Getaways That Cure Cabin Fever
By Dawn Duncan
Here in Colorado, we are fortunate to have winters that are full of recreation opportunities. From skiing to snowshoeing to nightlife in mountain towns, Colorado has it all. However, if winter is getting a bit too long and cabin fever is setting in, a beach getaway may be just the ticket to rejuvenate the spirit.
Away from the packed tourist spots known as go-to beach hotspots, there are many less-known locations that are easily accessible from Colorado and that offer the perfect blend of comfort and adventure to add spark to a lingering winter.
When choosing a beach getaway, decide what type of experience is desired: adventure, remote location, adults-only, kid-friendly resorts, unique or hidden areas, or luxury. This will help determine options, and from there, traveler reviews are important as they offer real information that includes no-filter photos of properties, food and accommodations. A valuable resource beyond traditional travel sites is Oyster.com, which features side-by-side photos for comparison (professional versus those taken by property guests). Other sites to visit are Trip Advisor, Kayak and Jetsetter for up-to-date and accurate reviews of hotels, restaurants and area amenities, as well as refreshed information regarding pricing and value options.
Although the list of beach destinations is endless, a few to consider for your next escape are:
Isla Holbox, Quintana Roo, is a two-hour drive north of Cancun and a 20-minute ferry ride. Although the flight to get there lands in Cancun, which is known to be full of tourists throughout the year, Isla Holbox is far from the noise, traffic and wild atmosphere that has made Quintana Roo’s largest city famous.
In sharp contrast to Cancun, Isla Holbox is an eco-preserve with clear lagoons, palm trees along vast shores and an entirely car-free island experience. The atmosphere here is quieter, with all transportation being by bike or on foot. The unique Casa Las Tortugas Petit Beach Hotel & Spa is a boutique, 4-Star resort that features a boho-chic vibe and quaint bungalows, fresh and authentic food and drink, and the revered Aqua Spa, with unique water treatments and rituals based on ancient practices. Yoga, skin treatments, meditation and healing modalities are all available for booking at Aqua Spa and provide a memorable, soothing immersion into the beauty and tranquility of Quintana Roo. This area is the perfect mix of preserved nature elements and outstanding comfort, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the relaxed culture of a tucked away beach locale.
Playa Matapalo, Costa Rica, is a compelling option. Located between Manuel Antonio and Dominical, this area is in comparison to tourist-filled areas like Jaco and San Jose. Nearby Corcovado National Park lends itself to exploration and jungle adventure, showcasing this remote area at its finest. Several hotels and Airbnb properties are available on or near the beach, making it easy to spend the day relaxing in the sun or enjoying watersports. One spot to consider for accommodations is Cliffside Ocotal, a local Vrbo rental property featuring five bedrooms (three master suites), a covered patio and pool area, three car garage, a chef’s kitchen, incredible views, an onsite caretaker and a concierge—all in a private, gated community. The property owners will assist in arranging tours, car rentals and private chef services, and provide guests with all the comforts of home (multiple televisions, all kitchen items, towels, bedding, basic toiletries, air conditioning, washer and dryer, pool, grill, free parking and easy access to a supermarket, restaurants and bars).
Manuel Antonio National Park Costa Rica | Photo by Oren Gelbendorf.
Isla Holbox Quintana Roo Mexico beach boat palapa | Photo by Maja Jaukovic.
A true find is Grace Bay Beach, located in Turks and Caicos in Providenciales. The Somerset on Grace Bay features spacious villas and suites from 1,400 to 5,300 square feet, beachfront estates, and 53 villas with pool and ocean views. The property features a complimentary Kids’ Club, full of daily activities to keep the younger set entertained. This is an intimate, luxurious property that offers spa treatments, watersports, fine dining, special events and the sparkling blue waters that are certain to cure winter cabin fever. This resort is located on the #1 beach in the world, as rated by Trip Advisor, and is a 2018 Forbes Travel Guide 4-Star Hotel.
