8 warm destinations for winter travel
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8 Warm Destinations for Winter Travel

At the mention of “winter,” we think of cold and snow. For many, the winter season marks the beginning of chilly days by the fireplace. That does not have to be the case. Luckily, there are plenty of places you can go to escape the cold. Here are 8 warm destinations for winter travel.

8 Warm Destinations for Winter Travel - Teide
Photo: Jennifer Barbaro (Teide)
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1. The Canary Islands is 1 of 8 Warm Destinations for Winter Travel

About

Located off the coast of northwestern Africa, the Canary Islands are an Atlantic archipelago consisting of 8 primary islands. They are Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, La Gomeria, El Hierro, Lanzarote, La Graciosa, and La Palma.

An autonomous community of Spain, the Canary Islands’ official language is Spanish and the Euro (EUR €) is their currency. English and German are often spoken as well.

Climate

Boasting one of the best climates in the world, the Canary Islands see sunshine throughout most of the year. The overall area has a sub-tropical climate that remains mild and consistent year-round. There is minimal variation between day and nighttime temperatures. Therefore, the Canaries are one of the 8 warm destinations for winter travel.

From November to January, temperatures rarely drop below an average of 17° Celsius (64° Fahrenheit) and often hit 24° Celsius (75° Fahrenheit). Depending on which island you visit, and which part of the island, it could be a bit cooler or warmer. For example, of the 8 main Canary islands, Gran Canaria and Tenerife both enjoy some of the warmest and most sunny areas in winter months.

However, the West Coast of Tenerife sees more clouds than the popular beach resorts of the South. Also, the South of Gran Canaria is one of the most warm winter regions on the islands. Additionally, note that evenings in Teide and other areas of high elevation are much cooler, especially at night.

Sea temperatures remain similarly mild, leaning cool in winter but not so cold as to deter the passionate swimmer. 

8 Warm Destinations for winter travel - Puerto de la Cruz
Photo: Jennifer Barbaro

Vibe

With scenic black-and-white beaches, surreal volcanic landscapes, mountains, biospheres, UNESCO heritage sites, and blue blue skies, the Canary Islands sport a vibe of natural beauty and paradise on Earth. People visit the Canary Islands to relax on beaches, lounge at resorts, bike, hike, boat, and explore cultural attractions. The islands are extremely diverse and offer something for everyone.

Top Attractions

Beaches

Gran Canaria

Tourists flock to the Canary Islands from far and wide for a taste of its gorgeous beaches. Most feature golden shores or black sand, and clear blue waters. Gran Canaria’s beaches are a sight to behold, especially the popular Maspalomas beach. It is reminiscent of nearby Morocco, featuring high sand dunes and camel rides. The dunes are nearby a seaside promenade. It extends along many resorts, vibrant boutiques, bars, and restaurants

. The island’s Playa de las Canteras is also popular, known for its abundant promenade, tranquil waters and barrier reef. Try snorkeling here to encounter clear aqua waters and abundant sea life.

Maspalomas Dunes - 8 warm destinations for winter travel
Photo: Jennifer Barbaro (Maspalomas Dunes)

I loved the African themed Lopesan Baobab Resort. It was the perfect combination of upscale and intimate. While a large resort, the design allowed for a great deal of privacy, especially if you reserve the private pool room.

8 warm destinations for winter travel - Lopesan Bilbao private pool room - Gran Canaria
Lopesan Baobab Private Pool Room
Tenerife

Tenerife is home to plenty of upscale beaches as well, including Costa Adeje, Playa del Duque and Playa Las Americas. Many enjoy the windy El Medano as an ideal surfing spot. Puerto de La Cruz can be cloudy at times, but has a more laid back, local vibe, and is especially popular with German tourists.

For pure 5 star luxury and relaxation, I recommend the Iberostar Grand El Mirador adults only resort in Costa Adeje. It is beautiful resort, right on Playa Del Duque beach, that caters to your every need. I also highly recommend the newly renovated 4 star Atlantic Mirage Suites and Spa in Puerto De La Cruz. Located high on a cliff above the sea and close to town, the adult only hotel offered trendy relaxation, mind blowing mixology, and sweeping ocean views from every suite.

8 warm destinations for winter travel - Rooftop lounge Atlantic Mirage Suites and Spa _ Puerto De La Cruz
Atlantic Mirage Suites and Spa (Rooftop Terrace)
Fuerteventura

Fuerteventura features Playa Sotavento, one of the largest stretches of beach in the Canaries, famous for its turquoise shores.

Teide National Park (Tenerife)

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Teide National Park consists of the world’s third tallest volcano (Teide at 3,178 meters) and the highest mountain in Spain. Home to an active volcano, it is the most expansive park in the Canary Islands with a history of over three million years and counting. It offers mesmerizing views of craters, petrified lava, volcanoes, and unique rock formations. As we speak, the rocks of Teide National Park are undergoing seasonal changes, resulting in new patterns and surprises for visitors.

8 warm destinations for winter travel - Roques de Garcia Teide
Roques de Garcia

Upon arrival, you will find information centers, trail networks, special viewing spots called “miradores,” and refreshment areas. There are many hikes in the area that offer a trail for most any level and experience.

Stargazing is a popular activity in Teide. One of the top three astronomical observatories in the world is in Teide. Scientists will bring telescopes to the mountain at night for you to view planets, the moon, and stars. You definitely need to book this special stargazing experience ahead as the space is limited.

Teide Observatory
Photo: Jennifer Barbaro (Teide Observatory)

There is one hotel inside the Teide National Park that boasts fantastic views of the volcanic landscape. I chose to stay in the small town of Vilaflor, just to the Southeast of the park. Vilaflor sits amongst the pine trees in the Corona Forestal Mature Preserve. The town is lovely and has a few restaurants and bars, a historic plaza, a market, and pharmacy. I highly recommend the picturesque boutique Hotel Spa Villalba. My stay was peaceful and magical. There is plenty of parking and hiking nearby and Teide is a beautiful 25 minute drive away.

Vilaflor - Teide
Photo: Jennifer Barbaro (Vilaflor)

San Cristóbal de la Laguna (Tenerife)

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, San Cristóbal is a colonial city that was once the capital of the Canaries. A piece of living history, the city features mansions, churches, courtyards, and a cathedral dating as far back as the 1500s. Even San Cristóbal’s streets were based on navigation charts, so the city itself can be seen as an enlarged star chart.

San Cristobal consists of an unplanned upper and lower town situated on a grid. “San Cristóbal de La Laguna is the first example of an unfortified town with a grid model that was the direct precursor of the settlements in the Americas under Spanish rule during colonial times. The Castilians founded 8 such grid-plan towns on the Canary Islands. They were founded “ex novo”, i.e. on un-built ground, and the town was a political means for the colonization and appropriation of the territory. It is that very philosophy that was transferred to the Americas.” (Cited from UNESCO San Cristobal de Laguna website)

Attractions

Although San Cristóbal features many interesting attractions, its most famous is the San Cristóbal de La Laguna Cathedral and the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Concepción. The San Cristóbal Cathedral is the only cathedral in Tenerife. Originally built in 1511, this historic building saw many changes in the centuries to come, including several chapels, a temple tower, and the conversion from a church to a cathedral in 1818. Dating to 1496, the church of la Concepción is a National Historic-Art Monument that went through numerous additions and reconstructions in the following centuries. It is also home to a tower that visitors can climb in order to gain a unique view of San Cristóbal.

