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10 Warmest Places for Summer Lovers to Visit in Winter

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Luxury resort pool by the beach in the Maldives


Some travelers embrace the winter season, but you may prefer to visit warm places that remind you of summer, offering a tropical lifestyle and an escape from the cold. These 10 destinations provide the perfect summer-style getaways in the heart of winter.

Whether traveling to the Southern Hemisphere or finding an idyllic beach near the equator, you can indulge in the beauty of nature and the quintessential sun-baked sands at your leisure. Blend adventure, excitement, discovery, and relaxation as you find warmth in these perfect destinations for the Northern Hemisphere’s winter.

Whether you would like to visit the Asia Pacific region for a cosmopolitan beach vibe, Africa for a safari, or south or central America for wildlife, art, and more, the following information will guide you in making your decision.

  1. 1. The Maldives
  2. 2. Costa Rica
  3. 3. Colombia
  4. 4. Tanzania
  5. 5. South Africa
  6. 6. Belize
  7. 7. New Zealand
  8. 8. Thailand
  9. 9. Vietnam
  10. 10. The Galapagos Islands
  11. Discover the Best Winter Destinations for Summer Lovers

1. The Maldives

Aerial view of the Four Seasons at Landaa Giraavaru in the Maldives. Photo courtesy of Markus Gortz / Four Seasons

Four Seasons at Landaa Giraavaru in the Maldives. Photo courtesy of Markus Gortz / Four Seasons

The Maldives is a tropical paradise no matter when you visit, but becomes the perfect escape from winter weather for relaxing in the sunlight as the cold passes by elsewhere.

With transparent blue waters, a relaxed ambiance, and islands that can immerse you in seclusion, you can find a beach nirvana just for you.

Bask in the unrivaled luxuries of underwater restaurants, rest on powdery white sands, and watch the brilliant colors of the marine world come to life as you explore coral walls while manta rays swirl in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.

Maldives Vacation Idea

Best of Maldives Tour: A Tropical Paradise Getaway is a 12-day immersion into personalized beauty, wonder, and charm featuring the unique and colorful natural charms that spread from private islands to protected biosphere reserves.

Highlights: Embrace a luxurious resort on a private tropical island • Snorkel or scuba dive to witness the marvels of the marine life around the vibrant reef system • Indulge in the opulent accommodations and activities of a luxury cruise around the Baa Atoll Biosphere Reserve • Savor a soothing and refreshing spa • Delight in a surf lesson • Visit the Marine Discovery Centre to learn about turtle conservation

Learn more: Maldives Tours & VacationsMaldives Travel Guide

2. Costa Rica

Beach sunset at Marino Ballena National Park in Uvita, Costa Rica

Marino Ballena National Park in Uvita, Costa Rica

Tropical and lush, inviting and unique, Costa Rica combines the wonders of the wilderness with the comforts of contemporary luxuries.

By winter, the rains have tapered off and the landscape remains lush as wildlife calls out from the forest canopy, demonstrating why Costa Rica is one of the best warm places to visit in December and beyond. Whether looking for surf in the southwest or sea turtles in the northeast, you can snorkel in search of dolphins and pilot whales, or lounge on a beach basking in the tropical sun.

Discover adventure on a volcano hike, wander through misty cloud forests in search of quetzal, or learn the art of crafting coffee, from planting to production, when enjoying Costa Rica in winter.

Costa Rica Vacation Idea

Experience the combination of luxury and sustainability during the 11-day Handcrafted Costa Rica Tour: Finest Tropical Escape that highlights the romantic ambiance and sense of adventure for which Costa Rica has become famous.

