There’s two ways to approach to cold, winter months: take it or leave it. While some snow bunnies will be hitting the slopes, another option is to experience #endlesssummer and venture south to Central America—where the climate is hard to beat.
With no true winter, average temperatures in Central America fall in the 70’s and 80’s from December through February, and promise tons of sunshine and stunning coastlines. Plus, if traveling from the U.S., there’s no need to worry about crazy time zone changes or super long flights. What better way to escape the cold?
So gather the passport and suitcase—but not before reading the best, underrated escapes to see in Central America.
1. Flores, Guatemala
Flores is a charming, colorful island that’s also an amazing gateway for stunning sights throughout Guatemala. Many people head to Flores due to its proximity to Takal, one of the most famous Maya ruins in Guatemala, along with Ixpanpajul National Park. Still, this picturesque island has a lot to offer on its own. The small island is incredibly walkable, so window shop and people watch around a town that’s studded with cobblestone streets. Afterwards, head to a public pier where many goers jump off into the water, or check out the bustling options of textiles and woodwork to bring home. The best part is there’s a small airport right on the island, which cuts down on unnecessary extra public transportation to reach the final destination.
2. Granada, Nicaragua
Colonial-era architecture, Lake Nicaragua, and the Mombacho volcano are just three diverse reasons why Granada, Nicaragua is an amazing and unique experience in Central America. Visitors are encouraged to take the four-hour tour of Granada by bike, or join the Granada Colonial walking tour to learn about the city’s history before getting up close and person with the active volcano of Masaya, which releases 6,000 tons of sulfur everyday. Settle in at night at one of the many cozy hotels to choose from, that are all well under $100 a night.
3. Monteverde, Costa Rica
For those looking for a true nature experience, head to Costa Rica’s cloud forest, which is tucked away in the mountainous northwestern city of Monteverde. It’s situated on Costa Rica’s continental divide, and offers a diverse ecosystem due to the unique moisture it receives from the constant clouds that hang overhead. Visit waterfalls, biological reserves, and butterfly gardens. For the adventurous-types, go on a night-hike to see the sloths, or zipline through the jungle (with a guide, of course!). To get there, fly to San Jose, and either rent a car or take a bus to Monteverde—about a three hour trip. Stay in this awesome guest house in Costa Rica’s capital on the way in and out of the city.
4. Ambergris Caye, Belize
If looking for something more remote and off the beaten path, this is it. Ambergris Caye is a gorgeous island that boasts the quaint city of San Pedro (which is also the island’s only town!), stunning mangrove swamps and barrier reefs, and some solid coastlines. Swim with the sharks or simply sit on the beach; the surroundings will make any activity an unforgettable one. To get there, fly to Belize City, and either take a short flight to a small airport on Ambergris, or for a slightly cheaper option, hop on a ferry or shared taxi.