Are you looking for the best places to travel this winter? Every year, we search for warm places to visit in December, January and February so that we can get some sun! Our winter vacation ideas to escape the cold have been great getaways from NYC. If you’re looking to save some money, consider traveling after New Years Day to find the best deals.

Looking to update your travel attire and gear for the winter? Visit our favorite travel gift ideas.

The best places to travel this winter that we’ve listed all have ideal weather for escaping northern cold winters, longer days and dry seasons. Let’s heat up with these favorite winter vacation destinations!

Cartagena & Santa Marta, Colombia

You can usually find a cheap flight to Cartagena from various US cities if you choose to travel in January and February. If you only have time off in December, don’t worry!

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Cartagena is a super affordable destination for travelers and it’s hot all year round. Temperatures are never lower than 85 F during daytime and 75 F at night, and with the humidity, it always feels warmer. Cartagena and its nearby tropical island archipelagos have beautiful pristine beaches, lots of sun all winter long (dry season begins in February) and is an ideal winter vacation for couples, where a private room in a hostel will cost between USD 40 and USD 75.

Staying in a hotel will cost between USD 100 and 200 in the mid-range, and there’s a lot of value here!

View from a beach in Santa Marta, Colombia  Two guys walking down a street in Santa Marta  The steets of Santa Marta, Colombia
View of Santa Marta, Colombia from a roof  Looking off an ocean of Cartagena

Canary Islands, Spain

Until recently, we did not know where the Canary Islands were, but as it turns out, we’ve now been there twice, both in winter and in summer. Travel to the Canary Islands during winter will give you the warmest destination possible within the EU.

What we learned is that the south and east sides of Tenerife and Gran Canaria get the most sun and are warmest year-round. In winter, check out the Maspalomas Dunes of Gran Canaria and the southern beaches of Tenerife to get your tan on and to see spectacular and unique volcanic scenery.

The Canary Islands are also a great destination for couples, as it’s helpful to rent a car and road trip around these islands.

Beach in Tenerife at sunset  Looking over la Orotava from a roof  Girl on a hike in Tenerife
Hike in Tenerife  Beach in Tenerife  Girl walking up to a building in La Orotava, Tenerife
Beach in Gran Canaria  Beach in Gran Canaria
Taking a photo at sunset near mountains  Girl standing on a ledge by the ocean  Dark sky star photo with mountains in the background

🌃 Stars are one of my favorite things to shoot. If you’re interested in learning how I took this image, check out our article about night photography!

Tel Aviv, Israel

You may not have pictured Israel as a winter beach destination, but if you go to Tel Aviv between December and February, you can enjoy sunny days with highs in the mid 70s and get some beach time!

Israel is a fantastic cultural destination with so much to see, all in compact distances. Escape the winter cold at the Dead Sea, where temperatures year round are in the 70s and 80s, and you can take a dip and float in the saltiest body of water on earth.

The cost of travel in Israel is a bit like traveling in Europe, so we recommend traveling with a friend or significant other with whom you can split a private room. If you travel solo and are looking for a great hostel dorm experience, check out a stay with Abraham Hostels.

View of a beach in Tel Aviv, Israel  Mountains near the Dead Sea in Israel  Resort at the Dead Sea in Israel
Israel flag on a blue sky  Tel Aviv beach  Boat docks in Tel Aviv
Fruit for sale at a market in Tel Aviv  People playing volleyball at a beach in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv beach during sunset  People hanging out at a Tel Aviv beach

Are you ready to take your trip?

Check out some of the things we pack to inspire you for your trip!

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Hong Kong

Although it’s far from North America and from Europe, Hong Kong is a worthwhile place to spend a winter getaway and it never disappoints.

Most North American and European citizens do not need a visa to get to Hong Kong, so you can show up when you want! For Hong Kong, a city with a scorching summer reaching the 90s and with humid, wet weather, winter months present an amazing time to visit. Your escapes from the heat are getting on a junk boat and walking around at night.

Hong Kong winter, between December and February, is the driest time of year, so you’ll avoid all types of monsoons and storms. Humidity dies down, and days are comfortable in the 70s, with nights in the mid-to-high 60s.

Check out the various hikes that are ideal for the dry winter months, and of course explore the incredible urban jungles of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. Make sure to check out all of the hidden photo spots in Hong Kong as well!

Choi Hung Estates Hong Kong  Hong Kong
Crowded streets of Hong Kong  Girl at night next to neon lights  Hong Kong city view in the morning with a big cloud
On a boat in Hong Kong  Sunset on the water  Hong Kong at night

The Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

One of our favorite winter weekend getaways from NYC is the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. You can also save money traveling this winter by flying into Cancun from major US cities and then hopping a bus immediately to less touristy cities like Valladolid.

We loved exploring the cenotes outside Tulum by bicycle and seeing the clear water, which is so warm it feels like a bath.

Our favorite part of traveling in Mexico might be the tacos, so get your stomach ready for some great flavors. Temperatures are always around the mid-80s during winter months of December to February, and nights are rarely lower than the mid-60s.

Old VW bug
Pyramid in Mexico  Beach in Telum, Mexico  Art in Mexico
White Volkswagen Bettle  Sunset on a street with a red truck  Girl on the beach in Tulum, Mexico

Cabarete & the North Coast of the Dominican Republic

Punta Cana’s white beaches and turquoise seas are probably what you think of when you think of spending the worst of winter in the Dominican Republic.

It’s what we think of, too, but it isn’t how we wanted to experience a trip to this country that sits rather close to the continental US. We opted for a trip to explore the sights and beaches of Cabarete and the DR’s North Coast instead.

Beach in Cabarete, Dominican Republic  Kite surfing kite high in the sky  Palm tree near the water in Sosua, Dominican Republic

The good news for this destination as your winter getaway is that it doesn’t come at the price of a 4- or 5-star resort. In fact, you can stay in budget accommodations that bring you close to nature and other backpackers. In Cabarete alone, there’s Ali’s Surf Camp (also known as Surf Camp Cabarete), a nearby hostel and a few Airbnbs. We opted for a combination of both, between our travels that ranged from Puerto Plata to Rio San Juan, by comparing accommodation options.

For fun ways to get around, there are the local guaguas. These are sure to give you an authentic and semi-crowded Dominican transit experience. The great thing is that they cost between USD 1-2 per trip! It’s great value for your money, because other things like private taxi rides don’t come cheap.

There’s lots to do in surf paradises like Cabarete, from the cafe scene to some unusual and unique things to do in Sosua and Puerto Plata.

Two cold brews on a table at Vagamundo  Bookshelf inside Vagamundo  Menu of drinks at Vagamundo in Cabarete
Outside Mundo King  Girl walking inside Mundo King  Alien art inside Mundo King  Art and decorations inside Mundo King

Temperatures range from 65F at night to 85F during the day (it can feel warmer in the sun, but cools down by sunset and it’s pretty temperate).

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Argentina’s seasons are flipped with those north of the equator, so during December through February, the country enjoys its summer. Between these months, Buenos Aires, the capital city, gets highs in the 80s and lows in the high 60s at night.

Sounds beautiful to us! Buenos Aires is a lively city teeming with culture and history.

We love the Buenos Aires outdoor cafe scene, the colors in La Boca, the tango dancing and the incredible architecture. Oh, and don’t forget the awesome nightlife scene. Argentina is surely a winter vacation idea for escaping the cold. Leave your coat at home!

Buenos Aires at night  Girl with street art
Library in Buenos Aires  La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires  The Pink House Building in Buenos Aires

Last updated on July 12th, 2021