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Discover the Best Beach Vacations to Take in January

If you are north of the 30th parallel line, it is decidedly winter. There are still some warm days here and there, but for a real trip to the beach it is going to require making travel plans.

With the holidays behind you and a little more in the bank than you expected, go ahead and book that beach vacation

Here are some great spots to consider during January.

Costa Rica

It is the dry season in Costa Rica and that makes it a great destination for an amazing beach vacation. It also, for a small location, has a lot of unique experiences. The simple rule is the further north in the country you go, the more chill the vibe.

There are direct flights into Liberia International Airport from most major U.S. cities as well as international metroplexes. Guanacaste, in the northwestern part of Costa Rica, is an easy answer for an amazing place to visit. The average temperature is still a very warm, 91°F — which keeps the water near an ideal 82°F. Playa Conchal is a hidden gem of the area while Tamarindo is surf-ready!

(Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel, Guatuso, Costa Rica. Photo by Marcelo Villalobos on Unsplash)

There are certainly other areas to highlight if you want to look.

The beaches in Manuel Antonio National Park’s could be the most extraordinary in the country. The Playa Manuel Antonio beach is a crescent-shaped encircling of a ‘hidden cove’ that has amazing views of the Pacific. The Nicoya Peninsula is among the areas to visit for more ideal conditions. The Oso Peninsula could be a little more rainy in January than other areas but it is certainly not its wet season. The water is still warm enough to enjoy the water all day no matter where you choose. The South Peninsula Region will always attract tourists if that is more your speed.

Oahu, Hawaii

It is never a bad time to visit Hawaii. So, if you are waiting for January as an excuse to go, it is still great there. The average temperature is 81°F and the water is still warm enough to get in and enjoy a day. Snorkeling, fishing, surfing are all still available.

Big Wave surfing reportedly got its start at Waimea Bay Beach Park in the 1950s, which makes it a must-do. The waves can climb over 30-feet and will test anyone. On the opposite end of the spectrum is nearby Kailua Beach. It is among the most calm waters in the islands. There are plenty of days where you can rent paddleboards and more regularly kiteboard.

(Hiking the Haiku Stairs also known as The Stairway To Heaven in Oahu Hawaii. Photo by Darren Lawrence on Unsplash)

Aside from regular water sports, this is also one of the best times of the year to spot whales in Hawaii! For a bigger city experience it is only a 20 minute drive back into Honolulu.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

This January recommendation is intentional. January is relatively calm. February is the storm, as Carnival claims the calendar. Maybe one is more your speed than the other, but you can now make an informed decision on when to go.

Rio combines the best of so many locations and puts them into one package. Within a quick circle of the city there are mountains, beaches, or the concrete jungle to explore.

(View from a cable car over Copacabana and downtown Rio de Janiero. Photo by F Cary Snyder on Unsplash)

The usual recommendations of Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon stand tall on earned reputations for some of the best — and most beautiful — beaches in the world. Arraial do Cabo is about 100 miles due east and provides a much slower pace. It is an outpost that also requires a small hike to truly appreciate. For the most beautiful beach view to relax and read a book, make this part of the trip.

Galápagos Islands

Similar to Hawaii, there really isn’t a bad time to visit this archipelago. Unlike Hawaii, few put the Galapagos on their bucketlist. Only 275,000 tourists make their way despite the variety of things to do here. This is the most adventurous on the list.

The cluster of islands are located on either side of the equator, spanning 137 miles (220km) from tip to tail. Being on the equator does not mean it is too hot to enjoy. Its average high is just 88°F in January. December is when its warm season starts so consider this period that ideal period before the heat increases.

(In Galapagos, the wildlife is so chill with people. Photo by Caroline Ebinger on Unsplash)

This may also be the most unique of these examples because of its biodiversity. There are traditional beach locations. Other islands play a better host to hiking and backpacking. There are new islands being created; some have sunken into the ocean, and others are famed for the exploration and categorization of animals by Charles Darwin hundreds of years ago.

Officially there are 18 main islands that create the Galápagos but most of the population is on San Cristóbal, Santa Cruz and Isabela. There are only two airports to fly into the archipelago, meaning you will want to have your plan pretty solidly formed for this adventure.

So Many Other Beach Spots…

After the snow blast that just came through the United States, there are plenty of places that sound great. The list above is just to name a few.

There are some other options that should be included on every January list!

Thailand and Philppines are both beautiful this time of the year. It is in the middle of the cooler period for both and that keeps the average high just into the mid-80s°F. That number will be making a major rise in the coming months. The Southeast Asia locations are also having their calm waters right now which will allow for amazing snorkeling options.

The Riviera Maya in Mexico is also a safe bet for a great January visit. The stretch down from Cancun, Cozumel, Xcaret, to Tulum offers beaches through Mayan ruins and everything in between. This can be a family adventure or an adults-only experience.

Do not be afraid to put Australia on your list, too. Book a trip and make sure to help them determine which beach is best. Byron Bay is a usual suspect for the Gold Coast best. It is about a four-hour trek north to Noosa and the best on the Sunshine Coast. A meal in Brisbane would make a nice halfway-point stop, if you are so inclined.

If you have other suggestions, I would love to hear them. Post ’em below!

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