Do you plan on travelling over the holidays? We know it’s supposed to be all about getting together with family and sharing meals with kids and grandkids and cousins you haven’t seen all year. That’s the beauty of the holidays. But there’s beauty in a week-long Mediterranean cruise, too, so don’t feel too guilty about wanting to get away.
And when you do start planning a trip, let’s try thinking a bit outside the norm. The Dominican Republic and Cuba are beautiful, but there are other destinations that offer a different kind of bliss.
Where will you travel over the holidays?
With the guilt gone, it’s time to decide where you want to explore. There are a million options, but not all destinations are ideal for late December. You’ll need to think about the climate where you’re going, whether it’s rainy season or possibly not as hot as you’d like it to be. Our list takes away some of the guesswork to give you five holiday destinations that may not immediately pop up on your radar.
1. Kathmandu, Nepal
Best time to travel to Kathmandu: November to March
If you’re looking for an active holiday getaway with mindblowing views of the Himalayas, then Nepal should be first on your list. You can stay in one of the quaint hill villages and gaze in wonder at the golden temples. Make sure you greet locals with a warm “namaste” when walking the streets of Kathmandu. And get ready to eat Dhal Bhat (rice and lentils) with potatoes and cauliflower and more cuisine that feeds your soul. (Quick note: you should take your shoes off before entering the home of a Nepali family). Oh, did we mention that Nepal is home to Mount Everest? Yeah, there’s that.
2. Coorg, India
Best time to travel to Coorg: October to March
It’s hard to keep India off any travel list. It’s a country full of energy and vibrancy and lots of people, depending on where you visit, of course. During the holidays, Coorg is one of the best places in India to travel. The greenery of the coffee plantations will amaze you. So will Abbey and Iruppu Falls. If you’re up for it, you have to take a trip to Brahmagiri Peak. The trek there is just as beautiful as the destination. You’ll pass a wildlife sanctuary in addition to streams of water so clear you can take a selfie. Coorg is perfect for either relaxing and staring at the land or getting out there and being closer to nature.
3. Panama City, Panama
Best time to travel to Panama City: Mid December to April
2019 marks the 500th year of Panama’s history. The Panama Canal is one of the country’s biggest attractions, but there’s so much more to explore. Parque Nacional contains up to two dozen species of whale and dolphin and is located in the Veraguas province. The beaches of the Archipiélago de Bocas del Toro is where you’ll be able to unwind and enjoy the beauty of Panama. And if you’re ever missing the city life, Panama City offers the perfect mix of historic culture with modern tastes and activities.
4. Bacalar, Mexico
Best time to travel to Bacalar: Early December to mid-March
Mexico has a rep for spring break partyers who want to get as drunk as possible in all-inclusive resorts. Maybe that’s true in some parts of the country, but Bacalar, Mexico offers a different experience. With less than 20,000 locals, Bacalar is a much more chill scene. The Lake of Seven Colours is as majestic as it sounds and is one of the most jawdropping natural attractions you’ll be bragging to your friends about. Travellers often refer to Bacalar as the Maldives of Mexico, whatever that means. All you need to know is that if you’re looking for a quiet getaway in a small town with beautiful weather and a chance to sail across the lagoons, then give Bacalar a chance.
5. Palomino, Columbia
Best time to travel to Palomino: December to March
Columbia has become an unexpected jewel for travellers. If the allure of Caribbean beaches isn’t enough to convince you to book your ticket, maybe the jungles surrounding Palomino will give you that final little push. You’ll see monkeys and parrots and all kinds of other wildlife in what National Geographic has named one of the world’s most important ecological sites. Palomino is where you take a break from the hiking and cave diving in other destinations. It’s all about relaxing, sunbathing and enjoying the beaches on this trip.
Looking for more travel tips? Read more about the 5 best river cruises in Europe
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