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January 2022 warm weather stay

Where in the world would you advise for a month-long stay to escape Montana freeze?

Central America?
South Pacific?

We are wanderers, not sunbathers.
Not resort patrons or tour group members, more independent
Love to immerse ourselves into different cultures
We have backpacked most of the continents, but now want to stop and absorb one place.
We are “seasoned”: happy to read, write, learn, and have a few close friends.
Safe but exotic for us retired teachers.

Any comments welcomed!

Thank you,
Sheila and Jan

Posted by
6188 posts

Depending on your budget I'd say it's a perfect time to visit down under - Australia and/or New Zealand. With a month you can see and experience a lot of what they both have to offer. And plenty of warm weather.

Posted by
2714 posts

I was going to suggest New Zealand if it has reopened, but I see from your history that you've BTDT. Another possibility is SE Asia, again providing things open. We loved our time in Thailand and Vietnam. We're currently planning a trip to Egypt next year, and contemplating adding on Jordan and Israel.

Posted by
4273 posts

Costa Rica, Central America or the Southern Hemisphere. Most of Europe is cold and wet in January. You may get lucky with southern Spain, but I have also had really miserable wet cold weather there in January.

Cyprus is about as warm as Europe gets in January and it has plenty of history and good walking.

Check out average weather websites, as what I think of as cold may not be the same as your views.

Posted by
413 posts

It’ll be winter in South America and the Southern Ocean in Jan, but winter in both regions is not as severe as it is in Montana. Going there probably wouldn’t be a problem since you won’t be hanging out on the beach.
New Zealand and Australia might be worth looking into. Instead of South America, what about Central America i.e., Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama.
There’s also SE Asia and the month of January is a good time to go. Places of interest might be Hong Kong and Macau (China), Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand.

Posted by
2696 posts

I see that you’ve visited parts of NZ and AU in some depth. In January-February 2020 we spent 3 weeks on the South Island of NZ and then a week in Melbourne. I can highly recommend the Marlborough Sound wine region and points further south to the tip of NZ. Then you could fly to somewhere on the vast continent of AU and explore further there. Have fun, I hope they let us return in 2022.

Posted by
1816 posts

It will obviously depend on your budget, your interests, and how the international COVID situation resolves itself in the next 8 months, but I can tell you that back when we lived in the Pacific Northwest we spent several very pleasant winters in the central Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende. We really got to love the place - sunny all the time, friendly people, daily highs in the low 80's with low humidity and overnight lows in the low 40's. We found it to be a cheap (and very safe) winter escape from the gloom of the PNW. The town itself is relaxing and there are a number of interesting day trips to be had within an hour or two of the town. Spending at least a few nights in Mexico City is highly advised as well - lots to see and do there.
Can get there either by flying into Mexico City and taking a bus to SMA, or flying into Guanajuato and arranging a private car pickup from there or (better) just taking the bus. The long distance buses in Mexico are very nice indeed and are highly recommended. If you're at all interested I can provide more details about travel to and within Mexico in a PM.
Given all of the uncertainties surrounding travel at the moment I think most here would advise not committing to anything that can't be canceled without penalty until the last minute.
Another suggestion would be to fly to Sydney and explore SE Australia by car. It's another one of our favorite winter destinations.

Posted by
3972 posts

Two years ago we spent almost all of January in Morocco. Fascinating cultural differences, fantastic food, and plenty of wandering in the middle of the country. We didn’t get to any of the coastal locations. We had over a week in Marrakech, at the beginning and end of the trip, a week up in Fes and the surroundings, and a weeklong desert excursion (with Desert Majesty, on a private tour for us two).

Our riads (fancy B&B’s) in Marrakech and Fes arranged private guided tours for us in and around those cities, plus we had time on our own to explore the old town medinas and markets. Market and cooking classes were another exciting experience.

The desert does get really cold at night, but quite warm in the daytime. Our tents were heated, and at least there wasn’t snow and ice to deal with. We even got a fantastic Moroccan rug (planned to get one!) that would’ve cost way, way more had we gotten anything like it here in the USA.

