The New Year may have started off with a confetti-flying, ball dropping bang, but two weeks into January and already the mid-winter blues have set in. You have two choices: you can either bunker down and hibernate, then check the mercury again around Groundhog’s Day, or you can pack the Ray-Bans and Tommy Bahama shirts, the shorts and Coppertone, dig out the
, and book a January trip to a tropical destination. According to Joseph Adamo, vice president of marketing at Transat, there's a post-holiday lull in traveling in January as many people are paying off Christmas credit card bills, or planning family trips for February school vacation week. This makes it the perfect time to escape the dark days of winter for some fun in the sun.
Photo by madmack66 via Flickr
Located in the Lesser Antilles, St. Lucia is a small island known for its secluded, sandy coves, lush rainforests, and Pitons, two volcanic mountains that look like gates to a tropical paradise. While there is rest, relaxation, reggae, and rum punch in abundance, there are also adventure opportunities on St. Lucia .Not only can you hike the large Piton, but you can also dive, snorkel, zipline, or rent an ATV to explore the jungle countryside. From hidden waterfalls and botanical gardens to volcanic cliffs and a drive-thru volcano, St. Lucia, known as
, casts a memorable spell.
U.S. Virgin Islands
Photo by Anthony Quintano via Flickr
The U.S. Virgin Islands are known as
. And guess what? As an American citizen, you don’t need a passport to visit St Thomas or St. John, so if you're the type of globetrotter who enjoys a spur-of-the-moment trip, you're in luck.
St. Thomas is the commercial hub of the Virgin Islands. Charlotte Amalie, one of the busiest cruise ports in the Caribbean, is known for its cobbled streets and Danish architecture; it's also a hotspot for duty free shopping and rumor has it there are over 1000 jewelry stores on Dronningens Glade, the port’s main thoroughfare. Popular sightseeing attractions in Charlotte Amalie include Frenchtown, Blue Beard's Castle, and the 99 Steps.
While St. Thomas is as crowded and built up as South Florida, St. John, a 28 square mile island accessed only by ferry, is two thirds national park. Trunk Bay Beach, a long, creamy crescent of sand, is consistently rated as one of the Top Beaches in the world. St. John's is also famous for its ecotourism. If you really want to get away from it all –the cruise ships, the skyscraper resorts, the souvenir trinkets and Margaritaville t-shirts, St. John's is as wild, serene, and as unspoiled as it gets.
Photo by eschipul via Flickr
For every traveler who finds St. John’s to be a tropical paradise, there’s another who’s going to be bored with the island’s sleepy vibe and lack of nightlife. If
is what you’re after, then Key West, the southernmost tip of the Continental U.S., is your Dionysian destination. Duval Street is known for bars like Sloppy Joes (Ernst Hemingway’s favorite hangout), Willie T’s, The Lazy Gecko, and The Bull & Whistle. There are more bars per capita in Key West than anywhere else in America, and the tiny island wears its 360 liquor licenses as a badge of bacchanalian honor. Oh, yeah -there are some pretty nice beaches too.