Dreaming of sun-kissed beaches and lush green hills as you snuggle up indoors this winter? If you’re craving a winter escape, we’ve rounded up some of the most immersive experiences you can have across the world, from staying at world-class coffee farms to hiking hidden waterfall trails.
With COVID-19 still a major factor in travel, you might want to consider private tours and steering clear of crowds. Our travel teams on the ground are always on top of the latest developments across countries and will ensure that your spring break is smooth, safe and fun. So let these ideas inspire your winter getaway plans for 2022!
Hunt for tasty truffles in Italy
Italy is famed for its complex and delicious truffles. Known as ‘tartufo’ in Italian, these humble fungi can be used to transform even the most rustic of meals. Finding and collecting them is an art form in itself, with October through April traditionally being the best time to visit Italy for foraging white truffles.
If you can’t get enough of this gourmet delicacy, book a winter getaway to Piedmont or Tuscany to be part of a truffle hunt. Traditionally, they’re found by highly-trained dogs or pigs who sniff them out in the undergrowth. Areas where truffles are grown are called ‘tartufaia’ and their exact locations are often only known to a handful of people.
As well as joining in during a guided tour, you could attend one of the many truffle festivals hosted across Italy. One of the best is the Acqualagna fair dedicated to fine black truffles that’s held in Le Marche, Piedmont in late February. If you’ve selected Tuscany as your truffle-hunting vacation spot, base yourself in magnificent Florence where you can combine sightseeing with local markets and wine tasting trips.
Embrace local culture in Mexico
Mexico has long been popular for spring break vacations thanks to its balmy weather conditions and proximity to the USA. If you’re hoping for a week or two of relaxation and never-ending activity options, coastal locales like Cancun, Tulum and Puerto Vallarta fit the bill perfectly. Cabo San Lucas in Baja California is another great option, especially if you are seeking an indulgent break at its five-star beach resorts.
Winter vacations to Mexico aren’t solely about sunshine and sand, though. Head inland to Oaxaca and you’ll be greeted by a phenomenal food scene and opportunities to learn about the area’s rich culture. Begin your explorations in the city of Oaxaca and marvel at its stunning architecture. Take a walk along the pedestrianized Zocalo (a hub for shopping and dining) and take in the glorious sights.
Mexico City, nestled in the very heart of the country, is a melting pot of history and culture. Highlights include the city’s mammoth Baroque cathedral and its 13th century Templo Mayor Aztec ruins. You could also soak up the vibrant works of Frida Kahlo at The Blue House museum or take a trip along the lively canals of Xochimilco to visit the eerie Island of the Dead Dolls.
Be at one with nature in Costa Rica
Lush rainforests, sparkling lakes, pristine coastlines and volcanic springs make Costa Rica a prime location for outdoor escapes. What’s more, the winter months offer some of the best weather conditions for a visit.
Arenal is a popular spring break destination, especially for families. Spend your vacation soaking in thermal pools, trekking around mighty volcanoes or swimming in the glistening pools of the La Fortuna waterfall. Along the country’s South Pacific Coast, Nosara offers the ideal escape for those after wellness experiences with its blissful retreats, while Montezuma’s bohemian vibe is marked by organic food markets and barefoot beaches. Alternatively, head to idyllic Isla Chiquita where you can enjoy glamping on stunning white-sand beaches.
Costa Rica is well-known for its sustainable tourism. Why not give back by staying in eco-friendly accommodation or booking trips to wonderful protected parks like the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve?
Sip some of the world’s finest coffee in Colombia
Colombia is one of the world’s most prestigious coffee growing regions. Fly into Bogota and set off on a winter getaway to Colombia’s Coffee Region, which encompasses Manizales, Marella, Salento and Rio Sucio. Stay at a coffee farm and return home with an in-depth knowledge of the art of coffee production, from bean to brew.
Cocora Valley is crisscrossed with hiking trails that take you through the verdant rainforest. You can soothe achy muscles in the natural hot springs of Termales San Vicente. There’s also peaceful Pijao: South America’s first ‘slow town’. Surrounded by the iconic peaks of the Andes, the tranquil settlement embraces a more sedate pace of life with organic farming, quiet ambiance and a laidback vibe.
Top tip: If you’re venturing to a Colombian coffee farm, pack appropriately. Most are located in the mountains, giving them very different weather from the coasts. A waterproof coat and closed-toe shoes are a must.
Go wine-tasting in Portugal
Portugal is one of the few places in Europe where you can still enjoy some sunshine in the winter months. Southern Portugal’s wineries are best visited on a spring break when the average daily temperatures sit between 60°F and 70°F. Consider staying at a family-run vineyard in the Alentejo region where the flat plains are carpeted in grapevines. Typical activities on offer include tasting sessions, tours of ancient wine cellars and memorable carriage rides through charming historic estates.
There are several wine regions located closer to the Spanish border. Minho is where Portugal’s famous Vinho Verde (green wine) is produced. Sample this crisp variety straight from the source or at a charming wine bar in medieval Porto. Nearby is where you’ll discover the world-famous Douro Valley. As well as stopping off for sensational meals and wine tastings at various vineyards, book a cruise up the Douro River or explore wine towns like pretty Pinhão.
For a mix of wonderful wineries and cultural activities, book a winter getaway to Lisbon. The country’s capital is brimming with historic relics and intriguing museums, in addition to a thriving cafe culture. It’s also close to some fantastic local vineyards, such as those surrounding the idyllic village of Óbidos.
Venture off the beaten path in Hawaii
This cluster of heavenly Pacific Ocean islands benefits from good weather conditions in March and April. It’s also one of our favorite beach destinations with culture, making it an ideal pick for both sunshine and sightseeing.
If you want to experience a different side of Hawaii, a tailored island-hopping tour that takes you to some of its lesser-known locales is ideal. Our experts have the inside scoop on the best places to visit on a winter getaway, with options to suit every interest.
Oahu is arguably Hawaii’s most diverse isle and where you’ll be able to enjoy both lazy beach days and myriad cultural and outdoor activities. Plan a trip to Haleiwa – the largest plant maze on the planet – or soak up spectacular scenery as you hike along the paved Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail. Movie buffs will also love visiting Kualoa Ranch. Located 24 miles from Honolulu, the historic estate has been used as a backdrop in many movies, including Jurassic Park.
Move on to Maui, Hawaii’s second-largest island, to see the otherworldly landscapes of the volcanic Haleakala National Park up close at sunrise. You could also trek through the subterranean caves of the Hana Lava Tubes. Love snorkeling? The Big Island of Hawaii’s coastline has no shortage of great spots. Swim beneath the Captain Cook Monument at Kealakekua Bay or spot dolphins leaping between the waves at Honaunau Bay.
Want to start planning a personalized winter getaway? Get in touch with our experts today. As well as helping you put together the itinerary of your dreams, we’ll make sure every aspect of your vacation runs as smoothly as possible. This includes ensuring all necessary COVID-19 precautions are in place, so you can have a stress-free escape that you’ll cherish for years to come.
plot your winter escape
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