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Best places for winter sun this season

A young woman in a white dress and white sun hat walks barefoot through towards the ocean. The sun appears to be setting over the water.

As winter is in full swing here in the northern hemisphere. With colder temperatures and shorter daylight hours, many look to find a spot of sunshine for their winter relaxing and recharging.

Here are some favorite places to find winter-sun, the temps you will find there, and the best lodging (need we say they’re sustainable?). Chosen for their natural beauty, cultural and historical richness, and artistic flair, these mild-climate locations check all the boxes for a mid-winter weather reprieve.

Winter-sun destinations in Central & South America

A rainbow appears to emerge from the far end of a valley in agave fields in Oaxaca, Mexico

Oaxaca, Mexico

Average winter temperature: 81°F/27°C

When to go: February

Oaxaca in February is an easy choice for those looking to escape the cold to balmy climates and blue skies. Beyond the weather, Oaxaca is one of the most culturally diverse regions in Mexico. It should also be mentioned that Oaxaca has an average of ZERO rainy days in December, January, and February!

You can head to the sunny coast to relax on the beach and bronze, or stick in the city for an experience. Grab yourself a room in the Casa Antonieta for a prime location in the city. Head out to the agave farm and mezcal distilleries to learn about the process of making the smoky spirit and taste it straight from the source. The only thing warmer than the sunshine in Oaxaca is the people.

For a done-for-you itinerary, CTC’s Oaxaca Small-Group Trip covers all the things and puts you in touch with the coolest local guides who make sure your trip is unforgettable.

Two men in a decorated boat row along a canal in Xochimilco, CDMX. One is steering the boat and the other is wearing traditional Mexican clothing and a mariachi hat. There are marigold flower necklaces on the boat.

Mexico City, MX

Average winter temperature: 77° F/ 25° C

When to go: March

While folks in the northeast United States are dealing with the typical March dump of snow, you could be sipping café on a sunlit patio during a bustling CDMX morning. Bask in the sunshine while floating down the canals of Xochimilco. Book a room at El Patio 77 for a sustainable lodging option within walking distance of museums and restaurants in the San Rafael neighborhood. With renewable energy and even rain catchment systems, this boutique hotel is a perfect base for your winter retreat.

The natural stone arch at Cabo San Lucas in Baja California Sur, Mexico.  Sea birds appear to fly through the arch as the sun peeks out from the other side.

Baja California Sur, Mexico

Average winter temperature: 68° F/ 20° F

When to go: January to March

Wintertime is when the Baja weather is sublime and marine life is flourishing. This lengthy peninsula separated from the rest of Mexico by the Sea of Cortez is known for being the breeding ground for gray whales. You could book a kayaking tour to hopefully spot the famously friendly whales. Or lace up your hiking boots for a trek to see the cave paintings in the Cueva de San Borjita, art that’s estimated at over seven thousand years old. For a nature-centric stay, check out Paradero Hotels.

A view of ancient ruins in the Andes Mountains in Peru.  The ruins lead to the cliff edge and there are more mountain ridges in the background.


Average winter temperature: 68° F/ 20°C

When to go: January-April

This time of year is winter in Peru, and you’ll likely find the coastline crowded, but if you’re into days at the beach, head to Lima or Mancora. If you're more adventurous, mountain activities lie to the east in the Andes mountains. The rainy season will be in full swing, but don’t let that stop you from exploring the many Inca ruins, interacting with the warm Andean villages, and immersing yourself in the magic of the Sacred Valley. Check into the Chaska Ocupi Glamping for a ‘luxury’ hotel stay in the great outdoors.

Or, or a done-for-you itinerary, CTC’s Sacred Valley Small-Group Trip covers all the things and puts you in touch with the coolest local guides who make sure your trip is unforgettable.

Winter-Sun destinations in the United States

If you’re in the US and looking to stay in-country for your winter escape, these destinations fulfill our requirements for sunny winter weather, friendly locals, and diverse culture and art.

