January: the perfect month to curl up at home with a book and a cup of hot chocolate, right? Maybe for some people, but for the rest of us, it's the perfect time to get off the beaten path. At Backroads we believe that the traveling season is year-round, and January is the perfect example. From snowy adventures in the northern hemisphere to jungle or desert treks down south, every traveler can find something to surprise, stimulate and challenge them in January. Here are our top picks for places to travel in January.
The four national parks of the Canadian Rockies make a surreal and spectacular winter destination. From frozen waterfalls to towering ice pillars, dog sleds to outdoor hot-tubs, the Rockies will surprise you at every turn. Alongside the stunning scenery, you'll find luxurious remote hotels and the finest farm-to-table Canadian cuisine, proving finally that there's no need to sacrifice comfort--or endure the Rockies' summer crowds--to have the perfect family adventure. For the more adventurous, the Rockies in January offer thrilling ice-climbing, glacier hiking and skiing. It feels a lot like the Rockies back home, only with higher mountains and more moose!
If you're looking for stimulation, India is the place to go. The sights, sounds, colors, smells and flavors are vibrant and reverberate with energy. India has a reputation for being overwhelming, but the country is also a place of deep peace--it's no surprise that this is where yoga comes from. Every traveler can find something to enjoy in the great tapestry of Indian culture, like learning about the history of British rule and Indian resistance, sipping masala chai at serene mountaintop retreats, and biking and hiking through rolling hills and desert landscapes. Add to that the chance to stay in luxurious converted palaces and enjoy some of the world's best (and spiciest!) foods, and you can understand the appeal of India. It's the perfect getaway to shake off those mid-winter blues. Check out Backroads' India trips.
Hiking in January doesn't get much better than this--the height of summer in the massive Patagonian expanses brings sunny days, crisp nights and stunning views of snow-capped mountains. You can pair an adventure in the wilderness with a visit to cosmopolitan Buenos Aires to enjoy a dose of theater and wine in one of the most bookish city in the world before taking off to ride horses with the gauchos, or simply enjoy a Patagonian vacation of hiking, cycling and fly-fishing. Don't forget to visit an asado--an Argentinean barbeque--for a true taste of summer in the southern hemisphere. Check out Backroads' Argentina trips.
January in Vietnam is a truly unique experience--avoiding the sweltering heat and torrential rains of the summer months, as well as the crowds that flood the country in autumn and springtime, visitors can discover hidden corners of the country and engage with the locals in a way that's usually difficult, if not impossible. Explore ancient temples, kayak to deserted waterways and hidden caves, cycle through seething jungles and enjoy some of the world's freshest cuisine. Another reason to visit in January is to celebrate Tet, or the Vietnamese New Year. More likely than not, you'll find yourself raising a glass of rice wine to the changing seasons with a group of locals at a feast or family gathering. For travelers looking for something different, January in Vietnam is the place to find it. Check out Backroads' Vietnam trips.
Guatemala & Belize
Take a trip to Guatemala and Belize to enjoy a special kind of Central American paradise. For biking in January, snorkeling with colorful fishes and relaxing on white-sand beaches, it doesn't get much better than this. Beyond the typical tropical vacation, Guatemala and Belize offer much more, including an insight into the culture of the Mayas, who at one time were the proud owners of the most powerful empire in the Americas. You'll come away from this vacation with more than just a tan--you're likely to find yourself invited into people's homes to share stories and perspectives, and to get a taste (in more ways than one) of the rich culture of this corner of the world. Check out Backroads' Guatemala & Belize trips.
Want to see more tips for traveling to the right place at the right time? See our expert recommendations for every month of the year: