As I said it before, I am not a winter lover. I have always dreamt about moving in a tropical country and lying in the sun all day long. Sandy beaches, palm trees and a piña colada! I could not imagine a more perfect way to live your life. Studies also show that people living in all year round sunny countries tend to be happier and stress free. But life is the way it is and I was born in Europe in a country with temperate climate so I also have to endure some cold winter months as well.
To make winter bearable, I have decided to run away for at least two weeks every year to recharge my batteries. And what better way to do that than staying in the sun?
Here are my top 5 recommendations for this winter!
- Koh Samui, Thailand
Although Thailand has become extremely popular and crowded, I am still impressed by its beauty and I would go back in a second. If you are searching for peace and natural beauty give Koh Samui a try.
The island is less visited than popular Phuket or Krabi due to more expensive domestic flights. Low cost airlines do not operate on this route yet, but I am sure this will change soon, so hurry and buy those tickets.
Are you not convinced yet? Take a look at its incredible turquoise water, sandy beaches and cliff views. I would say paradise was found.
!Tip 1: I recommend visiting Fisherman’s Village in Bophut for a romantic dinner on the beach. If you are a seafood lover, this is the place for you.
!Tip 2: If you are searching for untamed places, then Angthong National Marine Park is the perfect day trip. A pristine archipelago of 42 islands in the Gulf of Thailand with towering limestone mountains, thick jungle, white-sand beaches, waterfalls and hidden coves and lakes to explore.
!Tip 3: For snorkeling lovers, book a day trip to Koh Tao, known as the Turtle Island. This island is surrounded by large rock formations covered with stunning coral reefs and also has a rich marine life.
- Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
The Caribbean islands are always a good idea! I think I have never seen such white sandy beaches topped with crystal clear turquoise water. I chose to recommend you Punta Cana because this was my only Caribbean experience so far, but its beauty is known all over the world so you won’t be disappointed. The peak season in Dominican Republic is between December to February, so be sure to book in advance in order to find a good price.
!Tip 1: As you would expect, the island is full of 5 stars resorts waiting to spoil you. Excellent spas, fine dining and bungalows to die for. I chose Catalonia Royal Bavaro – Adults Only and I could not have been happier. Be sure to pick what suits you most.
!Tip 2: The best mornings on the island start with a piña colada on the beach under the palm trees.
!Tip 2: Visiting Isla Saona is a must while in Dominican Republic. It is a piece of heaven on Earth. As a plus, you may enjoy a relaxing beach massage there. What more could I say?
- Male, Maldives
I do not think Maldives needs further advertising! I think we all have pictured ourselves tanning on one of its perfect white beaches or swimming in that amazingly clear turquoise water. Known all over the world for the most luxurious overwater bungalows, Maldives is definitely on everyone’s bucket list.
!Tip 1: The peak season is between December to April so this is the perfect winter getaway!
!Tip 2: If you are not on a budget (which is pretty hard in Maldives), do choose a water bungalow at least for one night! This is a bucket list experience.
!Tip 3: Being one of the world’s most geographically dispersed countries, you have to also consider the costs for the airport transfer to your hotel which is not included in the hotel price. You have two options – seaplane or speedboat – depending on how far your hotel is and prices could go as high as 450$/person for the seaplane.
- Palawan, Philippines
This is my next dream holiday! Just looking at pictures from this place, you fall in love and there is no turning back. Serene and less visited than other Asiatic destinations, Palawan offers a piece of paradise on earth. This almost untouched beauty in the Philippines is perfect for romantic honeymoons, island hopping and scuba diving. And if you don’t feel like doing any activities at all, it is surely the best place to relax and stay in the sun!
!Tip 1: The easiest way to get to the island is by plane from Manila. If you book in advance, you find pretty good fares.
!Tip 2: Island hopping is the most popular activity in Palawan so be sure to put some nice bikinis in your luggage.
!Tip 3: El Nido is considered the most beautiful part of Palawan, but also the hardest to arrive to. Most people fly to Puerto Princesa from Manila then take a bus or shuttle van.
Being a constituent country of the Kingdom of Netherlands, Aruba has become extremely popular nowadays for its cute pink flamingos wandering around the beach. The island is much more than that. Miles of glorious white-sand beaches, luxurious resorts and crystal clear waters are just a part of this heaven.
!Tip 1: The free pink flamingos are actually a myth. The pictures you keep seeing on Instagram aren’t actually an attraction open to the public. But if you do want to have such a picture, you need to book a day pass or an overnight stay at Renaissance Aruba Resort in Oranjestad.
!Tip 2: If you are the adventurous type, the island offers you the perfect spot for kiteboarding and windsurfing.
!Tip 3: High season lasts from mid-December until mid-April, but the weather is warm year round (around 28 degrees Celsius).
Till next week!
And remember: life is short and the world is wide…