11 Best Places To Visit in January 2019

11 Best Places To Visit in January 2019

The Christmas holiday season is a whirlwind of visiting, shopping and partying. Once the rum and egg nog haze has lifted and you’ve come out of your turkey coma, it’s time to start thinking about somewhere to travel (detox?!) after the busy festive season.

December is meant for getting together with friends and family, but after that, it’s time to find the best places to visit in January so you can recoup and (if you’re from the northern hemisphere) take a break from the freezing cold weather. 

There are numerous places to travel in January, but in this post I’ll list the top 11 based on price and things to do. Plus, I’ll list a mix of beach destinations and winter holidays.

best places to visit in january grenada
Time to book your trip for January!

1. Argentina 

Why is this one of the best places to visit in January?

  1. Weather is great
  2. Costs are low in Argentina right now thanks to a recent currency drop 
  3. It’s hiking and fly fishing season

Having spent 3 months in Argentina in 2017, it’s safe to say that we know a few things about this incredible (and large) South American destination. Whether you’re into culture and history, nature and landscapes, lakes and fishing, or cities and wine, Argentina has something for you. 

Since Argentina is such a vast country, with a wide variety of landscapes and regions, it can be visited year round. But, it’s one of the best places to travel in January if you’re looking to do some hiking and fly fishing.

The northwestern region (around Salta) might be a bit wet during this time, but the rest of the country is dry and warm. 

Argentina is known for being one of the top fly fishing destinations in the world. If you’re an angler, you’ll be happy to know that fly fishing season in the Lake District of Patagonia is best in January & February due to the warm weather, and ability to fish all waters during this time. 

There are some stunning lakeside and riverside lodges you can stay in. Don’t miss Correntoso Lake and River Hotel and Rio Hermoso Boutique Hotel

For trekkers, January is a good time to lace up your boots and hit the mountains of Patagonia. El Chalten in the south is dry and has temperatures around 20°C (68°F), perfect for checking out the peaks of Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre, exploring waterfalls, drinking beer on patios and much more. 

Don’t miss nearby El Calafate and its popular Perito Moreno Glacier, which calves massive chunks of ice every few minutes! Although January is high season at Perito Moreno Glacier, you can avoid the crowds by visiting before 9:30am or after 5:00pm – take the later shuttle bus, or rent a car to explore at your own pace. 

best places to visit in january argentina
El Chalten is a great place to hike in Argentina

While you’ll miss the grape harvesting in Mendoza (it happens in February), January is still a great time to visit because the vineyards are green and the grapes are everywhere. Be prepared for hot temperatures (30°C / 80°F+), fantastic wines, great hiking around Parque Provincial Aconcagua (2 hours from Mendoza), picturesque parks and plazas, and some awesome restaurants. There are many things to do in Mendoza to keep you busy. 

If all of these places to visit in Argentina aren’t enough to spark your interest, maybe the cost will. When we travelled to Argentina in 2017, we received around 18 Argentine Pesos for 1 US Dollar.

In September, 2018, the rate was 1 USD = 41 Argentine Pesos.

According to XE, at the time of writing, the rate is $1 USD = 38 Argentine Pesos.

This drop in currency means that travelling to Argentina would cost you less than half of what it cost us in 2017! Rooms that were priced at $150 a night, now cost $71. Fantastic dinners of rib eye steaks and Malbec wine which cost us $50 for two people, now go for just $23.

Argentina isn’t known for being the cheapest place to visit, but with the current instability of the peso, you can definitely save some money by visiting now and maybe help the local economy along the way. 

2. Sri Lanka

Why is this one of the best places to visit in January?

  1. Great weather
  2. Affordability 
  3. Numerous Historical Sites

This tear drop shaped island located off the southeast coast of India is often overlooked by travellers. If you’re searching for the best places to visit in January that offer national parks, wildlife spotting, pristine beaches, fantastic cuisine, ancient sites and friendly locals, then make sure you add Sri Lanka to your holiday list. As a bonus, this country is very affordable.

