Winter is just around the corner, and with it comes shorter days and chillier weather.
It’s the perfect time to start planning a winter getaway where you can escape the cold and enjoy plenty of sunshine, sand, and ocean waves.
We’ve determined the most popular international destinations for a winter getaway this year, whether you’re interested in wellness, culture, or just want to lie on a sunny beach somewhere.
One of the most popular international destinations right now is Phuket, Thailand.
Phuket is the largest island in Thailand’s Andaman Sea, and it’s currently the most popular destination in Thailand. This is due to the island’s beautiful beaches, cultural landmarks like the Big Buddha, delicious Thai food, and more.
Although getting to Thailand can be expensive for American travelers, on-the-ground costs are low. For example, a one-hour massage on the beach costs as little as $8, and luxury hotels are available for under $100 a night.
9. Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico is another one of the most popular international destinations this winter. Puerto Vallarta has been having a record-breaking year for tourism in 2023.
Travelers are flocking to this resort city on Mexico’s Pacific coast due to its status as one of the top wellness destinations in the world.
Wellness travel has been one of the top travel trends of the year, and Puerto Vallarta is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for luxury resorts, spas, wellness retreats, and other activities that are good for the mind, body, and soul.
8. Montego Bay
If you dream of lying in a hammock on a white sand beach as the sounds of the ocean waves and reggae music drift softly your way, Montego Bay is the destination for you.
Montego Bay is the most popular tourist destination in Jamaica. It’s easily accessible from the United States, and low-cost carriers like Southwest and Frontier have launched new direct routes this year, making it easier than ever to travel to this island paradise.
Despite a recent crime surge affecting the country, travelers have continued to flock to Jamaica in record numbers. This is because tourist-centric destinations like Montego Bay remain safe, with most travelers staying in secure all-inclusive resorts.
Bali is one of the top international destinations for wellness and culture this year. This Indonesian island is incredibly diverse.
Ubud, located in the central part of the island, is known for its lush rice paddies and cultural landmarks. Canggu, on the coast, is a laidback surfer’s paradise, while Kuta is another beachfront town that draws more of a party-heavy crowd.
Thanks to its stunning natural beauty and affordable prices, Bali has become increasingly popular in recent years.
But there are still plenty of destinations where you can get off the beaten path in Bali and discover hidden waterfalls and tranquil beaches.
6. Playa Del Carmen
Playa Del Carmen has been a popular destination in Mexico for a while now, but there’s an exciting new reason to visit this winter: the launch of the long-awaited Maya Train.
This ambitious train project will connect many destinations throughout the Mexican states of Quintana Roo, Yucatan, and Campeche, making it easier than ever to explore this part of Mexico. The train will connect travelers in Playa Del Carmen with destinations like Cancun, Puerto Morelos, and Tulum.
Right now, the train is expected to begin operations in December 2023, just in time for the winter season.
Playa Del Carmen has become a hotspot in Mexico known for its stunning beaches, lively parties and great nightlife, and luxurious resorts.
Another one of the top international destinations this winter is Tulum, Mexico. Tulum has long been a popular destination thanks to its gorgeous beaches, luxe beach clubs, high-end dining and nightlife, and nearby Mayan ruins, but it’s likely set to explore even more in popularity.
This is because it will be easier than ever to get to Tulum this winter. Previously, travelers had to fly into Cancun, two hours north of Tulum, and then drive or take a bus.
But in December, Tulum is opening a brand-new international airport with direct flights from the United States. Travelers will also have the option of taking the new Maya Train from Cancun to Tulum.
And the opening of the Maya Train in December will also make it easier than before to visit Bacalar (AKA the “new Tulum”) and Chetumal, two Quintana Roo destinations south of Tulum.
The Bahamas is an island paradise within close reach for many American travelers. Made up of 700 islands, only 30 of which are inhabited, the Bahamas lie to the east of Florida.
Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, is one of the most popular destinations in the country, known for its sprawling Atlantis resort. However, other islands like Great Exuma (famous for its wild swimming pigs) and Eleuthra are also perfect if you’re looking for a getaway to island paradise.
3. Punta Cana
We’re getting into the top three territory now with Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. American travelers have been visiting the Dominican Republic in record numbers this year, and it’s not hard to see why.
This Caribbean island nation has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It’s also one of the more affordable destinations in the Caribbean, with all-inclusive resorts available for as little as $150 per night including your hotel room, food, drinks, and many activities.
While there are many beautiful destinations to visit in the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana is one of the best, with a wide variety of resorts to choose from and a well-developed tourism infrastructure including an international airport with direct flights from the United States.
2. Los Cabos
Another Mexican destination topping the charts for the most popular international destinations this winter is Los Cabos. Los Cabos is the name of the region in Mexico’s Baja Peninsula encompassing Cabo San Lucas, San Jose Del Cabo, and the tourist corridor between the two.
Travelers have been flocking to the resorts of Los Cabos in record numbers this year for several reasons. One, it’s a beautiful destination with great beaches and outdoor activities like boat tours and water sports. Two, travelers can find world-class amenities and resorts. And three, Los Cabos is among the safest destinations in Mexico.
Many U.S. cities have affordable nonstop flights to Los Cabos this winter, making it easily accessible for American travelers.
Taking the number one spot on this list is Cancun, Mexico. It should come as no surprise that this Riviera Maya beach hotspot remains the most popular international destination for American travelers.
Cancun continues to break all-time tourism records as the most-visited beach destination in the world. Simply put, Cancun is designed perfectly for travelers who want a relaxing vacation. There is an abundance of resorts to choose from, many of them all-inclusive. There are tons of options for dining, nightlife, shopping, and activities.
And despite the high number of tourists that Cancun attracts each year, it still boasts some of the most beautiful and pristine beaches in Mexico.
More than 40 cities fly nonstop from the U.S. to Cancun, with even more routes launching this winter.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com