As the northern hemisphere cools down and it gets harder and harder to find motivation to get out of bed, the southern hemisphere heats up. Ditch the grey skies, contemplation of how many layers are necessary and woolly socks in favour of sand, sunshine and sparkling blue water. Ditch the socks, grab your sandals and get on these hot getaways!
SOUTH & CENTRAL AMERICA
1.) Tayrona National Park, Colombia
This protected region covers an area of 150 km on the northern Caribbean coast of Colombia – and what says warm weather and idyllic tropical beaches more than ‘Caribbean’? Sandy coves strewn with chunky rocks perfect for climbing dot their way along the coast line as palm trees sway in the breeze along the shore, while the sparse spread of resorts and camping sites mean a tranquil beach escape like no other.
2.) Tulum, Mexico
This unique destination offers the best of two of Mexico’s most interesting worlds: pristine beaches for a relaxing getaway and an archaeological Mayan site to explore. The pre-Columbian Maya walled city is perched on a 12-metre tall cliff overlooking the ocean, proving the Mayans knew, among their other talents, how to pick premier real estate. Tulum is found on the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula on the Caribbean Sea.
Baia dos Porcos
Spectacular rock formations jutting out of pristine water, relative isolation and great snorkelling make this beach on the tiny island of Ilha Fernando de Noronha a perfect escape from the daily grind. Ilha Fernando de Noronha, situated off Brazil’s north coast, boasts its own airport making it easily accessible for weary travellers hoping to thaw out.
Armacao dos Buzios
For something a little less off the beaten track, head to the resort town of Armacao dos Buzios, a popular spot for Brazilian and Argentinian tourists in particular. Situated in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Buzios is a little easier to get to with the connections offered to the buzzing metropolis. 23 beaches await along the peninsula, with west coast beaches offering calm seas while those on the east coast are open to the sea and therefore a favourite haunt of surfers and other water sport enthusiasts.
When it’s time for a break from the sun and the sand, the town offers excellent nightlife, dining and shopping.
4.) Bariloche, Argentina
If hiking trails and mountain biking, spectacular views reminiscent of the best scenery Canada has to offer, and laying back contemplating whether to quit your job and hide in this paradise full-time are more your thing than sand in every crevice, head to spectacular Bariloche. Here the skyline is dominated by snow-capped Volcan Lanin, the city centre consists of beautiful buildings made of log and stone, and the Museo de la Pantagonia awaits.
It’s also Argentina’s capital of chocolate, which renders further explanation or justification unnecessary, obviously.
5.) Praslin, Seychelles
Home to the best beach in Africa as voted by Trip Advisor’s active and outspoken community – Anse Lazio – Praslin is the second biggest island in the Seychelles. With a small population of just over 6,000 the island is a haven for tourists, and there are a number of resorts and upscale hotels to choose from. Aside from the beaches, Praslin is known for its exotic flora and fauna including several unique parrots, and flowers in the Vallee de Mai Nature Preserve.
A little to the east, accessible only by ferry, lies La Digue Island, which offers its own collection of stunning beaches and an even more isolated setting. The island is just 10 km2, and easy to explore by bike or on foot.
6.) Diani Beach, Kenya
This beach resort offers a 10km stretch of sand along the Indian Ocean within easy reach of Mombasa, which lies about 30km north. Diani Beach is characterised by clear, shallow waters, extensive vegetation lining the coastline, coral reefs, black-and-white colobus monkeys and excellent kitesurfing conditions. Shimba Hills National Reserve is nearby, while the town of Diani Beach itself offers plenty of restaurants, shops and upscale hotels catering to visitors. Tours in Kenya are a must!
7.) White Beach, Borocay, Philippines
You almost need sunglasses just to Google the aptly named White Beach, Borocay’s epicentre of tourism, where the sand is brilliantly white, the water calm and clear and relaxation the main goal. The island of Borocay has established itself as a popular getaway over the last few years, with temperatures averaging in the mid-20s (degrees Celcius) year round. Water sports are big here – Bulabog Beach serves as the Philippines’ premier windsurfing and kiteboarding destination, while scuba diving and snorkelling can be enjoyed in calmer waters.
Thailand remains one of Asia’s favourite destinations, and choosing just one in this vivid country full of culture, delicious food and spectacular natural beauty is not easy. Bangkok is a thrilling adventure of its own, Chiang Mai is home to beautiful temples and nature reserves, and beckoning beaches await on coastlines and numerous islands. Best of all, the ideal time to visit is during the northern hemisphere’s winter, which is the dry season. Tour comparison Thailand is for sure the way to get to the hot spots, literally.
If you’re looking for a warm weather city getaway, Singapore is a hub of nightlife, entertainment, dining and shopping – sans sand. With an average low temperature in the mid-20s, Singapore is a safe bet for defrosting winter-worn fingers, while its multicultural nature, a diverse and exciting dining scene, arts festivals and some of the world’s most awe-inspiring accommodations (you’ve all seen at least one envy-inducing Instagram post of an infinity pool overlooking the twinkling city) ensure your itinerary is never empty.
10.) Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia
The Whitsundays are comprised of 72 island havens sheltered by the Great Barrier Reef in the Coral Sea. Whitehaven Beach is widely regarded as the most beautiful beach in the area – and the world by some – with stunning white sand and varying shades of blue water that make for a spectacular excuse to take some time off work.
Author’s Bio: Courtney Gahan is a serial expat, traveller and freelance writer who has bartered with Moroccan marketeers, seen the sun rise at Angkor Wat and elbowed her way through crowds on NYE in NYC.