Sea For Yourself

Vacations Rejuvenate Body And Mind

Victoria Rose and Tara Bradley Connell, Writers
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Taking time off after a busy year isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity — not to mention a great way to regroup body and spirit. Whether you’re getting the blood pumping with an exhilarating hike through a rainforest or logging in some time on the water with a deep-sea fishing expedition, a vacation can benefit both physical and mental health. Add in some sunshine and you’ll also get an extra dose of Vitamin D, essential for healthy bones.

In winter, muscles and joints tense and tighten due to the colder temperatures, while the mind can become cluttered with to-do lists and holiday stresses. Extended days without sunshine can also affect one’s mood and eating habits. Escaping from the hibernating effects of winter with a warm-weather destination is a great way to revive, detox and invigorate the mind and body.

Ready to recharge? These sun-filled destinations will perk up your mood and mentality in no time.

Travel Back In Time To Cuba

What better way to find inner peace than on a beautiful beach? Escape the cold and stress of work and travel back in time to Cuba.

With the proper paperwork, U.S. travelers can experience the island, just 90 miles off the Florida Keys, that hasn’t changed much in 50 years. A visit really will feel like a trip back to the 1960s — Wi-Fi, cell signals and credit card machines are challenging to come by.

Whether you’re an avid Airbnb-er and want to do as the locals do or would prefer an all-inclusive resort, the “Pearl of the Antilles” offers a variety of stunning spots to lay your head.

Check out Iberostar Varadero, an all-inclusive, five-star beachfront resort with lavish pools, nightly authentic Cuban cultural performances, relaxing spa services and children’s activities. Winter rates for a standard room for two adults average less than $300 per night.

Whether you are a cigar aficionado, a beach enthusiast or a traveler in search of a new adventure, Cuba is a great option.

Enchanted Paths Of Costa Rica

From December to April, enjoy “one of the happiest countries in the world.” With its exceptional weather and tons of sunshine, Costa Rica is full of ways to re-energize and re-center with outdoor activities.

Travelers can escape with a book and lounge seaside or explore the beauty of tranquil rainforests.

Those looking to connect with Mother Nature can discover Costa Rica's local wildlife, unforgettable scenery and adrenaline-pumping activities such as zip-lining, white-water rafting or scuba diving.

There are numerous breathtaking properties to reside in during your stay, from resorts to beachside suites to tree houses high in the treetops of the jungle.

La Paz Peace Lodge is a unique luxury mountain accommodation located at La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park. The Peace Lodge was featured on the Travel Channel and placed fourth in the Best Resort Category for all of Central and South America. Rates for a standard double-occupancy room start at less than $400 per night. A trip to this spot would be a remarkable way to forget the winter annoyances.

Volcanoes, ocean, rainforests, waterfalls, wildlife — Costa Rica has it all, except for the snow.

Sail Away To The BVIs

Nothing calms the mind more than the soothing sound of waves. Just a 30-minute plane ride from San Juan, Puerto Rico, the British Virgin Islands are a dream come true for ocean lovers. Commonly known as a “sailor’s paradise,” the islands are a major sailing destination.

Visitors can explore more than 50 islands, including Tortola, Cane Garden Bay, Anegada and The Baths. Each offers its own special attractions, but all feature turquoise waters that are perfect for sailing, snorkeling, scuba diving, kiteboarding, surfing, fishing and relaxing by the shore.

Tackle this bundle of islands by chartering a sailboat. Numerous vessels are available, and prices vary by type and size of the boat.

Your captain awaits!

Mayan History Near The Sea

If you’re looking for a magical experience in paradise, the Mayan city of Tulum delivers. Located on Mexico’s Yucatan coast south of Cancun, Tulum is renowned for its archaeological ruins dating back to the 13th century. The only Mayan city ever constructed near the ocean, Tulum offers impressive views of astonishing beaches and magnificent surrounding jungles.

Ahau Tulum, an incredible oceanfront resort, is sure to banish the winter blues. Winter rates for an oceanfront junior suite start at $250 per night for double occupancy.

A beachside hammock is calling your name...

Temptations From Turks And Caicos

With clean beaches, crystal-clear cerulean waters and soft white sand, the Turks and Caicos are a visual vacation. Home to the third-largest barrier reef system in the world (the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is first), this enchanting island chain is an ideal location to snorkel, dive or swim in the sea.

If you’re a fan of conch, stunning sunsets, water activities and the occasional humpback whale sighting, this is the spot for you.

Located on Providenciales, Villa del Mar is just steps away from Grace Bay Beach, internationally recognized as one of the top 10 beaches in the world. Rates for a one-bedroom with a den start at a little more than $400 per night.

The Turks and Caicos are sure to shake your winter blahs!

Pack Your Bags!

The wellness benefits of a relaxing getaway include everything from less stress to lower blood pressure and a happier disposition. Gifting yourself with a vacation allows you to push the restart button and get some much-needed TLC. And you just might come home with a healthy, sunny glow, too.