As one of the coldest months in Canada, February is the perfect month to visit another destination. As countries are slowly and safely opening up their borders again to Canadian tourists, there’s hope for that warm winter vacation you’ve been dreaming about. Will you be travelling with the family? Travelling on a budget? Are you just looking for a tropical getaway that promises a surplus of warm sun and relaxation? To inspire your bucket list, here are some of the best places to travel in February for your next vacation.
The destinations listed below are currently open (some with restrictions) or will be opening soon to Canadian travellers. While we hope that all these destinations will still be open by February, always research local government guidelines before booking travel to ensure it’s safe to visit and find out information about quarantine, pre-travel authorization, or COVID-19 test requirements you may need need.
11 hot spots for a February vacation
- Mexico: Budget-friendly, whale watching, food
- Costa Rica: Wellness getaway, surf, beaches
- Venice, Italy: Romance, architecture, food
- Bahamas: Beaches, wildlife, snorkelling
- Tenerife, Spain: Beaches, stargazing
- Revelstoke, BC: Skiing, snowboarding
- Kenya: Safari, bird-watching
- Churchill, Manitoba: Wildlife, Northern Lights
- Croatia: Beaches, towns, skiing
- Zanzibar, Tanzania: Whale sharks, beaches, food
- Barbados: Beaches, diving, and snorkelling
1. Go whale watching in Mexico
There are two incredible wildlife events that happen in February in different parts of Mexico. In case you didn’t think your sunny vacation could get any better, you also have the option of witnessing humpback whales along the Pacific coast or witnessing the monarch butterfly migration.
One of the best places for viewing humpback whales is in Bahia de Banderas, which is close to Puerto Vallarta in Mexico’s Jalisco state. They are found in this area because it is one of the best places for their reproduction. Remember if you are looking to book a whale watching experience, always choose a local guide that focuses on respecting the mammals when doing a wildlife tour. As for the monarch butterflies, there are four places the public is allowed to witness the migration within the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve located to the east of Mexico’s Michoacán state, just less than two hours from Mexico City.
Mexico is a fun and affordable destination for all-inclusive vacations, but there’s also so much more to offer like natural phenomena, great food, rich history, and best of all, wonderful people!
2. Learn to surf in Costa Rica
If you’re looking for a destination full of adventure this winter, then Costa Rica is a perfect choice. 25% of Costa Rica is protected land, making it one of the best destinations in Central America to spot wildlife and immerse yourself (responsibly) in the wonders of nature. The country is full of national parks where you can see possibly see monkeys, hummingbirds, tapirs, and sloths. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a toucan!
Home to a slew of eco hotel options from coast to coast and lots of outdoor adventure opportunities, Costa Rica is also one of the best places to visit during the month of February. This time of year in Costa Rica coincides with the dry season, so you can expect long hot sunny days meant for relaxing on the beach for your warm winter getaway.
If you want to be more active on your vacation this February, then pick up a surfboard and learn to ride the waves. The Pacific coastline of Costa Rica is an ideal place to learn to surf, with steady waves hitting the sandy beaches all day long. Head to the province of Guanacaste to Playa Avellanas, one of the top spots for surfing in Costa Rica, especially if you are a beginner. The Drift Away Eco Lodge has affordable weekly packages with surfing lessons included.
3. Go on a romantic getaway to Venice
Venice, Italy is often referred to as the ‘City of Love’, and along with cities like Paris, Kyoto, and Buenos Aires, Venice is known as one of the most romantic cities in the world. And with lots of culture, history, and comfortable weather to boot, Venice is consistently a popular choice for places to travel to in February in Europe.
For an unforgettable romantic getaway in 2021, take a couples trip to Venice and head to the city’s most romantic bars and restaurants. Splurge at the famous Caffe Florian by the Piazza San Marco or sip some local wine and go for a sunset stroll getting lost in the streets of old Venice. Another bonus is that February is one of the city’s driest months in Venice, making it one of the best times to visit this romantic city!
4. Hit up the Bahamas
Warm weather, clear blue skies, a ton of sunshine, and minimal rain showers! The Bahamas is one of the best options for places to visit in February for sunny winter getaway. Spend your vacation at a quaint and family-friendly hotel right by the beach, like the Tingum Village Hotel on beautiful Harbour Island. Or if you’re craving some place extra secluded and peaceful, check out Ocean Tally, a boutique bed and breakfast on Eleuthera Island.
We asked Caribbean travel expert Lebawit “Lily” Girma, founder of See the Caribbean, an initiative to promote authentic, sustainable tourism in the region, her opinion on travelling to the Caribbean in winter 2021.
“Compared to other regions of the world, the Caribbean has done a great job of handling the pandemic, and implementing safety protocols in public places and in tourism-related facilities. Travellers would be fine choosing any part of the Caribbean that’s open to visitors to be honest. This is the world’s most tourism dependent region, so tourist dollars are welcome, but visitors will have to take all the safety precautions. Check the pre-travel requirements for the destination, as these vary across the Caribbean.”– Lebawit Lily Girma, award-winning Travel journalist specializing in the Caribbean http://www.sunandstilettos.com
So do your research, plan your travels using the flexible booking policies in place, and get ready for that warm tropical getaway you’ve been waiting for.
5. Choose beaches in Tenerife
Tenerife is the largest and most populated island of the seven Canary Islands, which are located southwest of mainland Spain. There are miles of beaches, a dormant volcano, forests, and deserts to explore. If you’re travelling with your partner, note that there are adult-only hotels available in Tenerife–including some that are particularly popular for stargazing, like the Parador de Las Canadas del Teide.
It helps that Tenerife is one of the hottest Canary Islands during the month of February, so a warm winter getaway is almost guaranteed. Tenerife is also a hot spot for digital nomads, with some fantastic co-working and co-living spaces located on the island. So if you’re a remote worker, Tenerife may just be for you!
6. Revelstoke, British Colombia
Canada isn’t known for warm destinations in February, but when it comes to winter activities there is plenty of choice. If you want to hit the slopes this winter in Canada, then head west to Revelstoke. Home to one of the longest vertical descent of any ski area in North America, Revelstoke is known too many skiers and riders as one of the top destinations for winter sports.
February is an ideal time to visit Revelstoke as there will be plenty of fresh powder on the ground along with sunny days to enjoy it. There are also many ski resorts to choose from where you can cozy up by the fire after a day of playing in the snow.
7. Go on a safari in Kenya
When looking up the best places places to travel in February, you might have noticed that many popular and tourist-ready countries in Africa tend to experience heavy rainfall during that time. Well, Kenya is one of the exceptions! Instead of rain, February is part of Kenya’s dry season.
The hot, dry season in Kenya makes it advantageous for viewing birds and big game, including the Big Five. Animals tend to congregate around watering holes, which are smaller during the dry season. The grazed-down grasses will also help you spot some wildlife.
If you are lucky enough to go spot some animals in their natural habitat, make sure to avoid geotagging the location when you post a picture of wildlife on your social media. This has been proven to help poachers find the exact location of the animals. Read more about social media responsibility here.
Travel tip: Do your research to make sure you hire a local guide from a reputable grassroots organization so that you can see these beautiful creatures in a sustainable way!
8. Be cold on purpose in Churchill, Manitoba
It sounds silly to head to a cold destination when you’re already trying to escape the winter, right? But if that destination comes with the possibility to spot some beautiful polar bears, then sign us up! Put on your warmest coat because you’re going to want to add Churchill, Manitoba to your bucket list.
Churchill has become well known for being one of the best places to witness the Northern Lights in Canada, with peak visibility between January and March. If you’re planning a special gift for Valentine’s Day, you can organize a bonfire or some hot tub time under the Northern Lights – talk about a memorable way to celebrate your love!
Churchill is also a popular destination to see polar bears and beluga whales in their natural habitat. You will most likely have a chance to get close to this wildlife, but remember to act responsibly because you are in their home.
Travel tip: Always make sure to hire a local guide and to respect nature.
9. Hit the beach (and the slopes) in Croatia
Fewer crowds and more comfortable temperatures are two great reasons to visit Croatia in February. Accommodation rates will also be at their lowest, making it a great time to find travel deals. Situated partly on the Mediterranean coast, Croatia still has plenty of sunshine in February.
Croatia is one of the best places to to visit in February in Europe for so many reasons. Here in Croatia, you’ll find the best of both worlds where you can go skiing down slopes after getting your beach fix. Mount Sljeme is near the capital of Zagreb, and the largest ski resort in Croatia is just a train ride away.
10. Explore the beauty of Zanzibar, Tanzania
If you want to escape to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world this winter, then add Zanzibar to your February travel list. As one of the hottest and driest months, it’s the perfect time to visit for a beach vacation with minimal chance of rain.
February is also the best months to see whale sharks along the coast of Zanzibar. If you’re interested in snorkelling with these amazing creatures, head to Mafia Island. With plenty of beachside resorts and delicious seafood, this is the perfect place to go for a winter escape.
11. Relax on white sand beaches in Barbados
“As examples of tourist-ready areas that have resonated with visitors and are beyond ready: Punta Cana, Anguilla, Barbados, the Bahamas and Saint Lucia. But again, you can’t go wrong with any part of the Caribbean that’s open. The most important thing to remember is to respect the public safety guidelines, and to make sure you wear your masks in public so as not to put the local population at risk until the pandemic is fully under control worldwide.”– Lebawit Lily Girma, award-winning Travel journalist specializing in the Caribbean http://www.sunandstilettos.com
Barbados has over 3000 hours of sunshine a year, making it one of the best places to visit in February if you need to cure those winter blues. This time of year coincides with the dry season in Barbados, meaning you can look forward to lots of warm and sunny weather.
Are you looking for a place to work remotely during these times? This past July, the country announced a new initiative called the Barbados Welcome Stamp, where remote workers and learners can get a visa to stay in Barbados for one year. For more information about relocating to Barbados, check out their website.
Barbados has the all the standard Caribbean staples for a warm and sunny vacation, including sandy beaches and high-end resorts, but Barbados also has its own unique flair. This island nation has plenty to offer those looking for some adventure alongside beach time, with limestone caves to explore and some of the best dive and snorkelling sites in the Caribbean.
We know that travel is difficult right now, but we hope these destinations could inspire your future plans for a relaxing vacation this winter.
Frequently Asked Questions
When can I travel again?
Some countries have opened up their borders, while others plan too soon. To see if the country you want to visit is open, check out our interactive global map. For more information on the future prospect of travel, check out this article.
Can I leave Canada?
While Canadians are being cautioned to avoid all non-essential travel (tourism) at the moment, you are still welcome to come and go as you please. Just remember that the two-week mandatory quarantine still applies to anyone entering Canada.
How can I stay safe while travelling?
Any type of travel in 2020/21 requires a lot of planning and preparation, no matter how far you are going. Researching the destination beforehand and following the local health and safety guidelines are just some of the requirements needed for safe travel during COVID-19. Check out this this article for more detailed information.
Discover where you can go
Making plans to get back out there? Find out whose borders are open with our interactive global map, and sign up to receive email updates when your top destinations reopen.