January Vacation Spots

There’s nothing like escaping the bitter chill of the winter months and finding one of those perfect January vacation spots where summer seems to live all year round.  But where are the best places to travel in January when you want to revive your tired and cold old bones with magical winter sun? Indulge in a relaxing sun vacation or enjoy a fun snowy adventure. Which would you choose?

january vacation spots

Come with me on a trip around some of the heavenly destinations easily accessed from any of the main hubs of North America.  Let it be the ultimate Christmas gift to yourself to book a restoring vacation after the hysteria of the holidays to one of the best countries to visit in January.

January Vacation Spots

I can be something of a traditionalist and spending the holidays with family is really rather special.  Of course, Thanksgiving and Christmas can be enjoyed on vacation.  In fact, it puts a lovely fresh spin on the traditional to be snacking on turkey salads on a warm beach!  But there’s something really fabulous about the January vacation.  How better to start a year than with a week or two of uninterrupted ‘me’ time when I can draw up my resolutions and goals for the year ahead.

As much as I do indulge in delicious foods while away, it is easier to get a bit of a mini detox going in January with some delightful spa treatments and invigorating water sports.

So, let’s get going:

Sun Destinations

Mexico – East Coast

Magical Mexico welcomes millions of tourists each year.  Not surprisingly, as it is a huge country with such a diverse offering for visitors of all ages.  But regardless of whether you are a bit of wanna-be archaeologist, delving into the historic past of this great nation or are a live-wire wanting to party, there is one common reason why Mexico charms everyone.

With hundreds of miles of coastlines that capture the best of the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean, Mexico is a beach-combers paradise.

Playa del Carmen (better known simply as Playa) is one of those fabulous resort towns that sits on the southern part of Mexico’s Caribbean coastline known as Riviera Maya.  Just south of Cancun and north of Tulum, Playa is ideally located to enjoy the spectacular countryside, beaches, history and culture.

As January is one of the driest months in Mexico, you can expect to have long dry days without the excessive temperatures of Summer.  Imagine sunbathing and swimming in the sea by day but being able to sleep without air conditioning as the evenings are slightly cooler.  Add to this, the less hectic pace of life in the town.  The Christmas madness has subsided and the Spring Break / School holiday travellers won’t arrive until February.

best places to visit in January

The gorgeous Kite House villa in the salubrious Playacar will offer you unparalleled luxury for a relaxing vacation.  A modern, beautifully appointed property in a private gated community, a short walk to a white sandy beach, tennis with a restaurant nearby.  Add to this your own housekeeping staff who will cook and care for you.  It doesn’t get much lovelier than this.

Or perhaps the spectacular Villa Unica might be your dream home from home for that January getaway.  With six bedrooms, sea views, and all the luxury trappings you need, it might be the very best place to base yourself and a group of friends for some heavenly winter sun.  With nearby golf courses, this could be a great place for a group of guys or gals who are longing for some golf while their home club is six inches deep in snow!

Heading further south along this magnificent coastline, we come to Tulum.  This is one of the great sites of historic importance in Mexico as well as being a really desirable vacation town.  Tulum has for years been considered one of the best places to visit in January for its consistent dry and warm climate.

One of my favourite properties in Tulum has to be Casa Lulu.  It’s in the heart of the town so access to so many amenities is easily managed.  Add to this, the stunning interiors, the pool and terraces.  It has to be one of the most gorgeous urban properties available in Tulum.  Again, discreet staff will ensure you have a seamless and stress-free stay at this exceptional property.

where to travel in January

For a property that is not just eco-friendly and self-sustainable but utterly pretty why not consider Bejuco House.  The natural tones of the interiors blend perfectly with the outdoor leafy terraces and pool area.  Within the beach zone of Tulum, there are a host of restaurants and bars to be explored just minutes from the privacy of this lovely home.

Mexico – West Coast

If you’re already an exponent of holidays on Mexico’s eastern coastlines, let me suggest you sample the west coast.  Puerto Vallarta and Cabo are the two centres on the Pacific coastlines that can offer very different vacation experiences.  Again, the wonderfully dry and warm climate ensures that they are some of the best places to vacation in January.