Today San Cristóbal stands as a colorful historic landmark with a friendly college-town vibe. Besides its antique architecture, the city also features La Laguna Market (an outdoor street market selling fresh, local produce), several guachinces (houses specializing in Tenerife’s traditional cuisine), and is a short distance from beaches.

Boutique hotels in San Cristóbal de La Laguna are reasonably priced and close to the city center.

Fred Olsen Ferry
Arriving in Tenerife by Ferry

Wildlife Watching (Tenerife)

Thanks to the many coasts and surrounding waters, the Canary Islands sees an abundant marine life such as dolphins and whales on a regular basis. As such, dolphin and whale-watching cruises are also popular pastimes in Tenerife. You have the chance to ride out into the Atlantic and see these famous creatures for yourself.

You can select from an abundance of seaside experiences that offer everything from private tours to luxury trips and eco-friendly sightseeing, all accompanied by seasoned crew and professionals.

Miradores (El Hierro)

The whole island of El Hierro is a UNESCO Global Geopark in itself. Mirador de las Pernadas is one of many scenic viewpoints on El Hierro. You can see small towns and coastline over the volcanic landscape from 650 (approx. 2133 feet) meters up .

Mirador de la Pena not only offers you breathtaking views, but a delicious scenic restaurant serving local cuisine. The restuarant’s building is an architectural landmark, designed by Cesar Manrique, a famous artist from Lanzarote. It is set into the mountainside with breathtaking views. There are also loads of different lizards that scamper around the old stone walls. Inside, the restaurant is upscale.

Mirador de Jinama is another popular viewpoint that looks out over the El Golfo Valley. This valley was created by 2 landslides between approximately 20,000 and 80,000 years ago and left an escarpment wall over 1100 meters (approx. 3609 feet) high, providing one of the most spectacular views in all of the Canary islands. There is a glass walled patio structure here where you can take photos.

El Hierro is the second smallest island in the archipelago. It is not as crowded with tourists, and is known for its unspoiled volcanic landscape, diverse plant life, and natural pools. It has a quieter, more local vibe.

Visit the sites of El Hierro on this daylong tour from Tenerife.

If you decide to spend a night (or longer) on this beautiful low key island, many of the hotels, like this one, are surrounded by spectacular volcanic and ocean scenery.

Photo: Jennifer Barbaro (Mirador)

Cueva de Los Verdes (Lanzarote)

A volcanic tube stretching 7 kilometers, Cueva de Los Verdes (Green Cave) is one of Lanzarote’s most famous attractions. More than 3 millennia ago, an eruption from Monte Corona spouted lava to the sea. This formed a path of crusted lava, and when the lava within slid into the ocean, the tube came to be. Once the roof collapsed, the ensuing hole formed a cave nicknamed the “jameo,” which became the tube’s entrance.

From the 1500s to 1600s, the local inhabitants used Cueva de Los Verdes as shelter from invading pirates. By the 19th century, the cave became a hot spot for scientists and travelers interested in the unique landscape. Since then, it remains a stunning tourist attraction, made all the more impressive by artists César Manrique and Fuerteventura Jesús Soto’s modifications. Using the cave’s natural formations to their advantage, they made the most of the landscape’s light-and-shadow scheme and lava impressions. Now you can tour 2 kilometers of Cueva de Los Verdes, allowing for an unforgettable view of hardened lava and colorful stone walls.

The cave’s entrance is also home to an auditorium that hosts piano performances, classical music concerts, experimental shows, operas, dancers, singers, and more. Integrated with nature, the concert hall uses the cave’s natural properties to amplify the show’s sounds and effects. The venue frequently hosts performances from the Art, Culture and Tourism Centres of the Cabildo of Lanzarote Music Festival, and from the Canary Islands Music Festival. Although the music festivals usually take place in summer, individual events take place throughout the year, sometimes as early as October. Check here for upcoming information.

Lanzarote Cave 8 warm destinations for winter travel
Photo: Sebastian Kowalski

There are also plenty of popular beachfront resorts for you to choose from in Lanzarote.

Holiday Offerings

If you happen to be in the Canary Islands for Christmas or New Years, you will find plenty of holiday cheer. Most towns, restaurants, beach areas, and hotels are festively decorated. Additionally, there are some special happenings geared toward the holidays.

Gran Canaria Nativity Scene

The Nativity scene refers to an artistic display (usually near Christmas time) centered on the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. In Spain, the Nativity scene is known as a Belén (the Spanish name for Bethlehem), and it is common to see Belén recreations throughout both Spain and the Canary Islands.

In December, professional artists sculpt the Nativity scene out of sand on Las Canteras beach. The annual display features prominent images from the Bible, such as the Three Wise Men and the birth of Christ. An impressive display of sand craft and artistry, the Gran Canaria Nativity Scene is one of the most interesting sights to behold during winter in the Canaries.

8 Warm Destinations for Winter Travel
Photo: Jennifer Barbaro (Sand Art in Gran Canaria)

Galas and Celebrations

Many hotels and restaurants, both large resorts and small boutiques, offer holiday festivities such as buffets, decorations, galas, and traditional activities. You may need to check with each place you are considering. It seems most everywhere hosts something special, but do not always advertise it. A great example is the boutique hotel that I recently booked. I emailed to see if their restaurant would be open New Years Eve. The response was that their New Years Gala, complete with open bar and traditional events, was included in my room rate, as well as a New Years Day Brunch. I could find no mention of it on the booking! What a great surprise!

Partake In Traditions

One of the best parts of traveling is getting to know cultures and traditions outside of your own. So, when in Spain… wear red underwear beneath your party outfit for good luck and love in the coming year. Or, begin the new year on the right foot (literally), by taking your first step with your right foot. Finally, be sure to consume 12 grapes right at midnight. Each grape represents one month of the upcoming year and is said to provide a month of good fortune.

Why it is a Jenny Favorite

The Canary Islands are definitely a Winter favorite. The weather is almost always moderate. We love that these islands offer something for everyone. Whether you want to relax at an upscale resort, dive a reef, hike a volcano, or submerge yourself in culture, the Canary Islands check most every box.

Tips

Transportation in the Canaries varies by island. Many of the islands offer regular bus routes that connect major towns. Rental cars are available on most islands and may provide the best way to tour at your own pace, on your own schedule, but parking can be limited.

Ferries run regularly and frequently between the islands, but some islands are a great distance from each other and can take many hours to get to by ferry. There are also some inexpensive flights between the islands which may be a more efficient means of transport depending which island you are visiting.

2. Barbados

About

Located in the eastern Caribbean, Barbados is an island in the West Indies. An independent British Commonwealth nation, its official language is English. The Bajan dialect (influenced by several West African languages and British English) is commonly spoken too. The Barbadian dollar (BBD or Bds$) is the official currency.

Climate

Winter is a great time to visit Barbados for several reasons. First, Barbados has a tropical climate, with plenty of sunshine throughout the year. Secondly, although it generally leans on the hotter side, the weather is nicer and less humid in winter and spring. Thirdly, almost always summer, temperatures rarely dip below 21° Celsius (70° Fahrenheit) or rise above 30° Celsius (86° Fahrenheit) from November to January. Therefore, Barbados is an excellent warm winter destination.

Sea temperatures remain consistently warm through the seasons, perfect for those planning to swim in winter. December and January may see some rain, but the sun always triumphs. Regardless, the winter season sees the best of Barbadian climates: warm, pleasant weather without the sweltering heat of summer. This cements Barbados’ place as one of the 8 warm destinations for winter travel.

Bathsheba Barbados - 8 Warm Destinations for Winter Travel
Bathsheba, Barbados

Vibe

Home to sunny beaches and the birthplace of rum, Barbados has an idyllic, island vibe accentuated by a cultural backdrop of Caribbean and British colonial influence. Barbados exudes fun and music and happiness from its beautiful beaches to its lively reggae busses.

Top Attractions

Crane Beach

Famous for its light pink sands and rolling waves, the Crane Beach shoreline must be seen to be believed. Spanning 250 yards, the beach rests under a backdrop of high cliffs. It sits between turquoise seas and healthy palm trees, making for a lovely sunbathing and relaxation spot. Its waters lend themselves to a great boogie boarding scene as well. Stay at the famous historical Crane Resort (1887), boasting modern updates, beautiful grounds, pools, and restaurants.

8 warm destinations for winter travel
Photo: Anthony Ingham 

Bottom Bay

Another of Barbados’ picturesque beaches, Bottom Bay is surrounded by lush palm trees and cliffs of coral. Home to gorgeous, foamy waves from the Atlantic, Bottom Bay offers an opportunity for you to paddle in the waters or take to body boarding. A secluded beach with fantastic views, Bottom Bay also sees its fair share of turtles and sometimes whales in the distance.

Carlisle Bay

Known for its gentle waters, Carlisle Bay is great for the mild swimmer of all ages. It also offers a vivid snorkeling scene thanks to all the creatures attracted by the six famous shipwrecks at the bottom of the bay. You can encounter plenty of turtles, fish, lobsters, and more. Snorkeling alongside Barbados’ sea turtles is one of the greatest draws of Carlisle Bay. Visitors also have the opportunity to tour the bay’s famous shipwrecks. Plan your Carlisle Bay excursion now.

Jenny’s Tip: Stay at the luxury One Sandy Lane Resort. If you are a relatively strong swimmer, you can swim straight off the beach, about 100 yards, you will usually encounter turtles to swim with!

Also try the laid back all inclusive Tamarind Hotel, located in a great area, next door to the famous Daphne Restaurant. When I stayed here, the hotel even offered a dinner at Daphne’s included in the all inclusive package. It was lovely romantic dining, beachside.

Harrison’s Cave

An underground marvel with a length of nearly 2.3 kilometers, this limestone cave boasts some of the most unique stalagmite formations in the world. These formations include positions nicknamed “The Chapel,” “The Rotunda,” and “The Altar.” In addition to geological wonders, you can also see the cave’s many pools of flowing water. You have the opportunity to enter Harrison’s Cave via tram, which frequently stops to let visitors walk up to the key stalagmites. Interestingly, the inside of the cavern always averages 27° Celsius.

Barbados - 8 Warm Destinations for Winter Travel
Cave

Mount Gay Rum Tour

Mount Gay Rum is the oldest operating rum distillery in Barbados. You can tour the visitor center and see how the company produces and bottles its rum. The arguably best part is that you get to sample several flavors at the end.

Ride the Reggae Bus

There are 2 types of busses in Barbados, the blue government busses and the reggae (yellow busses). The reggae busses are not just a ride, but an experience. They have normal routes and cost the same as the blue busses. The reggae bus will stop when you hail it and usually wherever you want to exit along the route. The drivers are usually extremely friendly, sometimes the busses are covered in street art, and the music is blaring. Some drivers are a little more… ahem… fast I could say. Enjoy the ride!

Roti Den

Eating at this local institution is an event in and of itself. Don’t miss the opportunity to have a roti at the Roti Den. I am addicted to the vegetarian curry one. I literally ate it everyday! You will not be sorry!

Photo: Kathryn Maingot

Bridgetown

Bridgetown is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the capital. The area is filled with historic and cultural sites, shopping, and street vendors. Don’t miss National Heroes Square, the Jewish Synagogue and the Parliament Buildings. Even the fast food restaurant, Chefette was really fun. I went with my friend and her young son, who are locals and tried the vegetarian curry burger (Delicious!).

Animal Flower Cave

This natural sea cave is beautiful to explore. Wear water shoes and be careful as it can be slippery when wet.

Zipline

After testing many zip lines around the world, this one in Barbados is still one of my favorites. Built over a ravine using sustainable forest materials, the 8 platforms connected by double cable allowed for safety as you soared. We were fortunate enough to meet Troll, the designer and builder. Unfortunately this experience is no more. It has closed.

However, I have included it here as a reminder that nothing lasts forever. If you are fortunate enough to find yourself in a bucket list location, be sure to experience it to the fullest. You just never know when something will no longer be around or when you will be able to return.

Holiday Offerings

If you happen to be in Barbados for Christmas or New Years, you will find plenty of ways to celebrate.

Queen’s Park

Queens Park is the most famous public gathering on Christmas day. There is live entertainment and a fashion showcase for a diverse group of participants.

Old Year’ Night

New Year’s Eve on Barbados is known as “Old Year’ Night.” Typically celebrated on the island’s beaches, this holiday features an array of lively parties, fireworks, and entertainment for visitors and locals alike.

Why it is a Jenny Favorite

Barbados is a friendly, well developed island that is comfortable and relaxing to visit. There is an evident pride in the culture that makes it even more fun to explore. The beaches are beautiful and sea life abundant. It offers a diverse range of accommodations and restaurants from very upscale to local surfer, all of which were enticing.

Tips

Spend a few nights at Round House on the cliff above Bathsheba beach. It is situated off the beaten path on the East Coast of Barbados. It is a perfect retreat if you want down home hospitality with local flair. If you enjoy surfing, or just watching it, this place is a must! It is located just a minute’s walk from the iconic surf spot, “Soup Bowl.”

The historic Round House has hosted tourists and locals alike since the 1800’s. The Round House boasts a small inn and a popular restaurant, serving local cuisine. It has unparalleled views of the Atlantic.

Roundhouse Barbados
Photo: Jennifer Barbaro

If you walk down the beach a few moments past the picturesque ocean boulder that is the backdrop for many instagram photos, you will encounter a very local bar experience. The bar is right in the sand and only has a few stools. Many area characters hang out and the island’s own Bank’s brewery beer is available for local rates.

3. Costa Rica – 8 Warm Destinations for Winter Travel

About

Located in Central America, Costa Rica sits between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Its official language is Spanish and its currency is the Costa Rican colón (CRC ₡). English is also common, as are Creole and indigenous languages.

Climate

Thanks to its proximity to the equator, Costa Rica sees summer weather through all four seasons. However, travelers should be aware that the seasons are divided into rainy and dry spells. Although it rains frequently throughout the year, Costa Rica sees a dry period from December to April, boasting plenty of sunshine. From November to January, temperatures rarely drop below 27° Celsius (80° Fahrenheit) along coasts or 24° Celsius (75° Fahrenheit) in mountain areas and inland ranges.  

Sea temperatures are warm year round. The Costa Rican climate is generally hot, but the months of December and January will see pleasant, warm weather and some cooler winds. With these conditions, Costa Rica is certainly one of the 8 Warm Destinations for winter travel.

