In the midst of a baking hot summer, it can be hard to imagine being cold again – and you may even be looking forward to feeling cold again! For those of you who would like to keep the Vitamin D levels up naturally, with sunshine, this winter, it is time to start planning your winter break in 2023. During the peak holiday season Dec 20 – Jan 5, travel has fully rebounded, and places with low tourist limits such as Galapagos, are already fully booked.
If you have flexibility with your travel dates, you can still travel to Galapagos, and here are some ideas which still have some (limited) availability, along with ideas for how you can embrace the true meaning of the Holiday Season and help those less fortunate, adding purpose and fulfillment to your trip:
Thailand – Relax with just your family on a secluded beach, bike, zip-line, kayak, snorkel, learn how to cook your favorite Thai dishes, explore fascinating cities and ancient ruins, and much more.
Find it Fulfilling: Help at an elephant conservation center: prepare meals, walk with them, watch them bathe and socialize, and learn so much about these gentle jungle giants.
Accommodation you’ll love: Soneva Kiri
Morocco – Explore Marrakech and Fes with your private guide, hike in the spectacular Atlas Mountains or in valleys around the gorgeous Skoura Oasis, ride camels in the Sahara Desert, windsurf in coastal Essaouira, and more.
Find it Fulfilling: Installing solar panels for a family in the Atlas Mountains, and thus make a huge difference to their cost of living. Parts of Morocco, especially Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains, were damaged by earthquake in September 2023 – your help makes a difference.
Accommodation you’ll love: La Mamounia
Costa Rica – Zip-line, white water raft (including easy, gentle thrills on family-friendly rapids), jungle walks, wildlife safari, surf, snorkel, and much more.
Find it Fulfilling: Helping at a wildlife rescue center: preparing meals for monkeys, parrots, and more, feeding them, maintaining their enclosures, and creating enrichments to stimulate the animals whilst learning an enormous amount about them.
Accommodation you’ll love: Nayara Tented Camp
Belize – Explore ancient Mayan ruins, discover waterfalls inside caves, make your own chocolate from bean to bar, kayak on pristine rivers amidst Howler Monkeys, snorkel or dive the epic Belize Barrier Reef (including the famous Blue Hole), track the elusive jaguar, and more.
Find it Fulfilling: Build a sustainable eco-friendly stove for a rural Mayan family in Southern Belize. These stoves are amazing in that:
- they are fully enclosed, so children don’t get burnt by any open flames;
- they have a chimney to expel the smoke, reducing respiratory problems such as asthma
- they consume much less fuel, so are better for the environment, and for family’s budgets
Accommodation you’ll love: Copal Tree Lodge
Mexico – Mountain bike, explore Yucatan’s Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve, and be in awe of the ruins of Chitzen Itza and Tulum, snorkel, swim in freshwater sinkholes (‘cenotes’), relax on the beach, sail in a luxury catamaran, and more.
Find it Fulfilling: Renovate classrooms, sort donated food and clothing, prepare meals and serve at mealtime, help in the garden
Accommodation you’ll love: Rosewood Mayakoba
Guatemala – Hike up astounding volcanoes, visit villages situated around postcard-perfect Lake Atitlan, shop in the vast markets of Chichicastenango, discover the charms of colonial gem Antigua, view ancient Mayan ruins in Tikal, and more.
Find it Fulfilling: Give the gift of sight by fitting and distributing reading glasses to those in Guatemala who cannot afford them.
Accommodation you’ll love: El Convento
Whatever you do this winter and Holiday Season, book soon, and do it well, with loved ones.