10 Unforgettable January Escapes
Temple hopping in Myanmar, wildlife exploration in Belize and wine tasting in South Africa: Find out where to travel to this January.
1. El Calafate
WHY In the height of Argentina’s summer, Patagonia is the region to head to. By basing your stay around the town of El Calafate, the region’s spectacular glaciers – most notably the astounding Perito Moreno Glacier – are within easy reach. Take advantage of the warmer weather by trekking across the great ice caps, horseback riding across the steppe and taking boat trips on the tranquil lakes.
2. Punta Gorda
WHY Throughout the most popular season for travel in Belize, journey to the laid-back south where rainforest blankets the Maya mountains and rivers flow through the forest to the Caribbean Sea. Explore the rainforest on nature walks, snorkel and dive in clear Caribbean waters, and hop between ancient Mayan sites.
WHY During the country’s dry season, travel to the pristine wildlife spot Manuel Antonio on Costa Rica‘s Pacific coast. Encompassing a vast expanse of both protected rainforest and marine reserve, Manuel Antonio National Park has bountiful mammal, bird and marine species. Explore nature trails on foot and on horseback, spot dolphins and whales along the coastline, and discover the marine reserve’s resident species by snorkelling, diving and kayaking.
WHY With a magnificent backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro, Amboseli is an especially scenic region to go on your Kenyan safari, and January is a fine time to visit with the chance to see migratory birds and to avoid the rainy season. Amidst the rocky thorn bush and acacia trees, elephants, zebra, buffalo and antelope gather, with lions and leopard on their trail. The Maasai culture is another great draw, creating unforgettable moments for travellers.
WHY By visiting in January avoid both the rainy season and hottest months, when the plains of Bagan are lush and green, making it the ideal time for hopping between the ancient temples of Myanmar. Take a hot air balloon ride at sunrise, explore by bicycle throughout the day, then sit back on an Irrawaddy River cruise as the sun goes down.
6. Cape Town
WHY During the South African summer Cape Town comes alive with both Capetonians and tourists making the most of the great outdoors. Hike around Table Mountain, delve into the Winelands and explore the Cape’s long stretch of coast, with plenty of time set aside to discover the city’s exceptional dining scene and fascinating cultural sites.
7. Koh Samui
WHY Travel to this relentlessly popular Thai island for a sublime beach escape. The island’s secluded bays are the setting for luxury hotels and spas, superb seafood restaurants and laid-back beachfront bars. Many diving enthusiasts are drawn by the chance to swim amongst the colourful marine life of the surrounding waters, with the chance to see whale sharks too. Trips can be taken around Ang Thong Marine Park to see the limestone pinnacles that rise out of the water, while on land you can trek through the jungle to seek out the island’s waterfalls.
8. Jose Ignacio
WHY Join the Argentinean and Brazilian holiday-makers as they head to Uruguay for one of the country’s hottest months. Stay in the coastal spot of Jose Ignacio for quiet beaches and stylish boutique hotels, and head to the capital Montevideo to catch the annual carnival, which takes place from late January, with a parade and other celebratory events.
9. Hoi An
WHY During Vietnam‘s dry season, base yourself in the picturesque town of Hoi An to delve into its rich heritage, take cultural tours and sample Vietnamese cuisine on city culinary tours, then explore further by venturing out to the nearby beaches. Choose from luxury riverview hotels in Hoi An itself or stay in one of the beachfront hotels along the coast.
10. Zanzibar Island
WHY With year-round sun, why not head to this idyllic Indian Ocean island in January. The Spice Islands are characterised by pristine white-sand beaches, backed by palm trees and lapped by the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, with an intriguing history and rich culture adding to their appeal. Active travellers can snorkel, scuba dive and windsurf, with the option to take boat trips and cultural tours to get to know the islands a little more.