Since the average temperature in January is around 30°C (86°F), you’ll want to hit up the coast! Don’t miss the stunning Unawatuna beach, with its calm water and numerous accommodation options. Just 15 minutes away, the nearby fortified town of Galle is an amazing spot to sit and watch sunset from the UNESCO listed fort walls. 

best places to travel in january sri lanka
Sri Lanka may be small, but it has a lot to offer travellers

If you’re into surfing, check out the breaks at Hikkadua on the south coast of Sri Lanka. Even if you’re not a surfer, this chilled out beach town offers bars, restaurants and some safe swimming spots as well.

If you’re in search of the best places to travel in January that offer historical sites, you’ll be happy to know that Sri Lanka has those in spades. 

Check out Anuradhapura (where Buddhism was first introduced to the country), Sigiriya (rock fortress towering 200m above the trees below), Cave Temples of Dambulla (built in the 1st century BC, and filled with over 100 Buddha statues) and the city of Kandy (an important Buddhist city, home to Buddha’s tooth). 

For a pretty mountain village, don’t miss Ella and the surrounding tea plantations and hiking opportunities, including Little Adam’s Peak. 

For such a small country, Sri Lanka really does have a lot to offer travellers. And, with an average travel cost of around $30-$50 per day, per person, you really can’t go wrong. 

3. Mexico (one of the best places to visit in January for North Americans)

Why is this one of the best places to visit in January?

  1. Great Weather
  2. Whale Watching Season
  3. Proximity to North America 
  4. Costs

There are endless amazing places to visit in Mexico, and there’s really no bad time to travel here. Since this is such a large country, the climate varies depending on where you are, and which time of year you plan to visit. 

best places to visit in january mexico
Guanajuato is one of the prettiest cities in Mexico

Hurricane season runs from June to November and the cities at elevation can be cold during the winter months (November – February). But, for the most part, Mexico is a great place to visit in January if you’re looking for warm beach weather (good news if you’re from the northern hemisphere!). 

Having spent over 6 months travelling through Mexico, on numerous different occasions, we rate Mexico as one of our favourite countries. This is a place where you can dine on one of the world’s best cuisines, visit a Wonder Of The World, swim in pristine water and explore Spanish colonial towns…all while not breaking the bank.

Venture away from the typical, 1 week all-inclusive holiday and explore the real Mexico. Trust me, the food and the experiences you have will be far more memorable. 

If it’s cities and towns you’re after in January, places like Mexico City and San Cristobal de las Casas will be quite chilly. But, you can enjoy all of the things to do in Oaxaca City, including a visit to the impressive Monte Alban ruins, or check out the colourful towns of San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato, both of which have comfortable temperatures at around 21°C (70°F). 

For people from Canada, the United States and Europe, what really makes Mexico one of the top places to visit in January is the beaches!

Don’t miss Puerto Escondido or Huatulco in the State of Oaxaca. In the Riviera Nayarit, check out San Pancho, Sayulita, Bucerias and all of the beaches and other awesome things to do in Puerto Vallarta.

best places to visit in january puerto vallarta mexico
The sunsets in Puerto Vallarta are spectacular

Further north, explore the Baja peninsula including Cabo San Lucas and La Paz (January is the best time for whale watching.) 

If you’re planning on spending time in the Yucatan, check out the powdery sands of Isla Holbox, Isla Mujeres, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and Cancun. At around 28°C (82°F), it’s definitely beach weather in the Yucatan! 

On top of fantastic beaches and pretty towns, the food in Mexico is one of the best. In fact, it’s listed by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage. Try the various regional dishes, the street food and of course, the drinks! Going on a food tour is one of the best things to do in Mexico

On the budget end, expect to spend around $40 / day. For Midrange, $60+.

4. Chicago, Illinois 

Why is this one of the best places to visit in January?

  1. Numerous Festivals
  2. Winter Wonderland
  3. Lower Costs 

Since the USA is so large and diverse, I had to break it down and list just a city, rather than a whole country. And, when it comes to American cities, Chicago is a top choice!