The Esperanza Resort in Los Cabo is that divine fully-loaded resort where you can live a self-contained existence in your own private villa or venture out to enjoy the acres of grounds and beautiful beaches.  Dine at the amazing restaurants, sink into the bliss of the Resort spa or get yourself a top to toe exercise regime in place at the fitness centre.  This is the destination for you if you enjoy having that five-star hotel experience within reach while still retaining a sense of privacy.

best places to go in January

At the most southern tip of Baja, California lies the unforgettable Casa Alcini.  This 8-bed property is designed to capture the breath-taking proximity of the Pacific Ocean.  The views are wonderful and the sound of the surf the back-drop to each perfect day.  This spacious property uniquely styled to give that Santa Fe vibe, could be the ideal location for a group celebration.  Think of that significant birthday or family celebration.  Casa Alcini is just perfect!

Check out more of the best places to visit in Mexico here!


Moving on from Mexico, let’s focus on some of the very best places to go in January in the Caribbean.  Again, January can offer very warm and dry conditions for travellers a short hop from, say, Miami, New York or Chicago.

Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos have earned its reputation as one of the most interesting destinations in the Caribbean.  Although not technically in the Caribbean it has all of the hallmark attributes that allow it to travel under this flag, so to speak.  Namely, beaches – miles of endless white sandy beaches that wrap around the main islands and cays of this territory.  A welcoming and laid-back vibe that makes vacationing in Providenciales or Grand Turk such a pleasure.

January vacation spots

The Palms resort on Grace Bay has the loveliest 1-bed villa with Ocean View that enjoys all of the facilities of the resort with easy access to the dazzling beach.  A short bike ride will find you in the heart of Providenciales town where the famous fish fry takes place each Thursday.  Join in the carnival atmosphere and sample the delicious food from the street vendors.  As you amble around in your resort wear, the chilly northern winter will seem worlds away.

St Lucia

Moving further afield, the amazing destination that is St Lucia is one of the ideal islands in the Caribbean to visit to enjoy blissful January temperatures.   Dry and hot best describes the weather and what better conditions to get out and about a enjoy the natural beauty of this splendid island.  Considered as part of the high season for visiting the island, January ensures that all amenities, restaurants and events are fully operational and available.

Cayman Villa in Cap Estate in St Lucia is one of those amazing properties that has a bird’s eye view from its vantage point on Sea Breeze Hills.  This private residence is within the exclusive Cap Estate that is home to three hotels, the only 18 hole golf course on St Lucia as well as having two stunning beaches.  From this spacious property with private infinity pool, you can enjoy breath-taking views in glorious serenity knowing you are still very near restaurants and bars when a bit of socialising seems like a good idea.

Best places to visit in January

For something closer to sea level, the Landings, Ocean View Villas is the perfect place to base yourself if you like waking up to the sound of the Caribbean.  With your own private butler who will arrange your stay in one of the luxury villas, it is the ultimate way to just shrug off the cares of winter.

Dominican Republic

Next stop on our Caribbean adventure, let’s call to the Dominican Republic.  January is firmly set in the middle of DR’s dry season.  Expect up to 10 hours of consistent sunshine daily with temperatures in the low 80’s.  It doesn’t get more beach perfect than that.

Eden Roc’s Black Horse Villa is the sumptuous residence that enjoys a prime location within Cap Cana.  This villa with its large pool and mature gardens sits within the wonderful Eden Roc resort.  Your stay at the Villa includes access to all of the resort’s amenities as well as membership of the uber-exclusive Caleton Beach Club.  With your own electric golf cart to help you navigate the resort and a fitness centre, spa and restaurants all on your doorstep, this is a self-contained paradise within a paradise.