Highlights: Embrace a private tour of a sloth territory • Indulge in the soothing warmth and rejuvenating properties of natural hot springs • Discover the tremendous natural treasures of Manuel Antonio National Park • Enjoy the thrill of catching a wave with a private surf lesson • Revel in a tour around the Costa Ballena • Embark on a journey through the rainforest canopy with a guided walk along hanging bridges

Learn more: Costa Rica Tours & VacationsCosta Rica Travel Guide

3. Colombia

Rock of Guatapé and Peno Lake in Colombia

Rock of Guatapé and Peno Lake in Colombia

Colombia is the perfect destination to forget about the winter chill. With its position so close to the equator, the weather depends more on altitude than time of year for the perfect blend of comfort and exploration, whether looking for warm places to visit in January or simply eager to find a relaxing beach to escape the greater winter chill.

From the Andean peaks to the Caribbean coastline, and with a delightful blend of Spanish colonial charm and contemporary art, you can uncover charm from Cartagena to Medellin, enjoy the colorful panoramas of Santa Marta, or plunge into the wilds of the Amazon at Leticia.

Colombia Vacation Idea

Colombia Cultural Immersion: 9-Day Tour of Bogota, Medellin, and Cartagena celebrates the diverse landscapes and cultural heritage of the country’s three major cities, providing deeper connections to local traditions and natural splendor, from the Caribbean to the Andes.

Highlights: Explore historic landmarks in and around the cobblestone streets of La Candelaria in Bogota • Peruse the Cundinamarca salt mine to discover the remarkable Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral • Tour the City of Eternal Spring, Medellin • Uncover the notorious life story of Pablo Escobar • Capture cinematic Andean landscape photography of the remarkable views at the Rock of Guatapé • Immerse yourself in the history of Cartagena • Delve into the ancestral African traditions of the Palenke village

Learn more: Colombia Tours & VacationsColombia Travel Guide

4. Tanzania

Seascape of Zanzibar, Tanzania, Africa

Seascape of Zanzibar, Tanzania, Africa

Tanzania in winter becomes the perfect Southern Hemisphere summer getaway. With the promise of wildlife and soft-sand beaches, you can break away from the normal tropical escape to find where comfort, luxury, wilderness, and coastline converge.

Spot Africa’s Big Five when on safari in the renowned Serengeti or indulge on the pristine white sands of Zanzibar’s beaches. Visit a spice farm or trek to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. Whether looking for a warm country to visit in December or eager to find such places to visit in February, Tanzania delights and surprises with adventures and limitless discoveries as you escape the Northern Hemisphere’s winter.

Tanzania Vacation Idea

From bush to beach, the Safari and Seascape: 9-Day Tanzania and Zanzibar tour embodies the country’s beauty as it introduces you to the wonders of the Big Five, the luxuries of a safari experience, and the glistening Indian Ocean around the pristine shores of Zanzibar.

Highlights: Wander Ruaha National Park in the early hours of the morning when big cats hunt • Cruise across Ruaha National Park’s rich environments to discover the fabulous creatures that inhabit its nourishing ecosystems • Discover Ruaha National Park at night on a spotlighted safari • Swim in the sparkling waters of the Indian Ocean, over the colorful coral reefs and white-sand shoreline of Zanzibar • Sail across the ocean, beyond the breaking waves, to prime fishing spots • Slowly cruise across the shimmering ocean on a traditional wooden dhow at sunset

Learn more: Tanzania Safaris & VacationsTanzania Safari Guide

5. South Africa

Young leopard in Sabi Sands, South Africa

Sabi Sands, South Africa

South Africa is lush and inviting during the Northern Hemisphere's winter, as the country warms, the rains fall over the plains, and the weather plunges into the Southern Hemisphere summer months.

The coastline along Cape Town becomes an enticing beach holiday destination, while the waters along the KwaZulu-Natal coast are beautifully warm. Wildlife becomes more prevalent, with babies born among the greenery, and smaller crowds provide you with a more intimate safari experience.

From the Winelands to the Garden Route, South Africa in the Northern Hemisphere’s winter embodies the best of a summer getaway.

South Africa Vacation Idea

Exquisite South Africa Exploration: Culture to Safari embraces the diversity between the open bushland and the beautiful Winelands, highlighting the charm of coastal towns and the grandeur of luxury lodges.