There are so many fun things to do in Chicago to keep you busy for a week, or more. Since the city experiences cold winters (lows of -6 ° celcius), you’ll need to bundle up to visit, but it’s still a great place to visit in January. 

During the high season (June – September), you can expect clear skies and warm temperatures…but with that comes many tourists and high room costs. When it comes to accommodation in Chicago, even if you book on Airbnb, it’s a pretty expensive city (don’t forget to claim a free $25 Air bnb coupon). 

Luckily, if you visit in January, you can expect huge discounts on hotels. Occupancy is low in the winter months, meaning that hotels offer big drops in room rates – even the luxury accommodation is on special. Expect discounts of around 50% off.

best places to visit in january chicago
Chicago is enjoyed year-round, but expect discounts and awesome events in January

Not only will you spend less on your room, but you’ll be able to avoid the crowds and enjoy one of the many festivals and events happening in January.

With numerous places to eat in Chicago, you’ll never go hungry. The city is known for its culinary delights, diverse cuisines, and Michelin starred restaurants. Brunch is a favourite of Chicagoans, and you must try the deep dish pizza, hot dogs, popcorn and other Chicago snacks.

For those who like a cocktail or two, you can still enjoy some of the best bars in Chicago along the riverwalk. It might be cold outside, but little domes are erected to cover the tables and heaters are placed inside. Magical!

For foodies, you’ll be happy to know that January is Restaurant Week in Chicago. That’s right, you might have to brave the cold weather, but in return, you get to experience the city’s biggest restaurant event of the year. Click here to learn more about the festival. 

For sports fans, check out a Chicago Blackhawks hockey game, or a meet-and-greet and autograph signing with some of the Cubs players at the Cubs Convention (only in January).  

Bundle up and enjoy Chicago in January. 

best places to travel in january chicago and try the pizza
You must try the deep dish pizza in Chicago!

5. Greece 

Why is this one of the best places to visit in January?

  1. Have the ancient sites to yourself
  2. Mingle with Greeks, rather than tourists
  3. Affordability

Greece is a destination that you could return to again and again. It’s most known for its ancient sites, such as the Acropolis in Athens, and its stunning archipelagos, but there’s much more to see and do in European nation.

If you’re looking to laze on the best beaches in Greece, with cocktail in hand, January isn’t the time to do so. But, if you’re interested in having the awe-inspiring historical sites to yourself, enjoying the local vibe in Athens, wandering around popular islands without the hordes, and doing some skiing, then January is a great month to visit.

We’ve always visited Greece in the shoulder / off season and while it’s a bit chilly, we love having the place to ourselves!

The summer months in Greece can be unbearable due to the amount of tourists – both foreign and local – cramming together on the beach and trying to find space at the popular sites. Why not visit in January and have the place to yourself?!

best places to visit in january greece
Greece in the winter can be beautiful

Athens is a very comfortable temperature (around 10 °C / 50°F) during January, and the city doesn’t see much rain this month either. Walking around Athens is a great way to experience the city, and during January you won’t overhead and you’ll be able to have genuine encounters with the locals you meet along the way.

The Acropolis with the impressive Parthenon is the top site in all of Greece. If you put it on your list of places to visit in January, you’ll be able to enjoy the site in a relaxed atmosphere. 

For those who simply must visit an island when travelling to Greece, a good bet in January is Santorini. However, you won’t want to stay in the popular Oia town, but rather, choose to stay in the capital of Fira. The island isn’t dead during January, but many restaurants and bars outside of Fira shut down for the winter months.

In January you can enjoy all of the usual top things to do in Santorini, except for swimming and tanning. You will have pleasant, sunny days (15 °C / 59°F) and can enjoy sightseeing without the masses of tourists.

Hike the caldra path which runs between Fira and Oia, enjoy sampling various wines, hike around the volcano, see the ancient Akrotiri village which is now in ruins, hike the path behind Perissa to see Thera (the ancient capital), or simply enjoy a peaceful dinner with a view!