Snow Destinations


An all-time favourite winter destination has to be Zermatt. To most people, Zermatt means one thing: the Matterhorn. This famous and beautiful Swiss icon overlooks Zermatt, drawing visitors since the 1860s. Zermatt is also one of the best ski destinations in the world making it immensely popular. But don’t worry if you aren’t a skier, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Zermatt, including hiking, swimming, shopping, wellness and of course you can enjoy the amazing food. Zermatt is a beautiful destination and is completely unique to any others I have ever seen. If skiing is what you came to Zermatt for they cater to all levels, whether you are a beginner or an expert skier. No matter what level you are, everyone can enjoy the wonderful apres-ski that Zermatt offers. This combined with gorgeous shops and breathtaking views when hiking and climbing make it a very unique place indeed.

Zermatt itself is a quaint and charming, car-free village with old-fashioned brown chalets and winding alleys, making for a perfect destination for a relaxing winter vacation. Electric vehicles and horse-drawn cabs provide transport through the streets of Zermatt. Also a year-round destination, Zermatt is surrounded by 36 mountains, popular for their superb skiing (often into early summer) and hiking.

When to Book

I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I get lulled into a false sense of security, weather-wise, by those long languorous sunny Autumn days.  You know the ones I mean, those exceptionally warm days where you stroll in the parks and countryside completely oblivious to the leaves falling around.  In some part of my mind, I seem to believe that winter isn’t going to arrive this year.  Of course, the inevitable happens.  I wake one morning to Jack Frost nipping at my toes and a mad scramble to find my warmest coat.

best places to travel in January

The issue with living in the fantasy that the warmth of summer will stay all year is that I get completely blind-sided by winter.  It’s at this point, I start to cast about for the best destinations in January.  In my view, the earlier the better is the best approach to finding the best places to vacation.  You can secure the loveliest beachside properties, you can be sure of having the pick of resorts and of course, the widest choice of flights too if you get your skates on!


So, if you are sitting wrapped in endless layers of cashmere willing winter to end and wondering where to travel in January, why not explore the many wonderful destinations and properties under the stylish Exceptional Villas umbrella.  I’ve just given you the merest morsel of a taster of what’s available around the world for anyone keen to start the year with a memorable holiday.

It is said, the most valuable commodity in the world today is time.  For all of life’s extraordinary scientific advancements, we cannot yet squeeze more than 24 hours out of any day.  Don’t waste any further time trying to decide where to go / what to see.  Allow us at Exceptional Villas to distil your search and highlight the very best island and resorts in the world where summer is in full swing in the depths of January.  We have decades of experience guiding our valued clients to the villa of their dreams and once you explain the type and style of holiday that best suits you, we can easily draw up a shortlist of the best properties and destination to fulfil your goal.

Best places to go in January

Once you experience the joy of rambling along a sunny beach in January, sipping cocktails at sunset or jet skiing across an azure horizon, it will more than likely become an annual event.  Why not give your raincoat and umbrella a break too and pack your bags and take shelter under an umbrella of a different sort?  Let the New Year be welcomed in with a few weeks of unadulterated relaxation. Or adventure and return home to early Spring with that enviable glow of the refreshed traveller.


About Mairead Moriarty

Born and raised in Co Kerry, lived in London, New York, San Francisco, Dublin. Owner of one very battered suitcase, a well-worn passport and a million memories.

It seems very fitting for a travel writer that my surname translates as ‘Skilled Navigator’. Apart from an occasion when, aged 3, I got lost in a Supermarket in Tralee, I have managed to live up to my name!

Curiosity is probably the driver that has sent me on magical mystery tours around the world. I want to ‘feel’ a place. I want all my senses to be engaged: from the history and geography that has influenced a country or city, the arts and achievements of its natives, anything and everything really.

Regardless of whether I am on a local train travelling through Morocco, or poking around in Marconi’s study in Bologna or on a canal boat weaving through the heart of the English countryside, the same rules apply - ask questions, talk to locals, eat what they eat, sit quietly with nature and simply be.

Assimilate as much as is possible so as to understand the soul of a place. That is my passion. That is the compass by which I navigate.

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