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You survived the holidays and you’re ready to embark on a new journey. February is a time to celebrate whether it’s as big and worldwide as Carnival or a quiet getaway with your Valentine. It’s also an opportunity to take advantage of off-peak rates and you’ll encounter fewer tourists to share in the experiences.
St. Croix, USVI
Every year on Saturday before Fat Tuesday the island of St. Croix celebrates Mardi Gras with the same vigor and raucous as those in New Orleans. At the helm is Krewe de Croix, a group of Louisiana ex-pats and Mardi Gras aficionados. Everybody joins in and follows the parade along the scenic North Shore of the island, beginning at La Valle and ending in eastern Cane Bay. There’s plenty of food along the way as well as music and floats to guide the party. This year’s festivities take place on February 11 beginning at noon-DS For more information on events in St. Croix visit: https://www.gotostcroix.com/
In countries around the world, February means Carnival! And one of the most iconic pre-Lenten fetes takes place on the Island of Trinidad. This is the home of steel pan music, and a highlight of each year’s Carnival celebrations is Panorama, which brings steel band orchestras from more than 30 countries together in a melodic battle for top honors. And that’s just the beginning. Carnival week is a time for calypso and Soca competitions, limbo contests and street parades where dance troupes decked out in dazzling over-the-top costumes show their moves. Add in plenty of lavish parties and there are plenty of reasons to mark your calendars for this year’s big event, which takes place from February 15- 22.-PH
One of the largest islands in the 700-island chain nation, Abaco is bringing a Rum and Music Festival to its shores. The event brings a roster of musicians while hotels like Firefly Sunset Resort, Hope Town Inn and Marina, the Abaco Inn, On the Beach, and Sea Spray Resorts will host the experience and guests. This small friendly island makes an ideal location to host intimate beachfront concerts along with a selection of rums for tasting. The Hope Town Music and Rum Festival runs February 7-12.-DS
For a funkier take on the Carnival season, head to the Mexican Rivera hotspot of Tulum. During the winter high season, this is an A-list destination prized for its stunning beaches, wellness culture, and offbeat-but-upscale vibe. February Carnival celebrations take place all across the Yucatan Peninsula, but Tulum’s take on the party adds an extra helping of glamor, glitter, and funkiness, thanks to an eclectic mix of jet-setting millennials, celebrities, new agers, Instagram influencers, and pride posies, plus a smattering of aging hippies, and colorful locals. The action kicks off with the famous Full Moon Party at Papaya Playa Project, is pretty much non-stop all month, and builds to the big parades happening over the weekend of February 17 to 19.-PH
Often viewed as a summer destination when cruises and tour operators bring in hordes of tourists, Rhodes can offer you an escape from the crowds during February. Visit Old Town, the Medieval city, a World Heritage Site, where you can explore the 200 streets and alleys on your own. Wander through the picturesque town of Lindos where whitewashed homes line the labyrinth of village streets and overlook a beautiful cobalt-blue bay. Here you’ll be able to dine with locals as many tourist spots shut down until summer. Imagine being able to roam the walls, terraces, and columns of the Acropolis without bumping into others trying to capture the spiritual space on their phones and cameras. Pack a raincoat for that cloudy day and a jacket for cooler temperatures that average 15 degrees Celsius and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.-DS
Ambergris Caye, Belize
In the final days of February, the island of Ambergris Key is home to Belize’s most colorful festival —literally. El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro is a cultural tradition dating back more than 150 years. It centers around a character known as Juan Carnival, a legendary Lothario credited with 1,000 sexual conquests before being done in by his jealous wife. Festival participants atone for their collective transgression by burning Juan’s stuffed effigy and doing a lot of painting. Buildings, monuments, street signs, and people are all fair game for decoration during this three-day flurry of brush strokes. Adding more fun to the festivities are troupes of cross-dressing men who stage dance competitions, with top honors going to the most outlandish performance.-PH
Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
If you want to celebrate Carnival, there’s certainly plenty going on in the capital of Santa Cruz de Tenerife to fuel your party cravings. It might be the second largest and most popular after Rio, so don your sparkling costumes and head to the streets for some Latin music and wild dancing. February is also a month you can have some quiet time. Head to the southern beaches and you’ll share the sand with sea birds and surfers. The island’s longest stretch of sand is at El Médano, a favorite spot for locals and is also popular with windsurfers and kiteboarders when the winds are up.-DS