In January and February, most of the beaches in the U.S. are still recovering from winter’s chill. Even Miami Beach feels chilly at this time of year. Thankfully, late winter is the perfect time to visit some of the most breathtaking beaches in the world, as these slices of paradise aren’t too hot, cold or rainy. Pack your passport and sunscreen, reserve a jet charter flight, and experience what others are dreaming of during the cold wintry months.
Pamalican Island, Palawan, Philippines
Known as one of the most biodiverse islands in the Philippines in regards to terrestrial and marine life, the Cuyo Archipelago in the Sulu Sea is home to the Pamalican Island. The island is set in the middle of a 7 square-kilometer coral reef that is four hours from Hong Kong and 160 kilometers west of Manila. As one of the remaining untouched and unspoiled islands in the Philippines, it is everything cliché that you’d expect from a tropical paradise, right down to the crystalline waters and palm tree-line shores.
Ariara, the exclusive Amanpulo island resort, is the only hotel on the island. It features 40 standalone casitas that resemble traditional Filipino rural houses nestled on the beach and within treetops. The private cottages all have uninterrupted views of the sea, reef and neighboring islands. To get to Araiara, you must arrive by plane. The island has an airstrip for your private jet. Or, have the accommodation’s Dornier 228-202K take you from Manila.
Brazil’s North-East Coast
If you’re going to spend all of your annual leave in one place, do it in Brazil…in January. It’s worth it. Everything moves at a more relaxed pace and everyone is beautiful. From São Luís to Jericoacoara, Brazil’s northeastern coast was one of the most coveted in the world. Now that Europeans aren’t battling for the land, it’s the place that discerning Brazilians go for water sports, beach parties and unparallel scenery. The only problem that you’ll encounter is figuring out how to divide your time between the coastal cities.
São Luís has an old-world colonial feel with its cobbled streets and colonial buildings. When you feel the wind blowing, you’ll understand why it is such as popular topic in this area of the world. When the wind comes at you from every direction, you won’t be able to keep your hat on.
Take a boat on the Rio Preguiças (Lazy River) and follow the coast north toward Lençóis Maranhenses National Park. In January and February, its mysterious dunes have mostly dried out from the rainy season, but still hold ponds of water. The sand extends 50 kilometers inland and you’ll need a four-by-four vehicle to get around. At the heart of the dunes, you’ll find tranqüilo Atkins with endless golden sand accented by turquoise waters, sunbather drinking caipirinhas, and the occasional kite surfer. Rent a hammock or make the most of your trip with a chalet rental from La Ferme de Georges.
Most of the year, Senegal is hot and sticky or hot and rainy. In January, strangely, there’s no rain or suffocating humidity. The weather is wonderful and the days are full of sunshine—perfect winter weather for life-changing experiences. When in Senegal, stick to the beaches and away from the crowds. While Dakar is one of the more go-to destinations for a beach getaway, this is where all the other tourists go. Opt for outlying secret gems instead, such as N’Gor Island, the charming Popenguine (the president of Senegal has a residence here), or Pointe des Almadies in the Cap Vert peninsula (you might remember it from the 1964 film The Endless Summer). If you’re into waves, Virage is the hotspot for the international surfing crowd. If you have the opportunity to stay in Toubab Dialaw, book a room at the Espaec Sobo Badé hotel, which boasts numerous stone sculptures, luscious plant life and Gaudí-like mosaic tiled walls unlike any you’ve ever seen.