8 Warm destinations for winter travel - costa rica
Photo: Jennifer Barbaro

Vibe

Costa Rica is home to the phrase, “Pura Vida,” translating to Pure Life, an attitude that encourages you to relax and enjoy life as it is. Pura Vida is the vibe of Costa Rica. It is the embodiment of relaxation and vacations by the country’s sunny shores, mountainous regions, and spectacular rain and cloud forests.

Top Attractions

Playa Flamingo

A popular beach town, Playa Flamingo (Flamingo Beach) is a picture perfect spot that touches the Pacific coast. Home to lush mangroves, soft white sand, and sea, its beach is 1.5 kilometers of sun and breeze. Depending on the light, the sand can sport a pink tinge, and this color is what inspired its name.

Known for its vacation scene, Playa Flamingo offers plenty of affordable resorts, shops, and restaurants. Like many beaches in Costa Rica, beachside amenities such as blankets, umbrellas, and chairs are available to rent. Here, you can do anything from sunbathing and fishing, to jet-skiing and snorkeling. You can plan ahead by securing your beach setup or boat tour to Palo Verde National Park from here.

8 warm destinations for winter travel
Photo: Jennifer Barbaro

Playa Tamarindo

This beach town in Guanacaste is popular with locals and surfers, as well as tourists. Aside from the beach with its great wave breaks, there is a vibrant town that offers a hippie surfer local “pura vida” vibe.

Costa Rica Tamarindo 8 warm destinations for winter travel
Photo: Jennifer Barbaro

There are many restaurants, bars, shops, and surf rental locations. Stay at the trendy yet effortless Cala Luna Boutique Hotel, owned by a California surfer. It has a great pool with monkeys scampering over the restaurant’s metal roof.

monkey - costa rica
Photo: Jennifer Barbaro

Manuel Antonio National Park

One of Costa Rica’s most famous sights, the Manuel Antonio National Park is home to an incredible range of biodiversity, stunning landscapes, and beaches. The park’s sprawling rainforest protects a variety of endangered and local animals that can only be found in the Costa Rican wild. You can glimpse everything from Capuchin monkeys to iguanas and birds. One of the best ways to spot wildlife is with a local guide who is extremely familiar with the area.

Aside from its nature trails, the park is also home to two beaches: the Manuel Antonio Beach and the Espadilla Sur Beach. Both offer shores of white sand, seductive waters, and beautiful views of the coast. You can relax, swim, snorkel, or surf the waters. Amateur surfers can even partake in surfing lessons at Manuel Antonio Beach.

La Fortuna Waterfall, Hot Springs, and Hanging Bridges

Located in the center of Costa Rica, La Fortuna (“the fortune”) is a waterfall that belongs to a tropical reserve. Set against the backdrop of a rich rainforest, La Fortuna sits at the foot of Chato Volcano (now dormant) and stands at a height of over 70 meters. An amazing sight, the cascading waters lead to calmer pools downstream that you can dip into. However, the hike to the waterfall is a steep journey of 500 stairs. Therefore, those planning on the trek should carry sufficient amounts of drinking water.  

See Jenny In Wanderland article, Top 15 Hiking Essentials to Pack

While in the Arenal area, don’t miss the beautiful Hanging Bridges La Fortuna. Here you can follow a well marked trail that takes you through portions of rainforest and over high up suspension bridges. It is truly a spectacular park and suitable to walk for most skill levels. Another option is to visit the area by horseback. Any way you get there, just don’t miss it!

hanging bridges Costa Rica
Hanging Bridges

Don’t miss the many hot springs in this area. They are popular soaking spots for tourists and locals alike. To cover the wide range of attractions in the La Fortuna area, try one of these guided tours.

Rio Celeste

Located in the Tenorio Volcano National Park, the Celeste River stands out for its incredible turquoise color. According to local myth, Celeste received its color when God lowered his brush into the river while painting the sky. Upon seeing the river for the first time, visitors will understand why that myth came to be.

The river’s color is bluest during Costa Rica’s dry season (December to April, though rain can muddy the color). Home to a single waterfall and close to many hot springs, the Celeste River also has a public swimming hole at its entrance. Although you cannot swim in the river, you are welcome to frolic in the Rio Celeste Free Pool.

While in the Tenorio National Park, go tubing down the Rio Celeste, take a horseback ride, and don’t miss the sloth sanctuary.

frog costa rica
Photo: Jennifer Barbaro

Monte Verde Cloud Forest

The Monte Verde Cloud Forest is a biological reserve established in 1972 by a joint effort between the Tropical Science Center and local Quakers with a mission of conservation efforts, research, ecotourism, and sustainable development initiatives in Costa Rica. It contains a diverse wildlife and plant population including various species of tropical birds, frogs, and orchids. While walking here, you can literally reach up and touch the clouds. Try zip lining for adventure while soaring above the canopy.

For a special treat, book a room at the Monteverde Lodge and Gardens. Luxury blends seamlessly with nature here. Take a dip in the tree surrounded pool, or a nap in your hammock.

Hot Springs Resorts

Many resorts in Costa Rica are not just a place to sleep, but a destination in and of themselves. Two of my favorites are located in the Arenal, La Fortuna area.

Nayara Springs is the adult only side of an upscale resort. It features luxurious villa like rooms, most with a private hot spring pool surrounded by lush rainforest landscaping. Though set in a resort environment, it is the epitome of tranquility and relaxation. It is quiet, lush, and energizing.

Nayara Resort Costa Rica
Nayara Springs Pool Suite

The morning yoga takes place in an exquisite elevated covered space, open to the rain forest. There are gourmet restaurants, a bar with live music, a coffee shop, and large resort-style swimming pools, one with a swim up bar. The worse part of staying in this resort is that you never want to leave!

Nearby, the Volcano Lodge and Thermal Resort has a more kitschy local vibe. It still maintains a relaxing experience on beautiful landscaped grounds, but the menu items lean local and the resort focuses primarily on your included thermal experience. I chose a room with a private thermal plunge. It had 2 loungers and a zen like garden around it, and was really great, especially in the evening.

The extensive thermal pools were spread throughout the large property and had cute wooden bridges and white lights. The natural rainforest landscaping complimented the magical experience.

Volcano Lodge Resort Costa Rica
Book the Volcano Lodge

Holiday Offerings

If you are here for the holidays, you will find plenty of decorations and some local festivities.

Festival de la Luz

This festival takes place in San Jose on the second week of December. It is a large scale, colorful parade, with over 1000 live performers and many fireworks. It’s purpose is to open the doors to Christmas and New Years for the holiday season.

Tope Nacional de Caballos

On December 26th, the day after Christmas, locals dressed as cowboys who are professional horsemen, flaunt their horses and skills in San Jose.

Why it is a Jenny Favorite

Costa Rica is offers stunning nature at every turn. From the volcanos, hot springs, rainforests, wildlife, and beaches to its high end resorts, Costa Rica offers a diverse array of activities and has something for everyone. What’s not to love… Pura Vida.

Costa Rica - 8 Warm Destinations for Winter Travel
Photo: Jennifer Barbaro

Tips

Rent a car for the most efficient way to cover large parts of the country and off the beaten trail spots. Beware though that many roads are rugged (to say the least), Driving past dark is ill advised. Also, be prepared to pay large fees in car rental insurance, regardless of what credit card or plan you think you have. It is a requirement. It makes the inexpensive rental you booked at home suddenly be about double the cost.