Highlights: Search for Africa’s breathtaking wildlife in the pristine Sabi Sands Game Reserve • Uncover a number of Sabi Sands’ secret seven during your game drives • Embrace the wilds of protected waters at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve • Discover the remarkable histories and endless charm of the coastal towns and villages around Cape Town • Delight in Cape Town’s famous beauty, from white-sand beaches to captivating views of Table Mountain • Bask in the thrill of kayaking on the Indian Ocean • Indulge in the flavors, textures, and aromas of the Cape Winelands

Learn more: South Africa Safaris & VacationsSouth Africa Travel Guide

6. Belize

Paradise Beach on beautiful island South Water Caye, Belize.

South Water Caye, Belize

Mayan ruins, Caribbean coastline, and the world’s second-largest barrier reef create a dazzling combination of exploration and relaxation when visiting Belize in winter. With a compelling mixture of jungle interior and tropical cayes, you can search for wildlife or embrace a day on the water.

Snorkel with manta rays or listen for howler monkeys, uncover the Mayan temples that pierce the jungle canopy, or enjoy an evening under the stars as the Carribean laps at the shoreline. Winter is the ideal time to explore and experience the wonders of Belize.

Belize Vacation Idea

Featuring lush, inland rainforest and colorful Caribbean waters, the eight-day Tropical Beaches to Lush Jungle: Beautiful Belize Escape captures the spirit of the country by showing you adventure, relaxation, and endless charms.

Highlights: Enjoy a dip below the waves on a snorkeling adventure through the world's second-largest barrier reef • Encounter the ancient traditions of the Mayan civilization during a private cooking course • Stand in the shadows of Belize's famous ruins of Xunantunich • Paddle your way through the Five Blues Lake • Sample the savory chocolate heritage of Belize • Pay a visit to the region's many swimming holes • Recline in the relaxing ambiance of your seaside resort

Learn more: Belize Tours & VacationsBelize Travel Guide

7. New Zealand

Urupukapuka Island, Bay of Islands.

Bay of Islands, New Zealand

New Zealand may not be the first place many think of when looking for a summer getaway, but the North and South islands are known for their adventures, greenery, beaches, and surf. The northern tip of the North island reveals a surprising coastal paradise around the Bay of Islands, where coastal activities, clear waters, and golden sands spread as far as the eye can see.

Cycling, biking, and hiking take place among the famous Great Walks, the vibrant red foliage of the pohutukawa tree blossoms, and you can even take to the ice shelf with a glacier walk, revealing the depth of possibilities in the warm places to visit in December, January, and February across New Zealand.

New Zealand Vacation Idea

Spectacular Nature to Sparkling Cityscapes New Zealand Tour is a 17-day getaway to embrace the islands’ idyllic beauty and cultural grandeur at your preferred pace, finding fantastic beaches, stunning waterfalls, and marvelous flavors.

Highlights: Admire remarkable marine life sightings snorkeling among the Bay of Islands • Unravel the history that veils the old-world town of Russell • Station yourself beneath the pounding streams of Huka Falls • Embark on adventures across the geothermal landscapes of Taupo and Rotorua • View glowworms and enjoy thermal pools near Lake Rotoiti

Learn more: New Zealand Tours & VacationsNew Zealand Travel Guide

8. Thailand

Pagodas  at Doi Inthanon National Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Doi Inthanon National Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand

The tropical ambiance brings luxury, pleasure, and charm across Thailand by combining the treasures of the southern sea with the mountains and trees of the northern border.

In December, January, and February, Thailand becomes a wonderland of tropical bliss, with whitewashed shorelines, islands brimming with lush trees, and wildlife enjoying the clear skies as it roams through national parks on the mainland and across the archipelago.

From sea turtles to whale sharks, ancient temples to cultural tribes, the winter in Thailand is an exceptional time to enjoy diversity that can have you tasting local flavors, lounging on treasured beaches, or enjoying shopping.

