January can be a tough month: the holidays are over, the days are shorter and everyone is slowly getting back to reality. So why not prolong the fun and take a few extra vacation days? This month offers a number of festivals, focusing on everything from food to fishing to burning down a replica Viking galley. Here are the best places to travel in January.
Bermuda might not be the warmest island to visit in January, but with temps staying in the 60s, it sure beats a polar vortex. Another reason to visit now: the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts. The festival actually runs through March, but this month’s highlights include performances by concert pianists the Cann Sisters, R&B singer Jonathan Butler, fingerstyle guitarist Shun Ng and bagpipe rockers (aka “bagrock”) Red Hot Chili Pipers. An evening with Jeremy Firth and friends features locals performing Bermudian poetry, spoken word and music in a tribute to the beauty of their island home.
Calling all foodies: Join chefs Eric Ripert, Anthony Bourdain and Jose Andres on Seven Mile Beach for the annual Cayman Cookout. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the five-day festival features cooking demonstrations, tastings, food pairings and mixology sessions from the celebrity chefs. The main event is hosted by The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, but several other resorts fronting Seven Mile Beach are offering special pricing as well.
Key West, Florida
Bouncing back after Hurricane Irma, the Florida Keys are ready to welcome visitors. So hold off on that post-holiday diet for another month and check out the Key West Food and Wine Festival. Indulge in 30 food- and wine-themed events, culminating with the 24th annual Master Chefs Classic, where restaurants compete in categories such as appetizers, entrees and desserts.
Nara’s Wakakusa Yamayaki festival takes place on the fourth Saturday of January and features some dramatic views: first, a fireworks display at the base of Mount Wakakusayama, and then the side of the mountain is set on fire. Both are visible throughout the city, and the former Heijo Palace site is a popular spot to watch the action.
A January escape to the Caribbean is a no-brainer, but anglers should consider heading to Grenada for the Budget Marine Spice Island Billfish Tournament. Competitors from all over the Caribbean gather in St. George for the four-day sport fishing tournament, with the hopes of scoring an offshore grand slam.
Is visiting Palawan on your travel bucket list? Plan the trip around the annual Dinagyang Festival, which takes place in Iloilo City, about a one-hour flight away. Held on the fourth Sunday of January, the country’s cultural celebration includes parades, traditional costumes, dancing, food festivals and street parties.
Celebrate all things reggae at Rebel Salute 2018, Jamaica’s annual festival of music, culture, and cuisine. In addition to featuring traditional reggae acts, a unique aspect of this festival is the focus on healthy living: the entire festival is strictly meat- and alcohol-free.
While some mark the end of the holiday season by sorrowfully taking down decorations and hitting the gym, the residents of Shetland throw the Burning-Man-meets-Vikings-style festival Up Helly Aa. On the last Tuesday in January, Guizer Jarl (leader) and his Jarl Squad march through the town with torches, and set fire to a replica Viking galley. Sound like fun? Visitors are welcome to watch, but participants are required to have resided in Shetland for at least five years.
The idea for the World Buskers Festival was born when a street performer crashed the Festival of Flowers in 1993. Now in its 25th year, the festival features buksers of all types around the streets and venues of Christchurch showing off their craft: think playing-card ninjas, stand-up comedians, drag queens and a boy with tape on his face.