4. Cabo San Lucas – 8 Warm Destinations for Winter Travel

About

One of Mexico’s top resort cities, Cabo San Lucas sits at the southern end of the Baja California peninsula, touching the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of California. Cabo San Lucas along with nearby San Jose Del Cabo are the two cities that make up Los Cabos. Spanish is the official language and the Peso (MXN $) is the official currency. English is spoken as well.

Climate

Belonging to a tropical desert climate, Cabo San Lucas is sunny year round. The weather is generally hot, but cools to a pleasant warmth during winter. From November to January, temperatures rarely drop below an average of 19° Celsius (66° Fahrenheit). These months also have the gentlest climate in Cabo San Lucas.

Cabo San Lucas sees little rain throughout the year, with the winter months coming conveniently after the rainiest months, August through October. The sea remains comfortably warm throughout the year, perfect for those seeking a winter swim.

8 Warm Destinations for Winter Travel
Photo: Jennifer Barbaro

Vibe

A favorite holiday getaway of the rich and famous, Cabo San Lucas boasts a glamorous vibe of scenic beaches, gourmet restaurants, luxury resorts, and bustling nightlife.

Top Attractions

Beaches

Popular beaches include El Arco de Cabo San Lucas, Lover’s Beach, and Medano Beach. In addition, many of the upscale resorts are beachfront. Beaches in Cabo are mostly course golden sand. They are a mix of relaxation and a cultural experience. Many beaches have vendors selling everything from shawls to fruit cups.

8 warm destinations for winter travel Cabo San Lucas
Photo: Jennifer Barbaro

El Arco de Cabo San Lucas

The Arch of Cabo San Lucas is exactly as its name implies: an arcing rock formation at the southernmost end Cabo San Lucas, and therefore the very tip of the Baja California Peninsula. The area’s most prominent landmark, El Arco is where the Sea of Cortez touches the Pacific Ocean. A tall limestone wonder shaped by water and wind, the arch has dragon-like winding appearance made all the more memorable by surrounding blue waters.

In addition to being a great photo spot, El Arco also allows for snorkeling, whale watching, sea lion spotting, and various boat tours.

Photo: Victoria Bragg

Marina Cabo San Lucas

Located in a bustling Cosmopolitan bay, Marina Cabo San Lucas is a waterfront site of activity and sights. Within distance of most luxury resorts in Cabo San Lucas, the Marina is populated with a range of upscale shops, boutiques, and restaurants that line its boardwalk. It also acts as the Launchpad and stop for plenty of cruises and yachts. Many coastal tours of Cabo San Lucas start and end at the Marina as well.

For instance, there are plenty of guided glass bottom boat tours that take guests from the Marina out into the Sea of Cortez. Guests then have the chance to see marine life swimming beneath their feet. They can even go snorkeling and scuba diving on the spot as part of the tour.

Although it has a more touristy vibe, the Marina is still an attractive spot for visitors in search of a casual meal, shopping detour, or last minute tour during their trip to one of the 8 warm destinations for winter travel.

San Jose Del Cabo

The nearby town of San Jose del Cabo offers culture and dining in a slightly more subdued environment. This resort city is known for its sandy beaches and colonial buildings. There are many shops and restaurants as well as a church and other historical sites to visit.

Photo: Jennifer Barbaro

Whale Watching

From October to March, whales migrate, upping the chance of a sighting. Therefore, whale watching tours start at the end of November and run past early April. Led by marine biologists, guests can cruise along Cabo San Lucas’ seaside attractions while on the lookout for the giants of the seas. With plenty of options for private tours, this is a magical opportunity that just might cross of “seeing a whale” from your bucket list.

Golf Courses

Cabo San Lucas is home to many picturesque golf courses that look even better than a magazine’s photo op. Several of these courses feature vivid green grass, beachside sand, and sweeping views of the surrounding sea. Regardless of how enthusiastic you are about golf, these courses are more than worth a visit for the view alone.

Resorts

Resorts in Cabo are a large draw. Many people never leave the opulence of their luxury resort their entire trip. Many Cabo resorts offer beautiful pools, gourmet dining, and beachfront properties. For 5 star luxury, check in to the celebrity favorite Las Ventanas. The rooms are gorgeous and the service is amazing. Opt for a suite with a private dip pool and rooftop terrace.

Jenny in Wanderland Las Ventanas Cabo San Lucas 8 warm destinations for winter travel
Las Ventanas

Also popular is the One and Only Palmilla or the Waldorf Astoria’s Capella Pedregal.

Holiday Offerings

If you are in Cabo for the holidays, these events are always festive.

Sabor a Cabo

This large scale food and wine festival typically takes place around the end of November. It unites more than 50 chefs as well as numerous wineries and distilleries and features live music.

New Year’s Fireworks

Celebrate by watching firework shows on the beach light up the night sky.

Photo: Jennifer Barbaro (San Jose Del Cabo)

Why it is a Jenny Favorite

Cabo San Lucas offers beautiful resorts, great weather, sandy beaches, cool blue ocean, and a multitude of activities. It has a vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene.

Tips

It is easy to get caught up in the relaxation of your resort. However, Cabo offers the beautiful arches, a fun downtown, and vibrant night life scene, including Sammy Hagar’s famous Cabo Wabo Cantina. So be sure to get out at least once to immerse yourself in the Mexican culture.

5. Cancún – 8 Warm Destinations for Winter Travel

About

Located along the Yucatán Peninsula, Cancún is another renowned Mexican resort city. It borders the Caribbean Sea. The official language is Spanish and the official currency is the Peso (MXN $). English is spoken in tourist areas, and Mayan is common among the local indigenous population.

Climate

Cancún sports a tropical climate with warm weather year round. Although it is hottest in summer with a greater chance for rain, winter sees mostly sunny skies. From November to April, Cancún enters a dry spell with comfortable weather and rare rain. This is the ideal time for travelers who both wish to escape chilly winters and to see Cancún during its most pleasant climate.

Its temperatures rarely average below 23° Celsius (73° Fahrenheit) from November to January, without drastic differences between day and night. Sea temperatures are blessedly warm throughout the year, ripe for swimming.

Nizuc Resort Cancun - 8 warm destinations for winter travel
Photo: Jennifer Barbaro (Nizuc Resort)

Vibe

Cancún is home to a beach resort vibe, complete with clear turquoise waters. There are many trendy upscale resorts as well as all inclusive properties.

Top Attractions

Beaches

The beaches of Cancún are known for their sugar white sand and crystal blue water. As a result, most of the action during the day is on the beach. Most beaches that tourists visit in Cancún are tied to their resort. Therefore, your resort choice will likely determine the beach you will hang out on.

Jenny In Wanderland JW Marriott Cancun
Photo: Jennifer Barbaro (JW Marriott Cancun)

Resorts

Resorts in Cancun are part of the draw. Many people choose an all inclusive resort like this popular one, for pure mind numbing relaxation. Tourists also select a property because it caters to their favorite activities such as snorkeling, spa, golf, or luxury. Most of the tourist accommodations can be found in the “Hotel Zone.” This area encompasses several subdistricts and stretches along the entire outer coast. Nearby you will find cosmopolitan scenes with abundant restaurants, clubs, and entertainment.

My current favorite resort is slightly outside the main area and offers yoga, lush mangrove landscape, a luxurious spa, large pools, and a private beach on the bay. The spa and service are amazing at this upscale resort. It also has several great restaurants and a trendy bar with live music. Because of its bayside location, the water is calmer than other areas of Cancun and perfect for snorkeling from the hotel’s private dock.

