As winter eases into spring, there’s a palpable sense of optimism in the air – perhaps enough to have you pining for a holiday. Your next question might be: “So where’s hot in March?”
While much of the Northern Hemisphere remains on the chilly side, there are plenty of destinations which are more than perfect at this time of year.
I’m thinking of azure seas in Thailand, turquoise lagoons in Mexico and golden beaches in southern India. Allow me to tempt you with the full list.
Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Average temperature: 25ºC | 77ºF
Best for: Cenote swimming near Tulum
Just across the Gulf of Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula offers tropical beauty and intrigue in equal measure. Think Maya temples veiled in rainforest foliage, glorious sunshine, white-sand beaches and bright blue seas: the very image of a Caribbean paradise.
Such a landscape provides ripe conditions for snorkelling, promising abundant wildlife – from sea turtles to nurse sharks – and lush reefs. However, it’s the peninsula’s cenotes that will really take your breath away. A cenote is a natural subterranean sinkhole, secluding a turquoise freshwater lagoon within a cave. The scene is often ethereal, and you can easily imagine how they would inspire sacred beliefs; in fact, cenotes were revered by the Mayans as a threshold between this world and the next – a belief often enacted through human sacrifice. Mystical and beautiful, Yucatan’s cenotes are alive with history and adventure.
Discover our trip to the Yucatan here.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Average temperature: 26ºC | 79ºF
Best for: A city-meets-sea escape
Brazil’s landscapes are strikingly diverse, spanning huge swathes of South America from the Amazon to the Atlantic coast. An excellent gateway to exploring this vast country is Rio de Janeiro, where an electrifying cityscape seems to bloom almost naturally from the mountains and sea, all beneath the tropical sun.
The city is also home to one of the seven wonders of the modern world: Christ the Redeemer, towering over Rio from the top of Corcovado Mountain. Sugarloaf Mountain is another famous natural landmark, perfect for hiking and rock-climbing with views of the Atlantic Ocean; a fantastic place to savour a Brazilian sunset. If it’s surfing you’re after, head to Arpoador Beach, between Copacabana and Ipanema. You can expect beautiful waves, golden beaches and rugged landscape views.
Take a look at our trip to Brazil here.
Average temperature: 22ºC | 72ºF
Best for: Cuban-inspired charm
Reaching out into the Gulf of Mexico, Florida is blessed with plenty of Caribbean sunshine and sea. Miami (arguably its most famous city) is where American spirit meets Cuban charm; a feeling you’ll encounter at every turn, whether you’re sipping mojitos in Little Havana or embracing the rhythms of salsa in its dancehalls.
This is a city shrouded in urban legend and americana, particularly after the assassination of Gianni Versace in his home in 1997. Today, you can visit the scene of the crime – the opulent Casa Casuarina – which has since been transformed into a luxury hotel. Its palm-lined courtyard, Roman mosaics and aquamarine pool create a sense of elegance and intrigue; as sumptuous as murder scenes come.
Browse our trips to the USA here.
Average temperature: 18ºC | 64ºF
Best for: Dramatic natural landscapes
A long, thin country snaking down the western coast of South America, the array of landscapes here is simply breathtaking. The Atacama Desert in the north is the driest place on earth, a scorched red terrain that’s said to be the closest you can get to Mars. It’s a truly incredible place for stargazing: with some of the purest skies on earth, you can see an infinite number of stars extending into the universe – an experience guaranteed to make you feel smaller than ever. The desert hosts a number of the world’s most advanced telescopes, and astro-tourism is officially on the rise here.
At the other end of the country lie the glacial hinterlands of Patagonia. Where Atacama is hot and arid in the extreme, Patagonia brims with life and vitality, in the form of verdant forests, snow-capped peaks and pristine rivers. Head to Los Glaciares National Park, and you’ll witness a vast expanse of jagged blue glaciers unlike anywhere else on earth; which should remind you that you’re really not that far from Antarctica at all.
Take a look at our trip to Chile here.
Average temperature: 19ºC | 65ºF
Best for: Historical world wonders
An ancient frontier land between east and west, Jordan is filled with historical landmarks and sacred significance. Biblical sites abound, such as Mount Nebo and the Dead Sea; as do Roman ruins and remnants from the Crusades.
But most travellers agree that the sight that really takes their breath away is Petra. This ancient Nabatean city, nicknamed the Rose City, is an intricate structure carved into pink sandstone cliffs. It’s located a three-hour drive from Amman, and two hours away from Aqaba. Its sites are spread over a hundred square miles, with some steep ascents, and the best way to explore them is by foot; as such, you’ll want to give yourself at least two days to explore the city at a comfortable pace.
Find our trip to Jordan here.
Average temperature: 17ºC | 63ºC
Best for: Historical and cultural sightseeing
Located at the northernmost tip of Africa, Morocco marks the age-old passage between two continents, resulting in a unique cultural landscape. It’s home to an abundance of fascinating, history-rich cities, from Tangier to Marrakech – which are best explored in March, when temperatures aren’t too hot.
