I'm sitting at my desk right now, staring out the window at 4-6 inches of white snow. I'm not the first to claim I'm sick and tired of freezing temperatures and blustery winds, but it's official, the winter blues have descended in full force. What's a beach girl to do in the middle of a never-ending snowstorm? Research tropical destinations that are sunny and warm, of course! Here are five beautiful places I desperately wish I was traveling to this week.
1. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Ever since my boss visited Punta Cana with her husband and raved about their experience at an all-inclusive resort, I've been dying to visit. The sandy white beaches are drool-worthy (ranked as some of the best in the world!) and the crystal clear water is breathtaking. With palm trees for miles and a laid-back island culture, Punta Cana would be a perfect tropical getaway. Busy season takes place from December to April, so prices skyrocket during those months. I managed to find some good deals on CheapCaribbean, though, and I've heard great things about the site's packages.
2. Bali, Indonesia
Arguably the most famous island in Indonesia, Bali offers magnificent mountains, stunning beaches and a vibrant culture. The locals are friendly, the resorts are luxurious and the snorkeling/diving is top-notch. According to Lonely Planet, Bali was seemingly created to be a watersports destination. In fact, it was the first place in Asia to popularize surfing. Since Bali gets the full force of Southern ocean swells, surfers from all over the world can be seen biking around the island, looking for the next big wave. Just imagine: a full week of watching the sunrise over volcanic peaks, exploring rice fields and lush jungles, visiting Hindu temples and relaxing in the sand.
3. Oahu, Hawaii
Known as "The Gathering Place", Oahu is home to the city of Honolulu and over 85% of the state's population. Despite Honolulu's bustling metropolitan environment, it's still possible to find secluded shorelines if you know where to look.
Waikiki Beach is the most well-known beach on the island and one of the most popular beaches in the world. Not only is the area famous for its white sand and surf lessons, it's also close to several attractions such as the Honolulu Zoo, Pearl Harbor and Hanauma Bay. Some other scenic beaches along the coast include Sunset Beach, Waimea Bay and Lanakai Beach. Whether you're in the mood for sailing, kayaking or snorkeling, Hawaii's beaches have it all.
4. The Grand Cayman Islands
On the West side of Grand Cayman lies the Seven Mile Beach. The name alone sounds heavenly. The crescent-shaped natural wonder is often rated one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. It's also the least populated, which makes for a perfect vacation spot. If laying around in the sand for a week straight isn't your thing, the Seven Mile Beach provides several fun activities, such as snorkeling and scuba diving around Cemetery Reef, swimming with stingrays at Stingray City, and observing Green Sea Turtles at The Grand Cayman Turtle Farm.
5. Phuket, Thailand
Thailand has been high on my list of countries to travel to for years. Chang Mai and Bangkok look incredible, but I have a new dream destination in mind: Phuket. The largest island in Thailand, Phuket is filled to the brim with beach resorts and palm trees. The Andaman sea provides an opportunity for world-class diving while Patong Beach offers vibrant nightlife and plenty of shopping. I would personally love to visit James Bond Island in Phang Nga Bay. Known for its dramatic limestone islands that jut vertically out of the water, James Bond Island is best explored by boat. Phuket also offers an abundance of meditation retreats, Thai boxing classes, cultural shows and temple tours.
Where do you wish you were traveling this week?