Hotel prices in January are significantly reduced in Greece and you can enjoy having a more authentic experience.

best places to travel in january santorini greece
Bundle up and enjoy Santorini in the winter – without the crowds

6. Whistler, B.C. Canada 

Why is this one of the best places to visit in January?

  1. Skiing and Snowboarding
  2. Quieter Ski Hill

You’ve probably heard of Whistler, it’s where the 2010 Winter Olympics were held. If you’re into skiing or snowboarding, you’ll want to hit up Whistler and Blackcomb in January. Why? Because for a week after the holidays, it’s one of the quietest times of year at the hill.

The mountains of Whistler and Blackcomb are located right next to each other and offer 200+ trails, with runs for all levels, plus one of the largest networks of chair lifts anywhere in the world. The village is an amazing place to chill out and enjoy some fine dining, with twinkling lights in the evening. 

In January, there are numerous events up at the hill as well. Check out the free fire & ice show, king of the rail, Pride and Ski Festival, and lots of racing events. Book a lodge, get a lift ticket and enjoy Whistler and Blackcomb. Click here for more about Whistler Blackcomb.

7. Tanzania

Why is this one of the best places to visit in January?

  1. Safaris 
  2. Beach Weather 
  3. Scuba Diving Season

This country in Eastern Africa is one of the best places to travel in January if you’re looking for a mix of adventure and relaxation, with a lower price tag.

Tanzania experiences a “long” dry season and a “long” wet season. January is considered the “short” dry season.

best places to visit in january zanzibar
Empty beach in Zanzibar

You’ve probably heard of the Great Migration which is when millions of wildebeest cross Tanzania and Kenya each year in search of greener pastures and drinking water. In January, you’ll spot the wildebeest in the southern Serengeti during calving season. Expect to see lots of baby wildebeest, numerous animals grazing on the greenery, and predators lurking in the bushes… 

Safaris aren’t cheap, but if you go in the short dry season (January), which isn’t as popular as the long dry season, you’ll be able to save some money on tours and lodging.

Zanzibar is a premier scuba diving destination. This island off the coast of Tanzania offers large marine life (sharks, whale sharks, turtles, dolphins, rays), excellent coral, shipwrecks and macro sightings as well. But, it’s not just about the scuba diving. Zanzibar island offers stunning white sand beaches and the historical Stone Town – with Arabic architecture, delicious cuisine and narrow alleyways for exploring.

best places to travel in january zanzibar
Beautiful architecture in Stone Town

For a bit of city life, head to the capital of Dar es Salaam. This bustling city offers wonderful Indian food restaurants, huge fish markets, craft markets, museums, churches and more. Hotel rooms here are affordable, with many around $30 / night, while on Airbnb you can find apartments and guesthouse villas for around $40 / night. 

Tanzania offers a great mix of city, culture, beach and wildlife. And, if you book in January, you can save yourself some cash on big ticket items.  

8. Harbin, China

Why is this one of the best places to visit in January?

  • Ice Sculpture Festival

Every year from December to February, the northern Chinese city of Harbin has the most incredible ice sculpture festival. When we were teaching English in China, one of our friends was from Harbin and she said we must travel north to her home city and experience it. Sadly, we didn’t have a chance, but after researching and seeing photos online, I wish we had. 

These aren’t just regular ice sculptures. 

In Harbin, you’ll find 600,000 square meters filled with ice carvings of castles, buildings and people, some of which are as tall as 46 meters! The lighting adds to the beauty of the intricate carvings, which are best visited in the evening.

The only downside to of visiting Harbin in January is the temperature, expect -24 ° celcius. However, that’s why the sculpture festival is perfect for this city, they don’t melt! Bundle up and enjoy this winter wonderland.  

9. Miami, Florida

Why is this one of the best places to visit in January? 

  1. Great Weather 
  2. Festivals

Gorgeous beaches, amazing international cuisine, a latin flare and hot nightclubs – there are numerous reasons to visit Miami. 

June to November is hurricane season in the Atlantic, and Miami has seen its share of hurricanes pass through. 

