Top 10 vacations in February

Ah February, that time when the New Year has become something less exciting, sparkly and, well, new anymore. But we have the solution to an otherwise humdrum month Ė escape and reenergise with exciting adventures and destinations around the world, from Lapland to Sri Lanka, Tasmania to Thailand. Youíll be watching the Northern Lights, marvelling at Rajasthanís regal splendour or hitting the dancefloor in Havana. Hold onto your hats for Responsible Travelís top 10 vacations in February.

1. Northern Lights watching

The Aurora Borealis, the Fire Fox, the Dawn Goddess… Call them what you will, but seeing the Northern Lights dance across the Arctic sky is an experience that will write itself into your soul. Travel to Finnish Lapland for husky safaris, reindeer sleigh rides and Sami tradition, or to Iceland to combine evening lightshows with expert photography tuition and jaw-dropping glacial landscapes.

Our top trip: Northern Lights family vacation, tailor made
See all our trips: Northern Lights watching vacations
Read more: Northern Lights travel guide

2. Costa Rica

February is one of the best, and driest times to visit this pristine Central American adventure playground. You’ll be blown away by cloud forests filled with monkeys, iridescent macaws and baby turtles hatching on remote beaches. You can hike up volcanoes, cycle winding coastal roads and zip-wire through the canopy. All in a country that values pura vida, pure living, and the wellbeing of its unique nature.

Our top trip: Costa Rica wildlife vacation
See all our trips: Costa Rica vacations
Read more: Costa Rica travel guide

3. Tasmania

Tiny Tasmania’s share of pristine wilderness and forests, unique wildlife and astounding landscapes boggles the mind. Travel at your own pace, staying in locally run B&Bs or enjoy tours with expert guides to discover panoramic mountain views, dramatic waterfalls and pockets of tangled rainforest. It’s summer in Oz now, too, so bring your sunscreen. Keep your eyes peeled for elusive platypus, Tasmanian Devils and kangaroos.

Our top trip: B&B self-drive tour of Tasmania
See all our trips: Vacations in Tasmania
Read more: Tasmania travel guide

4. Cuba

Salsa your way through a heady Havana evening, cycle through the steep, limestone mogotes lining the Viñales Valley and snorkel off perfect Caribbean beaches. Cuba sizzles with energy, its unique culture underwritten by years of isolation, rationing and embargos. Stay with local families in Casas Particulares, Cuba’s network of homestays, for a congenial and fascinating insight into daily life.

Our top trip: Cuba tours
See all our trips: Cuba vacations
Read more: Cuba travel guide

5. India

From the bustle of bazaars in regal Rajasthan to laid-back cruising on Kerala’s backwaters, India is a wildly diverse, utterly vast melting pot of cultures and communities, people and wildlife. Choose to hike in the Himalayas, watch the sunrise over the Taj Mahal or be spellbound by tigers in the morning mists at Bandhavgarh or Kanha National Parks. February blues be gone.

Our top trip: Kerala tailor made vacation, 11 days
See all our trips: India vacations
Read more: India travel guide and Tiger safaris travel guide

6. Southeast Asia

October to February is, in general, Southeast Asia’s drier season, so you’ll enjoy cooler, less humid days perfect for adventures. Chill on Thailand’s beaches, hike with Vietnamese hill tribes or visit some excellent elephant sanctuaries. Cambodia and Laos offer more off-the-beaten track community experiences and Angkor Wat’s ancient temples are, of course, a highlight. Alternatively, discover untouched islands, home to sea gypsies, sailing around Burma’s Mergui Archipelago.

Our top trip: Northern Thailand and Laos cultural vacation
See all our trips: Southeast Asia vacations
Read more: Southeast Asia (Indochina) travel guide

7. Sri Lanka

It may be the teardrop falling from the tip of the Indian subcontinent, but travel to Sri Lanka in February and you’ll miss the monsoon downpours. This is an excellent time to spot whales breaching off the gorgeous southwest beaches, as well as Asian elephants and, if you’re lucky, elusive leopards in Yala National Park. Perfect for intrepid families, activities can all be customised to suit the tallest teens and tiniest tots.

Our top trip: Wildlife vacation in Sri Lanka, private departure
See all our trips: Sri Lanka vacations
Read more: Sri Lanka travel guide

8. The Alps

Swerve ski resorts reliant on environmentally disastrous fake snow in favour of an alternative winter vacation in February. Head to the Eastern Austrian Tyrol for guided snow shoeing and skiing from a cosy boutique chalet in the shadow of Grossglockner, or, alternatively enjoy ice-climbing, snow shoeing and mountaineering on skis in the southern French Alps.

Our top trip: Austria snow shoeing vacation
See all our trips: Austria winter vacations
Read more: Austria winter travel guide, French Alps travel guide and Saying no to fake snow

9. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Thanks to an equatorial climate that varies very little throughout the year, there’s no bad time to visit Darwin’s wildlife filled islands. February, however, is particularly special. There is some rain, but you’ll enjoy warm, calm seas with excellent underwater visibility, perfect for snorkelling. Love is in the air for birds, tortoises and sea lions and green turtles come ashore to lay their eggs on the islands’ beaches.

Our top trip: Galapagos cruises
See all our trips: Galapagos Islands vacations
Read more: Galapagos Islands travel guide

10. Safaris, East Africa

The short rains have ended in the Serengeti, the grass is lush across the savannah and baby animals skip across the landscape. While the classic scenes of wildebeest crossing the Mara River in the Great Migration happen later in the year, February is a lovely time to enjoy a safari in Tanzania or Kenya. Outside the high season (and school summer vacations), rates at this time can also be lower.

Our top trip: Serengeti safari vacation, Tanzania
See all our trips: Tanzania safari vacations and Kenya safari vacations
Read more: Tanzania safaris travel guide and Kenya travel guide
Written by Sarah Faith
Photo credits: [Page banner: Rafal Cichawa] [Northern Lights watching: Joshua Earle] [Cuba: Augustin de Montesquiou] [Sri Lanka: Supriya S] [Safaris, East Africa: Chen Hu]
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