If you’re seeking winter sun, you’ve got your pick of destinations across Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. Alternatively, you could look to Southeast Asia’s temple-strewn landscapes or Western Australia’s turquoise lagoons. It’s midsummer across Southern Africa, with hot, dry weather along the east and west coasts.
For wildlife: the Galapagos Islands
January is one of the sunniest months across the Galapagos Islands. The warm weather brings a flurry of activity to the islands, with sea turtles laying their eggs, land birds performing courtship rituals, and marine iguanas gathering to nest.
Type of heat in the Galapagos Islands in January: Expect warm, clear-skied mornings, with a humidity level that increases through the afternoon, occasionally culminating in a short, sharp shower.
Average temperature in the Galapagos Islands in January: 31°C (88°F) depending on region
Average daily hours of sunshine in the Galapagos Islands in January: 5.5 hours
For the beach: Saint Lucia
As one of the driest times to visit Saint Lucia, January brings sunshine to the island’s collection of sugar-soft beaches and secluded coves. The water is comfortably warm for snorkeling and the coast is fringed with vegetation that’s still lush from the rainy season.
Type of heat in Saint Lucia in January: Temperatures hover consistently around 28°C (82°F), with the occasional brief, tropical afternoon shower that gives way to clear skies.
Average temperature in Saint Lucia in January: 28°C (82°F) depending on region
Average daily hours of sunshine in Saint Lucia in January: 7 hours
For the great outdoors: Chile
Chile is a land of environmental contrasts, from the cobalt-blue waterfalls of the Lake District to the arid Atacama Desert. January is the peak of summer across the country, when you can hike, drive and horse ride through these wild landscapes with the sun on your back.
Type of heat in Chile in January: Due to the varied geography, the temperatures range from a comfortable 20°C (68°F) along the hiking trails of the Elqui Valley to a balmy 30°C (86°F) in the capital, Santiago.
Average temperature in Chile in January: 24°C (88°F) depending on region
Average daily hours of sunshine in Chile in January: 10 hours
For culture: Thailand
Thailand’s sprawling topography and multiple coastlines host a number of complex weather patterns, but during January the whole country is bathed in sunshine. With the humidity of rainy season long gone, it’s an ideal time to explore Ayutthaya’s temple-strewn landscape and Bangkok’s street-food markets in comfortably balmy weather.
Type of heat in Thailand in January: Across most of the country, you’ll encounter warm, dry days with little chance of rain. The hillside villages of the north are cooler, while the west coast sees its sunniest days.
Average temperature in Thailand in January: 30°C (88°F) depending on region
Average daily hours of sunshine in Thailand in January: 7.5 hours
For an epic journey: Namibia
Arguably one of the best ways to explore Namibia is by driving across its lonely desert roads and national parks. Take a self-drive tour in January, which is mid-summer in Namibia, and you’ll see the deep-orange landscapes at their best as they contrast with cobalt-blue skies.
Type of heat in Namibia in January: It’s hot and humid, with temperatures reaching highs of 40°C (104°F) in the desert. Expect the occasional late-afternoon shower.
Average temperature in Namibia in January: 25°C (88°F) depending on region
Average daily hours of sunshine in Namibia in January: 9.5 hours
If you like it really hot: Western Australia
Western Australia’s Coral Coast sits on the Tropic of Capricorn, enjoying a warm, tropical climate year-round. Temperatures peak in January, heating the turquoise waters and barrier reef around Ningaloo Marine Park to a bathwater-warm 26°C (78°F).
Type of heat in Western Australia in January: This is the kind of humid heat that you’ll feel as soon as you step off the plane. Temperatures can reach highs of 38°C (100°F) by mid-afternoon.
Average temperature in Western Australia in January: 30°C (88°F) depending on region
Average daily hours of sunshine in Western Australia in January: 10 hours