March seems like a strange time to plan a vacation, but it’s also the month when some of the world’s best events take place. Whether you’re planning a spring break with a group of friends or a romantic, springtime getaway with just your best friend, there are a host of destinations with a variety of unique events ideal for vacations in March.
Just imagine yourself floating down a river in Tokyo, Japan, as you are flanked by a seemingly endless number of cherry-blossom trees in full bloom. Or have you ever considered celebrating Holi, arguably the world’s most colorful and sociable religious holiday, in Fiji? Go off the beaten path, and travel to the Galapagos Islands off the shores of Ecuador. Enjoy jazz? Travel to South Africa for “Africa’s Grandest Gathering,” the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.
No matter what you’re looking for, read on for our list of the best places to travel to in March.
Flag and Anthem Day celebrates the country’s “status aparte” every year on March 18. A folkloric production takes place at Plaza Betico Croes in Oranjestad, as well as cultural and sporting events around the island.
The Hindu New Year’s Eve is more raucous than Times Square. Using cymbals, gongs, drums and fireworks, the Balinese scare away monstrous ogoh-ogohs: huge papier-mâché figures representing evil spirits. Everyone keeps very quiet the next day so the spirits can’t find their way back.
The Balinese Hindu New Year, also known as Hari Raya Nyepi, takes place on March 25, 2020.
The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta takes place in March. Not only is this the chance for world-class competition, it’s also time for the biggest nightly after-parties, plus culinary events; however, this is within the island’s peak season, so don’t expect a discount on rooms.
The 2020 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta takes place from March 5, 2020, to March 8, 2020.
In the Galapagos Islands off Ecuador, March sees the flattest seas and warmest water. It’s not peak season, so rates are down, but it is the rainy time of year, a bonus if you prefer an in-bloom landscape to an arid one. Note to wildlife photographers: This month, land birds mate, as do sea lions; you’ll also see their pups.
The island of Montserrat is the only place besides Ireland, Northern Ireland and parts of Canada where St. Patrick’s Day is an official government holiday. While traditional St. Patrick’s Days are Christian-based and celebrate Irish heritage, Montserrat celebrates the holiday to commemorate a quelled slave uprising. It’s a 10-day festival that puts Montserratian culture at the center while honoring the 18th-century rebellion.
Locals wear their national dress, predominantly dawning green and orange. Bars serve Guinness, green Heineken and traditional rum punch cocktails. You’ll also get a shamrock stamp in your passport and a chance to try the national dish: goat water. Really, it’s delicious.
In Japan, it’s a sure sign that spring has arrived when the country’s national flower starts to bloom. Since the famed pink blossoms can only be viewed for two weeks, “hanami” (blossom viewing) is a big deal throughout the country.
Time a trip to the country’s capital of Tokyo, and attend one of its many cherry-blossom festivals scattered throughout March and early April. Some of the best viewing spots include Ueno Park, Inokashira Park, Sumida Park and along the Meguro River. Temperatures range from the 40s to 50s during this time of year, so come prepared.
Don’t wear your finest threads in Fiji during Holi, the Festival of Colors, when the Indo-Fijian locals toss colored powder at one another to celebrate the arrival of spring. Dancing, singing and bonfires are also part of the late-March party, which is the least religious and most social of the Hindu holidays, making Fiji one of the best places to travel to in March.
Holi lasts for one day and one night, taking place on March 9, 2020, and March 10, 2020.
These 365 cays lie just 35 miles south of Nassau. On Staniel Cay, the yacht club has a handful of bungalows on stilts at the water’s edge, as well as obliging kitchen staff who’ll give you scraps to take to nearby Big Major Cay. This one is uninhabited, except for feral but friendly swimming pigs who live on the beach and dog-, er, pig-paddle out to greet visitors and beg a snack. Help them celebrate National Pig Day on March 1, 2020. Hint: They’re fond of watermelon rinds.
National Pig Day is a U.S. holiday that started in 1972. It celebrates the pig as one of the smartest of the domesticated animals. Apart from the Bahamas, this holiday is mostly celebrated in Midwestern America.
Riviera Maya, Mexico
Take a day trip inland to Chichén Itzá to celebrate the Spring Equinox. During this time, the sun creates the astonishing illusion of a snake slithering up El Castillo pyramid. Tip: It’s also visible a week before and after the Equinox, and crowds are smaller then.
The Spring Equinox is on March 20, 2020.
St. Croix is one of the few islands in the Caribbean where St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated from sun-up to long after sunset in Christiansted with a street parade and live bands. Also, all month long, migrating whales can often be spotted along the north shore. Creative types will appreciate the Starving Artists Day at Whim Estate when pieces are priced to move. (Note: March is one of the driest months.)
If you like jazz and want to travel to another continent, South Africa could make for one of the best vacations in March. Cape Town, the country’s capital, hosts “Africa’s Grandest Gathering,” the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Enjoy photography? The festival also hosts a jazz-photography workshop.
Come for the jazz, but stay for the many other events Cape Town has to offer. There’s a popular free community concert with thousands of attendees and some big names. The main jazz festival, however, is still the main attraction, as it hosts nearly 40,000 fans over the two days.
The 2020 Cape Town International Jazz Festival takes place from March 27, 2020, to March 28, 2020.