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Tired of attempting to dodge slushy grey puddles in your new winter boots? With easy access to weekends in Miami and surprisingly affordable Caribbean-bound flights, winter in NYC suddenly feels far less daunting when there are a few sunny holidays on the horizon.
Winter blues? Escape NYC in these sunshine-filled destinations
1. Cartagena, Colombia
A colourful haven jutting into the Caribbean Sea, Cartagena will whisk you into an entirely new dimension after a (roughly) five-hour flight (and with only a one-hour time difference). The sweetheart of Colombia’s seaside towns, it brings together great freshly ground coffee, languid meals consisting of just-caught fish and copious amounts of wine and after-hours dance parties fuelled by all of the above. To make the most of Cartagena’s prime waterfront location, rent a boat with your friends and jet out to the cerulean-rimmed Rosario Islands for a day of skinny dipping and dancing on deck.
This little Dutch island is one of the lesser explored in the Caribbean, making it a standout winter escape. Not only does it provide the kind of multicoloured buildings one might expect to find in a European village, but it also has a number of hiking trails and national parks that make it more than just a destination for lazing about on the sand. Beyond its stunning environment and unique cultural make-up, Curaçao is one of the cheapest of the Caribbean islands to visit, with round-trip flights from New York starting at around £230.
3. Havana, Cuba
Now that travel between the US and Cuba is permitted, few places seem like a better escape from blustery New York City than Havana. Combining old-world glamour with colourful architecture and even more colourful beaches, the city practically guarantees blue skies and a healthy balance of culture and piña coladas. Stay at Hotel Saratoga, which maintains a lot of its original 30s spirit, to look out over the city from the rooftop pool, or book in for a laid-back stay at La Rosa de Ortega B&B, operated by a couple in the La Vibora neighbourhood.
4. Mexico City, Mexico
Not only is CDMX a hub for all things art and design, but it offers a fantastic escape from the winter blues that involves more than just sitting by the pool. There are more museums here than in any other city in the world, so alternate between checking out exhibitions at Museo Soumaya and sipping lattes in leafy café gardens on warm afternoons – San Ángel Inn has a particularly dreamy courtyard in which to enjoy happy-hour drinks. Markets and gardens abound in Mexico City, so you can spend plenty of time under the sun between gallery visits and naps at your boutique hotel (we’re obsessed with Nima Local House Hotel, which has the essence of a Parisian apartment).
5. Miami, Florida, US
Benefitting from one of the most frequent flight routes from New York, Miami is a favourite getaway destination when temperatures dip below zero. Plan your holiday around Art Basel in early December or kick off your winter travels with a post-New Year beach escape at Miami’s The Standard Spa. If you’re sick of loading up on butternut squash soup to keep warm back home, make the most of a Miami getaway by testing out the best of the city’s food scene. Stop by Lolo’s Surf Cantina during a beach day for pork carnitas and spicy shrimp tacos or look over the waves at one of Malibu Farm’s outdoor tables as you inhale its moreish coconut tofu bowl.
6. Sun Valley, Idaho, US
While skiing might not top the charts for getting a full-body tan, you’ll certainly get your fair share of vitamin D on a jaunt to the mountains out west. The peaks are high here – some reaching more than 9,000ft – so you’ll be above the clouds and ready for outdoor lunches sans jacket for the majority of your stay. Not a snow bunny? Kick back on the terrace at the mountaintop Roundhouse restaurant with a hot cocoa and soak in the rays, or make the most of high-altitude (read: warmer) hiking trails before heading to the spa.
7. Isla Holbox, Mexico
Rather than jet off to Tulum with the rest of the crowd, fly into Cancún and head straight to Isla Holbox, an ambrosial island just two hours’ drive and a ferry ride north. Golf carts are the main means of transportation here and days are best spent wandering between small colourful cafés and reading in a hammock while your toes graze the sea. Water babies will rejoice in the abundance of aquatic activities, whether kitesurfing, kayaking or hopping on a catamaran is your activity of choice. Mandarina Beach Club is the place to raise a toast with margaritas as the sun sinks into the ocean.
8. Santa Barbara, California, US
A long weekend in Santa Barbara is guaranteed to shake you free of winter blues with a healthy dose of sunshine-fuelled California vibes. For an outdoorsy day, hike to Lizard’s Mouth Rock first thing in the morning to observe your kingdom for the next few days, then cycle past rows of elegant palms on East Beach before chowing down on a breakfast burrito at the pier. San Ysidro Ranch is a stunning hideaway at which you could spend your entire holiday or simply visit for a meal at the Stonehouse or Plow & Angel restaurants on a special evening.
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