Miami is one of the best places to travel in January due to the warm weather and the amount of festivals on offer. It’s also considered the high season, as many Americans flock to this southern city to escape the cold up north. 

The good news is that it’s not as humid in January making walking around Miami much more enjoyable. The sun will be shining, people will be sitting out on patios, and it’s a great time of year to be active. 

Check out the Jam Cruise, a popular music festival aboard a cruise ship! Cruise from Miami to Belize, to Mexico and back to Miami, all while listening to an incredible line up of musicians. For some land based festivals, check out the South Beach Jazz Festival, Art Deco Weekend and the International Chocolate Festival. Plus, if you’re into basketball, check out a Miami Heat game.

There’s always something going on in Miami. 

10. Grenada

Why is this one of the best places to visit in January? 

  1. Billfish Tournament
  2. Sailing Regattas
  3. Great Weather 

The little island of Grenada is one of the southern most islands in the Caribbean. For such a small place, there are many things to do in Grenada to keep you busy. The reason this is one of the best places to travel in January is due to two events (and great weather!).

Don’t miss the Budget Marine Spice Isle Billfish Tournament and the Grenada Sailing Week.

best places to visit in january grenada
Don’t miss Grenada! The scuba diving is awesome as well 😀

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 4 day Billfish Tourney, with registrations still possible! Hook into dorado, tuna, blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish and more.

For the Sailing Week, the 4 day race starts at Port Louis Marina with 2 days of racing in Grand Anse and up to Secret Harbour. One day of relaxing, followed by 2 more days of racing on the east coast of Grenada, leaving from Secret Harbour. Registrations are still possible.

Of course, for both events, there will be lots of parties and rum…lots of rum.

If you’re not partaking in the events, you can still watch from the shoreline as the sailboats cruise around the coast. Aside from sailing and fishing, January is a great time to visit Grenada due to the dry, warm weather.

Spend your days chasing waterfalls, lazing on one of the many pristine beaches, hiking through National Parks, and dining on freshly caught fish at sunset with a rum punch in hand. 

Best places to travel in january grenada
Hiking on one of our favourite trails in Grenada

It’s not low season here, so don’t expect discounted room rates, but Grenada is still one of the more affordable Caribbean destinations. For accommodation, check out Mount Cinnamon Grenada or click here to see a list of other rooms available on the island.

11. Costa Rica

Why is this one of the best places to visit in January? 

  1. Yoga Retreats
  2. Detox 
  3. Great Weather

Costs Rica is one of the best places to chill out, detox, or be active after a crazy, over indulgent holiday season. This Central American country is known for being a great place to practice yoga, do some meditation and to go surfing.

The Pacific coast and central valley of Costa Rica is dry in January, while the Caribbean coast is still wet during this month. It’s best to keep your travels to the west and central part of the country in January. It’s the high season, which means that prices won’t be low, but you’re basically guaranteed great weather. Book early to get better prices, and try to book your trip for after the first week of January. 

best places to travel in january costa rica
Sunsets in Costa Rica are pretty epic

Click here for numerous retreats which combine juice detoxes and plant-based detoxes with yoga and meditation. Get your body feeling alive and healthy again. 

For those of you who want to be more active in Costa Rica, try surfing along the north pacific between Guanacaste – Nicoya. Tamarindo and Playa Grande are great spots for all levels of surfers.

If it’s wildlife you seek, January is whale watching season in Costa Rica, while sloths, toucans, turtles and dolphins can be spotted pretty much year round. 

There are numerous things to see and do in Costa Rica, and due to the amazing weather and wildlife sightings, January is one of the best times to visit.

Plan Your Trip For January!

There are many other destinations that I could have listed as the best places to travel in January, but I feel that this list covered a variety of activities and special events. Whether you’re wanting to leave the cold weather behind, or are looking for a winter wonderland, there’s somewhere amazing to visit in January. 

Which January destinations would you add to this list? Tell me in the comments!

The post 11 Best Places To Visit in January 2019 appeared first on Goats On The Road.



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