Thailand Vacation Idea

Delight in the combination of luxury and tropical charm on this 12-day Enchanted Highlights of Thailand Tour that brings the heritage, natural beauty, and wildlife of the country into sharp, inspiring focus.

Highlights: Be dazzled by the curious hidden gems tucked away within Bangkok’s Old Quarter • Enjoy twinkling stars during an enchanting dinner cruise across the Chao Phraya River • Learn how to prepare a selection of coveted Thai dishes under the guidance of an acclaimed celebrity chef • Discover Chiang Mai by tuk-tuk on a unique tour • Explore rural Chiang Mai, visiting the welcoming locals of the traditional Mae Kampong Village

Learn more: Thailand Tours & VacationsThailand Travel Guide

9. Vietnam

A red junk boat sailing in Ha Long Bay in Vietnam.

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Vietnam is a unique winter destination, with the central and southern regions embracing the dry warmth and the northern mountainous area reflecting the sharp change in seasonal weather.

The tropical central and southern regions of Vietnam demonstrate a gorgeous emerald glow from December to February, revealing pristine beaches, the gentle waters of the Mekong River, traditional villages, elegant cityscapes, and delicious local cuisine.

From preserved imperial grandeur to the comfortable temperatures along the southern coastline, soaring mountains to the renowned karsts of Ha Long Bay, Vietnam in winter is a marvelous escape into welcoming warm weather.

Vietnam Vacation Idea

Amazing Vietnam Vacation: Karst Islands to Imperial Citadels is an eight-day immersion into the breathtaking beauty of the country as you explore the graceful waters, dramatic karsts, and historic culture from north to south.

Highlights: Glide across the emerald water of Ha Long Bay • View the royal allure retained in the remnants of the Nguyen Dynasty’s Dai Noi Citadel • Delight in an authentic Vietnamese dinner with the family of a local chef • Zigzag along the meandering roads of Hai Van Pass • Learn more about Ho Chi Minh City’s dramatic history

Learn more: Vietnam Tours & VacationsVietnam Travel Guide

10. The Galapagos Islands

Brown pelican with Pinnacle rock on Bartolome Island in the back

Bartolome Island, Galapagos

The Galapagos Islands are an incredible escape from the winter in December, January, and February. The combination of good weather, sea conditions, and wildlife viewing provide the perfect escape from the cold as you embrace one of the world’s most unique natural wonders.

Search for giant tortoises, view the famous penguins, and sail between volcanic islands. While not the typical beach escape many may look for when considering a warm vacation in winter, the Galapagos are extremely rewarding, offering an adventure unlike anywhere else in the world.

Galapagos Vacation Idea

Natural history becomes living history during A Perfect Family Vacation to Galapagos Islands, in which you have 10 days to embrace the exciting wildlife and wilderness spanning the volcanic islands as you hike, sail, snorkel, and more to experience the unique environment.

Highlights: Discover the Galapagos archipelago with a cruise on a spacious and comfortable boat ideal for family travel • Explore with naturalist guides and a selection of activities • Marvel at the displays of iconic birds, stand beside giant tortoises, find fur seals on the beach • Hike along stunning volcanic cliffs • Snorkel among sea lions and penguins

Learn more: Galapagos Islands Vacations & ToursGalapagos Islands and Ecuador Travel Guide

Discover the Best Winter Destinations for Summer Lovers

Barracuda in the waters of the Caulker Caye Marine Reserve, Belize

Caulker Caye Marine Reserve, Belize

Snorkel with reef sharks, discover sea turtles, or embark on a search for enticing new flavors. Whether exploring the Southern Hemisphere’s summer or the endless warmth of a tropical paradise, you can find inspiration for your perfect trip during the winter season.

If you want to travel and don’t know where to go, you can find the right blend of snowy wonderlands and tropical escapes to guide your ideas with our winter vacation ideas. When considering your travel dates, you can also find more ideas on where to go when by exploring our guide on the best places to travel by month.

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