FEBRUARY doesn’t seem like the best month of the year to go on holiday, but there are places in the world, where the conditions might be just perfect for that little break following Christmas and the start of the new year.
Here are three best places in my book to travel in February, where there is plenty to explore, and the seasonal calendar features a bumper harvest of things to do. Wherever you go, always remember to take travel insurance for peace of mind.
Also check on destinations what Covid restrictions apply.
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Costa Rica is the location for wildlife, surfing and volcanoes
Costa Rica is a great place to visit if you like wildlife. Among the most exotic animals that you can see here is the Baird’s Tapir. It is a cross between a rhino, elephant and a pig, and is Central America’s largest mammal at four feet tall and six feet long. You can see tapir in Corcovado National Park on the OSA Peninsula. Other animals worth a look in include the King Vulture bird (photo by Celso), Jaguarundi wild cat, the Northern Tamandua, from the Anteater family and closely related to the armadillo, and the spotted Ocelot cat.
If you like surfing then this is the best time of the year to visit Costa Rica. Good places to visit are Jaco or Tamarindo, on the Pacific coast. For rainforests and reserves, not to mention learning about the indigenous culture of the Guanacaste people, then see the rest of the Nicola Peninsula.
Escape the heat with more inland activities, like frequenting the highlands, climbing to higher altitudes, and exploring the many active volcanoes. The weather in February is dry and scorching hot, rising above 30 degrees Celsius.
Don’t miss out on the capital San Jose for the Museum of Contemporary Art. One of the most colourful events in the February calendar is the Festival of the Little Devils, where the Boruca tribe put on masks and do mock battles with the invading Spanish.
How to get there
Airlines that offer direct flights to Costa Rica are: American Airlines, United, jetBlue, Air Canada, Delta, Alaska Airlines, Avianca and Avianca Costa Rica all fly non-stop to Costa Rica. There are no direct flights to Costa Rica from the UK. You will need to take a connecting flight, via Europe or North America.The most direct route to Costa Rica from the UK is to fly from London Heathrow or Manchester via Madrid with Iberia. The total flight time is around 14 hours. Travelling from the USA to Costa Rica takes 5 hours 20 minutes, flying by AeroMexico, British Airways, Air Canada, Avianca and Alaska Airlines.
Italy’s Amalfi offers the Path of Gods and Emerald Cave
The Amalfi Coast (Photo by Frans Van Heerden) is not particularly warm in February, the average high temperature is 14 degrees Celsius, but it is the perfect time for hiking. Before the spring crowds arrive, you could set yourself the goal of walking the Path of Gods (Sentiero degli Dei).
The walk takes around three hours (7.8km) and starts,at Agerola and ends in Nocelle, offering magnificent views of the Amalfi Coast and the island of Capri. The walk is free and is not considered difficult, but is not for those who suffer vertigo. Good hiking boots are recommended.
Underwater nativity scene discovered by a fisherman
Other things to consider is a trip to the Emerald Cave (Grotta dello Smeraldo) which is a few kilometres outside Amalfi. People knew of its existence for centuries, calling it the ‘mysterious grotto’ until it was discovered by a fisherman in 1932. Inside it has dozens of stalagmites and stalactites, and when the outside light hits the inside of the cave it becomes tinged with an emerald colour. It looks like an underwater nativity scene and during Christmas, divers bring flowers to the cave and put them on a tableau. The best day to visit is on a day when the sea is calm.
Great views, a waterfall and subtropical microclimate
Waterfall in the Valley of the Ferriere (Vallone delve Ferriere) is another place worthy of a visit. Inside a nature reserve on the border between Amalfi and Agerola, the area with its streams and sea breeze, creates a pleasant subtropical microclimate. There are spectacular views to be had here, the hamlet of Pontone and the high ridge of Amalfi’s hamlet of Pogerola.
How to get there
It takes just under three hours to fly direct from London Gatwick to Naples. Then in just under 90 minutes by car or transfer, you could be gazing at the lush mountain peaks of the Amalfi Coast. You can get there by British Airways, Ryan Air, easyJet and Wizz Air. From Boston, Chicago and New York it takes just over 10 hours to Naples.
Finland’s the venue for Northern Lights
If you are searching for the Northern Lights then Finland’s Lapland (north of the country) is the place to be. The “northern lights belt” or “aurora zone”, covers the Earth’s latitudes of 65-72°N. In this part of the world the aurora borealis can be seen with the greatest intensity and frequency. The best places being Rovaniemi, Muonio, Kemi, Ivalo, Kakslauttanen, Saariselkä and Levi. Photo of Northern Lights by Tobias Bjørkli from Pexels Above right photo of Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica.