February brings with it a sense of fun as countries across the Caribbean and Southeast Asia enjoy perfect tropical weather that lends itself beautifully to carnivals and street parties, island getaways and archaeological discovery. It's summer in the Southern Hemisphere which makes Latin America a great place to explore with endless hiking opportunities in Patagonia while winter drapes its coat of snow and frost over the Northern Hemisphere, perfect for frozen wilderness and hunting for the Northern Lights in Iceland and Finland.
If you're planning a February 2018 holiday, take a look at our pick of destinations and experiences that this month has to offer. You'll also find a guide to the top beach breaks in February as well as where's best for wildlife and a range of recommended tours to take advantage of these destinations.
It's great exploring every nook and cranny of a destination, but sometimes you just need a sun lounger on the beach with a cocktail in hand to top off your holiday. While the Northern Hemisphere is still submerged in the chill of the winter, south of the equator conditions are nice and steamy. The weather across Southeast Asia, Central America and the Indian Subcontinent is perfect for sunbathing with plenty of beaches to choose from.
For such a compact country, Sri Lanka experiences a dramatic variety of weather conditions with half of the island dry and the other wet at any given time. In February the southeast coast is experiencing dry conditions with sunny days and warm temperatures perfect for enjoying the miles of coastline and palm-fringed beaches as well as national parks in the south of the island.
For many travellers the dry season between December and April is considered the best time to travel around Central America with pleasant temperatures and largely clear skies. February is a great time to take advantage of the perfect weather with less crowds than you would find over New Year and Easter - peak holiday seasons - and better availability and prices.
In India the southern region of Goa is pleasantly warm with low humidity offering the perfect conditions to kick back and relax on palm-fringed shores. It's just after the peak season so you needn't worry about fighting over beach umbrellas. There's another reason to visit as the streets come alive with the revelry of the Goa Carnival, complete with music and colourful floats.
East Africa experiences two dry seasons throughout the year and February marks the end of the second season, which starts in December. This means it's the last month for a while that offers perfect beach weather with dry, sunny days and cloudless skies. With wildlife spotting still good in Tanzania, it's a great beach choice at the end of a safari adventure.
If you're looking for a safari adventure in February then East Africa will be your best bet - here the dry season means sparser vegetation, making it easier for spotting the Big 5 while in Uganda the mountain trails are in better condition for trekking to see the gorillas. Elsewhere, it's a good time to take a jeep safari through Yala National Park in Sri Lanka on the look out for the elusive leopard and Costa Rica has plenty of wildlife to keep you happy from the nesting turtles on the coast to the dense interior forests home to myriad birdlife.
The wet and warm season in the Amazon is the best time to take a luxury cruise with higher water levels making more and more waterways accessible by boat. Between January and April plants drop their fruit, which attracts myriad animal and bird species to the seasonal buffet that litters the ground. Numerous plants are flowering at this time too which makes it great for photography.
Off the shores of the Valdes Peninsula in Argentina on the Atlantic Coast, orcas begin to arrive for the small nurseries of baby sea lions that populate the region between February and April. Commonly known as Killer Whales, it's not hard to see how they earned this name when they use their incredible hunting skills in what was designated an UNESCO World Natural Heritage site in 1999.
February to March is the optimal time to visit India's national parks in search of the majestic Bengal tiger. With temperatures steadily heating up, the greenery is starting to thin out across the country so catching a glimpse of that flash of stripes in the undergrowth becomes all the more likely. In neighbouring Nepal, Chitwan National Park is a great location too with the added bonus of rhino.
The Galapagos are truly a year-round destination with endemic species populating the numerous islands throughout the year. Each month brings something new to see and in February it's the sight of greater flamingos nesting on Floreana Island. It's also the start of the black-tailed pintails breeding season and the peak of the Galapagos dove nesting season so a great time for birders to visit.
If you want to up the romance stakes this Valentine's Day then why not think outside the box, or even outside the country for that matter. What could be more romantic than whisking your sweetheart off to an exotic, far-flung destination for an unforgettable holiday for two this February.
Nothing quite says romance like strolling arm-in-arm across a pristine white sandy shore framed by palm-trees with waves lapping at your feet. Or what about stepping out of your overwater villa straight into the warm waters of the Indian Ocean? The scene you're picturing would be the Maldives, an idyllic Valentine's destination for February. Spend the days basking in the sun and swimming in the ocean, and at night dine by candlelit under the stars on the beach. If you've got some extra time on your hands consider combining the Maldives with the cultural delights of Sri Lanka, the Tear Drop Isle.
As South America's self-pronounced Capital of Romance and the home of the passionate tango, it is no surprise that Argentinians love nothing more than celebrating love itself. So much so, in fact, that one single day is not enough to celebrate it, for Argentina also has a week in July solely dedicated to expressing love and romance. Naturally, a trip here in February is the perfect expression of romance and with lovely warm weather, tempting stretches of coastline, striking landscapes, plus prime steak and delectable wine, you simply cannot go wrong in Argentina on Valentine's.
In South Africa the spectacular Garden Route is the perfect escape for lovebirds in search of world-class wine, brilliant cuisine and dramatic landscapes. With the Mother City of Cape Town, picturesque coastal Knysna, the impressive landscapes of Tsitsikamma National Park and Storms River Mouth, plus the wineries of Stellenbosch, there is plenty to keep you and your beau content here. Did we forget to mention the weather's perfect too? With temperatures in the mid-20s, sunny skies and clear days it's the perfect place to combine culture, scenery and beach for a romantic getaway.
Here's a selection of our tours perfectly suited for February travel from the pulsating cities of South America to the stunning coast of South Africa.
Our Adventure range takes you overland to the true heart of adventurous destinations. Whether camping in the Okavango Delta, staying in rustic accommodation in the Peruvian Amazon or camping under the Saharan stars in Morocco, this range forsakes just a little bit of the comfort of our Signature range, ensuring we deliver you the best value possible for your holiday.
Adventure tours takes you straight into the centre of where it’s all at, typically using local transport or overland style vehicles and stay at simple, clean and locally-owned guest houses, haciendas, eco-lodges and simple hotels to maximize the opportunity to interact with the locals.
On The Go's Signature group tours place local interaction and authenticity at the heart of your cultural travel experience. Upping the comfort stakes, this range is a clear cut above our Adventure range.
Appealing to a wide age demographic from the 20s to 60+, we maximize your days with excitement and awe and then bring you home to a comfortable 4* hotel with western amenities, air-conditioning, WiFi and, where appropriate, a swimming pool. Hotels can sometimes be of 3 or 5 star standard too, ensuring you get the best value for your holiday.
Visiting all the main attractions you’ll be accompanied throughout by our highly qualified English-speaking local guides too. Group size is typically 18 with a maximum for 28, apart from festival tours, where group sizes can be larger due to the one-off nature of these events.
On this range you won’t be joining other travellers, but will be on your own private itinerary. Accommodation, pace of travel and the style of trip is tailored to your individual needs. From pre-priced packages available off the shelf to fully curated tailor-made holidays, this range also includes our selection of one-night stopovers, day-tours and short breaks.
The Independent range gives you all the great service aspects of our Signature range with the flexibility to create a truly unique and bespoke holiday or adventure to a variety of destinations around the world.
On our Handpicked range we bring you the most iconic experiences in destinations where you’ll join travellers from other travel brands on your tour, safari or sailing holiday. Collaborating with our carefully handpicked portfolio of local partners, these holidays represent exceptional value and there’ll be plenty of cultural experiences shared with other like-minded travellers.
Group sizes and accommodation standards vary by destination where typical group size is 18 travellers and hotels, boats and safari lodges are of a 3-4 star standard.