By Shannon Valdes Leiderman
Thaw out from the winter cold in these lesser-known, warm weather escapes. Off-the-beaten path and uncrowded, these are our recommendations for the best places to travel in December.
A far-flung tropical retreat dotted with rusting WWII relics, the Solomon Islands beckon adventurous travelers. With its plunging waterfalls, untrodden jungle hikes and sunken seaplane dives, there’s something for everyone.
Book a stay at the Oravae Cottage, where you can escape to your own private island. Live out your childhood dreams and stay in a Robinson Crusoe-inspired cottage. The eco-lodge is perched on the edge of an islet 20 minutes away from the mainland. A sparsely populated country, the Solomon Islands cling proudly to their Pacific Islander culture. As a result, visitors are usually welcome to drop by a native village to get a taste of traditional Melanesian life.
The funky, offbeat treasure of Honduras’ Bay Islands is Utila. Bordering the world’s second largest barrier reef, it has environmental sustainability ingrained in its DNA. Teeming with marine life, the small island is a mecca for divers seeking to swim with whale sharks. However, it’s understated beauty and chilled-out vibe are what makes it difficult for any traveler to leave.
A tiny island nation scattered off the east coast of Africa, Comoros is not your typical tropical getaway. An intriguing blend of Swahili and Muslim cultures create the magnetism of this remote archipelago. Interestingly, locals descend from Persian traders, Portuguese explorers and African slaves.
Because Comoros lacks the resorts and tourist infrastructure of Mauritius and the Seychelles, you can settle into paradise without with crowds. Check into Laka Lodge, the fully solar powered property with a certified dive center. It’s located on Mohéli, the smallest of the Comoros islands. Built on a peninsula with a large private beach, kick back on the pearly white sand and lounge under coconut leaf covered umbrellas.
Sitting at the crossroads of three continents in the heart of the Mediterranean, Cyprus is a sliver of paradise steeped in ancient history. The tiny oasis is drenched in 340 days of sunshine, with its southern coastline attracting tourists who have a penchant for gorgeous beaches.
More adventurous travelers will appreciate the quiet northern region. There, you can immerse yourself in local life and take part in native traditions. Harvest olives from the grove, take them to the mill and try your hand at baking bread in the town oven in the village of Büyükkonuk. With the weather still warm in southern Europe, Cyprus is one of the best places to travel in December.