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Warm Weather Destinations to Beat the Cold Weather Blues

Updated: Jan 28

Chicago has been cold, foggy, snowy / rainy for weeks now and while it looks like we might see some sun and warmer temps this week, I can't help but day dream about all the warm weather destinations I'd rather be spending my days! If you're also battling the cold weather blues that come in January and February, this list is for you! In typical Destinations Designed fashion, these suggestions are more 'off the beaten path' than their more popular counterparts.

  • Curaçao: Located in the southern Caribbean, Curaçao is a Dutch Caribbean island known for its stunning beaches, vibrant coral reefs, and colorful colonial architecture. With fewer crowds than its neighboring islands, Curaçao offers a more laid-back atmosphere and plenty of opportunities for diving, snorkeling, and exploring hidden beaches.

    • Where to stay: Villa Tokara is a charming colonial-era property reimagined into a boutique guesthouse. It has a terrace and a pool, is kid friendly (but can also be intimate / romantic if that's the vibe you're looking for). It's in a great location for walking and near restaurants, activities and nightlife. NOTE: This is a boutique hotel, with limited space - book early.

    • Where to eat: Marsche Bieuw (otherwise known as Plasa Bieuw) is a great choice for local Curacaoan cuisine and is served in an open air environment with a fun vibe.

  • Lombok, Indonesia: Often overshadowed by its more famous neighbor, Bali, Lombok offers pristine beaches, lush landscapes, and a more tranquil atmosphere. Explore secluded beaches, hike to stunning waterfalls, or climb Mount Rinjani for breathtaking views of the island.

    • Where to stay: Merumatta Senggigi Lombuk is a lovely resort at a very affordable price, on a lush property right along a private beach. It has a spa, pool and restaurants on site.

    • Where to eat: Every afternoon, locals set up their stalls (warungs) along the main road above the Sheraton hotel and sell a variety of food items including barbecued sweetcorn, fresh coconuts and sate bulayak (grilled meat skewers with a rich, spicy sauce - a Lombok specialty).

  • Bocas del Toro, Panama: Bocas del Toro is a hidden gem in Panama known for its laid-back Caribbean vibe, pristine beaches, and vibrant marine life. Explore the colorful coral reefs, kayak through mangrove forests, or simply relax on the palm-fringed beaches of this tropical paradise.

    • Where to stay: La Loma Jungle Lodge & Chocolate Farm is an award winning, eco-friendly accommodation located on a remote tropical rainforest island. Your stay also includes breakfast, lunch and dinner each day of your stay. If you're looking for a unique and beautiful (yet surprisingly still affordable) stay, this is it!

    • Where to eat: At the hotel! All meals are cooked by local chef's using fresh local ingredients.

  • Oaxaca, Mexico: Oaxaca is a charming colonial city in southern Mexico known for its rich culture, delicious cuisine, and temperate climate. Explore ancient ruins, wander through colorful markets, or take a cooking class to learn about traditional Oaxacan cuisine.

    • Where to stay: Casa Oaxaca is conveniently located right off the historical city center. This is a small, local accommodation, with only 7 large rooms, decked out in contemporary Oaxacan style. There is a pool and a lovely open air courtyard to enjoy. They also have a delicious restaurant and cafe on site.

    • Where to eat: Criollo where they serve creative takes on classic Oaxacan dishes. I recommend visiting for Sunday brunch, where they serve traditional wood fired cooking in their lush shady garden.

  • Grenada: Grenada, also known as the "Spice Isle," is a Caribbean island famous for its lush rainforests, spice plantations, and stunning beaches. Explore hidden waterfalls, snorkel in crystal-clear waters, or relax on the secluded beaches of this picturesque island.

    • Where to stay: Blue Horizons Garden Resort is 10 minutes from the historic capital city of St. George's and 300 yards from Grand Anse Beach. You are also within walking distance of restaurants, shops and entertainment. This hotel has a creole restaurant on site, a pool and beautiful grounds with tons of indigenous birds. Each room also has a kitchenette, which is a great option if you're looking to cook 'at home' to save money.

    • Where to eat: BB's Crabback - yes, this is a popular restaurant, but it's popular for a reason! Expect delicious local fare, an authentic setting and good service. Make sure to try BB's Signature Dish, as well as the sweet potato pudding.

  • Seychelles: The Seychelles, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, is a paradise of white-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush tropical forests. With fewer tourists than other Indian Ocean destinations, the Seychelles offer a serene and secluded escape surrounded by natural beauty.

    • Where to stay: Eden Bleu Hotel, a beautiful contemporary hotel with a pool, that overlooks the marina and the beach. This is on a tiny island called Eden Island, which is connected to the largest and most populous island in the Seychelles, called Mahé.

    • Where to eat: Check out the Wednesday bazar in Beau Vallon where you can listen to creole music, mingle with locals, drink cocktails sold out of car's trunks and sample local food from various vendors. Be sure to try the grilled red snapper, as well as breadfruit. There's an old saying that if you eat the breadfruit in Seychelles, a return trip is guaranteed!

  • Algarve, Portugal: The Algarve region in southern Portugal is known for its dramatic cliffs, golden beaches, and charming seaside towns. Explore hidden coves, hike along coastal trails, or simply soak up the sun on the pristine beaches of this beautiful region.

    • Where to stay: Hotel Marina Rio is located on Lagos marina and is just a short walk to the old town. There is a rooftop pluge pool and a large sundeck overlooking the marina. You'll be welcomed with a complimentary drink and free breakfast in the morning.

    • Where to eat: Gigi Praia can by reached via one of Europes longest wooden footbridges. It is only open for lunch and reservations are required! The fish Is sourced daily from the Quarteira fish market (and the day's 'catch' changes accordingly), the vegetables are gathered from neighboring farms and there are plenty of local wines on the menu.

Whatever warm weather destination you choose, enjoy!!

beach bar overlooking the water with chairs, umbrellas and tropical plant

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