For travelers looking for a passport-free option, Rincon, Puerto Rico, is one of the top surfing destinations in the world. This area has strong waves November through March, and humpback whales can be spotted in the first three months of the year. The area features multiple beaches, including Steps Beach-Reserva, Sandy Beach, El Faro De Rincon and Domes Beach, among others. Steps Beach-Reserva features the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve. For a quieter beach experience, Corcega is an option as is Desecheo Island, home to coral reefs and legendary sunsets. The Horned Dorset offers luxury, while multiple Airbnb properties in the area provide a quiet, private experience for guests to explore Rincon and the surrounding area.
Beach Travel Essentials
Have you ever returned from a vacation and thought about items you wish you had taken along—travel essentials that would have made the trip easier and more pleasant? Travel is an experience that teaches as its done, and each adventure offers its own lesson in what to pack for the next visit.
These travel items are cool finds available online or at local retailers. They’ll have you looking and traveling your best, with ease, comfort and style, so you can focus on discovering new places and feeling relaxed in the process.
eBags TLS MotherLode Convertible Weekender Backpack: This bag is a serious traveler’s best friend! It packs like a suitcase and carries like a backpack, along with three additional carrying options. It’s a hands-free must-have that is extra-durable, offering a customizable interior with a body that expands 1.5 inches around and is still carry-on compliant. Multiple exterior pockets make it easy to access a passport, identification cards, money, phone and more. ($149.99, ebags.com)
Cloud Nine and Blueberry Haze hats by Goorin Bros.: Packable, breathable and offering shade from the hot sun, these options from Goorin Bros. are perfect for the beach and sightseeing. They are unisex and are available in multiple colors. When rolled, they easily fit into a purse, carry-on bag or suitcase and take up little space in a beach bag. ($80-$100, goorin.com)
Beautycounter Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Lotion and Mineral Sunscreen Stick: Beautycounter offers “clean” sunscreen that is void of harmful chemicals and has been frequently rated as the #1 reef-friendly and ocean-friendly option for blocking harmful rays. These sunscreens feature broad UVA and UVB protection and are SPF 30. They are water resistant for 80 minutes and are gentle for sensitive skin. The small twist-up stick is perfect for a purse or small travel bag and provides quick and easy application on the go. (3.4 oz. lotion: $25; .5 oz. stick: $21, Beautycounter.com and at Beautycounter’s store at Free Market: 1801 Blake Street, Denver)
Tesalate’s Alchemist Towel for Two: This towel is large enough for two people to lounge on and is the #1 sand-free towel in the world. It is ultra-absorbent, featuring AbsorbLite Fabric that is rapid-dry. The towel is compact and durable, with a vibrant design. ($99, tesalate.com)
Carolina Herrera: Fuscia Havana-SHE 688: Sunglasses are a must for any beach trip, and these are floral fuscia, the perfect accent to a beautiful tropical drink and resort attire. They have a form-fitting, feminine design that goes from sunny adventures to a casual day out exploring shops. ($209, Edge Optics, 706 S. College Ave., Fort Collins.)
Ray-Ban Clubmaster RB3016: With a spotted grey-green motif, these shades automatically say “vacation.” The color and pattern echo palm trees and jungle vibes, and these sunglasses are built for the duration. They are strong, well-made and up for any tropical sport or beach party, plus they feature the classic G-15 green lens, which improves contrast and puts eyes at ease. ($240, Edge Optics, 706 S. College Ave., Fort Collins)
Title Nine “Shaka” Dress: This dress is the perfect travel companion that goes from daytime sightseeing to beach coverup to hitting the town at night. It can be dressed up or down and easily layers under a light sweater or jacket. Available in three colors, it has bra-friendly styling, a zippered pocket, is virtually wrinkle-free and packs small. This is a go-to item for any serious traveler who wants to conserve suitcase space for treasures from their adventures. ($80; sizes XS-XL, titlenine.com and Title Nine store at 1801 Pearl Street, Boulder)