Nizuc Resort Cancun
Photo: Jennifer Barbaro (Nizuc Resort)

Other of Jenny’s favorites include the Paradisius Cancun for a modern club vibe, the Ritz Carlton as a classy favorite, and Coral Level Iberostar for their stellar adult only Coral Service.

Me Melia Cancun
Photo: Jennifer Barbaro (Me Melia Cancun)

Chichén Itzá

A short distance from Cancún, Chichén Itzá is a magnificent sight that travelers must visit. Mexico’s largest and most famous archaeological site, Chichén Itzá is home to ruins of the Mayan Empire. Most notable is its iconic ceremonial pyramid. When you take a tour of Chichén Itzá, you will marvel at the remnants of pyramids, statues, and more in this UNESCO World Heritage site. You can pre-buy your admission to go on your own, or choose this popular tour that includes a majestic cenote stop for swimming, a buffet, Valladolid, and tequila tasting.

Photo: Leosprspctive

Cancún Underwater Museum (MUSA)

Featuring over 500 pieces of underwater art, the MUSA is a project focused on the art of conservation. Boasting the largest underwater installation in the world, MUSA presents a variety of unique sculptures living alongside colorful reefs and marine life. Only visible undersea, the collection urges visitors to dive down and snorkel beside the exhibit.

Isla Mujeres

Located just 8 miles from Cancún, the island of Isla Mujeres seems like a different world. It is a great place to spend a day or longer if you have time. Most of the island can be explored by golf cart, easily rentable by the hour or day. Book your golf cart ahead to easily pay with your credit card and have it reserved and waiting a short walk from the ferry.

Isla Mujeres 8 warm destinations for winter travel

There are beautiful vistas, tons of yoga, and a vibrant beach town with shops and restaurants. Take your golf cart to Punta Sur Park for beautiful vistas and a great ride around the island.

8 warm destinations for winter travel Isla Mujeres

The snorkeling tour was really great because you can float the whole way with the current and then the boat picks you up at the end! You can see some of the underwater sculptures from MUSA too!

Isla Mujeres has a uniquely laid back island feel compared to the grand resort area of Cancun. Although Cancun is very close, it completely differs from its more intimate, hippie-vibe island neighbor.

Isla Mujeres 8 warm destinations for winter travel

To arrive in Isla Mujeres, you need to take a short ferry to the island. You can book your Ultramar Ferry ahead to be sure you have a seat. Alternately, you can book a tour boat tour to Isla Mujeres that includes lunch and open bar. If you plan on spending the night, stay at the simple and very nice Hotel Secreto in the heart of town. For an upscale resort experience, book Zoetry.

Xochimilco Cancún

Xochimilco Cancún is one of the most unique experiences in Cancun. Named after the ancient Xochimilco in Mexico City, Xochimilco was originally a large Aztec network of canals that facilitated water transportation. The canals remain today, and their surroundings became a festive area populated with “trajineras” (small colorful boats) that carry musicians, artists, beverages, and food alongside cruises of tourists.

Xochimilco Cancún took the concept of its predecessor and turned it into a park. Here, you can hop on guided trajinera rides for a night of festivity. While the boat floats along the water, passengers dine and party while enjoying live music, dancing, and traditional dishes and drinks. With a little of everything for everyone, Xochimilco Cancún is an experience that invites visitors to bond with other travelers and let loose for the night.

Xcaret

One of the most popular tickets in Playa Del Carmen, be sure to book your Xcaret tour including transport and Priority Access ahead. Xcaret is about an hour from Cancun, but totally worth it! Xcaret is a eco-archaeological theme and amusement park. It is located in the Mayan jungle, between cenotes and on the Caribbean Sea. The theme park incorporates each of its diverse and impressive natural landscapes by offering different activities that make the most of each of them.

Holiday Offerings

Resorts decorate for the holidays and most offer a holiday dinner menu or buffet. You will also find decorations if you go into town.

Why it is a Jenny Favorite

Cancun offers beautiful blue ocean, sandy white beaches, a ton of activities, and a plethora of resorts. I really enjoy Cancun as a place to unwind and relax. As far as travel goes, it is a very easy destination in terms of cost, availability of transport, range of tours, and many resort options to choose from.

Tips

Save yourself the hassle and book your airport transfers ahead. You will thank me (and yourself). If you leave your resort to explore Cancun on your own, negotiate all taxi fares prior to riding and only get into a metered taxi.

6. Bahamas – 8 Warm Destinations for Winter Travel

About

Located in the West Indies, the Bahamas (officially, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas) sit within the Lucayan Archipelago. Consisting of 16 primary islands, the Bahamas stretch over 100,000 square miles of the Atlantic. The official language of the Bahamas is English. Bahamian Creole and Haitian Creole are spoken as well. The Bahamian dollar (BSD or B$) is the currency.

Climate

The Bahamas have a subtropical climate with hot temperatures that lean much cooler from November to April. As one of the 8 warm destinations for winter travel, you can expect sunshine in the Bahamas most of the year. Although temperatures depend on the individual island’s location, they rarely dip below an average of 20° Celsius (68° Fahrenheit) from November to January.

Sea temperatures stay pleasantly warm throughout the year, never too cold for a relaxing swim. Although the weather may be chillier on northwestern islands, the winter months remain the best time to visit the Bahamas because of the milder climate.

Photo: Fernando Jorge

Vibe

With a laidback “island mon” vibe and tropic shores, the Bahamas provide the perfect escape to an island holiday all year round.

Top Attractions

Pink Sand Beach

The pink sand beach on Harbour island is arguably one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Known for its rosy sand fills the shores, the color especially obvious when wet, comes from broken coral blended with microscopic bugs. This is a perfect place to spend a relaxing day.

Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park

The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park is a wildlife reserve and marine park focused on the conservation of Bahamian fish. It is home to an array of cays, caves, and beaches that guests can explore to their heart’s content. A reserve of beautifully blue water and postcard scenery, the Exuma Cays provide plenty of opportunity for scuba diving, snorkeling, and boat touring.

Photo: Sean Cotton

Pig Beach

Exuma is home to the famous Pig Beach, home to a tiny pig population that you can see frolicking in the water. The pigs live on Big Major Cay, one of the over 365 islands in Exuma that is uninhabited. Also known as Pig Beach, the island is about 82 miles southeast of Nassau, and about 50 miles northwest of George Town. Pigs can also be seen swimming off Eleuthera and can be visited by joining this tour.

Book one of these exciting tours from Nassau that include swimming with the famous pigs.

If you decide to stay on Exuma, you are in for a unique treat. Especially if you can snag one of the remote bungalows at Kahari eco resort. Each bungalow overlooks the crystal clear water. They incorporate with breathtaking nature scenes with luxury. The resort is a short boat ride from their sister resort The Peace and Plenty Hotel in Georgetown.

Photo: Forest Simon

Blue Lagoon Island

Also known as Salt Clay, Blue Lagoon Island is a private island in the Bahamas featuring fresh beaches, crystalline water, and picture perfect palm trees. A sight straight from a tropical post card, Blue Lagoon remains one of the islands’ top attractions for its beautiful environment and abundant wildlife. Visitors come from all over the world to snorkel, dive, and swim with sea lions and dolphins. Reachable from Nassau, take a relaxing day tour to this beautiful island.

Port Lucaya Marketplace

Port Lucaya Marketplace is the most famous shopping and entertainment venues in the Bahamas. An open air plaza that spans over 9 acres, the marketplace is always abuzz with activity and accompanied by live music at its center. Featuring a plentiful selection of boutiques, restaurants, bars, artisan crafts, and food vendors, Port Lucaya Marketplace offers a shopping experience unique to the Bahamas. Lucaya is located in Freeport on the island of Grand Bahama.

If you are visiting Grand Bahama Island, book a stay at this elegant oceanfront resort or stay in the all inclusive part and don’t worry about a thing except how many Bahama Mamas you should drink.

Atlantis Paradise Resort

The relatively new Atlantis Resort has become a popular destination of its own on Paradise Island. Paradise island is connected to the main city of Nassau by two bridges. This luxury resort has diverse accommodation sections to meet various travelers’ needs. The Royal at Atlantis is centrally located to all of the resorts offerings. Its tower’s lobby features The Dig and Ruins Lagoon, a large open-air marine habitat.

Photo: Isabella Smith

The Aquaventure Water Park features waterslides, 11 landscaped pools, and rock climbing. Dolphin swims at Dolphin Cay and comedy shows at Jokers Wild are also open to guests. Resort guests get free waterpark admission. The resort features 21 restaurants and 19 bars, including the famous Nobu.

If you prefer an all inclusive experience, try the Sandals Flagship property on Nassau.

Holiday Offerings

Junkanoo Festival

The most important annual celebration in the Bahamas, the Junkanoo Festival takes place on December 26th (Boxing Day), the day after Christmas, and on January 1st (New Years’ Day). A lively, vibrant celebration of freedom, it is an island-wide parade of bright costumes and dances accompanied by instruments of all sorts, namely drums, whistles, and cowbells.

According to legend, Junkanoo developed from the West African John Canoe Festival, named in honor of Akan warrior John Canoe. The Junkanoo Festival has roots that go back centuries. Started by the enslaved Africans of Bahamian plantations, the festival’s origins began as a series of celebrations taking place during 3 days of freedom granted them following Christmas.

Photo: Kristin Whylly

After gaining their freedom, freed Bahamians of African origin continued these holiday traditions. They transformed into a large-scale parade of music, performances, competitions, and stunning costumes, all taking great influence from various African origins. As such, the Junkanoo Festival is a striking celebration of the free spirit and cultural history.

Today, Junkanoo is a festive display of kaleidoscope colors, creativity, and choreography. Consisting of highly competitive participants, the Junkanoo Festival is the Bahamas’ largest winter attraction and not to be missed. Although all Bahamian islands celebrate Junkanoo, Bay Street (downtown Nassau) sees the largest and most famous variation. You can experience the culture of Junkanoo year round by visiting the World Heritage Museum.

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

This Ceremony is hosted by Ministry of Tourism at the start of December. It takes place at Pompey Square in Nassau.

Why it is a Jenny Favorite

Although most people come for its warm temperatures, crystal waters, and sandy beaches, you can’t help getting swept up in the beautiful and vibrant culture that exudes from the friendly people, the tasty food, and the island vibe. The islands are great for boating and most are an easy trip from Florida.

Photo: AJ Garcia

Tips

The Bahamas consist of many islands and not all are easily reached. For a plethora of options and a larger island vibe, try Nassau (New Providence) or Freeport (Grand Bahama). Both islands offer plenty of day trips that allow you to visit some of the attractions on smaller islands nearby.

If you have more time, or are seeking a more intimate experience, try staying on Exuma or Eleuthera. For a boater’s paradise, try Abaco.

7. Guana (British Virgin Islands)

About

Located among the British Virgin Islands, Guana is a privately owned island and another treasure of the Caribbean. Its official language is English, and the currency is the United States Dollar (USD $). Residents of the British Virgin Islands also speak Creole and Spanish.

Climate

Guana sees a tropical climate with warm weather and excellent sunshine throughout the year. From November to January, temperatures rarely dip below an average of 23° Celsius (73° Fahrenheit). Therefore making it a top contender in the 8 warm destinations for winter travel. Although Guana may see some rain during this period, it still offers pleasant sunny days and mild temperature most of the time.

The sea is warm year round, allowing for pleasant swims in winter (November-January).

Guana Island 8 warm destinations for winter travel
Photo: Jennifer Barbaro (Guana)

Vibe

A secluded island resort with scenic beaches and lush greenery, Guana has an exclusive castaway vibe of natural elegance. It is ideal for romance and private getaways.

Top Attractions

Guana Island Resort

People come to Guana to escape it all. Stay in one of its private bungalows, or exclusive villas complete with sweeping views.

Guana Infinity pool villa 8 warm destinations for winter travel
Photo: Jennifer Barbaro (Guana Private Pool Villa)

Some offer a swimming pool, a beachside location, and a golf cart to get around the large property. It’s exclusive and magical, but don’t expect to find a whole lot of hoopla.

Instead, find elegant gourmet meals prepared with love (included in your stay), an honor bar in the main house, tons of hiking in lush landscape, and minimal encounters with other people. This makes Guana the perfect place to unplug.

You arrive to the island by Guana’s private boat, the same one that can take you out for a private tour or a run to the mainland. The quiet beach has a lost in paradise vibe. It offers snorkeling and loungers with friendly bar service.

Guana Island BVI 8 warm destinations for winter travel
Photo: Jennifer Barbaro

Be sure to visit the garden center that cares for the lush island and also grows a good deal of the restaurant’s produce, fruit, and herbs.

Bird Guana Island BVI
Photo: Jennifer Barbaro

Holiday Offerings

If you are lucky to enough to spend holidays on Guana, you will find an exclusive, festive atmosphere, complete with special menus and decor.

Why it is a Jenny Favorite

This is the ultimate place to relax. The island is truly magical, but don’t take my word for it.

Guana Island

Tips

Guana Island can only be booked by calling on the phone.

8. Bermuda – 8 Warm Destinations for Winter Travel

About

Located in the northern Atlantic and sitting north of the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda consists of 181 islands, with the biggest acting as the Main Island. A British Overseas Territory, the official language of Bermuda is English (with Bermudian English being the main dialect of local islanders). The Bermudian dollar (BMD or BD$) is the official currency.

Climate

Bermuda has a subtropical climate that lends itself to pleasant winters. Sea temperatures are cool in winter and not usually conducive to swimming. Bermuda tends not to be as hot as some of the other destinations we have listed.

While you may not want to swim, the weather is usually perfect for a round of golf or a good beach read. Most importantly, if you are coming from a cold location, you will definitely consider Bermuda to be pleasant in winter. Because of this, Bermuda definitely qualifies as one of our 8 Warm Destinations to spend the December holidays.

From November to January, temperatures rarely dip below an average of 18° Celsius (64° Fahrenheit). As a result, Bermuda sees a significant change in temperature between summer and winter, but the climate remains mild nonetheless. It is perfect for the winter traveler who wants a vacation with all the benefits of an island in the sun, but none of the sweltering heat. Just be prepared for the possibility of a little rain here and there.

Photo: Jennifer Barbaro

Vibe

Boasting vibrant blue skies and even bluer seas, Bermuda offers a blissful vibe of recreation and relaxation by the sea.

Transportation

On Bermuda, tourists are not permitted to rent cars for environmental reasons. So, if you’d like to tour this beautiful island (and you should!) you will need to rely on taxis, tours, or golf carts.

