Where to go when

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

‘Where to go when?’ is the most important question in travel. Maybe there’s an experience you’re desperate to have and you want to make sure you have it when the conditions and circumstances are just right. For instance there’s no point dreaming of Peru’s Inca Trail, then turning up without a permit in February (when it’s closed) or July-August (when it’s busiest).


Or maybe you have set dates for your next holiday – stuck with two weeks in October? With such restrictions, you need to know which destinations offer your desired sun, sights, surf or wildlife sights when you’re free to visit (FYI, try Greece, Jordan, Fiji and Namibia respectively).

Looking to escape the February chill? We asked our friends at Lonely Planet for a few super suggestions…

 

FEBRUARY
ICELAND

White house in hamlet of Arnastapi on Snaefellsness Peninsula. ©David Noton/Lonely Planet

Why now? It’s not as cold as you think – but still very cool. Iceland in February might sound like a cold and gloomy prospect, but the truth is far from it. The Gulf Stream keeps this almost- Arctic island warmer than New York City (average: 37°F; 3°C) while, by month’s end, the sun’s up before 9am and doesn’t set until after 6pm. Fortunately, this still leaves a good amount of darkness in which to (hopefully) see the Northern Lights. There are plenty of wintry activities on offer too: glacier hikes, snowmobile safaris, ice caving, superjeep drives across volcanoes. If you’re careful, self-driving is still possible as the main ringroad is kept clear by snow-plough. You can even snorkel between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates at Silfra – fed by glaciers, the water temperature varies little year-round, and you’ll be snug inside a dry suit. If the cold does get too much, seek out one of Iceland’s hot springs – maybe the fun-but-touristy Blue Lagoon or one of Reykjavík’s cheaper public pools.

Trip plan: Arrange tours from Reykjavík. Spend a few nights away from the city lights for better odds of seeing aurora.

Need to know: Pack a swim suit so you can warm up in hot springs.
Other months: Oct-Mar – cold, dark, aurora possible; Apr-Sep – more tours, warmer.

 

HONDURAS
Why now? To dive on a budget, in glorious weather. Diving is about as close as a human can get to flying – learning to breathe underwater, master your buoyancy and explore another world is one of the great natural highs. The Bay Islands of Honduras (Utila and Roatán in particular) are brilliant places to do scuba courses. Not only are there many dive schools here, but this is renowned as one of the cheapest places to learn. The islands are also idyllic, with powdery white-sand beaches and clear Caribbean waters (visibility is best February to June). The marine life is incredible too, with species such as dolphins, hawksbill turtles, eagle rays and reef sharks present year-round, and whale sharks passing by February to May.
Trip plan: Fly or ferry to Roatán; an Open Water PADI course takes about four days. February (dry, cool) is also good for exploring other sites such as the Mayan ruins of Copán and Pico Bonito National Park.

Need to know: Most international flights to Honduras land at San Pedro Sula.
Other months: Feb-May – dry, warm; Jun-Nov – rainy; Sep-Jan – north coast wet, dry elsewhere.

 

HAITI

Port au Prince, Haiti. ©sidneyleclercq/500px

Why now? To dive on a budget, in glorious weather.
Diving is about as close as a human can get to flying – learning to breathe underwater, master your buoyancy and explore another world is one of the great natural highs. The Bay Islands of Honduras (Utila and Roatán in particular) are brilliant places to do scuba courses. Not only are there many dive       schools here, but this is renowned as one of the cheapest places to learn. The islands are also idyllic, with powdery white-sand beaches and clear Caribbean waters (visibility is best February to June). The marine life is incredible too, with species such as dolphins, hawksbill turtles, eagle rays and reef sharks present year-round, and whale sharks passing by February to May.
Trip plan: Fly or ferry to Roatán; an Open Water PADI course takes about four days. February (dry, cool) is also good for exploring other sites such as the Mayan ruins of Copán and Pico Bonito National Park.

Need to know: Most international flights to Honduras land at San Pedro Sula.

Other months: Feb-May – dry, warm; Jun-Nov – rainy; Sep-Jan – north coast wet, dry elsewhere.

Need to know: Most international flights to Honduras land at San Pedro Sula.

Other months: Feb-May – dry, warm; Jun-Nov – rainy; Sep-Jan – north coast wet, dry elsewhere.

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Reproduced with permission from Where to Go When, © 2016 Lonely Planet. To purchase a copy of Where to Go When, please visit www.lonelyplanet.com.

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