Arab influences have imprinted on much of Morocco’s culture, from language and religion to architecture; and the legacy of French and Spanish colonialism has also left its mark here. But native Berber identity is very much alive here too, with many Moroccans considering Berber to be their mother tongue.
Chefchaouen is one of the best places to see Arab and European influences playing out alongside each other. Often compared to the Andalusian hilltop towns of Spain, Chefchaouen’s blue-washed streets have long attracted backpackers and photographers alike. Further south, Marrakech brims with classical Arab architecture and vibrant souks, serving as the gateway to the Atlas Mountains. This rugged sierra, home to North Africa’s highest mountains, offers beautiful, remote hiking routes against the backdrop of waterfalls and snow-capped peaks.
Take a look at our trip to Morocco here.
Average temperature: 22ºC | 72ºF
Best for: Off-grid wildlife experiences
Rwanda is a lush, land-locked country in East Africa, hosting some of the continent’s most unique wildlife. The volcanic Virunga Mountains, straddling the border with the DR Congo and Uganda, is the only place in the world where you’ll encounter the endangered mountain gorilla in its natural habitat. Trekking through the rainforest in search of these majestic creatures is one of the most memorable experiences on offer in Rwanda.
Nyungwe Forest National Park, one of the oldest and most biodiverse rainforests in Africa, is home to the country’s chimpanzee population. There are plenty of wildlife trails you can explore here, as well as scenic hiking routes through lush valleys.
Discover our trip to Rwanda here.
Average temperature: 30ºC | 85ºF
Best for: Tropical sunshine and white-sand beaches
While Thailand is relatively hot all year round, temperatures pick up slightly going into March, making this a balmy spring destination. Thailand’s allure draws backpackers and solo travellers in search of tropical beaches, delicious cuisine and a sense of fun – a combination that’s best experienced along the south coast.
Head down to Krabi Province, and you’ll find a region of white-sand islands, azure tropical sea and craggy limestone cliffs, which have long attracted rock-climbers of all levels. My favourite spot is Railay, located at the tip of the Krabi peninsula: a secluded beach paradise surrounded by dense jungle. It’s accessible only by long-tail boat, and the peninsula is blissfully free from cars and pollution. The scenery is both serene and dramatic, a touch of paradise fringed by jagged limestone karsts.
If you manage to pull yourself away from the beach, there’s plenty of adventure to be had in the jungle too. Traverse steep, muddy routes, pulling yourself up with thick vines, and your efforts will be rewarded with the discovery of secret lagoons with clear turquoise waters. The karsts are also riddled with mysterious diamond caves, with a colony of bats sleeping between the stalagmites. Many rock-climbing courses here will take you up the cliffs and into the caves, before abseiling down over beautiful sea views.
Take a look at our trip to Thailand here.
Luang Prabang, Laos
Average temperature: 27ºC | 81ºF
Best for: Ancient Buddhist temples
This landlocked country – bordered by Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and China – is lesser-known than its neighbours, but full of untouched beauty and rich Buddhist heritage. It’s still a socialist country, and everywhere you go, you’ll see tattered Soviet banners fluttering alongside the national flag; a rare sight in today’s world.
Where Thailand can be frenetic, loud and energetic, Laos is the humbler, quieter sister. Vast swathes of the country are covered in wild rainforest, threaded by the Mekong River – the lifeblood of the nation. Rural communities are either based along the river or in the mountains, and many of the traditions which other countries have lost to development continue to flourish here – but the question is, for how long?
If you want to explore Laos’ heritage, Luang Prabang is the best place to start. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this town boasts an enchanting blend of traditional Buddhist and colonial French influences. Forget all about over-touristed resorts; this is a destination exuding authenticity and rustic charm. It’s a hub of spirituality and learning for young monks, and you’ll see them collecting alms every morning before daybreak in a wash of saffron robes. The town is also home to a community of artisans, with a strong crafts and textiles heritage. Built on the banks of the Mekong, Luang Prabang brings together Laos’ rich traditions and sweeping natural beauty.
Take a look at our trip to Laos here.
Average temperature: 29ºC | 84ºF
Best for: Coastal wellness escape
Located in the far south of India, Kerala is a serene coastal retreat – perfect for a March holiday filled with sunshine. The landscapes here are something to savour: golden beaches, lush mangroves and vibrant backwaters, fringed by the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats.
This is a place to immerse yourself in yoga, relax on the beach and sample delicious cuisine. Known for its flavoursome curries – which utilises local ingredients like coconut, fresh seafood and banana leaf – Kerala offers a distinctive, regional twist on Indian cuisine.
Be sure to explore its famous backwaters, a serene labyrinth of interconnected rivers and lagoons. Delve into this network, and you’ll discover a world of drifting houseboats, children flying kites, fishermen reeling in their catch, women spinning reels on the riverbank. It’s the perfect antidote to frenetic city life.
Discover our trip to Kerala here.