Taxis

Taxis on Bermuda are safe, clean, friendly, and reasonable. If a taxi is not there when you need it, you can call Bermuda Island Taxi (441/295-4141) or BTA Dispatching (441/296-2121). Another good option is to download an app called Hitch to your phone, which works like Uber or Lyft, but with licensed taxis (www.hitch.bm).

Tours

There are a ton of small group tours that are an extremely popular way to see the island. Some visit popular attractions, while others take you around the sights of the island. Try one of these tours to make the most of your time on Bermuda.

Golf Carts

Even if you are not a golfer, golf carts can be rented to get around the island. Since tourists cannot rent autos, golf cart rental companies have gotten creative and made many of the golf carts look like tiny cars.

I rented my Hummer golf cart from TJ at Rugged Rentals and they were great! They dropped the Hummer off at the resort where I was, showed me how to use it, and picked it up when we were finished. The Hummer was in excellent condition, complete with a top in case of rain.

The key thing to remember is that they are electric powered and do not have extremely long range. However, the island has conveniently placed charging stations near major tourist sites so that you can top off when needed. If you stay at the luxurious Rosewood Resort, the porters will charge your golf cart for you whenever it is not in use.

Reserve Your Room in Paradise

Other Transportation

Because visitors cannot rent cars, Bermuda offers many options to get around, from ferries to private vehicles, to vans for larger groups. Bermuda can get very crowded and transport can fill up. Book some of the unique transport options ahead here.

Top Attractions

Horseshoe Bay

One of Bermuda’s most famous sights, Horseshoe Bay is a curved beach of golden, pink-tinted sand. The hue comes from remnants of coral. Because of its natural scenic beauty and cove shape that makes for safe swimming, it is extremely popular. The large rocks make for a picture perfect photo spot.

Horseshoe Beach Bermuda
Photo: Jennifer barbaro

In summer months, Horseshoe beach has a lifeguard and a variety of concessions available for the crowds of people that love to spend their day here. While these services are not open in winter, you will find a much quieter, more private beach experience.

There are several restaurants, including the famed Gulfstream, that serves drinks and fresh seafood, across the street, that are open in winter. So, after you get your feet in the sand, walk across to one of the cute outdoor terraces perched on the small cliff above, for a meal and different perspective.

Elbow Beach

This beach’s popularity is due to pink sand and gentle waters. It is usually a less crowded beach than Horseshoe Bay, except during spring break. It is a beautiful beach in which to spend a lazy day. Book your leisurely tour to Elbow Bay now.

Bermuda Railway Trail

The Bermuda Railway Trail is an amazing place to spend a day. Once the location of the Bermuda Railroad, it has been repurposed as a beautiful nature trail that runs most of the length of the island. It offers spectacular sea views and gives you a chance to explore the beauty of the island on foot.

Railway Trail Bermuda
Photo: Jennifer Barbaro (Part of Railway Trail)

Take an island tour that includes transportation and spending time on this beautiful trail.

Spittal Pond Nature Reserve West

The Spittal Pond Nature Reserve is a beautiful way to spend a few hours. It is a scenic approximately 1.5 mile loop that takes you to lava rocks and Jeffery’s cave at the sea’s edge. If you go in the morning, there is great bird watching.

Fort Saint Catherine

This historic fort turned history museum is a great place to start your day. Afterwards, enjoy some time on the quaint beach it rests on.

Fort Saint Catherine Bermuda
Photo: Jennifer Barbaro

Jobson’s Cove Beach

Jobson’s Cove Beach feels secluded and offers mild waters, great for snorkeling. It is a relatively small beach and the rocks that encircle the cove create a picture perfect lagoon of turquoise colored water.

Crystal & Fantasy Caves

These underground network of caverns and lakes are intricate and extend about 120 feet down. Book your tour to visit these prehistoric caves and fairytale-esque rock formations.

Gibbs Hill Lighthouse

Established in 1844, the Gibbs Hill is the oldest cast iron lighthouse in the world. It is still a working lighthouse and a perfect place to visit when touring the island. It offers panoramic views of the island’s landscape from the top. Have lunch at the restaurant that sits in the former lighthouse keeper’s chamber.

Photo: Jennifer Barbaro

Golf

There are at least 10 golf courses in Bermuda, 7 of which are 18 hole championship courses. Most offer spectacular ocean views and are in pristine shape. Fees can be steep to play and many tee times book up fast, so be sure to reserve ahead.

The challenging Par 70 Tucker’s Point Golf Club At the Rosewood Resort

Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute

Visit this interactive experience to explore the ocean without getting wet. Dive into the Bermuda Triangle, live America’s cup, and see what is happening under the ocean. There are exhibits, galleries, and simulators of interest to all ages.

Bermuda National Gallery

Well worth a visit, the Bermuda National Gallery in Hamilton is an art museum with a collection of and historical and contemporary pieces, reflecting the diversity of the island’s demographic over the years.

Bermuda National Gallery

Visit the Colorful Towns

Bermuda is divided into 9 parishes, each offering their own treasures. Hamilton, the capital city located in Pembroke Parish has the lively front street offering lots of posh stores, pubs, and restaurants.

The colorful Saint George is located on the eastern end of Bermuda and is the main town there. It is a UNESCO world heritage site and is one of the oldest settlements in the Western Hemisphere. It offers plenty to see, such as Saint Peter’s Church, King’s Square, and Town Hall. Take the Bermuda East End Tour to find out more about this fascinating history.

Hamilton Bermuda
Photo: Jennifer Barbaro

Holiday Offerings

In addition to most resorts being decorated for the holidays, many offer themed New Years Eve parties such as the famed Fairmont Hamilton Princess and the elegant Rosewood Bermuda.

Christmas Parade

In the end of November a Christmas Parade takes place in Hamilton City. It kicks off Christmas season and features live bands, dancers, and floats.

Christmas Walkabout

The Christmas Walkabout takes place in St. George on or around December 7th. Lavishly decorated historical houses welcome the public to walk inside. This popular event features live music and plenty of candlelight.

St. George’s Christmas Boat Parade

The annual St. George’s Boat Parade takes place At Hamilton Harbor. It consists of a procession of elaborately decorated boats shining on the water. This is a popular event with both locals and tourists alike.

Photo: Jennifer Barbaro

Christmas on Elbow Beach

Morning of December 25th, Christmas day; nonstop partying with music, food, and booze

Carols with Dolphins

Typically in the second week of December, Dolphin Quest holds its yearly concert, featuring Christmas carolers singing next to performing dolphins.

New Year’s Eve at King’s Square

On December 31st, New Year’s Eve, there is a lively public gathering with concessions, live entertainment, and fireworks in King’s Square. At midnight, an “onion” (in place of an apple or disco ball), is dropped a the strike of midnight by Town Hall.

Onion Drop Bermuda New Years Eve
Photo: Jennifer Barbaro

Why it is a Jenny Favorite

This is a great destination, especially in winter when it is not quite as crowded with tourists. We love that there are so many diverse activities and history to enjoy on this island. Even if you have a cloudy day, you won’t miss a beat. There is so much to see and do.

Tips

This is an island that is meant to be explored. While the resorts are nice, you will find many people venturing out to restaurants, the lively towns, and to all of the attractions Bermuda has to offer. Be sure to grab lunch at Bermuda’s oldest and most famous pub, Swizzle Inn, popular with boaters, locals, and tourists alike.

Swizzle Inn Bermuda
Photo: Jennifer Barbaro

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