Southeast US

View of the city of Savannah along the riverfront at sunset. In the foreground are green and yellow ferry boats. The clouds show pinks and purples

Savannah, GA

Average winter temperature: 68° F/ 20° C

When to go: March

The winter sun in Savannah can be relished in beams through the Spanish moss canopies at Forsyth Park. Take a walking tour through the historic district and learn about this rich city on the Savannah River. For a place to rest your head in the middle of it all, check in at Foley House Inn, a historic bed and breakfast (careful, it’s rumored to be haunted).

The Tampa skyline at sunset. The clouds are orange and pink. There are a few cars on the highway overpass around downtown Tampa

Tampa, FL

Average winter temperature: 76° F/ 24° C

When to go: February

Sitting along the eastern Gulf of Mexico, Tampa is another sweet spot for a wintertime escape. Paddleboard along the famously shallow Bay, Florida’s largest estuary or spend the day relaxing on the beach at St. Pete— either way you’ll likely see some fun marine wildlife like sea turtles and dolphins. In the evening take a trip back to the 1920s with a show at the Tampa Theatre. You may even combine your vacation with some environmental education with Florida Learning Garden, a part of Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful. It features different types of interactive gardens designed to teach volunteers and visitors different ways to cultivate plants and organic foods in their own homes.

Southwest US

A picture of sunset at Santa Monica pier in Los Angeles. The Ferris wheel is lit up with pink and green lights on the spokes. People are walking along the beach below the pier.

Los Angeles, CA

Average winter temperature: 70° F/ 21° C

When to go: February

The City of Angels is loaded with outdoor sustainable activities so you can experience the city while soaking up the Vitamin D. Consider an excursion like Bikes and Hikes and staying at the adorable Venice Beach Eco Cottages, which use 100% renewable energy and were creatively re-designed using second-hand and reclaimed materials.

A sign in white letters reads Palm Springs on a white brick wall. A garden of short palm plants is in front of the sign with taller palm trees behind the sign. Mountain peaks are in the background.

Palm Springs, CA

Average winter temperature: 77° F/ 25° C

When to go: January-April

This oasis tucked in the Sonoran Desert offers warm, sunny days and endless options for outdoor fun where the winter sun can be enjoyed. Take a day trip to Hot Springs to take advantage of the natural springs, hike Mt. San Jacinto, and check out the myriad art museums Palm Springs has to offer. For a full winter wellness retreat, book your sustainable stay at Two Bunch Palms Resort.

Central US

A picture from beneath the rock ledge of the waterfall pouring into the grotto at Hamilton Falls in Austin, Texas. People lay on the beach on the far side of the grotto.

Austin, TX

Average winter temperature: 68° F/ 20° C

When to go: February

Known as the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin, Texas is a hip destination that brings sunshine, barbecue, and chill vibes. For nature lovers, bask in the winter sun after a hike out to Hamilton Pools Preserve and take a dip in the grotto. For an eco-friendly stay, check out Habitat Suites. Their lodging is solar-powered and each meal created there have locally-sourced ingredients from sustainable farms and their own gardens.

A sunny day on a street in French Quarter, New Orleans. People walk along the sidewalks on the left side of the street. Balconies of buildings have hanging plants, and decorative flags.

New Orleans, LA

Average winter temperature: 69°F/ 21°C

When to go: January-March

Shake off the winter blues on the bayou. The Big Easy is a lively winter-sun destination for those looking for a trip to marry warm weather with jazzy pastimes and delectable Creole cuisine. If you’re looking for a relaxing, crowd-free day in the sun, take a sail on Lake Pontchartrain or take a stroll through New Orleans City Park. To be in the midst of the action in the famous French Quarter, check out the Balcony Guest House for lodging.

Want a done-for-you itinerary that’s as sustainable as the winter-sun destination is sunny? Contact the CTC Team to learn more about Custom Travel Planning.

The author of this blog is the oh-so-talented, Shelagh Hogan.

You can find out more about her work on our team page

If you’re looking for ways to travel with more intention, subscribe to our mailing list, and follow Conscious Travel Collective on IG or FB. We craft private small group travel for those looking for meaningful connection to places and people, so when you are ready to experience for yourself, we are here help make it happen!


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