beach vacation ideas

5 beach vacation destinations that are beyond the usual spots!

Canadians love taking a tropical beach vacation to get a break from the cold weather. We live for finding great deals like discounted airfare, seat sales, or a cheap all-inclusive resort deals.

It seems, though, that we are faced with the same usual tropical vacation spots that are reasonably priced like Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic and sometimes even Hawaii. Especially from Western Canada, these hot spots are beautiful and accessible with airlines offering frequent service, direct flights and great package deals. Hard to resist, but maybe you’re ready to expand your horizons?

So, what are alternatives to Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic or Hawaii?

If you have already been to these places and looking for something different, there are definitely some really great options. Here are my top five picks of really cool tropical destinations that you should consider. They may be slightly more money, but I’ve seen and also taken advantage of some great deals to these spots too!

St. Lucia

St. Lucia is a beautiful, tropical island located in the Eastern Caribbean. The second you set sight on the island from the window of the plane, you’ll see beautiful, jagged mountains, lush tropical rainforests and stunning white sand beaches paired with turquoise waters. When you hit the ground running, you’re in for a true tropical paradise vacation. The island offers many all-inclusive resorts for a range of budgets. The people of St. Lucia are friendly and polite, and the travelers that go to the island are generally more laid back, looking for adventure and eco-tourism, beach vibes, quality time with family or a romantic getaway.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is not as off-the-beaten-path that some may think. It’s now more accessible than ever with many airlines and tour companies from Canada offering packages to explore the lush tropical jungles, volcanoes, and biodiversity of this country. Located in Central America, a quarter of Costa Rica is made up of protected jungle. Travelers will be exposed to the raw, untouched beauty of nature and unique wildlife like monkeys and parrots. Costa Rica has beautiful beaches, although generally, travelers go to this area of the world more to explore the culture and eco-tourism rather than spending the entire time on the beach.


So many people have never heard of Roatan. It’s a tiny island in the Caribbean located off the coast of Honduras and is part of a chain of islands called the Bay Islands. Roatan is a popular stop for cruise ships – in fact, a cruise-ship stop is how I discovered the island and realized it is one of Caribbean’s best-kept secrets! Roatan is home to the second-largest barrier reef in the world and the biggest barrier reef in the western hemisphere making it a snorkeler and diver’s paradise.  From some of the pristine white sand beaches, you can swim into the water just a few feet of the beach and start exploring the gorgeous coral reefs.

This is a great website that can give you a ton of information on the island of Roatan and what to expect.

Turks and Caicos

The beaches and waters of Turks and Caicos are some of the best in the world thanks to the islands being home to one of the best barrier reef systems in the world. Like Roatan, Turks and Caicos is a snorkeling and diver’s dream. The water is crystal clear, turquoise blue and extremely warm, and the barrier reef is healthy and thriving with stunning coral and colourful tropical fish. There are many mega-resorts on the island but there are great options for private beach house rentals too.

Here is a great website to learn everything you need to know about Turks and Caicos.


Jamaica is one of those islands that you hear about all the time but maybe have never been to. I had the chance to check it out last year and fell in love immediately. The people of Jamaica are some of the warm and friendliest I’ve ever met. From the music, culture, food and stunning tropical landscapes to the gorgeous beaches, water and overall laid-back vibe, a trip to Jamaica is definitely one to put on the bucket list. Jamaica goes above and beyond when catering to tourism and has so many resorts to choose from for every type of budget.

How to find a great winter vacation deal?

Work with a great travel agent or set some alerts on travel websites for these winter vacation spots and get ready to try something new! Many travel agents are now actively using Facebook and Instagram to post flash deals and insider rates that you may miss otherwise. I recommend following local Facebook travel groups in your community.

Many carriers such as Sunwing, Transat, Westjet Vacations and Air Canada Vacations offer great all-inclusive packages or airfare and hotel package deals to some of these destinations. Be sure to check them out.

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