This is a Delta Vacations partnered post. All opinions remain my own. Thank you for letting me share some of my favorite travel finds with you!
Let’s take a detour from the winter this year and head somewhere with nothing but sunshine and sandy shores! Sounds incredible, right? If the winter blues have you down or the holiday season has you stressed to the max, consider a trip to one of these tropical escapes, where shorelines stretch as far as the eye can see and the only thing you have to decide is which beach to visit and what cocktail to sip on next.
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If you need inspiration on somewhere new to visit, these are eight of my favorite tropical destinations I think are perfect to escape old man winter.
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St. Kitts and Nevis
The sister islands of St. Kitts and Nevis in the West Indies are covered in white sand beaches that slip into the turquoise waves of the Caribbean. Christopher Columbus saw the islands in 1493, but it wasn’t until the 1620s that the British colonized these two islands separated by a mere 2 miles. Today, it is well known for its beautiful beach getaways. There are also mountain ranges that climb skyward and rainforests that speckle the land with their mysterious depths.
Visitors can explore the variety of scenery and hike dormant volcanoes that rest for eternity on the island. A richly diverse history on these islands can be seen in the many ruins including the Brimstone Hill Fortress which was made a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. While there is plenty to do and see, these islands are less developed than other vacation spots offering a truly serene getaway.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Perched along the Pacific coast, Puerto Vallarta is a city of adventure, culture, and beauty. This destination is the place to experience great nightlife and indulge in the amazing local cuisine. There are over twenty beaches that welcome guests with hot sunshine and cool waves. Enjoy the variety of recreational water activities like surfing and snorkeling or kayaking and deep-sea fishing. Watch the massive whales splash through the waters enjoying their natural habitat. Peruse one of the many art galleries or outdoor sculptures and learn about the history of the city.
If you are into a little more adventure rent a Jet Ski or go sky diving over the aquamarine depths of the Pacific. There are also ATV rentals for treks through the jungle. After a day of enjoying the great outdoors, take a trip over to one of the many nightclubs and dance the night away. Great food, fruity drinks, and plenty of dance floors make it perfect for a couple’s getaway.
The capital city of the Bahamas has a unique history that many might not realize. Nassau’s main harbor was once an attraction to pirates, and until 1718, pirates were the main inhabitants of the beach paradise. However, the first Royal Governor forced out the pirates and built Fort Nassau. The famous Blackbeard Pirate once resided in Nassau and the British Colonial Hilton now stands on his former residence. Now, visitors can experience the incredible history of the island. There are former villages preserved as Heritage Sites for people to view what life was once like on the island. And…There are incredible beaches.
There are many beaches each with their own personalities. Cabbage Beach is known for its white sand that will feel like silk upon your skin. If you prefer a lively beach take a stroll over to Junkanoo Beach where you’ll find plenty of socializing. There is a beach for whatever kind of paradise you are looking for…even the kind with swimming pigs.
Samana, Dominican Republic
This city located in the northeastern region of the Dominican Republic, and to the locals, it is known as Santa Barbara de Samana. There is only a small population of 15,000 that reside in the city making it a quiet getaway unlike many other resort areas, but it is nothing short of stunning. In fact, in 2009, the Bay of Samana was voted “One of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World.” In this bay, you can see thousands of humpback whales enjoying the refreshing waters in January through March. You can also experience a variety of wildlife at Los Haitises National Park. This enormous park offers incredible hiking and secluded landscapes for the ultimate serenity.
There are also many secret beaches that are only accessible by hiking or boat. Sneak away to a private cove and enjoy the quiet. When you are looking for a night out, visit Las Terrenas where you can find accommodations for your entire trip as well as information about available activities. From beachfront hotels to restaurants with scrumptious local cuisines, this area is a wonderful introduction to the culture and beauty of Samana.
Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Once considered a part of Nicaragua, the northwest province of Guanacaste is now a part of Costa Rica with a rich culture and diverse landscapes. Miles of coastline and a variety of protected wildlife areas offer visitors a variety of activities. Mountain ranges with dry forests along with tropical forests create a variety that is often hard to find in one destination.
Visit Santa Rosa National Park to do a little hiking and view some of the 250 bird species that call it home. Within the park, you can also do some surfing or just soak up the sun on the white-sand beaches. Wander over to Rincon de la Vieja National Park that has over 34,000 acres which feature active volcanoes, waterfalls, and a trail that leads you up the side of Santa Maria Volcano which is one of the nine craters within the park.
Tulum is a breathtaking part of Mexico that has rare and interesting attractions. Found on the Yucatan Peninsula, Tulum is home to many mysterious and beautiful cenotes. These natural sinkholes occur when cave ceilings collapse into the water table below. It leaves incredible swimming holes that are tucked away like secrets, and they can be found all over the Yucatan Peninsula. To stand on the edge of one of these cenotes is like looking down a well into paradise. Vines hang from the leftover rock ceiling and dip down into the turquoise pools. They are a must-see.
In Tulum, you will also find the National Park which includes Mayan archaeological sites like the ruins of an ancient watchtower that sits upon a clifftop that overlooks the sea as well as the Templo de las Pinturas. Tulum once had ancient civilizations live upon its soil, and today you can experience some of the ancient relics left behind and breathe in the beauty of the land.
Ocho Rios, Jamaica
There is something very special about Jamaica. It’s unique ‘Island Living’ makes you feel as if you have been transported to a different world. The slow-paced atmosphere makes it easy to stop and enjoy the sights without a care in the world. Along with beautiful beaches, Ocho Rios also has some great adventures.
Take a tour through Cave Valley where there are interconnecting cave systems formed from limestone. It is next to a historic village along the Cave River. Near Cave Valley is Rat Bat hole which is a popular attraction, and it is exactly what it sounds like. A surface opening that leads into the cave system is filled with bats, and visitors are welcome to get a glimpse of the hoards of furry bats that reside there.
If caves and bats aren’t your thing, there are also Jeep and ATV Safaris, catamaran rides, and horseback riding on the beach. For those that love to shop, Ocho Rios has Casa de Oro Ocho Rios where you can buy luxury jewelry. Don’t forget about the eats! Ocho Rios has lots of restaurant options like Chinese and Italian, but it’s the Jamaican Jerk Chicken that they do best.
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
Providenciales, often referred to as Provo, covers 38 miles and is the most developed of the islands. The World Travel Awards have voted Provo with the award of “Best Beaches” multiple times. Some of the most popular beaches are Grace Bay Beach, Leward, Bight and Taylor Bay. With so many beaches, there is a wide variety of water activities including diving and snorkeling. Chalk Sound National Park also has a spectacular lagoon and limestone islands. As your plane arrives on the island, it will hover over the National Park leaving you speechless by its radiant beauty.
Beyond the white sand beaches, Turks and Caicos has a variety of luxury resorts and spas as well as high-end shopping to suit every whim. There are bars and cafes and even a golf course. Hike Blue Mountain to take in views of the north shore and the barrier reef. If you want to explore neighboring islands you can hop on a ferry, charter boat, or even a plane and do some exploring.