3 minute read

Surprising Winter Getaways

Dodge the deep freeze and head to warmer climes beyond the usual sun destinations.

Go ahead and pamper yourself this winter. You deserve it. But let’s get creative about it. Let’s rethink the winter getaway. Consider an atypical destination, ideal for a week away or an extended stay. To escape snow and ice, set your sights on these balmier spots.

ANGUILLA

As one of the top-rated islands in the Caribbean, Anguilla, located a short ferry ride from Sint Maarten/St. Martin, is a haven for those in pursuit of some much needed me time. To endless days on powdery, white-sand beaches, add a chartered boat tour, indulge the senses at seaside restaurants, and dance winter nights away to calypso music. What really sets the island apart is the chance to live that universal fantasy as a castaway on a tiny, deserted island like idyllic Sandy Island where beach beds, a bar and fresh grilled seafood await on a little slice of paradise. It’s free of fastfood chains and crowds from large cruise ships, which gives it a super chill vibe.

THE CARIBBEAN SEA BORDERING THE ISLAND OF ANGUILLA

SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE, MEXICO

North of Mexico City, the cobblestone streets of San Miguel de Allende are calling. The colonial architecture of this UNESCO World Heritage Site complements the city’s growing reputation as a luxury destination buzzing with open artist studios, fine shops and cafés. Temperate winters make days at the thermal baths especially indulgent. Relax in the healing waters of La Gruta, Escondido Place, or Parque Acuático Xote. While there, take time for a rejuvenating spa treatment or a therapeutic traditional Mexican temazcal ceremony.

SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE, MEXICO

CENTRAL VALLEY, COSTA RICA

Here, the pura vida or laidback lifestyle characterizes daily life. Sleepy towns like Atenas, west of the capital San José, are perfect for hanging out in the shady central park, taking easy day trips to artisan centres like Sarchi, touring coffee plantations like Hacienda Espíritu Santo in Naranjo, or discovering the Botanical Orchid Garden in La Garita. Overnight trips high into the cloud forests, to the volcanic spa resorts of Arenal, or down to the endless Pacific beaches can all be enjoyed at a leisurely pace.

ARENAL VOLCANO SEEN FROM THE MONTEVERDE AREA, COSTA RICA

CANADA EAST AND WEST

Rethinking winter doesn’t always mean leaving it behind. Imagine a month of cozy fireplaces, nights illuminated by millions of stars, and feasts of the freshest seafood in Nova Scotia. You may be surprised to learn that Halifax has some of the mildest winter weather in Canada with an average daily temperature for December/January/February above the freezing mark. A great way to beat the February blahs is attending the Nova Scotia Lobster Crawl, a celebration of the most decadent of crustaceans at a time of year fishermen insist they are at their best. The province also boasts a great number of bald eagles that spend their winters not far from the Bay of Fundy. Join fellow birdwatchers for the annual eagle watch from January to March near the tiny town of Sheffield Mills.

LOUISBOURG LIGHTHOUSE UNDER A STARRY SKY, NOVA SCOTIA
© TOURISM NOVA SCOTIA / ACORN ART PHOTOGRAPHY

For the warmest winter in Canada, head to Victoria on Vancouver Island, where you can forego a heavy winter coat, thanks to daily winter temperatures of around 8 °C. Stroll the walking paths next to the ocean, chase away a chill with a tea created by a master at the Silk Road Tea Store in Chinatown and grab seafood tacos dockside from Red Fish Blue Fish, before settling into a gorgeous suite at the Fairmont Empress Victoria and booking a west coast-inspired treatment at the Willow Stream Spa. Pure heaven.

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS AT BUTCHART GARDENS
© DESTINATION BC/JORDAN DYCK