from the rain, away from anything even related to chilliness — trust me: a warm-weathered getaway will work wonders on the soul. So for those of you looking to partake in your own great escape this Winter, ahead are 15 incredible (summery) destinations waiting to be discovered!
1 Cape Town, South Africa
Stunning from sea to sky, Cape Town is another must-visit African destination, especially during the Northern Hemisphere’s wintertime. Thanks to the endless sun and glorious weather, this is the prime time for hitting the area’s abundant white, sandy beaches. With stunning surrounding views of the awe-inspiring Table Mountain — South Africa’s most famous natural landmark — your body will hit the reset button the moment you roll out your towel.
2 Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica
If the thoughts of vibrant rainforests, diverse wildlife, and a laid-back local culture make your heart pump even the slightest bit faster, it’s time to make your way to the Guanacaste Province of Costa Rica. Often referred to as the serene soul of Central America, this area has it all. And because the Winter months mark Costa Rica’s dry season, it will be eagerly waiting to welcome you with a warm embrace.
3 Buenos Aires, Argentina
What better way to spend the wintry months than by exploring the sizzling city of Buenos Aires? Here, you can feast your eyes on some of the most magnificent architecture in the world, not to mention eat your way through the increasingly dynamic food scene. Just don’t forget to pack your dancing shoes. Being the birthplace of the tango, chances are you’ll want to start learning this steamy strut as soon as you arrive.
4 Bagan, Myanmar
Perched on the eastern banks of the Irrawaddy River, Bagan has been alluring visitors from all across the globe for decades. Once the capital of a powerful ancient kingdom, this area is most adored for its iconic Archaeological Zone, which encompasses more than 2,000 Buddhist monuments and temples, all spread along endless green plains. Just one glimpse of a mesmerizing sunset here and you’ll forever be infused with inspiration.
5 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
As if the beloved, five-day annual celebration known as Carnival isn’t enough of a reason to visit this Brazilian metropolis in the wintertime, Rio de Janeiro has golden beaches, lush mountains, and a vibrant city center, too. And thanks to its consistent warm and sunny forecast taking place between December and March, you’ll be able to embrace the rhythms of Rio without even thinking about that powdery white stuff piling up at home.
6 Tanzania, Africa
Not only is Tanzania the home to Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, but it’s also the residing spot for vast wilderness, endless plains, and breathtaking offshore islands. Simply put: this East African country will offer a wintertime escape like no other. If you head this way, be sure to carve out time for the Serengeti National Park. Populated by the “big five” game — elephants, lions, leopards, buffalo, and rhino — there’s no doubt this park will deliver the ultimate safari experience.
7 Paracas, Peru
Just a few hours south of Lima is where you’ll find the gateway to both desert and sea. Home to high cliffs, miles of sand dunes, and the beloved Ballestas Islands, the coastal village of Paracas oozes with allure. Not only will you be met with adventure on and off the land, but since this pocket of Peru is still widely unknown, you’ll also be able to discover it all without the crowds.
8 Havana, Cuba
All it’ll take is one step in Havana before you instantly feel transported back in time. From its charming, colorful streets steeped in rich, fascinating history to its faded-glamour-meets-colonial-era vibes, you’ll want to begin exploring as soon as you drop your bags. Whether you walk the shimmering shores, aimlessly roam the open-air bazaars, or spend hours listening to live salsa music, there’s no question this corner of Cuba will continuously capture your imagination. And let’s face it: we all should head this way while we can.
9 Marrakesh, Morocco
Recently named the most popular travel destination in the world, Marrakesh is one of those destinations that deserves to be on everyone’s bucket list. With its energetic souks, flavorful food, and heartfelt hospitality, it’s no wonder this corner of Morocco is known as the “Jewel of the South.” Plus, it’s just about the only place where you can ride a camel in the desert, eat dates in the shade of palm trees, swath yourself in brilliantly bright silks, and gaze upon traditional belly dancers flicking their hips . . . all in one setting.
Although the Winter months aren’t quite as hot here as July, per se, this time of year is a wonderful time to visit, as there are very few tourists and still plenty of sunshine.
10 Sedona, Arizona
In addition to being a phenomenal hot spot for a wintry getaway, the romantic miles of endless skies in the desert in Sedona might just have you considering a move to Arizona. Not only is this “Red Rock Country” notorious for awe-inspiring stargazing that will make your heart leap, but the multihued stone formations will leave you feeling as if you’ve just entered a geological wonderland.
While you probably won’t be lounging poolside in your bikini here in the dead of Winter, this time of year is perfect if you’re yearning to have the majestic saguaro cacti all to yourself. You might want to toss a jacket in your bag before heading this way, though, as temperatures will drop slightly once the sun sets for the day.