Posted by
18 posts

Thank you so much for such rapid responses.

Now that we’ve had our shots, we’re dreaming. It feels so good. Hope you are enjoying the same relief.

I guess we’re looking for isolated spots (like all other travelers) that offer warm weather and spectacular views and wandering possibilities. Without crowds.

We’re sure we cannot go back to places we’ve visited and expect to have similar delights. Change is inevitable, so Australia, NZ, SE Asia, and South America are off the list for now. Morocco is a possibility. Anyone enjoyed Greece or Cyprus or Malta. Even the Big Island?

We would like to know if you’ve ventured to an unknown place for the winter months.

Again, you’ve helped. Sheila

Posted by
3972 posts

Sheila, as winter sports enthusiasts, we’ve embraced the cold, and except for that January 2019 Morocco adventure, and Italy (including Sicily) in 2012, any other trips during winter have been to other ski destinations, besides Colorado.

Trips to Greece have been in spring and fall. What’s the Big Island you’re referring to - Crete, Sicily, Hawaii? Sicily at Christmas was magical, by the way, although it rained some, and nights were cool, but certainly not freezing. One day at the Agrigento Greek temples, it was actually pretty hot.

Some English friends frequent Gozo, off of Malta, but they have a place there, and it’s their getaway from British chill.

Where in Big Sky a country are you? I spent a summer week in Laurel back in the mid-1980’s and it was scorching!

Posted by
4273 posts

Much of Greece can be wet in January. Many of the smaller islands close up for the winter.

Cyprus is generally drier. I have spent some time there in January and had a mix of quite warm (shorts) weather plus a few days that were cold and blustery, but still warmer than the U.K.

My other half refuses to go to Malta due to their disgusting practice of shooting migratory birds almost to extinction. I was last there many years ago. It’s cooler and wetter than Cyprus plus Cyprus has more historical sites.

Posted by
3478 posts

Not necessarily the warmest time to go, but what about the Azores?
I have had similar questions, and in recent research, Central America may be a good bet. I look at Covid rates and vaccination rates for the country of interest. That being said, Nicaragua or Honduras may not be as appealing come January - despite complete vaccination. No one knows whether they work on the variants or if boosters will be needed before then. I would prefer to go somewhere where local numbers are low and some moderate level of vaccination has happened.
(and if I may respectfully say, that many places, unless you had months or years to visit previously, can be revisited with a different lens).

Posted by
1816 posts

The Big Island of Hawaii would be a good option for you. Due to the effect of the Northeast tradewinds the Hilo side will be rainy, but that's always the case which is why it's a popular place for flower farms if you're into that sort of thing. The Kona side is the dry side and is a completely different experience than Hilo. Add to that day trips up to the volcano and maybe a drive up to the observatory at Mauna Kea (might be snowed in in January) and you could easily spend a relaxing month exploring the island.
Meant to add that Majorca is a very nice winter getaway too, especially if you base yourselves in or near the pretty little port town of Soller on the west side.

Posted by
18 posts

Wow! So much help. Greatly welcomed. Thank you. In a perfect world i would invite you all to an in-person round table discussion.
I used to search Lonely Planet’s Thorntree to find inspiration, but it’s currently closed, and personal travel preferences can be finicky. Now that my husband and i have been inoculated, we’re investigating possibilities to escape Montana cold for a month or more, so each of your posts is stimulating.

I wonder if there’s a “travel philosophy” forum.

We’ll continue to ponder any suggestions. Thank you.

I think Lebanon would be perfect for a trip. Moreover, the average temperatures in Lebanon vary greatly and the weather feels nice most of the year. I was here and I liked it. I think I'll go this year again.

Posted by
2895 posts

Winter in North America is summer in South America. If you don’t mind a little culture shock, we thoroughly enjoyed Buenos Aires, Argentina; Santiago, Chile; Quito, Ecuador; and Cusco/Machu Picchu, Peru. If you’re more adventurous and want to spend more time outdoors, maybe head down to Patagonia. With a month, it would be easy to travel around each of the places mentioned. Covid and the political climate must be considered as each has recently undergone some political turmoil.