Winter weather got you down? I know in some parts of the United States (I’m looking at you Boston) winter came in full force with blizzards and daily bitter temperatures. The best way to escape the cold is to fly far, far away. For many in the Northeast and Midwest of the US the Caribbean, Florida and Mexico seem to be the destination of choice. Today I wanted to share with you today my top 5 warm weather destinations to escape the cold. Please keep in mind these are only destinations I have visited. I am more than open to listening to what is your favorite escape the snow destination.
5. Cape Town, South Africa
It’s summer there when its winter where you are (most likely). There are very few cities as strikingly beautiful as Cape Town. As I mentioned in my Cape Town International Airport review, you can tell on approach that Cape Town is something special. It is the only city in the world that I have been to where you have a major metropolitan city surrounded by two oceans, mountains and lush forests. The major attraction is of course Table Mountain but there is so much to see you really have to pick and choose. The winelands of Constantia and Stellenbosch are a must visit as some of the best wines in the world come from this region. A sail out to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was help prisoner is also a must. Visit the Hout Bay market and haggle over your favorite AS piece. Cape Town is a very cultural city and there will be something for everyone including beaches, shopping or hiking through the beautiful Kirstenbosch garden. It’s a special place with beautiful weather this time of year.
Singapore is hot, very hot. The great thing about Singapore is it feels like the future. The subway trains are automated and driverless, the streets are immaculate and the bus runs on time. Singapore can be pricey but there is something for everyone. The public transit systems are easy to use and because Singapore is an Island you can get to most tourist destinations fairly easily. You can visit the Singapore botanical gardens, eat great food and experience the wildness of Little India on Sunday or swim on top of the Marina Bay Sands hotel. Also if you read my Changi Airport Blog, the airport is a destination all on its own. Be sure to eat , Singapore has some of the best food hawker markets I have ever seen.
3. Jost Van Dyke, BVI
There is a little spot of heaven in the British Virgin Islands and its called Jost Van Dyke. The island is home to the world-famous Soggy Dollar Bar inventors of the Pain Killer cocktail. This Caribbean gem is favorite stop for many vacationers. It’s a very small island with a population of around 200 hundred. White Bay is a beautiful white sand beach with no dock, which requires patrons to jump from their vessel and swim to land if they want to visit the bars. If you want to really unplug, stay at Ivan’s in one of his shacks and enjoy the pour your own bar which runs on the honor system. Also if you find yourself down in the Carib during New Years check out Foxy’s, the best New Years Eve party you will ever attend.
If you like out-of-the-way, difficult to get to destinations, the San Blas Island is for you. They are a chain of Islands off the northern gulf coast of Panama which are inhabited by the native Kuna Yala people. They are the shortest people I have ever met. The islands are stunning and very small, most are adorned with mainly palm trees. Prepare yourself to disconnect as mamy of the islands don’t have power and you better have your own supplies or fish, lobster and coconut milk is what you will be dining on. There is a small airport on the capital island of Por Venir but to get there you will need a boat. We sailed from Cartagena, Colombia which was an experience in itself. You can hop from island to island and swim in the clearest water you have ever seen. Snorkeling is also a premium as the water can be shallow around the island. You can also buy Kuna Yala traditional clothes from the locals but don’t think you will get a deal, they drive a hard barging.
1. St. John USVI.
St. John holds a special place in my heart because I lived there after I graduated college. It’s a grand volcanic island with large mountains and many beautiful beaches. If relaxing is your goal there is no shortage of white sand beaches. Cinnamon Bay is a favorite among visitors but I am partial to Gibney or Salt Pond Bay. There are two main ports on STJ, Cruz Bay and Coral Bay. Cruz is where you will land when taking the ferry from St. Thomas. Most of the restaurants and bars are in Cruz Bay and is the more rowdy side of the island. If you are looking for peace and tranquility Coral Bay is your spot. Coral Bay has beaches and night life but it’s a much slower pace and the views are beautiful. You can also hike the Rendezvous trail and visit the sugar cane mill ruins for a bit of culture. If you want some night life grab a pint at the Quite Mon Pub in Cruz Bay and don’t worry about finishing your drink, you can take it to go as there are no open container laws. Relaxing is the goal of many, including the locals, so embrace the culture and the pace of life and sit back and have another drink in the sun.